Freckle


3
Nov 14

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

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

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!


9
Oct 14

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!


29
Sep 14

Saved Reports Can Save You Time!

Public Freckle Announcement:  Report DeJa Vu is a *real life epidemic* that Frecklers all over the world are currently experiencing.

Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, thinking you’ve seen this report somewhere before and eye rolling.

While side affects include a loss of your valuable time and the cranky.

photo cc @JD Hancock

photo cc @JD Hancock

In all seriousness though, why run the same report over and over again when you’ve got a million and one other things to do?

If you have any sort of recurring report that you need to run, you can save the report permanently and come back to it later.

  • a weekly report on a project
  • a monthly report on each of your team members
  • a monthly report on all of your projects
  • a weekly report focused on specific tags
  • a monthly report to view paid vs. unpaid hours & invoiced vs. awaiting payment hours

With the “save permanently” option, all of the parameters you’ve set for that report will be saved in your Reports tab.

That means next time you want to run that report, you won’t need to choose the projects, people or tags all over again. :D

The only thing you’ll need to change about your saved report is the time frame which you’re running the report for!

And changing the time frame is super easy when you use one of the pre-set time frames or use the Quick Date Calendar.

Let’s see it in action!

Step 1:

Run the report you need just like any other report in Freckle. Choose which projects, time frame, people and tags you want to run the report on.

running a report

Step 2: 

Click the “save permanently” button in the upper right hand corner of your report.  This will save your report to the Reports tab in your green control panel on the left.

save permanently button

Step 3:

Later when you need to run that same report again for a new time frame, go to your Reports tab in the green control panel on the left and click on the last report you’ve saved.

saved reports

Step 4:

Change the time frame of your report by using one of the pre-set time frames or the Quick Date Calendar and click the blue “Run It” arrow when you’re ready.

change date frame & run new report

 

Once you’ve clicked “Run It” you’ll have a brand new report!

Don’t get stuck in Report Deja Vu.  Save your reports and save yourself some time.


8
Sep 14

Freckle Timers are in Sync

The Freckle Timers may not have the dance moves that the 90’s boy band N’Sync did, but they’re so in sync that they probably could form their own band.

Timer Band Members:

  • Freckle Web Timer (Old Granddad)
  • The Freckle Menubar Timer (The New Kid)
  • The Freckle Mobile Timer (Mini-T)

All of the Freckle Timers are nicely synced together so that you can easily move from your office to a meeting across town without missing a beat!

desktop & menubar timers

We know that you’re super busy. You’ve got a team to manage, clients and customers, projects out the wa-zoo AND you’ve got to get that dentist appointment  you’ve rescheduled one too many times.

That’s a lot to keep track of.  So we brought in some choreographers (aka the Freckle developers) to get all of the Freckle Timers on the same beat.

When you pause a timer on any one of the Freckle Timers, you’ll see that change reflected on all other Timers in Freckle.

Let’s say that you’re tracking time on a project called, Robot Princess Unicorn, on your Freckle Menubar Timer.  You realize you’ve got a meeting to get to and you leave your desk in a hurry without pausing the Robot Princess Unicorn timer.

On your way out the door you realize you didn’t pause your Menubar Timer. Usually that means doing annoying maths *shakes fists at sky*.

Don’t sweat it!  You can quickly pull up your Freckle Mobile Timer, pause Robot Princess Unicorn, and be on your merry way.  When you get back from your meeting, Robot Princess Unicorn will be waiting for you, right where you left off.

The same is true if you’re away from your computer and realize you want to be tracking your time.

You can open your Freckle Mobile Timer, start the clock, and when you get back to your desk, your Menubar or Desktop Timers will already be running.

We’ve been working hard to get all the Freckle Timers singing along to the same tune. There’s one place where the Timers a little off key and don’t automatically sync yet in the Freckle Mobile Web version. Don’t panic… you can either reload your mobile browser or if you saved the App to your home screen on Android (via Chrome) you can quit your Freckle Mobile App by swiping it off the task manager screen.

And since we know you’ve got a lot going on, we’re working on getting the Freckle Mobile Web version in sync with all of the other Timers.

So go ahead, run around, the Freckle Timers will stay in sync with your busy life!

P.S. The polls are now open for a Timer band name. :D


25
Aug 14

The Freckle Chatroom, Come Check it Out!

Last month the Freckle chatroom got a bit of a make-over, and I think you’re really going to like the new look.

Now you can find the Freckle chatroom on any page in your Freckle account and on every page on the Freckle website.  No directions needed!

Just click the pink “Help & Support” tab in the bottom right hand corner.

Help & Support

Weekdays between 10 am – 5 pm EST the Freckle Team will be hanging out in the chatroom ready to help you and answer any questions you may have. :)

Even if you don’t have an immediate problem, stop by and say “Hi“, to us.

The humans behind Freckle waiting to talk with you:

  • Amy Hoy:  Co-Founder & Freckle Designer
  • Thomas Fuchs:  Co-founder & Javascript Guru
  • Devon Kreider:  Resident Support Superhero
  • Thomas Cannon:  Freckle Developer
  • Amber Gohn:  Resident Support Superhero

If no one from the Freckle team is available to talk to you, don’t worry.

You can easily email us at [email protected] or visit the Freckle Help Site when you click on the pink “Help & Support” tab and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Why do we have a chatroom?

Because we love our customers (that’s you!) and we want to hear from you!


7
Aug 14

Hello OS X Yosemite Public Beta!

We love our Macs here at Freckle—that’s why the Freckle Mac App is now fully compatible with the Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite Public Beta, and works and looks great, even with the new dark menus mode!

BtUCpo2IAAAhkGc

See you on the final version in this fall!


21
Jul 14

Import Data like a Boss (or an Account Owner)

Freckle Administrators rejoice! Gone are the days when the Account Owners had all of the power.

In the past, the Freckle Account Owner was the only person on the team who had access to a number of fun hidden gems within Freckle.

  • upgrading/downgrading the account
  • billing info
  • account wide settings
  • importing data

Well not anymore. :D

Now Freckle Administrators will see an extra tab in their control panel.  And not just any tab.  Administrators will have access to the coveted ‘Data Import’ tab.

Data Import

 

Forget about waiting around for someone else to import that data you need.  Freckle is making it easier than ever to get down to business.

Move over Account Owners, it’s time for the Admins to shine.

P.S. Freckle Team Members and Freelancers, we haven’t forgotten about you!  We’ve got some features coming your way ASAP.

P.P.S. Tell us what you want to see.  Admins, Team Members, and Freelancers alike.  What else would make your life easier?  What do you dream about being able to do in Freckle?  We want to know!

Drop us a line at [email protected] or click the pink ‘Help & Support’ tab in the bottom right hand corner of your account to chat with real humans (that’s us!).


18
Jun 14

Freckle Time Tracking’s Getting Prettier… and Better!

Quick… how many clicks does it take to find your favorite report, check out a project, check on a team member, add an expense, adjust your timers, or view your billable hours?

How many steps does it take to get the business intelligence you need out of Freckle?

Too many, if you ask us. And to fix that for ya, we’re giving Freckle a facelift.

Starting with the navigation.

The famous floating menu — that is too tiny and hard to find — is gone.

Your shiny new menu bar is now a left-y, like in most of your favorite apps. It’s roomier & easier to read. It will never scroll out of view. And it’s going to help you get to all the places you want to go faster.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 12.20.43 PM

Why we’re doing this…

This summer, we’re hard at work making Freckle so much better for you. We’re working on…

  • faster navigation
  • better analytics
  • better display of the information you need to make decision in your business
  • new ways to get your time into Freckle no matter where you are
  • new features that you want & need to manage your larger team’s time entries…
  • ways to help you get better insight into your true hourly rates, & those of your team
  • and, perhaps best of all, a shiny new feature that helps you handle recurring budgets (like retainers)… and goals

But we can’t just bolt all this new goodness into the old design. Frankly, there’s no way to make it fit comfortably. (Example: This is why many of our valued customers wonder why Freckle doesn’t do expense tracking. It does, in fact, and has for ages! But it’s a bit buried.)

First things first — a better menu will make everything better.

(PS: Have you seen our new Mac menu bar app? Get yours here!)

ARRGH… a redesign?!

Concerned? Agitated? We’re sorry. And we’re trying to make this as irritation-free for you as we possibly can.

We’ve all had that experience, where we log into a favorite app and suddenly NOTHING works the way it did. It sucks.

That’s why we’re making these upgrades into baby steps for you. And why we’ll email you at least 1 week in advance of each change. The last thing we want to do is waste your time by forcing you to change how you work overnight.

So, while your menu bar & overall page framework has changed, the rest of Freckle experience will work as you expect… until we email you about the next baby-step upgrade :)

Can I switch back to the old design?

No, we’re sorry. This isn’t just a cosmetic change, we’re improving the whole app in order to roll out wonderful new features that you’re going to love… that simply won’t fit into the old app design.

And: Freckle’s overall design hasn’t changed a lick since December 2008. We don’t make changes lightly. These improvements are necessary for us to serve you better.

Change sucks.

Yeah, it does… at first. Especially since Freckle has looked virtually the same since 2008.

Once shock wears off, and you use the new design for a while, we believe that you’ll find that it’s faster, better, easier to use.

What’s with the grey? It’s so… dark.

The principles of art & interior design tell us that a darker background will help the bright colors pop out even more.

The grey stands out now and looks so dark because it’s new, and it’s what’s new stands out. But, like a neutral wall color, it will fade into the background as you get used to it.

All these improvements are for you.

It may take a little while to get used to, but…

We truly believe that you’ll agree with us that the new app design feels more put together, more complete, and ultimately more useful. It’s also more flexible. Now you can shrink your window down quite small and Freckle will scale with it!

But most importantly, this new design framework enables us to make Freckle…

  • faster to get around
  • easier to use
  • more feature-ful

All of which are going to help you, every single day.

Keep talking to us.

We love hearing from you.

If you’d like to talk to Devon and Amber in customer support, drop us a line — or click the pink “Feedback & Support” tab from anywhere in Freckle.