What even are workflows?!

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Workflows (and systems) are words that are definitely trendy right now – you’ve probably heard at least one person on your social media mention workflows at some point in the most recent past!

Everyone wants to set workflows up in their business but they struggle because finding a starting point in the broad abyss of systems can be a challenge.

Either that or they take the leap and decide to set up systems in their business but get overwhelmed very quickly because there are so many things to consider – and with each of those things comes something to implement too! 

So, let’s explore a bit more about what workflows are! 

This is how I define workflows:

Workflows are the steps you repeat for every single client project – they can be very simple or complex, but the most important part is that they should be efficient and usable for your specific needs within your business. 

We have two main kinds of workflows in the service-based business space: lead/client management workflows, and project management workflows. 

It’s easy to get confused between client management and project management so let’s explore that. 

Client communication/management

These are the workflows relating to ensuring your client has everything they need to hire you and work with you. They also consist of the process that ensures you receive everything you need from your client in order to complete the project. See my blog post on getting started with systems for more information on this.

Software examples: Dubsado and HoneyBook 

get your systems checklist!

Project management

These are the workflow steps you go through to perform your service/provide your deliverables. Though these are related to client management, they are not directly the same. These workflows start once your client has given everything to you that you need to start, often through an intake questionnaire or project kick-off call, from which you will be able to do your work in a clear and cohesive manner. 

It’s often helpful to determine the milestones in your project, and create a checklist on your project management system to go through every item, one at a time. 

For example: If you’re a designer, your first milestone could be creating a mood board for your client’s new branding (This is why it’s important to go through a set onboarding process to discover their brand direction, theme, etc). There could be multiple steps in this checklist that you may not remember to do as you work through many projects at once:

  • Review intake questionnaire
  • Review pinterest board (Quick tip: Ask them to provide a link to their pinterest board on their intake questionnaire!)
  • Duplicate template in Canva/Illustrator

You get the picture! Put all of those micro steps in there!

Software examples: Asana, ClickUp, Trello

Ultimately, you can use workflows for *almost* anything in your business – most of the things you do have a set process that can be applied to either a digital system or even just a simple pen-and-paper list of how each task should be done so that you don’t waste time with unnecessary steps! 

Wrap up

So there you have it, the basics of what workflows are!

Let me leave you with one last nugget of information: workflows WILL change your business for the better (if implemented correctly). I say this from personal experience, because a few years ago I was running around trying to keep track of my clients only to discover Dubsado and Clickup and realize that there was a much simpler and more efficient way of managing my business – and ultimately having peace of mind to live my life again too! 

get your systems checklist!

Dive Deeper:

Kendra Courtney

Kendra Courtney is a Certified Dubsado Specialist and workflow pro. Her love for systems began when she started working as a photographer back in 2017.
She discovered the need for time-and-energy-saving systems when she found herself spending more time doing admin than taking photos and working on projects.
Since then she’s been streamlining admin and automating anything a human doesn’t *really* need to be doing manually (we start our businesses for people, not paperwork!)
When Kendra isn’t setting up workflows, she enjoys running and doing ministry with her husband at their local church in Cape Town, South Africa.