Ask Steph is a monthly column where I answer all of your tricky business questions! Get ready to tackle everything from setting up better software & systems, to organizing your work day, to planning out your business content, to establishing better boundaries with your clients. Have a question for me? Ask away, right here. See archives here.
How do you set up a scheduler?
“I’ve played around with using one before, but it never seems to work properly. I’ve been overbooked before, so now I’m scared to let people book themselves into my calendar. But I also know it would save me so much time! I’m wasting a ton of time on email trying to set up multiple appointments a week with my clients. It’s too stressful to do it this way. Help!”
Scared of Schedulers
Yeah, I hear you. I was scared of schedulers for a long time.
Even though I’m a huge fan of reducing unnecessary communications (so much that I wrote a course about it!), it took me a while to embrace the beautiful simplicity of having a scheduler set up in my business.
The process of creating one seemed so complicated, and I didn’t fully trust the technology not to double book me. I’d try to set it up, get flustered, and then give up without giving it a real shot.
But when I started my group program, The Foundery, there were too many moving pieces for me to have to schedule multiple appointments with the members each month. So I bit the bullet and haven’t looked back. Despite a couple of speed bumps (when I was indeed double booked due to a technical error on my part), it’s been a mostly smooth process that has probably saved me hours already.
Who needs a scheduler, anyway?
Schedulers are perfect for anyone who runs a service-based business, whether you’re a hairdresser, nutritionist, or personal coach! If you find yourself constantly setting up meetings over email in a way that feels clunky and time-consuming, chances are good that you could benefit from setting up a scheduler for your clients.
Which scheduler software should I use?
As with most things, it depends!
- If you’re looking for something simple and free, try Calendly
- If you have a Squarespace business website, Acuity Scheduling is included
- Important Note: If you’re already using a specialty client relationship management software (ex. Dubsado for photographers, Shedul for hairdressers, Satori for coaches, SimplePractice for therapists), check there first! They typically have built-in scheduling software.
If you’re just starting out with using scheduling software, I’d try experimenting with a free option at first to see whether it’s useful to your business, before buying into a paid plan. The paid services can be super useful for those who use this functionality frequently, but if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, those costs can really add up! I recommend making do with a free app until you really feel that upgrading would be valuable for your biz.
How do I set up my scheduler?
So glad you asked! Here’s a little tutorial I put together where I set up a new appointment type in Calendly, my top pick for people who are just starting out with using a scheduler. But the principles are exactly the same, no matter what software you’re using!
Important Note: If you’re using Google Calendar, your calendar will automatically populate things like airline or event tickets from your email into your calendar. Great, right? Yes, except that those events are usually set to be private to you, and shown on your calendar as “Free” instead of “Busy”. To avoid getting double booked, make sure you double check automatic event listings and set them to “Busy” if they’re not already! The same is true for All-Day events – the default is to show you as “Free”, so be sure to change that setting in your calendar to avoid bookings on those days.
I’d love to know: Do you have a service-based business that could use a scheduler? What has held you back from setting one up before now? Do you have any scheduler trouble-shooting issues that need addressing? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @stephpellett.
PS. If you have a business question you need help tackling, I’d love to answer it next month! Click here to submit your question.