Find out how Marc Schenker of The Glorious Company was able to get a bird’s eye view of his finances, helping him spend his dollars—and time—in the right place.
If there’s one thing Marc Schenker can say for sure, it’s that running a marketing agency is very different from freelancing. After working for almost a decade as a freelance writer, he decided to shift his focus to the digital and content marketing space. And in 2018 The Glorious Company, a content marketing agency, was born.
As Marc’s client roster exponentially grew, so did his paperwork. And that meant a lot less time to manage his books himself. After months of falling behind on his bookkeeping, Marc realized just how much he was dreading the hours of sorting through mountains of receipts on the corner of his desk. He made it his 2020 New Year’s resolution to find a better way to track his business financials, once and for all.
Fast forward one year and Marc is more confident in his books than ever before and well on track to making over $100K in revenue this year, a new record for his growing agency! I had the chance to chat with Marc and find out his secret to keeping his New Year’s resolution. Hint: He had a little help from a cloud accounting solution.
Very rarely do I meet someone who actually keeps their New Year’s resolutions! Tell me more about how you used to manage your business finances?
Marc: When you hear how my finance tracking was in 2019, you’ll understand. Before I started The Glorious Company, I was a freelance writer for about 10 years. I got into the routine of using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to log my expenses and income for the month.
Things got more complicated when I started my content marketing agency in 2018, especially since I typically work with up to 5 freelancers or contractors during any given project. It got to a point where there was a lot of friction when logging my weekly or monthly expenses, as well as my calculating my income or doing my billing. Using Excel added another layer of difficulty and it came to a head last year.
To tell you the truth, I was subconsciously dreading having to track my finances. It got to the point where the corner of my desk was piled up with a mountain of receipts. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit now, but I am proud in hindsight because I was able to correct it.
All that looming paperwork sounds very stressful to look at! How did you go about course-correcting?
Marc: I started wondering how I could get my time back. Clearly using Excel was a total time suck, literally unproductivity 101. I knew I wanted to use that time for more important tasks, like helping my company grow. And that was the genesis of researching new solutions.
My 2019 Christmas and New Year’s break was spent doing intense research on comparing different accounting software for small businesses. I’m one of those people who types into Google, “best accounting software reviews” and FreshBooks came up. At the end of the day, after reading a helpful PCMag review, I narrowed it down to FreshBooks.
What was your top priority when looking at the different accounting solutions out there?
Marc: Firstly, I wanted a tool that has a user experience with no or very little friction. As a freelancer who spent many years writing about web design and technology, I’m pretty savvy in terms of being able to figure out an interface and understand what’s really helpful to the user pretty quickly.
Secondly, I wanted a tool that’s tailored to small businesses. Right now I’m a single-person corporation, but I’m in the process of growing my agency. The thing that stood out to me is that FreshBooks is catered to small businesses, specifically ones with 1-5 people.
I spent a good portion of my holiday break watching all those great explainer videos on your YouTube channel. I probably spent 2-3 hours looking at those videos before I made my decision. They really helped me understand just how easy it is for a small business to use FreshBooks. After I finished the last video, I ended up buying my subscription for the year, right then and there!
It’s great that you were able to narrow down your options and finally say goodbye to Excel! How’s 2020 so far since moving to FreshBooks?
Marc: FreshBooks has been instrumental in helping me get a bird’s eye view of my finances, so I know what my monthly revenue projections and expenses are. It’s empowered me to direct my revenue where needed and know where to cut wasteful spending. Using Freshbooks has led to enormous time savings that I’ve successfully reinvested in lead generation.
There were some big psychological changes too. Now I really love doing everything from invoicing to tracking my expenses to analyzing my performance with the easy-to-understand charts, graphs, and displays on the FreshBooks interface. It’s almost like gamification: FreshBooks gamifies accounting so that I really look forward to all the things that I hated before.
Long story short, using FreshBooks has correlated with me being on track to make well over $100K this year, which is a record for The Glorious Company—and that’s in spite of COVID-19 and the lockdowns.
Congratulations on your record year! What reports have been most helpful in tracking your growth?
Marc: FreshBooks makes it super easy for me to make future projections. The dashboard is well designed. It’s my starting point for a lot of analysis and projections for the next month. Obviously, this level of information was not available to me when I was using Excel. All of this information empowers me to be even more financially literate. It’s super confidence-building.
I also love looking at my expenses, invoices, or client tabs. For example, the invoicing workflow is so seamless. I’m using everything from late payment reminders to online payments. It’s been such a difference maker! You get a little bit more time back every day, which adds up over weeks and months.
As you enter a new year, how are you hoping to grow?
Marc: I’ve been running the agency for almost 3 years now. The biggest change for me has been outsourcing most of the grunt work in terms of actually writing or curating content. I now have a small team of contractors to whom I can assign those different projects. That’s given me the time and headspace to transition into someone who is focused on running a content marketing agency. It’s been an evolution for me, and I’m really happy that I’ve been able to get to this point.
I still want to do a lot of big things and exponentially increase revenue. Maybe I’ll even get a physical office space! Right now, it’s a remote agency and I think that ties partly to why we’ve had continued success—even during COVID-19. Our workflows never really changed much, despite everything going on.
I’d love to know: What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2021?
Marc: In 2021, I’d love to educate businesses on how they can succeed better than ever in their marketing campaigns when they take their campaigns online by partnering with a digital agency like The Glorious Company.
about the author
Lisa is passionate about small business success, having managed funding programs for hundreds of Canadian start-ups and entrepreneurs. She is presently Senior Content Marketing Manager at FreshBooks.