Tracking Your Time

OfficeTimeAs a small business owner, I look for ways to be more efficient. I tried several time tracking applications until I found the right fit: OfficeTime. I wanted to share this gem, since it’s been eye opening and has assisted me in getting a good picture of where I really spend my time. It provides an accurate, unbiased view, includes great features, and best of all, it is easy to use.

I use my app on my PC because that is where I do most of my business, but OfficeTime is available for use on Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The company offers a free trial, and the app takes about a minute to download. A quick two minute tutorial gets you started.

Top reasons I like this app:

  • Multiple projects – If you are like me, you are working more than one project at a time, and OfficeTime allows you to quickly move time tracking from one project to the next.
  • Invoices – You can export files and reports in many formats (Excel or other) and create your own custom templates to suit your needs, or your clients’ needs.
  • Visual Picture – A simple pie chart with associated percentages (as shown above) shows you which projects consuming most of your time.
  • Affordable – At this time, the one-time cost is $47, with no monthly fees.
  • Honest – One of my favorite features is that OfficeTime keeps track of when you are “away,” or not using the keyboard. Therefore, when you walk away to do something and you come back, the following screen appears to remind you that what you have been doing may not be associated with the project you are timing.

OfficeTime

So, whether you are working billable hours, writing for pleasure, supporting non-profits, tracking your exercise program, all of the above, or simply want to see how you are using your valuable time, I highly recommend OfficeTime. It’s helped me be more productive with my 1440 minutes a day, and who doesn’t need more time?

Taking Chances

AIE_VeteranWritingServices (1)It’s been three years since a Navy friend asked me if I was interested in applying for the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program.  At the time I thought:

“Entrepreneur? Doesn’t that mean someone who wants to get rich?”

[Read more…]

Brave HEART – Horses Helping Military

BraveHEART_CoverI recently had the opportunity to work with the Brave HEART program on several writing projects. Brave HEART (Heroes Equine Adventure & Riding Therapy) “provides an environment where Veterans, military members, and their families come together to facilitate healing and strengthen relationships through equine interaction and outdoor activities.” A 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Brave HEART program supports those who have served, or still serve, at the peaceful Larkspur Lane Farm setting in Hagerstown, Maryland.

While speaking with the founder and Executive Director, Laura Lane-Unsworth, we determined one of the Brave HEART projects would be a tri-fold brochure to help inform people about Brave HEART’s work. Laura was most helpful in getting me the top five points to get across, testimonials, and a general feel for the tone of the brochure. I put together the words and then enlisted the help of my talented graphic designer friend, Brittany Klein of Radiant Resolution, LLC, to display the information in a far more pleasing manner than I could. I am not a graphic designer – at all – and know the value good graphic designers bring to any visual project. [Read more…]

The Business of Writing

I spoke at the Military Writers Society of America conference on “The Business of Writing” last year. Since starting my own business in 2014, I’ve talked to many people interested in starting their own writing businesses. I’m sharing a few of my slides here for any readers who may be interested in a similar pursuit. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some thoughts and lessons learned.

Reasons to Treat Writing as a Business_slide1 [Read more…]

Fifteen Top Tips on Time Management

15successful2_final_kindle

If Kevin Kruse was a rock star, I’d already consider myself one of his groupies. But his latest book, “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs,” makes me an even bigger fan. As Kruse points out, time is a commodity we cannot recreate. And, unfortunately, it is a commodity people and institutions want, and think little of taking from us for their own purposes. [Read more…]

Small Business Resources – You Are Not Alone

Veteran Writing Services, LLC logo In March of 2014, I founded and became Chief Executive Officer of my own business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC. I was fortunate to attend a program for women veterans within Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. The Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program gave me the tools, training, and guidance to transform what I had been doing part-time into a full-time successful woman, veteran-owned small business.

Recently, several people have asked me advice about starting and managing a small business. So, I decided to share some resources I’ve used over the past year. I know there are many more out there, but I’ll stick to those with which I have personal experience. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my first year in business is this: you are not alone, if you know where to look. [Read more…]