If you need a tool to help you:
– manage almost every aspect of your business in one place
– give you 10 extra pairs of hands
– look completely professional and legit even if your mom is your only customer
* In this post I will link to my affiliate link with Dubsado. If you choose to use this link it will be at no extra cost to you. In fact, it will give you 20% off your first paid month/year subscription and I will receive a free month of using my favorite tool! Help me, help you! Thank you, friend!
Creating workflows, proposals, contracts, invoices is only the beginning…
You want to know how it feels to stand tall in high heels that you have forgotten how to walk in, look a prospective client straight in the eyes and say: “Yes, I will have the proposal and contract together for you first thing in the morning.” Sounds empowering, doesn’t it? Well, what if I tell you that the first time I said those words was the day I approached my very first prospective client. A day after, I decided to take up the opportunity to start a virtual assistant business from home! I have no idea where I got the confidence that day. I was probably just so desperate to escape the day-to-day, wash, rinse and repeat routine of house chores that a dream once forgotten suddenly had a D-day!
I went home ecstatic until I realized I had no idea where even to begin to get the proposal and contract together and how to present it in a way that looked like I knew what I was doing. Hyperventilating is an understatement! Thankfully there is a great community of virtual assistants on Facebook who pointed me in the right direction. Dubsado was the answer!
The features I absolutely love about Dubsado that helped me start my business
This is not an extensive list of everything that Dubsado offers, only the features that I use on a daily basis. You can see footprints of them here on my website!
- Client portal
- Email hub
- Forms and templates
- Accept payments and payment schedules
- Custom domain
- Time tracking
- Project management
This is probably hands down my favorite feature, as it makes my life so much easier. You can see examples of two places where I have used proposals on this website. The first place is on my Call-a-Techie service page. You will notice that the page opens on the proposal and that there is an invoice tab that you can only navigate once you have completed the form. Everything on this embedded form is completely customizable with an easy drag-and-drop builder. I only have two options on this page, but you can have as many as you would like! Each option will have its own invoice that it will navigate to next. On my Blog-in-a-box page, you will notice that I have various packages as options, and once selected, it will open up the contract. Once the contract is approved, then the client will receive their invoice.
Dubsado has a few contract templates that you can use as a base. Make sure to edit them before you send them to a client. They are not endorsed by a lawyer! However, it is better than starting from a blank canvas, not knowing what to put into a contract! Obviously, it is better to get them drawn up by a lawyer once your business is established. In the beginning, at least the basics are covered in your contract to protect both you and your client. I love the fact that it is so easy to attach a contract to any part of the onboarding process, to make the most sense for the project.
I think this is my second favorite feature. The whole process of creating an invoice can be automated through forms and workflows, but if you do have custom invoices for each project, they are quick to set up and connected to your whole system. The best part is that clients can pay you directly from the invoice through Stripe or Paypal.
The ten extra hands you need in your business gets solved with this nifty tool. Tricky to set up at first but once you get the hang of it, it keeps your business on automation and ticking like a well-oiled machine. The Dubsado team is available to help you during their business hours. I found their staff incredibly patient and helpful. I reached an unexplained complication with one of my workflows and a staff member went out of their way to troubleshoot the process with me. Their help not only solved my issue but also taught me a lot along the way that I would not have learned if a tech person just sorted it out for me.
This is currently still in Beta, but it is already making my process a lot smoother. I can set specific times and dates for specific clients, and the scheduler connects to my Google calendar, which also automatically generates a Zoom link. It does integrate with other video conferencing tools as well through Cronofy. My favorite feature is that you can create a custom redirect link after the booking, attach an invoice to get paid before a booking is scheduled, or add an additional form. This can save a lot of backward and forwards emailing between you and your clients. My clients are worldwide, and the scheduler can toggle to their time zone, making it less confusing for them to figure out the right time to meet with me.
6. Client Portal
The client portal is a beautifully designed space where everything related to the client is kept for each project that you have with them. All your emails, invoices, contracts, and forms, as well as uploaded files all in one convenient space. I love the fact that each client portal can be customized with its own welcome banner. My client portal is called the Feathered Lounge, and I like to change out the banners as the project progress for each client, personalizing them with bitmojis and funny sayings so that each client truly feels like we share a creative lounge space together.
7. Email Hub
One thing we all dislike in business is keeping track of our inboxes! Seriously, if you love writing emails all day, I would love to hear from you as you are super rare, and I might be famous one day for finding you! Dubsado has canned emails that go together with each process in your workflow or system. Some emails can be set up as generic housekeeping emails to go out to clients when needed. The ones that need personalization can use shortcodes to make the process super fast and change out one or two conversational sentences to make it personal. All emails get stored with the clients’ responses in the clients’ profile, and you can add notes if needed.
8. Forms and Templates
There are many templates to choose from for various applications within Dubsado. They all work on the same principle as a basic form, but each one can be completely customized and styled the way you would like it. Each form section can link to different parts within your workflow, making it very easy for your client to choose customizable options for their package. Forms also serve as great tools for customer onboarding or collecting information for a project. Really, the sky is the limit when it comes to forms. I am blown away daily by the many ways you can use these forms in your business. They can be embedded on your website, send in an email, or linked to in a social media post, giving you a lot of flexibility.
9. Accepting Payments and Payment schedules
This is very important to my business. I need a smooth way for my customers to pay me without worrying about connecting a cart or other system to collect payments. It is also important in my business to offer a selection of payment options depending on the service. For instance, take a 70% upfront payment with a 30% deposit on completing the project or a down payment for a bigger package. I am also not locked into receiving payment only through Stripe or Paypal, which are built-in processors. If a client pays in any other way, I can mark the payment as paid, which keeps the accounting very simple.
10. Custom Domain
It is probably not a high priority for most people; however, I love to keep all my URL links clean and branded. My Feathered Lounge has its own special link with a custom domain that I can send to my customers. I have not made this a separate point, but the other thing I love about Dubsado is that they do not insist on having their branding on anything that goes out to your client. Unless people are familiar with the platform, they will be none the wiser.
11. Time Tracking
This is not a feature I use in my own business as I find billing by the hour way too stressful. For me, it is easier to work out set packages so that I do not have to click stop/start during my ten times a minute interruptions with a toddler around! It is a good tool to note though, and if you need it for your business then Dubsado has you covered!
12. Project Management
It is probably clear from the above points that Dubsado helps you manage everything. From first inquiry all the way through to a finished project and the onboarding of the same client for another project. Everything is kept together in the client profile as well as in the client portal. Unfortunately, you can only have one contract per client, so keep that in mind when you get returning customers. One of the other great tools to help you with project management is the running task list. You can build tasks into workflows or add them as you need. The task list is my go-to place first thing in the morning. It helps me keep track of where I left off the previous day and what is important to get done for the day.
So, why do I use and recommend Dubsado for your small business CRM?
Honestly, aren’t all of the above points good enough reasons? Well, the other reason is that it will take a lot to convince me of another platform.
You see? I have fallen in love with the company, the team, their marketing strategies, and their community!
I mean, who else will send you cool gifs like these?
Get Dubsado using my code and you get 20% off your first month or year!