Over a year ago, I decided to build a software business that focused on custom web application development, startups, and unique website projects. I had built a very strong and talented team of people who were ambitious to help me start this company as their side gig. We called it Vampeo. We acquired a bunch of projects and started development while keeping our full-time day jobs.
After four months of delivering some of our projects, I realized something significant. No project was ever completed. Once each project (e.g., website) was delivered, every client asked for additional features, support, maintenance, updates, and even future projects.
These additional services introduced a new stream of recurring revenue for Vampeo. Clients would pay for servers, email addresses that we set up through G Suite, SSL renewals, website edits, etc.
Wasting my time with invoices
In November 2016, I started gathering all the invoices to email to our clients. I had a Quickbooks Online account to send invoices to clients, however, there was a much larger problem. Many of our services were offered as monthly or yearly subscriptions. For example, clients would pay Vampeo monthly for their servers and emails, annually for domain and SSL, and hourly fees on demand for feature developments. It was extremely hard to send invoices to our customers at the end of each month or keep track of who hadn’t paid their annual fees. I started falling behind in invoices, losing money, and losing track of our maintained services.
A small project to automate my business
There was no easy solution to our problem. Our service offerings and billing were handled in separate applications and required lots of manual work. We needed a system with the following features: