This 1 Doc Saves Countless Business Hours
To all the fellow service-based business owners, I have something for you today which I know will drastically change your client process for the better and free yourself from hours upon hours of busywork.
I'm going to walk you through how to create what I call my Welcome PDF. This PDF is the equivalent of an introductory or welcome doc.
After the initial investment of time creating this document, it's going to work for you forever, saving you hours of time in the long term. I estimate this document will save me a full weeks worth of work this year, that's 40+ hours of my time freed!
Not to mention I can use this document year after year. Like a a perennial flower or Netflix subscription, it's a gift that keeps on giving.
Once you have this document and system in place, I can guarantee you will be able to get to the important items on your to do list. You'll no longer be tied up with back and forth emails, repeating the same instructions and introductions to each and every client as you onboard them.
When I first started my website design business I did a lot of things manually and individually for each client.
When a new client would book I would send them in-depth details about the timeline of our project, contract signing, how to make a Pinterest inspiration board, where to complete the Brand & Style Questionnaire, explain how to compile and label content in a Google Drive, give links to websites that had free stock photos for them to use if needed, etc. They were some hefty long emails to say the least and took absolutely forever to write.
Over time of completing this process for every client I began to notice that I was wasting hours repeating the same tasks just for different people. I knew I needed a way to streamline and simplify, taking myself out of the equation.
At first I began by writing out the instructions in a note on my computer and copying and pasting the relevant bits into an email to them. This was more effective, but still not a perfect process.
Additionally, I would get this email to them generally 1 day after they booked, so the initial booking excitement wasn't really there anymore. I wanted to capture the excitement of making a payment and getting ready to create a website. I wanted my clients to be able to begin on their site right then, even if the project wasn't going to actually start in the design process for a few weeks.
What The Document Includes
A clear breakdown of the steps to take after booking.
Details on signing a contact
How to make a Pinterest Inspiration board, as well as a link to an example board
What the Brand & Style Questionnaire is, along with a link to it
What content must be compiled, example types of content based on the purpose of the website (blog, business, e-commerce site, photographer, event-planner, sorority, etc), links to stock photography websites,and an explanation of the size images should be.
Tips on deciding for or against a coming soon page and what content should be provided to make one
Tips for a flawless design period
A detailed project timeline
How to submit each of the 5 'to do' items
Tips for each step to make them as simple as possible
Now, exactly what your document includes will differ based on your type of service-based business. A photographer might want to include tips on what to wear, how to prepare for a shoot, and when photos will be delivered after the shoot is completed.
If you're stuck thinking of what to include, just look over past emails to clients. What questions are they asking? What do you explain over and over again? THAT is what you include.
I also wanted my document to fit with my brand, so I have written it in a friendly, happy tone. Who wants to read some boring instruction manual upon booking? Keep the excitement alive by writing in bite-sized sections and breaking tasks down in a non-intimidating manner.
The Passive Solution Process
First, I created the document in Canva, though Adobe Illustrator is also a fantastic option for this type of project. If you want the free and non-tech-savvy option, create your document in Canva and just export as a PDF.
I'm a Squarespace website designed, so I of course use Squarespace as my website building and e-commerce platform! Squarespace has 3 options for their e-commerce items; physical items, digital downloads and services. While I am providing my clients the service of creating their website, my listings are actually set up as 'Digital Downloads'. Here's why.
A Digital Download listing in Squarespace auto sends the client said 'Digital Download' item with their email receipt confirmation.
That means I don't have to be by my computer to email this doc, I can be sleeping or on vacation and my clients are still getting lightening fast access to the introductory document they need.
Here's how to set up a Digital Download listing on Squarespace.
Inventory > Add Product > Digital > Pricing & Upload > Add A File > Save
Win - Win
From a clients perspective, they purchase their website design package on this site, then visit their inbox where the receipt and To Do After Booking PDF is awaiting them. They can immediately be informed on the exact timeline, begin making their Pinterest inspiration board, communicate their design and style preferences via the questionnaire and compile their photo and text content. The FAQ answers any questions they have, and how to submit everything is clear.
From my perspective, I created the document once and clients get a speedy reply with how to get started on their project when they book, regardless if I'm by my computer or not. I don't need to write instructions by email every time someone books, and I end up with more time to focus on other important areas of my business.
Win - win.