Honeybook, Tave, Dubsado, 17Hats and more. There were (and still are) unlimited options when it came to choosing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool to help manage my business. So why did I choose Honeybook? There are too many reasons to list them all, but here are the biggest ones:
- HoneyBook is user friendly for both the business owner and the client
- It is designed for creatives and customizable to your business and brand
- The experience is 10 out of 10 virtually & in person (that mobile app ????)
- And last but certainly not least: It has given me so much time back!
I’m going to be embarrassingly honest for a moment and share with you how I was “managing” my business prior to signing up for HoneyBook. And yes, managing needs to be in quotes because get ready to cringe.
One million years ago (okay… more like 5 years ago) I was communicating with inquiring clients using every platform imaginable. Email, Instagram DM, Facebook Messages, text messages and more. I was sending contracts through Docusign, snail mail or bringing paper contracts in person. At one point I was even emailing my client the contract and having them print – sign – and scan or mail them back to me (cringe – how inconvenient for them). I was taking payments by check, cash, Paypal and Square. I thought I was crushing it, but looking back at the way I was managing my clients was creating an “uphill mile walk both ways in the snow” kind of experience. I was keeping track of my clients and my finances by using spreadsheets in Google Drive. I had timelines, details about wedding days and reminders saved in endless documents, the Notes app on my phone and even in a paper notebook. Tax season literally consisted of me scrolling through months of bank account transactions because I had stopped updating my “super organized” spreadsheets the second things got busy (which as a single mom operating a full time business while working a full time corporate job 5 years ago meant my spreadsheet was neglected almost immediately).
If you’re feeling some first hand embarrassment here (or even some second hand embarrassment – I’m judging me too) then you’re in the right place.
HoneyBook addressed every single pain point I had in running my business and wrapped it up in a neat little box with a bow. Having this tool to manage my business has been a literal gift to my life. And maybe that sounds dramatic, but I’m just being honest.
HoneyBook is User-Friendly
for the business owner:
When you’re a photographer like me, or any small business owner for that matter, you quickly learn that your business is 10% of what you do and 90% of things that happen behind the scenes to make your business run. Communicating, marketing, scheduling, accounting and so much more. There are individual tools, apps and websites to help with each of these things but who the heck has the time to learn 10 different tools while trying to run their business? No one. I tried to convince myself that with enough caffeine it was totally doable but it’s not, I promise. When the banking app you use creates a separate monthly budget category just for coffee you might have a problem.
So what makes it so easy to use? HoneyBook has a contact form that embeds directly in to your website and funnels client inquiries in to a project space on the platform (this is called your pipeline.) Each phase of your communication process moves your client’s project in to a new section so you can see exactly what stage you’re at with each person: inquiry, follow up, meeting, proposal sent, proposal signed, retainer paid, planning and completed. You can even create your own categories for your pipeline.
HoneyBook is full of pre-created templates and even gives you the ability to customize or create your own for each stage of your process: emails, contracts, invoices, questionnaires, informational brochures and more. I personally use Green Chair Stories email templates for wedding photographers in my HoneyBook workflow and I can knock out hours worth of emailing in seconds!
HoneyBook also keeps track of your income and sends you monthly reports to make sure you’re hitting your goals! It even has the ability for you to add in your own expenses or connect it with Quickbooks to make it happen automatically. Yep, now Honeybook gets to have reports of your coffee addiction too…#worthit.
If you aren’t sure how to use a feature, or are in need of a feature that doesn’t seem to exist on the platform (I dare you to try and find one – because I haven’t yet!) they have an in depth forum of help resources and an incredible, responsive support staff that will answer your questions. They listed to their users and are constantly using real feedback from small business owners to add and update features on the platform! One of my recent favorites? Gift Cards!
for your Client:
When people are trying to hire you for a service or buy your product you don’t want to make it complicated for them to communicate with you and pay you money (if only I could time travel and tell this to my past self!), because you’ll likely end up losing their business to someone who will. Since your client is automatically added to your project space in HoneyBook when they reach out through your contact form it makes it easy for them (and you) to access all of the emails, questionnaires, informational brochures, and more all in one place.
The best part is they can even review and sign their contract and pay their invoice online. No more snail mail, carrier pigeons or in person meetings required. (Don’t worry though, their mobile app still makes in person meetings possible and a breeze – but more on that later!)
This feels like a bit of a humble brag, but the proof is in the pudding and I’ve had multiple clients mention how easy the process was to work with me, or compliment me on my organization and communication skills throughout the process and in their Google Reviews after receiving their wedding or elopement photos!
“Sharee is absolutely AMAZING!! I knew from the moment we first started emailing back and forth that she was exactly the person I wanted to take our wedding photos. She was so organized, helpful in deciding what would work best for us and listened to what we wanted” – Laura
HoneyBook is Customizable
Standing out is crucial to having a successful small business. As a Colorado wedding and elopement photographer I know all about running a business in a saturated and competitive market. Colorado is a beautiful state and is bursting at the seams with incredibly talented local photographers and there are photographers from many other areas chomping at the bit to travel to and work in Colorado. I don’t blame them, because living here is like walking around in a real life post card but it makes standing out even more important.
More often than not, clients are going to reach out to more than just you. It’s pretty normal to shop around especially when they’re investing a good chunk of money in to a very important day. HoneyBook makes it easy to integrate your photographs, branding materials or customized communication style in to their templates and forms so your client always has an experience custom to your brand. Even if another professional is using HoneyBook as their CRM the tools in the software make it easy for your brands to stay unique!
The HoneyBook Mobile App
Even though it checked so many other important boxes in managing my photography business, HoneyBook’s mobile app is what really sealed the deal for me when I was initially searching for a CRM.
Running a small business keeps you busy without any extra things thrown in to the mix, but with me juggling growing my business alongside working a full time corporate job, being a single mom and trying to maintain even a glimpse of a social life (jk more like needing extra time to binge watch Netflix) I needed something that I could easily access whether I was at home in front of my computer, on a lunch break or catching a 5 minute window of free time in the pick up line at my son’s school.
I did my due diligence researching which CRM would be the best for me to manage my business and the HoneyBook mobile app stood out immediately amongst competitors. The interface is clean and easy to use, just as organized as the desktop version and gives you access to all of the tools you would have access to if you were in front of a computer. The coolest part? If you were at an in person meeting you could even pull up the mobile app on your phone or tablet for your client to sign digitally and pay their retainer. Talk about convenience and providing a stellar client experience!
“I Need More Hours in a Day!”
These words have probably been spoken by every business owner ever. How the heck do you manage it all with only 24 hours in a day? I tried drinking my body weight in iced coffee and pretending I could function on minimal sleep, but that’s a quick race to burn out and isn’t good for your mental or physical health.
There are ways to outsource areas of your business or general life responsibilities and I’m a big supporter of that, but I think it’s so important that you’re the one communicating with and managing your client relationships because you’re not just the face of your brand, you’re the heart behind it too.
Using HoneyBook gives you access to tools that shave hours of time off of processes that you use on a daily basis. You can even automate some of your processes with a workflow so that things happen without you even clicking a button, like sending questionnaires after sending a request for a review a set amount of time before a project date has passed. Even just those two simple examples that take about 10 minutes each can save you hours worth of combined time when you’re managing multiple clients. Time that you can spend with your family, pets, friends or all by your dang self scrolling through Tik Tok and questioning your side part and skinny jeans.
I Could Ramble on for Days…
There is so much more I could dive in to about just how incredible HoneyBook has been for helping me manage my photography business, but it’s about time you check it out for yourself. The best part? They have a free trial and multiple easy payment plan options, which definitely come in handy when you’re in the beginning stages of running your business.
I have (and want) to disclose that I am a HoneyBook educator and the below link is an affiliate link which means that by you signing up for the software I earn a small commission. Sharing my HoneyBook experience with you is more about me being excited about something that made my business and my life easier than it is about me making money. Promise. Love you, mean it.
Use the above code, click right here or just click that cute little coupon to save 50% on a subscription to HoneyBook. You can thank me later!