How much money have you spent on software that ends up gathering dust (anyone have a good computer reference?) because it just didn’t really work the way you wanted it to work? I can’t pinpoint the $ exactly (they told me there wouldn’t be any math in voiceovers), but I know that I have purchased lots of software that I stopped using in frustration.

As an aside, because I have always been an early adopter of technology, I have been asking software to do more than it was designed to do since about 1987. I spent hours on the phone with the developer of a piece of writing software working with him to make it possible to write a dual column script and keep the video and audio tracking together. When Word came along and with it the table function, all was right with the world, but it simply wasn’t possible back in the late 80’s.

But back to this abandoned software. Most of it has to do with bookkeeping, marketing and CRM. For example, for invoicing, I have gone back and forth between Quicken and QuickBooks a couple of times. It just so happens that there IS math in voiceovers, so it is important to have some sort of easy and streamlined method of keeping track of invoices and receipts. Makes things easier when tax time rolls around.

My brain shut down after a year or so using QuickBooks (which isn’t cheap) and I went back to Quicken Home & Business. Again, not cheap, but hey – shrugging my shoulders – these are business expenses. But two issues were bugging me about Quicken. The first was that some of my clients couldn’t see any data on the pdf invoices generated in Quicken. After 3 chat sessions with 4 people in India regarding this issue (with each one of them telling me that this wasn’t Quicken’s fault), plus an email response to an irritated Tweet I posted, it turns out that the PDF’s are being generated by an off-brand PDF maker with a license date 4 years earlier than the version of Quicken that I was using. So people with new Adobe reader upgrades were unable to see the content. The Quicken solution! Generate the Invoice in Quicken. Save it to my desktop. Open it again on my computer using the latest version of Adobe Reader and resave the file. It should now be readable. Uh-huh. Several more steps. Un-uh. Not acceptable.

The second issue was that if I deposited more than one check at a time, I couldn’t figure out how to allocate the funds to separate jobs. After a phone call to to Quicken support I discovered that Quicken can’t do this. Sigh. QuickBooks could do that, but – like I said – QuickBooks and I had a misunderstanding in the accounting department.

They did refund the support fee I paid, I’ll give them that much. So now I am trying Freshbooks and facing the fact that it really isn’t imperative that my bank account and my invoicing are connected.

Then there is the CRM. Outlook Business Contact Manager. (Buzzer sound) ACT! (Buzzer sound). Trying ZOHO right now.

Both of these are cloud based and have free versions to try out before deciding to purchase the upgraded software. Starting to love the cloud. Once I get these two things figured out, my next project will be Email Marketing.

So, now instead of the Great Money Monster, I am dealing with the Great Time-Suck Monster!