As part of my word ‘grow’ this year, I have been intentional around investing in different areas of this small business to help The Paper Gazelle grow.
Being a mum that juggle days with my son and days working each week, time is something that I never seem to have enough of. From balancing mum life, admin, website orders, social media and new projects to grow the business, I knew I needed a better system to manage and streamline my processes.
I played around with a few different options but after only 2 weeks of a free trial with Dubsado, I signed up for their annual subscription in March. Although I am not a guru after only a few short months, it has drastically changed the game for the Calligraphy and Wedding Service part of my business. I now use Dubsado for website enquiries, sending quotes, booking clients with contracts, timelines, payments, time tracking AND send all of my design drafts and print proofs for approval! Yup, it pretty much does it all.
What I also love is the flexibility to design your own templates with colours and fonts to reflect your business. Branding and aesthetics are imperative for our creative business and we have been able to create professional, beautiful and easy to use templates.
First thing you need to do know about Dubsado is that it will take quite a bit of time to set up before you are able to see the benefits. I’m telling you because as a very impatient person, I did not know this and was not prepared for it. Don’t let it discourage you though, because once everything is set-up, it is truly amazing! By giving our clients a professional first impression at enquiry to an easy to use booking process, Dubsado has already increased our service bookings and we are excited to explore it even more.
To sign up to Dubsado with 20% off click the button below...
Want to know how I currently use it to suit my Calligraphy and Design business? Let me walk you through the key steps below.
Keep all your client information from the get go in one place
Whilst some users of Dubsado prefer to converse via their email system before bringing them over to Dubsado for the client booking process, I have embedded enquiry forms into my website so that it comes directly into Dubsado to start the conversation.
This allows me to keep everything in one place from the very beginning so that I do not miss any details that we may chat about during the enquiry process.
To embed your form, you need to first create enquiry forms in Dubsado under ‘Lead Capture’. Automatically generate an unique html code and add this into your website page. You can generate as many different forms as you like for each service or area of your business. In my case, I have a separate enquiry form for wedding signage and stationery, workshops, general enquiry and jacket painting.
Allow your clients to pick and choose from one single quote
For 90% of email enquiries for services where our pricing and packages are set, I can now send proposals quickly to clients in a way that allows them to make live selections based on their budgets and needs. There is also important information included in these proposals on our booking process, deposits and next steps if they decide to book with us. This gives your client the ease of choosing what is important to them and the clarity of your processes without any back and forth which can sometimes be confusing and frustrating for the client.
Before efficiently generating proposals, you will need to ensure your back end is set up first. Add in your products, pricing and/or packages under ‘Packages’ and then design and build your ‘Proposal’ to suit each service you are providing. Don’t forget to add in any related add ons - we have been able to increase sales just by letting our clients know that these are available! All Dubsado forms are completely customisable as you build it from scratch, however if you do need a helping hand, there is a template library to get your started.
Send all booking information to your client in under 5 minutes
Once your client has confirmed what they would like to go ahead with, I generate an all-in-one booking link which includes an invoice, a contract and a questionnaire form to capture all the key details of the wedding day. Yup, one link within one email for all of that! This streamlines the process for both the client and myself to save so much time.
For the invoice function in Dubsado, there is the ability to create custom options such as a % deposit, fixed deposits, full payment or any variations. We can also accept credit/debit card payments directly from the invoice itself with the option to pay via bank transfer. Your invoice can be connected to your proposal so it is sent in one link or you can send the invoice individually if you have a different booking process.
One of my favourite features in Dubsado is the ability for the client to legally ‘sign’ in the contract directly. Prior to using Dubsado, we were sending contract PDFs that required our client to print, sign, scan and send back to us. Although none of our clients ever complained about this, in our view, it was a dated and unprofessional process. There is also a Subcontracts form which functions the same way as contracts. However, instead of only being able to link ONE contract to each project, you can add as many Subcontracts as you like. I use it for design timelines, mockup and print proofs that require final approval from the client. I also like to include a proofing checklist and signature field at the bottom so the client is able to legally sign off on everything before it is sent to the printers.
Build trust with a professional design process
The most versatile and used form for us in Dubsado is the ‘Questionnaires’ form. We use it as a questionnaire to gather details of the wedding day and to send a design questionnaire at the start of each project. I like to include a file uploader section so my clients can add in their pinterest or mood boards to show me their vision for the wedding.
I also use this form at each step of the design process for sending mockups and design revisions. I can save the templates for quick updates and add in questions at each section to help guide my clients on what they are happy with and any changes they would like to see. For longer forms that may require a bit more time to fill in, the client is able to save and come back to it later to complete it.
track your time so you can schedule your work week
I discovered this little gem ‘Timetracker’ under utilities recently and have loved using it ever since.
Whilst our services are not based on an hourly rate, I have just started to analyse my days and hours to see where my time is actually being spent. The basic time tracker in Dubsado allows me to start and end tracking with the click of a button and assign it to current projects. With my ‘formal’ working week of 20 day time hours shared with being a mum, it has been helpful to see where my time is being spent so I can better plan future bookings to ensure I am not under or over booking my weeks.
Lastly, Workflows is a powerful tool in Dubsado that I have not had the time to completely set up. It allows you to connect your processes up with triggers and automations for a task started or completed. I can see the benefit of using this feature as I am currently moving clients in between the enquiry, booking and design process manually. However, after having set all of the above up in Dubsado over the last few months, I have realised that I can save even more time if I can streamline areas of my business more. So…. with a bit more time to work on efficiencies in the background, I will then be able to bring these improvements into my workflow set up.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not sponsored by Dubsado. These are my own thoughts and experience on using Dubsado. I truly love it that much! However, the Dubsado links in this post help generate Dubsado credits for me, at no additional cost to you. Dubsado is absolutely free to trial, however if you do decide to sign up, use this link to save 20% off your first month or your first year!