Yep, I feel you. It wasn't long after I took my design business full time that I began experiencing inbox overwhelm. I felt like I was constantly getting bombarded with emails, and it was especially frustrating when it was simply a back-and-forth about meeting times. It was keeping me from focusing on my most valuable work, and the hours I committed to my business every day were expanding week-to-week just to keep up.
The worst part? I was feeling overworked and exhausted — and my income hadn't gone up at all — which meant that I was working harder and reaping no benefit. What?! I realized that I was deeply in need of some process improvement, and dug into some pretty nerdy, hardcore research on project, process, and client relationship management.
If you're an Ember & Co regular, you know that one of my FAVORITE TOOLS OF ALL TIME is Dubsado. I am OBSESSED — you can learn more about its wonders here. However, I still needed something that would manage my appointment/call scheduling. Enter Acuity.
Around the time that I found Acuity, I met Tessa, a wonderful Lean Six Sigma Consultant and the founder of The Palmerton Group, a boutique project management firm. As her title implies, she knows her stuff when it comes to process improvement and time efficiency.
I could tell you all about how Acuity has improved my weekly workflow — but who better to hear it from than a tried-and-true process strategist?
Beyond honored to introduce Tessa and share the wonders of Acuity with you!
Alright, Tessa — take it from here!
Do you have multiple tools that don’t efficiently help you onboard new clients? I’ve been where you are— and almost to the point of wanting to seriously pull my hair out because I felt like my inbox was my home.
Before I started using Acuity, I had probably tried at least 3-4 different systems and none of them seemed to give me exactly what I needed — my time back. I calculated at some point that I was easily losing about 20 hours a week on average by allowing the biggest process of my business to be handled in my inbox. That’s a huge headache!
I now have one tool that is managing multiple steps and tasks within a process for me. With Acuity, I can be hands-off and focus more on serving my clients. As a service-based business owner, I’ve learned that my success starts with my client's success and it is an integral part of growing my business. It’s important for clients to know what to expect while working with you.
Clients are better and less stressed clients when they feel like you’ve anticipated their needs and questions. This means that you can focus more on your zone of genius to help clients achieve their goals and your team can spend less time fielding client questions and “issue” tickets.
With their easy to integrate calendar, you’ll no longer have to ask clients, “what time works for you, again?” You can easily set up your availability from your dashboard and clients can see available times and book their own appointments. Bonus? If they need to reschedule, you can give them permission to do so within settings.
Before hopping on a call with a potential client, I like to make that I have some pre-screen information that gives me an inside glimpse of their current challenges. Based on that information I usually know whether or not someone will be a good fit or not. The best part? I also use intake forms for when I have coffee chats with people or for those interested in collaborating or working with me on a project.
While they haven’t left completely, checks and money orders feel as though they are of the past considering the options we have today. Being able to accept payments with Acuity has not only streamlined my process but also I am able to get payments upfront. The bonus, in this case, is that Acuity integrates with so many other popular payment processors like Paypal and Stripe. You never have to wonder again when your client is going to pay you.
The emails that go out to clients before and after appointments is another time-saving feature. Once booked clients will receive reminder notification emails that can be customized to include links or any other pertinent information deemed necessary. For example, my first notification email to a client 24 hours before their session includes a link for them access our meeting via Zoom. Because they are customizable you have a lot of flexibility in how you use those emails even though they are technically for notifications only.
Now that you’ve had an inside look at how I use Acuity in my business, are you ready to make that switch?The best news is that Acuity is inexpensive and robust. Their plans start at just $15 per month while other tools like 17Hats and Satori start at $37 and $33 per month. And if you're a Squarespace user, you can get Acuity FREE, forever. Yep. *insert happy dance*
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Tessa Williams is a speaker, Lean Six Sigma Consultant, and Founder of The Palmerton Group, a boutique project management firm that works with right and left brained high achiever ex-corporate professionals who are using their skills to make a greater impact in their own business now. She offers strategic planning and process improvement services to increase productivity and decrease waste of resources.
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