The onboarding phase of a web design project (i.e. after the client pays and gets started) is one of the most important yet overlooked steps in the entire web design process.

It is often a challenging aspect of the project because, if not done correctly, it can be extremely time-consuming for YOU the designer and can set the stage for a negative experience for your client.

Luckily, there are a few simple tweaks you can make to your onboarding process to save you time, make your clients feel empowered and pumped up and make you look like a total pro.

In this podcast episode, I’m excited to have repeat guest and seasoned web design professional Brad Hussey who shares his proven process for saving time, automating and making a kick-ass onboarding experience for web design clients.

This one is filled with massive GOLD so bring an ax and get ready to dig it!

P.S. Sorry for the Dad joke but sometimes I can’t help myself 🤷‍♂️

In this episode:

00:00 – Introduction
03:46 – Greeting to Brad
09:00 – Letting all clients go
12:15 – Starting over
14:31 – Necessity to productize
16:45 – SOP hang-ups
19:25 – Boundaries for creatives
30:00 – Process effort = results
33:30 – Pick a day & full pay
34:47 – Trello over Basecamp
36:37 – Scripted video
37:36 – Lengthy questionnaire
39:36 – Competition research
41:54 – Copywriting pitches
44:07 – Give a deadline
48:52 – What to do with feedback
52:13 – Be like a ninja
55:58 – More work at first
57:04 – Set up a fail-safe process
1:01:49 – Start with your next client

A live, 4-week virtual training workshop with Brad. 

Connect with Brad:

Featured links mentioned:

This Episode is Sponsored by My Business Course

Episode #188 Full Transcription

Josh 0:15
Hello, friends, welcome in welcome into the podcast. This is episode 188. With a repeat guest on the show, this is somebody who, oh, I just consider him an absolute wealth of knowledge, a treasure trove of wisdom in the web design world. This is Brad Hussey. Brad’s been on the show, before he was on Episode 131, where we talked about productizing, your web design services, I wanted to bring him back on the podcast specifically to talk about onboarding.

Josh 0:49
So recently, we’ve been talking a lot about getting clients and some vague strategies and some business type things. But I wanted to do an episode specifically to take a deep dive into this phase of web design, which is the onboarding phase. And this is a really, really important phase of the entire web design journey, and web design project for your clients. But I also feel like it’s one of the most overlooked. For me personally, I didn’t really focus on this until later on, as a web designer in my career. But once I started really emphasizing the entire process of onboarding, once I really refined that system, it made a night and day difference and impact in my business. And I know it will for you too.

Josh 1:29
Because a lot of things happen during the onboarding phase, because there’s nothing worse than like getting a client, converting them. And then just having a nightmare of a process, when you get your project going, it really sets the stage, this phase of onboarding for whether a client is gonna go well, or whether it’s gonna go not so well. And I want to help you do it well. So we’re going to talk about how to automate things. But we’re also going to talk about how to be personal and add that personalization, touch when needed, so that you’re not going to, you know, kill yourself on time. But also make it a really welcoming personal touch for your for your clients, again, to set the stage for the entire web design project.

Josh 2:07
So I can’t wait to hear what you think about this one, definitely let me know when you get through it. And then also, I wanted to make sure you knew we talked about this later on. But Brad has a free resource for you a free training, you can get that you can get access to that after this episode, you can go to Brad Hall. So again, that link is Brad Hall, we’ll have that linked in the show notes. And you can get a free resource from Brad he is somebody I definitely wish I would have had in my ears when I was early on as a web designer, because he just he’s he’s, he knows what the heck he’s doing. And you’ll hear how he’s learned to refine his processes. And the cool thing is you get to do yours as well for free just by listening this episode, so can’t wait to hear what you think about this one.

Josh 2:52
And by the way, if you after this, if you want to know my onboarding process in depth, I do have all of my SOPs, my standard operating procedures and everything that I learned in my journey available for you. It’s inside of my business course. And I’m interested after this episode, you can get access to that course you can join today by going to Josh I would love to walk you through personally, how I onboard my clients and help you as well. For right now though, let’s hear from Brad to give you some insight on this and give you some inspiration. Here’s Brad Hussey or in the fancy regions of the world. They call him Brad who say, and we’re going to talk onboarding, enjoy

Josh 3:37
Brad, Welcome back on to the podcast, man. Thanks for taking some time to chat. And I knew this you wouldn’t be a one and done guests, man. It’s good to have you back on.

Brad 3:46
Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.

Josh 3:48
Yeah, we’re gonna see how long this goes. We’ve been chatting for like a half an hour before we even started recording just because pre Convo it was a good combo man. We it was really good combo between me trying to encourage you to to start a podcast and then talking about our experience with with Pat Flynn and SPI and entrepreneurial web design and all kinds of stuff. That was a good combo. But I say that to say you are an entrepreneurial web designer, you are the quintessential web printer. I think it’s definitely an emerging thing going on right now. So like minds, Man, I’m really, really excited to chat with you for the next little while here.

Brad 4:23

Josh 4:24
And we’re going to talk about onboarding. This is something that I’ve talked a little bit about on the podcast kind of sporadically, not intentionally. But you had you have some awesome resources at your website. Brad Hussey at CA, right?

Brad 4:37

Josh 4:39
And I’m on your email list. I love your emails. Do you use ConvertKit?

Brad 4:44
Yep, yep. So for a long time,

Josh 4:47
Okay. I can always tell ConvertKit because the type just looks good. It’s very clean. I’m, I need to work on my typography formatting and stuff, but anywho you sent an email about onboarding tips. I was like, Dude, I want to have you back on the show too. Talk about this. So yeah, it really important area of the web design process. Before we dive into that, man, for folks who didn’t who didn’t hear your first episode, you were back on 131. Do you want to just remind everybody first off where you’re based out of and just give us a snapshot of of what you’re doing right now?

Brad 5:14
Yeah, cool. So I’m in southern Alberta, Canada. So for anyone who’s not from Canada basically was like north of the Montana border. So kind of up near the the mountains and the prairies and all that sort of country sort of style. And yeah, so I’m a web designer by trade. I’ve been doing that for like, oh, man, like 10 or 12 years now, at this point, I’ve seen a lot of progressions in like, the web design, industry, I guess you could say, I’m also a freelancer, and very entrepreneurial, kind of minded.

I use the tools and the talents and the skills that I have acquired over time in this field to apply a bit more entrepreneurially. – Brad

Brad 5:50
So I use the tools and the talents and the skills that I have acquired over time in this field to apply a bit more entrepreneurially. So creating courses, creating coaching programs, doing consulting, doing more advisory work as well, in addition to just like, kind of being in the trenches, so to speak, and actually building websites for people, but in a more productized fashion, which is something that I talked about a lot as well. So yeah, I’m in Canada, I run my own business from home, and I’ve been doing it for like 10 plus years now. And it’s total blast.

Josh 6:24
What’s the percentage for you, Brad, between doing web design, freelance work and coaching and what you’re doing with Brad

Brad 6:32
Yeah, so that’s when through progression, where obviously, at first, it was like 100%, service based work, client work, you know, peppered between agency, sub contracting, and clients and small businesses, the stuff that probably most of your listeners are aware of, and used to, then that started to kind of get into courses. And I would teach, and I still do teach courses on web design, and I call it the art business and craft web design is kind of like the brand of what I do. So there’s, you know, the business of web design is teaching people how to be a web designer, how to do how to get clients and how to market yourself, the craft is like my tutorials on my courses, on getting your hands dirty. The art is like, you know, the beauty and the nuance of web design, and how to actually be a good web designer, how to design things.

Brad 7:23
And so as I started getting more into that, in my course, revenue, because it’s ultimately way more scalable, than one to one service work, it started to grow. And then ultimately, dwarf in terms of like a ratio from like, 100% service work to like 98% course revenue. And like 2% service work. Now that I would still say that 2% service revenue was basically the same as that 100% revenue, like at one point is like, so I didn’t just like stop cold turkey client work, like I kept doing it, and it would grow. But like the course revenue, just like, you know, ultimately, over the course of a few years, like kind of ballooned, because it’s scalable. And then I eventually had to stop doing client work. Because I couldn’t do both at once I realized that became a very much a business management issue, where I’m like, I’m…

Josh 7:34
Doing a running through business, you’re running two businesses there, which this is a great lesson, like if you start a passion project, and then suddenly, it becomes half of your time, you’ve got two businesses on your hands.

Brad 8:31
Exactly. And I didn’t know at the time that I could hire somebody to manage it, or like, more seriously hire somebody to do the fulfillment work. I still very kind of maybe eager to like, please the client and maybe ignorant in the sense that or naive. And then I was like, No, I have to do all the work myself. And I have to do everything myself, and I’m the one who’s marketing myself, it’s my business. I can’t let anybody else do this. Otherwise, it’s fake. And I’m totally false.

Brad 9:00
And so I got to the point where I was like, I had to let all of my clients go. And that was also inside of that it was not just, I’m so busy with coursework, I’m just gonna give up on the client work that I enjoy so much. It was there was a lot of client work that I did not enjoy. So probably a lot of people will resonate with this, like I would get some big, nice projects, like really good projects, agency, subcontracting work, maybe a relationship that I built over time, and it would be like $10,000 Plus projects that weren’t like a huge amount of effort. And they were really nice.

Brad 9:34
But then all around that there would be like the little bug requests, the little issues my site was taken over by a you know, a pharmaceutical pack and all these sorts of things. And then I was like, always firefighting at all hours of the day because it’s always been emergency. And, and I would always justify that it was fine because my rate I got to the point where I was able to just like for a quick fix. I quickly learned that like, I could just like fixed rate, value based rate hybrid kind of model. And just be like, Yeah, I mean, it’s 11 o’clock at night on a Friday. It’ll cost you $300. And, you know, I’ll have it taken care of in the next few minutes. And they’re like, yeah, totally.

Brad 10:17
So I’m like, Man, this is great. Like, I’m making good money for literally, not a lot of work a lot, a lot. A lot of hours. hours. Yeah, yeah. But then I realized, like, Oh, my whole day was, was taken over like my every day all day was taken over by knowing that there was something coming up, there was an emergency. And I felt bad. Like, I didn’t drop everything that second to help that clients issue because their WordPress site was hacked, or any of these sorts of things. And then I always thought, If I don’t do that, they’re gonna go to someone else. And then you feel like so it was just this really bad situation, eventually, where I was so stressed, busy client, busy core space business, trying to student support tickets, people asking coding questions, people asking me, this isn’t working, how do I download this file, and that’s growing and growing and growing.

Brad 11:08
And then clients who are paying me money and pretty good money, who I feel beholden to, and then I was just like, something’s gotta give and the one that’s paying 98% of the revenue is the one that’s taking the cake, this has got to go. So I basically fired all of my clients and stopped client work for like, three years, maybe to get two to three years, the odd thing here and there. In between that I would do. And then I started to, after a few years of that, and I was just only doing coursework, coaching work workshops, stuff more like that sort of stuff, really scalable, product based work, I started to miss like, I really like talking to people and individually helping them and, and not just like on a, you know, a coaching call, like I like making things realize, like, I like building stuff. And I know it’s not scalable. And as an entrepreneur, I should be like, really working on the business, not in it. And there’s like that, but there’s a part of me that just wants to like scratch my knuckles up, so to speak, to do something. And so I was like, I think that that’s client work, but I’m not doing it the way I did it before.

Josh 12:14

Brad 12:15
You know, and that this is where it dovetails into if people want to go back, they haven’t heard it listening to a productized conversation. That’s where I introduced productizing and became more aware of productizing and how it can scale. And so then I introduced a productized service, and I was very productized in, you know, the work that I want to do. So I only take on like maximum four clients a month. Sometimes I get those four clients, sometimes I only get one or two. Sometimes there’s months where nothing happens. But that’s fine, because I don’t need it. I enjoy it. It’s hard work. But it’s like it’s lucrative. I enjoy it a lot. And it’s really, really contained. And there is none of that like firefighting work. And then I can focus on coursework. So now it’s probably like an 80/20, split 80% products, affiliate ads, courses, miscellaneous stuff, you know, like coaching workshops, 20%, productized, services

Josh 13:19
80%, web entrepreneur, 20%. Web freelancer.

Brad 13:23
Exactly, yep.

Josh 13:25
That’s awesome. I love that you shared that Brad, we’re gonna talk about I mean, I know, onboarding, I’m sure is a massive component to what you’ve done to limit the the firefighting aspect of web design, which is really common. And the cool thing about what you shared there is I think, we saw the frustrations that all web designers feel, but I imagined back then, these are all lessons learned that maybe you didn’t capitalize on, or maybe you didn’t, you know, have any knowledge about how to protect yourself from some of those. And you did what all web designers do, which is just work on Friday nights at 11.

Josh 13:58
But it’s interesting to hear that you ended up getting more into the entrepreneurial space, but then went back into web design, with this new mindset and with the productize mindset with all the lessons learned that, you know, they weren’t for they weren’t for not like they were a valuable, lesson learned type of type of decade of experience or so for you. It sounds like so that’s cool. I guess. I didn’t realize I didn’t realize that you would pull it out completely. And then you know, went back in with a with a different fresh feel. That’s pretty cool.

Brad 14:31
Yeah, yeah. And it came out of necessity. I just like I really missed working like doing service work. I wanted to serve people in like a really non scalable way. And so I was like, okay, it has to be practical. It’s not take away from a business that’s working. But like, but I want it to be actually like you no one want to get in there and do something. Yeah, I took my own advice that I learned over the years and applied it and happy to say it works quite well.

Josh 14:59
It works. sale works very well. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about. I’ve always felt like that too. And like, if I don’t, I don’t miss doing the actual, you know, one on one work right now just with how busy I am with my brand. But if I ever do get back into doing that, I’ll do the exact same thing. It’ll be extremely productize. And I’ll basically just follow all my courses and go, you know, have a whole different experience.

Brad 15:23

Josh 15:23
Then I did early on. But anyway, so like a big part of this, I will hone in on onboarding here. Yeah, because this is a key part to the web design experience, I think a lot of people are focused on getting clients getting leads, and just figuring out web design, and then by the time they actually get that lead, it just often kind of falls apart. Or it’s a bit of a disaster approach where it’s scattered. And obviously, I have a lot of courses on, on how to help out with this between my process course, and then my business course teaches onboarding. But I wanted to pick your brain about this. And I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with everyone listening and watching. But yeah, let’s let’s hone in on onboarding for a few here. What are some of the hang ups that you’ve typically seen with onboarding that you experienced, and that you’ve seen a lot of your students experience?

Brad 16:14
So I think, a big hang up that I see. And it’s more, it’s kind of arisen out of a pattern of my students who I tell them, like, you know, this is you should be onboarding, here’s the flow of kind of like your sales process, to onboarding to or the whole process of the client lifecycle, it’s like finding the client, getting the client doing the work for the client, and then maintaining a relationship with the client. And that’s a cycle.

Brad 16:45
A lot of hang ups are, I think there’s two parts to this is a lot of freelance, like web designers, and entrepreneurial web designers, or, you know, people who want to be more entrepreneurial as a web designer. They’re so focused, and isolated mentally into the fulfillment work, they’re like, if I could just just have the client do the work, you know, then that would be great. But finding the client, getting the client, making sure the whole onboarding and everything is taken care of, that’s like, I don’t understand that. But I want so if someone feels like that, and they don’t want to run a business, then go get a good job. There’s lots of work in startups, new companies, bigger agencies, lots of work that do that. There’s nothing wrong with that, and no matter what people say.

Brad 17:37
But if you’re like, I want to run my own shop, or I want to run my own show, I want to be more entrepreneurial. And that’s exciting to me. And that’s a journey I want to venture down. Okay. So with that said, you need to step back and realize that fulfillment work is only one part of it, and you need to stop thinking in only fulfillment work. In fact, you need to think about how you could be the one not doing the fulfillment work, even if you want to like I like doing some fulfillment work. But if it gets busy enough, I’ll have someone else do the fulfillment work, because it’s all a process in a system that doesn’t require me individually. So that’s one hang up.

Brad 18:09
Another hang up with specifically onboarding, is that a lot of entrepreneurial web designers, they don’t actually step back to look at patterns and systems in that, in their onboarding, they think it’s always custom, they’re always treating it as every individual lead and client that comes through, you know, I have to manually do that process and individually. Process Yeah. And they never take a step back to realize that it’s all repetitive. And with repetition, you can actually compound, your the value of that process. So a lot of people think, oh, it’s, you know, I want to be hands on and be one on one and really guide them through this process and, and really just kind of treat it as this custom, bespoke process. And whether they say it that way or not, like that’s the way that they treat it. But they use it as a smokescreen because they’re afraid to actually kind of, like automate this process.

Josh 19:11
Yeah, or systematize. Because no creatives want to hear the word system, I didn’t know. I was like, if I’m not wearing a suit and going into a high rise, I don’t want to hear about systems. But the reality is, systems are awesome when you’re a business owner.

Brad 19:25
And systems are awesome for creatives, because systems are our boundaries and frameworks. And when you’re just having his fully open, blank canvas, that’s actually not very helpful to the creative process. But if you were to tell someone really creative, let’s say like an artist who’s painting and you just gave them like a white canvas, and you said, paint me something amazing. Maybe some people might be able to do something with that, but they still resort to some sort of framework or system they think of an idea they think Then the constraint. So constraints are actually really, really valuable to the creative process.

Josh 20:06

Brad 20:06
Like, like, fundamentally valuable. So, so think of it more as like, when you have constraints, then you can think of something. So if I hand you a canvas, and I say, paint me, like, let’s say, only paint something for me, only using this color, that’s it. Or if you said, another constraint on top of that, paint me, like, a landscape. Yeah, using only circle, then the creative mind is like, that’s exciting. These are really rigid constraints that seem counterintuitive to the creative process, but actually makes it like flourish, because then you’re like, How can I express this? Using only those constraints? That’s super exciting. And so the same thing goes for your onboarding. If you say, Here’s your client, bring them on board. You’re like, okay, I guess I’ll call and then I guess, probably should write up a custom proposal, and then maybe giving them some options. And then okay, I’m going to write up that document again. And, and then you’re just like, you’re kind of just floundering. But if You say,

Josh 21:15
Floundering is a good word for it

Brad 21:18
Exactly. That’s all you’re doing. It’s not creative. It’s not professional. And, and the client hates it, the client doesn’t like it, whether they realize it, like, purposefully or subconsciously, they are consciously or subconsciously, they hate it, because it’s so unprofessional. But when it’s like smooth, and they feel like they’ve stepped into a system, they feel like you know what you’re doing. You’re you are competent. Yes, I’m paying you for your expertise and your creativity. But I don’t want to feel like I’m walking into just some like, mess.

Josh 21:53
Yes. This is really important. This is a huge point for the client side of things. Because I felt the same way. Brad, early on, I was like, I’m gonna I basically unintentionally said, I’m going to let the client guide me through the project. That’s the complete opposite of what you want to do. You want to be the one that guide the client through especially when you’re getting a project started, which is what we’re honing in on onboarding is code for getting started, like, what? How do you get the project started? How do you empower the client? How do you let them know what the next steps are? What are the steps, communication is a part of this, I’m sure we’ll talk about some content collection, although that bleeds into project management.

Josh 22:31
All these things, your client should not dictate the control of you. In the end, I understand when you’re starting. If you haven’t gone through my course or any other courses on this, it’s going to be a floundering process. But as soon as you start to find your way, make it a system. And for anyone who doesn’t speak Canadian processes process for Brad want to make sure we clarify that since we’re, we’re a global global podcast, but early Yeah, it’s true man. Like, I know, it seems like you’re disrespecting your clients if you are the one in control, but you should be the one to control.

Josh 23:06
And here’s something to remember. I’m curious, your thoughts on this. Clients are already overwhelmed when they’re investing in a website. And they’re thinking about content and mission and copy and all these other things. They should not have to concern them with themselves with deadlines of getting started and tools and all that stuff like that. If you can make the most seamless onboarding process to put your clients at ease. It really that kicks off the tone for the whole project, doesn’t it?

Brad 23:37
Yep. Oh, it does. It’s like when I took my own advice, and created a really rigid systemized onboarding process for my productize service. So I’m talking like, in this product I service there’s nothing but rigid frameworks. Even the cert product, the service itself is very like I could follow an instruction. And in fact, I do when I went totally loosey goosey on on it. And I did some client work in this productized service, where I was just like, No, I know the process. Like I got this like I’m good at this, I got this, I realized like half the day was gone. And I was still getting set up. And I was like I only got three or four hours left to this like it says a done in one day service. And I have three hours left to do the whole day’s work because I was floundering about thinking that I knew how to do this.

Josh 24:25
Instead of actually following your systems.

Brad 24:27
Yeah, I created the Trello board with like, Brad, here’s the steps, follow them in this order. Don’t be an idiot and do it this way. You’ve done this so many times before, do it this way. And then once you do it, you’ll realize that was inefficient. I could do this better. Make a note, make a note the next time I do that, take that out do it this way. Put this one first. And then I’m following instructions that I created to make sure that what I’m doing those constraints allow me to do the best possible work.

Brad 24:55
Also, It then I know we’re talking about fulfillment here but if we can tie it back into onboarding. If I wanted somebody else to do that fulfillment work for me, here’s the instructions, I’ll train you on my process. Here’s the assets that I use to make sure it looks like I’m, you know, it’s my brand and my work my hand, you do it, here’s how it works, follow these instructions, don’t veer from it, if you have a way of improving it tells me it will improve it. Now, when it comes to onboarding, it’s the same thing. When I got a client, my onboarding process for this specific service, and I think everybody’s onboarding can be different doesn’t have to be rigid in that it’s all the same, sir, your onboarding should be systemized, to the way that your process works.

Brad 25:38
And so for me, I will do, let’s say, a call like this, or I’m on another podcast, and we’re talking about, you know, email marketing, or we’re talking about ConvertKit. Or we’re talking about some other thing that ties into the service that I provide, let’s say web design, somebody listens to and goes, That guy sounds decent, I’m gonna go to that link that he mentioned. And I go to the link, so they’re on my sales page, they watched the video, me explaining it a little bit of personality there, I explained the service, explain the the offer and the value. And then the call to action is put your email in the box below. And then I’ll send you a whole a whole bunch of emails each day that are really cheeky, getting you, you know, convincing you to buy the thing.

Brad 26:16
And it’s honest, it’s upfront, it’s my brand is my personality, they read the sales page, if it’s for them, they immediately know. And they love it. They book a call, they get on a call, before the call, there’s a bunch of questions, laying out expectations, talk for about five to 10 minutes, because they already are primed. And they already know what I’m offering. I don’t have to like, come around the back and say, Oh, by the way, here’s my sales offer, are you going to do it? They already know. And then if the payment is accepted, automatically, they book the day they pay it, they sign the contract automatically, they get an onboarding email, they get a Trello board, that’s templatized, I change a few things for them specifically.

Josh 26:56

Brad 26:57
And they start to work. And then the day comes, and I do the work that I just mentioned is me following my own orders to this person’s brand, this person’s business, this person’s wording, you know, I follow this creative process in there. But all of that is requires zero, maybe five to 10 minutes of a call, and five to 10 minutes of making sure the Trello board is set up properly. So about let’s say 30 minutes of work for somebody to go from. Hmm, that sounds good, too. This is what I want book a call. Yes, this is good pay, contract, book the day, do the homework, do the onboarding process, provide me all the assets that I need without me talking to them about it? I show for the day, I do the work.

Josh 27:44
So let’s let’s I would love to hear a little bit more about the specifically that that phase between they just paid. Because these are in my mind, these are kind of like three areas you’ve kind of encompass to your Brad, which is like the funneling and the conversion, and then the onboarding and then fulfillment with Yeah, so

Brad 28:05
Let’s do another episode on that.

Josh 28:07
Yeah, that’s gonna be Yeah, like advanced content collection of fulfillment, revisions, project management, that’s definitely its own topic. So on onboarding itself, this is really interesting, because I found to when I systematized that, and when I made my own process on that, that alleviated so many headaches. For me, it also set the tone for the entire project to go really well. Like as soon as because previous to that, I remember, same thing, just loosey goosey just floundering around, I was all excited, I just got paid. And I was like, Oh, shoot. Now I actually need to like, figure out how to get content, need to have a call with them to figure out what they want. I often didn’t do a good job of figuring out the scope of the project and the billing and proposal process, which is also a separate phase of this.

Josh 28:15
And I should say too, I am going to plug my course on this because if you’re starting to sound overwhelming, this is why I built my business course which everyone can check out. It literally shares my whole process. But in this idea of onboarding, this is the thing that sets the tone. This is also the thing that gets the client, like started in the right mindset, because if you start your projects out, and it starts chaotically, guess what’s going to happen? It’s going to continue on and end chaos. Would you back me up and saying that Brad like the better the onboarding process, the better the entire experience goes?

Brad 29:35
Yeah, absolutely. There’s a phrase that I like to use that I’ve heard from somewhere. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s basically crap in crap out and actually know where it came. It was a sound engineering for dummies book way back like 15 years ago, I thought okay, I wanted to get into audio engineering for musicians.

Josh 29:56
I thought it was going to be in the food industry.

Yeah, so it’s the same thing, crap in crap out. – Brad

Brad 29:59
I think it applies the same thing. So basically, the concept is, you have your microphone. And you can have a nice microphone, I got a nice microphone, I got a nice cable about all the nice equipment. But if the signal going in is bad, so I far away from the microphone, or there’s white noise or there’s noise happening or haven’t did sound damp in the room, you know, or any of that I put the volume too low by accident. Yeah, if the the signal going in is or the input is bad, no matter how much I edit in post, compress equalize any of it, it’s going to be garbage coming out. Same thing goes for. Yeah, so it’s the same thing, crap in crap out. So if your onboarding process is just bad, or it’s non existent, non existent doesn’t exempt you from doing it poorly, it just automatically means it’s done poorly. And so that’s a garbage signal going or input going in, which means a signal coming out is going to be garbage, and the whole process is going to be framed by it.

Josh 30:56
That’s beautiful. Well said I’m gonna have to steal that we’re gonna, I’m gonna make that a little, quote, snippet for you for this episode, crap in crap out, Brad Hussey

Brad 31:04
We’ll tweet it.

Josh 31:06
Yeah, there we go. So let me just share the few things that I put in my onboarding process. And then I’d love to hear from you, maybe you can expand the Trello board and the concept. So for me, before we even get to Content Collection, it was I would say three things. Once somebody signed up, I would send them to it was an automated email after they paid to what I called my Getting Started page. This was just a an explainer page that just guided all the clients through what to expect before we get started.

Josh 31:37
The reason I did this is because I found myself repeating this, every project, I would say, Here are the tools I use, here’s the process moving forward, we’re going to hone in on this process. Here’s a couple other things you need to know, here’s the communication boundaries. And here’s what to expect. As we get moving forward. That was what I repeated every project and I was like, one day, I was like, Oh my gosh, I couldn’t make a Getting Started page with a little video of myself explaining all this. And it would save me an hour an hour and a half every project. So I did that that was huge.

Josh 32:09
The next piece of that was the project management side. Like, actually, there was peace before that, which was the the strategy call. So I always tell my students, you don’t want to talk about fonts and colors and design styles and all that stuff before you get paid. So don’t mix the proposal process with the creative process. You need to find out the scope of work, but you don’t need to talk about what colors they like yet. So that second piece of that is I had a strategy questionnaire, which was basically all that stuff. And it’s very robust. That’s when the client can sit down for 10, 15 20 minutes and go through that.

Josh 32:45
Then it was the start of the project management. And then once I got that, then we moved into base camp, where I would have the first steps that they needed to do to get us going. I kept it really simple. And I did not say Well, eventually, in the beginning, I said send me your content. And guess what happened, as I’m sure you’ve experienced emails, text, hundreds, you know, 100 emails at once with a picture in each email, I realized, okay, I need to create some sort of system that just says, you know, if we’re going to send images, I’ll set up a Dropbox for you, blah, blah, blah. And that’s how I got the project started. So those were the three phases in my process that really just changed the game for me, what are yours look like? Just, you know, from they paid to before collecting content?

Brad 33:30
Yeah. So pretty similar in nature. And I went I did more customized web design work. So building WordPress websites, doing that sort of work was a you know, web design and web development, I kind of when I would do that. It was very similar in nature. And now that I’m what I offer is quite productized in that the actual fulfillment is pretty systemized, as well. It’s not really, it’s not open for discussion, what the outcome is, it’s like you buy the outcome. And that’s what we’re signing up to. So that aside, the onboarding process, more practically for me, is they after the call, and all that sort of stuff, so after the sales process is done, and they say, okay, they pay and book the day, because it’s a day based work.

Brad 34:23
So it’s like, okay, the day that they want the outcome to happen. It’s on my calendar on the availability that I do the work only on Wednesdays. So that’s when I open my calendar for that. They book the day that’s worked for them and me, they pay for it on the spot in full. There’s no like 5050 and they agree to the contract on the spot. It all happens in one fell swoop.

Josh 34:46

Brad 34:47
And so I’m not chasing down I’m not trying to get signatures. I’m not trying to like hound them for final payment. It’s just done. That triggers an automation that says so and so has just paid. And then set up a Trump Trello board template. So I also use Basecamp for my more comprehensive web based work, and I did use it for this one day service as well. But I switched to Trello for a couple of reasons. One is that the free version of Trello does everything that I need, and the client was less confused. For this specific service. It was just like, here’s a card, do it, do it. Done, done, done. So that worked for me.

Josh 35:25
There is a difference between task management and like full communication project management too which is that’s the difference. Basecamp and Trello. Like, if you have a templatized process, that’s like, step one, step two, step three, then Trello is great for that.

Brad 35:43
Yeah, exactly. For the longer for the work that wasn’t one day. Basecamp really quickly becomes a superior tool, in my experience, because yeah, you have more ongoing communication and schedules. And yeah, so this was like, you show up, like, I do the work on the day, here’s some pre homework Trello works swimmingly for it. So Gotcha. Create creates an automation trigger, set up Trello board based on a template, I will make some changes in there, because certain things don’t apply to their project, but it’s pretty much all the same.

Brad 36:14
So, in that, in that Trello board template, I have one list that says in capital letters on the top, and it’s like color, coordinated and everything. It’s just like to do for clients, you know, start at the top of this list, and the first card says, Read Me First. And in that there’s like a video. So they get it when they sign up, they get a video from me, that says like, Hey, welcome. Here’s the ground rules. Here’s how this works. Here’s the schedule. Here’s how this works. Like I lay everything out all those repetitive things that I said over and over again. I put it in one video that is scripted out. And I edited, I made sure everything I needed to say was said perfectly with clarity. And I didn’t miss a beat.

Brad 36:59
And it’s there, they get to watch it. They’re introduced to me a little bit more. And they see here’s what’s next. Here’s what to expect. Here’s how this works. Here’s the ground rules. Here’s the framework, here’s what you need to do next. And so that saves me a 15 minute zoom call. And or longer, back and forth and all this sort of stuff for sure. I get to watch it. Maybe they watch it three times to clarify a couple things. I don’t have to ask me questions. Trello board system, start here first. Welcome. Here’s how this works. Step one, start with this. And so it’s in chronological order or in sequential order, rather, what I need from them. So I have a questionnaire. It’s a type form, any sophisticated, you know, form tool would work.

Josh 37:44
Yeah, I use gravity for actually on the strategy questionnaire, I actually had it hooked in with 17 hats, which is what I use for all the workflow project management and or proposal invoice and all that stuff. But yeah, either either one.

Brad 37:58
Yeah, yeah, exactly, totally. And so in that type form, that’s where I collect all of that information that I need. So it’s a pretty lengthy form, probably takes the client 30 to 40 minutes to complete. And that’s I mean, they could do it quicker, but they usually want to get it right. And so I tell them, like

Josh 38:19
Are they adding any content in there? Like, I imagine what you’ll get in there is likely what you could use for the homepage or stuff like that.

Brad 38:26
Yeah, yeah. So it’s like, it’s basically all the assets that I need logins, I provide a place where they can give me access, like with ConvertKit, you don’t have to give me your password, you just add me as as like a member, you know, like to your thing. So I give them instructions, here’s how to add me to your ConvertKit. Here’s how to add me to your teachable here’s how to give me access to this. Here’s how to get access to this all instructions, instructions, instructions, Do this, do this do this. Now, let’s talk about the broader picture here. What makes this a huge home run for you this project.

Brad 39:01
So now I have a framework to know like, that is their trigger for under for knowing that we’ve won, we did this. So because it’s a very similar process for everyone. Some people interpret it differently like this. I’ve done this when I don’t have to log back into my ConvertKit account, it just runs automatically. Or I’ve done this when I’ve got my first students sign up and I paid for this service in full, like whatever it is I go, okay, that’s their winning metric. Let’s frame it around that and let’s converse about it around that and make sure that that’s what happens. So I have that.

Brad 39:36
I want to know about your competition. I want to know what you love about them. But I want you to also tell me where they’re dropping the ball and you’re going to swoop in and eat their lunch. And I want to know about your brand. I want access to your logos in high res I want your headshots, I want this this this all the assets that I do not want to send one single email or message to you saying hey, can you send me like your high res headshot? But not that 200 pixel jpg off of Facebook, like, you know, like, I get all this, it’s all automatic in type form. And so I get all these sorts of things. And then I get everything like, what are your prices for your products? What are your offerings? What’s your primary offering? You know, what is all these things? Like, I want to know everything.

Brad 40:21
And then what that lets me do is it lets me analyze it and go, Okay, here’s their winning metric. Here’s how we know that we’ve succeeded. And here’s the primary offer, here’s a secondary offer, here’s the pricing, here’s what they’d like, is this, this, this, this, this, here’s the frequency that they want to send emails, here’s the brand voice competition. So I get all of that. I don’t have to do anything. Because I’ve done all the work. I put hours into this type form. And I constantly…

Josh 40:43
I was just gonna ask, is this event is this in one of your courses? Or is this available anywhere? Like the the fields?

Brad 40:48
Yeah, so it is? Yeah, definitely. So I this exact type form, I don’t have in like a, like, I don’t open it up to show I mean, if unless someone bought the service, and they went through it, they can see. But I do teach this very specifically in, in my course, that shows like, your onboarding, can be crazy, crazy automated, and so robust and technical and even customized. Where if they answer this question, this is the next question. And of course we can we can we can plug that here. Sure. Yeah, that’s the launch course. And the basically, we’ll put that as a resource on the link that we share here. Brad has Hall, put a resource on there for people. But yeah, it’s just the launch launch course on my freelancing freedom web site.

Josh 41:38
Awesome. So that question here is, that is much more than just a few details. That’s like everything you need. It’s a little bit I mean, it a little bit of content collection in there to actually sounds like a lot of content. Yeah. templatized systematized content collection strategy.

Brad 41:54
Yeah, yeah, I get like, I get it all. And then, depending on so one of the productized services, one is very heavily content based. So one of them is like building out your entire email marketing system in ConvertKit. So because it’s emails, that’s all content, like emails aren’t emails without words. And so I need a lot of those things, I need variations on their pitches, I need different offers. So if they have three products, I want three micro pitches, I call them that I put in a PS that I cycled through dynamically, I want three pitches for each product. So I can create a create some sort of functionality there. And I don’t just say like write three pitches, I went ahead and wrote variations that they can just fill in the blanks, okay. To the way I think it should be, and I, if they’re a writer, or if they know their thing better than I do. I say, you don’t have to use this. But if you’re just like looking at a blank page and stressing out, just copy and paste this and fill it fill in your product and your outcome and price here.

Josh 42:57
And you had mentioned you do make the client do a little bit of homework before they get to this type form, right? So that way, they’re not thinking they’re gonna send in a few details for 30 seconds. And then they’re like, Oh, this is like a half an hour. This is like a half an hour deal here.

Brad 43:09
Yes. Yeah. So it’s like, yeah, I do. Like, I lay out all the expectations. And so they know what’s next. And I tell them on the calls, like, because this is done in one day, don’t think that you don’t have anything to do about it.

Josh 43:22

Brad 43:23
It’s actually got like, the next 10 to 14 days, because I don’t let them book any sooner than that. Like, if someone’s like, I’m ready to start, can we start tomorrow, I go, Well, you can book the next available day, which is 14 days from now, you can’t book tomorrow, because you have a lot of work to do. And then on the day, I’m gonna be chasing you down for filling out the forms and stuff. So they got all this work. And they can they can do it in pieces. So I tell them like this is a big one. Give yourself time to do this. And when it comes to specifically Content Collection, so I give them like, okay, here are your welcome emails here, your pitch emails, here are your evergreen emails, here are your micro pitches, here’s this, here’s this, this, this, this, this, I need all of these pieces, that these modular segments, write me these emails.

Brad 44:07
In fact, here’s a database of you know, swipe templates that you can use to create that five day email sequence for your brand. Copy and paste them change it out, use your own words, or if you already have one, forget what I shared it, just give me what you have. In your words, and so I get all of it. And then they have to physically drag that card from write your five day email sequence from to do to done. And so if I see that, and I give them due dates, I say like I this is due and assigned to you to be done. It’s probably around three days before the actual day.

Josh 44:48
Yeah, that’s another biggie for the onboarding process, some sort of deadline or due dates on each phase yet or whether it’s a one day deal or whether it’s a 30 day website, project, whatever. Yeah, deadlines are huge.

Brad 44:59
Exactly. And so it really works. And I tell them, like, here’s the thing, like, if you don’t do your homework, I’ll still show up for the day and do my part. But you won’t have anything in there, you’ll just have shells. So if I’m doing say, this email marketing intensive, and I’m building out your whole system, I’d like to at the end of the day, hit the green button that says go, and then all your subscribers go through the system, and it’s beautiful, and you start making sales getting leads, I’d like that for you.

Brad 45:29
But if you don’t get this done, you’re gonna have a shell, that you need to on your own time. Put it all in, and you have no deadline, you have nobody holding you accountable, and you have no pressure. Guess when that gets done, never. And you just spent 2500 bucks or whatever the price is for that specific offer to basically do nothing and have just a shell that’s just collecting dust, do the damn work. And they go yep. Okay.

Josh 45:56
Yeah, well, and if you’d like, so we’ve talked about constraints, giving clients constraints is big too. Like, if you tell them, for example, send me content for the homepage, like I used to do. That can be three sentences, or that could be three books. And then you have to decide, Oh, what am I going to put in here? So if you give them like, literally, you know, however, many words for this section, however much for this, however, you know, type of sections we’re going to have in this design, and then a deadline. There you go. That’s, that’s 101 for better Content Collection, which could be better.

Josh 46:31
It’s interesting, because you’ve merged and I think this goes back to the difference between my style of web design, which was generally a 30 to 45 day type project. Yeah. Although I definitely probably could have done it in less than a week or even some cases at one of the day rates, whereas yours was a templatized day right model. Are you a fan of Sarah Massey? With? Yeah, she’s been on the show before? Yeah, sounds like a very similar approach where you basically gear it up for that eight hour block, or whatever it is, and it’s yeah, you make sure you have everything that way. It’s go time as far as the implementation. But yeah, that makes sense.

Josh 47:07
So I am curious about as far as in that onboarding process. What about communication? Now, this may be a little different with a day rate. You’re probably not as worried about clients randomly being in you for the next few weeks at night. But when do you mention that? Is that in the the questionnaire or is that?

Brad 47:24
Yeah, yeah. So I want to make I what I found, because I also collect feedback, and it’s all automatic, and it’s all systemized the whole thing and automated. But I want feedback because it’s a repetitive process. And so say, the onboarding, like, I actually collect feedback on, how do you come? Like, how do you feel this, the onboarding process was, and the communication and how would you rate this? And would you give me any feedback, like feel free to hurt my feelings like that, you’re not going to hurt my feelings, if you’re just say, whatever. Because I actually take every piece of feedback, make a swipe file and go through the list and go, Okay, client thought this was weird, or didn’t like that.

Brad 48:00
I switched from Basecamp to Trello. Because I tested it. And a client said Basecamp was this massive, confusing thing for me, and I don’t get it Trello for another client was like, so easy. It was stupid, easy. I use it all the time. So it’s like Trello does. So I take this feedback. And so one of them was about communication. And so when I started to notice, people were like, I felt like, stuff happened around me without me. And I kind of would have liked some check in points, some personal humans. And I was like, Ah, so I’ve automated this a little too much where I don’t actually need to talk to them. And they don’t feel comfortable in that, even though I still do the work. And it’s still done. Well, they feel like it kind of got out of their hands. So I went, Ah, okay, so then some human touch points that are more personalized. Those actually matter,

Josh 48:49
Even during the day, like, you know?

Brad 48:52
Even during the day, yeah, so I had a client say, I felt like I was just kind of waiting and looking at my phone waiting for some sort of update from you to say like, Are things going well, like, even if you just said, like, like, this is, this is gonna be amazing. Can’t wait to share this with you. Like, that would have been nice. And so I went, got it noted. So now what I do is I tell the client, you do not need to be available on the day, that’s my day. I want you to just have a coffee, do your work, whatever your thing is, or sleep if you’re in the UK, you know, and it’s bedtime. Don’t worry about your phone.

Brad 49:24
But I will check in with you to let you know how things are going or or you know, just to give you an update, just to know like I’m here I’m doing it. So at nine when I start are a little bit before I say like it’s go time like here we go ready to rock. I’m excited for this. I’ll check I’ll send him a little message at noon. And this is if there’s no issue sometimes I need to get a login that they forgot to send or they change their password. There’s things like that, but if without that, I’ll check in and say like, Hey, taking a quick lunch break here things are looking amazing. Like, or sometimes I’m like hey, getting more It’s done quicker than possible, actually, we’ll be able to do that extra thing that you’re asked about.

Brad 50:04
Mind sending me that, you know that information on that, here’s a quick form to just submit that info really quick. Or sometimes I’ve been able to like really get a groove and go like, hey, like, throw me a couple extra things, and I’ll toss it in there for if you want. And so then they feel like, Hey, you’re actually working on it, things are good. I feel at ease. And so, and it was easy, it takes me a couple seconds to send a message to say like, it’s going great. This is awesome. You know, like, can’t wait to share it. And that made them feel good. The more specific communication though, I tell them as a part of the process, we get on a call before and we get on a call afterwards.

Josh 50:42
Okay, so that’s what I was wondering. Because I don’t know of, you know, they’re calling like, Hey, Brad, how’s it going? Just checking, or texting thing? What’s going on with it?

Brad 50:51

Josh 50:51
Here wonder it? Yeah.

Brad 50:53
Yeah. So I say like, we do a call before the day, I give them automatically one thing. So this is part of the onboarding automation, they book the day, and immediately are on another page that says now book, your your pre call, like your pre pre intensive meeting, and your posts intensive meeting. So I want to call the floor and a call after so the kickoff call the wrap up call, want to call it that. And so they booked those on the spot. It’s also part of their list. If they don’t book those they see like book your your kickoff call book your wrap up call.

Brad 51:27
And on those calls I go this is where we can answer any questions that you’re unclear about or any give you any reassurance or if I realized that you haven’t done your homework, I can see it. And I feel like I need those things done. Here’s the thing I just marked, I’ve just notified you in the board. Get that done. Get working on that. And then they go, okay, cool. Here’s my question about that. And then they feel like so excited a lot of the time. It’s just like, I can’t believe how smooth this is like, this is so awesome. Like, I feel like he just like got this down or just seems so professional. I have experienced something like this before. That’s usually what the call ends up before and afterwards.

Josh 52:07
And you’re like, it’s just pure genius. It’s not years and years of hard lessons learned.

Brad 52:13
Exactly. I know. He’s like, No, I just pulled this out of the top of my hat. And I just had an intuition was like, No, it was a lot of like, trial by fire here. And so the communications there, it’s all I create these constraints, these really rigid systemized constraints. And that allows me to do the best version of all of those things. So the onboarding, it gets better each time with each repetition. Because I implement feedback, that communication gets better, because I already can anticipate the questions they have, I can put that in like a little welcome sheet, or say, Do you have any questions about your availability on the day or this or this? And then they go, yes, that was my next question. Actually.

Josh 52:55

Brad 52:55
And then just like you, you’re like a ninja or something like you know everything about this. And it goes, if you read my mind, you knew exactly. And so that repetition and those constraints allows me to get better and better at it and be even, like, it improves my creativity and improves the value of the of the service. Because I’ve identified repetitions, I’ve systemized them and I’ve created like this orderly process from beginning to end, that the client walks in, and is like, Whoa, I just feel like you took care of everything for me. This is amazing. And I’ve had clients on the spot right after the day, go, I’ve already booked another one of these because that was amazing. And it really speaks to the value of that system.

Josh 53:44
Yeah. And again, the starting point of that onboarding process. So yeah. Wow,

Brad 53:50
Laying expectations.

Josh 53:52
Mic drop on that one, Brad, I mean, you really laid out exactly everything you did there. And again, I mean, I want to preface it is there’s a difference between a VIP day a day rate kind of project that’s templatized and systematize versus more of a custom style project. However, you can still have the systematized areas in a custom project, particularly like, I don’t know what size type of projects those are. But if I’m building an E commerce site that has 100 products, that’s that’s going to be more than an eight hour day type of business type of situation.

Josh 54:23
So but but the point is, you can still make particularly in the onboarding side, these like little tweaks to automate things systematize it templatized it? Yep. And it really just sets the tone and I guess I was trying to think of some of the words that I could kind of sum up everything you just mentioned, some that come to mind are empowerment, like empowering the client with what they need to do to feel good about everything they need to get you. I think care was in there for sure. Like truthfully, you you your project, you’re gonna be able to care For better if you have everything you need and have the constraints in their constraints was another one. That’s a big time word in onboarding. We talked a little bit about either deadlines or due dates, another biggie, communication, all those words kind of wrapped up in this onboarding umbrella. That definitely worked for me. And it’s awesome to hear it worked for you, man. So that’s great. That was really cool.

Brad 55:26
Totally. And that, that you’re right, that those, like, constraints actually breed more creativity. And it allows you to get to the part that you actually enjoy most. So you know, like, if you’d love the fulfillment work, or you love another part of the process, like all the more reason for you to have a really smooth, professional constrained onboarding process, and it still works for those big projects like, right, it, all it means is you need to sit down a little bit longer to say, Where are the patterns in this? Because it’s all patterns.

Brad 55:58
And you say, like, here’s this, maybe it’s a weak base, maybe it’s like three month project, you go, Okay, well, how does that? How did those three months break down? To get the outcome that you’re promising? And how do you create a system out of that, now it’s gonna, it’s gonna require more work from you, but you’re probably getting, you know, 1020 $30,000 job, you can afford to sit down for a day, and create a really good system for that timeline, and then apply that system to the next project. So you spent a day creating it the next time, it takes you an hour to make sure it’s just so so it’s like putting the work now, and it will pay off in dividends as you keep doing it.

Josh 56:35
That’s a great point. That’s a great point. I did have one question. Before we get ready to conclude this one here. Brad, if somebody does not follow through on all those pieces in the onboarding process, you mentioned that you’re going to have this blank day where you’re gonna do your work. Do they book another day with you that you may be scheduled out for a month, like a month? Or what? I’m just curious, in your end of things, like, if they don’t get everything that you need? Or they’ve got like half the content that you need? What’s What do you do from that point?

Brad 57:04
Yeah, so I do encourage them to like, get it all done. And most of the time they do. That said, I’ve created the way that I do the work. Like, it’s kind of like a failsafe, I will expect that they don’t provide me everything I need. I will, but I will have the word. Like where you hope for the best but expect the worst.

Josh 57:28
Kind of anticipate? Not everything like what like 90 95% Completion kind of deal.

Brad 57:34
Yeah. So it’s like I will, I want to create it so that by the end of the day, everyone’s still happy and satisfied. I don’t want to create, where if they don’t provide something that breaks the whole thing. So I need to create like, foolproof systems as well. So if they don’t provide everything, I do, encourage them and push them to do it. But I also tell them, like, Hey, I also recognize, maybe you can’t, for some various reason, you know, personal professional, something just doesn’t work out. That’s, that’s okay. Because I want to reassure them, here’s what happens. And I at the end of it, I have a video that walks through the whole process. And I do a call with them. And I give them like about a month where I can say just like reach out anytime, if you have any questions. Or if I’m like, Okay, you filled out all the info,

Brad 58:17
I just had a client who, who didn’t get everything done. But I reassured them that like, hey, it’s fine, we’re going to do a wrap up call, you have a training video with instructions on the whole thing on how to how to take care of it from here. And anytime something comes up in the next month or so I’m pretty flexible. I’ll help you figure that out. Or I’ll give you an answer to it. And so they like on like, a month later, maybe 29 days later, they were like I’m about to turn on the whole system. I added all the content, but I’m really confused about this thing. And then I shot a quick like screen recording video answered the question, shot it off to them, they’re very happy. And now everything’s running smooth.

Brad 58:57
So I just I reassure them and I make sure I make sure they know that I don’t ghost on them. I’m actually here to help them succeed. And I’d actually be happy for a longer term relationship if they want to get into more of a coaching engagement or more advisory role on like, like the whole overseeing the system. Knowing that I build the system properly, if you need some more guidance moving forward, like I can help them with that. So you know, I I make sure that it’s when I’m done in the day. I’m not like I’m not just gone like I’m actually here to make sure that it works. Yeah, it’s happy. So I do provide extra communication afterwards, which doesn’t take much time.

Josh 59:35
I liked that idea of like planning for the best but preparing for the worst so you’re not caught off guard. If they didn’t get everything to you know, like okay, this is bound to happen. Here’s the next step. I think that’s a really good way to go about one of my colleagues, Emma Kate from from Down Under, she said when it came to particularly client boundaries and communications, if they crossed those boundaries, she has templates that she She says to them, like, she puts the right name and and everything. But there’s no ambiguity about well, what should I say? It’s like, she’s got it. It’s there. She’s got it all written out.

Anytime again, going back to the beauty of templatized and systematizing, which sound like terrible manufacturing corporate terms, but yeah, it’s for creatives. – Josh

Josh 1:00:10
So anytime again, going back to the beauty of templatized and systematizing, which sound like terrible manufacturing corporate terms, but yeah, it’s for creatives. It’s key. So I love that brand. Yeah, that’s awesome. And well, I got one final question for you. First of all, thank you so much for sharing your process. This is really enlightening. This is really cool. I mean, I just kind of scratched the surface of what I have done that has helped, but to hear how you’ve done yours, particularly towards the day rate type of model the VIP days. Obviously, if that’s going to work, you have to have a very systematized approach. So that’s really cool to hear that we’re Oh, yeah. Where would you like everyone go to go after this? Man? I know, you’ve got a special league setup. Yeah, yeah. Tell us talking about that. I got one final question for you.

Brad 1:00:56
For sure. Yeah, go to Brad Hall, and I’m sure you linked it up so that there’s no typos and things like that for people on that page. It’s gonna be very smooth and seamless. I talked about Systemising, and everything. So you can expect the same on that page, resources from this conversation and the last, to help you kind of get in there to know how to get started to help you systemize or even productize. It there’s a lot that you can go from there. So I’ll make sure when you go to that page, you’re kind of taken care of and you know, you know where to go from next with me.

Josh 1:01:30
Awesome. Awesome. So last quick question for you here. What if someone is fairly new, and they’re really excited about this, but they might be feeling a little overwhelmed to put all this in place, what would be like the one thing that you would recommend they start with what’s like, maybe one of the most important aspects of this just to get started with,

Brad 1:01:49
Take out a notebook, and a pen and write down when you do anything. So you’ve got a client, okay? Just do your thing. But, but add in one extra layer of complexity, just one, you got your journal, your pen and paper and write down all of the steps that you are taking. So you wrote them an email, welcoming them, and you just instead of being unconscious about it, which you which you have been up to this point, go, Okay, send welcome email, then you wrote proposal, or you sent them your Basecamp link, and you set up a Basecamp project, you go, Okay, I created a Basecamp project from scratch.

Brad 1:02:30
But this, okay, so here’s this and you write down every single step, and you probably will fill up two or three pages, you know, if you’re really detailed, don’t be afraid to write down literally got water went to the washroom because I needed to break, write it all down. And then once you’ve done the whole thing, for your onboarding process, like keep it contained, you don’t have to do it for everything. And you go through the whole process, you journal, and audit every single step that you took in that day, or that hour or that week, whatever your process was, and then takes carve some time out in your work day or your day, and look at it and find patterns and see where there are repetitions.

Brad 1:03:11
Is this something that you do every single time that you would do every single time? Is this just something that you did on the spot that isn’t rapid repetition, and then you can create from that some sort of order, even if you’re not creating all these automated type forms, and Gravity Forms and all this stuff you can get there. You can hire people to do that. In fact, you just you can even have a piece of paper that just says step one, send welcome email, copy and paste this text. Okay, step two, here’s the proposal. In fact, here’s the template, send that step three, create a base camp template, because it’s always the same, modify a couple things, send that and then that alone will have saved you. You put in a lot of work auditing, but that alone will save you hours, and hours and hours moving forward.

Josh 1:03:59
Right? Well, I know what I was thinking I so for scaling, I call that the task inventory. Where Yeah, really just write down what the heck you’re doing. The cool thing about that, though, I agree, that is the best place to start. Because now, there’s your roadmap. Now you just need to categorize things, automate, you know, automate things where you can, but you could just go one step at a time. So that’s a great point, Brad, that’s awesome. Sort of, like I was gonna say, instead of making you know, a form that has 100 fields right away, just first off, write down what the heck you’re doing, and then one shot one step at a time.

Brad 1:04:31
Exactly. And then you should be able to here’s just a kind of a thought here. If you have that, like task inventory, you should be able to say like, if we ever offered this, jump on a call with you or me and show me that thing, and I can then go okay, here’s this process, automate that. This is definitely repetitive. You shouldn’t do this and do this. Here’s the structure for your onboarding process. Now. I should be able to look at it and go, Oh, yeah, I see how this works. Here’s how you should go about doing that. It should be as straightforward as that. Like, if you produce a task inventory for someone like you or me to look at it and go, Oh, yeah, here are the patterns. Here’s how you move forward now.

Josh 1:05:12
Yeah, that’s awesome. Brad. Gold man, thank you so much for sharing your process, particularly for onboarding. I love having you on man, I can tell you’re just super passionate about what you do. And I love your heart for being transparent about giving back to help others, my audience and everyone else out there, particularly web designers, web creatives, web entrepreneurs. So man, really, really appreciate that. We’ll have all this linked in the show notes. And like I said, definitely not going to be the last time.

Josh 1:05:39
So man, maybe we could talk fulfillment or all kinds of stuff on the next one. So

Brad 1:05:43
I’d love to, again, we can dig into this, of course,

Josh 1:05:46
Awesome, man. And hopefully, when you get your podcast going, I’ll be happy to come on as well. You want to totally start we’ll start sharing and man, there’s plenty of space in the web design world for somebody.

Brad 1:05:58
Love it.

Josh 1:05:58
Awesome, keep that stash going, by the way.

Brad 1:06:00
Think I will.

Josh 1:06:00
Great. Well, thanks, Brad.


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