As a small business owner, I find myself trying out a bunch of tools to see what would make my life easier. I’m ashamed to admit just how much money I’ve wasted on trendy apps over the past 3 years! One that was certainly not a waste of money was Dubsado. If you haven’t heard of Dubsado and you have a small business in a creative field like photography, calligraphy, art, graphic design, website design, or copywriting then you are missing out on the best business management tool to help you run your creative business.
Please note that affiliate links are used in this article (I’m a small business owner, trying to make it), I only affiliate with tools that I use and LOVE.
What is Dubsado?
For those of you who don’t know, Dubsado is a business management tool. It allows you to manage leads, customers, contracts, scheduling, email communication (not to be confused with email marketing), workflows, invoicing, contact forms, projects, and questionnaires. Their main competitors are Honeybook and 17Hats.
No, I don’t work for Dubsado, but I have been a customer of theirs since 2017. I’ll admit that I didn’t really use the cool features until 2019. I honestly didn’t take any training on the damn thing. Last year though, my business picked up tremendously. I addition, I have a full-time job, a 3-year old, and quite frankly, a life. So I needed something to help me better manage some of my lead and client processes.
How Was I Using It Wrong?
You ever see someone on a social post about some awesome app, and then you get said app and your life is not better? That’s how I felt about Dubsado from 2017-2018. All of these people were blogging and raving about it and having Honeybook vs Dubsado fights online. I just didn’t see what all the hype was about.
Then in 2019, I came across a video on Instagram where someone talked all about workflows using Dubsado and I was shocked and a little embarrassed. I was embarrassed that I had been paying for this app for over 2 years and never realized it had that functionality. I was also shocked that I hadn’t seen anyone talking about it sooner. Of course, there are videos everywhere of people showing you how to use it, but I was oblivious to them.
Prior to this workflow revelation, I was basically using Dubsado as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. I was just using it to manage my clients and send them proposals, invoices and invite them to meetings when they asked for it.
5 Reasons I Can’t Run My Design Business Without Dubsado
1. It Connects All My Invoices to Quickbooks Automatically
If you are like me, then you HATE reconciling invoices and reconciling charges in Quickbooks. It’s just such an annoying task that you have to do every single month, but it’s so damn tedious. Dubsado doesn’t come with a lot of integrations, but the ones they do offer are crucial. The integration with Quickbooks has been a lifesaver. Quickbooks is automatically updated with all my business income and knows when I’m waiting for money. Every time I receive a payment or create a new invoice in Dubsado, that information syncs directly to Quickbooks online.
Warning, I originally signed up for the wrong version of Quickbooks. The only versions of Quickbooks that can integrate with Dubsado are the following Quickbooks for Small Business plans:
- Quickbooks Online Small Business
- Simple Start
I signed up with Quickbooks Self-Employed originally and realized it didn’t sync, but I had already paid for it. Also, you can’t just move all that data from Quickbooks Self-Employed to Quickbooks for Small Business. I had to redo EVERYTHING I had already reconciled. It was a freaking nightmare! Don’t make that mistake.
2. You Can Embed Dubsado Forms on Your Website
This may not seem like a big deal, but it really is amazing to use Dubsado forms on your website versus your MailChimp, FloDesk, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, etc. Why, might you ask? Well, when you use those forms, then you have to import those contacts into Dubsado later to manage the leads or create a Zap using Zapier to do that. Instead, I embed my Dubsado lead forms into my website so that when someone fills them out, a new lead is added to my system automatically.
From there, I can use all those glorious workflows to do things with those leads automatically like:
- Send them an invitation to book a consultation
- Send them a questionnaire to fill out
- Create a project in the system
3. Workflows Automatically Manage My Leads From Initial Contact to Conversion to Customer
Yes, you read that super long heading correctly. I use workflows to manage my leads automatically from the time they fill out that first contact form until they pay their deposit. Although the workflow fun doesn’t stop there since I have a workflow for leads and a workflow for clients too.
I know you might be thinking, wait, what in the world is a workflow and how can I get one of those? A workflow (a term often used in applications for business or project management), is an automation that is triggered by an action, and in response, another action happens. This is my lead workflow below:
Basically, what all of that says is that when someone fills out my website form, then they’ll automatically receive my project brief. Once they complete the project brief form, they will automatically receive an email inviting them to schedule their consultation. Then when that consultation meeting is over, I’ll automatically get a task to customize my proposal template based on the needs of that lead. Lastly, when I’m done with that if they signed that proposal, a project start date would populate. Then that lead would be switched over to the project workflow. Pretty awesome, right?!
4. You Can Use It to Manage Your Leads and Clients
I’ve already hyped up the fact that you can use Dubsado to manage your leads, but did I mention clients? You can create proposal templates with all your packages and pricing information. When your lead selects a package they want to pay for, the system can automatically send them a contract and invoice them. Now they’re a client.
From there you can use the email feature to send onboarding information, allow them to schedule discovery meetings, they can make payments to you, and they can log into the client portal to see all of your communication and forms they’ve sent you thus far. When you have documents you need to send to them, you can send them through the system and their portal will keep track of it all.
5. Dubsado Syncs With My Calendar
One of the best features is that you can connect a calendar to Dubsado. This way you can keep up with appointments and client projects in one place. This is fantastic because when you’re using the scheduling feature of Dubsado, it will check your synced calendar first and show your availability accordingly. No more going back and forth with leads and clients via email about which time may work for you both.
There is a Problem With This Feature That I’ve Hacked
Dubsado only allows you to sync 1 calendar, unlike my beloved Calendly which allows you to sync multiple calendars. I don’t know about you, but I actually have 2 very important calendars. One for my full-time job with a Fortune 250 company, and my business calendar for Latesha Lynch Designs. My job calendar is with Outlook and my business calendar is with Google for Business. My initial solution was to share my Outlook calendar with my Google business calendar so all my work meetings would show up on my business calendar. However, when you share an outside calendar on Google calendar, it does show you the other calendar’s items, but they are not syncing with your Google Calendar. Essentially, Google is just allowing you to view multiple calendars in one dashboard only.
So the next obvious solution was to do the reverse. Sync my business Google calendar with my work Outlook calendar. This actually worked, because all of my business stuff showed up on my work calendar and all was good. That was until I realized all my invitations from my business were coming from my work calendar. I wanted to keep those things separate, and none of my personal business matters need to come from my work calendar. It was a mess.
I Googled all the workarounds, and naturally, everyone complains that you should be able to sync outside calendars with Google Calendar, but it’s not an option. I ended up finding a workaround tool that someone created for this very issue. It’s called SyncGene. Ultimately, it connects and syncs your calendars in whichever order you’d like. I wanted my Outlook calendar to sync with Google’s and it is. Now my Google business calendar has everything from work and business and all my calendar invites come from my business as it should.
Try Dubsado for Free and Save 20%
I’m obviously a huge fan of Dubsado, so much so that I became an affiliate of theirs. Now, with my special link, you not only get the free trial to manage 3 clients no questions asked (by default), but you also get 20% off your first month or year when you sign up for an account using my link here: https://www.dubsado.com/?c=lateshalynchdesigns or you use Affiliate code LateshaLynchDesigns.