These are the Macs that made HustleBooks

HustleBooks customer number one is me.

I developed our spreadsheet-apps, Hub and Project, over the course of 10+ years. I used them to run finances for my web and video business for two years full time. And I have continued using them ever since with my web and video side hustle work.

I’ve saved thousands of dollars. I own my platform. And I can quickly access financials for any year of my business, in seconds, online or offline. And you can too!

These sheets have served me well. Year after year.

❤️🍏 In that time I’ve had many long-term relationships with many Macs.

Even though my journey has had me clicking around many a Dell and other PC’s I always keep returning to my first love.

Today we take a trip down memory lane and reflect on my journey with spreadsheets and Macs. It’s a love story. And it’s the history of HustleBooks.


The PowerMac G3

PowerMac G3 I met my first modern Mac at college. I was not happy about it. I was a PC guy back then.

A professor heard me griping about it as I built graphics for our nightly live-TV newscast.

PowerMac G3 - a Mac that made HustleBooks

He advised me to take this opportunity to learn with what was in front of me, and have an open mind. He was right. And I grew to love Macs. Thank you Professor Bob Ritchie. 🤜💥🤛


PowerMac G4

The PowerMac G4

Imagine my delight when I returned to college after a great summer and walked in to a computer lab full of these beautiful futuristic-looking G4 towers.

I learned Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Flash 👴🏼 on these.

After graduation I bought and learned Final Cut Pro. I gained and honed the skills to run a business and get a creative job with this Mac.

Over time, I also started finding creative uses for Excel spreadsheets that most of my peers thought were nerdy. But I knew better.


The iBook G3

At my first job I worked on a Dell. But also on my desk was my beloved used iBook G3. On this Mac I really grew my spreadsheet skills.

Sure, I loved Apple. But I also loved at least one thing Microsoft made…Excel.

iBook G3

I realized even more during season in my life how spreadsheets were really creative tools. First, I had a sheet for tracking billable hours and client work. Later, I had a sheet for organizing all my Mini-DV tapes into a detailed library as an up and coming (wannabe) filmmaker.

Other filmmakers, I noticed, struggle to find their footage. But with my sheets I always knew which tape at which timecode had what I needed. I spent 30 minutes on re-edits, while others spent days shuffling tapes. Sheets gave me a competitive edge as a video editor and director.


PowerMac G5

The PowerMac G5 🤯

At my second job I truly arrived. I was editing video and building the occasional website. And I was doing it on a shiny new G5 tower!

Even better, I had the unimaginably huge 23-inch pro display. And I had a first generation high definition video camera! (We still did most projects in standard def, good thing for the G5, because, you know, these things ran hot and slow, so along came Intel 😏).

This is where the modern HustleBooks came on the scene. Two things happened at almost the same time.

First, I wandered my way in to building the first version of what we now sell as the ‘Hub’. We needed a way to manage ’traffic’. Quickly track clients, job status and a few other business vitals. We needed something easier than QuickBooks which the office manager struggled with at the time. I built a killer set of sheets. She liked my sheets better. We made a custom workflow for managing finances, only using QuickBooks for tax time.

Second, Google Docs came on the scene! We could upload our Excel sheets to Google Docs and two or three of use could use them at the same time! Real time collaboration on a sheet!? Impossible but true. We take this for granted these days.


This is one of the great things about HustleBooks sheet-apps. You can invite unlimited collaborators. Many cloud accounting solutions charge per user, not us. 

The iMac Core Duo 20-inch

As Intel Macs came on the scene, I eventually got one to replace my used G4 at home. It was much faster for video editing.

6 months later I left my job because I figured I could run my own video and web business. And I could!

iMac 20-inch

I was my own boss for two years.

This is where HustleBooks further evolved into what it is today. I further customized those sheets into an early version of ‘Hub‘ to run my books. And I developed what we now call ‘Project‘ to run each of my many gigs. I had tried using FreshBooks, and it was pretty cool, but the sheets I had already made could do the job. 

So I saved the hundred+ bucks in subscription costs and spent it on an amazing Zoom Handy H2 audio recorder which I’ve used on dozens and dozens of video projects for nat sound and voiceover work.

It was money much more well spent. I still have and use that audio recorder. But to access my data on Freshbooks I’d still be having to shell out ~$125 a year, even though I only do video work as a side hustle 3 or 4 months out of the year right now.

Another good thing about HustleBooks is that it’s geared towards side hustlers. Some side hustles are seasonal, or you might need to set them aside when your are too busy with other things for a few months. You don’t want never-ending monthly cloud accounting subscriptions if this is your use case.
Mac Pro

The Mac Pro

I felt like a boss when I upgraded to this big rig and gained more video horsepower for HD work. I made my short film ‘Head Up, Throttle On’ with this machine.

And yes, if you are wondering, I used quite a few custom spreadsheets on this project.

I used them to track time and expenses. I used them to keep tabs on film festivals I wanted to enter or was being screened at. All sorts of stuff. 

Spreadsheets are creative tools. Because the more organized you are, the more freed up you are to do creative work.

The MacBook Air (retina)

I finally got back in to the world of mobile computing when I started working at Sandhills Development. It’s been nice. The MacBook Air is pretty slick with it’s retina display and work-from-anywhere small size.

MacBook Air - the Mac where HustleBooks was born

The final phase of HustleBooks evolution occurred here and now on this slim little Mac. It’s while working at Sandhills Development and learning more and more about our amazing ecommerce plugin for WordPress –Easy Digital Downloads– that it dawned on me…

Other people could really benefit from my sheets!

I decided to polish up and sell my spreadsheet-apps as an affordable no-subscription way to help fellow side hustlers get off the ground. They’ve been great for me. They might just be great for you too!

Mac mini - a Mac that is making HustleBooks

The M1 Mac mini

And so our love story with Macs comes to an end.

Or really to a new beginning. I just picked up one of these new Apple-silicon Macs.

I like my MacBook air, but the integrated Intel graphics card is just not up to the task of modern video editing.

So I picked up one with the upgraded 16 GB of RAM. Have you read about these M1 macs?!? They are blazing fast.

Apple’s future is bright.

What they are doing with their next generation of computers is pretty astounding and exciting.

I plan to start making some very nice video tutorials for y’all on this Mac.

Wow. I took a lot of Macs to make HustleBooks. It is going to take several more, because we are just getting started in here!

HustleBooks future is bright too.

I’m still using (and improving) our sheet-apps every week. And a growing number of fellow side-hustlers are snagging them and getting their hustle on.

Get after it. Take that idea and start a business. We can help.

🔍 You can check out HustleBooks Starter for free.

🔍 Or you can just pull the trigger and grab you a Hub, Project, or both and save a few bucks with the bundle.

You’ll be on your way to running your side hustle or small business with a endlessly customizable alternative to expensive cloud accounting solutions. 

And monthly subscriptions!? Nah. 👎🏽

Put that money towards your next Mac! That’s what I’m doing.