When I connect with other creatives, one of the first topics we seem to always talk about it is workflow. It’s one of those beasts that no matter the business focus, it perpetually manages to frustrate us (and our creativity, amirite?). I’ve spent years developing and refining my process, and it’s finally, FINALLY coming together, and I figured, there must be more aspiring photographers and freelance creatives out there who could use this info, so I’m going to start dropping tips and findings here in the hopes that it can help someone else down the road.
Today, I’m going to share the top 5 reasons why I use HoneyBook as my CRM tool of choice (CRM = Client Relationship Management). And if you decide they’re the right tool for you too, jump in with a free 7-day trial and use my referral code for 50% off your first year with them. Yes! 50% off!!
Ok, back to the details. I’ve been a faithful user since 2016, and it has made running my creative business so much better than when I first started. First a little overview, a CRM helps you craft a large part of your customer journey. It’s email, contracts, invoices, payments, proposals, and so much more. It essentially houses all the nitty-gritty paperwork and communication that keeps things straight between you and your client as well as keeps you on top of running your business with reports and time-saving workflows. I initially chose HoneyBook because I hated having everything scattered between so many programs and systems, but I’ve stayed with them because they have kept me organized and supported and as a creative business person, that is worth every penny. So why HoneyBook? Here are five reasons why I chose HoneyBook for client management.
1. Setup is Simple – Here are the basics you’ll need once you get started.
- Gather Assets – Organize photos, logos, etc., that you’ll want to represent your brand into one spot on your computer for easy upload. These will go in your image library that you’ll pull from as you build out your templates.
- Customer Flow – Do yourself a big favor and write out your ideal customer flow before you start. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Walk through each step you want a person to take (and how are you going to react to that step) from start to finish.
- Get Your Ducks In A Row Legally – HoneyBook comes with pre-existing contracts (alleluia) that you can edit, or you can add your own legal agreements. (pro tip, I worked out an excellent trade with a lawyer friend of mine to help get mine as sound as possible. I shot a family session for her, and she wrote some contract templates for me)
- Get in Touch – If you have a website already, you can embed an intake contact form directly through Honeybook which instantly sets up a project for you (hello massive time saver) – think about what you’d like your clients to send through when they send an inquiry.
- Write Your Copy – Spend a little time writing out copy that you’ll use for your brochures, proposals, and emails. You’ll be creating templates for each that will help streamline and speed up your process immensely.
- Connect Your Accounts – HoneyBook can handle client payments and even connect to Quickbooks. If you’re feeling extra organized, you can connect to Google, Calendly, and Zapier for even more functionality.
2.Stay on Track – HoneyBook is there to support you, and you really feel that kick in when you start to get overwhelmed with a lot of projects. Here are just a few of the ways I lean on this project management system to keep me organized.
- There’s a convenient feature in your dashboard that allows you to track the phases of your projects. Just like the templates, you’re also able to customize it for your needs. For example, as a photographer, I frequently outsource my post-production, so I have added project milestones to prep my images for the editing process.
- There’s automation that can help you keep on top of essential steps like immediate email replies to new inquiries from your contact form and auto payment reminders when an invoice is overdue.
3.Excellent Customer Support
I can’t say enough good things about the customer service I’ve received from HoneyBook. From the moment I signed up, through the last couple of years I’ve worked to build out my business, all the way to now, they have been on top of my every question and have built out a robust FAQ and support platform to help answer additional issues. No problems were left unresolved.
4.Frequent Product Updates
Sometimes products present new features that you have no need for or they make a significant change without giving you any awareness ahead of time and then you’re left scrambling trying to figure out how things work. HoneyBook not only prepares you for big updates they have coming down the pipeline but they also frequently want you to share your thoughts about what you need, what’s working, and what’s not. From the outset, I’ve found this to be the most incredible thing about this company. They evolve as you do and encourage you to be a part of the process.
5.It’s a Supportive Community
HoneyBook may have started as a tool to support small creative business entrepreneurs, but it has grown into something more significant. Through the platform, you can actually network and learn about paid gigs and collaboration opportunities in your area, which is amazing. HoneyBook also sparked a community called the Rising Tide Society and together they’re making the experience of being a solopreneur a little less lonesome and daunting through education, inspiration, and real-life in-person meetups at Tuesdays Together. As a member of my local chapter here in Seattle, I can attest to how helpful it is to connect with other people in the same boat as you are trying to make it work. Plus, they select monthly topics and create accompanying downloadable guides to help you navigate essential tools and concepts. In the past three months alone, they tackled SEO, Pinterest for Business, and Client Relationships, just to give you a sampling.
Pretty great, right? Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be right now without it. Probably knee-deep in a Word doc trying to rewrite a contract for the thousandth time. No thank you. Are there other options out there? Of course. And you have to look around to research what you think will work best for you. But let’s review, at the end of the day, this is a product that you will be using all the time, and it needs to work for you so make that choice with all the information that you can. If you’re just getting started as a freelance creative, I highly encourage you to get started with a CRM tool like HoneyBook. I’m talking to you wedding planners, photographers, designers, crafters, illustrators, food critics, style bloggers, wellness gurus, innovators, side-hustlers, and dreamers. It’s game-changing and will help you in so many unexpected ways. Again, if you want to check out HoneyBook for a free 7-day trial and get 50% off your first year, you can get it through my referral code. Get organized so you can spend more time being creative. The world needs more of your brand of awesome. Until next time! See ya friends.