Crush Your Workflow: Our Favorite Apps!
You’re a busy boss babe, running your own interior design business and mastering the whole work/life balance situation. You make it look easy on the outside… but on the inside, you’re maxed out on time, and energy. I said it one and I’ll say it again, burning the candle at both ends is not a badge of honor. Stop filling your days spinning your wheels and your nights trying to figure out how you’re going to do it all again tomorrow. We live in the age of apps, so it’s time to take advantage of them and let technology be your next hire.
You can choose from many workflow programs to help you manage your business better. There are customer management software (CMS) like Honeybook and Dubsado to streamline your client information and services. You can also use a project management app like Monday, Trello, or Asana.
But which of these is the best option for you? Do you need them all? Are they worth your time and money? Like I’d leave you out here to figure that all out on your own! Up next, we’ll do a comparison of these workflow apps, so you can determine which is right for you, and start making the most of your time.
Client Management Systems: Honeybook vs. Dubsado
At first glance, Honeybook and Dubsado are very similar programs. Both claim to make it easier to manage clients (hence the name) and projects. Dubsado is a little more affordable at $35/month, or $350/year for the unlimited plan. Honeybook, on the other hand, allows users to enroll for $9/month, until you ring in $10,000 services. Then you have to start paying the big bucks, although that’s still only $39/month or $390/year, and well worth every penny.
What to Know About Dubsado
Besides being a cost effective way to manage your time and clients, there are other pros to using Dubsado. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering Dubsado:
- Dubsado offers a free trial that doesn’t run out as long as you only have three clients. This is the perfect way to learn the system and get a feel for things in real time, before you take on all the clients.
- Dubsado is incredibly user friendly. It’s kind of like putting together furniture from that “one” big box store… once you’ve assembled one book case, you can basically put together everything else without instructions.
- Creating and sending contracts is a piece of cake. This feature alone makes it well worth the fees, especially once your business is managing multiple clients and projects at a time.
- You can also make and send subcontracts with Dubsado, something that isn’t available on Honeybook.
- Dubsado doesn’t have an app… yet. They do have a brilliant client portal with lots of customizations available, and there’s an an app in the works.
- Setting up Dubsado is potentially the hardest part, although it’s not terrible. Luckily, Dubsado has amazing customer service and they can guide you through the process. They’re also very responsive on Facebook.
- Dubsado helps you create lead magnets, make and send contracts, stay on top of accounting, gather client data, and more… all in one spot!
What to Know About Honeybook
So Dubsado… yeah. It’s pretty great! But life can’t be that easy, the client management world had to throw another gem out there to make your choice a little harder. Here are some things to be mindful of when you’re contemplating Honeybook as a management tool:
- If you’re interested in a CMS tool that makes invoices really, really easy, then Honeybook is for you.
- Honeybook does have a mobile app for those that need to be able to take work on the road and manage clients from anywhere.
- Honeybook allows you to easily bill clients, but you absolutely have to use their system. You can’t link an existing payment processing account from an outside service.
- There’s a “Brochure” feature on Honeybook that allows you to create project-specific proposals to send to clients. They’re fully interactive, so clients can then provide feedback and even choose from the options you send them.
- Honeybook also has extremely responsive customer service.
The bottom line here? Both apps are great and will ultimately help streamline your workflow so you can spend time designing and less time on the businessy things that you don’t exactly love doing. Dubsado is the best option if you’re looking to keep it simple, and you don’t want to abandon your current payment processing system.
But, if neither of those poses a road block, and you have time to test the waters, I highly recommend giving each one a test run to see which is most user friendly for you.
Project Management Apps: Monday, Trello, Asana
You can certainly run your design business without a project management app, but why do that to yourself? Monday, Trello and Asana are all affordable, efficient tools that will only make your life easier.
Each of these apps make it easier to assign tasks, monitor progress and stay on top of everything within your business, from projects to marketing. Literally, everything. So which one is best for you? Let’s investigate.
What to Know About Monday
Monday is the new kid on the block, offering a simple, affordable project management solution at only $16/month per user. So how does Monday stack up against the competition? Here’s what I know:
- Monday allows you to assign tasks to team members, and check in on their progress. Instead of the standard assigned/done options, Monday has scalable task assignments so you can know exactly where someone is in their workflow.
- Because no two business owners are alike, Monday allows users to customize dashboards. This makes it easier to prioritize your business’s needs.
- There’s something to be said for keeping it simple, and Monday knows it! They’ve truly mastered the art of delivering an easy to use system that’s still intuitive enough to compete with all of the other work operating systems.
What to Know About Trello
Trello has one goal in mind: helping you (and your team) get. It. DONE. Like Monday, Trello is fueled by simple, task oriented tracking. So what exactly do you need to know about Trello before you choose this project management tool, or any other? Let’s take a look:
- Trello is very affordable. Affordable, as in free. You can get started managing tasks with a free account, but if you need more security and connectability, the “Enterprise” option is still just $17.50/month.
- You can utilize boards, lists, and cards to stay on task. Boards represent projects, lists of course itemize what needs to be done, and cards are for keeping notes.
- Trello offers different views so you can choose to watch your project unfold in a map format, timeline, or calendar view, amongst others.
What to Know About Asana
Asana is slightly more complex when compared to Monday and Trello. But, Asana allows you to fully customize your workflow, without spending a ton of time doing it. And that alone is worth the price. You can use Asana for free, but the “Business” package is $24.99/month. Again, a small price to pay for the amount of work you’ll be able to get done in place of project management tasks.
Here’s what you need to know about Asana:
- Asana’s user experience is definitely more complex than Monday and Trello, but once you’ve figured it out, getting things done is a cinch.
- Asana takes project management a step further with tools for onboarding clients.
- Need to give someone a little nudge? Asana lets you send a gentle reminder to team members that need to move a little quicker.
- Track marketing campaigns and design projects in one place, from wherever you want to work.
Here’s a little secret… I use Asana to help manage my team. It’s absolutely brilliant for storing tasks all in one place, even if your team members are scattered all around! Asana makes it easy to keep your virtual finger on the pulse of everything happening in your company.
Again, the best product here is dependent on what you want out of it. Is simplicity more important than extra bells and whistles? If your answer here is yes, then you should stick with Trello or Monday. But, if you have time to learn something new and you’re able to fully take advantage of everything offered, Asana really is a brilliant tool for product management.
Again, you don’t have to use all the apps and all the technology, but goodness gracious your life will be so much easier if you do! My suggestion is to determine first what you want out of a project management tool or client management system.
Where do you struggle most? Does your team have a particular area you’d like to strengthen? Step back, take a look, and be honest. Then, review the details above and get to work- you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you can be!
I know exactly what it’s like to feel overworked, overwhelmed, and underpaid as an interior designer. A few years into my business, “overdeliver” was my middle name — and my business, bank account, and boundaries paid the price. I’ve spent all kinds of time trying out different tools, figuring out what works, and what doesn’t.
While these software solutions are helpful, they’re not the end all, be all answer to everything. But I do know a place where you can find all the answers! Join me in the Interior Designer’s Business Launchpad, along with tons of other designers just like you. We share all kinds of trips, tricks and inspo. It’s a great place to ask questions and get answers! See you in there!