27
Jul 15 by Devon

Windows Rights Activists, Unite!

…or how get Chrome to pin Freckle to your Windows Taskbar!

Every group of friends, every team, every family has a token Windows Rights Activist.  They’re the person who you turn to with all of your very import Windows questions.

Like, “Hypothetically speaking, would Steve Jobs and Bill Gates make a good team on The Amazing Race?” 

They’re also the person who showed you the light.  The bright and shiny light of Chrome, Google Chrome that is.

Most of us here on the Freckle team are Mac users, but thankfully we’ve got our very own Windows Rights Activist, Amber Gohn.

windows

Amber is always campaigning for equal Windows Rights and thank [insert your preferred computer God here] because for a while the Mac menubar was getting all the love.  Well, not anymore!

If you’re the token Windows Rights Activist of your group, or if you’re just an avid Chrome user, you can get a shiny Freckle icon in your taskbar!

Pinning Freckle to your Windows taskbar is super easy! It only takes a few clicks.

  1. Make sure your Freckle window is the focused, most recent one
  2. Click the “Menu” icon in the top right, aka the ≡ hamburger icon
  3. Select “More tools”
  4. Choose “Create application shortcuts”
  5. Make sure the “pin to taskbar” box is checked
  6. Click “Create”

Now you’ve got yourself an awesome new pin. You can now always open Freckle with one click from your taskbar and get right to work!

Let us know what you think or pow-wow with our very own Windows Rights Activist at [email protected].


17
Jul 15 by Thomas

Keep your coworkers in the loop and quicker project assignments with Freckle’s new permissions!

Many customers have written in to ask for more power when it comes to permissions/controls for their team’s time tracking.

In the past, you could set up your entire team as the extremely strict “Freelancers” permissions setting—and they could only see their own time. Like they were working all alone. Sending their time entries into the cold, uncaring darkness…

They’d miss out on the motivation of seeing what their coworkers have been doing. To be surrounded by stuff gettin’ done every time they log in.

So, the “Freelancers” permissions setting was not for everyone. But until now, it was the only way to lock down your Freckle data from tampering.

Our new “Coworker” permissions set solves this problem for you!

Your “Coworkers” can’t edit other people’s time, or create new projects, etc. — but they can see what the rest of the team is doing inside their projects.

We’ve also renamed the rest of the permissions to be clearer to understand (and shorter to say!):

Supervisor (old name “Administrator”)

Supervisors can see & edit everything, including reports, invoices, adding and removing team members, and assigning projects. (The only thing they can’t do is modify your billing information. Only the Account Owner can do that.)

Recommended for: Managers, Supervisors, HR, everyone who should be allowed to invite & assign people in your team.

Leader (old name “Team Member”)

Leaders can create new projects, manage existing projects, tags, all entries, invoices and budgets. They can’t invite or edit people.

Recommended for: If you have a smaller team (15 people or less) for most employees to keep administration simple; in larger teams for your team leaders and anyone who should be able to use invoicing.

Coworker (completely brand-spankin’ new!)

Can log and edit only their own time, and only in assigned projects. They can see other people’s time in their assigned projects so they know what everybody on the team is up to. No access to invoices or budgets.

Recommended for: most of your team! Seeing what everybody is doing is motivating and leads to fewer errors and omissions and better, on-time logging!

Contractor (old name “Freelancer”)

Ideal for temporary workers, freelancers and contractors! They can log and edit only their own time, and only in assigned projects. They can’t see anyone else’s logged time or any financial information like invoices.

Recommended for: any external workers, contractors and freelancers!

Streamlined people overview

The people overview page got a facelift and puts the information you want when you manage your team front and center. We tag people if we think there might be issues (like email not being received, or the person not having logged time in more than 3 months—which might mean you want to archive that person):

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 10.01.47 AM

If you want to know details about what these permissions do, just hover over them in the “Invite people” dialog or the settings of a person, and we’ll show you a handy tooltip with a list of exactly what they can do:

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 9.52.01 AM

A quicker way to assign projects

You can now assign projects directly when you invite people to your Freckle account—after selecting the permissions, we’ll show (if appropriate) a project selector that works like the one for reports. Just type and hit to autocomplete or use your mouse to select projects, all quickly and in one go. Or click a project group and add all the projects in the group in one swift strike!

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 9.49.46 AM

You will get the same new panel when you edit existing people in your Freckle account. And when you change someone from permissions that give them access to all projects to assigned projects only, we’ll pre-populate the list of projects with all projects that person has logged time for in the past.

While at it, we’ve improved the project selector to clearly show archived projects as such (they are greyed out and have the archived icon). You can still assign archived projects to people, but they won’t be able to actually use them unless the project is reactivated again. Please note that a contractor or coworker who has no or only archived projects assigned won’t be able to log in (they’ll get a message to contact the account owner).

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 10.06.20 AM

This is only the first step of our revamped permissions structure! We plan to roll out several new permissions customization features soon, so you can adapt Freckle to your specific needs.

Is there any permissions feature you’re dreaming of having in Freckle? Let us know!


09
Feb 15 by Devon

Freckle is More Fun with Avatars

We love finding new ways to make tracking your time feel a little less like work, and more like fun.

And really, what’s more fun than personalizing your account with an awesome avatar?

Okay, in all seriousness though, using avatars can be insanely helpful for your team.

Teams who use avatars in their account find that:

  • it’s easier to identify their different members
  • daily pie charts in the Pulse are easier to read
  • reports and invoices are more visually appealing for you, your team and your clients

Those are only a few of the ways that using avatars in your Freckle account can enhance your time tracking experience!

Since we know how much more fun it is to sign into an account with a great profile picture, we’ve made a few changes to the way Freckle avatars work.

Freckle avatars are now all created based on the first and last name you enter when signing into Freckle.  Instead of looking at a bunch of  randomly generated pictures, you’ll be able to identify who is who based on their initials.

If you want to change your name in Freckle you can do so by going to “Settings & Profile” in your “Account & Settings” menu (that’s the little pop-up window when you mouse over your Freckle avatar).

personal settings

 

Okay, here comes the fun part!  **Drum roll, guitar solo, and excited moon walk please**

Because using avatars in your Freckle account can be more helpful than you realize, we’ve made is super easy to add them!

Now you can drag and drop any picture you want into your Freckle account.  Better yet, you can drag and drop the picture on to any Freckle page and *voila* you’ve got a brand new Freckle avatar.

avatar-drop

If you think drag and drop avatars are the coolest thing you’ve seen in Freckle, then hold on to your butts because it’s about to get better.

You can also drag and drop animated avatars on to any page of your Freckle account. That’s right, I said animated avatars.

freckle-animated-avatar

Go on, have more fun at work.  What’s the worst that could happen, you’re more productive?

Now, you’ll have to excuse me.  I’ve got go get an animated gif of robot unicorn attack for my Freckle account.


28
Jan 15 by Devon

New Invoice Summaries and Breakdowns

After months of some serious training, including a sprint through the streets of south Philly and up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, Freckle invoices are ready to make their 2015 debut.

Cue Rocky music.

photo cc: David Barnas

photo cc: David Barnas

The Summary breakdown of your Freckle invoices is better than ever before.  It’s even better looking than before!

You can now customize your invoice to include a clear breakdown of your team members, your projects, and your expenses.

The new Summary field includes:

  • hourly rate or flat rate options
  • rates per person & team summaries
  • project summaries
  • formatting & reporting options
  • an expenses breakdown

invoice summary section

 

When you invoice using an hourly rate, you can choose to include a breakdown for each of your team members and each project in that invoice.

Even if you invoice using a flat rate, you can still choose to include a summary of the projects and people in the invoice.

Under “people rates & team summary” you can customize rates for each person on your team, and show their individual totals based on the time they worked.

people rates & team summary

 

The “project summary” will show you the totals for each project being invoiced based on the time logged for those projects.

For Frecklers who bill for multiple projects at a time, the project breakdown will make it easy for clients to see how much time was spent on each project, and how much each project costs in the overall invoice total.

project summary

If you’re someone who likes their clients and customers to be able to see exactly how much time was spent on the projects being invoiced or by the people on your team, check the “show hours worked” box under “formatting and reporting“.

formatting & reporting

Like before, you can include all unbilled expenses in your invoice.  Only now you can see the expense description *and* the project associated with that expense.

expenses

The new invoice breakdowns and summaries will give your clients and customers a much clearer picture of your work.

And the best part is that without doing any extra work, you’ll look like a super human business pro!  The way we see it, you’re Rocky, ready to take on Apollo Creed, Mr. T and Drago all at the same time.

Cue Rocky music.

Note:  We’re located in Philadelphia.  So we’re obligated to make at least one Rocky reference. Thank you for understanding. :P


30
Nov 14 by Thomas

10 little things Freckle does to help you get stuff done faster

Do you like tracking your time? Chances are that you don’t—it’s a chore, necessary to keep tabs on projects and to get paid. That’s why you don’t want to spend extra time in your time tracking tool. Freckle tries to help minimize the amount of effort that you have to spend completing tasks—software should help you get stuff done, quickly.

Here’s 10 ways we help you get your time tracking done faster, so you can get back to tracking your time:

1. Enter “Fri” into the time field to log for last Friday. That’s just one of the many shortcuts to help you enter time quickly without having to use your mouse.

last-fri

2. Create new projects instantly, without having to configure anything. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to pre-configure projects, tasks and tags? With Freckle you don’t have to—just type a new client or project name when you log time and we create the project for you.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.46.07 PM

3. Invite lots of people at once Just type email addresses or drag and drop them in from your mail client. One big flexible text field, no need to type in emails, names or other things separately. Saves time and nerves.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.48.06 PM

4. Auto-detect import formats We’ll look at the CSV file that you upload to import time for you, so you don’t have to select a format.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.36.38 PM

5. Auto-create and archive projects from your Basecamp account You already use Basecamp? No need to set up projects in Freckle—just click the “Connect to Basecamp…” button, allow Freckle to access your Basecamp in the next step and you’re done. It takes just two clicks!

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.50.46 PM

6. Your weekly report right in your inbox We’re sending you a weekly report right into your inbox Monday morning—so you can catch up with any time that you might not have logged in the last week. We all sometimes forget to log time in the heat of a deadline—but Freckle will nudge you gently so you fill in the gaps and you and your team get paid for what you’re worth!

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.56.01 PM

7. Log Time on any page in Freckle The blue “Log Time” tab is available everywhere, instantly. You don’t have to go to a special page just to log your time. The same is true for running reports!

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.41.17 PM

8. Instant invoices There’s no need to configure anything to generate an invoice. Click the “new invoice” button from any group, project or report and we’ll generate a shiny invoice taking addresses, labels, currency and date formats from the previous invoice in that project.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.40.24 PM

9. Freckle gets your avatar and time zone automatically We don’t take your time away asking you to upload your photo—we take it from Gravatar. If you’re not on there, there’s also a super-easy way to fetch your Twitter picture. Plus, we figure out your time zone automatically, so even when you travel the meaning of “Today”, “Yesterday”, “Last Week” and so on is always correct. Bonus: you’ll always, reliably, get those automated reports Monday morning before you start to get to work.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 1.02.27 PM

10. The Freckle Mac App—track time from anywhere on your Mac! With a quick keyboard shortcut we’ll take you to the Freckle Menubar Timer. This works intelligently to open on the screen you’re on if you have multiple monitors, and pressing ESC to close the window will focus the app that was active when you opened the timer—we’ll drop you right back into what you were working on before! Another click saved.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.42.31 PM

And that’s just 10 of the little things Freckle does to give you back your most precious asset: your time!


20
Nov 14 by Thomas

New pay-per-seat pricing launches November 28

tl;dr If you have an existing Freckle account, nothing changes for you, except if you choose to opt-in to our new pricing structure by switching to one of the new per-seat Freckle subscription plans.

Later this November, to make it easier for you to choose a plan and grow your Team with Freckle, we’ll introduce an all new-pricing structure. Instead of fixed pricing tiers, we will have per-seat pricing in 3 all new plans.

You will be able to grow to an unlimited number of users and pay-as-you-go, month by month for only the number of users you need.

Solo plan: $19/month, 1 seat included, extra seats $14/month
Or new plan for time tracking and invoicing for freelancers and consultants! Ideal if you work alone and maybe need to add 1 or 2 extra people from time to time.

Team plan: $49/month, 5 seats included, extra seats $10/month
Ideal for time tracking, invoicing and reporting for small teams from 5 to about 20 people! Grow as you go and easily add temporary contractors!

Organization plan: $199/month, 25 seats included, extra seats $8/month
Time tracking optimized for larger teams in the enterprise, departments in large businesses, and our customers in education and non-profit organizations! You’ll get a dedicated account manager and we’ll help you get all your data imported, set up and everything ready to go!

Inviting a person will add to the seat count, archiving a person (or deleting someone who didn’t follow the invite) will deduct. It’s instant and automatic—no longer does the account owner have to be bothered if the user limit is reached and an admin needs to quickly add a new team member or freelancer!

As now, you can of course switch your pricing plan at any time. And as with the current plans, you’ll be able to pre-pay for a year in advance, and get a free month of service.

The Team and Organization plans will also come with extra features specifically for teams, as we roll them out over the next year. We have a lot planned, so stay tuned! :)

We will launch the new plans on the weekend just after Thanksgiving, on Saturday, November 29. After that, only the new plans will be available if you want to sign up for a Freckle account or switch your plan.

If you sign up for a new Freckle account before November 29, you’ll get to keep the current pricing (if you so choose).

By the by, we also offer custom pricing if you need more than 50 or so users now or in the future—please talk to us and we’ll help with customizing a plan that works great for you.

If you have any questions about the new pricing or like help deciding if you should switch or not if have a Freckle account, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Just use the pink tab on the bottom right here or on any page in Freckle. :)


03
Nov 14 by Devon

Sharing is Caring

Growing up I constantly heard the phrase, “sharing is caring“.

With four kids all at different ages it was probably the number one repeated phrase in our house.  That and, “don’t make me come back there“, during absolutely every car ride.

As I got older I really did want to share my things with everyone at the party. Unless it was candy, then I became a greedy little hoarder.

Most of us are like me when I’m not on a sugar high.  We want to share our work with people, especially our clients and our customers.  We want to say, “Hey world look at this, I’m so proud of it!“.

Disclaimer:  Freckle is not responsible for anything you break out of excitement or any injuries you may sustain while doing the happy-dance when you hear about this new feature.

Freckle reports are now SHAREABLE!!

When you run any report in Freckle you’ll see a pink “share” button in the top right hand corner of the report.

 

Share Button in Reports

 

Clicking the “share” button will give you a dynamic and private link that you can use to share the report with your client.

You can share the link by copying it, both manually and to your clipboard, or by emailing it.

Shareable Report LinkNext to the sharing options you can preview the report your client will get, and stop sharing when your client no longer needs access to that report.  Once you’ve stopped sharing a report, the private link will no longer work for your client.

Shared reports are dynamic so that your client can see the most up-to-date information in the report.  Depending on the date setting of the report, the private link will update itself to include addition entries.

For example, if you share a report for the month of August your client will see any additional August entries.  But they won’t see additional September entries unless you share a September report as well.

In the spirit of sharing, here’s a pro tip for sharing your reports with clients:

You can create an open-ended shared report by setting the date range as the 1st of whatever month you want to Dec. 31st, 2099.  This will let your client see all updated entries from a certain date forward!

Disclaimer:  Freckle is also not responsible for anything your client breaks out of excitement or any injuries they may sustain while doing the happy-dance.

Check out the Freckle Help Site for more info on sharing reports and let us know what you think at [email protected].


22
Oct 14 by Amber Gohn

How to Land Big Fish Clients with No Cold Calling

Is there anything worse than cold-calling?

Not only is it stressful — *cough* I mean… character-building — it doesn’t work for the kinds of prestigious clients you really want.

Neither does sending in your résumé, no matter how awesome your cover letter. True, having contacts deep inside the organizations is great — if you’ve already got em. Which, I’m assuming, you don’t, just like we didn’t back when we got started working for huge fancy companies on huge fancy projects.

We’ve consulted with some of the biggest…

Before we quit consulting to start Freckle, my husband and I had worked for some of the biggest names in the biz (back then, at least):

  • Pepsi
  • Ford
  • Mini
  • Nokia
  • Coachella
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bear Stearns (sigh)

and more…

And we did it without all the prerequisites you’d think we needed…

We didn’t have the advantages you’d expect.

We didn’t go to Harvard or Stanford. We weren’t members of a secret society. We didn’t live in Manhattan. We didn’t have buddies deep inside these bigcos. We also didn’t have a huge team, a huge portfolio, or a CLIO, or a super famous figurehead like Sagmeister or a well-known name like Razorfish or Stamen. Hell, we didn’t even have degrees in our field.

And yet we landed big fat contracts at these companies for cutting edge projects.

We didn’t even beg. They came to us.

How did we make that happen?

The power of “I Want That!”

We didn’t wait for these companies to come up with an RFP for a project, and then respond with our proposal. We didn’t wait for them at all.

It worked like this:

  1. We built useful & intriguing side projects — on our own time, as our own clients.
  2. People inside these bigcos saw our side projects, and thought: “Wow, we could really use this for our stuff.”
  3. They contacted us about repurposing our existing work for their own uses.

We didn’t use words. We didn’t use sketches. We didn’t use plans.

Most people are too busy (or unimaginative) to take in your written or verbal ideas — or even sketches! — and imagine how they might turn out, how they might be useful… how they might make them, your client, look super smart for their boss.

That’s why you should skip the “ideas” all together and make things that your future prestigious client can stumble across. So they can see them.

Use the power of Show, Don’t Tell.

Don’t rely on their skills for imagination, or willingness to read your manifesto. Make something they can see and try. Then they can experience it. Then they’ll want it.

Then they’ll start knocking on your door.

Here’s how Show Don’t Tell-ing worked for us:

Now, in the spirit of Show Don’t Tell, I’m going to show you the side projects that lured those big names (that is — the people inside those organizations) to us:

  1. 2005+: The tutorials I wrote for Ruby on Rails and then the design posts that followed it up… made me a go-to when people working with Rails needed a designer who “got it.” Example, example, example, example.
  2. 2006: Scriptaculous, and its shiny animation demos, made Thomas a natural choice for anything heavily interactive back when Ajax was the hottest thing since sliced bread. This led to Nokia and Barnes & Noble for us, among others. Check it out.
  3. 2007: Twistori, a little side project I tried to sell to Twitter in concept… they didn’t want it, so we said “Fuck it” and built it ourselves. This attracted interactive ad agencies and led to Pepsi, which led to many others.Check it out.
  4. 2009: Freckle Time Tracking itself generated a lot of requests for consulting. (But we’re a product biz now!)
  5. 2011: Every Time Zone, leads to requests for licensing and consulting to this day. Check it out.

We’re not the only ones who have used this strategy to great result, though.

Our friends at Less Everything did very well indeed with their open source social network, Lovd By Less, ages ago, back when they did consulting. Many of our friends have “accidentally” founded careers and businesses on the backs of open source work, icon sets, design templates, a series of great blog posts.

This is the same powerful technique behind the idea of writing a book for the reputation. Or white papers. Or designing a project for your portfolio. Or blogging regularly. Or webinars.

But when you focus on making a thing for your potential clients to try and to use — not to just sit there in your portfolio looking pretty — it works even better.

Potential clients will see it. They’ll want it. They’ll contact you. They’ll hire you. You do well by them, you make them look good, then they’ll talk about you to their friends.

This is how it starts.

How to get started Show Don’t Tell-ing today:

It’s really dead simple, because it’s less about cold strategy and more about doing what you got into this business to do anyway:

You’ve got some fun ideas to noodle with — some creative stuff you’ve done for fun, or thought about doing but were “too busy” with client work to finish. Whether it’s a tutorial, a WordPress template, an icon set, a microsite, a library, a screencast, a little OSS app…

Something a client can use. Something your desired clients either need or will find tantalizingly cool.

Do it. Finish it. Ship it.

Share it with your acquaintances.

Rinse and repeat.

True, you won’t ship a side project today and get your most desired clients knocking on your door tomorrow. It takes time.

But if you do good work and you do it regularly, not only will you enhance your skill-set, not only will you build your reputation, you’ll also create an whole highway system of “onramps” that a client might serendipitiously find leading straight to Destination You.

So, remember: Show, Don’t Tell.

Build that little side project. It won’t “pay” today — but it will pay off tomorrow.


15
Oct 14 by Thomas

No More Mysteries with Entry History

Would you believe me if I told you that Freckle was making it even easier to see the who, what, where, and when of your team’s time?

You might say, Devon, it sounds like you’re trying out for the lead in an infomercial.

But, after that you’d definitely say, Are you serious? How can Freckle tell me even more about my team’s time?!

If you work on a team, you’ve probably run into situations where you needed to put on your detective hat and get the dirt on a time entry.

Was the entry edited?  Who originally logged that time and who made the changes? What changes were made anyway?

Before, you might have felt at a loss for what to do if your team couldn’t remember what changes had been made to an entry.

Now, Freckle gives you the tools to really investigate! With the new Entry History feature you’ll be giving Sherlock a run for his money.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 8.56.58 AM

Just click “edit” or “show” on any entry, and you’ll see an overview of the history of that entry. If you want to see even more details about a specific event, click on it and the event will expand to allow you to see all the available information Freckle has about it:

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 8.57.07 AM

Not only can you see who did what—we also show you what exactly changed and information about the app or browser being used.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 8.59.01 AM

If you’re interested in the technical details—you can click “transaction details” to learn more about the event, like the exact time and IP address the request came from.

We can only list the history since we launched this feature, on September 24th, 2014,  so sadly there’s no history before that date.

This feature is only available for Small Team, Medium Team, Large Team and Enterprise accounts, and you’ll need to have an hashtags-enabled account.

Freckle teams, next time you’re questioning a time entry, channel your inner Holmes and use the Entry History feature to help you solve just about any mystery!


09
Oct 14 by Devon

How to Survive a Zombie Client

They’re vicious.  They’re out for blood.  And they’ll stop at nothing until they eat your brain.

This Halloween, we’ll help you survive an attack of the killer client, and tell you how to spot ol’ dead eyes from a mile away.

Bad clients are hazardous to your health.  And even worse, they’re soul sucking nature is contagious.

Warning: If you’ve been shuffling around, groaning and blindly killing all of your creativity, you’ve been infected by a zombie client.

But don’t panic.  There is a cure to this disease! And whether you’re an established team or just starting out, you can survive this plague.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 11.19.58 AM

Get Freckle’s free survival guide, daily by email and you’ll be an expert zombie client hunter just in time for the apocalypse:

Happy Halloween!