After spending the entire weekend working in HoneyBook, if I didn’t write this blog post I would question my purpose as Virtual Tech Assistant.

A few months ago, HoneyBook approached me about using their program. I checked it out but couldn’t find a way that it would fit into my business.

For the record, I am a bit of a loyalist (not in the British sense but in the suffix “ist” sense) so when I find a program I like, I stick to it (same goes for restaurants, contractors, and most things in my life).

horse on field

Simply put: I liked the flow I had set up for onboarding Retainer clients, Pay As You Go is handled by UpWork, and I use Paymo App and Zoho Desk for my Flex Support program. I wasn’t changing.

I was going to say “Thank you but no thank you”; but, I remembered that I was debating the idea of doing One-Time Services and this would be a great program for that.

So I said “Sure, why not!”

Let’s Do This!

They set up the program, sent me my login credentials, and everything sat in my to-do folder – out of sight, out of mind..

What? I’m busy!

That’s when the reminder notices started trickling in. See Honeybook will help you with a one-time migration of your emails, forms, contracts, etc so you can get a jump start in their program. The problem was finding time to gather all of these items so they could do it.

So I ignored the emails…but they kept coming (talk about persistent but we all know it was just an automation set up to bug the tar out of me until I finally acted).

I picked a weekend to make time (and to get them off my back) and sent in the items for the migration.

Lesson #1 – TAKE YOUR TIME and SEND IT ALL! Yes – I am going put the lessons I learned throughout this post so you don’t make the same mistakes. Again, they do a one-time migration which means give it all to them! Even if you don’t think you are using that form anymore or don’t know if that email or that contract is relevant – give it to them anyway! I rushed with getting items to them and ended up skipping forms and had to build them out myself.

Received confirmation that the items had been migrated over and my account was ready to go. Great! Archived that email and forgot about it…until this past weekend.

I decided that I needed to really check out this program. Granted I had poked around here and there. I set up the SMTP integration with my email so emails came from me instead of their system and added my logo and headers to templates. Then, I set up my payment gateways and connected it to my social media sites. I even watched their onboarding videos. I had a good grasp of what the program could do and was ready to dive in.

Packages

First, I worked on setting up my packages (same as products) as that was going to be the origin of everything.

Lesson #2 – If you have add-ons or different categories within your products, they need to be separate packages. The problem is when you send the products in a brochure, you can not click the services within the product, just the product itself. With that being said, you can always just type in the add-ons when you are creating brochures or invoices if you do not need to reuse them over and over again.

Once the packages were created, I had to decide how people were going to get to the packages and what was going to happen post inquiry and post purchase.

Lesson #3 – Map out your workflows. I initially wasted time trying to figure out how I wanted everything to work together while I was building it. Rookie mistake. When I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote out my workflows, it made my setup so much easier and so much faster.

Forms

I decided to work on my forms next as that was how I was going to connect my packages with the outside world. Having rushed the migration, I began creating the forms that I needed to use for product inquiries. I rebuilt my contact form and used the embed feature to update my contact us page. I built out my One Time Service page to gather inquiries and decided to update two other forms so that everything was now flowing through HoneyBook – my VA Hiring Service form (embedded) and my Flex Support form (direct link).

For those of you are saying “Wait – I thought you were loyal to the programs you were using for Flex Support“. I still am! I switched the forms from Google Form to HoneyBook because it kicked off the workflows and allowed me to create autoresponders to inquiries. Now when someone completes a form, they get an immediate response that confirms their request/inquiry has been received and the amount of time it will take me to respond (I know – fancy right!)

Emails

Once the forms were setup, I moved on to the emails that would be used to communicate with potential clients. Looking at my workflow, I knew I needed emails for every point of interaction – the initial welcome, after the requested item was provided, post purchase, post contract, and if necessary – scheduling instructions.

Almost forgot to mention the scheduler! In addition to the features I have already listed, HoneyBook also has an entire calendar/scheduling feature! I am able to integrate all of my calendars connected to my main Google Calendar (trust me – there are a lot of them) and not only does it pull in my availability and place booked HoneyBook appointments on my calendar, it also puts reminder notices on my dashboard AND has notification alerts in the navigation bar so I know any/all meetings I have coming up!

With this feature, I was able to create a workflow all the way to booking!

Lesson #4Zapier to the rescue! This may not be a lesson for all. HoneyBook creates a separate calendar under your Google Calendar. While this isn’t a problem in most cases, one of the calendar programs I use doesn’t allow you to connect to multiple calendars. The work around for this was using Zapier (free version) to zap any HoneyBook appointments to my main calendar.

Products – check!

Forms – check!

Emails – check!

Contracts

On to contracts! As I said above, if you can get them to migrate everything over, do it! If you drop the ball – they have templates/demos/examples for every part of your business. I was so grateful that they had a example contract that I was able to customize for the VA Hiring Service program and One-Time Services program (I did have them migrate over the Flex Support contract – score one for me!)

Now I was ready to create my brochure. For my One-Time Services, I made a brochure that, with one click, I could send to those who may inquire via my contact us form OR set it up to auto send if someone completes the form on the services page.

Workflows

With all the parts in place, I was ready to build out my workflows.

Lesson #5 – HoneyBook is smarter than me. Initially, I wanted people to be able to fill out a form for the VA Hiring Services and automatically get an invoice or a proposal where they could pay and keep going. HoneyBook knew this was a bad idea and only allows you to auto send tasks, questionnaires, emails, and brochures. Why? It saves you the trouble of refunds, chargebacks, or sending incorrect amounts because you were not able to review the amounts before it was sent. Anything that is payment related is a manual step and that makes complete sense when you think about it.

Within my workflows, the initial step is activated once the form is completed, depending on the workflow, either an email is sent, a brochure is sent, or a task is created to let me know that a proposal needs to be sent (while sending an email to them – keeping them informed).

Perfection!

Conclusion

Using HoneyBook, all of my services (non-VA related) are now automated up to the point of invoice. Best of all, HoneyBook (for me at least) would act as an intake program so I would still run my Flex Support program through Paymo App and Zoho Desk (especially since HoneyBook has the ability to log work time). I would be able to keep it as a central hub of communication for the VA Hiring Services AND One-Time Services.

Add the entire finance side of bookkeeping, reporting, and expense tracking (sorry Dubsado and 17Hats) – yeah – I am sold.

I am not writing this blog post because HoneyBook paid me. I am writing it for the same reason I told the rep who contacted me – I don’t suggest anything until I try it and I will be honest about my experience. If I like it – fantastic. If I don’t, I wouldn’t dare suggest it (looking at you Platform.ly).

I genuinely enjoyed working in HoneyBook and I am excited to see how it much my business will level up because of it.

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