How to Onboard a New Client

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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?

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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.

You’ve got a signed contract. You’ve received payment. Whoo hoo! Now..

  • Send the 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
  • Work expectations
  • 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

 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. 

Trello Board - Onboarding Clients

Keep the onboarding process organized with my free Trello board!

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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.

Regina Lewis

Regina's passion is helping a new generation of virtual assistants launch their new business or take their business to the next level.  When she's not working at the local ministry, blogging or tinkering with Squarespace, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching "Downton Abbey" to the point that it irritates her boys and people-watching from her front porch.