One day I was pondering why it was so hard to get to the things I really wanted to do. Seemed like the best times of day for doing them were never available to me and I always felt like I was behind the 8-ball because it was so hard to get those things done.
When I looked at my calendar, I realized that all the times that were best for thinking, writing, and creative work were taken by my clients. Other times— when I could just as easily have had great sessions with them—were open, but I never managed to get deep inner work done at those times of the day.
That was the day I took control of my time.
I started using a scheduler, and the times I made available were the ones when I wanted people to book with me. Suddenly —
- Gone were the agonizing mutual calendar searches at the end of a session.
- Gone was the possibility that a client would see an open space in my calendar and ask me for it.
- Gone was the long-drawn-out process of looking for a time by email.
- Gone was the feeling that I had to work at whatever time a client suggested.
Of course, I let people know that if absolutely nothing works, they should tell me and we will look for something else, but it didn’t take me long to realize that most people can fit into my schedule. Very rarely does anyone tell me they can’t find a time to meet with me.
I’ve used two different scheduling solutions. If you’re ready to find out how using one could make a difference to you, one of them could be the answer. check them both out below.
I used TimeTrade for a long time and it felt adequate for what I was doing. Because I didn’t know about anything else, I probably would have stayed with them longer, but TimeTrade didn’t do such a great job of showing my schedule to people around the world in their own time zone. People thought they were booking at noon their time, but it was really midnight. That got old fast, and TimeTrade told me it wasn’t a high priority to fix.
If that’s not an issue for you, it’s a good solution and I know a lot of people who use it. If you’re looking for the next step after scheduling every session individually with the client, it could be the logical thing to try.
It’s less expensive than anything else I’ve found, easy to use and allows you to have multiple appointment types. The interface is simple and pretty easy to learn.
No system is perfect. TimeTrade has several minuses, but if these are not important to you, it’s a good solution:
- There’s no free plan, so you have to jump in and get started.
- Customer service is friendly, but not immediate if you have a problem.
- It doesn’t integrate with payment processors, so you cannot require people to pay when they book an appointment; that also means there are no coupons or gift certificates associated with it.
- It won’t work for filling a class.
- It doesn’t work well if your clients are not in your time zone.
Want to try TimeTrade?
As I said, there’s no free plan, but TimeTrade is the least expensive scheduler I know of, and it’s used by lots of folks with local practices. You can find them at https://www.timetrade.com/
I switched to Acuity because it offered so many possibilities for scheduling that I had never considered. I tend to do exhaustive research and Acuity offered a far lower price than any scheduling service other than the one I was leaving.
Here’s how I made over $5000 using one of the Acuity features: because it was so easy to schedule a class, I created an inexpensive one on the fly with payment taken on line. I let a few people know about it by email, did all the admin in a few minutes. Two people who took that class became long-term clients!
There’s a free version and 3 paid tiers. I use the middle one, but many practitioners find the entry tier is enough. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Take payments at the time of booking.
- Let more than one person sign up for a slot (think “fill a class or workshop”).
- Gives accurate time for your client in every time zone around the world.
- Create coupons and vouchers (think “Gift Certificates”) for special offers.
- Create a schedule for more than one person… if you have a center, everyone can be on the same account.
- Sell products and packages.
- Create intake forms.
- Customize email notices and reminders. You can include links to forms on your website, etc.
- Embed your appointment calendar on your website.
It would be too good to be true if there were no cons at all, and Acuity does have one—the setup can be a bit complicated because the app does so much for you once you’ve got it the way you want it. If you want to customize everything, it will take some time and the willingness to dive into learning how each element is tuned.
Want to try Acuity for free?
If you’re ready to give Acuity a try, I’d love it if you use this link… Yes, it’s an affiliate link, and because I recommend it, you know I believe in it and use it myself. It’s their way of saying “Thanks!” to me if you ever go beyond a free account.
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