From the Blog

I thought I’d share some tips on how I run my business, Beanbag Media, online. I hate paperwork and love my iPhone, so having everything available online makes it easy to manage, not only from my Mac, but also when I am on the road.

Accounting

From the money side of things, I use make use of 2 different web apps. One for invoicing & time management and another for keeping record of my income and expenses.

Harvest is a really simple, yet feature-rich (if you need it) application that manages the creating of invoices and tracking of time. For the most part, I use it to invoice and keep record of invoices. There is a pretty slick Dashboard widget for both PC and Mac for time and project management which I do use from time to time, but mostly I use it for sending invoices and creating statements for clients. There is a free plan, but I pay $12 a month for the Solo account which allows to me to make full use of all the features I need.

Pulse is a basic cash flow management tool for small businesses. I use it to track all income and expenses I incur relating to Beanbag Media. So every few weeks, I go through all my slips I’ve collected, from parking slips to coffee shop receipts to stationery I’ve bought and enter it into Pulse. I’ve also setup recurring expenses for ADSL and other monthly expenses that I know are constant (the $12 I pay for Harvest App as another example). I quickly go through my business bank account to record any income I’ve received and when my accountant knocks on my door to tell me its tax season, I hit the export button and that’s it! Everything is categorised too, so my accountant knows where to assign the different expenses and incomes to. Another $9 a month well spent.

Projects

As a small business, most of the projects I undertake are collaborations with other freelancers or small businesses. For managing all the interactions with them, I use Basecamp by 37Signals. It’s a no brainer in terms of project collaboration as well as a place to keep record and update others on the status of projects and ideas. It’s slightly pricey at $24 a month, but I feel its well worth the expense, considering how it keeps all the projects I am working on in order. You can’t properly manage a project with multiple people in different locations over email.

Beanbag Media’s email, calendar and online docs are run using Google’s apps for your domain, which is free!

So that’s a basic insight into how I run Beanbag Media from a day to day perspective. There are apps online that are free that do the same job as the products I’ve mentioned, I just found these apps to be easy to use as well as well-designed, which most of the free alternatives seem to lack.

  • http://imod.co.za Chris M

    Thanks for sharing Justin, I must take a look at Harvest, sounds like a good piece of software..

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    Ahem, I think you mean Jason. :)

  • http://imod.co.za Chris M

    Goodness me! Apologies dude, it’s been one of those weeks :)

    I had just received an email from a Justin, I think that’s why!

  • ChrisB

    You wont’ believe it but today i was researching some solutions like this!

    Thanks this came at the perfect time!

  • http://twitter.com/TyronBache Tyron Bache

    Hey Jason, cool article – what exactly do you do @ BeanBag media? Your website wasn’t to descriptive..

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @ChrisB, glad the post is informative then!

    @Tyron Bache, yeah, the site is basically a splash screen while I’m working on the real thing. We essentially a design and digital marketing company.

    We specialse in usability and user experience when it comes to design, with digital marketing encompassing things like email marketing, social media campaigns, SEO etc.

  • http://twitter.com/TyronBache Tyron Bache

    Interesting – best of luck for 20ten! Be sure to let us know when the site is up ;)

  • David

    Jason, who are you using for your tax returns? And what’s the typical cost?

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @David, I have an accounting firm in Somerset West that handles both my personal and business tax. From the business side, it costs around R3k – R5k for the year in terms of balance sheets to be drawn up and tax submitted. Personal, I’m not 100% sure how much they charging me, since I’ve only just moved to them.

  • Clau

    Thanks for sharing! here’s another one that u guys might like..it’s similar to basecamp but has a twitter-like platform for messages, try it out i’ts really helped me out! http://www.teambox.com