MakeSomeTime: Attractive and Affordable Invoicing for Everyone

Invoicing has always been stiff and serious business for me, but this wasn’t the case when I dipped my hands into this new invoicing web app called MakeSomeTime. Made with love from Sydney, Australia, MakeSomeTime focuses on easy and simple time tracking and project management while giving users the chance to issue eye-catching invoices to clients.

Let’s take a look and see if it’s the time tracking and invoicing app we’ve all been looking for.

Impressive and Tasty Design

The MakeSomeTime homepage.

The MakeSomeTime homepage.

One of MakeSomeTime’s selling points is its design approach. The Dashboard feels like walking into a pleasant lobby where summaries and reports are organized, and important elements (e.g., total current projects) are identified using attractive icons in bright colours—all for an easy and beautiful overview of your work progress.

The Welcome screen greets you the first time you log in.

The Welcome screen greets you the first time you log in.

The best thing about the Dashboard and every other section of the app is that it doesn’t feel cluttered at all. MST doesn’t make you feel lost and unsure of what to do once you log in. It’s intuitive enough that you just know that this is where the settings, the project reports, your clients, and your invoices are found.

Cons: For some reason, scrolling lags only when I’m using the Dashboard. My guess is that these progress representations working at the same time are the cause of the problem. I’ve switched from Chrome to Safari to see if it’s a browser problem, and found it to happen on both.

Easy Time Tracking and Project Management

The time tracker.

The time tracker.

Time tracking is a staple for invoicing, so I’m glad to see that MST’s time tracker is very accessible within the app. You can either press the clock button in between the Notifications and Help buttons on the top menu bar, or click on the Time Tracker bubble at the bottom right of the screen.

Besides never losing your progress when logging in and out of the app, you can make several changes in between time tracking, such as editing the start date, discarding minutes, and saving your progress within the time tracker itself. It’s really easy to use and doesn’t get in the way, letting you focus on the more important things in your business.

Cons: There’s no option to add a new task from within the tracker, which means moving back and forth from the Projects tab to make necessary adjustments. Moreover, tasks can’t be marked as “complete” even after ticking the check box. You’ll have to delete or archive the project. And while you can automatically invoice billable tasks, the process isn’t perfect. For instance, after I added three tasks to a project, ticked all and generated an invoice for the project, only Test item 3 was included in the invoice.

Awesome Invoice Templates

Eight invoice design templates to choose from.

Eight invoice design templates to choose from.

Have you ever looked at your digital invoices and wished you could just throw the entire thing into your trash bin for being so bland and boring? While some value invoices for their purpose alone, there are freelancers and businessmen who care about how their invoices represent themselves and their businesses.

MakeSomeTime gives you eight invoice templates to choose from beginning with the Plus plan at $3/month. The invoice itself looks really good. Using the default template, you’ll find your company logo at the top left, invoice details on the right, and a breakdown of billable items. You can also add a short note in between for special instructions or anything else you’d like your client to know.

Cons: There are two limitations to invoicing. First, there is no option to change the template design once I’ve generated a new invoice nor is there an option to set a different default invoice template. Second, I can’t change the default payment instructions for bank transfer and PayPal—my top two payment options. I’ve searched high and low for these settings, but I just can’t find the option to do so. Hopefully this will be revealed to us soon.

Gorgeous Business and Usage Analysis

The new timeline feature.

The new timeline feature.

MakeSomeTime’s version 2 highlights include a suite of business analysis tools and the all-new timeline. Long-time MST users will especially appreciate the new timeline feature, which outlines the chronological history of all of your transactions in a comprehensive manner.

On the other hand, business analysis has finally become less painful with Summary Statistics, monthly statements, visually appealing charts, a calendar summary of all projects and tasks, and reports. These are structured and designed to make the data visually understandable to you, giving you the opportunity to come up with strategies to improve. Finally, you can easily export your data using any of the three export options for a soft copy of your business data.

Cons: Within the timeline, expect to see a PHP error page if you click on a transaction wherein the task or project has already been deleted from the app. It would have been better to just remove the green Open button all together for expired or deleted items.

Invoicing Needs Improvement

While there’s a lot to love about MakeSomeTime, I experienced several issues and errors while using the app. They range from slow loading pages, to infinite loops when trying to generate an invoice for selected tasks, to problems with specific features like deleting imported classic Basecamp projects or generating an invoice.

Frankly, my biggest issue is the very process of creating, editing, and sending off an invoice. For instance, the action buttons to the left of the invoice draft doesn’t always work, so I have to refresh and click a couple more times before seeing any changes. For payments, I’m at a lost at whether PayPal integration really exists since there’s only a URL in the invoice that takes you to the Send Money section of the PayPal site. Finally, I always have to go back and edit an invoice to change the default invoice details such as taxes, billable items, and payment options.

I’ve sent bug reports using MST’s feedback window and it turns out that some of the issues were due to upgrades to the system being implemented on the backend. But even then the experience hasn’t always been smooth whenever I’d use the app, so there’s still more work to be done.

The Invoicing Tool to Get Your Business Started

There’s really more to MakeSomeTime than what this article’s covered. Besides design, invoice design templates, and integrated project management, there are other neat features like adding staff members, notifications, search, SSL encryption, and a nifty client address book. Most invoicing apps would charge a premium for these features, but MST users can enjoy solid and beautiful invoicing with the Free plan already. And if you feel that you need more flexibility and features for your business, you can always upgrade by going to the Upgrade tab.

Unfortunately, my personal experience with the app hasn’t always been easy. MakeSomeTime still feels like it’s in beta because of the several instances when the app would lag, slow down, and appear sluggish. Moreover, it’s not yet possible to make adjustments and customizations to the invoice itself, like editing the invoice ID and payment instructions, adding custom tax labels, or switching and setting default templates. Other users may have different experiences, so it helps to give the app a try for yourself.

But even with its current limitations, MakeSomeTime has a lot of potential. It’s a great invoicing tool for solo professionals and startups that helps manage and track clients, projects, tasks, and in essence your business’s development.


Summary

MakeSomeTime is an invoicing web app that prides itself on eye-catching design, easy project management, and time tracking. While buggy at times, it makes a great invoicing tool for freelancers and startups.

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