I’ve talked a little bit about how when I started my business I wasn’t organized. Like, at all. I didn’t organize my files other than into a folder for each individual client, and I didn’t have much of an idea of what I was doing (like, I didn’t use contracts my first year in business, I did all work via email, and I had no idea the benefit of creating a system for work). Like most people, I learned as I went, and I would still be learning if it weren’t for some really awesome freelancing bloggers who’ve shared their process online and the Stress Less and Impress ecourse.
It was January of this year when I really started trying to take better control of the business since I knew that I was going to pursue it full time after I graduated. I started using contracts, keeping better track of income and expenses, and even started organizing things a little differently. It was making a little bit of a difference, but there wasn’t a huge change, until I signed up for Leah’s SLI course in April. That’s when things started changing. In fact, it’s been five months since going through the course, and I still go back to review the material to see how I can have the best streamlined process for me. Here are a few main parts in my process:
Hire Me Form
I had never thought about having one of these until taking the course. It’s a much easier way for people to get in touch when they want to work with you. So, instead of having someone email saying they want to work with you, they’d fill out a form that would mention what they need, their budget, timeline, and aesthetic they like, all things that can be a major factor on if you’ll work with someone. I don’t have all clients fill these out, but most of them do.
Contracts + Invoices
This is a no brainer. As soon as I’ve worked out the project quote with someone and established a date when we’ll start, I send them a contract and invoice. I still create contracts manually, but I send them all electronically to my client. I used to create pretty invoices in Illustrator and send them over, but that can get time consuming. Now I send a simple invoice via PayPal. It’s much faster and easier than creating them manually.
Ninety percent of my clients are set up in my project management software. I use Basecamp for this, and it’s much, much better than doing everything through email. I have templates for all of the projects I do, so I can easily go in add a new project and invite the client to join. The only time I don’t use this with clients is if the project is fairly small or will be done quickly.
Only recently have I streamlined the end of my projects. All clients get a few things: a check in email and a nice handwritten note straight from me. Clients who get new branding as part of their package also receive a really simple brand package. It’s a digital folder with all of their logo files, the brand board, and even fonts. I started sending these additional files to help them stay on brand without having to hire someone to help and they obviously need their logo files.
So, those are just the most important parts. Obviously things are tweaked a little bit depending on the project, and I also adjust as I go. However, this is a much more streamlined process than I had before, which has honestly helped me grow my business as quickly as I have.
Streamlining your business, getting to the point and making sure you have a simple, easy to follow system can change your business in the blink of an eye. It allows for better organization, which makes the client experience better. It allows you to save so much time since you already know what you need to do next, which gives you time to take on more projects or work on your own things (like growing your social media or relaunching your blog).
If you’re ready to stop feeling lost in your business and literally stressed every time you take on a new client, I’m really encouraging you to check out Stress Less and Impress. Leah is currently offering the course for $123, only until July 24th, though. Then, it’ll go back up to $247. Don’t miss your chance to save yourself some stress and time for a very affordable price.
Note: This post does contain affiliate links. I took the Stress Less and Impress course in Leah’s first run, and I truly believe that it’s beneficial for all business owners. As you know, I only promote things that I really believe in around here, and I’m a firm believer that this course can and will change your business for the better.