This post is for anyone who wants a light-hearted look at what it's like being a freelancer in SAAS and being surrounded by buzzwords and industry disruption.
"Man's task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious."
Our environment affects our behaviour
If you work in the SAAS industry, especially in business apps, then you are surrounded by heaps of buzzwords like:
- Advisory services
- Change management
The list goes on.
There is also heaps of:
So what happens to your personality when your SAAS environment affects it?
What behaviours emerge from exposure to these factors?
How will it affect your life?
SAAS through the last 7 years
Hearing the words SAAS in the accounting industry today gives rise to commonly recognised brands such as Xero, MYOB, QBO online, Dropbox and G Suite.
But if you go back to say 2011, SAAS in the accounting industry was pretty much a misunderstood acronym as hardly anyone was using it.
Back then, 90-95% of the market used desktop (device-based) accounting software.
I started my accounting career in an accounting practice in 2008 with a sole practitioner who used Sage, along with Microsoft office for all the work arounds.
I never saw SAAS until around 2011; someone emailed a Dropbox link and I said:
"What the fXXk is this?"
Then I realised that I had been 100% trained on server based systems, with absolutely no understanding of SAAS.
Then about six months later in 2012, someone invited us into a Xero organisation, and then I said:
Within 12 months, I was employed at Xero.
What I did notice when I started at Xero was all these other apps the team was using, which were all SAAS.
From then on, my behaviour started to change.
With the emergence of SAAS has come the emergence of typical household devices, especially for a husband who is a freelancer, a wife who is also a business owner (with 20 staff) and two boys aged 6 and 8.
- 4 laptops
- 2 iPads
- 2 iPhones
I often find old phones at the bottom of my office desk drawer and wonder:
"Oh yeah, which phase was this phone from?"
"This one has more than one button, fXXk it must be old!"
"I wonder if I can sell it on eBay...but then again, how do I delete shXX first?"
Now, after the emergence of subscriptions in business, three years at Xero and around a year as a freelancer, my life is "Sassy."
I have subscriptions galore.
Here are some of my personal monthly subscriptions:
Probably everyone has Netflix and iTunes or some entertainment-type subscriptions, regardless of what industry you work in.
But what about your business?
Here are my monthly business subscriptions:
- G Suite
- DRIP email
- Office 365 (I have ended up with two and don't know which one is for PC or Mac)
- Pure Chat
My business apps
These subscriptions came with no instalment fees, just my own hours of peserverance.
The subscriptions contain access to support lines, which are generally via chat box or email. I never see anyone face to face (except when I go to a Xero event).
Now I am a freelancer, I work from home, cafe and car. I have no staff.
I do have a virtual digital marketing assistant who I pay every month. Everything else lands on my desk. The buck stops with me.
One of the largest expense items in my business income statement is "Cloud software", just short of "Travel" and "Advertising".
The typical annual costs are around $7,000 for the business apps listed above. Just short of $600 per month. The cool thing is, as my business grows, these costs will not rise much.
I could probably add my old Xero salary on as new revenue, and the extra subscription costs may add on another $100 per month. Another $1,200 per year gets me a massive return on investment.
This annual "investment" (positive way to describe cash outflows) provides me an amazing business system that is highly automated, with a little patchwork in between, which actually gives me huge amounts of space to work on the business and grow.
I could never have done this back in 2011. No way.
I have apps connected, talking, flowing and rejoicing with each other as I sit back and catch the end results.
I don't need staff to manage administration for me, my systems are set up properly. Things happen while I sleep.
My business is highly automated, my business if my life, but things have become blurred.
So what I have ended up with are some "behaviours" that I can only understand were caused by my new SAAS life.
Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing?
So I present to you some humorous examples of how I now think, in everyday life, given my automated SAAS existence.
Helping wife with the business
Wife - Hey, I need to give Zach some more hours so he can do these jobs for me at work, can we afford it?
Me - Are you sure about that?
Wife - About what?
Me - About paying someone.
Wife - What do you mean?
Me - Maybe you don't need to. There could be an app that automates it.
Wife - Automates? What does that mean?
Me - It's the meaning of life, automation.
Wife - You're a weirdo.
Me - No, you are.
Wife - No, you are.
Me - You are, times 20.
Wife - Go put that in a spreadsheet, Mr. Accountant.
Wife - Can you get the shopping please? I texted you a list of what we need.
Me - Okay.
Wife - Don't forget the XXXX.
Me - Okay, I just get embarrassed if I can't find them and have to ask for assistance.
Wife - Lol
Me - See you tonight.
Wife - Lol, have fun shopping, lol.
Me - Hmmmmmmm
I head off to the shops with text message in hand.
Strolling around the supermarket, not knowing where everything is, here are my thoughts:
Me - Why can't we have an app that shows which aisle each product is in?
Me - Why can't someone set up a recipe app that helps when buying one ingredient and notifying you about where the other ingredients are?
Me - I can't tick items off in a text message. Do we have a grocery app?
Me - Who invented supermarkets? They have no fxxking idea!
Wife wants a new CRM
Wife - I need a CRM. My appointment software doesn't have enough features.
Me - Yep.
Wife - Can you get it to sync with a CRM?
Me - Nope.
Wife - It's a pain.
Me - Yep.
Wife - What can I do?
Me - Find a new system on Zapier.
Wife - What is Zapier?
Me - The answer to these types of efficiency, automation and processing issues. It is a third-party integrator which connects apps via triggers and actions. It removes the need for manual intervention. Automate, automate, automate.
Wife - You weirdo.
Me - Yep.
Wife - Hey honey, don't forget you have an appointment with Dr Tass.
Me - Oh yeah, my health, forgot about that.
Wife - Last time, he was concerned about a few things.
Me - Nah, she'll be right.
Wife - Just go and see him, dumbass.
Me - Okay.
My thoughts after this conversation:
Me - Can't I just set up my health properly to operate without me? No need to pay anyone to do it? Surely I can set and forget it?
Me - Surely, a finely tuned health system will ensure everything operates efficiently?
Me - Why do I need a doctor, everything got set up properly first?
Me - There is just no need.
Holidays With Kids
Wife - Are you packed yet?
Me - It only takes me 10 minutes.
Wife - I hate you.
Me - Lol
Wife - Should we take the laptops?
Me - We probably shouldn't, let's try not to do any work while we are away; this is a holiday.
Wife - I agree.
Then we both wander off into the anxious thoughts of life without devices. Our hands start shaking, vision becomes blurred.
Wife - Look maybe we need them, you know, in case we need to find something.
Me - I agree, lets take them, just in case.
Wife - Okay.
Me - Don't forget the kids' iPads.
Wife - Yeah, but we don't want them playing them all the time.
Me - Yeah.
Wife - But then again, it's the only way to get a conversation in these days.
Me - They can hotspot off my phone.
Wife - Mine, too.
Me - Sweet.
Wife - Hey honey, we need to decide which place we go to for tennis lessons for the kids. The term has started.
Me - Okay.
Wife - There are about three to choose from. They all seem to have the same types of lessons and tutors.
Me - Which ones have free trials?
Wife - Not sure, I think Snape Tennis does, as well as Coogee.
Me - Are they 7 days, 14 days or 30 days free?
Wife - What?
Me - The trial period. Who has the longest free trial period? Before you need to enter your credit card details.
Wife - The first lesson is free.
Me - That's weird.
Wife - Why? They charge per lesson, not per month.
Me - Oh yeah, good point.
Wife - Honey, where are you working today? I need you close by Maroubra to pick the kids up from school.
Me - I'll be working from a cafe.
Wife - Which one?
Me - Which ever one has the biggest tables, those two-seaters can't fit a 15.6-inch laptop, a mouse, a cappuccino and a plate of scrambled eggs. I need a four-seater.
Wife - Really?
Me - Yep.
Wife - Hey honey, don't forget the school disco is on Friday night.
Me - ShXX.
Wife - You forgot, didn't you?
Me - It's not in my Google calendar.
Wife - It's in the Skoolbag app.
Me - That app is shXX; it doesn't sync with my calendar properly.
Wife - No, it works; you just need to read it.
Me - Why can't the school make a 30-second explainer video?
Wife - Honey, as if they have time for that.
Me - All businesses should use videos. It's much easier to get the message across. This school is behind the times.
Wife - They are not. I've seen more schools than you; this one is pretty good.
Me - I got kicked out of school, lol.
Wife - Grow up.
Me - You grow up.
New Credit Cards
Wife - Hey honey, the new credit cards arrived in the post.
Me - ShXX, have the other ones expired?
Wife - I guess so.
Me - ShXX.
I now take a photo of the front, the back and save it to favourites because I know I will need to re-enter it 25 times for each SAAS over the next 30 days.
Wife - Why are you photographing the new credit cards?
Me - So I can enter them into my SAAS when they say the old ones expired.
Wife - But what if someone steals your phone?
Me - ShXX, I didn't think of that.
Doing the washing
Wife - Honey, did you hang out the washing? I need the blue dress tomorrow.
Me - ShXX, I forgot.
Wife - You suck.
Me - The washing machine doesn't have notifications when it's finished, nor does it sync with my Google calendar.
Wife - Devices and apps don't do everything for you. You need to think, as well.
Me - Yeah, right. Good point. Sorry, honey. How about the brown dress?
So there you go
That's what has happened to me over the years.
Jung was right.
Become conscious of the unconscious.