I was the kid who used to take things apart, glue them back together and stick them on the wall for everyone to enjoy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making art but, instead of committing to one discipline, I’ve enjoyed diversifying the mediums I work with.
Today, art is still a big part of my life. I sculpt, paint, photograph and design—I’m addicted to the creative process and motivated by the challenge of creating almost anything that pops into my imagination.
Since I was a kid, my passion for art has gone unchanged, so much so that I do it for a living—in my own unique way. Today, I own Bells Design, a creative design studio that I started about 7 years ago. My job isn’t to make pretty things, it’s to help my customers transform their brands to achieve goosebump-worthy first impressions.
But while design keeps me fed, it’s in my nature to simply do as many different creative things at one time that I can. So while managing Bells Design, I also picked up a hobby in photography. Before I knew it, I launched Gratisography, a hub for royalty-free images with a whacky, whimsical twist. I make appearances in a lot of my photos, so you can say the images are a true reflection of me as an artist.
Time… For a Small Business Owner the Biggest Challenge is Deciding Where and When to Spend It.
As you can imagine from my eclectic, unpredictable nature as an artist, I find myself constantly wrangling my boundless creative ideas. One day I’m working with a customer, the next day I’m taking photographs and, the day after that, I’m turning my car into a dinosaur.
With my mind constantly flowing with a mix of quirky and innovative projects, and only 24 hours in a day to get them done, I often find it hard to determine what idea or opportunity would be the best use of my time. As a business owner you hate saying no to work, but sometimes this is required to be able to invest your limited time in the best opportunities to grow my business and skill set.
I’ve Been a FreshBooks Fan Since Day One
For me, FreshBooks was the very first platform I used for invoicing. I’ve been a customer for more than 6 years. What keeps me loyal? Simply said, it’s the ease of use. I can rely on FreshBooks to take care of my invoicing, keep track of who’s paid and who hasn’t and see how my business is doing at any time.
Getting Paid is Simple
I enjoy that with FreshBooks, I’m able to invoice my customers, highlight how much they owe me and accept payments online. The payment integrations allow my customers to pay through their account or with a credit card. Using FreshBooks makes it easier for my customers to pay me and this has minimized the number of invoice follow-ups and uncomfortable money conversations. The less time I have to spend on tracking down payments, the more time I can put into my creative projects.
Reports Make it Easier Come Tax Time
When tax time comes along it’s great being able to generate a detailed report of all the work I invoiced for my accountant. This saves me a ton of time and money. The FreshBooks Reports center is also super useful when I want to see how my business is performing. As a small business owner, it’s always a good idea to know where you stand financially, so you can continue to make the best opportunity decisions.
With FreshBooks, Accounting is No Longer Scary
Being a FreshBooks customer for the last 6 years, I’ve really been able to focus on growing my design business, as well as starting side projects (like Gratisography) along the way. I’ve spent significantly less time on accounting which, I’ve got to say, is one of the least exciting parts of running a business.
For successful startups and small businesses, you’ll find that one of your biggest challenge is learning where to invest your time most effectively. I still go through this juggling act each and every day. But I’ve found that with FreshBooks, they eliminate the need of me wasting any extra time on accounting because I’m confident in their service and trust them to handle the numbers side of my business. With this extra time I can just focus on taking things apart, gluing them back together and sharing my art—not just on my wall—but with the world.
about the author
Bells Design—a creative design studio, and Gratisography—a royalty-free image resource filled with pages of whimsical, unique photography. When he’s not collaborating with clients or snapping photos, Ryan is cooking up new creative projects or driving his lime green, dinosaur car (yes, it’s a thing).Ryan McGuire is the owner of