How I Use Chrome to Run a Web Design Business
As previously mentioned in A Front End Developer’s Daily App Stack, I use Chrome Beta even though I’d like to use Safari on Yosemite because I strongly prefer Chrome’s DevTools. I thought it would be fun to write about some of the web apps I use as well as my Chrome extensions.
Note: Most of these are freemium, meaning you can enjoy a majority of the features without having to pay a dime.
What I really like about Asana is the keyboard shortcuts for assigning tasks and giving them due dates. It also lets you choose the view of tasks and projects that makes the most sense for you. Another feature I find myself using constantly is emailing tasks to Asana. Asana will automatically pull all the contents of the email, including attachments, and create a task out of it.
We use Toggl for time tracking. It’s definitely the simplest and best-looking time tracker I’ve ever seen. We actually use it for logging employees’ hours as well as tracking billable hours for clients. Toggl’s beautiful report system makes viewing hours over custom date ranges effortless and even fun.
Plus, once you install the Toggl Button browser extension, you get these neat little Toggl buttons all over the place. On a task in Asana, an issue in GitHub, a Google Doc or Sheet, I can simply click “Start timer” to start tracking my time.
Note: Asana and Toggl are two out of the three tabs I always have pinned.
I use Nusii for proposals. It lets me use templates, and gets even more modular than that by allowing me to create and save reusable sections. The sections can be either text-based or price-based. Nusii is designed so that I can offer my clients tiered pricing options. I can include fixed prices or prices per hour, day, or month. They’ve also recently added a digital signing feature which is pretty awesome.
When I’m done writing a proposal – thanks to Nusii it now takes WAY less time – I can send it to the client straight from the app and get a notification email whenever the client views it. The client can then choose (a) pricing option(s) and accept the proposal right in the browser. Don’t worry, there’s the option to download and print a PDF version if the client so desires. Oh, and both the PDF and the web-based version are drop dead gorgeous.
Other features include custom branding and color scheme and a custom URL that all of your proposals can be accessed from (ours is proposals.tribeswell.com).
We use Kashoo for cloud accounting. It handles all of our invoices from creation to sendoff to clearance. It also features a very robust reporting system so we can compare profit & loss using custom date ranges. Another thing we constantly do is glance at all of our aging receivables to see which clients have invoices that are still out and how long they’ve been out.
I use Calendly (shoutout to Marcus Blankenship) for scheduling appointments. People who want to meet with me can use my personal link and schedule appointments themselves. This eliminates about ten emails & phone calls back and forth trying to figure out a day and time that works.
Tribeswell isn’t much into the social media game at the moment, but when we are, Buffer is nice because it allows managing our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts from a central location. It also takes care of evenly scheduling posts and automatically… posting… them which is great for us and our followers.
I’ll talk about these more in-depth in another post, but for now:
- Stack Overflow
- New Relic
Since everyone should be using these, here are some that don’t deserve their own sections but rather honorable mentions:
- All things Google
- My social media inlets of choice: Tumblr, Twitter
Shipscope is CodeShip’s browser extension that shows me a list of all of my projects and their build statuses. I opted out of email or Slack notifications for my builds and decided to use this instead.
Font Face Ninja
Font Face Ninja lets me spy on the typography of a web page without having to open up DevTools. Plus, it just looks nice and is fun to use. Who doesn’t want a little ninja icon always visible in the top-right corner of their browser window?
Disclaimer: this extension will break a site on very rare occurances.
If you don’t have this, what’s wrong with you? Get it, now!
My coworker recently alerted me to the existence of this gem. It allows me to press
cmd+shift+K to instantly start using Sublime Text instead of whatever shitty
textarea I am currently using to code in (read: WordPress). You just have to have the extension and the package installed.
Minimal New Tab Clock
Update: I am now using Embark.
Update #2: I finally jumped on the bandwagon and started using Momentum… It’s amazing and perfect and all the other new tab extensions suck in comparison… Hope you’re happy!
Terms of Service; Didn’t Read
- A Front End Developer’s Daily App Stack
- A Front End Developer’s Sublime Text Setup
- A WordPress Development Workflow for Small Teams in 2015
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