I've talked about 17Hats a lot lately. I have some vague mentions of it here, here and here. And I have an ecourse about it here. But I've never written a whole guide for you all, so today that's going to change.
17Hats plays a huge role in my small business and I think it's a valuable tool that can be used by any solopreneur to streamline their lead intake and keep projects organized.
Here are 17 reasons I Love 17Hats and how I use each of these to help my business run smoother.
From the branding options to the menu bar, 17Hats was build to be an easy to navigate and clean system. Whether you've been using 17Hats for 1 day or 1 year, navigating the dashboard is incredibly simple. I also appreciate the ability to access projects, contacts and invoices from a variety of places, so you can get the information you need in the most convenient way possible.
Here's a shot of what my dashboard currently looks like:
This is probably the most valuable aspect of 17Hats. The ability to build and use templates is what saves me hours every week when working with leads and clients. Within one system you can save canned emails, contracts, quotes, invoices and questionnaires. All of them have the same clean & simple design as the rest of the platform.
I use templates for everything, and they allow me to automate the majority of my work by using workflows, which I'll touch on a little later.
Templates also make it incredibly easy to get my clients the information they need as quickly as possible while saving me time typing out the same contract and emails for each of my coaching clients. Templates can be built in gmail if you'd prefer, but 17Hats puts them all in one place and gives you more control over how they are used.
Here's a quick look at some of my templates:
3. Stripe v. Paypal
Personally, I'm not a fan of Paypal - I won't get into a rant here, but I don't like their company. So the ability to use Stripe payment processor was really important to me when I was looking for an invoice system. The great thing about 17Hats is that they allow you to pick from Stripe, Paypal or Authorize.net - so no matter which system you prefer you'll get your money on time.
17Hats also does not take any percentage of your invoices. Your payment processor will take a percentage (all of them do) but you'll never have to worry about additional chunks being taken out just to use their system. Hurray for transparent pricing!
4. Exports to Quickbooks
This is a newer feature of 17Hats that I used for a short time. Quickbooks is WIDELY used for bookkeeping, and the ability to export your invoices to their system can be a huge help. Personally, I use Wave Accounting and Stripe to keep my records up to date, but this is an awesome feature that could be great for many of you.
It is so easy to create invoices within 17Hats. You can offer payment schedules, charge for tax, create due dates, build reoccurring payments and edit every line of your service or product fees. Here's a quick look at a sample invoice from my account:
Signing contracts can be more of a hassle than needed. 17Hats makes it super simple. You send a contract, you client digitally signs it, then you digitally sign it. No scanning, trying to sign your name with a computer mouse or printing any pages.
The contracts are easy to design as well, with a simple text editor you can write it all within 17Hats or copy & paste it from another source. Easy peasy.
I love having the ability to send a quote to my clients with a contract, invoice and payment schedule attached. It takes 2 steps out for me, and gives my clients the flexibility to choose how and how much they want to pay for my various packages.
You can customize quotes just as easily as invoices and add optional items, required items and allow your clients to choose a quantity. The quotes put more power in your client's hands while still making it super simple for you to get a contract signed and an invoice paid.
This should be number one, but it makes more sense to have given you a little info on the other features first. Workflows is how you can automate your client process. Let me show you my coaching workflow.
Workflows can be 100% automated or 100% manual - it is totally up to you how your process is built. I recommend some manual aspects to add personal touches to your on-boarding system, but automation can be great if you're booked up or have a ton of leads everyday.
9. Lead forms
These are the first step in automating some of your workflow. Using 17Hats you can create "contact me" forms and share them on social media, embed them into your website or add it to a facebook page. (If you're a vendor on TheKnot, WeddingWire, or ShowItFast you can also set up "forms" for incoming emails from those systems)
To set up a new lead form, login to 17Hats, click on "leads" in the left sidebar, then click the grey "lead capture" button in the upper right hand corner and next to "Lead Capture Methods" hit the plus sign to add a new form. Easy as pie.
One of my favorite aspects of a lead capture form is that you can map certain questions into a contact card. For example, if someone types in their website address you can tell 17Hats to add that answer under "Website" on the lead contact card. It takes a step out of the process and allows you to easily build a contact book with lead forms.
10. Contact Cards
This is your virtual Rolodex. 17hats created a mini CRM system for you in the contact section. You can quickly view leads vs. clients vs. contacts. You'll be able to view past projects, notes, contact information and their social media profiles. Here's a quick look at my own contact card:
You can create contacts or have then automatically built based on lead capture forms - either way this is a feature 17Hats has really improved over the last year.
The calendar isn't a feature I use a ton, but can be very helpful when booking client meetings. You can connect your 17Hats account to your google calendar. 17Hats will pull in your calendars and allow you to see a 3-day agenda on your dashboard.
When you're setting a meeting date or project date, 17Hats also shows you your appointments for that day so you don't overbook yourself.
The time tracker in 17Hats makes it easy to bill your clients hourly or track how long you work on projects. I use this feature for my virtual assistant clients to keep their invoice up to date.
17Hats has a pretty nice referral program, which I always appreciate. You are signed up automatically when you have any account. So you can invite your friends and clients to use 17Hats and get a month for free when they sign up. Pretty nice. While this might seem a bit odd to include in "why I love 17hats", this feature is what helped me afford using the program when I first got started. Now, I'm a proud affiliate of 17Hats and I work with them to get the word out.
P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post. I LOVE 17hats because it's made my work much easier. I truly love the company and I would never promote a business I didn't use and love myself.
14. Affordable pricing/sales
17Hats has a free 15-day trial here (this is an affiliate link, which means I get a month of 17Hats free if you end up loving it, thanks). This way you can get to know the interface, set up your templates and test the waters before committing.
If you end up loving it as much as I did, here's a little breakdown on their prices.
$39/month might be a bit steep for some new business owners. However, the great thing about 17Hats is it will save you time and money when using the system because you can focus more on your clients, building your business and less on the admin side of things. In addition, 17Hats regularly has sales and promotions, so be sure to sign up for news and updates to get in on discounted membership.
15. Updates and features
I do want to mention that 17Hats is a fairly new company. They recently released an app and a couple other features. Their company and system is still growing and evolving, so if they don't have something you need, you can request that feature to be added by going here.
16. Customer Service
I can only speak from personal experience on this, but I have always loved the customer service I've received from 17Hats. They have a help & contact section on their website, community forums and a live chat app that pops up within your dashboard. All of these give you quick access to get your questions answered.
This is a vital part of my workflow because I use questionnaires for pre-meeting questions and to gather testimonials. Here's a quick look at how you can easily build beautiful questionnaires.
A few things I wish they had.
- Team member options
Right now there is no way to add team members to your account. No one has access unless they log in with the one username and password. Multi-user accounts have been recommended a lot on the 17Hats suggestions board so hopefully, they'll release some features soon. In the meantime, if you work in a team, 17Hats may not be the best option.
- Better bookkeeping or integration with Wave Accounting
17Hats recently released the option to export your invoices to Quickbooks, which I've been using for this year. However, more options to connect the two would make my bookkeeping process much smoother. Hopefully, they'll release more features for this soon.
- Online Scheduling
I still use Calendly to schedule meetings, which can be a real pain sometimes. If 17Hats had a booking feature within their interface it would take 3-4 steps out of my process with clients. This is also highly requested, so keep your fingers crossed.
Want more info?
I created an entire ecourse about 17Hats - how to set it up, how to use it effectively and how to get to know the system. You can check out the course at ConradU and use "17reasons" to get 17% off the course!
Just some additional info for you. This is not a sponsored post, I just really freaking love this system. It does take awhile to set everything up - as in a few hours. I have a whole ecourse that walks you through how to do it, so if you need the help, check it out.
All in all, I just adore 17Hats. I've had nothing but great stuff to say about them and as they continue to grow I'm loving it more and more. Hopefully, this gave you an idea of what it can do for you and I hope you'll check it out.