How Cape Town Creatives Go Paperless with FreshBooks and Podio

Meet Francois, an ambitious business owner who manages his whole business in the cloud.

Are you still dreaming of the paperless office? Meet Francois (@francoisbotha), an ambitious business owner in Cape Town who manages his whole business in the cloud – only the creative ideas are sketched out on paper. Maybe that’s why he looks so relaxed?

Francois uses FreshBooks to manage his invoicing. He also uses Podio’s platform for online collaboration, managing projects and to connect his invoice data from FreshBooks.  Combined, these two tools allow Francois to be “in the fortunate position of never having to deal with paperwork.”

Want to find out how Francois made this work? Register here to join Podio and FreshBooks in an online conversation with Francois about how he runs his business on December 6th, 5pm CET / 8am PST. There’s limited space, so make sure to sign up soon. In the meantime, here’s a quick Q&A with this creative entrepreneur:

You’re running two pretty nifty-looking businesses in South-Africa – can you tell us more?

Thanks! South Africans are quite entrepreneurial and being based in Cape Town (which was just chosen as World Design Capital 2014) we’re seeing the rise of a creative hub. The digital world is part of that creative growth, and both businesses are online-focused. Quickonline does website development and AUGUST produces and distributes online video content.

A video made by AUGUST capturing what goes on behind the scenes at a fashion shoot.

How did you cope with all that paperwork before you discovered FreshBooks and Podio?

I am in the fortunate position of never having had to deal with paperwork. Right in the beginning we used Word & Excel to create estimates. Honestly, I actually had to employ someone to make sense of the paperwork that I had. Thankfully this is the case no more. I discovered FreshBooks when I was looking for a way to bill subscription services to clients and Podio was actually suggested to me by an ex-employee who came across the service while in its very early stages.

How do you use Podio together with FreshBooks and what’s helping you the most?

I am using Podio to extend FreshBooks and still retain a central view of clients and activities surrounding them. In the future I’ll build this out to have a truly holistic picture of my clients and our relationships. We mainly use Podio to track leads & our sales pipeline – the quick overview Podio provides is awesome for project management within our team. Being able to customize the apps to suit our requirements definitely helps with the internal adoption process as the team doesn’t feel they need to change for the software. And finally, I am a fan of having our apps in the cloud, this way, even when travelling the world (which we all love doing as often as possible) everything is still only a click away.

Your businesses seem relatively young but already have a great customer track record – can you share any tips for other business owners?

I’ve been working in various projects/companies since I was quite young, but three things that jump out:
1. As my Business Management lecturer said – “Fake it till you make it.”
2. One of my mentors always said – “Pick your clients. Don’t wait for them to pick you.”
3. And just like they advised during the wartime – “Keep Calm & Carry On.”

On your profile it says “living by Ghandi, learning by Google” – seems like an interesting life philosophy, what’s the deal?

In short I think it translates to live your life in a way that is peaceful towards those around you, while you keep searching for knowledge and educate yourself in the millions of new things happening on a daily basis.

Thank-you for sharing your story, Francois!

To share more tips on getting rid of invoicing hassles, running projects successfully and keeping clients happy, we will be hosting a webinar with Podio and Francois on December 6th @ 8am PST / 5pm CET. Space is limited so make sure to sign up soon. Register here.  

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.