As a service-based business owner, it can be tough to stay organized while juggling multiple clients and their projects. Since, I’m usually working with 3-5 different clients on various design projects at any given time, I rely on a few essential tools and systems to help me keep my “ducks in row.”
In this post, I’m sharing the tools and systems I use in my own client process. Hopefully, reading it will give you a few ideas and resources you can use to get organized and stay sane while running your service-based business.
If you want a downloadable guide to the best tools and tech I’ve used to grow my business since the very beginning, grab my “Systems Roster” below.
Typeform for client inquiries
I like using Typeform to collect client inquiries, as opposed to having people fill out a contact form on my site.
Typeform allows me to keep a running spreadsheet of people’s responses. Each time someone completes the questionnaire, their answers are automatically saved in a spreadsheet.
This way I can refer to the information on a regular basis and update my packages, refresh my website copy or create freebies/ebooks based on what people are requesting.
A client onboarding system
One of the best ways to save time and stress as a service-based business owner is to have a specific set of steps you follow each time you start working with a new client.
After someone submits an inquiry via the Typeform questionnaire linked on my site, here’s what happens:
- I connect with that person on a call or via email to discuss additional project details and/or any special requests they might have.
- I let them know my next available project start date and they decide to book.
- I send them them an invoice and contract.
- They pay 50% of the invoice and sign the contract to officially “book” the project for the start date we discussed.
This whole process typically happens pretty quickly since I check and respond to emails throughout the day (mainly because I can’t stand having a bunch of notifications piling up #OCDproblems).
Dubsado for project management
After someone officially books a project with me, I get them set up in my project management software.
This helps to minimize the number of back and forth emails we have to send. Plus, it provides a specific place to share files and stay organized with project timelines. I used to manage client projects in Basecamp or Breeze but I switched to Dubsado a few years ago — and so far, I’m a big fan of the interface, and it’s ease of use.
Project specific questionnaires for new clients
When I start working with a new client, I need some information/content from them prior to our official start date. The information and/or content I need varies based on the project, so I have different questionnaires for each package I offer.
This helps me to get exactly what I need from clients so I can start working right away on the start date we agreed upon. That way, I’m not dragging out timelines because I’m waiting on photos, site content, etc. from clients.
Google calendar for multiple client timelines
Google calendar is a great tool for scheduling client timelines because you can quickly see how many clients you’ve got booked for any given time.
I do this by:
- Creating an event for the project start date.
- Titling the event with the client’s name.
- Select “all day” for the length of the event.
- Schedule the event to end on the project end date.
After I save the event, there will be a bar at the top of my calendar spanning the length of the project.
This helps me to avoid overbooking myself because whenever I’m booking a new project, I simply reference my calendar for the next date that has room to add another bar.