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A luxury maternity and newborn photographer, business coach, and educator. I have a heart for helping busy moms save oodles of time so they can spend more of it with their families. As a homeschool mom and business owner, I understand how precious your time is. My goal is to help you build the business, and life, of your dreams.

I'm brenna

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Why You Need a CRM for Your Service-Based Business

What is a CRM? It stands for ‘Client Relationship Management’ and it’s a tool that you use for your business to stay organized and keep all important documents in one place!

Maybe you send contracts from one platform, then an invoice through another. You don’t have a structured timeline or workflow for each client. Important emails fall through the cracks and you’re just sitting by your computer, checking on due dates, sending reminders, yadda yadda yadda.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a complete time suck. I’ve been there and I know what it’s like.

But it doesn’t have to be like that!

If you run a service-based business, then you need a CRM, like yesterday.

Maybe you’re a photographer, coach, personal trainer, hair and makeup artist, counselor, you name it…do yourself a favor and invest in a CRM and start saving loads of time and sanity.

A CRM will help you automate your business so you can spend less time doing the mundane, yet required day-to-day tasks, and more time growing your business and spending time with your family!

I’ve used 17hats since 2015, which is two years after I filed my LLC and began my photography business. That means, for two whole years, I was going crazy piecing each of every facet of client paperwork together, wasting time, and stressing out.

Let me tell you all about the amazing features of my CRM so you can see for yourself, have that ‘aha!’ moment, and begin on your path to sanity today.

Online Scheduling
At the very beginning of the client onboarding process is scheduling. I used to go back and forth between clients trying to find a date and time for their portrait sessions. Now, I’m able to set up my calendar, clients can view my available dates, and book online!

Client Profile & Calendar Sync
When a new client books a session online, 17hats automatically adds the client to my client list, starts a project, and adds the project to my calendar. I sync my Google Calendar to 17hats, so all client sessions show up on my iPhone and Apple Watch immediately so I never miss a session or forget to put it in my calendar!

This is a game changer, y’all! If your business is anything like mine, in which when a client hires you, you follow the same routine of sending information and documents, then workflow are about to change your life! Workflows within 17hats allow me to send automatic communication to a client without thinking about it. As soon as a client books a session, I assign the corresponding Workflow within the client’s project profile. Then everything I need to send the client goes out automatically based on our session date.

For example, when a client books a maternity session, I will assign the Workflow and edit the “base date” (which is the maternity session date). This base date is the basis for all emails and due dates. First, the contract will auto-fill the client’s name and session date, then the contract link will be sent to the client. Once the client signs the contract, I will countersign it then the invoice link sends right away.

I have my Workflows to trigger a new action either when previous items are completed (like sending my Style Guide when the contract and retainer are complete), or based on a certain time (my questionnaire is sent 2-3 weeks before the session).

Every piece of communication is set up to send within each Workflow. I can even include specific to-do items to check off, like sending my client the location information.

Each Workflow is completely customizable based on your process. It does take time to set up, but you will be so glad you did! I could go on and on about Workflows, and I sort of already did. But that’s because they’re truly that amazing!

17hats has so many more features, including Bookkeeping, Tax and Expense Reports, integrations with other platforms (Zapier, Shootproof, Zoom, and more), and Client Portals so clients can view all of the important documents in one spot.

If you couldn’t already tell, I really love 17hats. Not only for the many features and benefits, but because their support team is always amazing and willing to help if you run into any issues.

Whether you choose 17hats or another CRM, you’ll be so glad you did and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get on board! It’s like having your own virtual assistant for way less money!

Speaking of saving money, you can save 50% or more on your annual membership if you use my referral link. I only share the products that I use and love, because they’re truly awesome and I know you’ll love them too!

If you have any questions about 17hats, I’d love to answer them for you! Be sure to comment below.


  1. Moe says:

    Is 17 hats just a scheduling program only? I took your class last night was amazing learned so much ty

    • brennaheater says:

      Hi, Moe! I’m so glad you loved my free mini sessions class! 17hats is waaaay more than scheduling. I use 17hats for sending contracts, invoices, questionnaires, quotes, automated emails, monthly bookkeeping, keeping my calendar organized, time tracking, and so much more!

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