Kelly Vaughn keeps her accounting on track with FreshBooks. What she didn't expect was the invaluable tool that came with it: Project proposals.
Nine months was all it took for Kelly to realize she wasn’t built for a full-time desk job. Instead, she liked the idea of owning a business, choosing the team she wanted and doing the work she loved.
So with freelance web development experience under her belt throughout grad school, Kelly decided to make the leap. She first started as a solopreneur but, as her team grew, she rebranded from Kelly Vaughn Creative to The Taproom Agency.
Today, she works with a team of women who specialize in website design, development, content and social media. And together, they specialize in building online stores for e-commerce businesses through the Shopify Partners program.
A New Entrepreneur; a New Set of Challenges
For Kelly, the transition to entrepreneurship came naturally. She was backed up with years of freelancing experience, so starting her own business was simply her next best career move.
“The transition was natural, but the full plunge into starting my own business—and being responsible for it—was scary,” she admits. “But I waited until I had a good client base to start up and made sure I had an emergency fund to fall back on.”
Taking baby steps into self-employment, she later learned the challenges that came with running her own business. When Kelly first started—like many new entrepreneurs—she didn’t have a plan for managing her accounting; nor did she even consider it. But as she quickly brought in revenue, she knew she needed to be smarter with how she managed her finances.
“When I first started, no I didn’t think about accounting,” she confesses. “Invoicing didn’t become important to me until later. My first few clients were friends, so they would just pay me through PayPal for instance. But once I started working with people I didn’t know, I knew I needed an invoicing solution to make it more official.”
As Business Grew, Finding a Better Way to Manage Invoices and Accounting Was Key
Understanding that PayPal was no longer a sensible solution to handle her new clients and, now, scaling business, she saw the opportunity for change. She wished for two things: A better way to keep track of paid and unpaid invoices, and the ability to accept credit cards online.
That’s when Kelly remembered hearing about FreshBooks from a past client. At that time, she was still in grad school working as a freelancer, so the need for a cloud accounting solution wasn’t quite there. Fast-forward to present day and a tool like FreshBooks was exactly what Kelly was looking for.
“Looking back, I knew Quickbooks was also an option,” she explains. “I Googled cloud accounting software, saw Quickbooks there, looked at their demos, read reviews, but I ultimately decided not to go that route.”
Kelly reflects on how she was drawn to the way FreshBooks looked and its simplicity.
“Between being able to track my expense and my invoices, it makes it so much easier to keep track of my business, manage my contractors, export my reports,” she says. “I do use the time tracking tool as well, so I make sure I log all my time in there as well. In turn, my contractors use time tracking as well so they can log their time.”
Beyond Cloud Accounting Software: Value in Project Proposals
With FreshBooks making invoicing, expense logging and time tracking a breeze, Kelly was surprised to find another invaluable tool in FreshBooks: Proposals.
“I had a different solution for proposals at the time,” she explains. “I had created my own template in InDesign. It was really cute, but they took a really long time to put together.”
When she discovered Proposals in FreshBooks, she decided to give it a try. After all, a lot of her business already lived on the cloud.
“One thing I really like about FreshBooks Proposals is it’s so incredibly clean. It’s very easy to read and I’m able to use specific sections to articulate the project, plug in any images. It’s very easy to just digest that information as a customer.”
In just a short time of using FreshBooks Proposals, Kelly has already received validation from her clients.
“My client told me one of the reasons why she decided to work with me was because my proposal was so easy to read that somebody—who had no idea what this project was for—would be able to understand what it’s all about.”
A task that once took her hours to complete is now a simple plug and play in FreshBooks. “I’m such a perfectionist, that it would take so much time to get it perfect. Now I don’t have to do that at all with FreshBooks Proposals.”
Self-Employed Professionals: Automate Where You Can
Kelly’s advice to small business owners is simple: “You have enough on your plate as it is, so automation is so incredibly important as a business owner.”
And with a tool like FreshBooks, she has the features she needs to grow a thriving business—and knows that if she ever needs a hand, FreshBooks is just a call away.
“As for customer support, it’s awesome being able to pick up a phone, call the number and speak to a human,” she marvels. “I don’t have to be put on hold or dial through all these numbers to speak with someone. FreshBooks is amazing.”
about the author
FreshBooks. Before joining the team, she was the Editor of a national trade publication and has over 6 years of experience in writing and editing. Connect with Megan on LinkedIn and say hello!Megan Santos is the Content Marketing Manager at