4 Systems You Need to Run Your Creative Business
Starting your own creative business is both extremely exciting and very very scary. First, you have this amazing idea! Something you’re passionate about and believe it could earn you a living. Then, the hard work comes. And yes, it’s a LOT of hard work. But for a life on your own terms, it’s so worth it!
Over the past five years running Wild Side and other crazy business ventures, it’s safe to say I’ve learned a lot. One thing that I learned pretty early on during my entrepreneur journey is that in order for a business to run smoothly and efficiently, some key systems need to be put into place. As the business grows, you find that you need more and more tools and systems in place to support you.
As an owner, you need to touch every part of your business, and being able to implement these systems has changed my life! Especially now that Wild Side is run by an amazing remote team, it’s made it much simpler and more seamless when it comes to communicating and accomplishing goals. And now that I have a few years under my belt, I’m excited to share the knowledge I’ve learned!
4 Systems You Need to Run Your Creative Business
1. Dubsado CRM
CRM stands for Customer Relations Management, and is crucial in a business! Dubsado is essentially an all-in-one portal to manage everything from scheduling calls with clients, gathering invoices, sending client questionnaires and proposals and more.
Why Dubsado over other CRM’s? Three reasons: Customizability, Integration and Automation.
Customizability: Hello, one-of-a-kind proposals that wow! Where other CRM’s only offer limited proposal design options, with Dubsado if you know the basics of HTML, you can build out some truly beautiful, auto-populating proposals that are custom to your brand (and if you don’t know HTML, we can help you with that ;).
Integration: Dubsado’s built in scheduler functionality allows clients to book a call, fill out a form and auto-populate your calls into your Google Calendar. You can even auto-generate a video meeting link via Zoom, Google Hangouts and more! In addition, you can accept payments for these calls, send automated reminders, and facilitate rescheduling. Other great integrations include accounting software like Zero and Zapier (for unlimited possibilities).
Automation: Say goodbye to spending hours filling in PDF proposals and manually revising them when your prospects ask for multiple pricing scenarios. And take a breath, because you won’t have to worry about sending invoice reminders or client follow up emails. By setting up proposals and workflows in Dubsado, you can save hours (and sleepless nights) spent worrying about logistics, and more time doing what you do best.
P.S. if you’re interested in using Dubsado for your own online business, you can use code ADVENTURE for a referral discount.
The Wild Side team lives in Asana! It’s where we keep every single current project so that we can see exactly where each of them are in the timeline. It’s where we assign tasks and communicate with clients.
For every new client, we create a “project” where we can then break it down into further categories. For example, if we’re developing a brand new website for a client, our categories might be called: Brand Strategy, Brand Design, Web Design, Web Development. And each of these categories will have their own tasks as well, making it really organized and easy for any team member or client to follow along the process.
The Conversations feature in Asana is also perfect for keeping all communication in one place – no more tracking down emails, remember to CC all the right people or deliverability issues. Asana keeps all your files, conversations and tasks in one place, where everyone involved in the project can see them. Even if clients are used to email, they can still receive notifications and reply to them directly from their inbox. It’s a win-win!
We use Instagrantt in conjunction with Asana. It’s used to create task dependencies and easily move around project dates (this happens often!). It’s a completely intuitive drag-and-drop system that makes creating timelines and schedules super easy and simple. So if the first deadline in a project moves, Instagantt will automatically shift all future deadlines by the same interval, which is a massive timesaver. This is a feature we hope Asana adds to its native suite in the future, but for now Instagantt is a great buddy tool that’s only $9/mo.
Dropbox is where every file lives and breathes! It’s amazing for team file sharing and great for selective sync to devices, meaning it automatically sends to my computer when a team member uploads a file. It can be accessed from anywhere and anyone on the team, which in an online business, is so important. We also love using Dropbox for collaboration, because with its commenting feature users can highlight areas of a file and leave comments or feedback that can be replied to or resolved by other users. It saves a ton of email back and forth during the creative process.
Finding the right systems for you and your business can take some trial and error. But once you find what works for you and your team, the possibilities are endless. The true payoff has been having the extra time and energy to actually work on the business too, not just in it!
What are some of your favorite tools and systems to keep you organized in your creative business? Share in the comments – we love discovering new ones!