Updated February 27, 2021
Honeybook review: How HoneyBook gives me hours of my life back, keeps me focused and sane, and ensures that I’m providing the best service possible to each and every one of my wedding photography clients. Hello greater profits and freedom in my business!
We all have those tools in our lives and businesses…the ones that we’d have a good ugly-cry over if they went away. I was recently asked by a fellow photographer what were the tools that I would never want to run my business without. My first answer came quick.
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I started my photography business almost fifteen years ago! I was newlywed, kidless, and leaving my day job to start my dream business, so my time, motivation, and energy for building something new were seemingly endless. Fast-forward just a couple of years, and I was pregnant with my first kiddo and more than slightly freaking out about how on earth I was going to continue to run a successful photography business once I was a work-at-home stay-at-home Mom. Quite suddenly, my time was seeming far more precious, and I knew I would have to get some strong *better* systems in place to do both of these jobs well. Building my workflows and systems took much blood, sweat, and many many tears. Many tears – Jude Law in “The Holiday” has got nothin’ on me. But I am forever grateful that I started this habit early on in my business and have been on the perpetual hunt for ways to serve my clients and my family better ever since. My ultimate goal for my career: run a life-giving (rather than life-stealing) business on all fronts.
So without further ado, #1 of my tools I don’t ever want to run my business without:
what is honeybook?
HoneyBook is a customer relationship management system (CRM) designed with creatives and service providers in mind. Imagine a place where you can see all of your projects and where they stand at a glance. Where your to-do list is automated and neatly organized, alongside your bookkeeping, and all you need to do to find every proposal, invoice, file, and communication between you and your client is click on their name. Where you can trigger personalized auto-communication with a new inquiry before you even realize it’s happened, and respond with beautifully branded material within minutes…even while on vacation. Where scheduling phone calls and sessions is as simple as sending a link to your availability, and the entire booking process is streamlined, beautiful, and all in one place. This magical land is Honeybook, and I don’t know what I ever did without it.
Anatomy of a honeybook workflow
So what exactly does it look like to use HoneyBook for my wedding photography business? Here’s what happens when a couple contacts me to learn about my services:
Above: All of my projects at a glance in the HoneyBook project pipeline
My HoneyBook inquiry form (embedded on my website) feeds my prospective client’s information directly into my HoneyBook Pipeline, triggering my “inquiry workflow”. I get notified that I have a new inquiry, and my prospective client automatically receives a friendly email from me letting them know that I’m excited to connect! I have customized my inquiry form to collect all of the details I find crucial to knowing how to best follow up with a client, so I have everything I need for the next step. I’ll be reminded by my workflow to reach out to my prospect in three days if I don’t hear back by then – this way I don’t let their inquiry slip through the cracks.
I customize whichever inquiry email template best fits this couple (1)Yes! I’m available…here’s some more info or 2) I’m so sorry, but I’m booked for you date…) and send it out ASAP. This is super easy, since I’ve already collected all of the info I needed in my inquiry form and have a gorgeous, branded template ready to go in HoneyBook. BONUS: HoneyBook’s mobile app makes it simple for me to send out these details to my clients in just a few clicks even when I’m out and about or on vacay! Now my client automatically gets moved to the “follow up” stage of my pipeline.
If my prospect wants to connect, I send out a link for them to schedule a Zoom call. I take notes within their project during and after my call so I don’t forget important details and can easily look back in their project to remind myself. If we hit it off, I customize a pretty proposal (package and contract in one) from one of my ready-to-go HoneyBook templates in just a few clicks. My client can click on a button from my email to review the details, sign the proposal, and pay their retainer to book me all in one step! Their project moves from meeting > proposal sent > proposal signed > retainer paid automatically as they complete each step, and I hear a little “cha-ching!” from the mobile app on my phone when I receive a payment. Then I do a happy dance :).
Once I’ve received a signed contract and retainer payment I move my client to my “planning” pipeline stage and start my “wedding client workflow.” This fills my to do list with all of the tasks I want to complete for my client, including sending my engagement session prep email, automated checkins, important dates, wedding prep questionnaires, and much more. I’ll receive reminders of these tasks, and each day when I open up my HoneyBook “Home” page, I’ll see a list of tasks that have yet to be completed, along with any new activity on my other projects.
Above: HoneyBook Home page keeping me up to date on all new activity.
5. I keep an eye on my HoneyBook Home page throughout the week to make sure I’m crossing off the tasks that aren’t automated and require my personal touch. Over the years I’ve added small tasks to my client workflow that are super fast and easy but allow me to make sure my clients know I value them and am thinking of them. It’s easy to keep up with these for each and every one of my clients since HoneyBook reminds me!
6. Once I’ve delivered my couple their wedding photos (using a pretty pretty custom brochure template I have waiting for me in HoneyBook), I trigger a “post wedding” workflow, which again fills my to do list with all the little tasks I want to complete to make absolutely sure my client is happy, feels cared for, and has everything they need from me to enjoy using their new family heirlooms.
7. When I feel satisfied that I’ve done everything needed to take care of my client and checked off all of their project tasks, I can move their project to the “completed” stage of my HoneyBook pipeline and give myself a pat on the back :).
And here’s the beauty of HoneyBook…the example above is just one path I’ve chosen to customize my client’s experience. With all custom templates, workflows, pipeline stages, contracts, proposals, brochures, and more you have total control over how you handle a project from start to finish.
How Honeybook improves my photo business and life
Maybe you’re already saying, “Yes! I have been trying to get the business end of things together forever and NEED this in my life!” But if you’re anything like me, you might be thinking, “Kelsie, I’m a pretty organized person…I don’t drop many balls in life or business. Do I really need something like Honeybook?” The truth is, I am a highly organized person. Staying on top of my to-do list and client communication has not been my biggest struggle in business, so I resisted a CRM tool like HoneyBook for a long time. However, enough raving from some other trusted creatives convinced me that even the most type-A business owners can improve their systems. When I started to dream about growing and scaling my business with a studio manager and a team of photographers, I became convinced that a tool like HoneyBook was exactly what would help me grow my business without giving up precious time with my favorite people. Quite honestly, after having used it for nearly four years now, I feel a little silly for resisting so long!
HoneyBook gives me hours of my life back, keeps me focused and sane, and ensures that I’m providing the best service possible to each and every one of my wedding photography clients – all of which adds up to greater profits and freedom in my biz!
The functionality, automation, and ease of use are all up there – but where HoneyBook is really set apart is in their SUPER responsive and helpful customer service team. And believe me…I have put them to the test! From numerous feature requests (I tend to be the person who wants tech to do more than it does, and they’ve already added some of my requested features in the time I’ve been using it) and email after email just looking for a little guidance on how to do allll the things, their team is quick, thorough, helpful, anticipating my needs, and always working to improve their product! Plus, it’s pretty! Seriously…the design and templates are clean, simple, and easy to match to my personal brand. Being a creative business owner this is high on my priority list and a huge plus :).
Honeybook gives me peace of mind
One of the most pleasantly surprising byproducts of using HoneyBook for me has been less anxiety and an easier time disconnecting from work. Maybe, like me, your painful need to perform (where my Enneagram 3’s at?) makes the pressure that comes with working in the wedding industry overwhelming at times?! The peace of mind I get from knowing I’m not letting any tasks (or clients) slip through the cracks, that I’m maximizing my time and making the very most of every touch point with my client, and that each couple that inquires with me is getting the same great experience, has also made Honeybook an investment in my mental well-being. This also helps me to stay present with my most important people – my highest priority.
There are for sure other well-loved options for managing your client relationships – if you’re looking to explore and compare you might check out Dubsado and Base Camp, to name a couple. To be clear, I did do a ton of research when I started out with Honeybook, but I haven’t personally tested either of these other options. For me, Honeybook has been a great fit for my life and wedding photography business from the start, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to other creatives looking for a way to simplify their systems, get on top of their workflows, up-level their client experience, and gain some real peace of mind.
Do you have questions about how I use HoneyBook or other specifics about the app itself? Add them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to help!
Ready to give honeybook a try?! Test it out for free and get 50% off your first year of HoneyBook here or use code “pinkerton” at sign up!