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You landed your first client!
I knew you could do it! But don’t get too excited. You’ve still got some work to do.
Now it’s time to get them onboarded. What does that mean?
Onboarding is a system of adding a new client to your business. Done well, it can be pretty seamless. That’s why I’m here! If you haven't landed your first client yet, now's the time to put these systems in place.
So, here we go! As soon as you land the client, the first thing you do is:
Send the contract.
Now that you’ve stopped celebrating, it’s time to send your new client a contract. Let’s get one thing straight: never, never work without a contract! Any client who suggests you work strictly on their word or an email - run! An email a contract does not make.
It’s up to you to protect your business interests so it’s up to you to have a contract in place, not the client.
Rant over. Let’s continue.
Use a document signing system like HelloSign to have your contract signed. Always have the client sign the contract first. I had an issue years ago where I signed the contract first and then the client changed the hourly rate. I was stuck because my signature was on it first. Yeah, it stinks but I learned my lesson.
Once you’ve signed the contract through HelloSign, I recommend saving it on your computer or Google Drive or better yet, print a copy and keep it in a secure place. You will need it for reference.
What do you do next?
Send the invoice.
The contract has been signed. Now it’s time to request payment before you start working. If you’ve set up a package for your services, you can request one month upfront or partial payment. The choice is yours.
I use Wave for invoicing. It’s free and quite efficient. Link your bank account and payments will go directly in there. Watch this video to see how easy Wave is to use. Making money might be hard but collecting it shouldn't be!
You’ve got a signed contract. You’ve received payment. Whoo hoo! Now..
Send the welcome packet.
What is a welcome packet? The welcome packet is a PDF that contains information that may or may not already be in your contract. Send it anyway.
Here’s what your Welcome Packet can include:
A personal note from you, welcoming them onboard
Your office hours
How will you handle “rush” jobs
How you will handle referrals and if you provide a referral incentive
Your business processes: how you will protect passwords and confidential information, etc.
Your subcontracting process, if applicable
Invoicing process - how often will you bill and when
How you will track your time and report it back to your clients
Client questionnaire - client contact information, branding, etc.
Your contact information and how you prefer to be contacted
Start off on the right foot and take the time to send a welcome packet to your new client.
I keep all of these details organized in my Trello board. Never heard of Trello? Oh, baby, are you missing out! It's like Post-its on steriods. I've got a Trello board for everything - social media planning, client work, and even household stuff. My boards really keep me organized.
Would you like to see what I use to onboard a client? Sign up to receive a copy of my onboarding Trello board.
Once you've worked your client for a bit and things seem to be flowing pretty well, ask for a referral or testimonial. In the online world, testimonials are golden and can open a lot of doors. That's why it's so important to start off on the right foot. You never know who your client knows. Ya dig?
Are you having trouble landing your first client? Hey, I know that can be frustrating. But believe me, land the first one and you'll be well on your way to landing the next one.
So, let's talk about how to land your first client, that one client that will send your business into orbit.
Join Facebook groups, like the VA Social Circle, where my buddy, Susan, shares not only tips on how to run your business but some pretty awesome leads, exclusive to the group. Lots of good nuggets in here so join if you haven't already. And make sure to introduce yourself!
And while you wait on that ever-elusive first client, there are a few things you can do to make the wait not so unbearable. Click to get some tips on what to do while you wait.
There's no excuse to not be organized. There are way too many tools available to keep you on top of your game. What's your favorite organizational tool to keep it all together? I always love hearing of new things that I may not know about so feel free to share in the comments.