Autopilot is one of those ‘pie in the sky’ words that people imagine to mean all kinds of things, such as ‘no work required’. While ‘autopilot’ may mean that certain aspects of the business process BECOME automatic, that is not until you set them up first, make sure they are working as expected and ideally to have a way to track your progress or lack thereof.
When it comes for example to an online business such as if you are participating in an affiliate program, the programs themselves will perform many of the necessary services for you, such as responding to your customers, both pre-sale and membership services, processing your orders and accounting for your sales. In this sense your business is running on ‘autopilot’. This is a major benefit in that all of the above are time-consuming as well as they can cost money if you had to pay to have them done.
Very few programs however, will actually market and/or advertise for you. They may have resources you can use for these purposes, and they really should, since your success is their success, as they say. Big surprise, you won’t have customers, sales or commissions unless you first promote the business diligently to attract people to your product or service. This usually takes time, because you need wide exposure, as the vast majority of people will not be interested. You must remain firmly undaunted by this fact, and you must constantly be seeking and finding new business.
Unless you have a lot of money in your operating budget (which few individuals do) to employ services to promote your business, you will need to be actively engaged in doing the work that will create and develop your business. There is no way around it. Having a website or other link on the Internet is not like being in a shopping mall, where people just happen to walk by and see your business. If they see something that interests them, they can decide to get more information and walk in. On the contrary, no one will know your business exists unless they see your links in the search engines, see your advertisements online, and/or receive your promotional emails, etc.
There are plenty of gimmicks and gadgets that can ‘automate’ just about any of the techniques mentioned above. They can greatly reduce the time and effort you need to spend, and again, once you set them up and they are running, you may consider them ‘automatic’. For example, one that you probably can’t do online marketing without, an autoresponder. The autoresponder both collects or captures the email addresses of people who sign up to receive information, and it also automatically takes that address and begins sending a series of emails to it automatically. That is one of the few processes that will truly run on ‘autopilot’.