How I Use Dubsado in My Stationery Business
Being completely honest here: starting and running a small business can be really challenging. My job requires a lot more than just designing stationery and writing calligraphy. In addition to those things, my days are full of emails, content creation, social media posts, website upkeep, marketing, developing relationships with wedding vendors, bookkeeping…I mean, the list goes on and on. And the last thing I want to do is add other responsibilities to my plate, or make tasks more complicated than they need to be.
There are a lot of great tools out there for business owners, but for me, none is more important or life-changing than my Client Management System, Dubsado. I can honestly say that I would not be able to run my business without it! It was the first purchase I made for my business, and I have never looked back.
So, what does it do? Basically, everything client management wise!
features i use regularly
If you’ve explored my website at all, you may have seen my contact form or inquiry forms for my various services. I created all of these forms from scratch with Dubsado, and embedded them on my site! Prospective clients fill out all the information I need, submit the form, and I receive an email and notification within program. It then automatically creates a client profile and lead in Dubsado, where I can manage their job.
Dubsado is able to connect to your email account, so you can communicate (and keep track of communications) with your client right there! This really comes in handy when you’re sending forms, invoices, and contracts, because you can send links as a button, which looks way more legit.
You can create email templates as well. Most of my communication needs to be customized for each client, but there are a few instances where I’ll use a pre-made email (when I need to direct prospective clients to my website, Instagram, and inquiry form, etc). Even more, you can automate emails to send on a specific date, or after a certain amount of time has passed!
As wonderful as all Dubsado’s features are, the proposal is what really sets this system apart for me. Proposals are forms that I can design from scratch and send to clients, and I use these in several parts of my creative process.
First, I send proposals to every prospective client, showing them what we can do and how much it will cost. They can select the packages they would like to order, fill out any other information, and submit the form. Once they do that, the webpage continues right into the contract and invoice. AND because Dubsado is magical, the packages the client selected in the proposal are automatically added to their invoice and contract right away.
I also use proposals throughout the invitation proofing process, showing clients their stationery design and leaving places for them to give me feedback on it.
And when I say you can design from scratch, I mean it! Many CRMs have proposal features, but I have yet to see one with the customization ability that Dubsado has. You can add custom code blocks to your forms, allowing you to customize EVERYTHING. I recently took the time to do this, and now have everything match my brand perfectly (including my brand colors and fonts, which are from Adobe TypeKit).
Like I mentioned, I write and host my contracts through Dubsado. I have created contract templates for each kind of service I offer, and use smart fields to automatically populate client and job information like names, the invoice total, job dates, etc.
Clients are able to read through the document, sign, and send it to me without ever leaving that one webpage! I want my clients to have a clean, simple way to book, so this feature is incredibly valuable to me.
Not only can clients sign the contract online, they can also pay me directly through my invoice using PayPal or their credit card. I send itemized invoices and set up a payment plan, telling them how much is due when. Automatic emails can be set to remind them of any future payments, too!
My services and client work are very customized, so my automated workflows are very simple compared to other businesses, but I do utilize them in a few places. The main use is in client off-boarding, where I send them a link to our review form and final information. This is so helpful because I often ship a product out and then forget to email them in the coming weeks asking for a review!
There really is so much you can do with workflows that I haven’t even explored, so if this is a feature you’re interested in, definitely check out Dubsado’s blog!
My business finances are fairly straightforward, so I’m able to handle all my bookkeeping through Dubsado’s built-in feature. (I know many small business owners use Quickbooks or Quickbooks Self Employed in conjunction with Dubsado, but I haven’t found the need for both yet.) Income paid through invoices is automatically added to your records, and you can manually enter expenses as well. Dubsado can keep track of your total profit, expenses, and show you how those have changed over time. You can also set financial goals and see if you’re on track!
There is SO MUCH to Dubsado that I haven’t used yet in my business. Some features I may explore in the future, and some aren’t really necessary to my business model, but are very helpful to other users. A few of these things include:
If any of those sound like they’d be helpful in your biz, I recommend reading more about them on the Dubsado blog!
why I haven’t looked back
Dubsado was the first purchase I made for my business (over three years ago), and I have never regretted or questioned that decision. Their support team is truly amazing—always there to help troubleshoot any issues—and they are constantly adding new features to the platform. They even help you transfer over if you’re coming from another CRM, and they offer a free trial for your first three clients (no time limit!).
I honestly couldn’t recommend them more, so if you’re in the market for a CRM, be sure to check them out!
Use this link (or code “caitlinobryantdesign”) for 20% off your first month or year—whichever package you choose.
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate (so I get a bonus if you use my link or code), but I wouldn’t be one if I didn’t fully recommend them! I’ve used this program from day one of my business and couldn’t imagine it any other way.