DISCLAIMER: This post was last updated in late 2016. Dubsado has since updated their system and it looks even better than the screenshots shown here. Visit their site for more info, and use code "elisaanneco" for 20% off your first month or first year! I recommend the year option, of course.
FOR AN UPDATED POST, Published Jan. 31, 2018, click here: How I Use Dubsado as a Calligrapher & Designer
As a small business owner who also happens to be a solopreneur, I realized not even one month into pursuing my calligraphy business dream full-time that I would need some sort of Client Relation Management System (CRM) to help me keep track of all my leads, orders, invoices, contracts, etc. Basically, I wanted to find a CRM system geared towards creative entrepreneurs.
As you may know there are multiple CRM systems out there that creative entrepreneurs (or small businesses in general) have used in the past and continue to use on a daily basis. Some of these, to name just a few, include 17Hats, Sprout, Tave and Honeybook. I had heard of Honeybook repeatedly through The Rising Tide Society, and it seemed like everyone really liked it, so I decided to give it a try!
I purchased the lifetime plan with Honeybook and realized about 2 weeks in that it wasn’t working for me how I wanted or hoped. Thankfully, they had a 60-day money back guarantee and I was able to get a refund. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of creative friends (mainly photographers) who use Honeybook and love it, but I was looking for a system that was a more project-friendly and a less event-based. I especially needed something that would allow me to quickly and easily add new projects for all of the custom work that I complete. Not to mention, I started to notice that a lot of people who used Honeybook and had problems with the program weren’t getting their questions answered, and that definitely caused some concern!
I can’t recall when I first heard of Dubsado, but the minute I signed up for my free trial I knew I had found something special. With the help of the Dubsado FB Group and a few emails to firstname.lastname@example.org I was able to get my questions quickly answered and my first client entered smoothly into the system. I usually start experimenting with a new system by adding myself as a client as well to see how everything would look from the client’s end. As I started sending myself test emails, forms, and questionnaires I couldn’t get over how beautiful everything looked.
Since officially signing up with Dubsado, my projects have been streamlined in a way that make them easily accessible, easily traceable, and easy to manage with a few simple clicks. It is my desire to make sure that other creatives know about how wonderful of a system Dubsado is, and how wonderful the co-creators, Jason Berg and Becca Berg, are as well! You can read more about them HERE.
For the rest of this post, I would like to highlight my favorite features of Dubsado, as well as outline what sets Dubsado apart from other CRM systems that exist. I also have a referral code at the bottom of the post if you are interested in trying Dubsado and receiving 20% off of your first month!
1. You can customize Dubsado in a way that highlights your brand!
From what I’ve heard, multiple other CRM systems always have a trace of their brand somewhere on the forms, questionnaires, emails, invoices, etc. Meaning your client will see the name of your CRM system on almost every item that you send them. The beauty of Dubsado’s system is that they don’t slap their name on any of these things. Your clients will never see the name Dubsado floating around on anything they receive from you. And, although Dubsado’s main brand color is teal, you can change the buttons on your emails and forms to one that matches your brand. All of my buttons are purple and I love it! It adds such a personal touch to the system.
This is actually hugely important, because your client will never be confused where any of their invoices/forms are coming from! I’ve heard stories of other people constantly having to answer questions from their clients about the CRM system that they are using, simply because the client doesn’t recognize the name of the program, or can’t figure out how to work it! That hasn’t happened to me once.
2. You can easily capture leads!
Dubsado makes it very easy to create a “lead form” that can be embedded into your website! Once you create this form and embed it, anyone who fills out that form is immediately imported into Dubsado, therefore streamlining how you handle your leads and inquiries. One of the hardest things for me in my business is keeping track of leads that come from Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail. Now that I can use my “lead form” from Dubsado, I have an additional way to streamline initial requests and questions. The more detailed the form, the easier it is to respond and recognize that potential clients needs! I have yet to embed my form on my website but I’m so excited to add it soon!
Leads can also be marked “cold”, “warm”, or “hot”. So if you feel like someone isn’t likely to book with you, you can mark them “cold” to remind yourself that you don’t need to follow up with them!
3. The "buildable" forms are formatted to look like PDFs.
When your client receives a proposal, questionnaire, or any buildable item from you, the form that they end up looking at will be so crisp, clean, and professional, that it will look as if you uploaded a PDF and sent it to them. I can not emphasize how important this feature is for me due to the fact that I am a calligrapher and designer; overall I need everything I send to my client to look top notch, as well as be easy to navigate and fill out if I send them anything with a “free response” space.
Not once have I ever had a client ask me any questions about how to access their forms, questionnaires, or invoices. All of it is so seamless that everything your clients sees looks as if it comes straight from your website. It makes everything I create and present to a client feel extremely professional and it has made me more confident in my business and myself!
View an example of one of my forms HERE.
4. Building forms is incredibly intuitive & easy!
At this point in my career, there’s no point for me to invest in a system that I can’t figure out on my own. Many of you might be able to identify with me when it comes to this! Sometimes being a solopreneur means you have to be able to do it yourself and do it quickly. Having help is always wonderful, but you always want to be able to understand things for yourself if you’re going to make them successfully work for you. Though Dubsado does offer you help getting all of your contracts and forms set up in the system when you first sign on, there wasn’t a reason for me to have them do it because I was able to figure it out so easily on my own!
I was building forms as soon as I started my trial, and I loved the ease of pulling new elements into the form right where I needed them. You can choose from multiple different elements, some of which include an image, free response space, and client signature (there’s many more!). All of these can easily be added/removed with the ease of either dragging them to the form, or dragging them off the form into the trashcan icon.
After spending only a small part of my day building forms in Dubsado, I was extremely impressed with how they looked and I knew they would be sure to “wow” my clients as well!
5. Dubsado always keeps you in the loop.
The owners and creators of Dubsado do an amazing job keeping all of their system users in the loop! If there are new updates coming up, Becca or Jason will most likely post something in the FB page to announce when an update is being released. They also take requests from the system users when it comes to adding new things to Dubsado or creating additional updates. They are all ears when it comes to taking new opinions into account, which is so nice considering that most CRM systems aren’t willing to change anything according to what their users ask for.
Whenever there is a new update posted to the FB page (or emailed to my inbox) I’m always checking it out right away to see what they’ve added and how it works. It seems like they are releasing new things each and every week, and it’s so encouraging to know that Dubsado is being run by a group of people that cares to deeply about the program that they’ve created!
6. Help is always near!
How many of us hate calling a business and getting put on hold for 10 minutes plus? I know I do (waving my arm wildly in the air over here)! With Dubsado you don’t have to worry about that. Currently, they have a wonderful team that answers questions on their FB group as well as quickly via email. Not only does the Dubsado team answer questions, but other users in the FB group are usually always more than willing to reach a lending hand as well! Oh, I almost forgot to mention, there is a “help” chat available when you login to the system and their team is only a click away.
Dubsado has completely changed and revolutionized the way that I do business. It’s given me additional confidence, allowed me to smoothly streamline my projects and invoices, as well as surrounded me with a wonderful community of people who are constantly supporting each other and rooting each other on!
If you have any questions about Dubsado, feel free to comment below and I will be happy to answer them the best that I can! I also have a referral code that will allow you to receive 20% off your first month of Dubsado if you want to give it a try (and I highly recommend it)! The code is “elisaanneco”.
Use Code "elisaanneco" for 20% off your first month!
FOR ADDITIONAL READING ON DUBSADO FROM OTHER CREATIVES: