How to streamline your administrative workflow

How to streamline your administrative workflow

Erin Flynn's Layout avatar

Let’s be honest: admin tasks are not your favorite. In fact, they always fall to the bottom of your to-do list, because you’ve got more important things to worry about. Like clients. And your clients’ websites. Who has time for that administrative stuff?

Let’s be honest again: if your administrative process is a mess, or non-existent, your entire workflow is a mess.

Maybe you’ve gotten lazy about contracts–they’re such a pain to type up and send and get a signature on. Maybe you’ve gotten lazy about billing–okay, probably not, because $$$. But maybe you’ve gotten lazy about your bookkeeping; you don’t even know how much money you have flowing in and out!

Sure, you can hire someone to manage all this for you, if you win the lottery first. Or, you can do what I did and hop on a great app like 17Hats to make most of your administrative workflow tasks a breeze.

Disclaimer: 17Hats isn’t perfect for every business, but it’s pretty close for a lot of them.

Here’s how to streamline your administrative process using 17Hats.

1. Load up your templates

You can use and reuse templates for contracts, emails, quotes, and invoices. It’s easier to do this in the beginning, so at least get the basic templates set up before adding clients. Don’t worry, you can tweak as you go if the templates need customizing per project. Just get them in there so you have something to work from.

Pro tip: I love Contract Killer for easy-to-understand design contracts.


17Hats lets you use “tokens” to auto-fill sections of your contract with the client’s name, company name, etc. You can also insert forms to allow clients to check boxes, initial the agreement, or fill out text blocks.

2. Create a workflow or two

This step is optional, but really can help keep you organized. Creating a workflow for each type of project (e.g. web design, brand design, etc.) lets you know what you need to do and when.

Essentially, a workflow is everything you need to do to complete a project. It can be as detailed or simple as you like. An example might be:

  • Quote
  • Contract
  • Invoice
  • Skype Call
  • Design mockups
  • Design revisions
  • Client sign-off on design (mini agreement)
  • Web development
  • Client sign-off on development (mini agreement)
  • Website launch on Flywheel
  • Send goodbye packet/website instructions
  • Follow up with client in 30 days

You can reuse workflows and customize for each project. Workflows can also be set to send items automatically, and remind you when a task is due.


Pro tip: Workflows don’t have to be just for client projects. You can also create workflows to follow-up with past clients or manage your own internal projects.

3 Add in your clients.

This is pretty self-explanatory, but in order to create a project, you need a client to assign it to.

Pro tip: You can import your contacts from vCards and CSV files.

4 Create a project.

Now it’s time to put those templates to use! Select your client and create a new project! Add in your workflow, or just dive straight into creating a quote!

Pro tip: When you’ve completed a project, archive it to keep your project page clutter-free.


5 Send a quote/contract/invoice.

One of my favorite things about 17Hats is the ability to send a quote that ,once the client agrees to it, she is taken to the contract to sign online, and once that’s done, she is taken to the invoice to pay. It’s all done automatically, and it makes the entire process seamless and simple, for you and your clients.

Pro tip: You can split payments on invoices, collecting a 50% deposit at signing and the remaining a specified number of days later.

6 Focus on your clients.

17Hats makes the admin work simple–so you can spend less time futzing with contracts and invoicing and more time working with clients.

Some other great features 17Hats includes are bookkeeping and lead tracking. So you can keep track of your finances as well as potential clients.

By automating most of your administrative tasks, you’ll be able to provide your clients with a great experience from start to finish, and spend more time focusing on making them the best website possible.

Comments (1 )

  1. Emma

    April 7, 2016

    Hi Erin,

    Thanks so much, this is exactly what I was looking for. I've not been utilising 17 hats to it's full potential, until now.


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