phone: 814.881.5882  |  email: kristin@kristinlynch.com

technotes

FreshBooks makes managing your own business easy!

posted by Kristin Lynch

Feb 02

I've been using FreshBooks for a few months now after switching from MacFreelance. I love it. It allow me to easily and quickly set up the client/time/invoicing/expense management portion of my freelance business so I can spend more time focusing on my clients and their needs. Set up your free account to get started. Check out the very reasonable pricing chart. You won't pay at all until you enter your fourth client into the system. At that point, you'll be charged $19/month, with rates increasing at a fair rate dependent on client numbers. The most you'll pay for the service is $149/month - and that's with 5,000 customers!

Go here to set up an account now!

What can you do with FreshBooks?
  • Maintain your client information
  • Track your time
  • Allow team members to add their time and other details
  • Allow clients to view their own invoices
  • Create custom invoices with your own branding
  • Customize e-mails, late notices, etc.
  • View and print reports
  • Manage expenses, including one-time and recurring charges
  • Manage your time, view your invoices and add expenses using the iPhone app
  • Send your invoices via e-mail or snail mail (snail mail includes a statement, payment stub, and window return envelope)
Those are just a few of the features of FreshBooks. Go here to set up an account now and get more details. I'm still discovering very handy features! I also like how FreshBooks maintains its customer relationships. As soon as I signed up, I received an e-mail from a customer representative thanking me for signing up and providing me with their full contact details in case I have questions or need help.

I also received a sample invoice in the mail showing me how my invoices will look if I choose to send them that way - including a payment stub and return envelope. If you decide to go that route, you just pay for an allotment of 'stamps' and they handle the rest.

FreshBooks also provides a toll free number, online support form, a blog and customer forums - all designed to help you find the information you need quickly and easily. Their system even provides a report card so you can see how you're doing. You'll need to be on the system for a full fiscal quarter before you can view any data, however.

I'm very impressed with the system. It allows me to easily and professionally maintain the financial data of my new business, providing me with more time to manage my customer relationships and the work I do for them. I even ENJOY using my business management system. When have you ever heard such a thing? Go here to set up an account now!

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Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...I've been a long-time movie service subscriber - all the way back to my subscription with Home Video Exchange in the early 1980s. Ah, VHS...how you sucked in comparison with what we have now, but how lucky we were to have you all those years ago.

Image via CrunchBase
current Blockbuster Online "Total Access&...Fast forward (ha...get it?) to the past 10 years and I've moved on to the online movie services. I know there are other services out there, but let's face it - Netflix and Blockbuster are the only services worth considering. I became a Netflix subscriber when the service first became available in 1997 and remained with them until Blockbuster Online launched in 2004 with their Total Access package. I had been pleased as punch with Netflix, but couldn't resist jumping ship with Blockbuster's in-store trade option.

Image via Wikipedia
The services were very similar otherwise - pricing, selection, etc. - with the obvious exception that Blockbuster had brick-and-mortar locations and Netflix was strictly online. Well, I just changed back to Netflix. Again, nothing wrong with Blockbuster. Both are great services, especially if you're a die-hard movie fan like me. So why did I switch again? Reverse to 2008 when I bought my 42" Sharp Aquos LCD TV and got a free Sharp blu-ray player as part of the deal. I began choosing more and more blu-ray movies since I had the option. Between my addiction to movies and Time Warner Cable's steady addition of more and more HD channels, I could no longer tolerate watching the NON-HD channels on my bedroom TV. I was getting free HD but only able to watch those channels in my living room. Blockbuster also recently changed their policy on rentals and in-store trades. They previously allowed you to get unlimited in-store trades, but reduced this to 3 in-store trades per month if you were on the 2 movies at a time plan (like me). They also changed how the in-store trades worked. Previously, you could only keep those out for up to 7-days (plus grace period), following their normal in-store policy. When you returned one to the store, Blockbuster would recognize it as having been returned and you'd get your next film regardless of whether or not you chose an in-store trade. This worked fine for me. Recently they changed this to allow you to keep the in-store trade as long as you wanted, but wouldn't send out your next queued movies until you returned them. If that sounds confusing it's because it IS. I had to ask a couple of times I was in the store, and I realized this was two steps backwards for the customer. From a balance sheet perspective, I could understand why they made this change, but it left a bad taste in my mouth since it was confusing, lousy for the customers, and hadn't at ALL been communicated by the company. And yeah, I do receive their postal and e-mail newsletters. OK, so back to the TVs. I bought a 37" Samsung LCD TV and blu-ray player for my bedroom - not because of Blockbuster, but because of my increasing inability to watch anything NOT in HD. The Samsung blu-ray player includes a wireless feature if you buy the $80 USB adapter, and easy setup for connections to Netflix and Pandora.

Image via CrunchBase
Image representing Pandora as depicted in Crun...After setting up the blu-ray player to connect to my wireless network, I hopped on my MacBook Pro and activated my Pandora account (to connect to my existing Pandora account), put a 3-month hold on my Blockbuster Online account and re-activated my Netflix account. Within 2 minutes I was adding movies to my queue and chose several movies plus season one of '30 Rock' to my 'instant queue' and saw everything in my instant queue immediately appear on my TV. OK, so for a few dollars LESS than I was paying Blockbuster, I'm still getting 2 movies at a time via mail, no store trades which I was no longer using anyway, and lots of additional streamed content right to my bedroom TV. Even better, the 2 movies at a time deal doesn't affect my ability to stream and watch as much as I want. Before my first movie even showed up in the mail (2 days after signing up), I'd already watched 2 movies plus the entire first season of '30 Rock' right through my TV. By the way, as long as the items remain in your 'instant queue' you can watch them again, stop where you left off, pause, rewind, etc. So, if you're in the market for a blu-ray player, I'd highly recommend choosing one of the few that have this feature. Even though you'll need to pay for an adapter (once), you won't need to rent or buy the separate appliance(s) Netflix and other streaming services require. I also recommend this if you frequently rent entire seasons of TV shows, because traditionally you'd need to count each disk as a separate rental. Through Netflix, if your title is available streamed, you get all the shows at once and they don't count towards a physical rental. Feel free to ask questions. I've learned a lot about how this works!
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