Dubsado proudly used by Mana Media Hawaii

The Art of Herding Cats Using Dubsado

 

When I started my business in 2015, I knew that as my business grew I would need a way to keep contracts, invoices, client correspondence and my general workflow organized.  But, of course, the only products available on the market seemed to be out of reach for my budget at the time, and of course, they were way too complicated.

 

I was going to start my own business and quit dreaming.  I was going to cut the leash that binds an individual to the grid and become a soldier of fortune.

 

Of course, when I started out – I only had one client and a whole lot of faith mixed with anxiety.

 

How was I going to pay the bills?

 

What will people think if I fail?

 

Was I willing to do whatever it takes to grow my company, including getting over my innate shyness to approach others?

 

There was a persistent anxiety inside of my head telling me things that simply weren’t true.  I call him ‘Anxious-itis’ because he is an unwelcome house-guest and creates chaos.

 

Yes, the road ahead of me was unchartered, unscripted, and completely frightening.  I had $2000 to my name and no business equipment to start out with.

 

After buying a laptop, my first instinct was to use my email program to manage my contacts.  But, after acquiring my first dozen new clients it all became a bit much to manage.

 

I failed.  

 

My first gut instinct wasn’t correct but that’s fine.  You know, I’ve learned that if you get down time (i.e. a slow period) in your business, use it as an opportunity to refine processes, use it to catch up on those pesky projects that will save you an hour or two per client all the while promoting, promoting, and promoting.

 

What my business needed was internal workflow and a system so that clients would know what to expect of the creative process while I used it as a tool to manage their expectations effectively.

 

What I needed was a Client Relation Management System (CRM) that could handle EVERY event that would occur between myself and a design client.  It had to be easy, because nobody has time to be bombarded with technical crap, including technical people.

 

In late 2016, I had joined a study group for web creatives and that’s where Dubsado came to me.  Yes, it found me.  I don’t usually get excited about web apps but for some reason Dubsado is making a disciple of me.  Here’s six reasons why:

 

  1. Dubsado stays with your brand – Connect your email account to the system, so all of the email exchanges, contracts and invoices come directly from you. Best of all, they leave no trace of their branding on it.  All a client sees is your beautifully designed forms featuring your logo.
  2. Lead capturing – all is tracked! I’ve spent so much money on different form plugins and all have failed to get me what I need.  (Gravity, contact form 7, Enfold proprietary contact form, Ninja forms, yes im naming you all because you all cost me time and money and came up short)  So you can imagine my surprise when somebody adds their information to a contact form and it appears as a lead within the dashboard of Dubsado!
  3. Forms for everything – At the risk of sounding like Bubba from Forrest Gump, yes y’all can create forms for Contracts, Invoices, Client Questionnaires, Testimonial & Feedback requests, Design uotes, and more. What makes me happy about this is that I can send any one of these forms to my clients and feel confident that their project information is stored in the right place without me having to copy anything over, thus saving a lot of time and hassle.
  4. Automated workflows – this all sounds like science fiction, and it is. A workflow is simply an automatic sequence of events that you set to occur, based on a client’s actions.  For example, you send over a design proposal to a client, they view it and sign.  After signing… what should happen next?  Well, an invoice should be sent to them… and this can be automated so you don’t have to sit by your computer and wait for that one glorious email.  You can actually go about your life knowing that Dubsado is (in fact) your minion army, ready to do what you need it to do, all  at a moments’ notice.
  5. Client Portals – this won me over. You can send your clients a link which allows them to see everything related to their project, every correspondence, contract, invoice, etc… it not only keeps you organized, it keeps your clients in check.  No more “he said, she said”  You can absolutely, without stuttering have a comprehensive list of your entire communications archived within that portal as proof it has been sent.
  6. It’s cheap – If a cheap person tells you something is cheap, what he or she is really saying is that there’s a lot of value packed in Dubsado for less than one would expect to pay. For pennies on the dollar compared to some of the big brands with bloated overhead.  For about $15 per month, you’ll get to enjoy all.

 

Well, what are you waiting for?

 

Get out there.

 

Don’t take my word for it.

 

 

If you have a business that craves organization and automated workflow, Dubsado could very well be for you. Sign up for free (no credit card required) and you’ll get access to Dubsado for up to 3 clients.

Use my code rondog (it’s case sensitive) and you’ll receive 20% off of your first month, or your first year.

 

4 Signs Your Website is Doing A-Ok

It’s easy for website owners and those who manage digital presences to get wrapped up in what their site does not have. This is because if they can imagine a bell or whistle, there’s a big chance the ‘Net offers it or there is someone who can implement it.

The digital grass is, of course, greener on other sites, but there is reason to believe that your Web design is A-OK (and likely better than you think). Let us explore four reasons why.

IT PASSES GOOGLE’S MOBILE-FRIENDLY TEST

Anyone worth their virtual salt understands consumers’ propensity toward navigating the Web on their smartphones, which is why they have ensured their site renders properly regardless of the device in which a user is accessing it on. Whether the site offer responsive or adaptive design or an m.dot site, if it passes Google’s mobile-friendly test, it’s doing alright. Could it do better? Maybe, but the point is, sites that pass Google’s mobile-friendly test are not only ahead of the curve (remember more than half of businesses still do not have websites at all), but they are also in the good graces of Google (at least in regard to this requirement), which as of April 21, 2015 will be expanding its usage of mobile-friendly factors in its search algorithm. In other words, businesses without mobile-friendly websites will not remain competitive in Google’s search engine result pages, as they will not receive a mobile-friendly label, which will result in SEO repercussions. If there’s no other digital improvement made this year, let it be getting a mobile-friendly website immediately.

IT INSTANTLY TELLS A USER WHAT IT OFFERS

Whether a first-time website visitor arrived on a site from an ad or a search result, there’s a significant chance that they are very unfamiliar with what the company offers. They may have a slim idea as to what it does, but brands have to sell themselves – and very, very quickly. In fact, a recent Monetate E-Commerce Quarterly report indicates that it’s within the first minute of an online shopping session that brands lose 30 percent of their site visitors.

Letting users know what a website offers in about 5 seconds isn’t easy. Not only does the website need to have strong, clear copy, but the design cannot distract from the message. Five-Second Test is an online user-testing tool where businesses can upload a screenshot of a landing page or a mockup, set questions they want to have answered and get user feedback. By completing tests for other companies, businesses can earn free responses for their own tests, otherwise plans range from $20-$200 a month. Anyone can head over to fivesecondtest.com to provide feedback for other websites, which can be a learning process all in itself (as they see sites from a user’s perspective). Check out this example test (to zoom in, click on the images):

IT LOADS QUICKLY-ISH

Today’s website visitors want a website to load in less than 2-3 seconds, yet today’s top e-commerce pages do not meet these expectations. In fact, according to 2015 data from Radware, the median time to interact for a top 100 retail site is 5.2 seconds. Radware also reports only 14 percent of the top 10 retail sites rendered feature content in less than 3 seconds. Page size and complexity certainly contribute to these less-than-ideal load times, as do un-optimized images. As with almost anything, its top brands that set users’ expectations. This isn’t to say companies should give up on decreasing their Web pages’ load time (as long load times can lead to higher bounce rates, less conversions and even a hit on SEO efforts), but if they are loading in less time than top retail sites, they are doing better than they think. To test load time, check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights or pingdom’s Website Speed Test. Keep in mind, however, that top brands do have the benefit of the doubt, as consumers have background information on them.

IT DEMONSTRATES CREDIBILITY

Just like user reviews provide consumers and business buyers with more (and often seen as better) information to use in purchasing decisions, so too do client lists, security seals, testimonials, etc. Brands who let website visitors see these types of social proof at a quick glance are poised for higher conversions, as they are more deemed more trustworthy than what a brand says they have to offer (although it’s important to share that too). 7Search.com, for example, provides highlights of its clients list directly on its homepage, adding instant credibility to its services.

Adding client lists, testimonials and more definitely requires a designer’s eye and experience to ensure they add to the message and not just clutter a Web page. Another worthy example is Zendesk, demonstraing (again on its homepage) that more than 45,000 businesses trust it for their customer service needs.

There are certainly dozens of other elements that can indicate to a company that their Web design may be better than they think it is, but those who have mastered these four points are certainly well on their way to digital success. Of course mediocrity is never acceptable, but it’s important to remind ourselves that if we care enough to worry and are doing our best to improve our site’s design, we’re doing A-OK!

– See more at: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2015/03/26/4-reasons-your-web-design-is-a-ok.aspx?utm_source=websitemagazine&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter#sthash.f204pxv7.dpuf