How to Create A Streamlined + Consistent Client Onboarding System

 

As a business owner, there are a lot of systems that you need to have in place to be successful: a way to track your statistics + growth over time, a basic bookkeeping system, and creating an editorial calendar that you'll actually follow. But to me there's one system that is absolutely crucial: your client onboarding system.

When someone hires you, the way they're guided through interested to paying client is your first impression. It gives them a peek into what it's like to work with you. And if your system is convoluted and broken? They won't stick around very long. But if your system is precise and streamlined, they'll be impressed and even more excited to work with you! And that's what I want to help you with, because I know from my own experiences as a fellow business owner just how important it is to impress your new clients.

I fell into the world of business on accident in the summer of 2014. My first client was a friend of my mom's who needed some help managing the social media accounts for her graphic design business. We were chatting at an event and it was essentially: "Indigo, I need help with x, y, and z. Can you help me?" "I can!" "Awesome! Can you start in the next couple of weeks?"

That was my whole onboarding process.

We met up for coffee pretty soon after that, figured out exactly what she was looking for and what my duties would be, and that was that.

My second client was a colleague of my mom's that had been trying to get help managing her Wordpress site. I emailed her letting her know that I could help, as I had been blogging on Wordpress for over two years at that time. We emailed back and forth for weeks, had a five minute phone call, I got her login info, and started doing the work.

By the time I landed my third client in the end of 2014, I realized that something had to change. My system for onboarding my clients was chaotic at best and I felt like I had my worst foot forward. The reason? I didn't know what I was doing. I'd fallen into the world of freelancing without meaning to, and had no idea what a proper system looked like. And I didn't know how to sift through pages and pages of Google results to figure out how to better my system. (Because there are a LOT of results when you Google "how to streamline your client onboarding system" -- an overwhelming number of results).

It took me a year of tinkering, researching, and testing out different onboarding systems to create one that worked like a well-oiled machine. I want to save you twelve months of work by walking you through the exact steps I went through to streamline my client onboarding system, so you can begin to improve yours in fifteen minutes. Yes, you read that right! In just fifteen minutes you can start identifying time-wasting steps in your client onboarding process and begin to change them so you are always putting your best foot forward.

All it takes is four easy + essential steps:

1 | Map out your current system

2 | Identify chaos + convolution

3 | Implement changes to improve the system

4 | Update the system based on feedback