We are entering week 2 of 7 in our mini series on setting up 17hats! This tool has changed our business and our lives in the most remarkable way, allowing us to automate our process and get hours of precious time back into our lives! If you would like to find out more about why we use 17hats, please check out our original post 17 reasons to use 17hats.
People aren't meant for repetitive tasks, it's as simple as that. Creative entrepreneurs, like most of the world, are really good at creating, and they are really bad at doing the same thing over and over again. This is why I'm always looking for patterns. Patterns create opportunities for automation, and automation saves time.
Think of something as simple as the self check out aisle at your local grocery store. Since the same four tasks were happening over and over again - scan groceries, bag groceries, make payment, get receipt - a brilliant human being decided that this was an easy case for automating a simple process, both making it easier for the cashier that now gets to stock shelves, bring in carts, or other less mundane tasks, as well as the customer who has four self check outs in the place of one regular cashier aisle. This means they get in and out faster and on with their day - brilliant! Win-win!
When we first started our business two years ago, I spent so much time making EVERY email 100% personalized. I spent hours repeating the same informational content in different ways and over thought every detail! It was a time wasting tornado! When I found out that I could create email templates in Gmail, it was the first step toward to deciding an automated workflow was what I needed most. Now, with 17hats, I'm not just creating templates for email, but I also have templates for client questionnaires and quotes. These templates have become the backbone of my automated workflow and I still can't fathom how we survived without them!
1. Find templates under account settings.
2. There are several options for templates including email, quote, invoice, contract, and questionnaire. I recommend starting with email.
3. Add a name (that you will use to identify the template), a subject (that will populate in the client's inbox), and a default message.
4. Next I recommend moving onto contracts.
5. Enter a name (that you will use to identify the template), whether or not your signature will be required, and a default message. Tokens and form items can be added to templates and are a huge live saver! See below in "The Tips and Tricks" for what these are and how they are a huge asset when setting up templates!
6. Next I recommend setting up questionnaires.
7. Enter a title (that you will use to identify the template) and a due date (a date when the client will be expected to complete the questionnaire). We don't set due dates in our questionnaires and instead automatically send them out using workflows, which we will talk about in a different week.
8. There are several different types of questions that can be added. We mostly use the heading text to break up long questionnaires into sections or the long text format for most answers. Once added, they can be moved up and down, added or removed from.
9. Lastly, we use quotes which combine contracts with invoicing in one nice package. Since this is a little more tricky, I will be covering this in it's own blog post next week! It's by far one of the most valuable templates for ease of use from both my perspective and my client's!
The Tips and Tricks
Tokens are a major life savor and a must-know when setting up templates! They can be added to any template for automatic customization. After we collect our client's information into 17hats, tokens can automatically enter their information where needed! See the example below.
In the same way tokens add known client information, form elements can be added to certain templates for clients to input information. In my business this is a big help when it comes to adding information that I am not comfortable asking for in the initial inquiry, but that I need to add to the contract such as a phone number and address.
We are always editing or adding to our templates but it can be a pain to go back into our account settings and make the update before sending information out to clients. Every email, quote, questionnaire, contract, and invoice we send through 17hats gives us the option to update a current template or create a new one. I HIGHLY recommend using both of these features to save time and energy!
This was a long one guys but I hope it has helped you set up a few of the basic elements of an automated workflow! Next week we will be talking about setting up the quote template which combines the contract template talked about above with invoicing!