17hats | Creating Workflows

We are entering week 4 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.

In week 1, we went over basic set up and account preferences. In week 2, we went over how to set up templates. In week 3, we went over quotes. This week is by far the most valuable element of 17hats, workflows!! 

THE Why

Over the last few weeks we have gone over all backbone elements of a solid automated workflow including basic account set up, templates, and quotes. Workflows combine all these elements so that processes can be repeated for every client! Is there an automatic email that you send out after someone books your services? Is there a questionnaire you want to send out a set number of days before a project? Do you schedule invoices to come out before your project date? It's all so easy when you set up an automated workflow! 

You guys, I feel like a commercial right now but, I am really excited to share automated workflows with you! Even though the set up is quite simple, the outcome has been incredible. Automated workflows are the reason we can work full time jobs, volunteer 10-20 hours a week, AND run a small business. I can't say this enough: do it for your business, do it for YOU!

THE HOW

1. Start with week 1, week 2, and week 3 for setting up workflows, quotes, and the initial set up which will set the foundation for a solid workflow. 

2. Write out your workflow. Having your workflow written out will make your life MUCH easier whether you are ready to harness the great power of automation yet or not and will help you implement the level of consistency needed by any professional. 

3. Break your workflow into phases. This might not apply to everyone, but at least for us in our photography business, we have different phases of work. For example, for a wedding client we have 5 different phases including "Booking," "The Engagement," "The Wedding," "After the Wedding," and "Album Design." We actually broke "The Engagement" into a completely different workflow, but I'll get to that in a minute. 

4. Create your first workflow. 

5. Create your workflow's phases. 

6. Create to-dos and actions for your workflow. The actions are the automated tasks that 17hats can do for your. The to-dos are check boxes for tasks that are part of your workflow but that are done outside of 17hats. 

There are several different options for the "due date." We most frequently use "x days before the Project Date." 

There are also options for what to do when the action or "to-do" is complete!

7. Add pauses where applicable. For our workflow we added a pause at the end of our "Booking" phase because we typically have couples take a few weeks to a few months to pick their engagement date. After a couple picks their engagement date we initiate that workflow. We start the wedding workflow back up when their engagement workflow is complete. 

The tips and tricks

Create different project and workflows if you want to reference multiple project dates. My best example for this is that with our wedding clients, we provide a complimentary engagement session. I create a separate project and workflow for each client so that my workflow can reference the engagement project date verses the wedding project date. 

Use the "To-dos." Even though the "to-dos" are in place to help remember things that can't be automated with 17hats, they absolutely have a valuable place in our workflow. When we log into 17hats, the dashboard provides a list of all our "to-dos" across our clients so that it's giving me my list of when needs to get done. Again, 17hats has become my little secretary! When it's not doing it for me, it's keeping me from forgetting EVERYTHING! 

Use the "Approve before sending" feature to add personalization. All actions have an option for "Approve before sending" or "Send automatically." I want 17hats to do the heavy lifting for us, but we are a personal business! Before sending anything out, I add personal touches that are relevant to my clients. 

I hope this helps you get your life back!! Next week we will be talking about how we use our client dashboard to maximize our efficiency. I love how well organized everything is in 17hats!