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Introducing: FreshBooks’ first book, Breaking The Time Barrier

Click here to download the book.

I believe anyone who provides a valuable service should get paid for the value they deliver.

In January 2003, I was running a small design firm when I finally snapped. I was using Microsoft Word to bill my clients when I accidently saved over an invoice. The frustration of billing my clients overwhelmed me, and so did the thought of using accounting software—so I built my own solution.

Building my own product company quickly became a passion, but passion projects don’t pay…at least not on day one. To keep the lights on I moved into my parents’ basement for 3.5 years to save money and I completely revamped how I ran my design firm to the point where I worked 19 days in one year and generated over $200,000 to fund my side project. How did I do that? This book will show you—and help you do it too.

Thinking back, my ability to work so little and produce so much income had a lot to do with how I priced and positioned my services, something most small business owners struggle with. So I sat down with Donald Cowper—a best-selling author who joined FreshBooks as our small business writer last year—to try and capture the essence of things. The result is this book—a business fable designed to share the lessons I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.

This book will take you one hour to read, and you can read it for free. But a free book about pricing, that’s ironic, no? Yes. So here’s the twist: I hope that once you have read this book you will find it so valuable you will WANT to pay for it to recognize its value. Should you feel that way, please do two things. First, share it with others so they can benefit too. Second, go to where you can pay what you believe this book is worth to you and your business…it could be one dollar, could be $5000—you decide.

With that, enjoy.

Mike McDerment
Co-founder & CEO FreshBooks

P.S: Bestselling authors Tim Ferriss, Michael Gerber and Daniel Pink believe the hour you’ll spend reading this book is well worth it. Click here to download the book.

  • Donald_FreshBooks

    Hi Sophia,
    Thanks so much for sharing that wonderful sentiment! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, and feel you’ve had a breakthrough. All the best.

  • Caleb

    Hey Mike, thanks for writing this book. I have been studying for the past year how to provide more value to my web design clients. I really want to provide them with huge ROI for their business, and charge a better rate in relation to that return.

    This book was another big step on my journey to a more successful business!
    Thanks, and thanks.
    – Caleb Mellas

  • Roger Anderson

    Hi Donald,
    I’d love an Epub too, Epubs are the open format and make it so much easier to read / listen to the book it would increase the reach of your book and I’d request you to make it available in the ebook format too.

    Please reconsider releasing an Epub book to help spread the message further.

  • Donald_FreshBooks

    Hi Roger,

    Thanks for posting the Kobo link. You can also get it through iTunes at:

  • DD .

    I enjoyed this read. I have been transitioning from thinking only in terms of time to a more value based / combination type approach which is really working well for me. However although I have found Freshbooks to be a great tool for time tracking and invoicing in the past – the more i make this transition the less helpful I feel Freshbooks is as most of the tools are related to tracking time, budgeting time, etc. Now that i am “Breaking the Time Barrier” as the books suggest – i need Freshbooks to do things that it simply does not, such as:

    - Set a money (not time) related budget

    - Apply expenses to a project and mark them as rebillable at a separate markup rate (nice to have options each time to choose from for the rebill rate, such as: % markup or a specific amount)

    - Have the billable equivalent for any time that is logged on a project, in addition to the rebill rate for any expenses marked to be rebilled deducted from the budget so i can stay on track (current budget tools in Freshbooks are not helpful unless you are billing for time only)

    - Easier method to bill progress payments in % increments in some way, i.e. 50% deposit and 50% balance on completion, or 3 payments of 30%, etc.

    - Ability to view what the profits are per project and per client, i.e.:
    – total expected profit: $budget – $all actual expenses (not the rebilled amount, but the amount i need to pay out)
    – current profit: $payments received to-date – $actual expenses paid-to-date
    – remaining expected profit: $budget remaining – $remaining expenses to pay

    These features would make Freshbooks useful for billing that is not strictly based on time as proposed in this book :)

  • DD .

    I like NiftyQuoter for estimates / project proposals, it allows you to include line items in the estimate that are optional – as the client checks / unchecked the options the total/s update. love it. and it integrates a little with Freshbooks (import clients). but i wish the totals and links to the estimates would appear in the estimates area of my freshbooks account – that would be a much better integration.

  • DD .

    I already use the Flat Rate Billing option in Freshbooks and have found ways of just making it work …. my comment is that as much as i love Freshbooks and continue to use it, it is not really setup to provide many tools or insights / reporting / data, etc that are useful for value based billing models. I hope that Freshbooks continues to improve the product and keeps this issue in mind as they roll out updates at the same time as promoting a book that encourages a billing method that isn’t supported well by their own product.

  • Michael Templeman

    Mike, as a consultant, this book was invaluable. I read it the day it came out. I finished it in an hour. Since then, my firm’s growth looks like a freaking hockey stick on a graph. We’ve increased in every measurable KPI and our revenues have never been higher. Your rock, sir. I would recommend this book to anyone in the service industry. In fact, I do and I know for a fact that at least a dozen of my contacts have downloaded it as well.

  • Donald_FreshBooks

    Hi Michael – Donald here, co-author of the book. We loved your comment! Hockey stick on a graph — great image!! We’re so happy to hear about your success.

  • Tommy

    Excellent reading! I’m an IT consultant, and it makes sense that my experience and expertise brings more value than a simple hourly rate. Thanks for this great book. It’s simple and fun to read, and the lessons learned are very valuable. The two main ways of doing business in my field of expertise are either fix-bid, or time and material. You already answered below about this, but I think it will be a challenge to bring the concept of value-based work and to make it clear it doesn’t means a fix-bid project where all the risks are assumed by the consultant. The concept of “packages” (to bring value) could looks like “fix bid projects” (to manage risk), but this is not the same thing. Even if I understand the difference, I think it’s not so easy to explain it to a client and to make it clear.

  • Rafael Viana

    This book is perfect! Thank you :) btw I love share it with some friends non-English friends of mine so I have almost finished to translate your book to Portuguese. Could you please give me permission for that?

  • FreshLindsay

    Hi Rafael! Lindsay here from FreshBooks. Glad you liked the book and want to share! Let’s chat further. Can you send me an email at

  • Segovia Smith

    I’d love to read it, but the download link is broken. Any chance you could update that.

  • FreshLindsay

    Hi Segovia! Link should be working now. Apologies for the inconvenience – hope you enjoy the read!

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