The Many Hats of Self Employment

Being self employed comes with many benefits.  You can sleep in, work in your pyjamas and go shopping in the middle of the day.  You no longer have to report to a boss who doesn't really understand what you do or deal with mindless workplace politics.  It all sounds wonderful, but unfortunately there are also many challenges.  Small business owners have to deal with uncertainty and risk.  They need to be disciplined and deal with the many demands that being self employed can impose upon us.  In the early stages of self employment, most of us have to take on the responsiblity of fulfilling the administrative functions that you find in a more established business. Some of the skills that you need to develop are:

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8 Inexpensive Ways to Build a Client Base

Perhaps the most daunting aspect of starting a new small service based business is building a client base.  On the other hand, there is nothing quite so exciting as getting those first few clients. 

When trying to generate new business, it is important to cast a wide net as you never know where potential clients may be lurking.  There are many ways to build a client base, even with limited resources.  I have outlined some below:

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24 Cost Effective Ways to Promote Your Small Business

 

After thinking long and hard you have decided that is time to launch your own business.  You have a great product or service, you’ve come up with a compelling business name, all the paperwork has been filed and you have picked out the perfect location (or setup a snazzy new home office).  Everything seems to be set for your new independent life as a business owner.  And then you realize that nobody except your spouse and cat knows about your new venture.   So, how do you bring your fabulous new product to your target market's attention?  One way is to use the “build it and they will come” approach.  This is usually not particularly effective (even Google, who historically launches products with little fanfare, could benefit from a little more marketing).  The other, more effective approach is to get out there and promote your business.  Of course in the initial stages, marketing budgets tend to be miniscule.  On the other hand, many new business owners have time on their hands, while they wait to be deluged by orders.  Below is a list of 25 cost effective ways to promote your small business:

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Are You Ready For Real Estate Moguldom? The Business and Tax Implications of Owning Rental Property

From the Rothschild family to John Jacob Astor to Donald Trump, a great many fortunes have been made in real estate.  Conversely, as was evidenced in 2008 with the deflation of the housing bubble, many fortunes have also been spectacularly lost.   Fortunes aside, owning real estate is one of the best ways to build equity.  If you own your home, you are already one step ahead.  With rental property, you can further augment your net worth while, after investing the necessary down payment,  having the investment pay for itself (Leaving you free to move on to buying your next property).  This is not a decision to take lightly and there are several business and tax factors to consider before taking the plunge:

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Daily Spiel: Starbucks Logo, Duplicate Quickbooks Invoices, Promote your Small Biz Website

It's Not About the Starbucks Logo, Stupid

It seems that this picture is worth a lot more than a thousand words.  Starbucks removes Starbucks from it's logo and makes it more minimalist thereby joining the ranks of Nike, Apple and McDonald (explainersunnecessary).  This should allow them to change direction and pursue greater expansion opportunities.

Duplicating Invoices in Quickbooks

If you've ever wondered about how to duplicate an invoice in Quickbooks either because it is similar to another invoice or you want to create a recurring invoice :

Small Business Accounting Software for Canadians

There are actually two ways to do this:

1. Select the invoice you want to duplicate and click on Edit on your menu (or right click) on the invoice and select "duplicate invoice". Voila - you have a duplicate invoice.

2. Same as above, but instead of duplicate invoice select "memorize" invoice. A dialog box will come up asking you (among other things) "how often" to which you can select the appropriate time period (in your case it would be annually). You can then choose to either remind you when the invoice comes due or QB can automatically enter the invoice.

(Answered on Quora)

How to Promote a New Small Biz Website

Some great ideas for promoting your smalll business website.  Free options include signing up for Google analytics, setting up a business blog (search engines tend to rank websites with blogs higher) as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts.  Additionally, commenting on other blogs in your niche and answering questions on Yahoo answers and I would add on Quora and Business.com are other free and effective ways to improve your website exposure and establish yourself as an authority. 

 

14 Year End Organization, Financial and Tax Tips to Manage Your Personal Finances

As a chronic procrastinator I tend put all my non “attend to immediately” documents in baskets and boxes resulting in, at year end, a colourful array of documents.  There are letters, bills, invoices, receipts, statements and the occasional delivery menu that did not get filtered out.  The intention is to organize them, on a regular basis, in the near future.  In reality, this usually does not tend to happen until the end of the year.

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How to Forge a Successful Partnership

 


Finding the right partner, whether creative, life or business, can be a difficult endeavour.   Very few of the people that we interact with on a regular basis, no matter how much we like them are actually suitable partnership material.  Anyone who has been in a relationship can attest to this.    It can be difficult to escape the inevitable irritation that comes with knowing someone too well.  Potential partners, who seem perfectly compatible at the beginning, end up being too much like us or too different (or occasionally psychotic).   For a partnership to work, it is vital to sustain an attitude of mutual respect , trust  and compromise.  It also helps to not spend every waking moment together .  Both parties must recognize the value of each other’s skills and abilities and be willing to entertain their ideas, no matter how stupid they seem.  Additionally, an ideal partner should be compatible, but also different enough that they complement your skills and bring an alternative perspective to the table.   Conflict is often the spark that helps drive innovative thinking.  But conflict, as we know, can also result in irreconcilable differences.  As such, a good partnership should have its own built in conflict resolution.  As with any relationship it helps to have a good sense of humour as it can be invaluable in diffusing a tense situation.

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What is your Net Worth?

There comes a point in many people's lives when they want to find out what they are worth.  This is much more difficult to quantify on a metaphysical level; however on a tangible level most people can figure out how much wealth they have created over time.  The definition of net worth is, very simply, the total of all your assets (what you own) less your liabilities (what you owe).
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Accountant Shenanigans: David G. Friehling (Madoff Accountant)

Bernie Madoff accountant, David G. Friehling, was finally stripped of his license after being accused of falsely representing that the financial statement for Bernie Madoff Investment Securities, LLC (BMIS) were audited in accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and conformed to GAAP. 

Some of the more egregious GAAP and GAAS irregularities included:

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Accountant Shenanigans: Kenneth Starr

Kenneth Starr, accountant (not of Bill Clinton special prosecutor fame) and financial advisor to the stars, was indicted on June 10th for 20 counts of wire fraud and 1 count each of securities fraud, money laundering and fraud by an investment advisor.  He has been accused of stealing $59 million (and counting) from his clients. 

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Filing a Copyright

A copyright is defined by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) as " the exclusive right to copy a creative work or allow someone else to do so."  It applies to original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (including computer programs) as well as sound recordings. performers performances and communication signals.

Copyright generally exists automatically when an original work is created and is protected under copyright common law, so registration with CIPO is not necessary.  However, given the nominal fee, it is still beneficial to register as a) you receive a certificate which can be used as evidence of ownership and b)it helps others find the owner of a copyright.

An individual or corporation can register a copyright online or by downloading and mailing; the fees are $50 and $65 respectively.  This is a one time fee and no renewal is necessary.  CIPO encourages you to file the application online as it is faster (and cheaper).

Additional info available here.