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Software Should Be Social Because No One Works Alone

by Mike McDerment | June 2/2006 | cost-of-goods-sold, social-software, timesheet, timesheets

Nobody works alone.

We have about 30 years of consulting experience here at FreshBooks and we’ve never worked alone. About eight years ago I started out as an independent consultant. Back then I worked with my clients. Gradually I built up a network of freelancers who I contracted work out to. Sometimes they contracted work back to me. Very quickly these relationships became complicated. The money we owed one another was hard to track. The time spent on each others’ projects was not clear.

As the consultancy we built up moved from web design and internet strategy consulting into pure product development, we have kept a few of the relationships alive. Today I am busy running FreshBooks. Now more than ever I feel the pain of not knowing how much I owe a contractor or what amount of time has been applied to a specific project. That is about to change.

FreshBooks is going to redesign time management for these complex relationships – we are going to shift the paradigm of time tracking. How? We are going to facilitate time tracking amongst individuals by allowing them to plug into groups – seamlessly.

Let’s use an example. Let’s say a web designer, a developer and a copywriter - all independent practioners operating their own companies - work together at some point during the course of Project A and let’s assume each one has a FreshBooks account. In today’s FreshBooks environment the three parties would have to choose a FreshBooks account to use to track their time (let’s say they choose the web designer’s account because in this case she brought in the work).

Throughout the life of the project, each “freelancer” logs into the web designer’s FreshBooks account and enters their time. To do this, each one needs to remember a username and password and a URL. They then need to login to the web designers’ FreshBooks account and track their time. At the end of their project the developer and the copywriter will have to tally up their time spent on the project and invoice the web designer - from their OWN FreshBooks account. This is a problem. It’s wrong. Why can’t the developer and the copywriter just work from within their own FreshBooks account for the life of the project? That would be natural, no? YES. We’re going to make it happen and you are going to love it.

FreshBooks is about to introduce a new era for freelance and contract workers. In this new era each independent practitioner will have their own FreshBooks account and they will be able to SHARE timesheets with other FreshBooks account holders IF they choose to. What is the significance? Now each of these independents can stay within their own FreshBooks account and share a timesheet for the same project. Simple. Tidy. Afterall, they each have their own office from which they share the work load…it’s the same principle.

When you can collaborate on your relationships from within your own account, it really helps. Think about Project B - the one no one expected to come out of Project A. It’s a second project that involves only the copywriter and the developer (and not the web designer). Within the new FreshBooks paradigm, the copywriter and the developer can stay inside their own FreshBooks account and simply share a timesheet with one another, while seamlessly working on BOTH projects. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

We at FreshBooks are going to help you run your business in a very natural, social way. That’s one of the reasons we design software. We believe it should help you work naturally. We believe that software should help you DEEPEN your relationships. You don’t need to log into 3 different accounts to work on 3 different projects so you shouldn’t have to.

You stay in your account. Simple. Hallelujah.


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