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Great Tool for Managing your Business for Freelancers and Soloprenuers

One of the struggles as a business owner I have is managing my books. For years I have used QuickBooks desktop software for managing my business which has worked out pretty well. 

Sometimes it does feel like I’m at a 747 dashboard using QuickBooks, however, because I only use a 1/10th of what their software can do. I’m a designer after all – not an accountant.

Quickbooks online advertising seemed to be everywhere and they were touting a new online version for solopreneur and freelancers.

So, I decided to give it a try. I’m always up for trying new technology especially if it promised to get me paid sooner from clients. Who would not want to get paid sooner?

I ended up using it for about 8 months but realized at around month 7 that my monthly rate went up from $19/month to $30/month. OUCH! I discovered I was on an “introductory rate” which expired after a six month period. Then to add insult to injury, around tax time, I discovered I was unable to run certain reports – specifically the report I run that tells me what clients paid me what amounts. Totally CRAZY.

That was the straw that broke the camels back.

I thought the product was making my life easier but it did just the reverse. Did I get paid sooner you ask? Maybe.

So I ran back to the desktop version. Getting my data from the online version back to the desktop was a terrible experience. Quickbooks seems to prefer PC users over Mac users and never gave much thought that a Mac user might want to move off the online version back to the desktop.  Needless to say, I had to manually enter EVERY invoice and payment back into my desktop application. What a hassle.

I then discovered a tool called 17hats.com that forever changed how I managed my business 

They offered a free webinar to show their software and it definitely worth checking out to see if it would work for your business.

After seeing their webinar, I was intrigued by the simplicity of their software. Plus they really thought through all the pain points of small business owners and provided solutions to streamline and simplify the process. It’s kind of a “one stop shop” for keeping all of your important documents regarding clients. Estimates, phone calls, emails, calendar integration, contracts, invoices and leads are easy to manage.

Most business’ fall into a predictable pattern. For instance, as a designer, I receive project requests in a few areas like WordPress Web Design, Logo Design, Tradeshow designs. I was able to create estimates and contracts that I could use over and over again. And I love that you can get clients to approve estimates and contracts online. No more bugging a client for the approval or signed agreement! 17hats easily acts as your business partner taking care of making sure you get a signed agreement.

My Favorite from 17hats

  1. You can create contracts easily and quickly using a template that will put your client info into it automatically depending upon how you have set this up. This means you no longer have to duplicate a contract and search and replace the info you need to fill in.
  2. Client project info is all in one location and has multiple ways to keep every aspect of the project. Brilliant! It even lets you track phone calls and unbillable time if you want among other things.
  3. Access your account from desktop, laptop or phone!
  4. Online time tracking allows you convert into an invoice in a click.
  5. They have a simple dashboard that has a calendar and email notifications. And it also alerts you to any important upcoming events.
  6. You know when your client has viewed your invoice and how often.
  7. Online Integration. Want to connect your Facebook page directly into your dashboard for leads – it’s easy. Anyone that clicks contact is set up in your account on 17hats as a “HOT LEAD”.
  8. Workflows — This section allows you to create automation for projects.
  9. Grouping — Send an estimate and a contract easily with one click.
  10. Easily get paid by credit card
  11. Get paid sooner. Yes!!! This works!! It automatically emails clients when invoices are due and if they are overdue. It really helps get you paid sooner! You can even send receipts to clients that pay you with checks/cash.

17 Hats Dashboard

Client Project area

If you are willing to invest some time upfront with 17hats you will save yourself a lot of work and speed up your workflow.

I highly recommend checking out the free basic account. And if you decide you want to upgrade get  10% off The Unlimited Plan here

17 Hats pricing – Yearly deals save you more and they run special deals a few times a year that can save you even more!

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Cheryl is an award-winning designer that assists companies get to the next level through marketing design for print, digital and web. She can be found at http://www.forziatidesign.com

 

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