Dec 18


 Network Antics works with independent contractors to fill IT and admin positions. Invoicing and project time tracking are handled through Zoho Invoice.

 Contractors are required to bill Network Antics on a retainer basis. The retainer system is often used in legal and accounting billing; a client pays an advance fee for the work to be done, and the contractor provides invoices detailing the work that has been completed.

Part One: Configuring Zoho Invoice

 In order to create retainer invoices, timesheets and zero-balance invoices (which indicate that work has been completed), you’ll need to create a Zoho account. The Invoiceapp can be used by vendors and subcontractors to track payments, expenses and contacts. The Books app is geared toward small businesses and includes additional features.

Setting up an account

  1.  Visit https://www.zoho.com/us/invoice/signup/to create a free account using a personal email address or linked social media account.Complete the following fields:
  2. Company Name – this should be the vendor/subcontractor’s name or d/b/a.
  3. Email Address – must be valid; a verification link will follow.
  4. Password
  5. Country –set to US by default.
  6. Complete the Organization Profile. This includes a minimum of the individual or d/b/a name and address; additional fields are available for logo, tax ID and date/time zone settings. Zoho will assign an internal ID number to each organization.

Configuring settings

  1. Click the gear icon in the top-right corner; this will open the Settings menu. Navigate to Settings > Preferences > General. Make sure that the Retainer Invoice module is enabled. Save your changes.
  • Navigate to Settings > Preferences > Branding. Within the Branding pane, navigate to the middle tab, Portal Settings. Customer reviews should not be enabled. Make sure that customers can view projects and timesheets and press Save.
  • Navigate to Settings> Templates > Invoices. Hover over the pictured invoice template; a blue Edit button will appear along the bottom.

In the Header tab, scroll down to the Document Information section. Make sure that the Project field is selected. Save.


Now your Zoho Invoice account is set up and configured according to Network Antics’ invoicing requirements.

Part Two: Beginning a Project

The customer in this illustration is NetworkAntics.  We hired you the subcontractor for a budget of whatever your hourly rate is x 10 hours.  


 Subcontractor agreed hourly rate is$25hr. His budget for 10 hours worth of work is $250.  The $250 budget will be created in the “project” AKA “timesheet”

It is time to submit a retainer invoice the budget is created within the project.  Follow the steps below for more detailed instructions.  

Network Antics pays the subcontractor upfront. The subcontractor is responsible for logging time spent completing work, and for creating invoices showing that the retainer has been subtracted from the amount the client owes the subcontractor. The retainer is no longer considered a liability in the subcontractor’s books, and can be recognized as revenue.

Before getting to work, you’ll need to create a contact, a project, a retainer invoice and a timesheet.

Creating a Contact

  1.  For each customer that you work with, you’llneed to create a new Contact. The details will then auto-fill when beginning new projects and creating timesheets for those customers. From the main blue ZohoInvoice Dashboard pane, navigate to the Contacts pane. Create a new contact by filling the following fields:
    1. Primary Contact Person
    1. Company Name
    1. Contact email address – make sure this is the billing address for your client. ZOHO WILL SEND A CONFIRMATION EMAIL TO YOUR CUSTOMER UPON ENABLING PORTAL ACCESS BELOW.
    1. Contact phone number
    1. Currency– should be automatically set to USD.
    1. Enable Portal? – make sure the checkbox is filled. This must be enabled for all Network Antics transactions!
  2. To make edits, select the contact from the Contacts pane.

Creating a Project

  1. From the main blue Zoho Invoice Dashboard pane, navigate to the Timesheet pane. Create a new project by filling the following fields:
    1. Project Name – this should include client names and the date of the project (mmyy).
    1. Description– the number of hours of work that will be performed.
    1. Customer ame – select the Customer from the drop-down menu
    1. Billing Method – select “Based on Project Hours” from the drop-down menu.
    1. Check toadd budget for this project – this box should be checked; two more fields will appear.
  • BudgetType – select “Total Budget Cost” from drop-down menu.
    • TotalBudget Cost – the total that will be billed on the retainer invoice: the number of hours to be worked multiplied by the hourly rate.
  • Add Tasks to the project. It can be helpful to create a different task for each customer client or for each distinct phase of the project at hand. Include a short description. The Billable checkbox should be filled by default. Save your project.

Creating a Retainer Invoice

  1. From the Timesheet pane, select the project you want to create a retainer invoice for.
  • Once you have opened the project, click New Transaction and Create Retainer Invoice.
  • Complete the following fields:
    • Customer Name and Billing Address – should be auto-filled with Customer info.
    • Retainer Invoice Number – Zoho will auto-generate numbers.
    • Retainer Invoice Date
    • Description – “$__.00 in prepaid hours”
    • Amount – the total amount due; the number of hours of work that will be performed multiplied by the subcontractor’s hourly rate.

Save and Send to submit the retainer invoice for payment. Zoho will generate an email with the retainer invoice attached as a PDF. The email will also include a link to the Zoho customer portal, where the timesheet for the project and other details are visible. You’ll have a chance to edit the email before sending. 

Creating Log Entries on Timesheet

  1. From the Timesheet pane, select the project you are working on. The project should be one of the most recent projects with hours not billed to NetworkAntics yet.  You should consider setting up a new project for the same budget and send another retainer invoice once you billed 80% of your hours.  
  •  Click the blue Log Time button. Each log entry should include the following:
    • Date
    • Project Name – select from the drop-down menu if not auto-selected.  The project name should automatically populate if you clicked in the project. 
    • Task Name– if you already entered this when creating the project, select from the drop-down menu; if you are working on a new NetworkAntics client,create a New Task andtype the business name. 
    • Time Spent – the time is based on .5 and 1 hour increments.  Minimum of two hours billed for on-site work.  Please make sure all tickets are updated possibly closed during your time on-site. 
    • Notes –copy the Zoho ticket subject line and ticket number from Zoho desk ticket. Submit aquick blurb of that days description of work.  Full documented support details of the work performed are written into the ticket itself, not here.  
  • Save your log entry and get to work!


Recording Payments and Creating Invoices

Once you have exhausted the pre-paid hours billed on a retainer invoice by completing work and logging your time on the project timesheet, you’ll need to create an invoice.


You may be thinking, “but I’ve already created an invoice.” As a reminder, a subcontractor who has received a retainer payment but has not yet completed the deliverable work remains liable to their client; the subcontractor cannot recognize the payment of a retainer invoice as profit until the outlined work has been finished and an invoice has been delivered to the client as a form of transaction receipt.


Creating an invoice in Zoho Invoice is simple. The steps are similar to creating a retainer invoice, but requires that the budget for the project has been exhausted. This means that the number of hours billed on the retainer invoice must match the “billable” time logged on the project timesheet. If you sent a retainer invoice for 10 hours, you cannot send an invoice until you have completed and logged 10 hours of work.

Recording a Payment

After submitting a retainer invoice, you will receive pre-payment for the work to be completed as outlined. In order to create a zero-balance invoice (and in order to keep accurate records for yourself as a subcontractor!), use Zoho Invoice to record the payment.

  1. Navigate to the Retainer Invoices Select the retainer invoice for which you have received payment.
  2. Click Record Payment.
  3. Complete the form by filling the following fields:
    • Customer Name – should auto-fill with project details.
    • Amount Received – should auto-fill.
    • Payment Date – the date that the payment was received.
    • Payment Type – select payment type from drop-down menu (usually a check).
    • Reference – include the check number for your records.
  4. Click the blue Record Payment button to save your changes.

Creating a Zero-Balance Invoice

  1. From the Timesheet pane, select the project you are ready to create an invoice for.
  2. Once you have opened the project, click New Transaction and Create Invoice.
  3. Fill in the following details:
    • Bill up to – date
    • How to sort data on invoice – select “Show all timesheet entries individually” from the drop-down menu.
    • Show in item name – select “Project Name” from the drop-down menu.
    • Show in item description – add all remaining fields.

  4. Save and send to submit your invoice to billingteam@networkantics.com.



Zoho Books

Your client's operations billing person should be adding your user account to each new client project created for NetworkAntics.  Please email operations if you are servicing client and you do not have access to there timesheet.  

Creating log entries on Networking client’s timesheet

Copy and paste all entries made in your own timesheet to the clients timesheet.  The task options are different. Typically projects performed on-site or remotely are specialist.   Have the client submit a ticket to the support email address for basic help desk needs as your time is more valued.  Please create new tickets for the client if additional projects (not help desk) are demanded of you.  Record additional tickets in a separate billable entry. 

Dec 17

Solopreneurs and or individuals with a very, very small Ma and Pa shops who decide to start a business with limited capital and month to month cash flow trim operating cost wherever possible and typically, do not have the ability to run payroll nor do they see the value in it.  The businesses that can pay a fix amount to the employees do so by taking a draw and save 30% for their quarterly estimated taxes.  Then there’s the rest of us, every dollar that comes in goes straight back out to make the business function; and any change left over goes to beer, bread, and rent.   After 5 years of being in business full time, we implemented a payroll system for several reasons.

  • I owed $20,000 in back taxes due to never having enough money saved to pay them off every time April 15th
    • Every year tacked on another $4000 to $6000 in taxes in ever expanding installment agreement with the IRS. I was advised not to pay the IRS until the end of the tax year because I need the cash liquidity for my own personal needs.  This is true but it left me with a very large hole to dig out of.  Now I’ve implemented a $55mo payroll system that automatically deducts individual and business taxes so I don’t have to.
  • My bookkeeping became a nightmare.
    • I kept performing transfers or draws to my individual account any time I needed money in increments of $250, give or take $50 because I never knew where the next check would come from.
  • I could better predict my income and thus budget appropriately.
    • With the advent more and better clients I became more comfortable with a fixed 40 hours at initially 18hr. Not much at the time but I knew it would cover my nut and I could finally start paying down my installment agreement the IRS.

Payroll Service Options

  • The local Payroll Company
    • I didn’t see enough value to go that direction
  • Intuit Payroll
    • It’s very popular amongst my client but I saw more value and exciting features in Gusto and SurePayroll
  • Gusto
    • Very pretty and intuitive interface. The customer service is terrible and with my cash flow issues; and their inability to perform very small window (2 business days) direct deposits made for a huge disappointment.
  • SurePayroll
    • I do not like that it’s owned by Paychex but that’s my personal issues with corporate. The interface is pretty clunky, pricing is reasonable but not cheap, customer service is awesome, and the direct deposit from the point an individual completes his work week period to the point those hours end up in a direct deposit is quite quick.

About SurePayroll

Payroll can be a nightmare in SurePayroll if you don’t know what you are doing.  We created some basic steps for not only making sure you get your money in a timely manner but extra money when you need it.   SurePayroll direct deposits into individual or personal checking are generally a lot quicker than Payroll services such as Gusto.  Their customer service is phenomenal too.  I advise use to take advantage of  the 1-877-956-SURE when you are in a jam.


Payroll Processing Times

You just need to approve payroll by 2 p.m. two business days before your employees are paid.

I.e. It’s Wednesday December 27, 2017.  We need to process before 2p on Wednesday for it to process the deposit later that week on Saturday.


SurePayroll Basics


We are all make mistakes when processing payroll or forget to process in a timely manner; and thus, you have payroll time outs.  Then, you have to log back in to the payroll service.  Utilize the button below to the process from scratch.

SurePayroll DashBoard for 12/27/17

What could be potentially wrong with this picture?

  • Do you want the payroll period to be one week or two weeks?
    • Try to end the payroll on Friday regardless if it’s one week or two to initiate a earlier direct deposit date or “Check date”.
  • The “check date” is in 2018.
    • You can adjust the check date to earlier depending on when your pay period ends. Generally, this is not an issue unless you have cash flow issues.
  • You want to run a bonus check for 2017
    • Run a bonus prior to running payroll because the bonus will process at the same check date as your regular payroll.
      • Click “reset payroll” and run bonus check.









SurePayroll Bonus Check

A bonus helps you out for Christmas or any time you are in need of more money.










Separate Bonus Check

Click payroll, begin extra payroll.  You don’t an “additional check” if there is no customization












Run payroll and Bonus Together

The only reason you run a Bonus separate is that you need the “check date” or deposit date of the money to be processed sooner than the typical payroll check date.












Run Payroll – No Bonus


This for the owner who on paper works 40 hours but reality may be totally different.

Don’t Forget!   Click preview payroll but also click “approve payroll”  You should receive an email less than a minute after if you processed the payroll correctly.




Payroll Services Beginners Guide Summary

This payroll post give you some baseline knowledge to build off of.  From this point forward, I will add additional resources for more convoluted payroll scenarios.

Nov 17

Follow these steps if you are using Zoho Invoice or Zoho Books to invoice a client.   Note:  Most subcontractors use Zoho Invoice.  Zoho Books is used by bigger and more complex operations.  Go to the How to Guide for Creating Retainer Invoices first if you are on a pre-paid workflow.

Final step, Create Invoice

But I already created an invoice?  No, you created a retainer invoice.  That’s a liability on your balance sheet until you have exhausted those ten hours on your time sheet.  Remove the liability by completing the obligated time and then create a invoice with zero balance due.  This invoice doubles as itemized receipt to your client.  They will know exactly what work was completed if you follow the steps below.  The only way to create a "zero balance due" is to have the billable time match your budgeted time.

When do I create an  invoice if I already created a retainer invoice?

Your budget on your time sheet (project) must be exhausted for you to create invoice.  Have you completed your budgeted time on your time sheet (project)?  Make sure you add all billable time entries on your invoicing system and your clients.

Where in Zoho Invoice do I create an invoice?

Go to "Time Sheet" on the left column and select the active project related to the retainer invoice you created.

How do I know what retainer is related to what project?

Go to "sales" and select "retainer invoice" to see what latest retainer invoice you have sent to client but have not fulfilled the time for.   The "project name" should be listed on the retainer invoice.


How to sort data on invoice
-Show all time sheet entries individually
Show in item name
-Project Name

Show in item description
-Date Range
-Project description
-Task Name
- Task Description
-Time Sheet Data
-Timesheet notes
- Staff Name

3)  Zero Balance Due

Go to the top right corner of your existing Time Sheet for the ten hours completed, select “New transaction”, and create invoice.  Done

Creating Invoices Summary

Creating retainer invoices will you get you on the prepaid path to success.  It's really easy to do once this becomes muscle memory or bookmark this page to reference later.

Again, you should create a time sheet followed by creating a retainer invoice when billing your client or whoever you are subcontracting for.  That was all summarized in this lengthy discussion above.  Now you start the cycle again.  You only send (a zero balance due) invoice once you completed the hours on your time sheet.  Basically, you can invoice your client a zero balance due for your first retainer because you completed the hours that  they already paid you for.

Now that the zero balance due invoice was sent.  Start the cycle over by creating a time sheet.  Then a retainer invoice...

  • Timesheet
  • Retainer invoice
  • Invoice the first time sheet
  • New time timesheet
  • New Retainer Invoice
  • New invoice for the second time sheet
  • Rinse and Repeat
Oct 17


Do you have plenty of passwords to sites, subscriptions, bank accounts, and computers?  Do you struggle to keep up with all the passwords that are associated with your life or business?  The answer is most likely is yes unless you are completely off the grid living the lifestyle of a hermit.

More and more passwords and sensitive information related to those password credentials are accumulated as your digital foot print increases.  How can you be so sure that the platform you use is the most ideal and secure way for accessing your sensitive information?  There is no silver bullet for secured password management but we can discuss a lot of do’s and don’ts of password management.

Password Management Personalities

  • The pen and paper individual
    • This is the most common way. The paper typically gets lost and the notes on the paper become disorienting and nonsensical.  However, some people simply don’t use the computer enough or establish a proper workflow with the computer.   And therefore, the issues with using paper become just as bad in the digital world.
      • Recommendation: Pray for this person.  Document your own passwords if you work with them because this person is absolutely not dependable for password management.
    • Word or Google Doc individual
      • This is the second most common method for password management. I’ve seen a lot of people that use this method religiously but this workflow is a welcome mat for hackers to wreak havoc on your life.
        • Recommendation: Find a secured password management system.  We recommend a not as common platform.  Perhaps, non web dependent platform would give me a more warm fuzzy feeling of privacy and security.
      • The Phone App Password Management Program
        • This method is gaining a lot of momentum but with convenience, comes more security issues.
          • Recommendation: We recommend a not as common platform.  Perhaps, non web dependent platform would give me a more warm fuzzy feeling of privacy and security.


The Non Web Dependent Platform for Securing Your Passwords

There are plenty out there but one we have seen that is not heavily marketed or maintains a low profile in the market place.  It is secure and is pretty easy to use.  This management program we recommend is Keepass.  The Mac version that we recommend is Keepass X.

Keepass Illustration Tip For Mac


Keepass Does Not Sync

Yeah, yeah…  I know.  We have a workflow to prevent not too many headaches but here’s the ideal setup or workflow for you.

Keepass database file for Acme Widgets Inc

The individual or organization maintains their own copy called AcmePersonal.   Acme Widgets Inc. should simply request a updated database file emailed to them from time to time.   This database file is also known as the KDBX file.

Your IT Guy

They maintain a database file called AcmeIT or whatever name that will differentiate one database file from another.

Two Database Files for Keeping Passwords Safe

The IT guy maintains their own and you defer to your own for your own personal updates.  The two files can’t sync or merge but hey, it’s free; and people like it.  Again, have your IT guy email the latest and greatest database file.  Then save over the old IT database file.

The Do's and Don't(s)  of Password Management

  • Do keep meticulous notes
  • Don't have old notes lingering as if they are current.  Place a Zzz to note they may be somewhat relevant but otherwise inactive.

Keepass - Before








Keepass - After

Apr 17




Retainer invoices can be a great way of getting pre-paid for work and tracking those billable hours once you begin the work.  It is standard practice in the legal world and we are trying to bring it to the masses.   Your client in this situation could be an IT company instead of a law firm.  The client is called Big IT Company and they are utilizing your skills for a certain period of time or in this case, whenever the hours are exhausted for the current project.  A project can assist of billable entries for one or many clients.  In this example, we will use Bob from the illustration above as the sub-contractor for Big IT Company.   Bob the sub-contractor creates a Project also known as a Time sheet called Big IT Company - 10/17.  10/17 is in reference to the month and year the project was created.

NOTE:  Do not forget to include the date in the project name.  You will hopefully have more than one project.  The project name example is  "Big IT Company - 10/17".  Going forward, Bob may have another project in January 2018 with Big IT Company and he would therefore call it "Big IT Company - 01/18"  Save this post for future retainer invoices!

ProTip!  Do not skip ahead through at any point of this post.  You will aggravate Big IT Company because you have missed a step or two!!  Lots of illustrations are offered after the written directions.  It helps if you have dual screens.

The project has a budget of $250, also known as a "Total Project Cost" for your potential billable time.  Bob's rate per hour is $25hr.  At the rate of $25hr, Bob has a total of ten hours before $250 budget has been exceeded.

Summary --->  View picture illustration to the right

Project Name:  Big IT Company - 10/17

Description:  10 hours
Billing Method:  Based on project hours
Rate per hour:  $25hr
Budget Type:  Total Project Cost -->  $250


Billable Period on Timesheet (the green section)

The Retainer Invoice will contain the project name for Big IT Company to associate Bob's timesheet with the retainer invoice.  Bob's retainer invoice was paid as Big IT Company has noted on the illustration prior to Bob logging time on his timesheet for project Big IT Company - 10/17.


Timesheet Completed  (Orange section on above illustration)

Bob needs to send an invoice (separate from a retainer invoice) once Bob completes his time sheet.  The invoice is a receipt of  work completed from the exhausted timesheet.






Get Going!

Be your own Bob the subcontractor and get paid from the Big IT Company!

  1. Place this shortcut below on your desktop.   https://www.zoho.com/invoice/login/

2.  Signup for free Zoho Invoice if you have not done so already.  Utilize your own DBA or Name for creating an organization to do business with your clients.
For example, John would setup his own DBA like John Inc if he subcontracts for TechNerdsIT.com.

ProTip! - The Zoho Invoice support "chat" team can be utilized and is highly recommended if you are stuck trying to figure out how to create retainer invoices.

The Goal...

We want you to send your client a Retainer Invoice after creating a time-sheet.  We have failed this blog post if you did not accomplish this.

Enabling Retainer Invoice and Client Portal Features

You have to enable retainer features in "settings" and you must setup the portal too under "contacts" and below "other details" tabThe portal provides clients access to invoices and time sheets for your clients.  In Zoho invoice, click on the Setting “gear” icon on the right and go to “preferences” to activate the "retainer invoice" feature under "select the modules you would like to enable" and click save at the bottom.  The "portal" feature is enabled under every contact, client, and or customer you create in Zoho Invoice.  Further portal details can be found below.

ProTip!  Make sure you input the invoicing email address


















Showing Clients your TimeSheets and Invoices in the Portal

Within preferences, click on BRANDING and go to Portal Settings for viewing Time Sheet and Invoices.  It is the middle tab.  First copy the portal URL for distribution (email) to your clients within the Portal Settings like the example below.

Portal URL: https://invoice.zoho.com/portal/business_or_consultant_name


Again, please email the portal URL to your client and copy all the settings below from the picture under portal settings except portal name.  The portal name is your DBA.


This will allow the client to access the Time Sheets and Invoices in the portal once the following items displayed are checked off and saved from the illustration below.

  • Check mark everything but "enable customer review for my services"



Create your First Contact or Client

You will need this information completed under "contacts" for you to create a time sheet and send a retainer invoice.  Please enable portal for your client to view your time sheet while under contacts.


Add the Project Name to Your Invoice - Don't Forget!!!

We also need  “project” checked marked in the header section.  Then we will know what project belongs to what retainer.

Please go to Settings -> Templates -> Retainer Invoices -> Edit

Please go to Settings -> Templates -> Invoices -> Edit

Again, check mark  "project" in the "header" section.  The "header" section is on the top left of the page.  Scroll down once in the "header" section.  Don't forget to do the same for the "invoices" template.











Time Sheet and Retainer Invoice Creation and Submission

  1.  The Time Sheet

Let's create your first time sheet to again include the project name .  The project name includes the DBA of your client you are working for and the date you started.  ie. OfficeAntics - 1805.

Please back out of settings to go to the main panel if you haven't done so already.  Select Time Sheet from side panel and click on “new project”.  Input “company name" of the client you're performing services for – package name if you have one – and Year Month under "Project Name".  So the project name will include 1805 if today's date is 5/28/18.

Example:  "OfficeAntics - 1805"

The description is block of hours you are having the client prepay for your services.  Select customer name, the billing method is  “based on project hours” and the budget type is “total project cost”   ie 10 hours x 25hr = $250

New Project - Example

Description - 10 hours

Billing Method - Based on Project Hours

Budget Type - Total Project Cost


guide for creating retainers

















2)  Add Task Name

The time sheet tab needs “tasks” created as something generic like “task1” in the overview section of the time sheet.  In the example below, let's say Big IT company (the company you are subcontracted to) has Burger King, Lens Crafters, and Jenny Craig as clients.    "task1" would be an inappropriate name because you are working with multiple clients as a subcontractor for Big IT Company.  In this case add the DBA as the task name and or place task1 as a placeholder name until you become familiar with their client's names...

Example Task DBA:

  • Burger King
  • Lens Crafters
  • Jenny Craig

Zoho Timesheet

Add task Name




Then click on Burger King task if you assisted them that day along with a ticket number if you have a help desk system.


3)  Create Retainer Invoice

Once you have customized the time sheet, go to the top right corner of your new Time Sheet, select “New transaction”, and create "retainer invoice".  The default for the "project invoice information" should be sufficient.

Copy and Paste - "Description"

Copy and paste below; and adjust rate accordingly.

"$150 in prepaid hours.  When your account dips below $30, we will send you an email asking for replenishment or you will be billed at our standard hourly rate if you exceed the allotted prepaid hour’s amount."

or whatever your rate is...

"$1250 in prepaid hours.  When your account dips below $250, we will send you an email asking for replenishment or you will be billed at our standard hourly rate if you exceed the allotted prepaid hour’s amount."




Defaults selected should be ok.


Create retainer invoice







Click "save and send" when you are ready to deliver new retainer invoice to client.  Go to side bar tab "retainer invoice" to view your newly sent retainer invoice.





Start Logging Your Hours

Once you sent your first retainer invoice, add any business you work for under your subcontractor agreement to "tasks"  and start logging time accordingly.






Retainer 101 - Classroom knowledge

Retainer Invoice Statuses  - Paid Vs Drawn

Drawn means the amount of that particular retainer has been used.  Paid status will appear after a payment has been recorded for that retainer invoice.  Those retainer invoices are not yet used or hours on the timesheet not spent when those clients under retainer invoices say "paid".   The status with “Partially Drawn” if you used a partial retainer amount.  Drawn shows up after you invoice and display a zero balance due.  Your goal is to have drawn status and begin the cycle over of creating another Retainer Invoice.


Retainer Example

You have a customer with name A.  You are creating a retainer invoice for A and a payment has been made for that retainer.   Let's say the amount is $1250.  Now, for A he has an amount of $1250 with you.  You can use this amount in any invoice.  You can create 20 invoices for A.  Apply that $1250 in any of that invoice.  In our case, the $1250 is for our block of 10 hours.  We prefer to simply invoice after all billable hours have been exhausted from the $1250 amount.

Invoicing After Exhausting Hours

We broke this to into another how to guide for creating invoices not retainer invoices.  Invoices are simply a receipt of work but also fulfills the payment/billable work cycle.


Apr 17

This is a break down on billable hours to your employer and their clients from a subcontractor's perspective.  YOU are the subcontractor if you are reading this. Please READ completely.

Step 1)

Create easily accessible shortcuts on your desktop for the following websites:

Use Personal Email - Subcontractor Web browser (Chrome)

  • Zoho Invoicehttps://www.zoho.com/invoice/login/  (subcontractor invoice's employer)
    • Make sure you use your own personal email here for setup.
    • A 10 hour timesheet is created here followed by a prepaid retainer invoice
    • Add your employer's client time logged through your time sheet that’s affiliated with your 10 hour block retainer invoice (contact us for a request on setup training)

Use Employer Email - 1099 - Independent Contractor Web browser (Firefox)

  • Zoho Help Desk - https://desk.zoho.com/
    • Track open and assigned tickets here. Add the phone app once Zoho fix the notifications issue.  Your employer should send an invite through the employers company domain name email for agent setup.
  • Zoho Books as a subcontractor setup -  https://www.zoho.com/books/login/ (Time sheet for client)
    • Use your employers provided professional email account to set this up.
    • Your employer should send an invite through the employers company domain name email for user setup.
    • Bill the Company you are subcontracted to clients through the client's time sheet.  Your employer should provide access to each time sheet via email.

*** DO NOT CREATE A ZOHO BOOKS ACCOUNT if you don't need bookkeeping software and you just need to invoice.  Most subcontractors do not need this.

  • Zoho Books Portal Link
    • Use this link for portal access to client.  Your client is whoever you are subcontracting for.  You need this link to access their client's time sheets. - https://books.zoho.com/portal/Portal_Name_To_Be_Shared_To_subcontractors

Create easily accessible shortcuts to work with your client's help desk, their client's timesheet, and your own invoicing system.

Zoho Shortcuts

Step 2)

Go to Zoho Help Desk and review open and overdue tickets

3)  Add your time (1.5 hours as an example) accumalated throughout the lifecycle of the ticket that you are assigned.  Add the ticket # to your time sheet plus brief description .

4)  Private vs Public Comments on Tickets

  • Private Comments – Internal discussions not disclosed with client.
  • Public Comments – Updates to client

Please keep the public comments flowing.   Avoid idle tickets.

4)   Return back to Zoho Invoice follow by Zoho Books to log time on your time sheets.

5)  Reissue a new 10 hour retainer once prior hours are almost exhausted.

Creating a Billable Workflow

Once you have configured Zoho Invoice, created a project and submitted a retainer invoice, it’s time to get to work… but what will you be working on?


We use Zoho Desk to handle IT support requests, referred to as tickets. NA’s clients may request assistance or report bugs; starting January 2019 NA’s level 1 and 2 support  team will receive   Tickets at our support email address.  The local San Diego support team will be dispatched to resolve any escalated issues or new projects. Please take the initiative to assign yourself tickets if you are available and you’re experienced enough to handle them.  Research the existing knowledge base and SOPS in IT Glue to see if you have the required information to handle certain tickets. 


We use Zoho Books for invoicing clients in the same manner that subcontractors use Zoho Invoice to bill NA for their time working. In order to accept projects, communicate internally and create accurate timesheets & invoices for NA’s clients, you’ll need to set up Zoho Desk and Zoho Books on a separate browser from your Zoho Invoice and your personal webmail.  

Setting up Zoho Books and Zoho Desk

Michael or Bethany will send invitations to your professional email address. Follow the links in each email to create a Zoho Books subaccount (we are the primary account holder) and a Zoho Desk account.


In our experience, we have found support individuals struggling to manage email from webmail.  It is critical you download a mail client of your choosing for the desktop and we strongly recommend Outlook Mobile for the phone.

Zoho Desk Mobile app is an essential app for keeping on top of correspondence coming through the ticketing system.

LogMeIn client needs to be installed locally for supporting all the clients remotely

All the applications are required for working with us.


There should be plenty of invitations for all these services in your NetworkAntics mailbox including Grasshopper phone system.  The NetworkAntics support team is not allowed to send or receive clients calls outside of our phone system. Phone calls outside of the system are grounds for termination of contract.

Agreement and payment

Don’t sign the agreement until you read it completely, fully understand all the services  utilizes, and the workflow for supporting clients.  Please email operations stating three dates / times for additional training.

Apr 17


Everyone needs a set of go to applications for being productive.  I generated a list of mine for you all to enjoy. Yeee!

Office 2010

Still no reason for me to upgrade.  Follow this Outlook guide if you do intend to wipe your OS and start over.  The licensing for later suites is not as good and the same applies to their software.  However, authenticating to Office 365 is really easy.


Forget IE, although it does come in handy from time to time for compatibility issues.  These two browsers are preferred.  Chrome contains Adobe Flash and Firefox isn’t Google or Microsoft.


  • FoxIt Reader – Less annoying updates than Adobe Reader

Cloud File Storage Drive

  • Cloud Station Drive – Access File Server documents and collaborate my coworkers
  • Google Drive


Handyman IT Tools

Remote Accessibility

Secure Your Passwords

Windows Store Apps

  • Wunderlist – To Do List
  • MiraCal – Pretty looking calendar but doesn’t allow invites
  • One Calendar – Functional but not pretty

Video Recording, Editing, and Players

  • CamStudio - Screen recording for video presentations
  • Camtasia - Blurring sensitive data on screen recordings
  • VLC - Video player that contains popular codecs

MultiFuction Fax and Printer (MFP)

  • Canon Navigator EX 5.1 - Love the scan features of the software despite its age


  • Trillian – I’m currently looking for a better messenger aggregator



You can never have enough backups


  • Hitman Pro for realtime malware protection
  • Malware Malbytes for a good scan again malware
  • Defender or MS Essentials if you are trying to meet compliance. Eset or Avast for something a little more sophisticated for protectoin


SaaS Programs

  • Zoho Books – Try it here if you don’t have it.
  • Zoho Invoice – Don’t need bookkeeping? Try it here if you don’t have it.
  • Capsule CRM
  • Zoho Desk
  • Evernote – scratch notes and more
  • Zoho TimeSheets (Part of Zoho Books and Invoice)
  • Synology Diskstation
  • PandaDoc – For agreements to issue to new and existing clientele
  • Zoho Sales IQ - Web Chat

Blogging and Instructional Time

Latest Synology Cloud Station Apps located here.





Mar 17

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