How Dubsado Changed My Design Business
If you are a designer/creative and you do not use a client management platform, YOU. ARE. MISSING. OUT. Actually, missing out is probably an understatement. I don’t really know how my business would survive if I didn’t use this. Here’s a secret: it wouldn’t survive.
I kid you not, when I first started my business, I did everything in my Gmail inbox. And it. was. a. nightmare. When you’re a designer, there are so many contracts and files and invoices and proofs that have to be sent back and forth, and to think about how I only used my inbox for all of this actually makes me cringe (insert cringing Chrissy Teigan GIF here). If you run a biz similar to mine, you probably don’t need much convincing that you need some kind of client management tool. That’s a given. But there are so many different platforms out there! Let me tell you about the one that changed the game for me: Dubsado. (or as my husband likes to call it, Dubstep). Dubsado has been an absolute life-saver for me in the past several months that I have used it. Keep reading to see my favorite things about the platform, and how it helps me in my business!
If you’re already sold on dubsado, use code mharrisdesign for 20% off your first month or first year!
If not, keep reading and you’ll be convinced by the end of it :)
1. The proposals feature is amazing!
A proposal is the very first thing I send to a client when they inquire about any service. I love the proposal feature, because it’s basically like a 3-in-one. When I send a proposal, it gives me the option to include a quote/total of the services they’re inquiring about, and then I give them the option to move forward with that quote, or to adjust it. Then on the next page, it includes my contract AND the invoice on the page after that. That way, when the client is ready to book, the option is already there for them to sign the contract and pay the retainer. It is easy for me and for my brides to do this all in one page.
Now I don’t have to spend hours and tons of back and forth emails on updated invoices. It is all automated through Dubsado, and saves me so much time throughout the week! I mentioned invoices and contracts, and I’m going to talk about those two things next!
2. INvoices and contracts that make you look like you’ve got it allll together
It’s no secret that if you run a business, you MUST use a contract! I learned that the hard way, but luckily I learned it earlier on :) Before Dubsado, I honestly don’t even know what I did. I don’t remember using a legit contract until I started using Dubsado though. They make it so easy to set up different contract templates, and then just change the details specifically for each client. And the way that I send proposals through Dubsado, they have to sign the contract and pay the invoice before being officially booked. I love that they give you the option to send a proposal that includes that contract and the invoice all in one link! It makes it easier on me and the client.
Here is an example of an invoice and how it looks on the client’s end. I’ve blocked out the actually dollar amounts, but you get the idea of how it’s set up! Each line item is marked clearly, Dubsado totals it up for you so that you don’t have to worry about any calculating errors, and you can even set default payment plans for your clients! My process is that my clients pay a 50% retainer, and then the remaining 50% before their order ships, so you can see that above.
3. Forms, forms, forms, and more forms!
I literally use forms for everything that I used to just ask about over email. I seriously still cannot believe that I used to do my entire business through email. It’s insane. The amount of information that I have to gather for each client that I work with would get so lost in the email threads, and I would always have to go back and search for certain things that may be split up between multiple emails, and it was just a mess. ENTER DUBSADO. Now, whenever a bride books with me, the very first thing I do is send her a handy dandy form where she can fill out all of her wedding details, and any other information that might be helpful for me. That way, it is all on file in one place, and I can easily reference it anytime I need to. No more digging through those emails.
One of the great things about forms (and everything on Dubsado, really) is that I can customize it how I want it, add images, use my own logo, etc. so that it really feels like it’s coming from me and my business instead of some random third party platform. Props to Dubsado for allowing us creatives to incorporate our own brand!
Another way that I use forms is to send sketches and proofs and to get feedback on designs! This is the one step that I am at a loss at to how I did this before Dubsado. Before Dubsado, I would literally email my clients super basic and unprofessional proofs and be like “uhhh what color wax seal do you think you would want?” And now I just send them the designs and what I recommend a color palette and other elements based on their design! They love this part and it really makes them feel like they are a part of the process, while still receiving my expert opinions and recommendations ;) And then I have the form to go back and refer to for all of their feedback and preferences. It’s all in one place! No more spending hours searching through my emails looking for things!
4. Organizing all my projects in one place
This is what my projects dashboard looks like! I love that I can organize each project by date to see what is most upcoming and urgent. I can also categorize them, keep track of which contracts have been signed, and invoices paid.