One thing that prevented me from offering my graphic design services for so long was all the different programs I needed to handle each step of the way. It absolutely terrified me. I mean how was I going to keep track of them and how was I going to afford all of these different pieces.
And when I finally started taking on clients, I was all over the damn place. I had a different program for pretty much each step of my process. I went free whenever possible, but I quickly learned that wasn't exactly the best option.
I had started to look into 17Hats when I discovered Dubsado. As a graphic designer, I just could not deal with the horrendous design of the site. Dubsado had a clean, beautiful website and honestly that was enough to hook me. Little did I know all of the amazing features it offered.
A Look Back
Before Dubsado, my client workflow looked something like this:
- Lead capture with a basic contact form using the Contact Form 7 plugin for WordPress
- Create and send the contract with Docracy
- Create and send the invoice with Freshbooks
- Questionnaires through TypeForm
- Client communication through G-Suite
But now I can handle ALL of these and more with Dubsado. Pretty awesome, right?
What is Dubsado?
Dubsado is a customer relationship management system or more commonly known as a CRM system.
Basically it is just like it sounds, a system that makes your life easier by managing the various aspects of your client relationship.
You can look at Dubsado as a virtual assistant for your business. A virtual assistant that focuses on making your client experience flow seamlessly and save you time. This is extremely important if you are still a one woman show!
Why Dubsado Is The Best CRM System for Creatives
1. Your branding is front and center!
As a designer, it is no surprise this is number one in my book!
It is truly amazing that there is no Dubsado branding whatsoever. They allow the focus to be on YOU. Every document you send (from contract to invoice to questionnaire) will have your branding incorporated. You can even set it up so emails are sent from your own email address.
So say goodbye to any client confusion! There will be no question who the email, form, etc. is from.
2. Lead Capture forms are there from the beginning!
I started capturing leads using Contact Form 7 in the beginning. It is a free plugin for WordPress and I still use it as my general contact form on my contact page.
But I quickly learned that it just wasn't the most efficient tool for lead management.
With Dubsado you can create multiple lead capture forms.
The best part? You can embed them on your own website (another way Dubsado makes your brand front and center)! That is what I do. You can see mine in action on my graphic design inquiry page.
And I am in the process of creating a totally new one for when my tech VA services launch.
There is also so many things you can do with lead forms like automatically starting a workflow, set a lead status and even redirect to say a thank you page or appointment scheduler.
3. Canned emails are huge time savers!
Think about it. Are their emails that you consistently send your clients or leads? Make a list. Then add them to Dubsado, and with one click you can load them into an email.
Automate even more and add them to workflows!
4. Workflows make automation a piece of cake!
I am going to be honest here and let you know that I still haven't set up my own workflows. * Slacker alert!* But I have set these up for several clients.
With workflows you can change the lead status, send an email, send a form (such as a questionnaire), send the contract, send the invoice, activate a client portal and more. And you can do this all automatically. That is what makes workflows such a time saver.
And you can do it based on certain conditions. For example, you can send the invoice automatically after the contract has been signed. Or maybe your client paid their invoice and you would like to send an thank you email (I have a client who does this and it is seriously genius). Or after they paid the invoice you want to send them a welcome email that breaks down the next steps and attaches an onboarding survey.
I won't say the possibilities are endless, because that wouldn't be true. But you can sure do a lot with workflows. The “hardest” part is figuring out which should go into Dubsado and which would be better suited for a project management tool like Asana. I have had so much fun working with clients to streamline their process and make the best use of both platforms.
5. Forms, forms and more forms!
Forms are where it is at with Dubsado.
Seriously forms are where you create contracts, sub-agreements, proposals, lead capture forms and even questionnaires.
Basically if you need any information from your client, this is where you go.
I love that everything you create is like a template. So I create my contract template once and I can add it to as many jobs as necessary. I have use Smart Fields to automatically input client information but I also have the option to edit the contract once I have added it to a job. And this can be done WITHOUT editing the original template.
The best part?
They use a drag-and-drop editor. So making it pretty is no trouble at all.
6. Bookkeeping is part of the system!
Bookkeeping is a feature they are still developing (I believe we are in Stage 1 right now). But I just had to mention it.
I am horrible at keeping track of my expenses and income. I usually take a night or two and go through everything and input into a spreadsheet the first week of January. This means I definitely miss stuff. But with Dubsado, I am much more proactive. In fact, I am already on top of things this year! Everything is logged into Dubsado. Tax time next year is going to be a breeze.
And if you have Quickbooks, you can connect Dubsado to Quickbooks!
7. Client Portals help your client keep everything in one place!
This is the place where your client can look at invoices, contracts, questionnaires, and all of the email communications (if they have been initiated through Dubsado.) Their portal will let them know if there is anything that needs their attention.
Pretty awesome, right?
I love that once again you have complete control over the branding! And you can even embed this onto your own site. Dubsado for the win!
8. Dubsado is ALWAYS being updated.
I feel like something is always in the works at Dubsado. They are working to make it the best CRM system out there. You can take a look at all the new features they have planned here: New Features Coming to Dubsado. (If you sign up from there, be sure to use my code lindseyaleson to get 20% off!)
The features I am most looking forward to are:
- Online scheduling system (think Acuity or Calendly)
- Form logic
- White label domain
- Stage 2 of bookkeeping
9. The community is absolutely AMAZING.
The group is run by Becca and her husband. They are seriously a fantastic team. This is the place to go for inspiration, collaboration and education. The members provide such great feedback and are always there to answer questions. Becca will jump in as well which is great to see.
Plus so many questions have already been answered that if you use the search function you will find a gold mine of information.
To check out the community, go here: Dubsado Community.
10. The customer service cannot be beat.
The Dubsado team is one of the nicest around. They always respond to emails and are there to help you in anyway they can.
Do you have an issue with a form not working? I have seen them offer to jump right in and update/fix it for them.
They really go above and beyond. It is clear that this is a family business because when you are a Dubsado user you are not just another paycheck for them.
They offer frequent webinars to get started but they also offer a free 20 minute set up call to get Dubsado set up and to get your questions answered.
11. Dubsado is incredibly affordable.
One thing that is important to me at this stage of business, is making sure that the products and services I decide to invest in are affordable and totally worth the money.
And let me tell you that Dubsado was an absolute no brainer. This is my second year using the system (and I don't even use all of the features) and I can't imagine going anywhere else. Plus if you prepay for the year, you get 2 months free!
If you are curious how Dubsado can work for you, they offer what they call a “take your time trial.” That means that you get to try it out with 3 clients. There is no time limit. I feel this is the best way to do a free trial because you can actually use it through the life cycle of the client and not try to shove everything into a 7- or 14-day trial.
I hope you can see why I love Dubsado so much. It is probably the #1 tool I can't live without in my business, especially as a service provider.
I encourage you to try Dubsado out if you are looking for a CRM system. I guarantee you won't regret it.
Are you ready to try Dubsado? Let me know in the comments below.