When the company grows, it will ultimately need to structure its data. Dedicated software makes it easier to organize, manage and analyze contacts. One of the most popular, all-in-one choices is HubSpot. CRM implementation and functionalities of these platforms allow businesses to focus on automating work and growing sales.
If you’re considering exporting your database to the CRM but have no idea how to do it right, go to our Guide to Data Migration. We explain here the types of data migration, strategies you can use, and the whole process.
For those who want to integrate and manage the CRM by themselves, we prepared the following step-by-step guides:
I’m not only using HubSpot CRM but integrating, implementing and optimizing it. I prepare an entire strategy behind and do trainings for team members. – Roman Yakovchuk, HubSpot Expert
Company: GGK Grundbesitz
Project’s time: 9h
Unlike other CRM platforms, HubSpot offers a 100% free basic plan. It might be a perfect option for small or medium-sized businesses that have a limited budget or want to try the CRM in the company. It has some limitations, such as only five e-mail templates, HubSpot branding included or a limited segmentation list.
However, HubSpot offers different products. Depending on needs, companies can choose between so-called "Hubs": Marketing, Sales, Service, CMS and Operations. Each expands functionalities based on the selected plan (Starter, Professional, or Enterprise).
HubSpot CRM implementation gives a business a centralized database with contact segmentation. It helps to manage relationships, follow-ups with clients, download reports, forecast performance and simply grow sales.
If you're looking to start with a CRM in your company, the best you can do is consult with a CRM Expert. They will advise you on what platform to use based on your specific needs and budget.
The CEO of GGK Grundbesitz, a real estate company based in Germany, was looking for someone to guide them through the process of implementing a new CRM. Contactually, the platform they had been using previously, officially shut down in March 2022. They had over 10k+ contacts in the database that needed to be filtered and migrated. The main goal was to identify those relevant to their company.
Before the project started, the client was unsure what CRM to choose. He was thinking of HubSpot, but didn't know how it works or which plan to select. The budget for this project was limited, and the company needed someone to advise them and teach them how to use the platform.
After a short scoping session, the client decided to use the HubSpot CRM and their "Marketing Starter Hub" plan. The main reason for such a choice is the size of the campaigns. It would be impossible to handle so many emails through the "HubSpot Sales Sequences" in a short time.
Before the expert started HubSpot CRM implementation, he worked a little with the Excel database. It contained all the contacts that had to be imported. First, he filtered the list by selecting the most valuable contacts by postcode and location. It might sound easy, but there was a lot of manual work. In the end, out of 10,000 contacts, only 1,400 were imported. That means the company saved a lot of time by avoiding sending at least 8,600 emails to irrelevant people. Additionally, the more leads are imported to HubSpot, the more price grows. By filtering data manually in the first place, the freelancer could save some of the client's money.
The HubSpot expert set up the trial version, established deal stages and configured the pipeline automation. After that, he analyzed all valuable approaches to filter the database. The best option was automatically updated lists with predefined filters. Also, some filters were created and saved, so the customer can use them later.
At some point, as a result of the discussions with the customer, a new idea appeared. Why spend €360 per month for the HubSpot Marketing Starter plan if they could use a Mailshake. It's a cold mailing tool that gives them the functionalities they need for €41 a month. There was no reason to pay more, especially with the limited budget.
The company ultimately continued with a free version of the HubSpot CRM. The freelancer integrated the Mailshake, saving the client €319 per month.
After the HubSpot CRM implementation, the whole system and functionalities were tested. Once everything worked properly, the expert had a training session with the company's team members. He guided them on using the HubSpot, filtering the data, and setting up cold email campaigns.
The client received support after the first email campaign. An expert identified the challenge with a high bouncing rate. Mainly it was caused by a weak email addresses research and bounce testing. To reduce it, the freelancer suggested using sales tools like: Apollo.io, Snov.io, Hunter.io, Neverbounce.com, Zoominfo.com, and Zerobounce.net.
The basic HubSpot CRM implementation and integration of sales tools were completed in 9 hours. The customer got a ready-to-use system for managing client relationships and sending massive cold email campaigns. The expert could not only spend less budget than expected, but he also saved some client’s money for future operations.
CRM & Sales Expert
A customer contacted SoftwareSupp regarding the problem on the product page on Shopify. Product variants of out-of-stock items were still displayed as available. It led to confusion and unsatisfied customers, who were unable to get purchased goods. A Shopify expert was hired to fix the issue and prevent losing more clients.
Goal: Blocking a non-existing product variant to avoid customers choosing an unavailable combination of size and color.
Project's time: 12h
Products often come in different sizes, shapes, colors, etc. Moreover, assume a brown dog bedding in size “L” is sold out, but the same color is still available in other sizes. These are product variants. It’s different options for one item that customers might choose between. Store owners can easily add or edit them when using Shopify. Product variants are an essential option for giving clients a varied offer and customizing their shopping experience.
There are over 25 million e-commerce stores around the world. According to BuiltWith Web Technology Usage Report, almost 4 million are using Shopify. Customers have a lot to choose from. They have different preferences, so diversifying products is a minimum that sellers should do. If you want to stay in the game, give clients several choice options.
E-satisfaction is one of the most important factors determining business success. Without face-to-face contact with the seller, customers rely on them for other reasons. For example, trust. In e-commerce, it really takes a little time to lose client’s confidence. It might be a lack of secure payments, “About us” page, contact information or no reviews of the store. The User Experience design, in general, significantly impacts customer loyalty. You can find the best UX practices prepared by a Shopify expert here.
In this case, what caused the dissatisfaction, were issues with showing unavailable product variants. Consider the following scenario: you have finally purchased the product you have been haunting for a long time. Instead of the e-mail confirming the package was sent, you receive the information that the shipping time will extend because it’s out of stock. How would you react? Most likely, request a refund and look for a different store. This is exactly what most of the customers would do.
Unfortunately, purchasing unavailable products is still very common. Due to the lack of an automated ordering system or website issues, online retailers suffer from lost clients in this process. In this case, the Shopify expert found a simple solution to improve displaying product variants. It allowed the development of options in a way that complies with the Shopify specification without generating additional costs.
The latest research from 2020 shows that the average conversion rate on e-commerce stores that leads to purchases is 2.86%. It’s extremely difficult to convince customers to buy products online. This is why Shopify business owners must ensure that the shopping process goes smoothly. Otherwise, it might cost them the shutdown.
After checking how the Shopify product variants were configured, it turned out that they were created incorrectly. It was the main reason why unavailable options were displayed. As an experiment, changes were made to one product page with the original “Debut” theme. The expert followed steps from the documentation available on Shopify. Product variants were properly added to the product page, and the next step was to see how they could be easily applied to the rest.
In this case, the original Shopify template – Debut – was modified by a client. Because of that, adjustments to displaying non-existing product variants were impossible. As it turned out, the whole product page template, with 800 lines of code, was changed. It included the logic of displaying “Color” and “Size” variants that needed to be modified. Only that would block showing unavailable options to customers.
After checking other product pages, the perfect solution was to adjust the template, so the store logic itself excluded the unavailable variants. With the existing theme, using the same script logic for other products, was impossible.
However, changing the template was not an option in this case. After evaluating the Shopify theme the customer used, the expert proposed an easy way to improve displaying product variants. He decided that the best option was to customize the modified theme – Debut – and activate the script that displays the variant. In the end, there was no need to make changes to the website's code. Instead of this, the script logic was changed. Variants “Color” and “Size” were replaced by “Available options”, where color and size were related according to available options. It helped to avoid generating unnecessary costs and reworking the product page.
Because of the modified template, the project was extended. There were many items and no possibility to integrate the created script. As a result, the expert had to improve all products in the store manually.
The project was completed, and the "Available options" logic with the number of available products was implemented on all product pages. Depending on the selected option, the product variant will be added or removed on the product page automatically. Additionally, when the stock of a certain variant is 0, it will be displayed next to it.
After analyzing the website, the expert recommended changing the Shopify theme. In this scenario, the best and simplest option would be to restore to the original "Debut" template. The logic to block unavailable variants is ready; thus, restoring would take less time.
Of course, the template must be adjusted and filled with content. It'd take additional work, but implemented functionality would be beneficial.
While working on fixing product variants, the expert noticed that the page speed was very slow. A terrible code optimization resulted in the poor performance of the website. Restoring the original "Debut" template would significantly increase page load speed.
Shopify product variants are one thing, but there’s a lot more that can go wrong. To maintain a high conversion rate, you must systematically revise your store. If you’re not a specialist, it’s recommended to take the UX audit of the website if you have never done it before. Even if you did, you should still optimize the store. Especially in terms of the final step of purchase, which is a payment. Adding Google Tag Manager to the Shopify checkout page might help avoid issues and improve customers' journey to maintain high sales.
Certified Freelance Web Developer
Every concept of a successful online store starts with a vision, dream or aspiration. But, in order to make it work, you need to do a few things before starting the business. In this guide, we will walk you through 5 key steps to take before launching your Shopify store. Follow this Shopify Launch Checklist to stay one step ahead of the competitors who have no idea what they’re doing.
At the end of this post, you will be ready to make your store user-friendly, properly market it and overcome common problems Shopify store owners usually face. What’s next? Becoming one of them. To make sure, you set up the website well, follow our guide: how to start an online store using Shopify and integrated software.
If you want to start your eCommerce business on Shopify, it provides you with the ability to easily log in or customize your store, integrate it with payment methods and social media. – Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig, Shopify Developer
It allows you to step-by-step get your Shopify store ready to launch. Not just from the technical point of view, but also from the marketing perspective, which is crucial in running a business. Remember, even the top brands understand that customers' decisions are rarely rational. That's why they invest so much in exceptional design and communication. However, even the finest product will not be purchased if users are unable to browse or filter items as they do in other stores such as Zalando or Amazon.
Going live with the eCommerce takes a lot of work and things to remember. With this Shopify Launch Checklist, you can be sure that you did everything to set up a customized, user-friendly and optimized online store.
After launching your Shopify store, you will be busy answering customers, communicating with business partners, advertising your brand and distributing products. Or perhaps you won’t, because the store isn't getting any conversions. Traffic but no sales is a common issue that new stores experience. That is why, rather than solving problems, it's essential to avoid them in the first place. Knowing these most common 6 problems that Shopify store owners face will allow you to focus on growing and scaling your business rather than resolving basic issues. It simply saves time, reputation and money.
Branding is a key to marketing activities, but it's also necessary for the store to perform. After doing market research and defining your niche and audience, you need to design the relevant brand identity. The only way to attract targeted customers is to clearly communicate your business goals, mission, and vision. The value proposition you provide by purchasing your products or services need to be visible in every aspect of the Shopify store. Starting with the content, moving on to the website design and how they explore it, concluding with the package they receive purchased product in.
There are plenty of Shopify stores that are not user-friendly. Don’t be one of them. It’s clear the business you run is your source of income. But consider customers that want to purchase your products. They have their own needs and habits, and if they are dissatisfied with your shop, they might leave and never return. As the saying goes – you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure that users have a positive experience on your website.
Remember that customers’ behaviors change over time, so there will always be a need to optimize it. Still, there are a few rules to uplift your store’s customer experience that stay timeless.
Shopify is a platform that gives you a wide range of opportunities to customize your store. Make sure the design represents your brand well and that users understand your product and its benefits completely. The homepage is usually the first page customers arrive at. Allow customers to go swiftly from the homepage to specific products, such as “bestsellers” or “new collection”, where they may begin to explore the store.
Sometimes users want to find specific information quickly. Live chat software for e-commerce might help not only meet their expectations and develop trust, but it can also provide you with valuable data to help with store optimization.
Consider how time-consuming it would be for you to search through Amazon's 12 million goods to find one specific product. That would be crazy, right? Even if you have 50 items in your Shopify store, customers will likely leave if they can't locate what they're looking for fast. Collections and filtering are not so challenging to implement, but you can save your customer's time and patience by doing so.
Poor website speed can damage the customer’s experience, lower conversions and affect search engine ranking. In a perfect scenario, 1 second response time is a maximum that customers probably won’t notice. With every extra second, mobile user bouncing increases. There are several factors for a bad website loading speed. It might be a slow e-commerce platform or hosting, large graphic and file sizes, broken links, slideshows, pop-up windows, etc.
This Shopify official guide will help you establish what elements on the website might need improvement to speed it up.
In 2020, according to e-commerce statistics, 60.1% of all customers used their smartphones to shop online. This number is still growing, so don’t consider mobile optimization an extra benefit for your clients. If they’re not satisfied with your website, 9 out of 10 will go to another store that offers a better user experience. Make sure all critical buttons are visible, fast loading speed, buyers can easily choose different collections and filters, and the purchase process is quick.
First, decide what you want to sell online and conduct research on your competition. It’s critical to identify the market niche in which you will place your store. Consider it in terms of restaurants. Where do people go more often, and what is more popular – a certain cuisine, such as a classy Italian restaurant serving seafood, or a no-name short-order bar? The answer is rather simple. After you've determined your niche, target your audience and design all processes to reach them as effectively as possible.
It’s a good practice to create a list of dos and don’ts, where your “dos’ are benchmarks (online stores you aspire to) and don’ts – websites you don’t want to take an example from. Sometimes you don’t really need to differ the product a lot, but make sure to find a unique value proposition that will help you to stand out.
Treat your Shopify store as if you only have one chance to attract customers; therefore, make sure everything is correct before launching it. It’s not only a beautiful layout you use on the website. Of course, web design is essential for making an excellent first impression, but it also includes UX design, integrations, theme development, SEO optimization, etc. Hiring an expert and getting access to their knowledge in areas you are unsure about is incredibly helpful. They deal with it every day and can offer not only professional development of your Shopify store, but also first-hand, useful tips.
Most of the conversions and customers are coming from mobile devices, so it’s very important to make your store responsive to all of them. This is why most of the merchants fail in making any conversions – they don’t have a proper website design for different types of devices. – Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig, Shopify Developer
You can also learn more about the UX best practices for mobile devices to implement on the store and boost conversion rate. You will find here specific recommendations to apply to your Shopify store before launching it.
Searching should be flawless. Otherwise, users might get frustrated after a few attempts and exit the website. It’s not only the response time or how you design the customer’s path. Every link must lead to the right page, and every button must allow the user to take the proper action. A non-responsive store might be the reason for you struggling in the future with abandoned carts or no clients registered.
Before going live, browse through your website and take every possible action to find errors. If you’re the curious type of store owner, you can learn more about how to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Your first thought might be Facebook or Instagram, and that’s true. Nowadays, social media is a must. Consider where your customers spend time between work breaks or where they go to interact with friends online. Introducing your brand to the place they naturally use might be a smart idea to promote it.
But that’s not all. You can install different free and premium apps on your Shopify store to extend the functionality and improve the customer experience. On Shopify App Store, you can get plugins that will help you implement the web design, add payment methods, connect with social media, create a mobile app, support upselling, and many others.
If you want to empower your brand, rank higher on search engines and improve the conversion rate, think of custom app development. In that case, you will need help of a Shopify expert who’s going to develop a customized app tailored to your business needs.
Speaking of integrations – CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the integral aspect of e-commerce. It helps to automate procedures, manage relationships, and determine possible sales opportunities. Are you interested in speeding up procedures in your Shopify store and saving finances as a result? Learn 5 smart CRM tricks for e-commerce and focus on different things, or simply enjoy time you’ve just saved.
There are many ways you can market your store for free. Start on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, depending on where you can meet your target audience. Shopify also has its own community. There are groups where merchants often share links to their stores and ask Shopify experts questions. That is the point at which you may increase the traffic in your shop. Also, don’t underestimate your network. Share your store on social media. The world of mouth is the best kind of marketing you can get.
To effectively market your Shopify store, create some eye-catching visuals, such as graphics, product pictures, etc. Videos are a great idea, but keep them short. Around 10-30 seconds will be enough. Show how and in what situations your product can be used and how it can help customers resolve their problems.
Let’s say you set up a launch date. Before it happens, test your Shopify store: go over it one more time or ask someone else to do that and try it on different sorts of devices. It’s better if you identify any bugs or errors rather than the potential customer.
Extra tip: Don't stop tracking traffic and conversions once you've launched your Shopify store. The data you collect will be beneficial for learning about users' behaviors and optimizing the website. You can learn more on our blog about maximizing your store’s conversion rate with the most popular e-commerce analytics tools.
You can have your own idea or design in mind. But when you hire a Shopify developer, you get an expert that:
Shopify's experts will explain to you everything about launching the Shopify store. It’s good to take advice from a professional rather than customizing sections, adding content and applying products on your own.
What now? After completing this Shopify Launch Checklist, you are ready to start an online store using Shopify and integrated software. You can try to do it on your own, but if you don’t have much experience and want the store to be top-notch from the start, consider hiring the Shopify expert. In both cases – good luck with your business!
Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig
Certified Shopify Developer
User Experience audit aims to discover usability issues and areas that need to be improved in order to increase user satisfaction. Think of UX on your Shopify website as of the customers when they enter a regular store. Would they rather go to the one that is neat, has intuitive structure and signposts that make it easier to move around and purchase needed products? Or would they choose the store that is a complete opposite?
The answer is pretty clear, so below we share UX recommendations delivered by the SoftwareSupp expert for Pitbullstore.pl, one of the most popular eCommerce in Poland based on the Shopify platform.
The goal of the project: To improve UX design and optimize the Shopify-powered website for mobiles in several areas, especially the product and category page. The objective is to increase the store’s conversion rates and raise overall sales.
Project time: 33 hours
Content of the UX audit:
I am a UX Designer with over 12 years of experience. I specialize in designing customer experiences based on quantitative and qualitative data. My great achievement was to increase mobile applications’ conversion of one of the largest tour operator by more than 10%. – Katarzyna Gajewska
The audit is a complete evaluation of the Pitbullstore.pl website in terms of compliance with the habits and expectations of users. It allows checking whether the product meets users' needs and find out what should be improved in order to increase their satisfaction.
The UX audit was conducted on the basis of heuristic evaluation – a method of analyzing a website in terms of heuristics, i.e. general usability principles.
The analysis is based on Nielsen's 10 heuristics:
1. Visibility of system status: Keep users informed on what's going on the website. To browse the store and make a purchase, it must be intuitive and somewhat predictable. Customers have their habits that are difficult to change.
2. Match between the system and the real world: Make the system more humane. Use simple, non-technical language and informative icons that users are familiar with.
3. User control and freedom: It happens that customers might click on the wrong button after filling a long form, especially while using a mobile. Let them go back to the last step easy without being forced to start all over again, because in most cases – they won’t.
4. Consistency and standards: There are patterns that website users are used to, and to avoid confusion, it’s better to not change it. The same with buttons – if they lead to the same place on the website, always use the same titles for them.
5. Prevention of errors: It’s better to prevent the problem than fix it. Make sure every information is clear and features are working how they suppose to. You will save the time and avoid customers being upset because of the message they didn’t understand.
6. Recognition instead of recall: Once again, make your website intuitive and design the customer’s path in a way that seems natural to them. Don’t make them remember what to do next or where to go for information they need. Let them recognize elements that lead to the right place.
7. Flexibility and efficiency of use: Remember that the website should be easy to navigate for both, inexperienced and experienced users.
8. Aesthetic and minimalistic design: Include only necessary information and elements that don’t distract the user from the most important actions, such like: sign up, add to the cart or order now. Also, make sure that the titles are readable and there is enough space between buttons.
9. Help users to identify, diagnose and remove errors: To not leave users frustrated or prevent them from leaving the website, design their error experience. Make sure they are aware of it, explain where and why it happened, as well as how they can solve it.
10. Support and documentation: In a perfect world, a well-designed website wouldn’t need any additional explanations. However, don’t forget to give users a space with documentation, tutorials or Q&A that are easy to find, simple and comprehensive.
Each section on the website has a purpose and needs to be evaluated from a user and a business perspective. UX design helps to fix problems that customers meet and make their path to purchase easier.
Using heuristic evaluation, the following areas of the Pitbullstore.pl were thoroughly reviewed:
The result is a report of client’s Shopify website, including identified problems. Each problem consists of a brief description of the bug, its assessment, and detailed recommendations for fixing the issue. Each bug was assessed on 3 levels. It determines how much the problem may disturb the users.
The client wanted to create a new mobile-oriented design for the eCommerce store based on the Shopify Plus platform. Below are some problems appearing on the website that SoftwareSupp expert identified and gave recommendations to.
The first place on your Shopify website clients usually visit is the home page. Make sure their positive experience with the store starts here. Otherwise, they may abandon the shop and never return.
Critical error: When an incorrect email address, such as "kg@gmail" is entered, you don't receive an error message, and it's processed without the corresponding information. As a result, the users don't know whether they successfully subscribed to the Newsletter or not.
Recommendation: Introduce error validation into forms, so users are aware they entered incorrect data.
Serious error: The site's banners fill up the whole screen, discouraging the viewer from scrolling down. The user may have the impression that the page ends with a banner.
Recommendation: Shorten banners so that the screen may show a fragment of the next module, encouraging the user to scroll further.
Minor error: Product names, headings and other content are much more difficult to scan when they are written with majuscules (capital letters). It is a bad practice to use too many of them.
Recommendation: To make it easier for users to scan the content on the website, avoid using capital letters in headers, categories, and product names.
Critical error: The most important feature – login – is missing on the navigation bar. Login/My Account should be easily accessible so that registered users may quickly enter their accounts and have easy access to historical data, e.g. the last order. Also, it is a good practice that the customer logs in right away after entering the website, to go through the purchase process easier.
Recommendation: Add in the Menu bar the Login/My Account function.
Serious error: The module "Subscribe to our VIP list" sounds quite mysterious – users don't know what is the VIP list, what are benefits by subscribing to it and is it different from "Join the PITBULLTEAM".
Recommendation: Change the “VIP list” headline to something more clear, explaining what it is and what benefits the user get. Additionally, the two leads, "Join PITBULLTEAM" and "Subscribe to our VIP list", should be separated.
Critical error: After entering the list of results from a search bar, the user lands on a page with navigation items that take up half of the screen.
Recommendation: Navigation elements in the results list should be structured in a way that takes up as little space on the screen as possible. After entering the list, the user should first view the products after entering the list.
Serious error: Use a discount percentage next to the product. If this information is missing, it reduces the power of the sale.
Recommendation: If the product is discounted, it's a good idea to display the discount value as a percentage in a visible place. Instead of writing SALE, it’s better to put the sale value in a red block, e.g. "-23%".
Minor error: When the user clicks on the stars, a blue box that appears, seems like an error.
Recommendation: Remove the blue frame.
Critical error: In clothing eCommerce, there is a huge focus put on cross-selling and upselling. Also, from a user perspective, purchasing two or more items is often more beneficial due to shipping costs, as well as practical - shopping for clothes at one store is just easier. As a result, the "Buy Now" banner may be disadvantageous for both sides.
Recommendation: Put more visual emphasis on the "Add to Cart" button to increase the shopping cart value and user satisfaction.
Serious error: The pattern of "Add to wishlist" function with a filled heart suggests that the product has already been added to the wishlist. However, in this case it's not, which may confuse the user.
Recommendation: Change the design of the add to wishlist function according to good UX/UI design practices.
Minor error: On the product page, the entire screen is taken up by a gallery of pictures with thumbnails. On the mobile version of the website, it's unnecessary, because users browse the gallery by swiping photos to the right.
Recommendation: Remove thumbnails and instead add the product name with number of ratings or/and the price.
Critical error: When there are more products (more than 3), users don't see the summary, which is the most important information for them in the shopping cart.
Recommendation: Add a summary of the cart value in a visible place.
Critical error: Including additional tools like chatbots in the booking process is an unnecessary distractor and bad practice. The order process should be intuitive and simple enough to avoid contacting the customer service.
Recommendation: Remove the chat widget from the shopping cart.
Critical error: Informational messages should not be highlighted in red. This color in the order process is normally used for error notifications, thus it may confuse the user.
Recommendation: Change the color of the VAT invoice information to neutral.
Based on the UX audit and the data contained in the analytics tools, the SoftwareSupp expert recommended explicit steps to follow. By using these best UX practices on the Shopify website, the client can provide a great user experience and boost store's overall sales.
It includes three major guidelines:
Does your Shopify website struggle with abandoned carts, unfinished payments, or no actions performed by users? The first step to take is a professional UX audit provided by a qualified expert. SoftwareSupp allows you to hire a certified freelancer on-demand, use 14-day trial to start work are reduce hiring costs by 10x with safe pay-as-you-go billing. If you want to find out more about our network, go here to see how we stand out from other agencies, platforms and direct hiring.
Senior UX/UI Designer
Freelancing is a great opportunity if you want to have a flexible schedule, freedom to work from anywhere and liberty to decide what projects you want to take. As much appealing it sounds, there are few things you need to know in order to become a successful freelancer. Our ultimate guide will be very valuable for beginners in terms of finding some useful tips and hacks.
It’s never easy to be a beginner, but everyone has to start somewhere. Every successful professional in the world started where you are now. You do, however, have the benefit of a ready-made, ultimate guide on how to start freelancing and precise steps to follow.
It's hardly news that the most difficult aspect of freelancing is getting started. You most likely want to quit your normal work and become independent immediately, but still have an income. It's not as simple as it seems, because the work of a freelancer is heavily dependent on your personal brand and relationships you built. All of this takes time, so the best thing you can do at the beginning is to have some part-time freelance jobs and small side projects. It will allow you to establish yourself as an independent specialist while yet maintaining a cash flow.
You need to understand your most valuable assets as a freelancer and how much you will charge for your work. You sell the clients your time, knowledge and experience. Without a doubt, your hard skills are essential here, but don’t forget that customers are individuals as well. The way you approach them is also important. As a freelancer, you have to be an excellent communicator and seller. If you’re not sure what your strengths are or how to develop them, you can utilize an online tool – CliftonStrenghts Assessment – often known as the Gallup Test. It might help you to determine how to improve your career depending on soft talents you have.
The time is valuable. You know things clients don’t know, and that’s what you charge them for. – Carla Rodriguez, HubSpot & Pipedrive CRM partner
Do a little research to see if someone in your circle needs assistance. Find a person who knows you and reach out to them. Also, don’t be afraid of posting on LinkedIn. It’s often undervalued, yet it may turn out to be an excellent approach to find a work opportunity. Even if people from your network are not seeking for a freelancer, they might share it further. Because of the power of networking, about 85% of job offers aren’t even listed. Take your chance and put yourself one step ahead. You can also use 3 tips from our certified experts to find out more how to find a freelance work and get more clients.
By doing everything at once, you will probably never become an expert. In order to achieve that, first you need to focus on one area of specialization and then move to another one. Also, when customers look for a professional, they usually search for someone to fix a particular problem. That should be a hint for you to concentrate on a narrow expertise.
Start with platforms (or software) you like and feel comfortable with. I spent a lot of time specializing in many platforms, and I lost a lot of time on that. For example, you show on your LinkedIn profile that you are an expert on Pipedrive and Asana. So, that is what you’re going to sell and focus on that. – Carla Rodriguez, HubSpot & Pipedrive CRM partner
Once you’re in the game, it doesn’t mean you have to win every competition. Technology is developing, software is evolving, and customer demands are changing on a daily basis. You need to be up-to-date and constantly improve your skills. There’s always something new to learn, and the more you know, the more issues you can solve for your clients. Join communities, attend business events, take courses, read news on industry trends, and most importantly – listen to your customers.
There’s always learning. There is a constant learning process we have to go through to understand new functionalities and stay updated. I join a lot of conferences because I want to understand market gaps and what I have to learn. – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
Update all professional profiles and publish your experience over there. Customers always want to see projects you delivered first.
Websites and platform where you can share your experience:
SoftwareSupp also gives the opportunity to build a personal brand and showcase your best projects. If you are a registered network member, you get this extra space online, where you can promote your freelancing services.
Publish your experience on expert communities and platforms like SoftwareSupp. Join the affiliates partnerships and start from there. – Carla Rodriguez, HubSpot & Pipedrive CRM partner
Treat the online space like it was your portfolio when applying for a job. The way you introduce your work says a lot about you as a freelancer. So put a lot of thought and attention into how you demonstrate and describe it.
Searching for a job can be frustrating for freelancers and clients. Every day and every hour, there are hundreds of offers published online. Using many communities and platforms to promote your services may increase your exposure, but it will certainly consume a lot of time. In fact, the time is what you sell, so focus more on quality not a quantity. Choose one or two platforms where you feel the most comfortable and begin there.
If you are a beginner freelancer, but you are a professional in your field, you might be interested in joining SoftwareSupp. We are an elite network of freelancers delivering top-quality services. You can register, get certified and have access to work opportunities from all around the world.
The golden rule of a successful deal is a communication. If you don’t set up the goal clear, you might end up with the project your client doesn’t want, and you just spent a few days working on it. To avoid it and save your valuable time, follow these 5 tips from experienced freelancers. Make it a work habit and get benefits from the effective communication between you and clients.
There is a lot of pre-sales job that you need to do. You need to invest your time, because after the first call you probably won’t get a project. Maybe after two or three meetings, you receive an actual offer. – Carla Rodriguez, HubSpot & Pipedrive CRM partner
Compare your freelancing services to those in another industry. When you walk into a luxurious store, they ask you many questions to find the finest product for your needs. You probably remember at least one situation, when the cashier was very attentive, suggesting different solutions and after that you didn’t want to go anywhere else. Try to apply this idea onto your services and build trust with customers.
The scope is really important, but most of the time I work on requirements gathering. I write down the scope and give it to clients because they really don’t want to invest their time in preparing it. – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
Make sure your clients understand everything you’re going to do. Explaining might take more time at the beginning of the project, but you will save it later. Talk in details about what they struggle with to understand what they really need. Establish goals and describe what exactly you’re going to do and why.
Sometimes I have to explain things to customers in the most detailed way possible to make sure they understand what’s the scope of the work and that I’m not going to do anything extra beyond that. Otherwise, the project might keep on extending. – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
Also, estimate the time of the whole project and each particular task. By doing so, you avoid a situation in which your client might leave unhappy or unwilling to pay once the job is done.
We give the customers terms and conditions, because in general freelancers don’t have any regulations. Clients assume we will do everything they ask for, but that's not the case. There have to be clearly defined terms of what we’re going to work on. – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
You need to scope the job you’re going to do very well. Sometimes the person that contacts you, isn’t ready for that, so in that case write down everything about the project or define the goal. – Carla Rodriguez, HubSpot & Pipedrive CRM partner
The scope of the project is more than just an outline of main goals or tasks. Consider it a contract you’d sign with the customer. A detailed scope saves you time and avoids situations when the client expects you to do something you didn’t talk about before. Moreover, it shows the customer that you are the professional who knows what is doing. Remember that clients are not experts, and they don’t need to be – that’s why they hire you.
If the scope is not there, it’s very difficult to get the job done, because when you’re halfway done the client might come and change things. It’s better to establish what is going to be done at the beginning because it’s much easier later. – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
You might wonder where to find your new freelance clients and how to contact potential customers to make a good impression. Even as a more experienced professional, who already made some contacts, probably the worst thing to do is to stop looking for opportunities to grow. There are cases when cross-selling or up-selling are not going to work for you, and that’s why you need to think how to successfully develop your customer base.
They say go big or go home. However, in this case, before you go big – start with people you already know. For example, friends you made in college, former employers or colleagues from your past jobs. You never know, maybe they are looking for someone to hire, or they know someone else that offers a freelance work. Also, don’t be afraid of asking. Some clients don’t even realize there is a way to improve their work. Be one step ahead and come up with an idea how to help them grow their business.
“First find a person who knows you and try to do the first implementation, build trust and the sale is going to come.” – Carla Rodriguez, Hubspot & Pipedrive CRM partner
Go slowly but surely. Don’t forget to be persistent and patient. It takes time to grow a freelance clients base and build trust. In the end, it’s all about relationships. Happy clients will come back and probably recommend you to other people.
“Some people say freelancing is awesome – it is. But it’s also difficult because you need to keep on finding your clients all the time. Sometimes you are very busy delivering, and you’re not haunting or talking to new clients. There’s a point you struggle because you don’t see a cashflow.” – Carla Rodriguez, Hubspot & Pipedrive CRM partner
“It took about 8 months for me to build a client base and work from there. Right now, it’s been almost a year and a half and I have a set of clients that I regularly work with.” – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
If you want to get more freelance clients, go where you can find other freelancers and experts. Engage, share your experience and knowledge, show your projects and ask for opinions. There are platforms like SoftwareSupp that can connect you with a customer or expert communities, for example on Facebook, where you can also find clients looking for an answer for their problem.
“SoftwareSupp has been very helpful with finding clients. I’m not doing marketing by myself, and I’m actually not spending time on finding projects, but still there are projects coming.” – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
“The most difficult part is to start the freelance with a client. Platforms like SoftwareSupp allow new people to start. They don’t have to quit their job, they can have a fixed amount of money and new projects on the side.” – Carla Rodriguez, Hubspot & Pipedrive CRM partner
To find freelance work opportunities and get more clients, try to put yourself in their position. If you know better what customers are looking for and what are market gaps, it will be easier for you to outstand from other freelancers.
Clients very often don’t have enough time to look for freelancers in various places. They are busy with developing their business, and they want to hire experts on-demand for short-term projects as fast as possible.
Sometimes when customers look for professionals to hire, they are sent away because of the long waiting time. That’s why they often go for platforms and websites that offer a freelancers’ base full of experts ready to start working. For example, SoftwareSupp allows a client to publish the project and wait until the best, most matching, certified freelancer is assigned to it.
Let’s be honest, who’s not scared with trusting people met online, especially when money is involved. Seeing that customers are careful when choosing a freelancer to work with, use platforms that allow to verify your identity. Also, make sure that all your professional profiles, for example LinkedIn account, are transparent, easy to view, and they demonstrate your skills.
When you’re a full-time freelancer with regular customers, it’s time to think how to boost your efficiency, work smarter and better. Below you will find 3 hacks from experienced CRM freelancers on how to improve your work and stay motivated.
You may be wondering why you should hire and pay another freelancer, but the answer is actually rather simple. Hiring an assistant, accountant, lawyer or other professional can help you save time and keep clients loyal. There are cases when the customer may ask you to do something you don’t feel specialized enough in, yet it’s still worth to invest in hiring someone else than deny the client.
Sometimes I hire other freelancers that I know, or I go to some platforms to find them. If my client wants something I don’t know how to do, I don’t want to lose them, so I hire another freelancer to work with me. – Carla Rodriguez, HubSpot & Pipedrive CRM partner
You need a project management view. That’s why I hired a Project Management Freelancer to work with me. You need to be organized because sometimes clients don’t have a knowledge, they ask questions on the way you’re doing the project and that’s when you lose the time and money. – Carla Rodriguez, HubSpot & Pipedrive CRM partner
When you are self-employed, it’s extremely difficult to set limits and respect them. As a freelancer, you work for your own success, but remember that maintaining a good work-life balance makes you more effective and motivated to do your job well. Spending most of your time at work can lead to frustration, burnout, and even health problems. To avoid this, pursue your interests, spend time with your loved ones, take care of your condition and don’t forget to go offline from time to time.
Every 25 minutes I take a break and then go back to work. I don’t work on weekends. That’s a strict no-no. If I had to work on the weekend, that would only be for the customer that is not available to meet during the week. – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
You might not believe, but actually breaks increase your productivity and professionals know about it very well. Usually, it’s recommended to take a break every 60 minutes, but you need to figure out what suits you best. Sometimes when you feel the flow you can work for a few hours straight, but otherwise don’t forget to move a little, go on the fresh air or take a nap if you need it. As a freelancer, you don’t have core hours, but you certainly need to set some rules.
Once I finish a call, I always take at least a 15-minute break for myself and those who are around me. I make sure I have enough time for lunch breaks with family. That’s what I’m very particular about. – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
There are many websites with job offers and platforms that connect freelancers with customers. It’s usually very time-consuming to actually find a project and start working on it. First you need to browse through hundreds of work opportunities, send offers to clients, wait for the reply and then proceed with next steps that will eventually lead to get hired.
SoftwareSupp saves your time and energy by matching your expert profile with the project and customer that is looking exactly for a person like you. Here you can find out how SoftwareSupp stands out from other agencies, freelance platforms, and direct hiring. If you are interested in joining our elite network of certified freelancers and start working in 24 hours, see a short guide how to become a SoftwareSupp expert.
Certified Zoho CRM Freelancer
You probably heard somewhere that it’s useful, and it could improve your company’s performance. But maybe you are still asking yourself – what is a CRM and how can it help your business. Don’t worry, we did research for you. We asked certified CRM experts to share their opinion if it’s worth to adopt CRM management system, especially if we talk about small businesses. The discussion took place at the “Freelancing and CRM development” webinar ran by SoftwareSupp team.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a cloud-based tool, system or software, that helps to organize and manage the communication processes between your company and customers. It accumulates all client’s activities in one place, what makes it easier to analyze it and make improvements if they’re needed. It gathers data such like: e-mails, social media interactions, phone calls, web browsing.
We can compare a CRM to the big, smart warehouse, but instead of physical products, it stores every past and current information about customers, their preferences and questions along with the notes and goals established by the company. On the market, there are various CRM software products and platforms providing key features that your business need. They usually give the opportunity to:
Nowadays, it’s impossible to not put into your business any technology at all. Not only medium and big companies need it. Even if you are running a small business, if you want to compete, you need to digitalize it. At least a little at the beginning.
“Now you have LinkedIn, you have all your contacts talking on social media and different communities that are digital. So the source of your business is also digital. And from that point you need to start digitalizing and automating. It’s not possible anymore to not have even one tool that works”. – Carla Rodriguez, Hubspot & Pipedrive CRM partner
You don’t have to start using all available tools at once. First, think of your goals and budget, then try to find tools that respond to your needs the best.
“The important thing is which tool you need and for that you need to define your processes, business needs and a budget. You’re not going to go, for example, for a HubSpot or a Salesforce if you need something smaller”. – Carla Rodriguez, Hubspot & Pipedrive CRM partner
If you’re at the beginning of developing your small business, and you think that you don’t need a CRM, that’s okay. You know your capabilities the best. But you need to know that CRM is for sure helpful, and it’s considered a must-have for most companies. Your biggest resource is time, and time equals money. By using the CRM, instead of wasting it, you can focus on how to reach your key business objectives.
“At certain times, a business doesn’t need a CRM, but that will be for a very short time. A conversion from a hot lead to a warm lead, the time frame itself, is a change of lead. So in that scenario, for a sales person to handle a lead with proper follow-ups, a CRM would manage it. With Excel Sheets, they might not be able to respond to a reminder, or they would even forget to set up a reminder to reach out to that particular customer”. – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
CRM is still growing, and it has a huge product development. It depends a lot on new technologies entering the market, trends, customer’s changing needs and behavior etc. CRM can support the business with easier processes, like lead generation and e-mail automation, or more complex mechanisms (e.g., management of interaction history and escalations). If you feel your business can grow more, don't miss the chance. CRM might help you to save the time in certain areas while you focus on advancement and new goals.
"When the business is going to look out for the CRM, it's good to engage with the CRM expert, so they can give them the right inputs. That's when the business is going to make the right decisions, because some applications might be too much or too little for them". – Divya Sundaraju, Zoho CRM Admin
Certified Sales Process Freelancer
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