As a freelancer and small business owner (you’d probably be surprised at how often those two coincide), I’ve spent some time looking for ways to track how much I’m working and what I do with my days. For me, this has a couple purposes. If my hours are billable (they’re usually project-based, but once in a while I bill by the hour), I can keep track of how much money I’m owed. The second purpose is simple time management — it’s a lot easier to keep on task and on track if you know where your time is going.
I’ve recommended a couple different apps for the latter — my favourite is still iDoneThis — but I haven’t had a chance yet to talk about the former. With Ding, I’ve finally found an app that really hits the spot for tracking billable hours. Let’s talk about what makes Ding worthwhile for freelancers and why you might be interested in adopting it for your own small business.
We live in interesting times in the world of technology. Google’s working on self-driving cars and potentially space elevators, Apple recently bought out a mapping company, and Amazon, the internet’s bookstore, recently launched its own custom tablet computer. So, it shouldn’t be too suprising that most successful software companies feel the need to quickly expand into new markets and stay ahead of the computing curve.
Marketcircle is a company loved by Mac users for their award winning applications, Billings and Daylite. They’ve had great success with Mac and, more lately, iOS apps, but for the most part wouldn’t be thought of as a web app company. However, they’ve also created a hybrid Mac and cloud app, Billings Pro, and built up their own custom infrastructure to host their own Marketcircle Cloud service.
Marketcircle’s CEO, AJ, was kind enough to sit down for a chat with us and talk about their thoughts about the cloud, how their company got started, and what they’ve learned from running a cloud service. It was a very interesting talk, with a number of bits of info you might find surprising about a company you already knew about!
One of the best things about web apps is that you can run them from any computer. Many PC users wish they could run popular Mac apps in Windows, while Mac users for years wished they could run PC games on OS X. Linux users are often left in the cold entirely with commercial software. But if you’ve come across a brilliant new web app, you won’t have to worry whether or not it’ll work on your computer. All you need is a modern browser and an internet connection, and you’re ready to go.
Billings is a popular invoicing app for Macs, one that’s nice enough that I used to wish I could run it on my PC. It’s still a fully OS X app, but now, you can use a companion web app to manage your team, track time on work, and record expenses from any browser. It’s an interesting synergy that tries to balance the flexibility of web apps with the style and features of a native Mac app, while letting you host the web app yourself or use their cloud service to save you the trouble.