The Definitive Guide to Onboarding New Clients

There is one big focus when you are a VA or freelancer. You want to find clients, get a signed contract, and make money. Clients are the lifeblood of your business.

I know that when you are starting out, it seems like competition is high. How will you stand out among 30 other people vying for attention? What do you have that will make the client pick you over anyone else? And what should you do once a client says yes?

Let me help you take the stress and anxiety out of landing clients. Together, we are going to create an onboarding plan!

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding refers to the workflow or steps you use to get your client from the first contact to a paid invoice. It is like a road-map that you create in advance so that your client has an amazing experience working with you.

The best part of an onboarding plan means you will be able to use it with every client you contact. It streamlines your business and makes things easy.

(To give you a complete overview, this will be a 3 part series. If you don’t want to miss the next blog posts, be sure and sign up for email updates.)

Step 1: First Contact

First, I want you to think about what you will say and need when you first contact a potential client.

The things you need for this are:

  • Canned emails or responses - These can be good to use for the first message or email. It can include a basic greeting, your basic background/experience, and relevant links.

  • A basic proposal - This is where you describe what you will do and the price for those services. {link to proposal freebie}

Let’s break these down and get you ready.

Canned Emails

Why do you need pre written emails? For one, it takes away the fear of contacting new people. It also ensures that you are putting the best version of yourself out there

What should a canned email for your initial contact look like? Let’s pretend I am contacting someone to help grow their social media.

Hello/Hey [client name],

I saw your post/listing for help with social media [need]. I thought I would be a really good fit. Let me introduce myself.

My name is [your name] and I specialize in social media management and growth [your one expert skill]. I have X years of experience in this [expert skill] and have helped other clients grow their engagement and followers [results you have gotten for other clients or yourself]. 

After looking over your website and business, I know I could help you. My initial idea is to outline a social media strategy and grow your engagement by 10% [outline how you can solve their problem. Don’t get too detailed but give enough that you have shown you know what you are talking about]

I would love to discuss this more with you. When would you be available to talk?


[Your signature]

Take this template and tweak it for each possible new client. Make it your own. Add your own voice and style to it.

Be sure and research your client. Add details that show you have done your homework and are ready to help them.

Tip: If you are contacting a client from a FB post, read their instructions. If they ask you to send an email, do not private message them! And don't leave your website or FB link in a comment and ask them to contact you.


The other document you need to prepare is a proposal. This is a basic outline of the services you can offer and their price. It can be simple. You can worry about style once you have plenty of clients. If you need an idea, you can get my free proposal template to get you started.

You are ready! You have the 2 things you need to contact new clients. You don’t have to guess what you will say. You will be able to respond quickly. You will look professional. This will help you standout.

Next week, I will outline how to follow up. You don’t have to seem pushy. But you can make an impression.