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!

Designing a Simple Solution for Receipts: A Shoeboxed Success Story

In this customer profile, you’ll meet Janine Vangool, the publisher, editor and designer of UPPERCASE Magazine. Learn how she uses Shoeboxed as a catchall for her receipts, allowing her to spend more time focusing on growing her business, in this Shoeboxed success story!

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.

“I really do use Shoeboxed after what it is named: it is my catchall for business receipts that I need to save and sort later.”

-Janine Vangool

janine-vangoolIntroducing: Janine Vangool

Profession: Publisher, editor and designer of UPPERCASE Magazine

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Website: www.uppercasemagazine.com

Twitter: @uppercasemag

LinkedIn: Janine Vangool

Shoeboxed: We’re excited to chat with you, Janine! Thanks for taking the time. Let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself and UPPERCASE.

Janine Vangool: Absolutely. I’ve been using Shoeboxed for almost a year, so I’m thrilled to share my experience! Anyway, my background is in graphic design, and nearly five years ago I founded a magazine. It started out as my own side dream project and quickly took over. UPPERCASE is a quarterly magazine for the creative and curious—our content is inspired by design, illustration and craft. We have around 3000 subscribers around the world. I’m the publisher, editor and designer. I have two employees: Jocelyn handles subscriptions and wholesale accounts and Erin does marketing and publicity.

SBX: Nothing makes us happier than seeing someone turn a side business into a full-time career, so that’s awesome. How did you get started?

19-cover-photoJV: When I was studying design in college, I always imagined someday having my own design studio. This happened a lot sooner that I thought; a few months after graduating, I started freelancing. The freelancing grew into a nice graphic design business, but after a dozen years I was looking for more of a challenge. UPPERCASE developed out of the desire to create and author my own projects.

SBX: That sounds like a natural progression, but going from a freelancer to managing your own employees can be quite a change! What’s the most stressful part of your job?

JV:  Absolutely. I’d have to say that the most stressful aspect is managing the responsibilities of the business; there are so many demands on me and my time that the actual creative aspect of the business is often lower on the priority list. I’m striving to fix that!

SBX: The administrative side of things is difficult for many of our users, so we do everything we can to ease that strain. Let’s talk about the fun side though: what’s the biggest upside to running UPPERCASE?

JV: The best part of the job is finding inspiring content and collaborating with talented people from around the world. It is very satisfying to see it all come together in print.

SBX: That must be fulfilling. We’d love to hear a bit about what you did with all your documents before Shoeboxed. How did you stay organized before using our service?

JV: In previous years, most of my bills were still the old-fashioned paper variety which were stored in their proper folder in a filing cabinet. And there they stayed until tax time! With a concerted effort this year to go paperless, my bills and receipt are primarily by email, which makes sorting and reporting so much easier.

SBX: Nice! Can you tell us about how you found out about Shoeboxed, and how you use it now?

JV: Sure. I’ve been a regular user of Evernote for many years, saving pertinent invoices and receipts into that system. Since Shoeboxed integrates with Evernote, that process is much easier. I simply use email (or the app to snap a photo) and forward my receipts to Shoeboxed. Once all of my receipts have been organized in Shoeboxed, they automatically get archived in Evernote for my own records. I also use the integration with QuickBooks Online so that my bookkeeper can easily access everything he needs.

SBX: That’s awesome! We’re so glad you’ve made our integrations a part of your workflow. If you had to sum up your Shoeboxed experience in a single sentence, what would you say?

JV: I really do use Shoeboxed after what it is named: it is my catchall for business receipts that I need to save and sort later.

Janine-Vangool-UPPERCASE-(photo-by-Heather-Saitz)-webSBX: Perfect. Would you say we make it easier for you to stay organized and/or for your business to grow? How so?

JV: Now that I’ve been using Shoeboxed for many months, it is second nature to send my receipts there. It feels good to have that organization taken care of and not be surrounded by paperwork to file. It certainly frees up more valuable time for me to take care of other aspects of growing my business.

SBX: We’re thrilled to hear that. Lastly, do you have any helpful tips for our users or small business owners that are trying to get organized?

JV: I always recommend Evernote for creative people trying to stay organized. Whether it’s a written note or a saved image, I have nearly five years worth of notes there— it is invaluable to be able to access old ideas, links you’ve saved, things that inspired then and now. It’s on my phone and my laptop; it goes everywhere my brain goes!

SBX: We love Evernote too! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Janine! We’re thrilled to be a part of your business’s growth by providing a simple solution for 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!

Meet the Shoeboxed Ambassadors!

We’re thrilled to announce our first group of Shoeboxed Ambassadors! This diverse and talented group will spread the word about Shoeboxed far and wide. Read on to learn more about the ambassadors and how they use Shoeboxed in their daily lives.

After a long and thorough search, we’re thrilled to announce the inaugural group of Shoeboxed ambassadors!

These eleven Shoeboxers comprise a diverse and talented group that will share the word about Shoeboxed with the world, and we’re certain that they’ll do a fantastic job launching our Ambassador Program.

Without further ado, get to know more about our first group of ambassadors!

Amanda Larrinaga

amanda larrinaga ambassadorAmanda is the Chief Business Builder at Modern Entrepreneur, a company she now owns and operates after years of building businesses and working at startups. As a scrappy small business owner, Amanda is no stranger to the challenges facing entrepreneurs today– especially when it comes to handling the administrative side of things! Amanda helps her customers to filter through the noise and focus on what’s important, and here at Shoeboxed, we aim to do exactly that. You might say we’re kindred spirits. Amanda uses Shoeboxed to organize all of her receipts — paper, email, what-have-you — in a single place so that she can focus on growing her business. She has extensive experience in blogging and social media and will utilize these skills in her duties as an ambassador. You can learn more about Amanda on her website or on Twitter at @AmandaLarrinaga.

Brian Baer

brian baer ambassadorBrian is the owner of Baer Marketing Network, a company that provides website design, video production and internet marketing for manufacturing companies, construction trade companies & professional businesses. He has over ten years of experience helping businesses succeed in their online marketing efforts. Brian says that using Shoeboxed has helped him to remain sane and self-employed and never fall behind on expense tracking. He uses Shoeboxed with Outright for an easy, automated accounting workflow. He plans to share his Shoeboxed story at conferences and events. You can find out more about Brian on his website or on Twitter at @BaerMarketing.

Brian Dusablon

brian dusablon ambassadorBrian runs a consulting company, where he helps businesses simplify, improve, and perform. His areas of expertise include web and mobile technologies and organizational strategy. He also runs a podcast network called Emergent Radio and co-hosts a podcast called The ToolBar. Brian considers Shoeboxed his virtual assistant that keeps him organized and ensures he doesn’t lose track of receipts while he’s traveling to one of his speaking gigs or to visit a client. Brian is an active blogger and social media user, and he plans to spread the word about Shoeboxed across the social web. You can learn more about Brian on his website or on Twitter at @BrianDusablon.

Daniel Hoang

daniel hoang ambassadorDaniel is a management consultant at Point B. As a professional services consultant, he works with Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and engages with local small businesses in Seattle. Daniel is also a member of the City of Seattle Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board. He enjoys traveling and spending time with his two tuxedo cats named Mochi and Pippi. Daniel uses Shoeboxed together with Evernote to achieve an almost completely paperless lifestyle. He is also a regular blogger and active Twitter user, and you can learn more about Daniel on his website or on Twitter at @DanielHoang.

Douglass Davidoff

douglass davidoffDouglass is the principal consultant at Straight Talk Public Relations in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is also an avid writer, blogger and social media personality, and he likes working out of coworking locations. When he’s not working, Doug enjoys local history, traveling in Vermont, coastal sailing in New England and political activism. Doug has been using Shoeboxed for four years to support his consulting work across the Northeast, and he says that Shoeboxed allows him to eliminate paper and feel confident in the case of an audit. His favorite features of Shoeboxed include the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker for iOS and our famous Magic Envelopes. Doug plans to share his Shoeboxed story at coworking sites, meetups, on social media and with his professional network. You can learn more about Douglass on the Straight Talk website or on Twitter at @DougSTPR.

Liz Barnett

liz barnett ambassadorLiz Barnett is a self-employed powerhouse who runs WomanlyWoman.com. Liz is an active blogger and affiliate marketer, and she is also an internet marketing consultant for small businesses. Liz is a member of the BlogHer Social Media Influencer Program and attends #BloggyCon, a professional conference for female bloggers, every year. She has been a Shoeboxed user and fan since she signed up in 2009, and Liz says that using Shoeboxed allows her to easily provide her accountant with her important documents so that he can get her the best deal on her taxes. Liz plans to spread the word about Shoeboxed on her popular blog, Womanly Woman, and throughout her professional networks. You can find out more about Liz on her website or on Twitter at @WomanlyWoman.

Marcey Rader

marcey raderMarcey Rader of MarceyRader.com,  is a lifestyle trainer specializing in helping mobile professionals and business travelers be healthy and productive on the road. She is an entrepreneur, personal trainer, ultra-endurance athlete, certified productivity specialist and blogger. In the twelve months that Marcey has been using Shoeboxed, she’s become a power user and active advocate of our service. She’s a big fan of our mobile app since she’s always on the go. Marcey plans to share Shoeboxed with her clients and across her professional network. You can learn more about Marcey on her website, in this video on the Shoeboxed blog, Facebook Marcey Rader Coaching or on Twitter at@MarceyRader.

Mike Schmidt

mikeschmidt ambassadorMike is the CEO of MFive Labs, Inc., the makers of Listn.co. Mike is a member of several exclusive tech networks, including The C100, FounderFuel, The Next 36, Launchpad LA and the Canadian Technology Association. As frequent business travelers, he and his team use the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker to keep track of expenses on-the-go. Mike plans to spread the word about Shoeboxed throughout his professional networks and on Twitter at @MikeSchmidt.

Jody Seibert

jody seibert ambassadorJody is a small business accountant and the owner of The Dog Ate My Books. In this role, Jody helps small businesses decide which accounting solution is right for them, as well as providing ongoing accounting services. She uses Shoeboxed and Evernote together to run a completely paperless business, and helps her clients do the same. She is quite the bookworm (she especially enjoys a good whodunnit!) and hiker, often taking her Kindle along on a long hike. Jody is also an active blogger and social media user — not to mention a long-time promoter of Shoeboxed! — so we’re thrilled to have her on board. You can learn more about Jody on her website, in her Customer Profile on the Shoeboxed blog, on Twitter at @DogAteMyBooks.

Kate Brown

kate brown ambassadorKate is an author, speaker, and personal productivity enthusiast. She operates two businesses, Impact Organizing and Impact Productivity, and she is also in her second term as a National Board Member for the National Organization of Professional Organizers. Kate has been with Shoeboxed from almost the very beginning; she’s been using our service and apps for going on four years now, and we’re thrilled to have her on board as an ambassador. Kate uses a variety of methods to consolidate her receipts inside her Shoeboxed account, and she says she gets peace of mind knowing that all of her documents are secure and easily accessible whenever she may need them. Kate plans to share Shoeboxed through her involvement with NAPO and on her new website (coming soon!). In the meantime, you can keep with her on Twitter at @KateSBrown or learn more at Impact Organizing.

Sydni Craig-Hart

sydni craig hartSydni is an entrepreneur and the co-owner of Smart Simple Marketing, a consulting, coaching and marketing company she shares with her husband. She has helped clients in over 50 different industries to attract more customers, create a stronger online presence, develop multiple streams of revenue and boost their bottom line.  Sydni is a fourth-generation entrepreneur and has been using Shoeboxed since 2007 when we first started. She uses Shoeboxed on an ongoing basis to keep up with receipts and also to digitize all the paper she receives to manage and grow her business. Sydni plans to share her Shoeboxed story using her marketing expertise and personal networks. You can learn more about Sydni on her website, in her recent Success Story on the Shoeboxed blog or on Twitter at @SydniCraigHart.

Welcome to the program, guys and gals! We’re so grateful to have so many awesome users, and we’re excited to to see what our first group of ambassadors can do.

We’d like to sincerely thank everyone who applied to be a part of the Shoeboxed Ambassador Program. If you were not selected this time, stay tuned — we’ll be recruiting and talking to potential ambassadors on a rolling basis. If you have any questions about the Ambassador Program or would like to learn more, contact Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com.