How One High-Growth Startup Uses Shoeboxed to Sustain Their Momentum

Brandon Gaines started Attorney Prime three years ago, and after receiving some big press mentions his business blew up. Learn how this high-growth startup uses Shoeboxed to sustain their growth,

With Shoeboxed, there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of expense data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

As attorneys, our product is time, and Shoeboxed helps us save money by saving us time.

-Brandon Gaines

brandon gainesIntroducing: Brandon Gaines

Profession: Owner, Attorney Prime

Location: Austin, TX

Find them: @AttorneyPrime on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Shoeboxed: Hi Brandon! Thanks for taking the time to chat. Let’s start with a little background on you.

Brandon Gaines: Sure! I’ve basically been an attorney my entire life, even though I only became licensed four years ago. Both of my parents are lawyers, so when I was growing up I always worked in their law office. I enjoyed learning the law and talking to clients, and my parents enjoyed free labor. I knew very early that I wanted to be an attorney and work closely with families just as my parents had done.

SBX: That sounds like a solid foundation for you to start your business, Attorney Prime. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.43.28 PMBG: Absolutely. Attorney Prime is an online legal services provider that is run and operated by attorneys. We give our clients the full legal experience for a low, flat fee. We help people who aren’t comfortable handling their case themselves and need attorney advice for a low price and with all the convenience of an online service. We started the business in 2011 and went national in 2012, and we’re based in Austin, TX.

A few years ago, a couple of family attorneys and I were discussing the rise of sites like Legal Zoom and other sites that sold court documents. Since family law is so specific to every client’s circumstances, those sites aren’t able to do many types of family law cases that a traditional attorney can. Attorney Prime fills that gap, and allows a client to get all of the benefits of actual attorney advice, as well as the ease and convenience of an online service.

SBX: It sounds like Attorney Prime fills a real need – that’s awesome! We often hear from small business owners that when they start their business, they try to handle all the paperwork themselves. Was that the case for you? When did Shoeboxed enter the picture?

BG: Yes, we basically just scanned all of our invoices, receipts and business reports and kept them in files on our computer. That worked okay when we first started out, but after we were featured in an article on Huffington Post, our business blew up within weeks. We immediately realized our hackneyed system needed a significant upgrade and fast. Enter Shoeboxed.

After we began to get a little press, our business basically blew up within a few weeks. We were bursting at the seams with receipts and invoices with no easy way to handle that amount of volume, and we found and integrated Shoeboxed about that time. This all happened about seven months ago.

SBX: Cool! It’s amazing what a bit of press can do for a business. So how does Shoeboxed fit into your daily workflows now?

BG: Everything goes into Shoeboxed. Everything. We love the Shoeboxed Receipt & Mileage Tracker app. So when we run business reports, along with the tally from Shoeboxed, we are far more efficient and accurate on our business projections. As attorneys, our product is time, and Shoeboxed helps us save money by saving us time.

SBX: Do you use any other features of Shoeboxed you’d like to share?

BG: Yes, Evernote is the big partner app that we use with Shoeboxed. Since every client case is different, and requires its own attorney notes, photos, and other work material, Evernote, working alongside Shoeboxed, is irreplaceable.

SBX: Awesome! We’re big fans of Evernote too. So what’s changed in your business since starting to use Shoeboxed?

BG: The level of case volume we have now, compared to before we integrated Shoeboxed, is so much larger it is difficult to quantify exactly how much time and money it has saved us. Suffice to say: we wouldn’t be able to manage our receipts without Shoeboxed.

SBX: Well, we are honored to be able to help! Any other benefits you’ve found?

BG: A major part in our business growth, which means bringing in more attorneys and clients, is that our infrastructure is dependable. If we were still using a file system for our records, it would be impossible to grow since our system couldn’t support it. With Shoeboxed, we have yet to see any limit to how large our business will grow.

SBX: Wow, what an awesome endorsement – we’re blushing! In closing, what’s your number one piece of advice for other small businesses to get organized?

BG: Get organized before you actually need to get organized. Our previous file system worked fine for low volume, but when our work volume exploded overnight, we were completely helpless due to the unexpected demand. If we had planned for success, and used Shoeboxed even at the low volume, we could have avoided that problem altogether.

SBX: Fantastic. Is there anything else we didn’t cover here that you’d like share?

BG: We primarily use lawyer-targeted services because of the unique needs of attorneys. Shoeboxed is so flexible, it fits our needs better than even the serviced tailored for lawyers. Because of that, I have to imagine Shoeboxed would work within any industry.

SBX: We strive to suit the needs of our customers no matter what industry, and we’re thrilled that you’ve found us as a solution that works for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Brandon!

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com for more information.

Until next time, stay tuned… and stay organized!

 

Updates and Improvements to New Receipt Tables

Now that our new receipt tables are live in your online account, we’re continuing to add new features (and some old favorites) to them. This week, we’re glad to announce a few key updates we think you’ll appreciate!

Now that our new receipt tables are live in your online account, we’re continuing to add new features (and some old favorites) to them. This week, we’re glad to announce a few key updates: New Receipt Tables

  • Remembered preferences: Once you set a number of items per page to display and a sort order (by date, vendor name, etc.), the table will remember that preference every time you log in.
  • Share URLs for each document: Simply click the Share button in the top right corner of the viewer to reveal a unique, read-only URL for a document that you can share with your accountant, coworker or anyone who needs it.
  • Archive your documents to Evernote: The ability to manually archive your documents to Evernote has been added back! If you have the integration set up, you’ll see a button at the top of your receipt table to archive your selected documents in Evernote instantly. As always, the automatic archive to Evernote option is available in the Integrations section of your Account Settings.
  • Speed Improvements: The new tables are faster than ever! We made some improvements to make managing your receipts even quicker.
  • Document Source Icons: Our new receipt viewer now displays an icon to let you know the source of a document. Each of our submission methods will have its own distinct icon so you know exactly where the document came from, whether it was emailed, scanned from a Magic Envelope, uploaded… you get the idea! To find the source of a document, simply click on it and look for an icon in the bottom right corner of the viewer.

We hope that these features make managing your receipts faster and easier than ever. As always, if you have any questions or feedback about the new receipt tables, please reach us 24/7 at help@team.shoeboxed.com. P.S. We’re releasing a new version of the iPhone app this week… so stay tuned!

How much is your time worth? A Shoeboxed Success Story

Our ambassador Brian Dusablon uses Shoeboxed to stay organized at tax time and year-round. Read this User Success Story to learn how he uses our service to save time and money!

With Shoeboxed, there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of receipt data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

“Shoeboxed has become an integral part of helping me staying organized and productive while I’m on the go. I love not having to worry about keeping track of receipts while I’m traveling.”

-Brian Dusablon

brian dusablonIntroducing: Brian Dusablon

Profession: Owner, Duce Enterprises and Learning Ninjas

Location: Houston, TX

Website: www.duce.co

Twitter: @briandusablon

LinkedIn: Brian Dusablon

Shoeboxed: We’re excited to chat with you, Brian! As a long-time Shoeboxed user and now as a Shoeboxed Ambassador, I’m sure you have some great insight and tips to share with our readers. So let’s get started with a quick rundown of what you do.

Brian Dusablon: I run a small business called Duce Enterprises. I help small businesses and nonprofits simplify, improve and perform using technology. We provide audits of current systems, process improvement recommendations and technology consulting with the end goal of helping businesses save money and time. I also manage a collective called Learning Ninjas. We offer consultations, mentoring and team training to help e-learning businesses improve.

SBX: Awesome! So did you work in consulting before starting these small businesses? How did you get started?

BD: Yes, I did freelance and part-time work during college, mostly in e-learning development. I did that for a while and then had a couple full-time jobs, but I kept doing website work on the side during that time. My website and consulting work started to pick up about three or four years ago, and I realized I could do a whole lot more on my own. So then I started planning to leave my day job, and I actually took the leap in September of 2012.

SBX: Congratulations! That sounds like a natural progression, but going from a freelancer to running two small businesses is quite a big jump. Can you tell us about what your experience has been like so far?

BD: So far it’s been excellent. The freedom and the time that I have now is great. I also really enjoy being more in control of what types of projects I work on and being able to say no to certain projects. Overall, it’s awesome to have the ability to set my own schedule. I’m more productive now that I’m out on my own, and I really enjoy the work that I’m doing.

SBX: We’re so glad to hear that. So does your business have a core customer, or do you work with businesses of all kinds?

BD: It’s very rewarding to help non-profits become more aware and  to help them save time and money using technology. The more efficient a non-profit becomes, the more money they can put towards their mission. So working with non-profits is very fulfilling, but I also love working with small mom and pop shops and even larger businesses. The best part of working with any business is being being able to see the impact you make, the positive results that come from changes that you helped implement.

Overall, I just like helping any business to work smarter and more efficiently. So far my clients seem to really see the value in what I do. Most of my business comes from referrals, which saves me time and money since I don’t have to do much marketing.

SBX: That’s awesome– referrals are the best kind of business to get! Now let’s move a bit into your experience with Shoeboxed. Can you tell us about how you started out with Shoeboxed and how you use it now?

BD: Sure! I  have a ScanSnap desktop scanner, so at first I was using that almost exclusively to get my documents online, but eventually my pile of papers to be scanned got up to what seemed like 1,000 pages! I tried to recruit my kids to do the scanning, and when I couldn’t convince them, I decided to try Shoeboxed for a few months to get caught up and then cancel. And I ended up never canceling. When I left my job and went out on my own, I got a premium plan to use for my business and became a power user.

Now that I’m traveling a little bit more, Shoeboxed has become an integral part of staying organized and productive while I’m on the go. I love not having to worry about keeping track of receipts while I’m traveling. I take a Magic Envelope with me and just drop all my receipts into it, and when it’s full I can put it in any mailbox and know it will be all taken care of for me. Also, I’m in the process of getting rid of my filing cabinet right now, so Shoeboxed helps with that as well. It’s gotten to the point that I now feel bad when I have empty Magic Envelopes sitting around because that means I’m not fully utilizing the service!

sb-2SBX: Ha! That’s awesome. It’s great to see that you’ve been able to integrate Shoeboxed into your work and lifestyle so seamlessly that it’s like second nature now. :) So besides our Magic Envelopes, what other parts of Shoeboxed do you use?

BD: Last year when I did taxes, I was way behind on keeping all my stuff organized. I sent Shoeboxed all of my stuff for 2013. Once it was all done processing, I exported my receipts to an Excel file and then imported that right into FreshBooks. Then I sent my entire profit-loss statement to my accountant with no manual input. It really helped me save time and stress less about my taxes. I also use the Evernote integration; it’s great to be able to archive everything there.

SBX: We’re so glad that we were able to make tax time easier for you! So, changing gears a little bit, tell us what you do to relieve the stress of being a small business owner.

brian dusablon2

BD: Two words: get outside. I play soccer, coach rugby, walk, bike, whatever. It gets you out of the office and is a great stress buster.

SBX: We agree! So as a consultant, you talk to small business owners and solopreneurs all the time. That’s one of the reasons you make such an awesome Shoeboxed Ambassador! Can you tell us a bit about what your experience has been like so far sharing Shoeboxed with your friends and colleagues?

BD: It’s been great! I’m thrilled to be a part of the Ambassador Program since I’ve already been spreading the word about Shoeboxed for a while now. One of my good friends is a huge Shoeboxed fan. He’s been a member for about a year, and he was really thankful for me sharing the link. What I’ve found so far, honestly, is that a lot of people really need the service but won’t try it. I have friends that are very paper-based, so Shoeboxed would be perfect for them. It’s hard for some people to break the paper habit, though. I usually tell them, “Here’s the perfect setup, here’s what you need to get off the ground. Yes, it’s $30 a month, but good grief! The value it provides me saves me hours and hours.”

sb-deskSBX: You just made our day, Brian! :) In closing, do you have any helpful tips for our users or others in your field that are trying to get organized?

BD: I have a big pile that I’m getting ready to put into a Magic Envelope, but that’s because it’s just a habit for me now. So my best advice would be to figure out what you need to get done and determine how much time it’s taking you, and then to consider the value of Shoeboxed and other cloud tools you could be using instead of your current system. Yes, it costs $30 a month, but how much is that really in the scope of things? How much is your time worth? Instead of spending four to six hours in scanning a month, you could be spending no more than five minutes stuffing an envelope. That’s huge. It might be hard at for the budget-conscious, but the online backup and the time saving portion…  just do it. It’s dirt cheap when it comes to value.

SBX:  We agree! :) Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Brian. We’re thrilled to be a part of your hassle-free system for managing receipts.

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com for more information.

Until next time, stay tuned… and stay organized!