Charlotte Isaac showing someone on her Macbook how to design Dubsado workflows

How to plan your Dubsado workflows in 7 simple steps

How to plan effective Dubsado workflows

Even without the automation of your workflows, a CRM (like Dubsado or Honeybook) has the potential to save you so much time. But workflows? That’s where the magic really happens.

So, what are Dubsado workflows and why do they matter?

Workflows are the automation force behind Dubsado. They take all the little pieces that make up your client process, like sending out proposals and questionnaires, and string them together into an automated sequence that your clients move through.

The biggest reason to love Dubsado workflows? When planned out in an intentional way (and executed well), your workflows will save you time and create an incredible client experience.

What can workflows do?

There’s almost no end to the amount of work Dubsado’s workflows can do for you, but here’s a few:

  • Respond to leads, inviting them to book a Discovery Call through your automated scheduler
  • Send your Proposal, Contract and Invoice in a flash
  • Thank your newest clients for their payment, and onboard them with a questionnaire or welcome email
  • Remind you to do your high-touch work, like sending out Thank You cards or client gifts
  • Add forms to the client portal
  • Send requests for testimonials

… and a whole lot more!

If you’re interested in learning more about the kinds of things you can automate using a CRM like Dubsado, check out my free course 7 Steps to Automation.

Charlotte Isaac, leaning over table with a pen and paper, planning out Dubsado workflows.

So, how do you plan your Dubsado workflows?

Before you dive right in, I want to give you a little tip:

Great workflows start away from the computer.

I know, I know, it sounds counterintuitive. But, I promise this — spending an hour or so with a cup of coffee, a notebook and a clear head will help you design an intentional, thoughtful and streamlined process. And that’s what you want to have before you automate anything!

Whether you do it in a Google Doc, a shiny new notebook or the back of a random piece of paper, this process—workflow design or mapping—is where setting up your new CRM should start.

So without further adieu, this is the process I go through each time I design Dubsado workflows for my own business, or for my clients.

Step 1: Brainstorm everything you’re currently doing with your clients.

And yes, I mean everything!

There’s no better way to start planning your Dubsado workflows than by including all the repetitive tasks you already do.

Think about:

  • The questions you ask clients
  • The homework you give them
    The files they need to send you before you can start your work
  • The calls you have with them
  • Every email you send them
  • Any pre-work you or they have to do before you get started
  • What you do when you wrap-up a project

 

Step 2: Write out everything you’d like to start doing.

When you’re trying to do #allthethings yourself, something is bound to slip through the cracks.

Maybe you:

  • Always forget to send your contract (or make sure it comes back)
  • Want to start sending your new clients an intake questionnaire as soon as they pay their deposit, to make sure you have the information you need to get started
  • Dread following up clients, because you always forget to remind them about their deadlines before they pass
  • Wish you remembered to ask for reviews or testimonials

 

Whether these sounds like you or not, now is the time to have a think about the things you’ve been meaning to do, or the things you wish were part of your processes.

Step 3: Bundle all your tasks into logical processes.

Go through the two lists you just made, and start grouping all the different tasks that need to happen into individual processes. For example, at it simplest it could be one for onboarding and one for offboarding. These processes will soon be your very own Dubsado workflows!

Now, depending on your business and offers, there are a few different ways you can do this.

  • You can have processes that are defined by time (e.g. onboarding and offboarding), or
  • Defined by which type of project it is (e.g. photography and videography), or
  • A combination of both (e.g. photography onboarding and photography offboarding, and videography onboarding and videography offboarding).

As you go through the lists you made, think about the different types of forms and tasks that need to happen for each of your offerings, and hopefully, it’ll be easy to determine which option suits your business the best. If you need more help on this, we cover workflows extensively in Dubsado DIY.

Step 4: Decide what order you want things to happen in.

Now that we’ve grouped all the tasks together, it’s time to arrange them into the perfect sequence.

Oftentimes you’ll want to change the order around a bit to create a super smooth automation (and we’ll have the chance to do that later on), but for now start by arranging the tasks in the order you’d likely go through them if you were manually going through this process. I always find that this is a great place to start to make sure your automation flows and feels natural for your clients.

Step 5: Check in with Dubsado, and align each task to a workflow action.

Okay, now it’s time to finally log into your Dubsado and familiarise yourself with the workflow actions available to you.

Go through every step of your process, and write next to the task what the action will be in the lingo of your software. For example, here are the workflow actions currently available in Dubsado:

  • Change Project Status
  • Add Tag
  • Send Email
  • Send Form
  • Create Todo
  • Send Contract
  • Send Primary Invoice
  • Create Invoice
  • Activate Portal
  • Deactivate Portal
  • Pause Workflow
  • Hold Actions Until
  • Send Appointment Scheduler
  • Start A Workflow
  • Archive Project

 

Dubsado workflow actions on a computer screen

Step 6: Remove as many speedbumps as possible.

It’s time to review your draft Dubsado workflows in full. I know this might seem like overkill, but it could actually save you a lot of time in the future.

We want your workflows to take your clients through your process as smoothly and naturally as possible. We don’t want to send your clients 10,000 emails where we could have sent one, and we also don’t want to leave your clients wondering what’s next.

Step 7: Add specific timing for workflow action.

Okay, this is our final time going through your Dubsado workflow plans before you’re ready to start building! This time, go through line-by-line and put a time next to each action.

Dubsado workflows work on an ‘if this, then that’ philosophy. That means that each action’s timing should be relative to something else.

So, what is that something else?

Some of the most common ones across all CRMs are:

  • After a workflow has started
  • After the previous actions are complete
  • Before a project start or end date

Because you’re using Dubsado you’ll have quite a few more options, including:

  • After scheduled payment received (great for welcome/thank you emails)
  • After a contract has been signed (again, welcome and thank you emails)
  • After a certain form is completed (handy if you need a To-Do to remind you to action pre-work)
  • After a form is not completed (because realising you don’t have everything you need just before you get started isn’t fun)

 

Dubsado workflow timing on a computer screen

Ready to take action?

Grab your notebook and coffee, and start planning. If you’re ready to dig deeper into getting started with automation, I’d love to see you inside of my free course, 7 Steps to Automation!

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who's charlotte?

FIND THE FREEDOM TO GROW.

I like to drink my flat white while it’s hot—it’s the little things, right? You can enjoy your morning coffee too by creating systems that work for you. Client experience is my specialty and through automation with Dubsado, I help you find the freedom to actually enjoy your business.

Hi! I'm Charlotte!