The CurdBee Weekly #9 featuring April Sadowski

Welcome to another CurdBee Weekly! We’ve got some pretty exciting stuff going down soon, and have a few sneak peaks for you at the end of this post. Before that though, we speak to our first CurdBee PRO user April Sadowski, and find out what she has to say about freelancing, design and supporting your local economy. We’re super psyched to have her aboard and know you will find what she has to say pretty interesting. Read on!

April Sadowski Speaks

April Sadowski and her feline friends (L to R) Sobe, Samantha and Sasha.April Sadowski and her feline friends (L to R) Sobe, Samantha and Sasha.Hi April! Tell our users a little about Aibrean’s Studio. What goes on inside?Well there is no “inside” because the business is just me and I don’t have an office location. I started freelancing in 2003 right after graduating from college. Since it was hard to get a job for a while, it was an obvious choice for income.You are a freelancer as well as a full time Art Director. How do you balance your full and part time work?Luckily I have a lot of flexibility in my full time job because it’s in-house. I have a flexible work schedule and I can work on freelance if there is downtime. I don’t really have to worry about conflicts of interests. There is another person where I work that has his own freelance business as well. I am always upfront about my situation with clients so they know my full time job comes first. I am attentive to their needs and I have an online work schedule so they can view my availability.You publicly state that you support the local economy and work with local businesses and vendors on client projects. Could you tell us more about this? Does going local actually work?Of course not everything can be done locally, but I work with a local programming company, Edge Webware on projects (they are located about 30 minutes from me) and use local printers for jobs that require printing. Most of my projects are web-based but I’m able to provide any print-based design as well. My education is more catered to print and that’s what I do during my full time job. Even though most of my clients aren’t local, they are more comfortable with my working local because I can do press checks for quality and meet with the developers should the need ever arise. I of course, am not against a company wanting to work with their own local vendors on projects. I just don’t like off-shoring anything. I typically find the only reason people do that is because they think it’s cheaper however typically there are communication barriers and quality suffers.What tips would you give freelancers or SMEs who want to start supporting local businesses?People need to learn to not be afraid of the assets they have around them and realize that local business relationships can be a win-win for both. Instead of assuming your local printer is going to be more expensive than an online outfit, why not get quotes from printers in the area? People don’t typically realize the online printers will print digital and use a poor quality paper in order to deliver those prices. With a local printer you can walk in and view your work as it’s being printed if you wanted to. The same goes for any type of business – don’t be afraid to call them. If Jerritte at Edge never picked up the phone and called me for a job, I would probably have never known his company existed.You’re a designer, writer, voice actor and producer. What’s the best and worst thing about being a jack of all trades?I think it’s great to be able to offer a variety of services. I’ve had a client hire me to do their on-hold messages and automated voicemail. I think the hardest thing is to not become overwhelmed because there are times when all is needed at once. Luckily the last three are hobbies more than anything else (at this point anyway) so I can delegate my time on my own schedule for them for the most part.As someone with a keen eye for the visual, how would you rate CurdBee’s design and layout? Anything we can improve on?I think it’s refreshing. The only thing I ever hear people complain about is the name. Curd? I wouldn’t have thought anyone would want to be associated with something that is coagulated sour milk but you managed to pull it off with a fresh design and charming bee mascot.Note: Fair enough! As we’ve explained in the past though, in the Sri Lankan context curd stands for prosperity (Curd and Treacle is a fantastic traditional Sri Lankan dessert) and the bee stands for hard work. We made the connection and thought it was an apt name for our app. :)You’ve been one of the most vocal proponents of CurdBee, often going out of your way to introduce new users to our product. Thank you for that! Why are you such a strong CurdBee advocate?Your system works and your customer service is top notch. You are constantly keeping up with needs and demands and offering more than most billing services.Incidentally, you were also the first CurdBee PRO user. What made you an early adopter of our paid service?Besides the super affordable prices and plenty of free offerings to others? You offer Google Checkout as a payment option and I hadn’t been able to find anyone that supports Paypal and Google Checkout. I have had clients rave about the checkout process (in fact, one kept wanting his cart to look like yours!). Another feature that has kept me is the custom domains.What as-yet-unannounced feature is on top of your CurdBee wishlist?I would love to add more information to my estimate/invoice statements (such as links to my blog/Facebook/Twitter) and be able to further style what is sent out (such as background image, colors and fonts for headers and body copy). It would be great if I could make them look more integrated with my website (especially since I use the custom domain service).Note: It is already possible to include your website link in invoices and estimates. You can also define a Custom Field and include your Facebook / Twitter URL. Both these options can be found Settings -> Company Profile in your CurdBee account. Of course, a full template redesign is on the cards too and CurdBee will soon have a lot of other invoice styling options. Stay tuned!What upcoming CurdBee feature are you most looking forward to?I can’t wait for time tracking to arrive! It will help tie everything together rather than using multiple applications.

Hive Mind

Here’s the latest from our twitter friends.

tech4eleven's avatar@ethananderson @curdbee curdbee is wonderful isnt it

We’re glad you think so. Thanks for tweeting!

nathandainty's avatarHuge shout out to @curdbee who’s online invoice software absolutely rocks. Makes doing the menial tasks of being freelance more manageable!

We wrote it to scratch a personal itch, and we’re glad it’s helping other people. Thanks for saying hi, Nathan!

designerlookout's avatar@curdbee are there plans to upgrade the invoice logo and colour options in the near future? I’d love to see some additional options, css etc

We tweeted back to say yes, there are, and we’re going to get to them soon after this upcoming release cycle!

March Madness

If you’ve been following our twitter stream, you know that March is be a big month for us. In the weeks to come,
  • Time and Expense Tracking will go into private beta. We offered up slots via twitter this last week, and a lot of you volunteered to help us test. Thank you!
  • Time and Expense Tracking will be released.
  • CurdBee Mobile will be released.
  • CurdBee will make coffee, do your shopping and take the kids to school. Not yet, but coming soon!
Of course, there are a few things we’ve left out. Starting Monday, we’re going to celebrate. There will be,
  • Cake
  • Coffee
  • CurdBee accounts
  • Swag
and we’ll be giving away the stuff we can ship (sorry, no cake or coffee) via twitter. Join us live on stream to win some PRO accounts, some as yet announced surprise CurdBee bundles and some pretty neat swag as well. Not following us? Let’s fix that right away.