We’re often asked about what tools, programs or services we use here at Moxie to allow our projects to run smoothly and well… do what we do. So I thought I’d take a moment to share some of our favorite services and sites:
- Freshbooks – Oh, how I love them so. Freshbooks allows us to have just a few active clients or a whole slew of ‘em, which is great for the independent contractor or the small business. Their prices are reasonable, I get paid on time and with more frequency than before and it offeres integration with other online payment services like Paypal and 2Checkout. It allows us to track our time and bill expenses and while we don’t use these, it allows you to assign projects to staff members and even has a support ticketing system built in. Fancy schmancy! I personally use the $14 a mo./25 client package because that’s what works for me. I rarely have more than 25 clients at one time and you can “delete” clients, which puts them into a non-active state that can be “un-deleted” at a later time. Sweet!
- Basecamp – I’m currently using Basecamp to manage my client projects. I’ve considered switching to a locally-served project manager and may in the future, but for right now, Basecamp is the bees knees. It allows me to provide a centrally located place for my clients and I to pow-wow about their project, upload files, leave comments, start discussions, collect assets and review mock-ups. It also allows us to set timelines and manage to-do lists which really helps keep things moving.
- Google Calendar – I didn’t start using Google Calendar until last year sometime. Not in earnest anyway, I’d had it and never incorporated it into my day to day. Kathy uses it, too and one day we just decided, “Hey! This is free, it integrates with Basecamp (somewhat) and we can use a shared calendar to keep track of joint meetings, interviews, whatever…” We’ve been using it ever since. Now when Kathy is going to be out of town, I have a vet appointment for Lulu or we have a 10:30am radio interview, we know where each other is and what’s on the docket for our month at a glance. iCal links allow for milestone calendar inclusion from Basecamp, so I can see pretty color-coded entries in one main calendar that I can use as a go-to. Yay for Google Calendar!
- Twitter – We don’t tweet casually on our Moxie Twitter account, but we’ve found it an invaluable tool for generating traffic to our business blog and alerting clients to technical challenges, like offline email or server outages. It also allows us to let clients know on our website and in Twitter without making a huge blog entry that one of us might be out of the office or running late. Ditto for portfolio updates and promoting our book, Blogging with Moxie (see, I even managed to do it here. *promotes*)
- iStockphoto® – If there were no iStockphoto, I’d be inclined to jump off the Coronado Bridge. OK, that’s a bit melodramatic… But I might need a shot of tequila or two, if that were the case. Though we create many images in-house and work with commissioned illustrators, we rely heavily on their stock images for icons, textures, and imagery of all kinds. Their prices have increased over the last 6 years, but their rates are still very competitive and definitely less than bigger, more commercial sites like Getty Images. iStockphoto has a huge selection of images, both illustrations and photos, by talented artists that deserve our support.
- Mint – I don’t think Kathy uses this, but I use it to help me keep my finances all up to snuff. I thought Quickbooks was too much, Quicken was more than I needed… I just wanted something simple, web-based and most importantly… free. I love that I can add as many accounts as I like, including my Paypal, checking, savings, etc. And I can include my debts, like credit cards or auto loans. You can set budgets and get tips for ways you can save money. It graphs your spending and allows you itemize your transactions, even splitting one big purchase among many categories (Target, anyone?). If you’re seeking a financial software, but don’t want to go whole hog or aren’t sure just what you need, give this a go. I’ve been using it for about a month and so far, I dig it!
That’s just a nibble of some of our faves. We’ll be sure to share if we find other services that might be of use to our clients and/or readers.
stock imagery, project management, invoicing