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I am Stefani Lefler, the owner and designer behind Stefani Jessica: a Michigan based design studio that serves business owners worldwide. Through design, strategy, and content creation, I create a confident branded voice that speaks to your audience.
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Inquiry to Booked: What the Onboarding Process Looks Like Before Your Project Begins

Sep 27, 2017

Business

Once you hit submit on a contact form, you’re starting what is called the onboarding process. Owning a business is all about systems. Every business owner has a certain process to book new clients. When thinking of all the work ahead of you, just inquiring to book someone can seem daunting. With services that combine website design and copywriting, I had to make sure my onboarding process was easy to follow. There are just 3 main steps.

Our First Chat Jumpstarts the Process

When I receive your email to my inbox, first I celebrate you contacting me! I appreciate each and every inquiry for the fact that I am being trusted to take someone’s business to a new level. That’s pretty important. I respond within a day or two to give you the opportunity to schedule a Skype or phone call for us to meet. I prefer Skype so that we can talk face-to-face. We go over the project timeline, what you can expect, and I’m able to answer any questions you may have.

Through learning about your business, your goals, and who you love to serve, I can see if we’re the perfect match to craft a strong message and a website that keeps your audience engaged. My goal is to always help my clients feel less stress but to also give them the tools they need to launch with a bang. Once you share your new website with your audience, I want you to have a plan to keep the momentum and interest alive well past your launch date. We discover whether we’re a good fit and if the process will work well for the future of your business.

Once we determine we’re the perfect match, I send a follow up email. You’ll find possible project dates and and I’ll verify the details we discussed so that we’re both on the same page. I’ll also make sure you are ready to book.

The Nitty Gritty…Paperwork

This is probably the least fun part of the process. But I want to make it as painless as possible. Once I know what date you’d like and that you’re ready to move forward, I send your project paperwork. I use Honeybook to keep track of all of my documents and they have my favorite proposal system of any client management software I’ve used.

You open your proposal, seeing a full breakdown of your project and absolutely everything that will be included. That way, we have a reference to look at whenever we need to during our 6 weeks working together. Once you approve your proposal, the agreement immediately becomes available. This document may be the most important because it outlines the rules if you will, for both of us. Working together has a lot of moving parts and a contract makes sure we understand what is needed from each party. Like the rest of my process, I keep my contract straight to the point and simple to avoid any confusion. Signing the contract opens your invoice. When the retainer is paid, it is official!

You’ll also receive access to your client dashboard on Honeybook and I’ll countersign the agreement so you know I will adhere to my part of our arrangement. Then the fun begins!

Client Homework

I know homework doesn’t sound fun because well, usually it isn’t. But the work you put in during this phase of the process will ensure a smooth project. I want a lot of stress taken off the plate for you when it’s time to dive in and work. I send one questionnaire. Just one, but it is a long one. I ask you to dig deep and show me the bones of your business. This will be the foundation you’d like to build it on. I ensure I understand the way you speak so that the content on your site sounds genuine while still having a strategy in place.

We also share a Google Drive folder during your project so that you can collect your images you want to use. I add Docs for you to brain dump some of your ideas for each page. It is great to use it to deliver your final design files and content documents. Plus, I can keep it on Google which allows for longer backups. You have the weeks leading up to your project start date to work on everything so no rushing required!

Surprises Along the Way

During those weeks of homework, I make sure to check in, send some encouraging surprises your way, and help you to stay on track so we start on your date right on time. I know taking extra time in your business can seem impossible, but I hope through support and motivation, I can make it a little nicer on my clients.


Although the project itself has it’s own timeline, the onboarding process is just as important. Without things running smoothly from the start, the project won’t get off on the right foot. I love that I can provide my clients with a fully ready-to-launch website and message in just 6 weeks and I appreciate the effort they put in at this stage to make sure I have all the tools I need to make their design the best that I can.

What does your process look like when clients contact you? Do you wish you could streamline it more? Let me know in the comments!

  1. The Project Timeline: Ready to Launch in 6 Weeks • SJ Blog

    September 29th, 2017 at 6:17 AM

    […] your project start date, after you complete your client homework, we go over your answers, brainstorm some ideas, and get to know one another better. This is one of […]

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Stefani Jessica is a creative studio focused on creating a clear story for your business. Through intentional brand & website design, stress less and flourish within your business.
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