Five billing softwares for freelancers

The internet has made operating a startup extremely simple. There are a variety of options available to people now that get operations as close to what they are in a real enterprise. For freelancers, billing is often a big headache with different employees sending in their invoices in different formats. There are many applications available that allow invoicing to be made, and a format adhered to. This makes writing and processing these bills much faster. Here is a look at five software applications that allow invoices to be made and sent very simply.

Cashboard – This is a very strong invoicing app and takes care of almost every invoicing need there may arise. Most features for this app can be configured according to user needs. It also has direct payment options through gateways like PayPal. Taxation options and details have also been provided and even these can be customized by the users. It combines like time tracking and payroll expenses and can be programmed even to provide estimates. This application is over five years old and has been around very long to have a group of satisfied customers. It has a free version as well while the premium options take up the cost to around $140 per month.

Blinksale – This is a billing application that has provided users with a lot of designing options. Users can use CSS to design their invoice sheets and it really looks pretty decent. It offers all the basic options to users and with flexible cost plans. This is best professionals with carefully designed invoices and offers many safety options as well as payment options as well. The Blinksale API is also available once you purchase it and can integrate it with any other options that you may want. It has unlimited plans of around $15 per month as well as free plans.

SimplyBill – This is another customizable application that comes with a lot of options including widgets, email alerts and preparing price quotes. It is an extremely quick app and is compatible with Microsoft Excel. It also has an iPhone app that clients can make use of. Invoicing is a simple and easy process with designing options available. It comes in four variants, the free variant with all the basic features and plans costing $5, $15 and $25 per month depending on the features you require and select.

Freshbooks – One of the most popular applications being used by freelancers doing designing work, this application allow users to receive payments within a few minutes using the credit card payment options provided. More organized application behavior and bookkeeping options ensure this app is a winner. Options to send invoices through email and creating timesheets online make this one a winner. It offers potential users a month long free trial period and monthly plans up to $149. It is available on the App Store as well.

LessAccounting – One of the best accounting and billing applications in the market, LessAccounting presents the user with a very simple interface. It has different plans with a free version as well as a cost effective $20 per month plan. It can be integrated into a lot of 3rd party applications. This application has one of the best tech support options and has suitable deals for a lot of startups available. Banking and payment options complete the options available.

This guest post is written by Ben Thomas who works as a business consultant and provides tips for its development. He also works in providing business tools and products like invoice & Templates through his website.

The new Microsoft – A look at Microsoft’s new image and marketing strategy

Microsoft is a company that has been around for a long time, and thanks to Windows and DOS it has spent a lot of this time at the top of its game. However for the first time in the company’s life it is starting to see real competition and to really risk losing that lead. First Microsoft was hit with a market monopoly lawsuit, and then it failed to get on the Tablet and Smartphone gravy in train in time. Chrome has now overtaken Internet Explorer as the number one browser most people are using, and in general people are relying less and less on Microsoft products.

In such situations there is one simple rule: adapt or die. Being a smart organization though Microsoft is of course aware of this and are busy doing the former. In fact Microsoft are very much poised to being a new era and have fundamentally altered not only their image and marketing but also many of their key products. And there are many business lessons to be learned here, here we will look at what some of those are.

The Metro Look

Microsoft has clearly realized (arguably a bit late) that touch interfaces and tablets are the new ‘big thing’ and have decided to embrace this with a Windows 8 that is very much made with touch in mind. Here though Microsoft have had to walk a fine line between emulating Android and iOS and keeping their own identity.

This is clearly something they have attempted to accomplish with their new ‘Metro’ style which has a number of very specific design specifications to set it apart. It’s all about making the content shine by removing the ‘chrome’ (borders, menus and scrollbars). Slight changes in color and font reflect hierarchies and categories in content so that they don’t need to be explicitly but into different boxes.

The panels on their new Metro homepage (and on the Windows 7 mobile homepage) reflect this and use the same minimalistic approach and they have even decided to tie this into their new logo which reflects the windows logo and the new tiled aesthetic with the same minimalistic feel. Whether you like it or not, this could be considered a masterclass in creating a unique brand, and a distinct look and feel for your products and business.

Their USP

At the same time though Microsoft have not forgotten their USP. For Microsoft the advantage was always productivity and their Office suit has long been a big selling point. Rather than ignoring this though, Microsoft has made it an integral part of their new product still in an attempt to offer the best of old and new. Their new OS still includes a desktop for those that want it, while the Metro mode also allows for split-screen multitasking and the use of a mouse and keyboard.

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They’ve also extended this to the hardware with their new Surface tablets – and their Surface Pro not only has a keyboard, full-sized USB port and SD slot, but also an Intel processor and the ability to run all of your old Windows 7 software. This is crucial – moving forward without forgetting the past. That said there are many factors that will influence their eventual success or failure, so watch this space.

About the author: Daniel Watson is a famous blogger and a marketing strategist. He recommendes aprimo marketing automation for those who seek marketing services.

Getting free business cards

If you are running a small business then you may not have the resources in place to afford professionally printed business cards, but there are a number of options available for free business cards. If you have access to the Internet then there are a number of websites online that can offer you free business card templates. These are useful tools as they give you the basic layout from which you can start designing professional looking business cards. Some free business card templates can offer you with colored backgrounds, images and artwork that make it quick and easy just to add your own business details and get printing straight away, but these may not be suitable for those who are looking for very individual and eye-catching designs.

You can design business cards from free templates in a number of different formats including Photoshop, PDF, Illustrator, JPEG and Word, and some websites also provide free browser based services so that you can design online and then download the completed business cards for printing.

Freebusinesscardtemplates.com
This website can offer free printable business card templates, and it is easy to search through the different basic designs on offer as they are organized by type or industry. Templates are offered in a high quality format, CMYK JPEG, and there are plenty of useable designs that will be suitable for a wide range of business. It is easy to edit the free templates from freebusinesscardtemplates.com and with most cards you simply type your own contact information and logo into the placeholder text boxes. There is also a choice of plain basic card templates and those with background colors and artwork.

Microsoft Office Online
Microsoft Office Online can offer a number of free business card templates in a whole range of different styles and designs. Single card and multi-card page print layouts are provided, as well as options for single or double sided printing and you can choose from templates with color and artwork or just plain backgrounds. You will need to check that the templates are compatible with the Windows operating system you are using on your system.

Business Card Land
If you want to use the versatile features in Illustrator or Photoshop, then Business Card Land offers free templates compatible with these formats, with single cars and multi-card printing layouts available.

HP Business Card Templates
The HP gallery offers a dozen free business card templates for Microsoft Word. These are easily to download to your desktop, and then you can customize them and start printing out. Horizontal and vertical layouts are offered.

Google Docs Templates
Google Docs can offer several different basic business card templates and these are free and are easy to personalize with your own contact details.

BizCardTemplates.com
This website offers ten monochrome business templates, which are compatible with Microsoft Word and CorelDRAW applications. These free templates offer basic design with simple graphics.

Templates4Cards.com
Templates4Cards.com offer a number of attractive, basic free business card templates which can be easily customized in Photoshop format.