Last week we shared 17 reasons to use one of our favorite business tools, 17hats. To find out more about how 17hats makes our life easier, check out this post. A basic summary is that it organizes, automates, and calculates so that we don't get stuck on the repetitive day to day tasks while we should be creating, big-picture thinking, and, ya-know, having a life! This tool has given us the freedom to push boundaries, work full time jobs outside of photography, and actually have down time to call our own!! I seriously don't know what we would do without our "personal 17hats assistant."
Over the next 7 weeks (starting today!!) we will be sharing how we have maximized the features of 17hats to make our process as efficient as possible. Today's post is NOT the most riveting, but it's a necessary first step for laying the ground work. This post will cover the must-have first steps including:
- Adding personalization
- Connecting a bank account
- Selecting invoicing options
- Creating tax references
- Syncing your business email
- Syncing calendars
All of these basic first steps are done in the Account Settings, found under the "My Account" drop down.
The first thing you will want to do is to set up your profile with your business information. This is also where you can add your own logo that will be displayed in emails, questionnaires, and invoicing. I also recommend going to "My Preferences" to create a custom domain and button color. In addition to your logo, these two elements will help maintain brand consistency when using 17hats.
These two little steps make a huge difference in maintaining your brand. I wouldn't want my clients seeing that 17hats lime green!! See this example email below. The appearance is so clean and professional with elements of my own brand!
The next step will be to set up banking and invoicing. We use Paypal to receive online payments, and we connect our BB&T account so that we can categorize income and expenses, assign costs to clients for profit and loss reports, and make profit projections. We will cover all of these in more detail over the next few weeks, but for now, take the time to connect them to 17hats! Under "Bookkeeping Options," there is also a list of transaction categories that 17hats uses to classify expenses. We use the default options provide except for a few scenarios that we will cover in the coming weeks. If you have a different set of categories, set those up here.
The next absolute must-have is a synced email account. Not only will you be able to create email templates, but you will also be able to pull email right into 17hats!! This is an exceptional tool because 17hats automatically organizes client emails. Whenever I pull up a profile for any given client, 17hats pulls up a history of our email correspondence. It's a life saver not to have to spend time organizing this myself or spending hours searching for that one lost email!
Setting up tax preferences is a must before creating invoices. We have our Virginia sales tax rate set up for ease of use in invoicing and client quotes. When creating invoicing options later, I can pick and choose with a simple check box on which items require sales tax. This would also be a big benefit for anyone who with multiple tax rates. 17hats also automatically records the income as taxes for booking keeping convenience.
Before moving past basic setup I recommend syncing any other calendars you have to 17hats. Will and I use Google calendars to organize just about ever aspect of our lives so it is 100% necessary for us to have that incorporated in our online management tool. These calendars can be added easily under "Calendars."
I hope you have enjoyed the "Basic Setup" stage and are excited for next week's post on Email Templates!!