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Time tracking software for remote teams

Simple Tips for Choosing Between Odesk and Elance

When it comes to hiring online talent, Odesk and Elance are two of the most popular sites. Elance has over 3 million freelancers available and over one million companies call on Odesk to help them with qualified talent.

From writers to developers, each has a large stable of workers to complete small to large projects. In fact, according to each site, companies such as OpenTable and Careerbuilder, have called upon them to find the right candidates.

With these credentials, many ask if there is a difference between the two and which one would give them the best candidates to work for them.

In this post, I will look at a few areas of interest, how they differ and which would be the right choice for hiring online talent.

How Do You Post a Job?

As someone looking to hire talent for your project, you want to post a job that’s going to attract the right types of freelancers. Although both give you this option, I couldn’t find much on instructions for either without first, creating an account.

For Odesk, I only found a small snippet of information on the job posting process. In fact, I only found a few sentences that explained it. The link with the “posting a job” took me to the register page. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to take the time to post a job, I would like more information without having to “sign-up” first.

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Time Tracking Software: Hubstaff Review and Benefits

How using time tracking software benefits the bottom line (and why your company should consider it): 

I remember having to fill out my very first time sheet in the early days of my career. Back then, if companies even bothered to track salaried employees, timesheets were usually manual or printed versions of what they are now. In today’s multi-tasking, fast-paced, too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-time-to-do-it reality, employees and their managers must employ time-management strategies in order to make the most out of their most valuable resource.

The New Way of Time Tracking:

Replacing-Paper-Timesheets

When the phrase ‘time tracking’ comes to mind, many think of simply an online timesheet, where employees enter in their hours for the week, attribute them to a specific project, client or category, and send it to their manager at the end of a work week. However, this old way of time tracking doesn’t clearly show a detailed snapshot of the employee’s day, their process or even whether the hours recorded were actually spent on a given activity.

New time tracking software has the capability to help employees to better capture their time spent on various projects, while giving managers greater visibility into the employee’s work day. In addition, companies who hire freelance workers or have remote employees working from different locations can keep costs down while ensuring accountability. Some of this software includes screen capture technology, which can take a snapshot of an employee’s computer screen at specified intervals, and even screen idle time, to pop-up with any inactivity….

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Quick Guide to Google Analytics Setup

Quick Guide to Google Analytics, Google Analytics, Setting up Google AnalyticsThere are multiple great resources for a beginners guide to Google Analytics. Our interest in adding our hat in that ring is to provide you with a dense mash-up of best practices to guide you through optimizing your Google Analytics for ultimate usage. Big Data is very real and very much here, so understanding the inbound traffic you have to your websites is crucial for businesses to succeed in 2014 and beyond.

By 2020 there will be 50 billion ‘things’ connected to the Internet. That’s 3.65 devices per person that could be accessing your website. Understanding Google Analytics is paramount to your success both now and then. Google Analytics is a tool with endless opportunities and variances for collecting data and metrics.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have it set up and organized properly, you’ll never get the treasure trove of answers it can produce. Let me burst a bubble for you: You have to be able to both go beyond and still understand simple traffic stats. You need to extract deep insights into the how/why/when people are landing on your pages, engaging with your site, how long they stay, where they come from and what you could have done to provide them more value so they come back.

Oh, and the coup de grace, conversions. Improving your conversions with actual data and insights is the holy grail that is Google Analytics. This quick guide to Google Analytics will cover setting up your account and grabbing the code needed for your website. To follow, we will have a five-part series digging deeper into the war chest that is Google Analytics. Those parts are:…

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How to Supercharge Your Real Estate Marketing

How can you, as a real estate agent, differentiate yourself from the competition? If you’re like most people, your first impulse is to try more aggressive outbound marketing methods. You might consider more clever or unique newspaper ads and radio commercials. Let me ask you something though: Can you think back to the last time that you tried to enjoy something and a commercial interrupted your viewing or surfing experience? Do you remember how annoyed you were by it? This is because nowadays a traditional ad either gets ignored or ends up annoying any potential client.

This is what outbound marketing has to resort to these days. It annoys random people in the hope that a few will seek you out. Inbound marketing is better than outbound marketing because it does not rely on interruption. It gives you value and only when you actually actively seek it out.

Inbound marketing simply means giving value to your prospects and not asking for anything in return. You get more respect, recognition and clients by giving value. Clients need to know that you exist and they need to perceive you as a real estate authority in your area.

Real estate marketing

Once you build your reputation as a real estate expert, you will be sought out by people who need real estate advice in your area. How do you become the top real estate person in your area? By becoming visible on search engines, social media, forums etc, through effective real estate marketing….

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12 Important Ways to Expand Your Influence

In life we always tend to focus on things that are beyond оur control. We’d rather mope around about our inconveniences rather than doing something that would actually benefit us. We tend to go around wasting our time and effort while accomplishing nothing of any true meaning. This behavior and mental attitude will not expand your influence.

Our words and actions go to waste, our influence on the world resembles but a smudge on a radar. If you want to make a change of pace, and start focusing on the things that matter, then you really need to start working on your circle of influence. I am going to show you how to become more prominent and expand your influence.

expand your influence

What exactly is influence?

“The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”

As Kenley Blanchard once said“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority”. But the concept of leadership has its own fundamental principles, the most important of which is striving towards a positive outcome….

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Shopping Cart Software Reviews – Here Are The Top 5

Shopping cart software can greatly help you when you are building an online store. But with so many different shopping cart solutions out there, how do you know which one is the best for your online store? Yep, you’ve guessed it – shopping cart software reviews can be your guide in making the right choice.

Shopping cart software reviews

BigCommerce

Equipped with an almost endless list of features, BigCommerce is one impressive shopping cart software. It uses a simple WYSISWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that provides for excellent transparency and navigation. BigCommerce requires a fragment of technical knowledge, making it very easy to use. Roughly 20.000 online shops are powered by BigCommerce.

The first thing you will notice about BigCommerce is the infinite amount of features. You can choose from over 120 unique templates, or, if you prefer, you can directly edit the HTML and CSS. Features like the logo editor help you even further with your brand image.

Each and every design template is made for easy use and even easier management. This allows you to delegate your work with ease, in cases where you have more employees. Depending on your account level, you will be provided with a certain number of administrative accounts for better allocation of work.

Your added products can be neatly categorized to help your customers browse with ease, allowing for excellent navigation. Moreover, the integrated search features will get your customer right to his desired product….

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Open Letter to the USPTO

To whom it may concern:

I recently read about your issues with time fraud at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Normally I simply move on after reading this sort of news since there is often times little I can do to solve the issue. But when I read about this problem and the two year investigation that uncovered rampant issues with time tracking I knew I could help.

When SPEs were asked if they have the needed tools to address this abuse, 44 percent said they do not. But there are tools available to curb this issue. I happen to make one such tool called Hubstaff. It runs on a user’s desktop and provides proof of work while they track their time. It significantly reduces time fraud as a result. The software is easy to install and works on all major operating systems.

Hubstaff is extending the offer to allow the USPTO to use our time tracking software completely free of charge. By using this software thousands of hours that are currently unproven, but paid for by the government, would be eliminated. The savings would be in the millions. Those millions of dollars could be better spent on increasing the number of examiners in the workforce to more quickly work through the extensive backlog of pending patents.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is usually spoken about within the software industry in debates about whether software patents should be allowed. It is widely seen as a government agency that has had difficulty keeping abreast of the latest technology and one that issues patents to companies erroneously. Do not let this be another case where the USPTO is unable to adapt and use the very technology it grants patents for to help protect its reputation and the funds provided by hard working tax payers.

Respectfully,

Jared Brown

CTO, Hubstaff, LLC

 

To everyone else:

Sign our petition on change.org to urge the USPTO to use a time tracking tool with proof of work.

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3 Lessons in Building a Remote Startup to $11,500 in MRR

Hubstaff's Current Monthly MRR

Hubstaff’s Current Monthly MRR (Calculated by Baremetrics)

It seems every time you look around these days there’s an IPO, a startup getting acquired or a remote startup getting funded.  While you can attain some motivation from these examples it’s important, I think, to realize that these businesses are the exception not the rule. We started building this business at the end of 2012, and just recently we are starting to get some good traction and growth.

$11,566 is NOT a lot of money because it costs us more than that to develop the product every month, but it’s a very positive start.  Neither Jared or I are satisfied with the growth rate of Hubstaff so far, but we have a good idea how to fix it (more features and integrations).  It’s a lot of work for a little money up front, as always, but as you continue pushing day in day out good things start to happen.

We’ve learned a lot about software sales with this project, and below are some of the very high level considerations that you can probably learn from as you build your businesses.

1) Consider Market Size and Competition

Keyword research is great even if you don’t plan on focusing on SEO or paid media.  You can use it to gain a deep understanding of your market and what your potential clients are looking for.  There are some keywords here that may seem irrelevant but they are included so that you can see the differences in market size. When you are looking at keywords you want to think about three high level things:

  • Search Volume – This is how many people are searching for the keywords
  • Long Tail Keywords – This is the variations that people use as they search for a given product. Some have thousands of variations and some have very few.  The more the better.
  • Bid Price – This allows you to understand what others are paying for the keywords. You can combine this with volume stats to get some interesting metrics.
determine market size

You can access all of this for free in Google Adwords

Our market is primarily “time tracking software” and there are a lot of competitors in that space and relatively low search volumes. This is something that I wish we would have paid more attention to early on.  Market size has definitely been a limiting factor on Hubstaff so far, and based on the numbers above, you can probably understand that selling accounting software (awesome Hubstaff client) may be more lucrative than time tracking software based solely on the numbers because it’s approximately 4x the size in searches.

But at Hubstaff, we aren’t “just” time tracking software.  We have screenshots, activity levels, and other similar features that allow our software to stand out.  But the question is how many people are really searching for time tracking software with these features?  According to the data above, not many…

The market you build in is probably the most important aspect of a startup and it can have the most profound impact on your success with the least effort (you’ve got to take all you can get).  You can see that in the example above “golf clubs” has a lot of searches, and a low bid price, but you’ve also got to consider competition, barrier to entry, and competition.

2) Consider Product Price

People underestimate how hard it is to really get traction when you are talking about charging an average of 27$ a month. That’s not a lot of money, and it contributes greatly to our overall revenue growth numbers.  Here’s where we are at right now in terms of monthly recurring revenue and current customers.

Hubstaff's Current Monthly MRR

Hubstaff’s Current Monthly MRR (Calculated by Baremetrics)

Hubstaff Current Customers

Hubstaff Current Customers

If you do the math, it ends up being around $27 per subscription and that’s the core issue.  We charge $5 a user and our average client has around 5 users.  We’ve tested this and for our current technology, $5 a user seems to be acceptable for most clients (we are considering raising the price when we get app monitoring included which is not too far off).  Regardless, we are at $27 a month. By contrast check out what Kiss Metrics charges:

kiss

Kiss Metrics Pricing Page

This type of pricing is pretty typical for the “analytics” industry.  We searched for a long time and eventually landed on Mixpanel over Kiss Metrics because they allowed us to get the product for free by putting a badge in our footer.  But just think about how much faster the revenue would add up. kissmetrics

3) Consider the Size of Client

Most of our clients are smaller in size and starting out their teams with contracting. They have 3-10 people on their team (Hubstaff has much larger businesses using the software but we are working on averages). Here’s the thing… If you look at the average client that we’re talking about in the above example, they are most likely somewhat cost conscientious.

Compare this to a business like Baremetrics – who is mostly dealing with clients that are well established and cash positive. Baremetrics provides metrics for businesses like Buffer, and other companies that use Stripe as their payment processor. Baremetrics has an open policy themselves and is what inspired us to do the same… You can see their live numbers here. baremetrics Think about this on a deep level for a minute and you’ll see the important lesson here. The Baremetrics product appeals ONLY to businesses that have gotten to the point of integrating the Stripe payment processor into their software app, and have payments coming in.  If they didn’t have payments coming in, then they wouldn’t need metrics…

Hubstaff on the other hand is used by a lot of clients that are just getting started.  Maybe they are building a new app, or they are starting an agency, etc… They may not even have a client yet.

But we still wouldn’t trade our business for the world! The above points are just things that I wish we would have thought through before we started the business because there is a TON of time and money it takes to get these businesses off the ground.

There are positives that greatly outweigh the negatives such as barrier to entry for the product (the amount of engineering we’ve put into Hubstaff is insane), a growing industry, the viral coefficient, and more.  The goal here is simply to look back at a high level on some of the things we would have considered closer before we started.

The Honorable Mention “ah-ha’s” we’ve had while building Hubstaff:

  • Focus on web software if possible, not client side.  Desktop applications are much harder and makes the product exponentially more complex because you have to design for three operating systems.
  • Think about the cost of support.  How many people per paying customer do you have to support?  For Hubstaff, it’s an average of 5 employees that need support for every one paying customer (our whole model is based on tracking contractor time).

That’s it for now… If you like this post, please consider sharing or commenting.  This is a test to see if we want to continue publishing our numbers and creating this “open” style of post.  Hope you enjoyed!

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Outsourcing Software Development – Painless Methods the Top HR Firms Use

You’re considering outsourcing software development and you want to know how to do it properly. You have probably heard stories about people hiring offshore software developers and getting disappointed. It is hard to avoid the low skilled software developers who will do anything to get a job.

You might fear that you won’t get the best results in the long run, despite putting in a lot of effort. But there are some good tips that I’ll share with you to help make the search a lot easier. It’s great advice that makes the difference between you finding the most productive remote staff and ending up with some useless freelancers.

Being clear about what you need regarding software development

Companies run into outsourcing problems when they don’t clearly communicate what they need. After all, you’re probably going to be outsourcing to other continents, like Asia for example. Of course, whether you’re working with foreign employees or not, your job specifications need to be detailed.

Whether you’re writing a job post for a freelance website or job board, the rules are the same regarding clarity. You should communicate your needs in a clear and concise way.

  • State whether you need remote staff for a one-time project or long-term
  • Specify the required qualifications for the work
  • Give detailed expectations about the results that you’re expecting
  • Define deadlines for certain projects or tasks

On working with local software developers

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Looking for Time Tracking Like oDesk? Check Out the Top Alternatives

Do you want to monitor your employees and use time tracking like oDesk? There are lots of time tracking applications available so it can be a challenge to find the right application for your needs.

Are you worried that it might take you too long to find the best time tracking software? There is only one way to know which time tracking software is right for you – by reading reviews of the best time tracking apps.

Hubstaff

Hubstaff’s time tracking application is easy to use and very convenient for your employees. It comes with a light application that runs in the background, allowing your employees to work without interruptions. As soon as your employees start a project, Hubstaff’s time tracking software starts recording time and takes screenshots.

time tracking like odesk windows

Hubstaff’s inactivity monitors enable you to only pay for the time worked. Managers have an easy to use dashboard that shows the level of productivity of every employee. One quick glance at the dashboard allows you to see who is working, who is online and how much time each employee has tracked.

If you need to track time for projects, you can do that too, with Hubstaff’s time tracking app. The number of projects that you can set up is unlimited. All the details regarding your projects are available on your dashboard.

This time tracking app takes random screenshots; you can modify the number of screenshots taken every 10 minutes. In addition to screenshot monitoring, the application also records the mouse movements and keyboard strokes. Hubstaff also integrates with popular project management solutions – there is time tracking for Basecamp, Asana, PivotalTracker, and more on the way….

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