How I run Beanbag Media online

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.


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.


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.

Would Twitter be the same without the follower count?

Everyone has a varying degree of an ego online and knowing mine is bigger than yours helps some of us, including me, sleep better at night. Facebook friends, blog comments, number of visitors and followers on Twitter are all examples of egotistical stats that we check almost daily.


What if they were gone? More specifically, what if on your Twitter profile you couldn’t see how many people followed you? Would you use still use the micro-blogging platform as aggressively as you currently do? Re-tweeting, sharing the number of links, running competitions etc. are all ways I see people using Twitter in the hope of more followers. Sure, some of the content is genuine, but there is a percentage of all our content that is aimed at getting more followers.

If Twitter removed the follower count, I honestly think the quality of content and users on Twitter would drop quite significantly. Take away the ego stroking stats within any web application and there always be users that will leave.

Recession? What recession?

recessionI know a number of people including family that are definitely seeing the effects of this so-called recession. It’s affecting a lot of small businesses especially in the retail and building industries.

My small business, which I soft-launched in January, has no website, no identity (logo is *almost* done!), I’ve done no marketing, nor put together a decent business plan, is absolutely thriving. All these things I just mentioned I will still get to, but as long as I’m picking up new business, increasing turnover monthly with the possibility of hiring within the next 2 months and still keeping all the current clients more than happy, why worry about all of these things right now?

I’m blessed to have not felt the effect of the recession, but I’m putting it down to being in the right industry. Companies, and large ones at that, still have to spend money, and when their current marketing and advertising channels are pretty much unmeasurable (tv, radio and print) going online where EVERYTHING, including ROI is measurable, is definitely the smart move. And I’m sitting here licking my lips with anticipation on what the next few months will bring.