How VA Dana S. Used HoneyBook to Provide a Seamless Client Experience That 6X Her Conversion Rate

Learn how Virtual Assistant and HoneyBook Pro Dana Sacco uses HoneyBook Automations to provide a seamless client experience. With more automation, she can turn inquiries into clients, get paid and onboard clients faster for three different businesses.

How VA Dana S. Used HoneyBook to Provide a Seamless Client Experience That 6X Her Conversion Rate

Success by the Numbers

Using HoneyBook Automations and a variety of branded templates, Dana was able to move clients forward faster in their journey to increase conversion and revenue. Learn more about Dana’s situation and the solution that provided a seamless client experience.

Conversions

6x

Converted six times as many inquiries to clients.

Revenue

2x

Doubled monthly active clients and revenue.

The Situation: Managing Multiple Businesses

Dana Sacco of i2iHype is a Virtual Business Manager and Systems Setup Specialist who helps small business owners with bookkeeping, general admin and business systems. She has a separate website for each line of business, including beachfrontbookkeeper.com (for bookkeeping), techsavvyva.com (for general admin) and i2ihype.com (her main business of streamlining systems and setting up workflows).

The Challenge: Using One System to Manage Multiple Client Flows

As a systems and workflows expert, Dana knew she needed a better workflow for her own business to help her manage client communication—and actually get paid. 

“I had been using another client management system, but the complexity made it difficult to customize the experience for each client. There were also glitches in the payment system so people couldn’t pay. My customers were frustrated, and that experience reflected poorly on me,” Dana says. “I spent over a week going back and forth with their tech support team, and in the end, wasted more time because I had to go into another system, like QuickBooks, to send another invoice.”

The Solution: HoneyBook Automations Improve the Full Client Experience

“HoneyBook popped up for a free trial, so I set it up and created invoices,” Dana says. “I sent them out, they got paid and it was done.”

But aside from how easy HoneyBook made getting paid, Dana says joining was a “huge wakeup call.” HoneyBook’s client experience for payment was so smooth, she immediately moved all of her business processes over. 

“Everything flows,” she says. “Client communication and projects go from one thing to the next to the next without a hiccup. No one has had an issue. And I get paid fast.”

Dana’s client flows are set up through HoneyBook Automations, which lets you send out emails, brochures and questionnaires in any series of steps. Your automated workflow will use templates you’ve already set up in your HoneyBook account, and you can edit your email language for each step.

Everything flows. Client communication and projects go from one thing to the next to the next without a hiccup. And I get paid fast.

How Dana Uses HoneyBook Automations

Dana has three HoneyBook Automations, all under one HoneyBook account, set up for three different websites.

For My Bookkeeping & General Admin Businesses

I use this automated workflow for clients who are interested in bookkeeping and general admin services, which are billed hourly.

1. From either website, inquiries fill out the HoneyBook Contact Form.

client experience seamless

2. When they submit the form, the system automatically sends them an email with my brochure where they can select the services they’re interested in. It also includes a link to an online meeting scheduler where they can schedule a call with me if they want to discuss which service would be best.

seamless experience for client

3. For my general admin services, I also include a questionnaire in the brochure. (Because general admin can include a wide range of services, I need to know what they’re looking for, and the questionnaire helps me customize their package.)

4. Once I talk with the client, I create and send a Proposal using HoneyBook’s proposal software.

seamless client experiences

5. They click, sign, pay and DONE!

6. After the online invoices are paid, I set it up so that HoneyBook automatically starts sending another sequence to start the onboarding process. 

The first onboarding email includes a questionnaire to fill out or instructions of next steps based on the service they paid for.

seamless client experience

For My Systems Set-Up Business

I use this HoneyBook Automation for clients who are interested in my systems set-up intensives, which can be scheduled for either a half- or full-day.

1. From the website, inquiries select the date for their half- or full-day service using the HoneyBook Scheduling link on the website.

client experience seamless

2. Once they’ve booked their date and service type (half- or full-day), I send a HoneyBook Proposal that includes their invoice and contract. 

3. They click, sign, pay and DONE! 

4. After the Invoice is paid, the same on-boarding process I use in my other businesses starts. The first onboarding email includes a questionnaire to fill out or instructions of next steps based on the service they paid for.

clients experience seamless

Results

“HoneyBook helps me provide a smoother client experience because the client has the information they need and knows where to go and what to do next,” Dana says. “It saves me time because I don’t have to wait, going from one step to the next. And my clients like it because it keeps things moving!”

HoneyBook helps me provide a smoother client experience because the client has the information they need and knows where to go and what to do next.

With HoneyBook, Dana was able to provide a high-touch and seamless client experience in less time, allowing her to take on more clients. And because it was easier for clients to understand what to do next, she also converted more inquiries into booked business.

“Simplicity speaks volumes,” she said. “Clients don’t see a whole bunch of technical stuff that keeps them from taking that next step.”

6x

Converted six times as many inquiries to clients

2x

Doubled monthly active clients & revenue

How to Use HoneyBook Automations Like Dana

Curious how you can use automations to double your revenue too? To get started, first consider your client journey. When leads inquire, do you send out a thank you email and go back and forth about scheduling? Do you have multiple meetings to ask your intake questions? All of this and more can be automated with a series of steps. 

Don’t worry about giving up control – you’ll still have plenty. Inside HoneyBook Automations, you can preview each step before applying the automation to a project. You can also be very specific about when your automation kicks off, even choosing to approve each step before it happens so you get an extra level of oversight. We know all projects are different, so you’ll always be able to adjust your automation as well, even once it’s live.

Get Ready to Simplify & Scale

HoneyBook takes the heavy lifting out of running—and growing—a service-based business off your plate. From managing inquiries to helping you get paid to streamlining your projects, HoneyBook can be customized to fit your process, whether you’re a VA like Dana, a business coach, an interior designer or a graphic designer, just to name a few.

This post was updated in August 2021 when the HoneyBook Workflow tool was renamed to Automations. The HoneyBook Automations tool maintains the same functionality with the ability to automate communications, tasks and more. For more information about the Automations update, check our August 2021 Release Notes.

Why is HoneyBook the Best CRM for Freelancers

As a freelancer myself, I’ve met very few people who started their adult life in freelancing. Most of us just sort of “fell” into it while working other jobs. We became enamored with the freedom to organize our own schedules, set our own rates, and to essentially be our own boss. Unfortunately, that often means getting a crash course in business management, which far too often looks like a scattered mess even years after we’ve been in the game. Everything from contract development to invoicing gets tricky when you’re starting your freelance career. You can bring chaos to order much faster by using HoneyBook, the best CRM for freelancers.

Why is HoneyBook the Best CRM for Freelancers

What is CRM for freelancers?

The term “CRM” stands for “customer relationship management”. There are two ways of thinking about CRM, one of which is personal, the other technical.

The personal side of CRM

The human aspect of CRM is primarily focused on the “customer relationship” portion of the term. As a freelancer, you don’t just work for people; you’re a single-person business offering professional services. There are more of us than ever, so it’s important to think of yourself as a business, even if you don’t incorporate or form an LLC. 

The people you work for are your clients (or customers, depending on the terminology of your specific niche). Those relationships you build with them can help ensure continuity of work and importantly, help you build a high-quality network of referrals.

Maintaining positive client/customer relationships requires many actions on your part, which can include ensuring efficient and regular communication through the life of a project, meeting expected deadlines, and delivering a product or service that exceeds expectations.

The technical side: CRM software for freelancers

When you do a Google search for CRM, what you’ll mostly encounter are products or services for customer relationship management technology. CRM technology refers to software or services that help you maintain all of the documents and data that keep your client relationships flowing smoothly. 

Your experience with CRM services will vary. Some are designed for enterprise businesses, with a cost and a complexity to match. Others provide minimal CRM services, such as invoicing or task management, but little else. 

For more effective client management, the best CRM for freelancers is an all-in-one tool designed for small business owners (like you) with pricing that’s also made for a small business budget. 

A fully-functional CRM for freelancers should help you:

  • Create and send freelance contracts and proposals
  • Organize your schedule
  • Track your time spent on projects
  • Send invoice
  • Track invoice payments
  • Record and track incoming and outgoing payments
  • Expand your inbound marketing
  • Get critical client feedback
  • Build a network for referrals

That list is not exhaustive. Every freelancing niche has particular needs, and your individual freelancing business may have customer relationship management issues that are unique to you. Yet the most effective way to start and manage a freelancing business is to do so with an all-in-one tool that can take care of the vast majority of the day-to-day issues you’ll encounter.

Related: The Best CRM for One-Person Business

HoneyBook is the best CRM for Freelancers

best crm for freelancers

Freelancing isn’t a small market anymore. Over 57 million people in the US now work as freelancers, with many freelancing full-time. And in today’s environment, most of us also work remotely.

According to Andrew McNeal, an entrepreneur and angel investor writing for Entrepreneur.com, the top five challenges for remote freelance work includes:

  1. Self-promotion
  2. Loneliness
  3. Task and calendar management
  4. Scope creep
  5. Chasing clients for payment

With the exception of loneliness, these are issues that almost any freelancer will deal with at some point, remote or not. They’re common problems with freelancing that HoneyBook CRM was designed to solve.

While HoneyBook can’t give you face-to-face human interaction you desperately need, it does offer a thriving online community of like-minded freelancers and independent business owners. The Rising Tide Society is the perfect place to engage with other freelancers in a communal and friendly environment, with networking and learning opportunities, with individual chapters in cities around the world. HoneyBook also has an active Facebook page for independents and creatives to share ideas and best practices, or to engage with the HoneyBook team.

HoneyBook’s all-in-one CRM also offers multiple features that make self-promotion easier and less stressful; helps you track your time and organize your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule; provides in-depth contract templates to minimize the risk of scope creep; and provides easy invoicing with payment reminders and payment tracking so you’ll never again have to play the invoice guessing game.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most critical features baked into HoneyBook that you’ll find solve many of your freelancing business management issues. 

Detailed contracts and proposals

using proposals in the best crm for freelancers

Scope creep. We all hate it as freelancers because it completely destroys the value of our time. This is a problem more commonly associated with a lack of a detailed freelance contract. You can minimize the risk of this problem by using HoneyBook’s contract tool. 

Start with one of the online contract templates, or create your own. Fill it in with the scope of the project, then send it to your client to get a quick and easy digital signature (no complicated Adobe e-signing needed). Once your contract is all set up and signed with your client, you can point to the signed contract should scope creep occur. You may even want to add a section to your contract referring to scope creep, and what should happen if scope creep occurs.

HoneyBook’s proposals are also an excellent way to continue working with previous clients. If you have a project idea, just use HoneyBook’s 3-in-1 proposal software which allow you to send a project proposal, the contract, and the invoice all at once. 

Automated workflow

the best crm for freelancers includes automations

The proposal and contract features work best when you combine them into one project and take advantage of HoneyBook’s Automations. 

Workflow automation works like this:

  1. A client sends an inquiry, such as through the contact form on your website
  2. Your automated workflow responds with a preset message and a questionnaire to help you get more details on the project
  3. You create and send the proposal or contract, or use one you’ve created previously for similar projects
  4. Everyone signs and the contract starts
  5. At the end of the contract, send an invoice with automated payment reminders

Automations reduce the time you spend creating documents and sending emails, giving you back more time to be productive on projects waiting for your attention. 

Task management

I don’t want to admit how long I tracked my daily tasks in a poorly formatted Excel sheet. Long story short, I couldn’t properly track how much time I sent on different tasks, wasn’t sure how much each project ultimately cost me in terms of time, and ended up with more ballpark figures than solid data.

HoneyBook offers an easy out for you on that end with a few tools that solve the badly-designed-Excel-sheet-task-management problem. 

First, there’s the task manager. This tool lets you create new tasks, choose a due date, and select a project. The tasks automatically shift to your calendar. If you’re like me, you can use the task manager to schedule your week in advance. You can also use it to schedule projects weeks or months ahead, or just to get your day organized while you sip your morning coffee.

Next, there’s the time tracker. This tool lets you calculate your hours x rate to get the total value of your time. You can select a date, choose a project, and mark whether the clocked time is or isn’t billable hours. All of this is trackable, making it easier to invoice correctly.

Both features integrate with HoneyBook’s calendar. You can also integrate your Google Calendar with HoneyBook, which will include any shared calendars that you have access to. Your calendar will mark your booked projects, meetings, payments, and tentative projects. 

In-demand freelancers may also want to consider integrating HoneyBook with a Calendly calendar to help automate the process of updating the calendar with inbound meeting and scheduling requests.

Professional Invoicing and Payment Tracking

best crm for freelancers payment reminders

With invoicing, you can either do it the hard way or the easy way. The hard way is creating and sending PDFs, then bugging your clients every few days when they haven’t paid. The easy way is using HoneyBook’s invoicing tool that lets you create professional invoices with automated payment reminders and payment tracking. 

HoneyBook also reduces the complication for clients trying to figure out how to pay the invoices for your freelance contract. HoneyBook invoicing accepts online payments using online payment software from all four major credit card companies (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover), or through direct bank transfers. Get paid quickly with HoneyBook invoicing and let HoneyBook’s automated tools do the payment chasing for you. 

Mobile app

freelancer iphone app

Freelancing in the 21st century almost means being infinitely tied to your mobile device at all times. You can manage all of your HoneyBook CRM tools through the HoneyBook app (available for iOS and Android) or through HoneyBook’s mobile-friendly website. You won’t have to worry about rushing back home to your computer to respond to a proposal or send a contract; just load the app or mobile site and keep the process going anywhere, anytime.

Get Organized and Beat the Competition

Freelancing is a tough business to be in these days. Competition can be fierce, but clients are more likely to come back and recommend you to others if your business has better relationship management. HoneyBook provides the best software for freelancers to get organized, get paid faster, and grow their brand.

Ready to get organized? Try HoneyBook risk-free for 7-days (no credit card required).  

This post was updated in August 2021 when the HoneyBook Workflow tool was renamed to Automations. The HoneyBook Automations tool maintains the same functionality with the ability to automate communications, tasks and more. For more information about the Automations update, check our August 2021 Release Notes.

From 4 Tools to All-In-One: How Jess Used HoneyBook to Organize Her Web & Graphic Design Business

Goodbye cobbled-together client system, hello all-in-one business management.

organize graphic design business

The situation

Jess of Blue+Pine Creative, Inc. is a graphic, print and website designer who was using a cobbled-together solution for emails, invoices, timelines, contracts, artwork proofing, and more.

“I found it difficult to keep track of everything well. That’s when I went looking for a CRM that could do it all,” Jess says. “I am a very organized person, but even with impeccable organization, I still had trouble finding all the elements that go into a design 100% of the time.”

The challenge

Jess was looking for an all-in-one solution to replace the many tools she was using, including:

  • Gmail for client communication 
  • QuickBooks for invoicing
  • Google Docs for contracts and timelines
  • Google Sheets for project organization and subscribers

The solution

“HoneyBook fit 85% of my needs when I started with them, and over the years they have exceeded expectations by listening to their clients to create a superior product,” Jess says. In fact, HoneyBook helped her ditch four of the tools she was using to simplify her client experience.

With HoneyBook, Jess uses:

Project workspaces instead of Gmail

“When a client first inquires about my services I immediately add them into my HoneyBook pipeline. They are given a project workspace where all of our future communications, files, contracts, invoices and more are housed. This makes it easy for both my team and our clients to easily track where we are in the project, next steps, and ensure smooth completion,” Jess says.

“I love that all email communication is stored within the project space. This has been a lifesaver for moments when there have been disputes. It is nice to scroll back through the activity log to see if clients have read emails, opened contracts, invoices, proposals, etc… On more than one occasion I have been able to gently redirect a client to a resolve by pointing out what happened when. It keeps us all accountable and moving forward. As such, I have had less conflicts and my clients are happier and stick around for years!”

HoneyBook invoices and contracts instead of QuickBooks & Google Docs

“Contracts and invoices are not my favorite part of my business, but they are so very important. Before HoneyBook, I would send a PDF contract to a client to physically sign and it would take a long time, if ever, to get the signed copy back. Especially for clients that I worked with remotely. With HoneyBook, contracts are signed digitally the day the deposits are paid. It really couldn’t be simpler,” Jess says.

She uses HoneyBook contracts to easily secure artwork approval as well. “When it is time to proof a design, I can easily upload images for my clients to see, send edits on and, when ready, sign a contract for artwork approval. This has saved me hundreds of dollars when typos are missed or mistakes were made by a client.”

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Just like contracts, HoneyBook invoices help Jess save time and money. “The invoices are beautiful! They look nice and work even better. I enjoy that payment reminders are sent automatically. This has saved me at least 3 hours each month, and missed or delayed payments are rare. My income has stabilized and I know it is a direct result of an organized invoicing system.”

And the fact that she no longer has to use QuickBooks is a major plus. “My current accountant uses the desktop Quickbooks, and not QuickBooks Online. So I use the downloadable CSV files in my HoneyBook reports to get my accountant the info she needs. It has been working beautifully! I no longer have to use QuickBooks… a program made for accountants not creatives! (I hate it…but HoneyBook makes accounting so much easier for me).”

[HoneyBook invoices] saved me at least 3 hours each month, and missed or delayed payments are rare. My income has stabilized and I know it is a direct result of an organized invoicing system.

HoneyBook pipeline instead of Google Sheets

HoneyBook gives Jess a bird’s eye view of her business at any point in time. 

“I love that with one look at my pipeline I can see how many clients are in each area. I can see who needs to be followed up with, who I am currently designing for, who I am awaiting edits from and who has paid or completed their projects. This saves me several hours a week and makes working from home or anywhere so easy. I have been able to ditch spreadsheets and checklists strewn between my office and home,” Jess says.

Getting Next-Level Organized

HoneyBook helped Jess ditch her cobbled-together system, cutting down on all the tools she needed to manage her business. It helps her stay more organized; save time and money; and improve other parts of her business, too. Here’s how Jess optimized her business even more with the following features:

Client portal to save stress at tax time

Having her invoicing all in one place not only helped Jess get organized, but it also helps her clients, too. 

“I work with several organizations and non-profits. At the end of the year they require a report of all payments made to my business. In the past I would need to find all of their past invoices, download them, compile them and send to the client at tax time. With HoneyBook, I simply send them a client portal log-in and educate them on how to find all their projects and invoices in their project space. It has saved me several hours per client each year! I LOVE IT and so do they.”

Questionnaires to manage design edits and requests

“I have found the questionnaire feature incredibly helpful with design edits or requests. I can ask follow-up questions and gather input easily! This has been better than the follow-up email I used to send, as it forces the client to answer all the questions. Previously, questions or content would be missed which slowed down work times.”

Time tracker to better price services

“I’ve been using the time tracker on projects to keep an honest record of actual time spent on every project. This is often not shared with my clients, but used internally to be sure we are pricing our work correctly. I have been able to lower the price on some items allowing us to be competitive and have been able to justify higher prices on other services due to their time intensiveness, with hard data to support the price.”

Scheduling tool to cut out the back-and-forth

“I have saved at least 30 minutes each time I need to schedule a meeting. I am working to add these links into my automated emails, too. Already I am getting more booked meetings which convert to booked clients! I LOVE IT!”

HoneyBook Extend (Chrome Extension) to add email inquiries

“HoneyBook added the Chrome extension that makes my Gmail and HoneyBook work together seamlessly. If a client contacts me through email I can connect their email to an existing project space or create a new one right from my inbox. Believe me when I say it’s a game changer!”

Results

Jess’ organization skills are amplified with HoneyBook. She says, “I no longer lose important project files, invoices, contracts or timelines. Projects are completed quicker; we enjoy less ‘please resend that item because it is lost in the mail’ emails; and we spend more time actually working on the project.”

Thanks, Jess! 

Get ready to simplify & scale

HoneyBook takes the heavy lifting out of running—and growing—a services-based business off your plate. From managing inquiries to helping you get paid to streamlining your projects, HoneyBook can be customized to fit your process, whether you’re a web and graphic designer like Jess, a business coach, an interior designer or a doula, just to name a few.

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