User permissions are here!

If you use 88 Miles in a team, time tracking just got a little bit easier!

We’ve just added user permissions, allowing your staff to be managers.

Regular staff members can still punch in and out of projects. However, if you make a staff member a manager, they will be able to create, edit or delete companies and projects and manage reports. This makes delegating the creating and management of your 88 Miles time sheets much easier!

By default, all of your existing staff members will be managers (Which is equivalent to what they were before this update).

To reduce their permissions to the staff level, you will need to edit them, and select “Staff” from the type dropdown.

Select the Staff link from the menu

Select the Staff link from the menu

Select "Edit" from the settings menu next to the user you wish to change

Select “Edit” from the settings menu next to the user you wish to change

Select Regular staff member

Select Regular staff member

We’ve turned on SSL for everybody

88 Miles has always been available over secure HTTP if you entered https://88miles.net but we have just enforced this for all users. Now, if you enter http://88miles.net you will be automatically redirected to https://88miles.net

So, every time you hit 88 Miles, you should see the secure padlock next to the URL.

We now force SSL!

We are changing our credit card provider, and we need your help.

We are moving our credit card processing facilities over to another great Australian company Pin Payments. They are ace – if you need to take credit card payments in multiple currencies and deposit them in to an Australian bank account go and check them out.

Unfortunately, due to security and compliance obligations we are unable to copy the credit card numbers that our current credit card provider stores on our behalf over to Pin (we don’t deal with credit card storage – companies like Pin are far better at it than us).

As a result, if you have a paid 88 Miles account you’ll need to re-enter your credit card details. We’ll be switching off the old credit card merchant on 31 June, so you still have a couple of weeks – however updating your credit card only takes a few minutes. Please note, that is you don’t update your card details, your service will expire at the end of June.

So! To avoid any disruption, go to https://88miles.net/credit_card and enter your card details again. You won’t get charged until your next billing cycle.

And don’t forget to check the security certificate whenever you are on a secure site entering your credit card details.

Thanks! We really appreciate it, and I apologise for any inconvenience it causes.

Set projects to default to non-billable

Hi all!

I recently added the ability to mark shifts as billable and non-billable, making it easier to work out how much time you spend on administration or other tasks whose costs might not be passed on to the clients. I’ve received a number of requests to add a setting to projects that makes all shifts clocked against those projects automatically set to non-billable.

Well, the update has just been pushed!

As this is an advanced setting, you’ll need to select the more option when creating or updating a project.

Click the "More" button

Then, you can check or uncheck the Make shifts billable by default checkbox.

When deselected, shifts will automatically be marked as non-billable. If you do need to mark a shift billable, you can do that by clicking the Billable checkbox on the main project page (once you have punched in to the project, of course).

Happy time tracking!

Security notice about the “heartbleed” exploit

Yesterday, an OpenSSL exploit was announced, that potentially allowed attackers to read information from secured servers. As 88 Miles uses Amazon Web Services, it was susceptible to the exploit. So what does this mean for you?

Not much really.

Realistically, you would have only been at risk if you added or changed your credit card details in the past 24 hours, or if you logged in (not just opened 88 Miles, but actually used the login screen).

If someone was sniffing around on the server while the exploit was active, they could have viewed data that was being transferred. However, it would take a lot of work to reassemble all the bits to make use of that data. As such, the risk is pretty low.

If you are feeling worried about it, I’d suggest logging out and logging back in to 88 Miles. If you are really worried, try changing your password – and if you see any weird activity on your account, let us know.

We have also updated our secure certificates as a precaution. If you ever log in to one of the secure pages on 88 Miles, and you see a warning about an expired certificate, please contact support@88miles.net immediately.

Just be assured that the risk for 88 Miles is very low, but if you have any questions, please let me know.

Use 88 Miles in a team? Dealing with user permissions is about to get much easier!

88 Miles started out as a tool for freelancer developers, designers and copywriters but there is a number of you that use 88 Miles as part of an agency or in a team.

At the moment, 88 Miles gives all staff members full access to the creation, editing and deletion of all companies, projects, shifts and reports. While this can work for small teams, it gets a bit un-wieldy for larger teams, so I’m announcing a new user management system that should be launched in the next week or two!

The new system adds a new class of user called a Manager, that has the same permissions as staff do at the moment – they can add, edit and delete companies, projects, all shifts and run reports.

The new Staff class is more limited: they can only see shifts that they created, and any reports they run will only show their data.

So how will this affect you? Well, as the owner of the account, it won’t. However, some of your staff might see some slightly different options when they log in after the update. I say some, because not all staff members will stay staff members – some are going to automatically upgrade to Manager status.

Every staff member that you have that has created either a public (or shared) company or project will automatically become a Manager. You can of course override this after the upgrade has occurred by editing the user and changing their type to either “Regular Staff” or “Manager”.

The main reason I’m giving you the heads up now, and not just pushing the update straight through is I want to give you time to ask questions about the new system before it goes live.

If you do have any questions, you can email me at support@88miles.net, tweet me twitter or click the little help box inside the app.

88 Miles on your Pebble Smart watch

You may have hear about the Pebble, a crowd funded smart watch that, when it hit it’s goal was on of the first million dollar Kickstarter projects. The watch allows you to receive notifications from your phone, control your music and allows developers to write small apps.

Today, they released their shiny new app store, which allows you to discover and install apps really easily. Which is a good thing, because you’ll need that app store to install the 88 Miles Pebble app! I haven’t worked out how to link directly to the store yet, but you can simply search for “88 Miles” and you should find it.

Here is a screen shot of it’s store page, which includes a couple of screen shots:

88 Miles Pebble App

The app lists all of your current projects, and allows you to see how long you have spent. You can also punch in and out from projects all from your watch. Welcome to the future.

Help! There isn’t enough hours in the day!

This is a guest blog post by Brian Thompson from Gabbyville.com

We’ve all had those days where the phone calls seem endless, which is the last thing you need when you are trying to hit a deadline. The problem missed call is a missed opportunity, a missed job or an angry client. This is where hiring a virtual receptionist can benefit.

A virtual receptionist is someone who works as a receptionist or secretary for a company remotely, communicate with a business or the business’s customers through the internet, email, phone, and fax. Virtual secretaries have become popular for businesses of all shapes and sizes – phones can be answered, appointments made, and customers assisted all remotely, and the customers don’t not even notice the receptionist isn’t in the office!

There are many great advantages to virtual receptionists. By handling the customer service calls and emails they free you up to get your work done. Virtual assistants don’t have to be in the save area that you are; so you can hire the best person for the job regardless of where you are located. If you work from home, you don’t have to worry about where you are going to put a receptionist.

But having a Virtual receptionist answer your incoming calls means customers don’t face the frustration of hitting an answering machine when they call for help. A virtual assistant can take care of them, improving your business’s customer service while costing you much less than a typical receptionist. They can also save you time, so that you do not have to answer every phone yourself. This can open up so much time for you to focus on the work that needs to get done, rather than returning calls or emails.

Non-traditional, remote receptionists are cost-efficient, customer-friendly, and as convenient as our modern world can get. With so many different advantages, it is no wonder that virtual receptionists are becoming more and more popular in the business world. To read more about how a virtual receptionist can benefit a business, continue reading at Gabbyville.com.

Are you ready for the holidays? Some tips on filling your January job list.

Can you believe that it is nearly December?

The next month or two is a crazy time for businesses – there is a mix of rush jobs that will come through from clients wanting to tie up loose ends before the holidays, as well as projects that get put on hold until after work comes back in January.

It’s really important to start filling your project board up now so that you don’t have to stress about your schedule in January. Here are a couple of tips that will make your holidays relaxing.

Send out holiday cards early

People still like receiving real mail in the post (That thing with the slot where all the bills show up? Yeah, that thing). Go and send out a greeting card to the clients that you enjoyed working with through out the year, and do it early – it’s a great way to catch them before they switch over to holiday mode.

Want to send out something a bit different? Check out RedBubble. It’s chock full of cool designs that people have made and uploaded – and you can make your own if you are that way inclined.

Protip: The card is a great lead warmer too. Call or email the client a few days after sending the card out, and see if they have any work starting in the new year.

Go to some industry meetups

There is always an increase of social events around this time of the year. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with some of your industry peers. Don’t forget that other small businesses and freelancers will often ask for help on jobs that they don’t have time or the skills to complete, so it’s important to get out there and talk to other people in your industry.

Can’t find any events? Start one! Jump on twitter and start a meetup at a local coffee shop or pub.

Have you got any other tips for filling your project board before the holidays? Or do you want to promote a social meetup that you are starting? Ping me on twitter, and I’ll help get the word out!

Cheers,

Myles

Did you know that recruiters can also help freelancers find work?

This is a guest blog post by Matt Allen from Lookahead Search

So you’re happily freelancing or contracting – your clients love you, the work is flowing – It’s all good. In the weeks leading up to the end of your contract, you need to start looking for your next big thing. Doing that while still delivering great results to your current client is hard – you’ll have to spend time chasing new leads, meeting potential new clients and quoting.

Let’s say you’re on a 3 month contract charging $62.50 an hour.

$62.50 an hour * 8 hours * 5 days a week = $2,500 a week
4 weeks in a month = $10,000 a month.
3 months = $30,000 for the project (or, 60 days)

If it takes you a week to land your next contract, how does that affect your hourly rate?

$30,000 / 65 days (the 60 from the project + the week off) = $57.69 an hour

What about a 4 week unplanned break due to gigs not lining up?

$30,000 / 80 days (the 60 from the project + the 4 weeks off) = $46.86 an hour

It drops down pretty quickly, doesn’t it? Surely there’s a way to stop that from happening?

The clients that use recruiters to hire freelancers choose to pay a little more to have hiring done for them, which is how we make our money. If you look at the picture long term, your rate is unaffected; it doesn’t cost you anything, but you do enjoy some of the other benefits:

  • Fortnightly pay – no need to chase invoices
  • Tax and superannuation payments – no surprises at the end of the financial year
  • Professional indemnity, public liability and workers comp insurance taken care of
  • General employment advice, including rate negotiations and extensions

If you’d prefer to get on with the work, and have someone else deal with time lining up contracts, get in contact with a recruiter, and see if they can help you out.

If you are interested in talking to Matt from Lookahead Search, you can contact him on 0413 777 771 or matta@lookahead.com.au or visit http://www.lookahead.com.au