How Streamlining Your Operations Will Increase Your Revenue

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When I work with business owners on getting their systems and operations streamlined and more efficient, the most common question I get is “How will this impact my revenue?”

Most of us hear “Systems” and think of something insanely boring and irrelevant to the creative work that we’re doing. After all, we created our own business so that we could be as creative as we wanted, right?

But at the end of the day, when you have systems your business runs smoother, you’re less stressed, you can get more done, and that all means that you are able to earn more money with less effort.

Here’s the simple equation I like to use (specifically for service-based businesses):

Efficient systems = happier clients/customers = more referrals = more $$$$$ in your bank account.

When you have efficient systems, especially when you work with clients, your clients and customers are happier. They have a better experience with you, they get better results, and they’re excited to work with you.

When your clients have a better experience with you, they’ll be more likely to refer you to their friends.

When you get more referrals, your revenue increases exponentially.

Then those two referrals send five people each to you. Those five people have amazing experiences and send ten people each to you. Those ten people have amazing experiences and send twenty people each to you. (Do you see the pattern yet?)

As you continue to deliver a WOW-worthy experience through the systems you’ve set up, you’ll continue to increase how many clients you’re getting, working with, and wowing. You’re exponentially increasing your referral marketing, which means your income is skyrocketing.

But if you didn’t have systems set up? 

You’d deliver a lackluster service.

Your clients would complain about you to their friends.

Those friends will look for someone else without ever having considered you.

You’ll hit an income ceiling and wonder why you can’t bust through it.

You’ll come up with another service.

You’ll book a couple clients, but it won’t be efficient.

And then the cycle just repeats again.

So when you take the time to really think through your systems, to put them in place and make sure that every little thing is accounted for you’ll be able to skyrocket your reputation, your income, and your client experience.

5 Ways Trying to Do It All Yourself Is Losing You Money

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When you’re in the first few years of your business, it’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of doing it all yourself. After all, it feels like a Catch-22: you need team members to do the day-to-day work so that you can earn more money, but you need more money to hire the team members you need.

So you keep trying to do it all yourself, figuring that this is the best that things are going to be until you magically increase your revenue.

But what you might not realize is that trying to do it all yourself is actually losing you money every. single. day. 

If you’re not sure how, here are five ways that trying to do it all yourself is losing you money:

Working outside of your zone of genius

When you work outside of your zone of genius and try to do #allthethings, it means that you aren’t being efficient with your time. And that means that you aren’t spending the majority of your time on revenue-generating tasks.

One thing that’s stuck with me from working with a network marketing company is the conscious choice to do your IPA’s first -- put your Income Producing Activities first on your to-do list every day.

But as small business owners, we generally put the least income producing activities first. We prioritize perfecting our branding, trying to be on every social media platform, etc. ahead of things like working with our clients, connecting with our community, and developing new offerings.

And when you’re constantly working outside of your zone of genius, it gets much more difficult to know what those IPA’s are for your business. Because you’re stretching yourself so thin across your entire business, you’re out of touch with what actually brings in the revenue.

Working 24/7

When you’re working around the clock, you’re not being compensated for all of the time you’re spending.

We look at 9-5 jobs that pay $10-$15 per hour and scoff, but what is YOUR hourly rate? If you calculated it (revenue in divided by how many hours you’re actually working, I’m willing to bet that it’s coming in under $15/hr.

But if you set strict work times around your business, your hourly rate will start to increase because you’re giving yourself limits around how long you’re going to do certain things for your business during the day.

Not tracking your time

Don’t know how much time you’re spending in your business to calculate your hourly rate? That’s a huge, yet common, thing that I’ve come across when working with online business owners.

When you don’t track your time you have no idea where your time is going. That means that you don’t know where the inefficiencies are, or how to stop time leaks in your business.

And time leaks (like spending 5 hours a day in your inbox, getting sucked into the endless Facebook or Instagram scroll) mean that you are losing out on revenue, and costing your business money.

Getting burned out

Something that we can (unfortunately) all relate to is the feeling of getting burned out. When you are trying to do everything yourself, you are not giving yourself the time or support to show up when you are feeling your best.

This means that you are burning the candle at both ends, and not giving yourself the time to rest so that you can continue to support your business.

And when you get burnt out as someone who is doing it all yourself, you have to take time away from your business without anyone there to support it.

That means that you are losing out on revenue, because nobody is there to do the IPA’s in your business. And unless you’ve preemptively set up a financial cushion, it could be more stressful to not be earning money as you recover from your burnout than it was working yourself into burnout.

Spending money on tools you don’t need

Here’s a hard truth: Most business owners spend thousands of dollars on software and tools that they simply don’t need.

By purchasing the latest fad software, or jumping into lifetime deals because it saves you money (only if you use that tool every day!), you are essentially just bleeding money that could be going to things like:

  • Hiring a VA / copywriter / graphic designer / podcast editor / project manager

  • Keeping cash in the bank so you always have working capital

  • Paying yourself a salary

  • Being able to take a vacation without your business collapsing

Are you doing any of these things right now? Let me know in the comments below!

How To Automate Workflows in HoneyBook

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One of my favorite features that HoneyBook offers is the ability to automate your workflows. This means that when someone enters their information on your contact form, HoneyBook will automatically start working on the next steps, even if you aren’t at your computer or you’re sleeping.

Today I want to share with you exactly how you can set up these automated workflows, so that you can start reaping the rewards -- happier potential clients, and less admin work for you!

1 | Build Out Your Workflow

The first step is to actually build out your workflow in HoneyBook. This is so that HoneyBook knows what to do once the workflow has been activated.

For example, this is what the beginning of my workflow for a new Project Management inquiry looks like:

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When you build out your workflows, you can include files or emails to be sent, and tasks for you to do. I like to get as granular as possible, so that every single possible step of the process is taken care of, and I never worry about forgetting anything.

One important thing to note here: when you are building out your workflow, make sure your first step is done AUTOMATICALLY.

So, with the Project Management workflow above, there is an email that goes out immediately to the potential client that allows them to schedule a discovery call with me. 

That means that they don’t have to wait for me to be at my computer, or see their inquiry, to move on to the next step. Which means your potential client is wowed and taken care of right out of the gate.

I would highly recommend having a discovery call email as your first step, and using Acuity to automate the scheduling -- that means that your potential client will get the email right away, and then be able to schedule your discovery call for a day and time that works best for them without you having to do anything.

2 | Build Your Contact Form

In HoneyBook, you get one contact form to put on your website. If you’re like me, and you offer multiple services, it’s important to build out your contact form in a way that allows you to properly identify which service your potential clients are interested in.

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In my contact form, I keep it very general, and then have the Project Type question set up, so potential clients have to choose a project type before submitting the form.

You’ll want to set up your project types in your settings, as this is where the contact form will pull the options from:

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You can have the wording of the question in your form however you’d like. I opted for a little bit of a cheeky way to ask the question, but use whatever language fits your brand!

3 | Set Workflows to Trigger Based on Project Type Selected

The next thing you’ll want to do is go back to your workflows, and set them to automate via your contact form:

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For every workflow you have, you’ll be able to choose from a dropdown menu with your project types.

Setting this up means that whenever someone submits their info to your contact form, and chooses the corresponding project type, that workflow will automatically be applied and start running.

4 | Embed Contact Form On Your Site

The final step is to actually embed the contact form on your site! This allows the process to get started, and will have you automatically kicking off workflows in no time.

In HoneyBook, you’ll want to go to your contact form and click the button that says “Embed Code.” You’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this:

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You’ll copy the code, go to your website and paste it on the page(s) you want the form to live.

This is what the form looks like on my website, on the Project Management services page:

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The form itself is self-contained (it starts at “Full name”), but it is super simple and easy to fill out for my potential clients.

One thing I love about HoneyBook’s contact form is that the background is transparent, so it will always match the styling of whatever page you embed it on!

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DOWNLOAD THE HONEYBOOK WORKFLOW AUTOMATION CHECKLIST

DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I use and love. Thank you for your support!

Why I Switched from 17Hats to HoneyBook

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For the past three years that I've been in business, I've tried countless different online tools and software for running my business. And while I've changed and found the things that I truly love and that serve my business needs best, one thing that hadn't changed was my client management software.

When I started working with clients, I eventually graduated from using Harvest (for time tracking + invoicing) and DocuSign (for contracts) to using 17Hats (for invoicing, contracts, and proposals) and Toggl (for time tracking).

And I've been using 17Hats ever since. But I've also been supplementing it with Streak, which is a CRM for your Gmail inbox. Essentially, it gives you the pipeline view of all your clients and their project status inside of your inbox, which is something I really enjoy seeing.

Over the past two years, I've done free trials of other softwares but never found anything that I liked as much as 17HatsUntil I found HoneyBook earlier this year.

Now, I had known about HoneyBook for awhile, but I always assumed it was too geared towards photographers to use as a non-photographer. And while there is a trend of client management software being first built for photographers and catered to the rest of us creative business owners, HoneyBook has done an amazing job of making sure that everything works -- no matter what industry you're in.

Because of my fondness (and familiarity) with 17Hats, it was going to take a lot for me to want to switch. But HoneyBook exceeded all of my expectations! Today I'm going to share the four things that made switching to HoneyBook a no-brainer for me.

SIMPLIFIED PROCESSSES

Like I mentioned above, for about two years I've been using two different things in tandem -- 17Hats and Streak. But HoneyBook gives me everything those two programs were doing in one place.

When I login to my HoneyBook account, I can see all of my projects in the pipeline and immediately know where each client is in the process:

Client names have been removed for privacy reasons.

Client names have been removed for privacy reasons.

Then, when I click on any client's name I am immediately taken to their project's workspace and can view all of our correspondence, files, and tasks. Having everything in one place makes things SO much simpler!

It also means that my inbox is more simplified as well, which is fantastic. Instead of having Streak installed, and taking up a lot of space visually, I am able to focus on just my emails when I'm inside of my inbox.

I am also in love with the simplified process for sending documents inside of HoneyBook! Where it used to take me 10-15 minutes to create and send a proposal with the corresponding invoice and agreement, it now takes me less than five minutes inside of HoneyBook.

INTUITIVE USER INTERFACE

Whereas 17Hats' interface works really well if you know where everything is and how to use it, HoneyBook's was incredibly easy to figure out, which is amazing!

Everything you could possibly need is easily accessible under the Tools tab. This means you aren't clicking around trying to find anything, because it's all at your fingertips.

All of the categories are also incredibly easy to figure out, and things are exactly where you'd expect them to be, whereas 17Hats' were a bit less logical.

Inside of the client workspace, it is also super easy to figure out what is where, and how to access everything. I love how HoneyBook has everything laid out, because it just makes sense.

The first tab you have inside of the client workspace is the activity -- all the emails you and the client have sent. I love that you are able to send emails straight through HoneyBook (again, spending less time in your inbox!) and everything will sync with Gmail.

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You can also easily see the stage of the client project, if the client has read your emails or not, see all the participants, and any tasks you have that are specific to that client project.

Again, everything is very intuitively laid out so you don't have to waste time wondering where anything is. This means that you are super organized AND spending less time in the admin side of your business. It's a win-win!

STELLAR WORKFLOWS

If you've ever talked to me about systems (or read any of my other blog posts), then you probably know that workflows are my favorite thing in the world. Especially if they're automated! And while 17Hats does have a workflows feature, it was never robust enough or easy enough to use for me to really bother with it.

But HoneyBook's workflows feature is AMAZING. For example, this is the beginning of my workflow for a ConvertKit Migration:

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I'm able to map out the ENTIRE process from when I receive an inquiry to following up after a migration is completed.

I love that you can choose whether or not an email needs to be approved before sending, because it allows you to customize the emails if necessary and delay sending if the project timeline shifts at all.

This keeps me on track for every single thing I need to do.

And because every email and file template already lives inside of HoneyBook, it takes me hardly any time at all to actually complete any of these tasks.

I also never have to worry about if I'm missing a step, or if anything hasn't been sent to the client.

Because workflows can change and evolve as you offer your service, I love that HoneyBook makes it super easy to add steps and rearrange your workflow steps.

This allows your workflows to be living things -- not something that is completely set in stone.

AMAZING REFERRAL PROGRAM

So this technically isn't part of the software, but I am honestly just blown away by HoneyBook's referral program. When you join HoneyBook, you're automatically able to give a 20% savings to anyone who joins through your unique link, which is amazing!

BUT after you transact $2000 through the platform, which is really easy to do if you're active on it, you can share a 50% savings to anyone who joins through your unique link. This seriously blows my mind, because I've hardly seen a referral program this generous.

So, if you're curious about HoneyBook and want to give it a shot, go ahead and click the button below to start your free 14-day trial! If you upgrade to a paid membership, you'll save 50% off of your subscription ;)

AND if you join through my link, and move to a paid membership, I'll hop on a 60-minute complimentary call with you to answer any questions you have about using and setting up HoneyBook!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I use and love. Thank you for your support!