You want 2 things ::
1)        You wanna be IN-DEMAND + BOOKED OUT with clients who value what you do; and
2)        You wanna be YOUR OWN BOSS + call your own shots as to WHEN you work, WHERE you’re working from + HOW you’re spending your time. BOOM!
After all…

I THINK NOT.
The problem nobody seems to be talking about (but I will call out because it’s what you love most about me) is this ::
…by making yourself 100% available to your clients…
…by investing as much as you’ve got into growing your business…
…by living with a “hustle” mentality that is keeping you busy AF….
👉 your ACTIONS are in DIRECT CONFLICT with that TIME FREEDOM you got into this to achieve in the first place.
Say whaaaaa? ‘Fraid so, boss.

Work from anywhere?… that 5th straight hour on the sofa – pretending your cold coffee is fine – probably wasn’t what you meant.
Dictating your schedule on your own terms?…  somehow that script got flipped + you’re now accepting calls from clients at ridiculous hours.
Calling the shots as to how you’ll spend your time?… well, you DEFINITELY didn’t mean to spend THIS much time in the war zone you call your inbox or waking up in the middle night panicked about whether you remembered to send that thing out (you did… didn’t you?… yeah, you did… hmmm maybe you should just get up + check real quick?).
Feeling boss?… not so much when a client is scolding you like the child who smells like pee because you totally missed that deadline. Ugh.

You’re a human being! You can’t possibly track as many moving parts as you have going!
Plus – and to me, this is the bigger problem! – there isn’t time to enjoy a casual happy hour when you’re operating like this.

#PROTIP :: This cycle of “busy” won’t just stop when you’re making 5- or 6- figures, or because your schedule is full, or because you’re in-demand. To the contrary, it only gets worse when you have more to lose, higher demands + bigger expectations. You’ll find yourself in a situation where instead of running your business, it’s running you. WTF!

The kryptonite to being able to provide a better client experience, to make more money while doing less work + finally positioning yourself to have it all – the booked out schedule AND your time freedom lifestyle – is to ESTABLISH A SIGNATURE PROCESS + that’s what we will be covering on the blog today!

GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER

When you’re selling services, there are 3 things you can’t possibly get away with not knowing like they’re the lyrics to your favorite song. These include ::

1)        who your IDEAL CLIENT is,
2)        what you have to OFFER these people; and
3)        how to PACKAGE these as a total no-brainer purchase for your peeps.

I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing about how important it is for you to know your ideal client + you can’t bear the thought of doing another one of those client avatar exercises. I wouldn’t dream of telling you to do one, either.
INSTEAD?… Think of someone specific that you have worked with or that you have helped that you see as being your ideal client. Not an avatar or a caricature or a personality type. One single real-life person who has a name, who has a life, who has hopes + dreams.

#PROTIP :: If you haven’t actually worked with anyone yet + your jam is to share the stuff you’ve learned on your own journey, it’s cool to roll with a past version of yourself as your ideal client.

M’kay so do you have that #IRL person that you see as being the person you’re targeting to help? Got their name? Good!
Because now that we’re talking about an actual walking + talking person, you can now make every decision about your business with THAT SPECIFIC PERSON in mind.

For example, you had a genius idea about this thing you wanted to offer. I mean, this is amaze-balls stuff! You’re gonna change the world. (< — we’ve all been there, amirite?)
You’re looking at domains. You’re ready to drop everything else. This earth-shattering you just brainstormed is da shiiiiiiit!
… that is, until you think of Shelly or Siobhan or Shareene or whatever your ideal client’s name is. You take your new spark of genius as it relates to Shelly + you realize… it’s still a great idea but you’re way off-track because Shelly doesn’t need or want that. Like, at all. There’s nothing cohesive about this new offer to how you actually serve your peeps or what they need from you.
This little nugget of knowledge can make the difference between wasting weeks + months on distractions versus being the go-to person in your field because you’re always creating content that your peeps crave + buy.

Likewise, when you have an amaze-balls idea that DOES align with your ideal client? You can mold + shape that idea into being exactly what you know Shelly (or Siobhan or Shareene) wants – what she really-really wants! (<– you totally sang that).
You can create the offer Shelly can’t refuse. You know how Shelly talks + use her language to promote your thing. You can package your idea into what you know Shelly will feel is THE perfect thing.
You are inside her head, reading her thoughts, like a creepy clairvoyant voodoo witchdoctor who knows + understands everything about her. 👈 P.S. this is how you get someone to say “take all my money, please”

#PROTIP :: Nobody likes à la carte packages. Seriously, knock dat off. If people are seeking out help, it is because they already feel overwhelmed + your plethora of options – while interesting – don’t help you make the sale.

Don’t create work for the person who wants to hire you. Package what you know Shelly needs + if she needs a little extra something-something, remember that you can always suggest an add-on.

TL;DR OF STEP 1 TO ESTABLISHING YOUR SIGNATURE PROCESS
Know your client #IRL + by name. Solve their problem with an offer they can’t refuse. Package this as a no-brainer purchase.
If you’ve ever wondered why most business courses you take starts with “knowing your client”, it is for this exact reason. Everything else can + will easily fall into place – including delicious offers + drool-worthy packages – when you get super-specific about who you serve.

MAKE IT OFFICIAL

You’re not playing jazz here. You’re running a business. Start acting like it.
#toughlove translation :: You shouldn’t be figuring things out on the spot with your clients or re-inventing the wheel with every project. You’re a professional, goddamnit it, and as such, you need a standard of operations in place for the way you operate – every! single! time!
And please! Before you start sassing me about how it “stifles your creativity to follow rules” or you feed me some BS about how “each client is unique + different”, just hear me out on this for a sec.

I couldn’t agree more that every project has a different energy + every client is a beautiful snowflake… BUT! the steps + follow-through required to fulfill your projects will always be the same, regardless of what you’re working on or for whom.
In fact, I would argue that it is BECAUSE of your creativity + desire to cater to the individual that you need to establish a set standard of processes. The truth is that when you’re working with clients + you have so many aspects vying for your attention, it is all too easy to get distracted + we both know how it goes :: your work for Client A gets interrupted by the needs for an urgent revision by Client B + then that reminds you of that thing you had to do for Client C until Client A comes back to you, asking where their thing is… and you remember finishing it but… ah snap! you didn’t send it!
If you had a process in place to track all of this FOR you, then you wouldn’t have to worry about anything falling between the cracks + you could focus on delivering amazing service instead of spreading yourself thin trying to remember “all the things”.
So put THAT into your creativity + smoke it!

How will you set up a process that tracks everything for you?
You’re going to create what is called a WORKFLOW ::  this is an outline of everything that goes into a service + a timeline by which those deliverables are scheduled.
By having a workflow in place, you are positioning yourself to ::

  • Be ORGANIZED AF with your entire paper-trail – from contracts to invoices to scheduling – gets done like the freaking professional you are except you spend exactly zero minutes managing any of it because it all happens on auto-pilot, hands off the wheel;
  • Never have to bring up overdue payments again because being streamlined means you GET PAID ON TIME, EVERY TIME; and
  • Ditch the WTF feeling + start each workday with the CONFIDENCE THAT YOU’VE GOT THIS FREELANCING THING COVERED like Sweet Caroline at a tourist trap karaoke bar.

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD TO HELP YOU GET SHIT DONE!

TL;DR OF STEP 2 TO ESTABLISHING YOUR SIGNATURE PROCESS

Establish a workflow for each of your services + use it – every! single! time!

YOUR TRIFECTA OF DOCUMENTS

Once you’ve established your workflow, you will need to create the documents necessary to populate that workflow + there are 3 must-have documents that you simply can’t afford to be freelancing without putting in place BEFORE you start doing any of the actual project work.

YOUR QUOTE/PROPOSAL

Some may call this a quote, an invoice, maybe even an agreement or a proposal, but what you call it matters much less than how you use it. These are an integral part of selling services because this is where you + your client get on the same page as to what is included in your service.
You’ll want to make sure you bullet-point what exactly is included at what cost. If you have a service that you know people frequently have added on or that you typically upsell, you may want to include a link detailing the cost + availability of this add-on but if you do this, you have to make it clear that this is not part of the offer.

For instance, let’s say you offer a paleo meal service delivery.
Your bullet-point would look something like ::

        3 single-serving lunches;

•        3 single-serving dinners;

•        5 grab-and-go snacks; and

•        Deliveries made on Mondays
Optional available to complete weekday meal delivery with 5 single-serving lunches or to include double-portion dinner delivery – click here for details.

👉  This can’t be misunderstood by any rational, reasonable human being. 👈
We often think of a quote or proposal as simply presenting the price to clients but try to shift your mindset about these agreements as being more of a “Contract Lite” :: you are taking the opportunity to be clear about what is (+ is not!) included, and you’re making damned sure that everyone is on the same page about what is being paid for (+ not paid for!) BEFORE money is exchanged.

People often won’t read a Contract. (I mean, did YOU read the Terms + Conditions before you clicked the I AGREE button, hmm?) But when they’re getting ready to fork over dat cash? You better believe they’re paying attention! Instead of treating your quote as a formality, make the most of it by squashing any awkward conversations that may take place in the future about how they “thought there would be enough food for two”.
Why? Why would you think this? I own diamonds that are less clear than the terms set out in this agreement!

YOUR CONTRACT

Speaking of contracts, you still need one even if your quote is on-point, got it?
I’m so serious right now. No balloon? No party!
As a professional, it is your job to protect yourself AND your client + you’ll want to consider implementing clauses + explaining your position in areas like ::

•        RELATIONSHIP OF PARTIES :: who owes what to whom;
•        NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS :: what can be shared + published;
•        NON-SOLICITATION :: especially relevant with joint ventures;
•        WORK PRODUCT OWNERSHIPS :: who owns what, when everything is said + done;
•        CONFIDENTIALITY :: a lot like non-disclosure but generally relates to more personal information than business knowledge;
•        LIABILITY :: because shit happens – and it’s best for everyone to know ahead of time how you plan to deal with it; and
•        PAYMENT SCHEDULE :: for reasons obvious to both you + your timely mortgage payment.

Contracts are a big deal + they’re not about power tripping or pulling a fast one or being mean. A contract is about getting two parties on the same page of what is expected of one another + since you’re a super-together boss, it’s your job to initiate that conversation.

YOUR WELCOME PACKAGE

Also called Service Guides, Starter Kits or Intro Packets, you can read more about Welcome Packages on this post.
In short, the advantage of using a Welcome Package is that it helps you ::

•        To outline your processes + timelines;
•        To establish client expectations + boundaries; and
•        To let clients know what you need from them to move forward.

You can use a Welcome Package to be sent BEFORE the sale is made as a means of assessing if you are a “right fit”, in which case your Welcome Package would also include a Client Intake Questionnaire.
However, you may want to reserve this for AFTER the sale is made as a sort of air traffic control to direct your new buyer towards the next step in the process.
When you send this will depend on how you set up your workflow but the use of a Welcome Package is a class-act move that ushers your client forward in the process with the assurance that they know what’s going on + that they’re in good hands for having invested in you.

TL;DR OF STEP 3 TO ESTABLISHING YOUR SIGNATURE PROCESS

You need a proposal to outline/confirm what you will be delivering. You need a contract that serves to protect you AND your client. You need a Welcome Package to guide your client through their purchase + towards the project work like air traffic control.
And as a little extra, you may need a Client Intake Questionnaire but that depends on the nature of your services.
All of these documents – from Invoices to Contracts to Welcome Packages + even Client Intake Questionnaires – are covered with easy-peasy samples + done-for-you templates in my course {STREAMLINED LIKE SNAP!}.

PLUG + PLAY

This is my favorite part of the day… are you ready for this?

Because your workflow isn’t just another thing to add to your To Do list or track. It IS your To Do list + tracks its own damned self – woot! woot!
In fact, it tracks YOU better than any assistant can, even better than your mom did in 10th grade when she thought you were drinking but couldn’t prove it yet (or is that just me?)
Furthermore, all of those documents mentioned earlier? You never have to manually fill in or email or copy-and-paste another one of these things ever again (unless, of course, you want to!)

So how are we going to pull that off? Simple!
We’ll use a tool called a Customer Relationship Manager or Client Response Manager – depending on who you’re talking to – but they’re usually referred to as CRMs.
There are a number of CRMs for you to choose from, based on the types of services you sell.
However, since decision fatigue is a real thing, I’m going to throw down 3 options that I feel are rock-solid + are budget-friendly get started with, but will suit very different business types.
Note that none of the below are affiliate links, just legit recommendations.

17HATS :: ideal for bosses who live-and-die by the use of mobile notifications + alerts to keep them on track, but also the no-brainer for those who plan to go balls-to-the-wall on automations with a hardcore “look ma! no hands” approach.

DUBSADO :: best suited for creative freelancers like photographers or designers whose ability to make sales depends heavily on having the esthetics + visuals of their brand to be 100 on-point

SATORI :: this will be the obvious choice for coaches + consultants whose services are based on sessions that require a lot of scheduling

17Hats + Dubsado both offer FREE plans until you hit 3 projects. I love this because by then, you’re obviously monetized + able to shell out the small cost of $20-25/month, especially considering the huge workload you’re saving yourself from having to do it manually every time. While there is a learning curve to these CRMs, this is a set-it-and-forget-it system you only have to do once to make it work (hella hard!) for you on each + every project.
Satori has a free 30-day trial but will start charging you $25/month – which is totally worth it for how stupid-simple it makes booking those coaching sessions – but note that if you plan on implementing a super-sweet post-delivery workflow  to wow + upsell your clients – all at once! – this one falls short.
The A-to-Z for these CRMs is covered in {STREAMLINED LIKE SNAP!} including cheat sheets + videos to take all the guesswork out of setting up these  up.

TL;DR OF STEP 4 TO ESTABLISHING YOUR SIGNATURE PROCESS

Plug in each step + every document of your workflow into your CRM. Know it, love it, wonder how you ever lived without it.
All this to say…
👉 You will start by getting your shit together about WHO YOU SERVE, what you have to OFFER them + PACKAGE that accordingly.
👉 You’ll establish a standard of operations – or a WORKFLOW – that you will use to make sure that you make like Aerosmith on the Armageddon soundtrack because You Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.
👉 Then, you’ll cover your bases with the trifecta of documents that will on-board your clients in a way that helps kill off any buyer’s remorse or self-doubt that sometimes creeps in to instead make them feel like you’re a real professional who knows what you’re doing + they’ve made a good decision in hiring you.
👉 And finally, you’ll plug those steps into a CRM that will automate all the BS paperwork that was keeping you busy AF.

Is it a heck-ton (<— official measure. it’s metric) of work? Yup, I’m not gonna lie :: THIS WILL BE AN INVESTMENT of your time, energy + focus to set up!
KEYWORD ALERT :: “Investment”. This means that the time you invest into the initial set-up of DOING THIS DOES PAY OFF in dividends.
KEYWORD ALERT #2 :: “Initial”. Meaning, the first time, because ONCE is exactly how many times you will need to set this up to keep working for you. It’s basically the next best (+ legal alternative!) to cloning yourself.
All of the hours you’d otherwise spend managing the on-boarding process is now a license for you to use that time to print more more money because you’ve set yourself up to be free to take on more clients, to do stuff with your kids, or to hang out at happy hour with MEEEEEE!!!

If you’re open to changing the way you operate to make room for more money while doing less work, {STREAMLINED LIKE SNAP!} is about putting all the tutorials, cheat sheets + swipe files to make that happen, delivered on a silver platter. CLICK HERE to learn more about {STREAMLINED LIKE SNAP!}.

Author: Lanie

Lanie Lamarre is the headmistress at Miss #GSD, where feisty biz ladies like you come to flip their To Do lists into DONE! Overwhelmed much? Drop her a line — all you have to lose is your gigantor workload!