Playing the back-and-forth game to find a date to plan a VIP session or Marketing Magic session. Sending an invoice, having to check when it’s paid so I could send follow up information. Forgetting to send something. The moment my business started to take off, but probably even before then, my systems became messy. I was spending hours a day in my email box; time I should be spending on clients projects. And I had post-it notes (colourful ones) everywhere to not forget to email client X something or that I was waiting on something from client Z.
I had NO real systems. And though I think most clients still thought I was organised, I was losing my mind! It was enough, and I needed to change. I needed a business management solution.
What is a business management solution
Though sometimes it is referred to as a CRM, there is a big difference between a business management solution and a CRM. A Client Management Relationship tool only helps you to keep track of who you know, when you last spoke, what you talked about, and things like that. Though it can be very valuable, it has a lot fewer possibilities for your workflows than a business management solution.
Those help you keep track of all leads, current projects and sometimes past projects that you have. You know who needs to sign a document, needs to pay, who you need to email (or the system does that for you). These tools help you create workflows that streamline your business.
Making a list, and checking it twice
I had tried 17hats a few years before when I was doing website development and social media management. But at that time, most of my clients were Dutch, and 17hats did not have any translation yet. So even if I sent a questionnaire with Dutch questions, the buttons underneath would say ‘Send in’ in English.
That, together with the fact that I had no clue yet what my workflow was, made me decide to stop using 17hats and use Asana (or was it still Trello?). And for a long time that was enough. But along the way, it became a hodgepodge of several cheap or free systems that did a specific part of my workflow. Acuity for scheduling appointments, for instance. But those systems weren’t doing the communication between each other, so I had to keep my eye out for all of them.
When I decided I needed to get a new workflow system, I looked into 17hats again. I also looked into Satori that a few of my coaches had used, and I was looking at Dubsado, which was becoming known to the public around that time. I realised I first needed to understand what it was I needed for my workflow.
So I made a list of elements that I needed for my workflow:
- Schedule appointments
- Send quotes
- Sign contracts
- Send invoices (with payment schedules)
- Get paid
- Send questionnaires
- Send documents/receive documents
- Templates of emails and forms that I can use as a base for emails
- If, then (not a must but a preference)
- Multilanguage options
I also made a list of things that did not matter to me. For instance, I did not need a bookkeeping service as I have that already in Dutch.
With all of that information at my fingertips, I made a list of pros and cons for all of the programs. I decided Dubsado was the right product for me. Even though they didn’t have a scheduler at the time, it offered me much help with building my templates and workflows to make my life easier. And as the product grew (they only have been on the market for four years) more and more of what I needed got added, including even the ‘if, then’ not long ago.
What I love about Dubsado right now
Right now, I absolutely love Dubsado. You can have several workflows for different services or products. A workflow can exist of sending emails, waiting for a form to be filled in and several other options. Because of the number of options, you can just about build any workflow you have.
Dubsado also has canned emails meaning you can write an email and automatically have it go out (with an invoice for instance). But you can also use them to have the base of the email ready, and you can add some specific elements for that client. I use this a lot for website development, for instance. Many emails are the same for each client. And if I have to write them each time, it not only takes me a long time but chances are high I will forget something. By having the canned email, I can focus on the specifics for that client and send out the email a lot quicker and packed with information. Win-win!
What I love is that Dubsado offers free extra brands if you need two different brands (that is what they call a set of systems) for two different languages or currencies). Which means I now have a Dutch brand and an English brand and if for some reason I need a form moved over from one to the other, they do that for me.
Dubsado has really been a gamechanger for me, and I know I am not using it to it’s fullest potential yet!
What I am still working on with Dubsado
I know I only scratched the surface of what is possible with Dubsado. My workflows need updating as new options are available and my workflows have changed. Sandra van der Lee is amazing at helping me with my workflows and coming up with better ways to make it all work. (Seriously, don’t hesitate to get help with sorting out things like this if you need it. Two know more than one, the stuff gets improved while you work with clients and you don’t have a project that is going to drag on for ages!)
Sandra and I also came up with the idea of connecting my website to my workflow in a new way so that Dutchies can pay through a Dutch payment system (which Dubsado doesn’t offer yet, unfortunately) and still get the whole workflow of Dubsado goodness automatically. It opens up a whole other set of ideas and opportunities, and we will keep playing and tweaking for the next few months.
Why you should consider getting a business management solution like Dubsado
Though I highly recommend Dubsado, in the end, it depends on your needs which business management solution is right for you. But I do recommend starting looking into this well before you think you need it.
The thing is, it takes a bit of time to set up, and it takes time to get used to using a tool like this. If you do this when you are already overwhelmed and very busy, then it’s hard to take the time out to make this work. If it is all set up, working fantastically and helping you out then, first of all, you are ready when you become busy, and secondly, your current clients will be so impressed they will boast about you everywhere you go, and you will become booming much quicker!
Interested in Dubsado? With this link you get a trial of your first three leads/projects in Dubsado and 20% off your first month or year!