Ever had a moment like that.
Okay, maybe not quite as dramatic as that. As I know most of my followers out there are already established freelancers and solopreneurs. So, signing a new client isn’t exactly a rarity. But, you know, I’m guessing that probably somewhere along the line, there’s something that you forgot.
To communicate the process to a client.
To get a contract signed.
To send the invoice.
Somewhere along the line, you got caught up in the work that you were doing, and you forgot something.
The kind of thing where you look back on it later and you’re like, I wish I’d done something or, I wish I’d done that thing better, right.
So, while most of you guys know that I think that messaging is the number one thing that really propels growth as a freelancer or a solopreneur, but if I had to put something in second place. The second thing would definitely be processes. Business processes.
So if you’re having $3,000 months and you’re trying to get to $5,000, or if you’re having $5,000 months and you’re trying to get to seven or eight, and you’ve hit a little bit of a roadblock in the growth there, taking a look at your processes, might really really make a huge, huge difference.
And so today we’re going to talk a little bit about one of the basics that every single freelancer or solopreneur should have. And that’s the onboarding process.
So to avoid that Kevin McAllister. Take the time to really sit down and break down every single thing you do, or what you want to do every time you sign a new client.
Now, I’m a big fan of Asana, so I use that and I have saved templates for all of my onboarding tasks, but you don’t need any fancy project management tools. A plain old sheet of paper with a checklist on it will work totally fine.
But you can break down all the steps YOU need to take, and also all the steps that the CLIENT needs to take to move the project along.
And then you’re going to reiterate that over and over, religiously for every single client that you have.
Doing this makes a world of difference for a few reasons.
The first reason is that you’ll never end up confused about what to do next. I mean, the next step will just always be obvious.
The second reason is that it’s just always way more efficient to have a process in place, as opposed to just winging it. So, you know, you can use that time, your time and brainpower on things that are more important.
And then the third reason. And it’s probably the most important reason, is that having an onboarding process just makes you look like a pro. It instills a little reassurance in the client that, hey, this person, they know what they’re doing and they’ve done it plenty of times before.
So let’s talk about the vital steps that are an onboarding process.
Okay, so I’m gonna jump you here into my Asana workflow. Again, not because you need to use that but I figure having a bit of a visual is better than just watching me talk at ya.
Now I can’t give a hard fast process that works for absolutely everybody across the board because there’s just so many different industries out there, amongst you freelancers.
But we can talk about the must-haves that are universal. And we can talk about ideas of how you can extend things out further and customize them for yourself.
As you can see here I even have mine broken down further into my tasks versus my client’s tasks, which can be really helpful when your situation is one where you need a lot of assets and other things from the client before being able to move on to your next task.
So, you’ll kind of, that’s just something that I implemented, but you’ll figure out what works for you as you start to implement things.
Now, some of you, you have set packages you offer. While a lot of others of you have to go through a proposal process or quoting process to land new clients. And so for those of you who do proposals or quote.
Your first step might be something like sending an intake questionnaire or sending a scheduling link for a discovery call.
And then the second thing on your list might be receiving the form back, or actually holding that call.
And then the third task that you might need to do is write the proposal and send the proposal.
Then write the contract and send the contract. That is if they’re not all combined.
But then the next thing might be receiving the contract back, sending an invoice for a deposit, sending a welcome packet.
You receive that deposit. Then you can begin the project tasks.
Now, I can’t really delve into the project specifics, as you all do different things, but taking the time to list those tasks out will really help keep it all on track.
Now, for those of you that sell a very specific package that doesn’t require a proposal. You’ll be able to remove some of those first steps right.
So your first step might be something like writing the contract and sending the contract, receiving the signed contract back, sending the invoice for the deposit, sending the welcome packet.
And then once you receive that deposit, you can begin your project tasks.
So, as you can see, the big things in a freelance client onboarding process are sending and receiving the contracts and the invoices. And you’ll notice that in all of these, I also included sending out what I call a welcome packet.
Now, this really doesn’t have to be a big to-do, but having some sort of way to welcome a new client, share a little bit more about you or your business, and giving them the info about the process that you’re about to start. Or what the next steps, and, you know, how they can expect things to go is a really, really great touch.
And you know it can be something larger in a PDF or it can be a physical package that you even send to them.
Or it could be as simple as the single email, whatever seems right for you, and the work that you do. That’s where you should go with it.
But I’m telling you, anytime that you can really guide the client through, and they can see the expectations, they’re just laid out and they can see what the next steps are. That’s gonna make everything work so much smoother and it’ll really help things move along.
And then, as I said, do your best to break down the individual project tasks and add them to the list.
At any time you can check things off as you go. And that, this way nothing’s ever gonna get missed, and at any time you kind of know what the status of the project is, and you know exactly what you need to be doing next.
And while this discussion was about onboarding. I’m going to give you another little tip. You can also extend this out to the off-boarding side (if you want to call it that.)
But you know, what happens when the project is complete?
And in that case, it might look something a little bit more like this, where you receive that final approval.
The next thing might be sending that final invoice and sending the actual project finals.
But the next step in your process should be something like asking for a testimonial or review and also asking for referrals.
Now, we all know that asking for testimonials and referrals from people that we’ve already done work with is a really great way to get new leads, but it’s also the kind of thing that kind of tends to get overlooked or, you know, we wait a while and now we kind of feel silly asking long after a project’s done to get that testimonial or you to ask them to refer anyone to us.
And by making it a part of the process that we’re always, always doing, the easier it all becomes, you know, and we remember to do it.
And let’s be honest, right after our clients have given the final approval. And they’re thinking about how happy they are with the work that you just did and the project, that that’s really the best time and it’s gonna yield you the best testimonial or review anyway. So it’s a really nice touch to add that as part of your process when you finalize a project.
Even for just a month, try it out, try it out for a month I’m telling you, you won’t go back.
For additional information about business processes, check this out.