Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman, Part 3

 

I’m filling your screen with pretty home photos because I finished my extended 2016 taxes two weeks ago and I’m still recovering. Putting myself – and my accountant – through that mess only served to support my decision to move on to a more informed process, making this third post about using FreshBooks very timely. Up until this point I think I’ve taken for granted everything that’s going on behind the scenes after I enter invoices, receipts, etc., but now I’m very much looking forward to handing over a completely organized file on time next April.

 

 

But before I get into a few more of my favorite FreshBooks features, I wanted to share a few things I do to get in the right mindset for conquering my arch-nemesis: numbers. Math has never been my strong suit, and even though FreshBooks takes care of the actual calculating for me, it still stresses me out and I want to be as focused as possible when starting.

• Make a cup of tea or coffee, the ritual will help calm your nerves.
• Put on comfortable clothes.
• Light your favorite candle or diffuse some essential oils.
• Turn off the TV and turn on some music, I like classical when I’m working.
• Grab and snack and make sure you go to the bathroom beforehand to avoid interruptions.
• Try to conquer things during your most productive hours – for me it’s early evening.

 

 

Okay, now we’re settled and ready to rock.

As I dive deeper into everything FreshBooks offers, I’ve been using the Projects function that’s a godsend when working with a team or collaborator on blog posts or freelance jobs. Basically, you can invite others in to manage and share information, files and, updates so that you’re all on the same page and no detail gets forgotten. Employees can access the full project, contractors can see steps and invoice you when everything is complete, and clients can share feedback and track progress. I love that it’s a centralized place for files too, no more digging through long chains of never-ending emails!

Projects features: simple project management, collaborate with employees, contractors, and clients, share images and files, centralize conversations, current project overview

 

 

 

As we roll into Q4 I’m also paying way more attention to Design Crush’s profitability for the year. FreshBook‘s dashboard makes it plain as day where things stand so I can take a look at where I can improve or what’s going exceptionally well. Reporting takes care of calculating profit and loss statements and the other small business financial reports that I’ll need come tax time without giving me a panic attack. The numbers are all in one place and my accountant can put the Advil back in the medicine cabinet.

Reports features: clear breakdown of spending, filtered custom reports, summary of outstanding revenue, profit and loss report, expense report, invoice details report, the ability to download reports to Excel

 

 

Our final FreshBooks post will be in January, when I’ll spill my guts about how this past year has really gone financially. If you have any questions about FreshBooks I’d love to try and help get answers for you from their award-winning rockstars in customer service. In the meantime, you can sign up for a free monthlong trial right here!

This post sponsored by FreshBooks. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Pen UNO

 

Don’t you just love the feeling of finding the perfect pen? One that sails across paper, won’t smear, and hopefully doesn’t run out of ink too quickly. I’m anxious to try out Pen UNO, a sleek and minimal aluminum pen available in five colors – space grey, gold, rose gold, red, and black. It uses a Hi-Tec C Coleto gel ink cartridge which is widely available online in a variety of colors and line-weights.

 

 

 

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Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman, Part 2

 

Time once again to drop all pretense for part two of my yearlong financial journey with FreshBooks! In part one, back in April, I shared how I’ve approached the financial side of my business up until this year – in short, it’s not my strong suit and I’m doing all I can to remedy that.

In the past three months I’ve gained so much more confidence when it comes to invoicing, and I’ve also saved time thanks to all of the features I outlined in part one. I love how easy it is to access recurring client’s information as well as the visual representation of how much I’m earning. In the name of transparency blogging is going through a season of change once again, and the green is not as prevalent as in the past. The number one rule of being a blogger is being adaptable, and diversifying my income is a huge deal.

 

 

One way I’m doing that, aside from writing for larger corporate sites, is contacting sponsors directly more often. For a long time I didn’t have to pitch brands, but over time that’s changed and FreshBooks‘s estimate feature helps me navigate the steps that follows. After talking to a new brand – and them hopefully falling head over heels for my pitch! – it’s time to spell out my proposal with a dollar sign in front of it. It’s here that I’m able to outline deliverables Design Crush will be providing and the breakdown of pricing for each.

Estimate features: know when a client has viewed your estimate, add discounts, automatic tax calculations, transform your estimates into ready-to-pay invoices, client approval with one click

 

 

After signing a contract I can kick things off, whether it’s for Design Crush or a graphic design project on the side. With FreshBooks‘s time tracking feature I can map out my day and make sure I’m accounting for every billable hour. This is super helpful to me in a number of ways, especially when it comes to do future estimates for similar projects. I’m forever trying to become more efficient – the thought of hiring someone to feed me three square meals a day while I work has occurred to me – and time tracking is valuable in showing me where I can streamline even further. I can literally start a timer and hit stop when I’m done! When the project is wrapped up I can pull all of the tracked time into an invoice and send it off.

Time tracking features: team time tracking, clear breakdown of your day, view team members’ time, easy to use timer, detailed time entry notes, automatically bill for tracked hours

 

 

I’m already digging deeper into FreshBooks and am looking forward to what the quarter brings in terms of making me feel more like a well rounded businesswoman. If you have any questions about FreshBooks I’d love to try and help get answers for you from their award-winning rockstars in customer service. In the meantime, you can sign up for a free monthlong trial right here!

This post sponsored by FreshBooks. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman

 

Just like clockwork, I filed for my yearly tax extension yesterday.

See, I have a bit of an admission to make which is that I really hate numbers and money or any combination of the two. Design Crush has been a business for nearly ten years and an LLC for more than half of that, and I’m honestly just getting a hold on my books now. It’s always felt extremely overwhelming to me, and so I’ve never made the time to fully understand and grasp what was going on behind the scenes. Money in the bank? Great. Set aside enough of that payment for taxes? Done. And that’s basically the extent of what my plan has been until this year.

Accounting got to the point of being a constant source of stress, a point of mental wellness that needed addressing. So I reached out to FreshBooks after sitting in on one of their workshops, they made accounting seem both easy to tackle and far less overwhelming than it had up until this point.

 

 

I’ve teamed up with FreshBooks to bring you the story of my journey this year as I tackle the financial side of Design Crush – and what better time to start than Tax Day?

Let’s start from the beginning.

When I first logged into my free one month trial I was immediately impressed by the clean layout. One thing that’s always kept me away from other accounting software is the sheer amount of information being thrown my way visually. FreshBooks was actually designed to be simple to use for the self-employed and easy to navigate, and that’s actually what it is. It became apparent – quickly – that I was about to be far more streamlined as a business as soon as I familiarized myself with the system. (On average users save 16 hours per month!)

 

 

I played around backlogging invoices from January 2017 to the present, marking the paid ones off and entering the information of the brands I work with most often for future billing. FreshBooks helps you to create a professional looking invoice that includes your logo, as well as sends out reminders when one goes overdue – basically taking you out of the role as the bad guy. (I love this.) You can even personalize a thank you message that goes out once each invoice is paid. Now this feature is like magic to me, you can set up your account up to accept credit cards! *mind explodes* If you’d like to dig even deeper you can add additional charges for late payments and request deposits from clients. Everything can be automated, making invoicing as painless as humanly possible.

Invoicing features: customization, payment reminders, automatic late fees, accept credit cards, recurring invoices, flexible due dates, handle received invoices, discounts, deposit requests, preview before sending, multi-currency billing, multi-language invoices, duplicate invoices, automatic tax calculations

 

 

Next thing, I photographed receipts and uploaded them to mark as expenses. Being a visually-driven person, it really helps that I’m able to see both the actual receipt as well as the file in FreshBooks. Nearly all of the functions include a line graph spelling things out for those of us who comprehend information better in that form. In this case I can tell immediately how much I’ve been spending and how profitable Design Crush is at any moment. Goodbye shoebox of receipts and manual entry! My accountant is already thanking you because he won’t be receiving a handwritten list for my 2016 taxes. *cringe*

Expense features: receipt attachments, tax-friendly categories, easy to read summaries, remembered vendors, multi-currency tracking, easily editable

 

 

So, this is the start of my journey. I’m looking forward to sharing more of what I learn along the way as I step out of my comfort zone and tackle this neglected area of Design Crush. If you have any questions about FreshBooks I’d love to try and help get answers for you from their award-winning rockstars in customer service. In the meantime, you can sign up for a free monthlong trial right here!

This post sponsored by FreshBooks. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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20 Super Rad Gifts

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1/ a black cast iron fondue set for your cousin who wants to borrow yours
2/ a set of four brew espresso cups for someone who can’t stop won’t stop
3/ a chic candle snuffer for your mom who always has one burning
4/ a ceramic flask for your uncle who loves the outdoors

 

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5/ a double ended highlighter set for the students in your life
6/ an Esym scent pod for your best friend’s stocking
7/ a pair of gold agate bookends for your aunt who’s a librarian
8/ a Juniper 37G knife for your friend who always has one in their pocket

 

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9/ a Lomo Instant Sanremo + 3 lenses for your dad who loves photography
10/ an overdue notecard set for your grandmother who still writes to her childhood friend
11/ a maple sugar cube for the sweet-tooth
12/ a set of four frosted stout beer glasses for your friend who loves craft beer

 

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13/ a One iOS lightning charger for the workaholic
14/ a SOMA glass water bottle for your super healthy aunt
15/ a Soundflex bluetooth speaker for your friend who bikes every weekend
16/ a standing pen for the one who’s forever asking to borrow one

 

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17/ a torq nutcraker for your grandfather who loves snacking on nuts by a fire
18/ an acrylic chess set for your best friend’s uber smart kiddo
19/ Wild Medicine soap & crystal for your boho pal
20/ a bottle of winter oil bath for the one who needs to slow down and relax

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5 Tips for Decluttering + Simplifying

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Do you ever get an overwhelming feeling to toss everything and start over? My last big clean out was two years ago during my last move, and over the past few months I’ve had a visceral feeling that it was time to go through everything again.

I’m currently over halfway through the Marie Kondo-ing of my things – the kitchen, living room, guest room, bathrooms, and master bedroom have been sorted. About half of the castoffs have been given away and the rest are sitting in my finished attic waiting to be sold or donated.

But the room I was dreading was my office.

As a blogger I work out of a home office, and it often ends up as the room where submissions, samples, and products for projects get tossed. In other words: the Dump Room. Just walking into it made my anxiety jump a few levels, which definitely isn’t conducive to productivity.

 

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We’ve written about Poppin before, and you might’ve seen them yourself in some big box stores. The New York-based brand is a leading manufacturer of workplace furniture, as well as those brightly colored supplies you’ve likely seen, supported by the belief that everyone deserves to work happy. (That’s something we can all get behind, isn’t it?) Their well-designed, clean-lined pieces were a perfect match for my office, and I chose two white Stow 3-Drawer File Cabinets to tackle my biggest issues: organizing and decluttering.

 

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These powder-coated steel beauties showed up completely assembled and ready to rock – all of Poppin‘s furniture is always in stock and ready to ship asap – and I got right to work storing office supplies in one and craft and tech in the other. A bonus: one lock protects all three drawers! I chose white to match my desk, but the Stow Cabinets also come in a bevy of other colors.

 

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Everything else went into boxes on these shelves – notecards, notebooks, washi tape, etc are all hidden away nice and neat. The only things left out are the ones I need access to often, like pens, markers, and greeting cards.

 

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Tip 1: If you forgot you owned it – toss it.
I came across plenty of things that I either never remembered purchasing or thought I’d thrown out long ago. You’ll never have an easier decision.

Tip 2: If you don’t use it on a weekly basis – store it.
There are lots of items you own that are only get used occasionally. Tuck those things away in drawers, closets, or pretty boxes that are preferably labeled.

Tip 3: Don’t keep duplicates.
Extra supplies (Sharpies, tape, etc) excluded, you usually don’t need more than one. Get a new printer/camera/coffee maker? Get rid of the old one right away.

Tip 4: Donate it.
Guilt played a huge role in my entire decluttering process. My mom gave me this. I remember what I was doing that one time I wore this. I could maybe use this again if… Pass on your wealth by donating these loved but unneeded items.

Tip 5: If it’s broken, throw it away.
You’re not going to fix it. In fact, if it’s that important of an item you’ve probably already replaced it. To the trash can you go, end of story.

 

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This post sponsored by Poppin. As always, all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Parentesit

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Parentesit is a collection of modular wall panels that both aid in reducing sound and add a geometric visual element to whatever space they’re in. Choose from three shapes – circle, square, and oval – as well as several colors, or a step further and include the customizable ambient light and speaker to make them even more functional.

 

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