My favorite business tools

As a web publisher, I suppose it makes sense that all of my business tools are web-based applications. Here's an overview of the tools I use to help me run the Empire:

  • Bookkeeping: Outright.com (Outright is simple and awesome and the PayPal integration makes it a breeze for me. I have an accountant now, but thanks to Outright, he told me that my 2009 and 2010 books were in great shape, which made me stupidly proud. My one caution about Outright is that their estimations of quarterly taxes were way off for me — I paid twice as much as I owed in 2010!)
  • Email, IM, calendar, documents, etc: Google Apps (Duh. Google owns the Empire, basically.)
  • Project management: Basecamp (Great for managing lots of people doing lots of different things. My web dev and I live and die by the "ticky boxes" of Basecamp's To Do lists, and there's no quicker way for a staffer they're in trouble than a list of overdue milestones.)
  • Time management: RescueTime (Tracks my computer usage so I can see when I'm working too much and when I'm fucking off too much.)
  • Almost all payments: PayPal (Tip: there are different membership levels! If you're a business user, you have to request your business account, which comes with a lower fee rate. Nice of them to make that clear — *eye roll*)
  • Analytics: Google Analytics (general), Piwik (for outclicks), Chartbeat (for real-time hotness)
  1. You should be proud about having your books in great shape! I worked for a CPA for a long time and 98% of the time I spent cleaning up small business owner's books. Congrats! It's really awesome that your business doesn't have messy books holding it back in any way.

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  2. Thanks for the great recommendation of Outright.com! It makes me happy that we helped you get a compliment from your CPA!

    As for the quarterly estimated taxes, are estimates are very, very conservative and don't take into account any deductions you might have. (Outright decided to err on the "better safe than sorry.") I hope it didn't cause you too much grief!

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    • It was $10k+ safer than sorry, which made for a SUPER tight 2010 Q4 … but of course has made for a nice easy 2011. :)

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  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting us see how the wheels turn behind the Empire! I've been contemplating starting a small, creative business for awhile now. The posts on this site have made the process seem MUCH less daunting. So, thanks for educating me & helping me nut up. lol

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