Are you ready to hear about how one simple product has changed my life as a solo business owner?
Before we get to the amazingness that is Dubsado, let's talk about a huge #entrepreneurfail that I had about two years ago. Before Dubsado was even created, I invested my money in to a LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP with an unnamed client management system, that only three months later, I was about to throw out the window.
I was spending more time putting together contracts, custom payment plans, trying to figure out the bookkeeping system, only to have my customers come back to say they never received the contract, payment plan, and invoice. It was lost in the world of the Internet, with nothing in their spam folder, and nothing indicating it "didn't" send. I would contact their team, to either no response, or virtual shoulder shrugs. I would even have to reserve time on my calendar JUST to send out a contract, because it was so involved. My stomach turned at the thought of hiring a virtual assistant one day, because to have to teach them the assbackwards ways of creating a contract to fit my services, it was going to be quite the task.
Finally, I had enough. I couldn't run my business with my first impression with my customer being that they thought I never sent them a contract/invoice. I felt like it made it look like my shit wasn't together or that I forgot about them. When, in reality, I was thinking they received everything and just maybe didn't get to my email just yet.
I decided that I couldn't continue to let my customer experience suffer just because I invested in a lifetime membership. I think I was so floored by the demo of this system, since it was the first one that I had ever seen from start to finish, and I was so scared to commit to "another" monthly fee.
I decided to suck up my pride and to make a change to better my customer experience. The experience my customers have working with me is an absolute, #1 priority in my business. My goal when choosing a client management system was to make sure everything was super easy for my customers. I wanted to make sure they could easily review their contract, make their invoice payment, and review forms that I send them through our experience working together.
No more taking 30 minutes to build out a simple contract. No more being bummed WHEN I GOT A NEW CUSTOMER just because I had to put together that damn contract. And no more emails from my clients asking where their contact/invoice disappeared to.
Most of all, I wanted this system to have an incredible team behind it. A team that listened to their customers, implemented features important to their customers, and quickly resolved any bugs or glitches in the system. I would have loved for that team to have started from a dream from one or two people. One that they optimized the talents from one another, and their love for happy customers, to design a client management system that was for creatives, by creatives.
I couldn't tell you how many client management systems I tried. Some for a few days, some through their trials, some even just for a few minutes before I knew the user-experience wouldn't be something I (or my customers) loved. I was beginning to feel afraid that this system just didn't exist. I was feeling defeated, like maybe something was wrong with my services or client experience that it just didn't fit.... anywhere.
Then, one sweet day, I found one. The one that EVERYONE was bragging about. It was simple to use, but full of amazing features. It was secure and mobile-friendly. It was customizable, but also provided me with a starting point for everything. It was AWESOME from the client side, as it was very easy for them to navigate. And... it was started by two wonderful (and married!) creatives, Becca and Jake Berg.
I want to introduce you all to Dubsado!
There are SO MANY REASONS to be in love with this system. I'm going to give you five that I'm absolutely in love with because I'm using them in my current state of business. I guarantee you, depending your business, other creatives may have other "top five" features because there is SO FREAKIN' MUCH TO LOVE. Let's get to it!
- Lead Capture Form - What does lead capture mean? It means that if there is someone who is interested in working with you and they fill out a form, that is the "capture" and they are the "lead." It means you're getting their information pulled in to you by them filling out "this" form.
How I Use This Feature - I have my lead capture form right on my "Get In Touch" page! Once my customer completes this form, I'm notified via email from Dubsado that I have a new lead. From there, I can view the lead capture information right in Dubsado (or my email!), and reach out for more info!
- Canned Emails - Now, this may not seem like a huge deal, but HOLY TIME SAVER. Think about how many emails you may send out on a weekly business. Introducing yourself to your client, sending a contract, sending an invoice, sending process information, sending proofs to clients, etc.
How I Use This Feature - Even though I have canned emails, I still personalize each and every one of them. But, the nuts and bolts are all there. It helps me to get things started, make sure EVERYTHING is addressed, and I fill in the fun details to make sure it's customized to my customers' needs. I have canned emails for invoices, contracts, website proofs, questionnaires, and content requests. SUCH a time saver.
- Bookkeeping- This feature absolutely SOLD ME on Dubsado. I hate everything about bookkeeping. It scared me, it intimidated me, and I just wanted nothing to do with it. However, the charts they provide and way to log expenses is incredible.
How I Use This Feature - While Dubsado is only in phase one of bookkeeping, it's absolutely enough to make me understand what parts of my business are bringing in the most income, most often, and where I should focus my marketing efforts. Logging expenses is also SO easy to do. Seeing everything all together in the reporting/charting area of Dubsado sets my little non-math-mind at ease.
- Calendar - Dubsado allows you to input start and end dates for your clients in each and every job. Not only do they do this and bring it into a BEAUTIFUL calendar, they also let you bring in your own calendar to the system! Very easy to keep track of everything going on in your business, from client appointments, to project start dates, and even time off!
How I Use This Feature - I have each of my jobs added in with a start date but NO end date. The reason being is that, as much as I like to make sure my clients follow a time frame for our project, sometimes things go slower or quicker for various reasons. I don't want that ENTIRE time frame logged on the calendar. I simply have a start date, an end date when the work is completed, and any client meetings come in from my Google calendar. Also, one of their new features coming in the next few months will be for clients to be able to book meetings with you! Pretty cool, right!?
- Custom Forms - From contracts, to sub-agreements, to questionnaires and proposals, Dubsado has you covered. There are tons of creative business owners using these form types in incredible ways, too! I've seen calligraphers and brand designers sending proofs for sign off to clients with a sub-agreement and it's GORGEOUS. You can also have multiple types of each of these form types, too!
How I Use This Feature - I have contracts for each and every one of my clients. No matter what the work is being done, I make sure the scope of it all is signed off my both myself and my client. VERY easy to do in Dubsado! I also send questionnaires to each of my web design clients to make sure to get as much information from them up front as possible!
As you can see, there are TONS of features that can be helpful for any business owner. And, the Dubsado Team is constantly adding new features for their clients. I'm so excited to see what's to come (hello, Trello-like to-do boards and an online scheduling system!)
To find out more information about Dubsado, here's their pricing and feature guide! Remember, you can sign up for an unlimited time trial for up to three clients to test things out! Pssst, use coupon code of homesweethyatt for 20% off!
Becca, Jake, and Dubsado Team - THANK YOU for making my life as a business owner SO much easier for not just me, but for my clients. I'm so grateful that you all continue to work hard and provide so many wonderful features to better our workflows and client experiences!