Episode 3 with Oliver Ginsburg
Automate Tasks You Hate With These Tools for Freelancers

Oliver Ginsburg is an award-winning customer service and operations expert and currently Head of Support at AND CO from Fiverr where Oliver drives Support Operations, Business Development and Culture. You could call Oliver a true "customer support" nerd. His work has been acknowledged by Forbes, Fortune and INC.

Automate Tasks You Hate With These Tools for Freelancers

Oliver Ginsburg is an award-winning customer service and operations expert and currently Head of Support at AND CO from Fiverr where Oliver drives Support Operations, Business Development and Culture. You could call Oliver a true "customer support" nerd. His work has been acknowledged by Forbes, Fortune and INC.

In this episode, Oliver talks about:

  • How finding small ways to stay efficient can help you earn more:

    Find more time to focus on your money-making activities.

  • The tools you can use to run the backend of your business:

    Some of the big names and how they can help.

  • Which tools to use for file sharing, invoicing, and client communications:

    Learn how some of these tools can make running your business a lot easier for you.

  • How AND CO can help you as your business grows:

    What both the software and the customer support team have to offer.

Full transcript

Juan

You're listening to the Six-Figure Freelancer audio course, brought to you by And Co from Fiverr. We interview top professionals who share their exact formulas for success in starting, growing, and maintaining a six-figure freelance career. And I'm your host, Juan Felipe Campos. Okay, freelance masterminds, remember: on every episode of the Audio Course, there's a giveaway of digital goods or resources from our partners that other people don't have access to. To get your audio course resources, subscribe to the audio course on iTunes and then visit and.co/resources. Again, that's a n, d dot c o slash resources to access your digital goods.

Juan

Oliver Ginsburg is an award winning customer service and operations expert and currently Head of Support at And Co from Fiverr, where Oliver drives support operations, business development and culture. You could call Oliver a true customer support nerd. His work has been acknowledged by Forbes, Fortune, and Inc. Let's hear more from him on this episode of the six figure freelancer audio course.

Juan

So Oliver, as we talk to all kinds of different experts and , figureheads in this industry that have reached six figures as a freelancer, we keep hearing over and over that processes are very important and that there's lots of tools that will help us make sure that we have a scalable business. But what I'd love to talk to you about is specifically, what tools you're seeing that are trending in the industry because you're very close and you have a strong pulse on the things that are happening. That way we can stay up to date with the latest and greatest in tech. So if you were to pick up one discipline, maybe scalability or sales or processes, what is, what are some of the tech stacks that you're seeing are helping people reach those six figures as freelancers?

Oliver

Yeah, that's a great question. So I think one of the basics for sure is definitely gonna be Google Drive. It's free, you've got a ton of space an it's a recognizable brand and they offer so many services in the entire suite that can help sustain your business, help scale it. , , everything from Google Sheets to Docs even Forms, so big fan of that. I think that it's a must without a doubt to have that. , , also apps like Slack I think are becoming much more popular and also the standard nowadays. Uh, it's a great way to communicate. It cuts down a lot of the bureaucracy that is normally in a company like email chats back and forth. You can have an instant message conversation with someone, get business done so much faster. So I definitely say Slack, Google Drive, that's a really powerful combo.

Juan

I love that you're pointing out Slack too because I think a lot of us as we get into the freelance careers, we may think that Slack is really good for internal communication within a big organization. And so a lot like what I've noticed happens is that the freelancer expects to be joined into the company Slack team, but companies don't always have Slack teams unless they're very innovative. So actually I would encourage listeners at home, if you're a freelancer and your clients don't have a slack channel for you to open your own Slack channel in your private practice, if we can call it that, essentially because you're a solopreneur, but you can have a Slack channel for you to have much faster communication, much more up-to-date communication with your clients than doing emailing back and forth, which can sometimes take days as people wait on their inbox and they sit on their inbox. This is just a very quick way for you to stay in touch with your clients. So Slack, definitely Google Drive. I would totally, totally double endorse that. What are some other tools that you're seeing have helped freelancers scale their careers now in terms of scalability? Like creating processes, maybe sending automatic reminders for payments and things like that? The business side of things?

Oliver

Yeah, I mean without a doubt, the obvious one is AND CO. I'm a little biased of course because I run the customer service team there but AND CO is just incredible and there's nothing that really compares to it. Mostly because it's free, , there are a lot of competitors out there, but with AND CO you can handle automating everything from expense tracking to time tracking, invoices, subscription payments. You can auto-create contracts and proposals. , it's, it's pretty limitless. I mean, you can also track all of your tasks. We have smart machine learning in the app itself, so when you start to use the app, it starts to realize some of your habits and will auto-reconcile things like Paypal processing fees, or it'll recognize that you've got an outstanding invoice that's due and we will take care of reminding you every step of the way.

Oliver

, it's, it's sweet because in a lot of ways, you can create an account, you can use one of the features, twenty of the features, whatever you want. But we really take a lot of the admin work and the burden, which a lot of freelancers kind of feel is a hassle. I mean, they're the creatives, they're the artists. They want to focus on creating their work. What we find is we just kind of fit into that part when freelancers really start to scale their business, they have to handle back office procedures. It's, it's a pain and so we come in, we take care of that little part for them and they can just focus on what they do best.

Juan

Right. And you've touched on some great features from AND CO. Uh, one of my favorite ones is sending people like reminders of payments so that you don't have to be the bad guy. It's actually just being done for you by the platform. So if someone supposed to pay you on the 15th and now it's the 20th actually, first of all, on the 10th or something like that, they would've gotten the first email saying, hey, there's an upcoming payment, then on the 15th there's the other reminder. And then even later, all these follow ups are automated. So definitely AND CO is a great suite of tools to help you run your business.

Oliver

Yeah. And , on top of that, there are definitely is the automatic reminders, but it definitely goes a step further. , in terms of giving visibility to the freelancer, in that you get notifications in the app when an invoice is viewed or a subscription is viewed and really like having that control and awareness over what's happening with your work, it gives you much more authority and a sense of ownership that, , traditionally people didn't have when they send an email proposal to someone through gmail and , they just have to follow up a whole bunch because they don't get any feedback from the other side on, , whether they even received it, let alone whether it needs revisions and it really takes out the guessing game side of it. So at the end of the day we just want to be as helpful as possible and that comes from trying to anticipate all these different sorts of notifications that we can handle to make things as easy as possible.

Juan

Amazing. Okay, so let's say someone is sitting at home and they're saying, okay, I love it. I'm going to be switching over to And Co. I'm going to... And by the way, how much is AND CO? There's a monthly subscription? No, there is not. So it's actually a completely free. There's no caps or limits or restrictions on any features. You'll never have to enter your credit card. The only fees that are charged are when you get paid through one of your payment providers. Like we pay Stripe or Paypal, they charge a processing fee, but we don't take a single cent from that. So at the end of the day we did used to charge for membership, then we got acquired and the idea was , look, let's try and give this to as many people as we can. They can take ownership of their business and it is a pretty altruistic thing that, that's been done here. A lot of our competitors charge everything from 60 bucks a month to 400 for a year and , at the end of the day, we just want to be the tide that raises all ships and, and try and advocate and support freelancers as much as we can, , without sounding cliche, , we can now afford to do that.

Oliver

No, there is not. So it's actually a completely free. There's no caps or limits or restrictions on any features. You'll never have to enter your credit card. The only fees that are charged are when you get paid through one of your payment providers like We pay Stripe or Paypal, they charge a processing fee, but we don't take a single cent from that. So at the end of the day we did used to charge for membership, then we got acquired and the idea was , look, let's try and give this to as many people as we can. They can take ownership of their business and it is a pretty altruistic thing that, that's been done here. A lot of our competitors charge everything from 60 bucks a month to 400 for a year and , at the end of the day, we just want to be the tide that raises all ships and, and try and advocate and support freelancers as much as we can, , without sounding cliche, , we can now afford to do that.

Oliver

And so it's really our, our responsibility to offer the tools that we've figured out for free because freelancing is tough anyway. And , you have to work lean when you're starting a business. There's no point in trying to sneak a couple percentage points here or there. So it's free. You can sign up anytime and you can also chat with my friend. I'm sorry. You can chat with myself or any of my colleagues - we're called Chief Operators - in the app seven days a week and we're way more than tech support, we are there to help provide resources or give you a second look on something or even just advice on what to charge rates, what to charge, your rates and set your rates for. And so yeah, at the end of the day, , we really built customer service into the product and that's one of, I would say probably the most, , important part, important feature within the app. But at the end of the day, you have real people that are there for you, we've got your back. There's no canned responses and we love helping freelancers.

Juan

I love that. Okay. Amazing. Okay. So someone sitting at home, they're like, AND CO, I want to switch over to AND CO, now they find out it's actually totally free. It helps them do everything related to their business. Now they're switching over to Google Drive as well so that they can share files back and forth. They're on Slack so that they can communicate with their clients. Let's talk a little bit in terms, kind of rapid fire, some specific tools for the different disciplines that make up a lot of freelancers for marketers, designers, and developers. Do you have any tools that would make their lives easier for either of those three buckets? Marketers, designers or developers?

Oliver

Yeah, for sure. Asana is a great one. Trello is also great. It's a task organizer and while you can track tasks within AND CO, Asana really takes it to another level, and they do it very well. You have all sorts of visibility into how you can collaborate on tasks and projects, how you can communicate with the app. So big fan of Asana over here. Now on the other side, I did want to mention like with AND CO, we actually have a bunch of integrations with some of these other services so you can integrate your Google Calendar, for example, with AND CO and we can automatically remind you that way when you have tasks due or outstanding invoices and the same goes with Slack. We've got an integration through Zapier, which is an incredible tool and you can create all sorts of zaps when certain actions happen within the app, you get paid or you send an invoice. And so having those integrations built in is super important. Now going back to Asana and Trello, task managers like that are just the greatest, , they keep you organized, they take care of some of the boring stuff that one doesn't really have time for when they're building a business and doing all the work themselves. , so I would definitely say those two definitely check out they're great.

Oliver

, besides that one little tip is using something called Streak. It's actually a gmail extension. a google extension and it's totally free. It's designed to be our CRM, but I've found that one of its most useful features is actually, , the fact that you can track emails similar to the view notifications we have in AND CO, you can see when people open your emails, how frequently, where they are, and it really gives you a sense of ownership and accountability that you wouldn't have otherwise.

Juan

Amazing. okay. There you have it. Oliver just shared with us some amazing that you can start implementing into your freelance business, anything from Asana and Trello for project management to also Zapier for making sure that things happen based on triggers, so the moment you get paid or the moment you send out an invoice, you can set up dependencies and actions that happen based on those things. Oliver also recommended Streak, which is a CRM that tracks emails for all your communications. You can see read receipts and you can make sure that you're following up with people. If it's been a few days and they haven't responded yet, you'll be reminded of that. We also talked about Slack as a great tool for you to have, whether it's in your client projects externally or also for you to have internally to communicate with talent within the agency or you can invite some of your clients to join your solopreneur, your agency Slack channel, and then you can communicate with them much, much faster. And then of course AND CO, which is a suite of tools that will help you run your business for you, so you can focus on doing what you do best.

Juan

Okay, freelance masterminds. Do not forget to pick up your digital resources from this episode. It's very simple. You just subscribe to the show on iTunes and then once you've done that, visit and.co/resources. Subscribe on iTunes and then visit a n, d dot c dot o slash resources to get your digital goods. See on the next one.

Juan

Oliver, as you continue to grow and take your career forward, where's the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about what you're doing?

Oliver

to be honest, there's, there's a couple of ways. Obviously LinkedIn is great. You can hit me up anytime there, also you can literally chat with me in the AND CO app anytime. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] Would love to hear from you and chat and learn about what you're doing. Besides that, , come visit us. We're based right here in Soho in New York City. Would love to have you stop by if you're ever in the neighborhood, we can go grab coffee or something like that. My team and I would love to meet you and just see how we can help.

Juan

Amazing. Oliver, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all of this with us.

Oliver

Oh my pleasure, thank you so much, man. This was great.

Juan Felipe Campos
About your host

Juan Felipe Campos

Juan Felipe Campos serves as VP of Technology at Manos Accelerator in partnership with Google Launchpad. As a freelancer, Juan has worked on growth and customer acquisition for VC-funded startups including Ease, Admix, Timeular, and AND CO from Fiverr. He hosts the Six Figure Freelancer audio course/YouTube channel, leads the Freelance Masterminds Facebook Group, and is passionate about helping remote workers make more money and live life on their own terms. His companies have been featured in major publications including Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, and Forbes.

next episode:
How to Get High-Paying Clients No Matter Where You’re Based