So if you've been following along you know that I'm trying to be super transparent about where my career is going and that change is in the air. I'm feeling like I'm in a slump at work, desperately trying to convince myself I'm happy there but it's not working. So, I'm going to take advantage of my time and start to build my side-hustle. A 9-to-5 and a 6-to-11... EEK!! But exciting, right?!
I've been doing some research so I can set myself up for success since I'll be managing this thing in my spare time. One place I knew I wanted to start was systems. Client management is a big part of managing a project and it's so easy to get lost in a sea of to-dos and post-its and notes scribbled on scrap pieces of paper (I'm notorious for this). I want to make sure that I'm on top of everything from lead-generation to contracts. Enter Honeybook. I think I stumbled on Honeybook through the Rising Tide Society (which if you're not familiar with you should totally stop everything—yes, even reading this post—and head over there...it's ok, I'll wait for you to come back). I was immediately intrigued by Honeybook because, well, it's pretty. Seems like a weird reason to be attracted to a system that's all about improving efficiency but being a visual person means that I need something visually appealing to look at to even get my mind right. When you're dealing with several moving pieces at once having a clean, easy-to-use interface that's easy on the eyes is huge. Rarely do you find a management system that's both functional AND beautiful. Honeybook achieves both.
On top of being oh-so-pretty, it handles so many functions. With an always up-to-date Pipeline showing all your projects (or events as they're labeled in the program) shown in their current stages you have a birds-eye view of everything that's going on. You can add stages, if needed, and click into any one stage, like Inquiry for example, to see leads that may need attention. With a mobile app it's now even easier to manage everything in one place. Each event gets its own feed where you can store and share proposals and contracts, files, inspiration, conversations and anything else you can think of. Clients simply have to sign into the program and they have access to everything they need and an easy place to leave a message for you. Honeybook provides great automation with gentle reminders that go out to clients if an invoice hasn't been paid or something needs attention. In addition, you can add a contact form to your website that channels everything back to your Honeybook hub AND they have a huge networking capability where you can hook up with other vendors to work on a project, refer someone or just look up a roster of folks who do what you need help with. It's a killer way to network and build your team even if they're not local.
Even a novice to client management can navigate the Honeybook interfaces. They walk you simply through the basic stages of sending contracts and proposals provided examples to make sure that you have everything you need before you hit send. On top of all of this, you can create custom templates for both email responses and questionnaires. Everything they're packing in here is meant to help you run your business more efficiently so you can get back doing what you love instead of trying to navigate a sea of paperwork, scanning things three times and sending a million emails back and forth to your clients. I highly recommend this program if you're looking for a way to automate some of your functions like creating clean proposals and questionnaires ONCE and only once with templates to save you more time, auto-responses to email inquiries and automated reminders to make sure you get paid on time.
Ok, so now that we've talked about all the bells and whistles let me tell you about my experience with Honeybook. I signed up for the trial as any person who's testing the waters would do. I'm not even kidding when I tell you I got a call within two hours from one of their reps asking me if I had any questions and to call if I needed anything. It was a trial subscription for crying out loud, who has time to call all the people that enter their address into something? I can tell you that I didn't answer the call as my phone was on silent but I was pleasantly surprised to find that their follow-up was so fast. I spent a week or two playing around with the program and getting comfortable with it. I sent some test proposals and tried out the questionnaires, etc. I really liked it but I was also shopping around for other options. Hey, I hadn't put a ring on it yet.
Eventually, I scheduled a call with Katie from Honeybook. You guys, can I just tell you that she was the sweetest thing ever. Not only was she super friendly and personable but she was so incredibly patient. I chatted her ear off asking question after question. I had hypotheticals and will-you-ever-add-this or that questions. We even got way off topic a couple times and had to regroup. I want to tell you all that I think that this was the single best customer service call I'd ever experienced in my life. Patient doesn't even begin to explain it. We talked for well over an hour and a half and I'm pretty certain she'd actually gotten off work 45 before it ended. Katie was always asking how I'd like to use the program, offering examples, walking me through things remotely on my computer screen, letting me know that certain things were planning to roll out in a matter of months and on and on. It's clear the people at Honeybook are really eager to understand how their customer wants to use the system—and they mean it. Feedback seems to be very useful to these folks so your opinion does not fall on deaf ears. She'd asked me about my situation and when I thought I might get rolling and need a system like this so when we were finally wrapping up she asked if I'd like to schedule a follow-up call to see if I'd run into more questions or needed anything. Of course I did for a couple weeks out. And you wouldn't believe that I kept her on the phone for another hour. Saint Katie.
I will be honest that I originally wasn't 100% sold on the program as I was concerned that they didn't have bookkeeping features but Katie assured me that they were in the final stages of launching a Quickbooks integration which was set to launch within the next two months. I figured I likely wouldn't even have clients by then so that took care of my biggest worry. Then Katie dropped the bombshell. She told me about the Founding Membership option where you pay a one-time fee and then you're set for life. I stuttered and asked her if she was for real. Seriously, I wanted to know what the catch was. No one does that. Turns out, there was no catch; she was serious. I hate monthly bills so this was a big draw for me. On top of that, if you did the math it worked out to be pretty equivalent to any other system out there except after about a year and half I would no longer have to keep making payments like folks using other platforms. When you added up the INSANELY exceptional customer service and the fact that not only could I pay a one time only fee but it would be valid for the life of my business it just made sense. So I signed up. At the time they were running a special 20% discount for people who signed up for the Founding Membership so I got this entire system, FOREVER, for $400. You guys, this breaks down to about $33 a month for one year...some systems cost as much or more and you always have to pay for that service. If I use it for a year and decide it's not for me I'm really not out much of anything in terms of a business investment. Seems like a no-brainer to me!
If all of that wasn't enough, after I signed up about a week later a package showed up on my doorstep. Inside I found this. A congratulatory bottle from my new friends at Honeybook. Ok, so unfortunately that 20% promo ended a week after I signed up (and before I had a chance to get to this post) but the Founding Membership is available through December 31st so if you're in business and searching for a program to help you simplify consider Honeybook and hook yo'self up with this killer deal! Here's to working smarter not harder...cheers!
XO - From me to you