We all like things that keep us organised and on track. I’m no exception. I love being organised. I track time, I track invoices, I have spreadsheets for suppliers, I have a CRM system to keep up-to-date with clients, I carefully retain all receipts, I run reports. In a nutshell, I am a complete, Class A, organisation geek.
But what I love even more than being organised is being organised with very little effort.
So having all these systems and checks was making me a bit stressed. And I don’t like stress. I like streamlining. So when several colleagues starting talking about LSP.expert being the solution to all their organisational problems I jumped on it faster than a vegan on an avocado brownie (which is pretty fast, take it from someone who knows.) But even through my excited sign up to the free trial (<–bonus, huh?) I was aware that my condition might thwart LSP.expert’s success. Condition, I hear you ask? Is it serious? The answer to that question is yes. It is serious.
I suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome.
Anyone else? Does anyone else have (at any one time) approximately eleventy bajillion tools, tricks, hacks or hair raising schemes that are all designed to make you smarter, quicker, richer or more productive? Yeah. Me too. I sign up for All The Things. I am a serial link clicker, newsletter subscriber and tool downloader.
If my life was any more hacked it’d star in its own slasher movie.
And yet, and yet, here I was again, signing up for something else. Something else that promised to make my life better and brighter and sleeker and shinier.
So did it work? You know what? It only bloody did. In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to tell you what I’ve been using it for. I’m only going to review the things I’ve personally done with it, though I know there are tons of other cool features that I haven’t explored yet (if they’re useful I’ll flag them up though). That seems to me the fairest and most honest type of review. If you can’t be arsed to read about all those shiny, life-enhancing features, then that’s cool….but you might then want to scroll to the bottom, as there’s a nice little dealio to check out. Just sayin’.
So what does LSP.expert do?
You know, I could just flake out and say “Everything” (which is pretty much the truth), but instead I’ll say what I’ve been using it for, and then elaborate:
Managing (and keeping on top of) jobs
Storing client details
I mean, that’s quite a list. Be honest, how many of your separate tools would that render unemployed? Let’s go through them and have a look at how it does what it does (and how it might help you be a teensy bit more
attractive successful organised (sorry, got carried away.)
I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about whether LSP.expert would be able to help me, as I’m not a “regular” translator. What do I mean by that? Well, for a start, I don’t just do translation; I do copy and content writing, training, social media and marketing consultancy, professional standing around at networking events…I kinda wondered if it would work for me as my projects aren’t charged per word, they have many different phases, for different things like Facebook ads, social media campaigns or entire website transcreations. I work on a retainer basis for over 50% of my clients…how would that work?
Turns out, I needn’t have worried.
LSP.expert lets you create jobs with tons of different variables. You can add multiple service types. For example, I have:
Social media writing
You can also add different units to the job, so you could set the unit to suit how you charge. Perhaps you charge by the word, the hour, the Facebook post, the project…you really can set it to whatever you want. Here’s a peek at the “Add a job” page, which is where you, um, add a job.
You can see that it’s pretty intuitive and self-explanatory. You can easily add in the job details, selecting from dropdowns or type free text.
What I really like is how you can add different variables right from the screen you’re on, instead of having to leave what you’re doing, add the new thing, and come back.
(Side note: does anyone else then completely forget what they were doing originally if they have to faff about like that?) These jobs then appear on your list of Jobs screen which you see when you log in. Point to note – these jobs form the basis for tracking your work, but importantly they are also used when you create a quote or an invoice. This took me a little bit of getting used to, because I am stupidly superstitious. I don’t even create a new client folder for a prospect until they’ve signed on the dotted line. This meant that having to create a job before I’d won the work seemed a bit presumptuous. But that’s probably just me, you’re almost certainly more normal and balanced than I am 🙂
Once you’ve created a job it appears on that front page I mentioned, and once it’s there you can click into it and add information like its progress, i.e. its percentage completion, its status…
(Created/In progress/Finished/Invoiced/ Cancelled/On Hold)
…as well as whether it’s a fixed price or time-based task. You can also assign it to another supplier (say, for example, if it’s a job you’ve needed to outsource.)
If you’ve created a quote or an invoice for it, that’ll automatically show. One point I’d make on that which I’d like to raise with LSP.expert is, if (like me), you invoice in advance, it’d be great if there was an option to show that yes, it’s invoiced, but it is still in progress, as the progress part automatically greys out if you select “Invoiced.”
You can also track your time on the job…but I haven’t used that particular function yet, so I can’t comment on its efficacy.
Storing client details
This part is pretty simple and self-explanatory, but I’ll go through it just in case. This is the part of LSP.expert where you add in all the contact details and other relevant information pertaining to your clients and suppliers. You click on the People item on the top menu, select whichever you want from Clients or Suppliers, and it’ll bring you to this page if you’re creating a Client:
From this screen you can add all the relevant information about the client. You can also add the services you perform for them (which will then automatically appear when you’re generating a job for this client) and add all their rates.
Crucially, for translation jobs, you can also add in your rates for repetitions and fuzzy matches.
I’m a super meanie and don’t offer discounts on repetitions or matches (not even if they cry) so I hadn’t actually used this service…but, because I like you guys, I played around with it and it turns out it is so easy to do. Just add your service (Translation, in this case) and set your rate and the unit (words or characters) and then once it’s created, you’ll see this screen:
Click on the left hand side icon (when you hover on it it’ll say “Update matches”) and it’ll then allow you to start updating your rates for matches – you can set the percentages and the rates. Again – I have not used this part of the tool myself, I’ve only just played around with it, but it was extremely easy to do.
Another handy feature is the ability to track your marketing activities with your clients. You can keep a record of when you were in touch, what you discussed and next actions. I’m not sure yet if it’s possible to add an alert for when you should next contact them, but I’ve emailed LSP.expert to find out (oh, and that’s another good point – they’re extremely responsive and happy to help.)
Getting paid is pretty much my favourite part of my job. But I’m not going to lie.
I hate invoicing.
Some people love it…I loathe it. It’s just a big faff, and I have to look up all the details and think of the conditions of the job, like when it started, when it completed, the rates, all the different tasks….I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, it’s not like you don’t know. Anyway. I always put it off. Now, in the interests of complete honestly, I am not going to make mad statements like “LSP.expert changed my life – now I love invoicing!” Because that would be a lie. I still hate invoicing.
But LSP.expert did take a lot of the pain away.
Because of all the data you store about clients, jobs and rates, creating an invoice is actually really simple, and is (genuinely) just a few clicks. You can also set your invoice template, and add in all your contact details, logos, Tax IDs, billing information, payment terms and policies, currencies…and you can email it right from the tool. Which I like A LOT. In fact, I might do a post in the future on how to set this all up…if that would be useful? Once you’ve sent your invoices, you can update the tool with when they’ve been paid, and this feeds right into the reporting tools. Handy!
LSP.expert also lets you create quotes for new projects. As I said up-post, you do this by adding a new job, and this forms the basis for your quote. I haven’t yet used this feature, as I design full quotes for each client on Canva….but that’s really just because it’s what my (type of) clients expect. For the majority of freelancers, a tool to create quotes will be extremely helpful.
One of my favourite functions of LSP.expert has got to be its reporting capabilities. I love most data. But my favourite sort of data is relevant data. Why?
Because relevant data is data I can actually use to improve my business and achieve my goals.
You can run reports on sales by client, turnover, profit and loss, tax summary, expenses, exchange rate loss and gains….it really is one of the most comprehensive lists of reporting functions I’ve seen. One important thing to mention at this point, though, is data quality.
The reports you produce are only as good as the data you input.
If you don’t track things, LSP.expert won’t have anything to report on. So first of all you’ll need to input the data. But luckily that’s easy, you can add expenses by clicking on the Accounting menu item and selecting Expenses from the dropdown. You’ll then see this screen:
Then you fill in all the details and click add. You can also link expenses to jobs and create a new expense directly from an outsourced job.
Would I recommend LSP.expert?
I think it’s fairly obvious what my response to that question would be. Yes, I would heartily recommend the tool to any translator (or freelancer, in fact, as it has so many useful features), as it’s so perfectly tailored to our work. Having said that, it’s not my words that tell you that I like LSP.expert, it’s my action. One action, specifically:
After trying LSP.expert for a day, I cancelled my subscription to my accounting software.
I’d had it for several years, but I found it just didn’t offer me the same functionality as LSP.expert, and certainly not the relevant functionality, to my profession. As you’re probably aware, lots of translators are using (and loving) LSP.expert, so they’re definitely doing something right. You can always do what I did and try it out for free, play around with it, add some clients (it lets you import client lists in .csv so it’s super simple) and create some jobs. See if it suits your business.
Also, as I’ve said, there are tons of cool features that I haven’t yet explored, like…
CAT tool link up (so you can link your document analyses into your quotes & invoices)
Team function (for your collaborations with other freelancers)
Generate purchase orders (very handy when you outsource)
Manage supplier availability (great for project managers)
Um, Jo, you mentioned a deal?
Yes. The deal. Sorry, I got carried away. The kind people at LSP.expert (Caroline & Cedric, in case you don’t know them) are not only almost instantaneous in their responsiveness, it turns out they’re super generous too, so they’re offering….
15% discount on a year’s subscription to LSP.expert using code SILVERLSP
All you have to do it visit the LSP.expert site, sign up to the free trial and then, when you want to sign up to the yearly subscription (which I’m pretty certain you will), just enter SILVERLSP to receive the 15% discount. That’s it!
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m loving the tool, so I hope you get as much value out of it as I do. I’d love to hear about your experiences, as ever! Comment with any of the challenges you face in your productivity and organisation, and how you’re overcoming them!
What’s in this for you, Jo?
As you know, I’m big on honesty and transparency, so I want to make it clear at this point that I reviewed LSP.expert and then, only after I decided it was a tool I’d be willing to recommend, did I start to negotiate the deal for my blog readers. It’s the first time I have ever done an official review on my site, so you can be assured that I didn’t enter it into it lightly, and I would not have featured it here if I didn’t think you’d find value in its proposition.