woman filling out habit tracker

With all the buzz around efficiency and time management, many solo professionals are running successful businesses without an official approach for new clients – no formalized series of actions and information given when work is begun.

Not having one is a big missed opportunity. “Onboarding,” as it’s called, lays the groundwork for new clients, some of whom will hopefully be around for years to come. This first impression can truly make a lasting impact.

Here’s my simple 4-step system for onboarding new clients:

1. I send a welcome email. Mine is filled with information, including my regular office hours, how to submit project requests, how to get in touch with me, how to get on my calendar for meetings, and more. It also serves as a warm welcome, letting my new client know how much I’m looking forward to working with them. I send this email right after our discovery call – demonstrating that I’m ready to go.

2. I add their name and contact information to my contact management system and tag them as a client in that system. That way, when I want to send an email to all of all my current clients, I can do so with just a few mouse clicks.

3. Insert them into my key processes. This step is going to vary for every business. For my new clients, I add them to Toggl (my time tracking software); I add them to my client debit-card tracking spreadsheet; I create a folder in LastPass, my password manager; I create a documents folder in OneDrive; and I create a notebook in Evernote.

4. I get connected to them. I send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn; I follow their Facebook business page. If we were introduced by a mutual friend/client/colleague (which is nearly always the case) I also send a referral gift to that person. 

Four simple steps. Are these the four steps that everyone should follow? No, these are the right ones for me, my clients, and my business. Yours will undoubtedly be different.

But whatever you decide to do, write the steps down and make them a standard, consistent part of your work. It will save you time, improve communications and, if my experience is any indication, delight your clients!


Adapted from content by Belinda Sandor at The VA Connection.