Avoid Business Chaos: Create a Smooth Client Onboarding Process
"Personal development is really hard for so many people, so these clients who are going through a really tough phase of working with you when it comes to paying you for the next month. That is an opportunity for them to decide, you know what? I don't wanna do this anymore. Which is sh*%ty for you because it means that you've lost a client and this client that you've lost, you haven't lost in a really clean way where you've talked about completing together and you're ending this relationship consciously." - Katie McManus, Brave Business Coaching
Struggling to get clients on board and seamlessly making payments within their business lots of entrepreneurs don't realise how simple it is to fix a disorganized onboarding process.
And it's exactly that which is causing the problem!
So I'm here to help you stop being a weenie with your business systems, and fix any difficult situations to help you realize the benefits of creating a streamlined system.
Creating a Good Client Experience
A key component of business success is providing a positive client experience.
This includes not only the services provided but also the ease with which clients can access and pay for these services.
A streamlined payment process contributes to a more enjoyable client experience and increases the likelihood of repeat business or referrals.
Initially I myself, Katie McManus, struggled to implement efficient payment systems.
It is common for new business owners to face similar challenges, but I want to reassure listeners to the Weeniecast that there is always room for improvement.
By prioritizing professional systems, businesses can retain clients and promote positive word of mouth, bolstering their reputation and growth.
The Problem with Complicated Payment Systems
Do you think sometimes we can try to be too clever?
When starting a business, entrepreneurs often focus on getting clients and accommodating them, leading to disorganized payment systems.
This not only hinders business growth but also confuses clients and can result in lost revenue.
Inefficient payment systems lead to frustration for both business owners and clients alike, diminishing any sense of professionalism and trust.
With multiple clients paying through different methods, it creates difficulty in managing finances and keeping track of due payments.
So I'm urging you to listen to not only this episode, but the part two of this episode I've shared on my exclusive premium podcast, "The Weeniecast for Winners" so you can reassess their payment systems and ensure it follows a streamlined approach to avoid any complications or misunderstandings.
This episode that's all about stopping being a weenie ADHD-preneur with your business systems, covers:
00:00:58 - The Problem with Complicated Payment Systems
00:04:14 - The Impact on Your Business and Clients
00:09:23 - Changing Your Billing System
00:12:03 - Simplifying Your Business
00:14:20 - Importance of Proper Systems
00:15:01 - Creating a Good Client Experience
00:16:38 - Starting Small and Growing
00:18:21 - Choosing the Right System
00:20:54 - Why Simplicity is Key
Psst!! Have you registered to participate in my "37 Weenie Challenge" yet?
Get hold of the downloads and guides as well as booking yourself into the 37 Weenie accountability club by clicking here.
This episode has a part two which is exclusive to our winning weenies show!
Our spin off premium podcast "Weeniecast for Winners!"
Click on the artwork or here to get access.
How to stop being a weenie ADHD-preneur with your business systems (Transcript)
00:00:13 There are two types of client that I typically start working with. There's the one who's starting from absolute scratch. They have nothing set up, and we have to just build everything from the very beginning. And then there's a type of client who has already gotten started. They already have a few clients.
00:00:29 They have been delivering their service. They've been bringing in a little bit of money. But one of the things that we have to do is we have to go back and audit their whole system, because usually they've created a whole tangled master themselves. And I want to acknowledge that this is not just an ADHD thing, okay? This is something that all business owners do, because when you start a business, your ultimate priority is getting clients, right?
00:00:58 You want to get money in the door as soon as possible. You also tend to be very accommodating to whoever is willing to give you their money for your service. And so oftentimes beginner entrepreneurs will go out. They'll talk to someone. The person will be really excited about hiring them, and they'll ask, cool, how do I become your client?
00:01:18 And the business owner kind of flusters, like, well, whatever's easiest for you. Whatever is easiest for you. You want to pay me through Venmo? You want to pay me through PayPal. If you want to send cash for the carrier pigeon, whatever is most convenient for you, I am happy to take.
00:01:36 And so you train your clients that they set the rules, that they figure out how they pay you. And let me tell you how this normally works out.
00:01:50 So you started your business about a year ago. You have a very substantial side hustle at this point, and you have several clients who all pay you in different ways. You have one who pays you via Venmo at the beginning of each month for each session or consultation that they have with you. You have another one who pays you by Venmo for each session, and sometimes they forget. And so sometimes you have to go back and audit and see, oh, crap, they forgot to pay me.
00:02:16 And you have to chase them down. You have someone else who pays you via PayPal. You have someone else who sends you checks on and on and on and on. Can you see where I'm going here? That this is a nightmare.
00:02:28 Specifically for people with ADHD. We don't like going and cleaning up messes. I wish you could see my office right now. The office that I'm in has a nice background, but if you look behind the camera, it is a mess for us to regularly go and tidy things up. We need it to be easy.
00:02:48 We need for the task to be one and done. Whenever you have multiple systems that you have to check in on, it becomes a layered project. And let's talk about layered projects for a second. Okay, so imagine it's Sunday night. You just went out and got groceries so that you can meal prep for the first half of your week.
00:03:09 And you go into your kitchen to start cooking, and you look in your sink and you have all these dishes, right? You have all these dishes and you're like, oh God, I have to do the dishes. And then you open the dishwasher, and the dish washer is full of clean dishes. Instead of being able to walk into the kitchen and just start meal prepping for the week, you now have to first empty the dishwasher and put everything away. You then have to load the dishwasher with any dishes that can be put in the dishwasher.
00:03:37 And then you have to look and see what dishes can't be put in the dishwasher, and you have to wash them. What started off as just one task turned into one, two, three different tasks before you can even get started. This is one of the things that causes executive dysfunction for people with ADHD having any kind of system that has layered tasks. How this shows up in your business is you get this inkling that a client forgot to pay you, and so you can't just easily go and check in the one system that you have, you have to first figure out, which way do they normally pay you? And then you have to go to that section.
00:04:14 And then you have to find the way that you normally communicate to them that they need to pay you. And now that you're kind of down this rabbit hole, you got to check in on all the other clients and how they're paying you and if they're up to date with all their invoices.
00:04:31 And then, heaven forbid, you make a mistake. So you have to double, triple, quadruple check everything, because you don't want to chase someone down for money if they already paid you for something, because that's not a good look. Imagine if this were your full time business. Imagine if instead of four or five clients, you have ten to 15 clients who are all paying you in different ways. Imagine what a nightmare that would be.
00:04:55 I guarantee you you'd be leaving money on the table. I guarantee you that there would be some clients who would be getting your service for free because you would lose track of how they pay you money. So what started off as you wanting to be super accommodating and making it easy for them turns into making your own life a living hell. Not only that, let's talk through the client experience of having to remember to venmo you anytime. We're giving our clients something that they have to remember to do without a prompt or without it being automated.
00:05:32 We're taking up like a portion of their mental capacity. We're giving them a mental and emotional load that they have to carry if they want to stay in business with us that is energetically irresponsible and energetically unkind. It also creates a very insecure business for you, right? So if you have a client who has to actively pull out their credit card and go to the PayPal link and pay you every single month, what happens when they have a tough month? What happens when finances are tight?
00:06:08 Or like especially if you're an executive coach or a life coach, there are going to be portions of your work with a client where it's not going to be fun for them, right. They're going to be diving into some stuff that just is really heavy and it's a lot of work and I don't know if I want to continue doing this. Personal development is really hard for so many people. So these clients who are going through a really tough phase of working with you when it comes to paying you for the next month, that is an opportunity for them to decide, you know what? I don't want to do this anymore.
00:06:40 Which is bad for you because it means that you've lost a client. And this client that you've lost, you haven't lost in a really clean way where you've talked about completing together and you're ending this relationship consciously, they're just going to ghost you because people are really awkward about breaking up with other people. All right, think about the last breakup you had to go through. If you were the instigator, how hard was it to bring up that conversation right now? Imagine breaking up with someone who has been there for you through thick and thin and supported you and been 100% on your side and all those things because you just don't feel like paying them.
00:07:19 You're never going to speak to them again. And also you're not going to get the results that you probably signed up for. So setting up systems like this sets you up to be ghosted by clients who you love and respect and want to continue working with. It does them a massive disservice because they may give up before they have reached their ultimate success in working with you because there's no accountability and you're giving them more work to do. How rude.
00:07:53 I honestly, personally, as a client of anyone, I get so annoyed when someone tells me that every single month I'm going to have to go in and actively pay an invoice. Like, no, I don't want another thing to do. I'm a busy human being and I have limited mental capacity for getting stuff done anyway because I have executive dysfunction. Do not give me another thing to do. Don't give me another thing that I could fall behind on and feel like I'm being a bad person around.
00:08:24 You also put your clients in the situation where you might have to chase them down for money. That is not the kind of dynamic that feeds into a really supportive and healthy working relationship if you're constantly having to be like, hey, you owe me money. Hey, you owe me money. Hey, you're five days late on this invoice. Can you pay me, please?
00:08:46 And I imagine you don't want to have that conversation either, right? No one likes talking about money in that capacity. And because you set up this system where you're trying to make everything super easy for your client, you're probably not even going to have it. You're probably going to say, hey, listen, just want to let you know we haven't gotten this payment yet, but no worries, no worries. You just let me know when you're ready.
00:09:05 You just do it. And so it becomes this thing that you're just constantly creating leeway for this client who's bad at paying, which, guess what, creates crap ton of resentment on your side at the end of the day, and it makes you go broke. We don't like that. We want you to make lots of money, right? We're wealthy weenies at the Weeniecast.
00:09:23 And while, yes, you starting off and making things super easy for them, it feels like you're being a great business person. It feels like you're making it easy for them to give you your money and to be your client. But let's talk about the actual impact it has. What am I going to say next? Well, you'll have to keep listening to find out.
00:09:44 But first squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, squirrel.
00:09:52 But let's talk about the actual impact it has. Whenever you go to a client and they say that they want to sign up with you, and you just say, oh, well, whatever works for you, works for me. What you're actually communicating is, I'm not professional.
00:10:11 I don't have actual systems set up because this is not a real business. And so you actually do not have to take me seriously. This is a hobby of mine. And of course, that is not the impression you want to give anyone when you're starting a business. And yet new business owners do this all the time.
00:10:29 Hey, listen, I'm not telling you you did all the things wrong. You did the normal things that most business owners do, and that's okay. Absolutely okay. If you're in this position and you're getting paid in like, 17 different ways from Saturn, that is absolutely fine. And also, this is your sign from the universe that you need to fix it.
00:10:48 A lot of my clients, when it comes to this conversation, they're like, oh, my God, but what if people decide they don't want to work with me? If I change how I'm billing them? What if they get in the huff about it? What if this, what if that? I want to tell you if someone doesn't want to work with you because you're charging them in a different way.
00:11:06 They don't belong in your business anyway. Imagine going to the supermarket and going grocery shopping and getting all the things that you need for food for the week and going up to the cashier and saying, hey, listen, I would like to pay for this in goats. And then the cashier looking at you and being like, well, that's really nice for you. I'm sure the goats are great and have beautiful personalities and are fun to hang out with, but we only accept payment in credit card, debit card, or cash. And you throwing a hissy fit and being like, well, I don't want to pay that way.
00:11:41 I want to pay for my groceries in goats, and I have the goats in my car. How many goats will this take? And you know what? If you don't accept my goats, then you're not going to get my business. The supermarket is going to be like, okay, great.
00:11:53 We don't want your goats. We also can just put your stuff back. It's no big deal. Have a nice day. Never come back here again.
00:12:03 I'm saying that, and you hear how unreasonable that is. It's not going to happen. So if you have any clients who, if you're switching them from paying via Venmo to paying via Square Invoices and they throw a hissy fit about it, guess what? They were not your clients. They don't belong in your business, hands down.
00:12:23 I really want to hear if anyone has gone to the supermarket and tried to pay with goats. I don't think anyone would have done that. But just in the off chance that someone who listens to this podcast tries to barter in goats a lot, can you please just go to our website, scroll all the way down, and leave us a voice message about how that goes? Do you ever get someone accepting your payment in goats or in any kind of livestock? I'm not picky chickens.
00:12:51 Cows llamas an emu.
00:12:58 We create complicated systems that make us look unprofessional and make it really hard for us to stay up on our money to try to make it easy for other people. But we also do this across all the systems in our business. I can't tell you how many clients I have started with who. When I ask them, how do people sign a contract with you or your engagement agreement? They say, oh, well, they have a lot of choices.
00:13:24 They can sign it through Dropbox. They can print it and sign it and mail it back to me. They can do this, they can do that. All the things. And I want you to imagine six months down the road, you have a client who started off fine and then became increasingly more unreasonable, and they want to create some trouble for you.
00:13:46 And they're insisting that they deserve a refund or something. When you have a no refund policy or something, something is going on and it's going off the rails and the relationship is quickly devolving. Now imagine you want to go back and you want to pull up their agreement and send it to them so you can remind them of the terms that they signed up for and you can't find it and you don't know where they signed it. Because you have this sloppy system where people can just do whatever they feel like. Chances are they may have not even signed the agreement.
00:14:20 And because you have this system where people can do whatever they feel like, you didn't realize it until you got to this point. Now that is a worst case scenario, but we don't want to let it get there. We want to have systems that are designed so that we can really track what has come back and make sure that we're checking these boxes as we're onboarding our clients. Because I can tell you, your litigation attorney is going to be real annoyed with you when you go to them and explain that you're getting sued by someone who wants a refund. They want a bunch of things back from you and that they didn't sign the agreement and you didn't notice.
00:15:01 They're going to tell you it's going to be really tough to defend this. You're going to have to end up paying a lot of money both for the lawyer and to this person to make them go away. The other way in which we create message for ourselves is when clients book with us. If you have three different ways for people to show up on your calendar, like they can text you the times that they have available and then you have to confirm with them. Then you have to remember to put on your calendar or they have to put on their calendar and you have to remember to put it on your calendar.
00:15:29 That becomes a whole mess. But imagine also you have a bunch of different booking links that you use for different things. Unless you have a system that's very specifically designed for different client experiences, it creates this chaos and this unknown on the client side, how do they end up on your calendar? How do they have time with you? How many times do they have to ask you, can I have that link again?
00:15:54 That also requires you to remember to respond to them. I don't know about you, but I know when I go into my inbox, sometimes I look at an email and I'm like, oh, that's really important. I forget to star it or mark it as unread. Now imagine someone has signed up with you, they want to book their sessions with you or their consult with you and they reach out to you and you saw that email and you're like, I'm going to come back to this. And then three days later, they still haven't heard from you.
00:16:19 Is that a good client experience? No. And would they be within their rights to say, you know what? I don't like this. I would like to work with someone else.
00:16:27 Can I please have my money back? I would vote yes. You get to create systems that work for you. When I started my business, I honestly was not good at this. I wanted things to be super easy for my clients.
00:16:38 Okay, so let me tell a little story. So when I got my first client, I actually didn't mean to. I was in the middle of my training program, and part of the training program that I went through, you were required to do a 30 minutes practice session on each weekend that you had one of the parts of the course, right? So I would basically just blast all my friends and family and say, hey, who wants to volunteer for a 30 minutes coaching call? Now, I did this one weekend, and I got a bunch of people responding back saying that they wanted I was like, awesome.
00:17:09 You know what? I'm just going to practice with all these people. I'm going to be the A plus student that does, like, five practice sessions and not just one. And I remember getting on the phone with someone that I knew from high school who had volunteered to be one of my practice clients. And at the end of the call, he was like, cool, how do I sign up for this?
00:17:29 I want to be your client. Of course I wasn't expecting this. It was completely out of the blue. So I panicked. I threw out a number.
00:17:37 Then before he could even answer to the number of what I was charging, I was like, But I have a 50% off friends and family discount, all right?
00:17:47 And not having a booking system or a payment system, I set him up on Venmo so he would pay me every single session we had. We would book it on the phone. I'd send him a calendar invite. Now, this is not a scalable system. We know that.
00:18:02 I know that. But also, I just want to show you. I even started here and then got to this point where I'm teaching other people. So if you've set up your business with Venmo and with setting up people via phone and manually scheduling them, take a deep breath. You're not magically f*&ked up.
00:18:21 You're not special in any way. We all do this. We all screw up in these ways. And there's a way to change over to a more professional system. And kudos to anyone else who started their business accidentally in that way.
00:18:37 Wasn't expecting a client, but then someone was like, I want this. I also want to name what I just described. I am a big proponent of not giving away free sessions to grow your business. What I just described is not a marketing tactic. It just so happened this one person wanted what I had to give.
00:18:56 He paid me very little for it. At this point in time of recording this podcast, I literally charge 1200% more than what that first client paid me. So to prove the point, when you're giving free sessions, you attract low paying clients because you've just trained them that your service is for free or very very cheap. I had to learn that the hard way so that you don't have to make the same mistakes. And let's also talk about the impact this will have on you when you're going to scale.
00:19:31 So hopefully you become a massive success with this business. Hopefully you get more clients than you know what to do with. And hopefully you have to at some point start hiring other people so that they can take care of some of the business responsibilities like accounting. And let me tell you, there's nothing more embarrassing than getting on the phone with your accountant for the first time and explaining all the messy ways in which you manage your money. And let me also remind you, you're going to have to pay them way more to clean up your mess.
00:20:02 Started off well from the get go. Start it off professionally from ‘Go’ and you will not regret it. I also want to just name that people get really freaked out about choosing the wrong system. There's so many advertisements, especially when you're putting the Google Machine like I'm starting a business, how do we get clients, what booking system should I use? How do I collect payments?
00:20:26 The Google Machine is seeing that and thinking cool, we're going to send you all these ads for different programs. So you're seeing advertisements from Kajabi, from Square, from Thinkific, from ActiveCampaign, all the different businesses that are paying for these advertisements to be targeted to you. They are very convincing. They pay their marketing teams to try to make the case that their solution is the number one and you need to buy it. You don't, especially when you're just getting started.
00:20:54 You just need a way for people to pay you, book with you. Sign up for sales calls and know that whatever system you set up right now, if it is simple for you to use and simple for your clients to use, know that you can always upgrade to a more complicated comprehensive system later when you need it. But it's going to be way harder to upgrade and get everything in one place. If everything is a mess in your business, set yourself up for success now. So if you want to hear about the systems that I recommend, that pretty much any service providing business owner start with so that you look really professional.
00:21:35 You make your life easier, you make your clients life easier. Then I want you to go to weeniecast.com/winners and look for the episode titled how to stop being a weenie with your systems. I'm going to be going deep into the simple tech stack that I recommend all my clients utilize. When they just get started.
© 2022 - 2023 Katie McManus – Business Strategy For Weenie ADHD-preneurs