Developing and maintaining client relationships may be one of the hardest parts of your job. How do you manage expectations, keep everyone in the loop, and get paid at the end of the day?

Within each client page in Hectic, you’ll be able to quickly see where you’re at with a project, so you know what to do next. If you haven’t already, go ahead and set up your first client.

Discovery

The discovery phase is an important early point of contact with any new client. Collecting this information up front will help you shape your proposal, set expectations, and set you up for long-term success.

To initiate the discovery process, add your new potential client to Hectic, click into that client’s page, then open the Forms tab.

Use the Create new > Form button to create a form. Use the New button to start from scratch, or select a past form you’ve created to use as a template.

Your form can include open-ended text questions, as well as multiple choice questions. You can also add in your own text to educate your client about what you can do and how you work.

Once the form is ready, use the Send button to send it to your client to fill out. You’ll be able to customize a short message to the client before sending.

After the client fills the form out, you’ll be able to use their answers to shape your early conversations and your proposal.

Learn more about the form builder here.

Proposals

Great news! Your client has requested a proposal. This means you’re one step closer to landing the gig. But, what, exactly, should you send?

A good proposal should describe in detail what problem your client is hiring you to solve, how you can solve it for them, and what the terms of your work are (like your pricing structure, for example).

It can also be a good idea to provide options in your proposal. For example, you can offer an hourly rate or a project rate, and let the client choose which one they prefer. You can also offer multiple tiers of work, with various different offerings at each tier.

In the Hectic proposal builder, it’s easy to get this information in front of your future client. To get started, navigate to the client page and open the Proposals tab. Click Create new > Proposal to add a new one.

Use any + Insert content button to add a new content block, or click into existing content blocks to edit them.

If you want to offer your client multiple packages to choose from, you can add in additional Deliverables and timelines blocks. When your client receives the form, they’ll be able to choose between the options when they sign.

You can also optionally include payment terms, contractual/legal language, and more. To learn more about sending proposals, take a look at this in-depth resource.

Contracts

Once you’ve received a signed proposal back, you’ve got a contract! When you’re ready to start work on the project, navigate to that client’s Projects tab or the main Project management area to see the project and update its status. If you included a deliverables block in your proposal, the information from the option they selected will appear in your projects, along with any deadlines and details from the proposal.

Project management

Once you’ve agreed on the work you’ll be doing and the price you’ll charge (and, ideally, signed a contract), it’s time to get to work. If you sent your proposal through Hectic, then your major deliverables are already in that client’s Projects tab in Hectic; take some time to add in personal milestones or more detailed deadlines.

In Hectic, each active client can have one or more projects, and each project will be broken down into a series of deliverables. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you might have a client with a single project, and three deliverables.

Project: Wedding day photography for the Michelsons

Deliverables:

  • Pre-wedding day meeting to discuss planning, photo style, and day-of schedule

  • On-site photography on wedding date

  • Edited photos delivered in an online gallery

That project would look like this in your client view:

💡 Pro tip: you can see your tasks and deadlines side-by-side with your work for other clients in the Project management section.

Break the full project down into deliverables, and set deadlines for each one. Seeing each step in the process will help you stay on task and deliver your work on time. Keep in mind any other commitments or projects you’re working on, and avoid setting deadlines for multiple clients too close together.

You can do this and so much more with Hectic’s project management tools. Learn more here.

Expense tracking

Tracking your expenses as a freelancer isn’t the most glamorous part of your job, but it’s an important one. Whether you’re billing the client for expenses you’ve incurred or using them as a tax write off, good bookkeeping will make the process far less frustrating.

To make accounting easier, link your bank account to Hectic. We’ll help you categorize and track your expenses, create financial reports, and bill clients for any reimbursable expenses. Open the Accounting page, then click Link a bank account to see all your expenses in Hectic.

Hectic uses Plaid to connect to your bank account, so your data is always secure. Plaid is an industry-leading financial integrations platform, and you are always in control of the data you share.

You can also manually add expenses without a linked bank account. To get started with expense tracking, navigate to the Accounting page and use the New expense button to add your first expense.

Invoicing

When and how you bill your clients will depend on the terms you and the client agreed to. If you use a Hectic proposal, that information is added to your invoice automatically. However your pricing structure is set up, you can manage it in Hectic!

When a client signs a contract created in Hectic, the project will automatically include your rate (whether you charge a flat fee, by the hour, or a retainer). If you’ve manually added a project, add your rate to the fees section of the project details. Make sure to track your time in Hectic to make billing easier down the road.

💡 Pro tip: We recommend connecting your Hectic account with Stripe to make invoicing easy. Learn how to integrate with Stripe.

Once you’re ready to send an invoice, navigate to the client you’re planning to invoice, then open their Invoices tab. Use the + button to create a new invoice. Choose between a deposit (for future work) or standard payment (for work you’ve already completed). Click Add new line item, then select Tracked item to add projects and expenses that have been tracked but not billed, or Manual item to bill for something that isn’t tracked in Hectic.

Within the invoice preview, you’ll be able to add or update contact information, apply discounts, add tax, and more. Once the invoice is ready, save it for later or send it.

Learn more about Hectic’s billing tools.

Follow up

Congratulations! 🎉 You’ve completed this project, gotten yourself paid, and can bask in all your professional, independent glory.

But don’t leave that client in the rearview mirror just yet. Past clients can be a great way to build your network and source future projects, so take some time to reinforce the relationship you’ve built.

One great way to do this is by requesting feedback on your work. You can build a Hectic form to ask what went well, and what could have gone better. If the feedback is positive, ask for permission to quote them in future proposals: sharing past positive feedback is a great way to build your credibility with potential clients.

Depending on the type of work you do, this client might also be a source of future work, too! Let them know you’re open to future work, and reach out occasionally to see if they have any new projects you can help with.

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