17hats – Superpowers For Your Freelancing Business
If you were a superhero, 17hats would be your trusted sidekick!
This one is for all you freelancers out there.
Solopreneurs offering your amazing skills at writing, designing, creating, or any online service to the world.
Being in business for yourself is exciting.
And can be utterly exhausting.
You are the ultimate multitasker!
You do it all! Blogging, writing, editing, image design, client management, social media management, personnel management.
You’re a bookkeeper extraordinaire, accountant nerd, spreadsheet diva, and lead capture developer.
17hats was designed with you in mind!
Save Time With An All-In-One Business App
I first heard about 17hats in a Facebook freelancer group so I had to check it out.
During research, I found 17hats had a competitor.
It was Motiv app.
Both are all-in-one business apps that allow you to create project invoicing, proposals, quotes, and more.
After much debate, I chose to take advantage of the early-bird pricing for 17hats.
It was a big chunk of my start up costs but I felt the value was going to be worth the cost. After all, I needed a professional look and the 17hats features would help with that.
I chose wisely.
Around the same time 17hats upgraded their features and pricing, Motiv went out of business.
After using them for a year, I can’t imagine running my business without 17hats.
This review is going to cover the main features and how it can help your business.
I am not getting compensation for writing this review.
This review exists out of the sheer fact that I love the app and I think you would enjoy it the same way.
I do have an affiliate/referral link that you can use.
If you decide to buy your own membership using my affiliate link, you will get 10% off their Unlimited plan and I’ll get a month of membership for free (and, for a limited time, be entered to win a trip to Hawaii – my home. If you sign up for membership, you can also enter to win this grand prize – updated Oct 22 2016).
Let’s get started!
Who Is This For?
17hats is for anyone who runs a small business online or in real life…or both!
And it’s for anyone running their business solo.
Originally, 17hats was created for photographers, online designers, and freelancers.
But its flexibility makes it perfect for freelance writers, designers, or anyone with an online shop.
If you have a business, you can use 17hats.
How does it work?
17hats takes all the administrative, behind the scenes tasks and rolls it up into one application. What normally takes several separate online apps, 17hats offers in one app.
17hats is built to save you time, optimize your business processes, and reduce the administrative headaches that come with running a business.
What You’ll Love About 17hats – The Details
17hats organizes your work by project.
Within each project, you can maintain every important document about that project. Manage names and due dates, client information, files, relevant emails, notes, time tracked, phone logs, invoices, quotes, contracts, and more.
Alternatively, you can view projects assigned to clients from the client-view section, handy if you have multiple projects with the same client.
17hats has a long list of business processes. It allows you to do almost every business function on the administrative side right within the app:
- Client management – Store and manage all your client’s contact and business information.
- Projects – 17hats is designed to have everything managed through the projects tab. Within the project, you can see client information, emails, notes, time tracking, phone logs, contracts and all the other documents related to that project.
- Questionnaires – Create questionnaires for your clients. This feature helps you get more details about a project. If you’re a photographer, you could create a questionnaire that asks the client what kind of prints he/she prefers, or what kind of background is preferred. These questions can be answered before the project starts. Questionnaires are also helpful to use as client surveys at the end of a project.
- Quotes – Create quote templates and save them for future use. Or you can create a new quote specific for each project. Clients can review and accept quotes through email without the need to be signed up for 17hats.
- Contracts – You can cut and paste an existing client contract template into 17hats or create your own from scratch. Clients can review and electronically sign contracts via email without needing a 17hats account.
- Invoices – Create your own invoice template and send them to clients through 17hats. Clients can digitally sign via email. 17hats then reports back to you as paid or overdue. You can also send a receipt and thank you letter after payment is received. Recurring invoices can also be set up within the application.
- Accept online payments – Accept payment through your Authorize.net, PayPal, Stripe, or Square account. All these platforms allow for credit card payments and Authorize.net accepts e-checks. Just link 17hats to your payment account of choice, however, you can only use one payment platform.
- Bookkeeping – Keep track of all invoices and business expenses and link your business bank accounts so all your business transactions are in one place.
- Calendar – Create a calendar within the application or link it to your favorite calendar to keep track of projects and events.
- To Do lists – Your personal digital post-it note to remind you to do things.
- Time Tracking – Track billable and nonbillable hours, which can later be automatically invoiced.
- Lifecycles – This is a great feature with 17hats. Design lifecycles unique to your business. Lifecycle is a visual tool that shows you, at a glance, what step in the process your project is in. You can manually move clients between lifecycle stages or set them to automatically move to the next step.
- Workflows & Automation – The Workflow feature gives you the ability to automate all of your administrative tasks. From pre-sale to post-sale, you create workflows unique to each stage of your project. Automate the sending of quotes, contracts, questionnaires, invoices, and more. Workflow sends documents out to clients on a scheduled basis determined by you, and in an “if this, then that” sequence that is also dictated by you. Here you can see how many workflow items you have within each Workflow template.
- Templates – You can create personalized templates for contracts, quotes, invoices, questionnaires, emails, workflows, or any form you use to run the business.
- Sync your emails – Send and receive emails from your regular provider through 17hats (I use Gmail). This makes it easy for you to keep track of emails related to a specific project within that project tab.
- Lead Capture – Create lead capture forms and post them to your website or social media pages. Get reminders to reach out to possible leads so you can turn them into paying clients.
- Electronic signatures – You and your clients can sign every document electronically. No need to print, scan and email back. All you have to do is click a button to sign.
- Notification of viewed documents – See when a document was sent, viewed, accepted, paid, or overdue under the “recent activity” section in dashboard area.
- Mobile app – A mobile app is now available but is still in the early stages. Many users are experiencing problems, but 17hats is working on fixing these issues.
- 17hats Blog – Keep up with new features and get freelancing/entrepreneurial advice from the 17hats team.
17hats makes it easy to get help whenever you need it
- There is an extensive knowledge library that’s easily accessed in your account.
- If you have a quick question during normal business hours, you can chat with them right in the app.
- If you can’t find what you’re looking for, email them. Customer service is fast and will respond to your emails within 24 hours (or sooner if you email during business hours).
- As a member you get access to one-on-one coaching webinars and access to their library of YouTube tutorials.
Most Recent Feature
If you have a large business, and enough capital to afford it, 17hats offers Ally (not to be confused with Ally bank).
17hats Ally links you to a personal business management team.
If you’ve been looking to hire a managing assistant, 17hats Ally can help. You’ll get connected with real professionals to help manage your growing business so you can go from solopreneur to entrepreneur. Find someone to take care of client assistance, account managing, and bookkeeping.
Getting a team together starts at $799 a month.
17hats runs on a monthly subscription and offers 3 plans.
BASIC: Seasonal Earner/Still Not Sure
If you’re a seasonal earner, or if you’re still not sure you want to purchase 17hats, sign up for a limited-feature free account. You can take all the time you want to see if it’s a good investment for your business.
LITE: Freelancers & Side Hustlers
If you’re ready to get control of the back end of your business but you’re still a one woman (or man) show, get started with their freelancers plan that starts at $17 a month.
UNLIMITED: Business Owners
This plan gives you access to all of 17hats features, multiple payment platforms, unlimited projects, (multiple user ports are coming soon).
What You Won’t Like About 17hats
With so many administrative features, some people may find it overwhelming and time-consuming to learn how to work each function.
I’ve been using it since January, 2016 and I’m still learning how to manage the features.
Here are some things that you may not like about 17hats:
- Email is (still) laggy – This is a known issue, and they have been working on getting the email sync to work better. Until they do, you may experience typing lag and formatting issues within the application. I usually get around this by formatting my templates in a Google Docs and cutting and pasting into 17hats.
- Email tracking is still not perfect – One of my favorite features of 17hats was the ability for it to keep relevant email traffic with the project it pertains to. However, I’ve found that it’s not a perfect science. The only way my emails find their way into the right project is if I send an email through the 17hats (instead of Gmail) and from there the email trail will show in the project.
- Workflows need finesse – Getting the awesome workflow system to work takes some time. I’ve accidentally allowed the app to send the wrong contract automatically after they accept a quote. The system is awesome, getting used to it takes some time.
- Mobile application lacks function – On Android, the 17hats mobile app is still getting a 3.3 rating. Most users complain it lacks functions. For now, it seems the first version of the mobile app is read-only. There is no way to create documents or take notes within the app. But they are constantly working on fixing it.
- Isolated documents and app-specific records – Because 17hats is a SaaS application, all your work (including bookkeeping and invoicing) is saved within the app. Some people may not like this lack of flexibility if they choose to stop using 17hats in the future. As of this writing, users can export bookkeeping and accounting files only in a .iif format straight to Quickbooks. Otherwise, contracts, quotes, client information, invoices, and other documentations need to be printed out.
- No team-collaboration (yet)– 17hats was made to automate the internal workflows of solo entrepreneurs and freelancers. There is no ability to collaborate with clients or other team members through, or within the app. However, they are saying this feature will be available for users on the unlimited plan come January 2017.
- Pricing/Fees – I was disappointed to see that for the Lite and Basic plans, 17hats tacks on an extra 3% and 2% (respectively) fee for invoicing transactions. This is on top of the 2.9% that Stripe and PayPal charge you for using their features. So overall, you could be forced to fork out 5.9% for every payment you get from clients, depending on the plan you have.
- Linking to certain banks – I was happy to find out 17hats linked to my tiny bank called Simple. However, when I moved my business banking over to Spark Business from Capital One, I could not integrate it into my 17hats account for automatic transaction filing. Customer service sent me on a wild goose chase to capture a HAR file to they could investigate. I’m not that tech savvy and couldn’t get it to work despite how many times I followed directions so I gave up. Personally, I think it should be the responsibility of 17hats to manage their bank integrations.
- No help with quarterly taxes – Currently, 17hats does not calculate your tax payments for quarterly and yearly submittals. This is a feature I wish they had. Currently, the only application I know that does this is GoDaddy Bookkeeping.
- Bookkeeping – When managing your bookkeeping records in 17hats, the transaction fees you pay to PayPal are not reflected in your reports. I have to calculate my PayPal fees manually as expenses. Because of this, my 17hats reports are not accurate. Another reason I may be moving my bookkeeping portion to GoDaddy Bookkeeping.
My Final Two Cents
Despite the seemingly long list of cons, I’m still happy 17hats for project and client management, invoicing, lead tracking, contracts, quotes, timekeeping, notes and relevant emails. It keeps all my business projects in one place.
No app is perfect, but I think 17hats offers more benefit than not. I’d hate to use 4 or 5 apps to manage my business. That’s just a waste of time.
I plan to continue using 17hats to keep my admin organized. That makes this organizational nerd very happy.
Would I Recommend 17hats?
Yes. Despite the long list of flaws I mentioned, I would still recommend 17hats to any soloprenuer or freelancer looking to automate and consolidate their business processes.
Start out with the free basic plan, create sample clients and try the processes out. You can send yourself invoices and quotes to see what your customer sees.
And if you end up purchasing and not liking the product, you can get a full refund within 30 days of purchase.
If you’re already past the 30 days, you can cancel at any time. You’ll have access until your subscription runs out.
Now It’s Your Turn
How many applications to you use to run the admin side of your business?
I want to know!
I’d also love to hear if you are using, or have used, another app like this one.
Let me know in the comments