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Signing a new client is awesome – you get a fat check, you get a dopamine hit…and then…..you have to do quite a few boring tasks over the next few hours before you can even get started on the work.
But what if YOU didn’t have to do those things, and tiny robots did them for you?
I want to show you the exact steps I use when onboarding a new client, how I’ve almost completely automated it, and how you can copy this process.
Here is a video I’ve recorded to walk through everything involved in this process as well.
Table of Contents
Why Onboarding Makes You Look Like a Genius
When a client signs up to work with you, they’re taking a risk. While it might be an exciting risk, there is always going to be a little hesitation on their end.
So the goal of your onboarding process is not just to get everything you need for a successful project, but to remove any buyer’s remorse they might be feeling.
You want to prove to them that they made the right decision. And by sending them through a well-rounded process, you show them that you know what you’re doing — you’re a pro and have done this before. And it signals to them that they can relax a bit, so you can do your thing.
What a Good Onboarding Process Includes
Let’s walk through everything involved in a good onboarding process, and then I’ll show you how mine is set up…and how robots are doing most of the work.
Alright, so there are 5 main steps you want to walk through in your process:
I use a framework called WAAPP.
Not that WAAPP! It stands for…
The WAAPP Framework
- Welcome to the crew, set expectations, etc.
- Agreements – contracts, proposals, etc.
- Access to their tools and information
- Payments – get paid today and in the future
- Project Management – add them to your task manager, zaps to integrate software, Google Drive folders
So let’s walk through each of those and explain a little bit more about what each is for.
With the Welcome step, you want to welcome your new client to your family and let them know what they can expect moving forward.
- Welcome email (adding a video is a bonus)
- Let them know what they can expect
- Email is best for communication
- I generally work M-F 7am-3pm EST
- I’ll send an update every Monday & Thursday
- I’m setting up a dashboard for you to see the progress
- I’m sending the contract over in the next few minutes so keep an eye out for that. Once that is signed, I’ll shoot over my onboarding document so I can get access to tools, and get a better understanding of your business. Once that is done, I’ll shoot over the first invoice and we can get started.
- Create some momentum, easy wins that make them feel like they’re
- If you’re going to have a kickoff call – send them what they need to have ready for that call
- Proposals, contracts, all that good stuff.
- You mentioned these in the first email, but you need to actually get compiled and send them over. I use PandaDoc for all of this, and it makes it super easy.
- This is the part that always took forever for me…getting access to clients information.
- For my digital marketing projects, I usually need a combination of:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Ads
- Bing Ads
- Facebook Ads
- ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign
- Their online course or digital products sales platform (Thinkific, Teachable, Gumroad, etc.)
- Safe to say, it’s a lot – and many clients have likely not given access to at least one of those things before. So, asking them for access to all of those things was SUPER FUN.
- Spoiler – I got the robots to do it, keep reading.
While you might like working for the sake of it, I like getting paid too. This step is about making sure you get paid upfront before you start the project, and ongoing as long as you’re working with this client.
I use Quickbooks to get paid and set up recurring invoices.
5. Project Management
- A lot of the really boring, but important stuff is in here:
- Creating folders in Google Drive
- Adding them to your project management software (Like ClickUp or Asana)
- Time management tools
- Adding them to any admin sheets you track, like income tracking or a profit and loss statement
- Creating client reporting dashboards, etc.
- Series of emails with things to know, more expectations setting, etc.
The good news is that almost all of this can be done by tiny robots. So let’s walk through how I automate this process, and how it’s saved me around 2.5 hours per client.
The Tools I Use to Automate the Onboarding Process
I use around 5-6 tools to automate my onboarding process.
This is where I keep track of all my contacts, deals, and leads. It’s a CRM of sorts, but I consider it a supercharged CRM.
Once a client says yes to working with me, I use a combination of five different tools. well, six, if you count, the robot. So I start off in
It’s essentially a CRM if you’ve heard of that before.
I have all of my contacts, my leads, my deals in there. I even include friends and family in there to make sure I stay on top of the relationships.
Once a client says yes to working with me, I move the deal over in
I also use Google Drive, which is how I keep track of any client data. Any reports. images, assets, logos, all those kinds of things live in Google drive.
It makes it easy to find everything later on, and it integrates with a ton of other software tools making it simple to set up these automations.
And then for my client onboarding questionnaire, I use a tool called Process Street.
That’s where I get access to all the client software and their data, and logos. Like I just mentioned those initially go into process street and then they get housed in Google Drive.
So on this onboarding questionnaire, I ask a few questions about their business. Such as “who are your competitors”. Because while I’m going to do my own research in seeing who I think their competitors are, it’s always nice to hear it from them.
Sometimes business owners look at one of their most direct competitors and they might be the smallest company in the world, but they see them as this huge, awesome company. And they want to emulate their business after them.
And then the questionnaire itself has a list of all the tools that I need access to and how they can give me access.
While a business owner might have given access to someone in Google analytics a hundred times before. On that 101st time, they will inevitably forget how to do it. And then they email me asking me how to do it, or they say, “I think I got it.”
And they don’t. And that leads me to have to send screenshots and all that stuff. So with this questionnaire, I kind of just nipped that all in the bud, give them everything they need upfront, and then save myself some headaches later on.
For project and task management, I use a tool called ClickUp.
It’s kind of like an Asana or a Trello if you’ve seen those before, but it helps me keep track of any reports I need to send out, any campaign updates I have to do, or just weekly tasks I need to do for the project.
And then to tie it all together, I use a tool called Zapier and that is how I can change the deal in
And then you can add in some other details in here as well. phone number, email, all this good stuff.
Now there are different stages you can go through. So usually you’ll walk through these pretty sequentially, but let’s just go ahead and say, I won this client, which means we jumped on a call. They’re ready to go. They paid. So I hit “won”.
It doesn’t look like much has just happened here, but on the backend, all kinds of things have happened.
I have created a zap in which well, a couple zaps, but this one specifically, says if a deal has been won, which I just marked one as ” won it will create a new customer in QuickBooks. And then it’ll create an invoice in QuickBooks.
It won’t send it. I don’t generally like having the first one be automatically sent. I like adding a little personalization to it.
So we have this one created and then it also creates a list in ClickUp. That’s essentially a project. so for every client that I have, I have a list.
Now it might seem small, but this just created a list from a template that I have in click up. So it has taken a whole list of tasks that I essentially do for every client I bring on and it just duplicated them all into this new list for this new client, super powerful stuff.
So, if we go over into click up, once I refresh the page, you’ll see that it has duplicated all of these tasks for me. A lot of which have notes in there, like a video walkthrough a process doc, and then it has links to all these things. It just makes it super easy. I can go ahead and reassign these if I need, a VA or a contractor to help me with the work and it is just already done for me, which is awesome.
So we have that click a project in here, and then if we go back out of here, so. That was the main zap that has those, those four, but there’s also, I have a specific spreadsheet that I use to keep track of income and expenses. I have QuickBooks, but I like doing it manually too.
so I have QuickBooks automatically create a spreadsheet row when I get a new client. I do pull that one out of here because if something breaks with Google sheets, I don’t want it to affect the entire zap. And then also. Once I have a new customer in QuickBooks, which is what happens when this zap creates a new customer and then an invoice, this automatically runs and it creates a new client folder in Google drive, which is super helpful because I don’t have to copy and paste anything.
And then if there’s a new client folder, I have it add the major folders that I generally have for all clients. If you look at this Zap, you can see I’ll delay it for a little bit, just to make sure all the data pulls through. Think it’s only like a minute or something. but yeah. So add client data folder, call notes, reporting admin creatives, and images.
So that’s all done for me. I don’t even have to go into Google drive for that to happen. so if you’re following along, everything that has happened so far came from me putting the deal in pipe drive as ” won”. So that’s super powerful. and then I also will occasionally use this tool called toggle, which keeps track of your time.
it can be a little tedious at first, but every month or two, I like to go back and kind of see how much time I’m spending on specific parts of a project. So I know that. see if I can make it any faster or more efficient and it just really helps kind of keep on top of stuff.
So that’s also in there. So if there’s a new project and click up, I’ll create a client in toggle, super simple. So these are the five zaps that, I use to essentially run my onboarding process. the other tool that I mentioned before is called process street. So I have this workflow essentially.
The 80/20 of Automating This Process
If you only chose one thing on this list to automate, I’d start with the Client Onboarding Questionnaire.
The one thing that takes up the most time with my onboarding process is getting access to tools.
They’re not sure how to do it, and then I have to go in. Send them screenshots and all that stuff. So I just completely nip that in the bud right here. I have Google analytics. I have all the screenshots of how they can add me to their account, what permissions I need, et cetera.
And I do that with all the tools that I generally need for a client. And then on top of that, I’ll ask for other information. So we may have talked about all of this stuff on the phone call, but I like getting it from them as well. So who are your competitors?
I will always do competitive research and see, what other companies or business owners are kind of doing the same thing. But I like hearing from them because sometimes it’s like the smallest little competitor, but they make it out to be this giant person that they need to keep up with, or vice versa.
And they’re trying to be the next Gary V and it’s just not going to happen. and then any conversions and all this stuff here, with the creatives and copy, they can upload files. They can give me a link to their Google drive makes it super simple. once they actually go through all this, there’s a button at the bottom that says complete.
And once they’ve completed it, I will get an email. So then I know I can start working on their project. I have everything I need. It makes it so simple. All of this stuff probably used to take me hours and now it’s probably five minutes all in.
And if you want to grab this exact template here and use that for your business, you can grab it here.