Waiting Start Date

The last step of this initial process! I know it can seem like there was a helluva lot to go through, and in whole honesty there is. Client onboarding is a huge part of your business for both you and your potential clients. Buying services – especially from creative – isn’t as easy as purchasing something across the counter or booking in a one off coaching call.

But once you’ve gone through this process a couple of times and you have everything set up with a really good foundation you’ll find it quite simple to move through.

Just to recap here are some of the main things to set up for ease ::

  • Your board in Trello
  • Email Template to Respond to Initial Inquiry
  • Work With You/Services Document/Guide
  • Scheduling System (if you’re booking calls)
  • Invoicing System & Quote line items
  • Email Template to Send Estimate/Quote/Proposal
  • Contract Template
  • Email Template to send contract/deposit
  • Welcome Packet (next lesson)

If your client has accepted the contract and paid the deposit you can officially lock that start date in! I add it to my calendar and move the card over to the ‘waiting start date’ list in Trello along with a comment to the description of the project for the official start date.

Before our project begins I need the client to complete a couple of things. For website design & development projects this is generally two questionnaires and a Pinterest board. For logo projects this is one questionnaire. Branding packages include an account with an external quiz, a questionnaire and Pinterest board. Every project is slightly different but in essence I need to collect information so we’re super ready when the project start date comes around (which could be nearly immediately or months away).

I also share a Dropbox folder with them with a certain file structure where they can start to drop the necessary documents. You might have a Google doc to share (i.e if you’re a copywriter), want a Pinterest board for inspiration (i.e for a photo shoot) or need examples (i.e for a custom illustration).

Whatever it might be, you want to accept & acknowledge the deposit & start date and then provide the next steps. I also want to give my client any helpful tips about project and their to-do’s.

I know include my requirements (questionnaires, Pinterest etc) and information for them in a Welcome Packet. I think send an email confirming our dates and scheduling with this welcome packet. We’ll cover this very last step in the next module so you can create your own (comes with a template!).

Here’s the email template I use that you can tweak for your needs either with or without a welcome packet ::

Hi ___________,

Thank you very much for your deposit payment – start date is locked in and I’m/we’re exceptionally excited to get started!

Next steps ::

(outline what you require from client, for example this could be as follows)

  • Please complete this ___________ (questionnaire/form/survey/quiz) before our start date – (link to item/attachment)
  • Please also create a ___________ (inspiration board/brief/needs+wants list) – (link to item/attachment)
  • Please allocate the main point of contact for liaison of the project (if working with a team and you require this)

For the ___________ (questionnaire/form/survey/quiz) if there is anything you (or a team member) can’t answer just leave it blank, or if you could envision it for your ___________ (business/home/shoot) please describe that instead.

I’ve also attached a ___________ (welcome packet/project document) for your review to ensure you’re comfortable going forward filled with tips and information on our project.

Up next ::

I’ve/we’ve ___________ and have also ___________.

When we officially begin our project on our start date, I’ll/we’ll begin with ___________.

This will lead onto ___________ and we’ll be able to stay on track with everything through ___________ (sending you a task list/sharing our task folder/managing through project via xxx).

That’s it for now!

I’ll/we’ll email you on our start date to let you know we’re officially launching into it and kicking off with ___________ (your brand/logo designs/rough drawings).

Super excited to get started.

If you have any questions at all please let me know.

Thank you,
___________ (you/assistant/admin/manager name)

XXX (email signature)


That’s it! Your project is now set up and ready to begin and your client should submit any further information or steps you need them to take.

What does your client questionnaire need to look like? It completely depends on your type of project but it needs to cover the information you really need to know in order to make the best decisions (not just what your client thinks they want). We’re going to cover this in the creative process section with examples of questionnaires, thoughts on what you should include and how to present this.

If you’ve got a lengthy waiting time (i.e some of my projects are booked up to 6 months in advance) it’s worth making a note in your Trello card (and in your calendar) to check in once or twice throughout the waiting time.

If you’re starting now or just around the corner, or your start date has arrived, it’s time to get busy on the creation.