Entrepreneurship http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4815/all en-US What Small Business Owners Can Learn From Top Forbes Entrepreneurs http://www.wisebread.com/what-small-business-owners-can-learn-from-top-forbes-entrepreneurs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-small-business-owners-can-learn-from-top-forbes-entrepreneurs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_fashion_designer.jpg" alt="Woman fashion designer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Successful entrepreneurs come from a variety of backgrounds, and their journeys start at different stages of life. But nearly all have lessons about how to create success that we can learn from.</p> <p>Forbes is continually shining the spotlight on individuals who have managed to overcome hardships and wind up on top. Whether you're starting out on your own entrepreneurial journey or just keen to know what goes into building a winning company, here are four lessons you can learn from top Forbes entrepreneurs.</p> <h2>Get your brand story right</h2> <p>Chris Pfaff, probably better known to MTV reality TV fans as &quot;Drama&quot; from his stints on two shows, followed an unusual path to entrepreneurial success. With no college education, no background in business, and no real idea of how to run a company, he started the streetwear clothing label called Young &amp; Reckless. Launched on the TV show <em>Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory</em> (Dyrdek is a professional skateboarder and Pfaff's second cousin), the line of T-shirts, tank tops, and accessories became profitable right away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Best States to Start a New Business In</a>)</p> <p>Despite its rapid success, the company later experienced setbacks as Pfaff experimented with different marketing techniques. Customers had come to associate the Y&amp;R name with the lifestyles of many of its early ambassadors: rappers, skateboarders, and BMX bike riders. But the company flubbed when it hired a celebrity who didn't have a story that fit the brand's carefree, &quot;reckless&quot; image. &quot;There was nothing reckless to tell,&quot; Pfaff told Forbes. It taught Pfaff that the most important thing about marketing is making sure it embodies the spirit of the brand. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Start Your Dream Business</a>)</p> <p><strong>The take-away: </strong>Your customers buy into your story as much as the product or service you're offering. If a marketing idea doesn't embody the brand, don't do it.</p> <h2>Failure is part of the game</h2> <p>Adam Pisoni is a great example of someone who has picked himself up after stumbling. Pisoni, a high school dropout, says naive optimism led him to launch a web design firm called Cnation in 1995, when he was just 19 years old. That optimism, plus hard work &mdash; Pisoni put in 100-hour work weeks &mdash; paid off as the company grew to 30 employees and over $2 million in sales. Cnation made its name by designing websites for large brands like CBS MarketWatch, Fox Interactive, Nissan of Japan, and Honda, earning the latter a Clio award for interactive design in 1997.</p> <p>But everything changed for Pisoni after the dot-com crash of the late '90s. As clients tightened their purse strings, he had to close Cnation &mdash; a devastating blow. But he used what he learned years later to co-found Yammer, a social networking service for enterprises. He helped grow the company, and in 2012 it was acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-starting-a-small-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business</a>)</p> <p>Since then, Pisoni has continued to &quot;bounce back,&quot; founding Abl Schools in 2015, a company that creates time and resource management software for secondary schools (and soon elementary schools). The young company has just raised $7.5 million in series A funding and has grown to 12 employees.</p> <p><strong>The take-away:</strong> Business and entrepreneurship comes with failures, but it's how you digest them that matters. Instead of allowing losses to consume you, take what you learn and implement your findings in future ventures. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-7-blogs-for-entrepreneurs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Top 7 Blogs for Entrepreneurs</a>)</p> <h2>Generous, fair benefits policies help retain workers</h2> <p>While it's become common for tech companies to provide perks such as Ping-Pong tables, free food, and errand-running services to coders and engineers, few extend those benefits to the low-paid employees who work in their warehouses and fulfillment centers. One notable exception: Boxed, an e-commerce company that offers mobile ordering and bulk delivery of products such as toilet paper, pet food, and toothpaste.</p> <p>Founder and CEO Chieh Huang treats all his workers the same. Not only do they get company shares and unlimited parental leave, Boxed also pays for employees' weddings and college tuition for workers' children. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Hire Your First Employee</a>)</p> <p>Those unique benefits cost tens of thousands of dollars a pop. But they're important to Huang. His immigrant parents worked menial jobs when he was growing up, and he always promised that if he started a business, he would treat his employees well. There's a business reason for this largesse, too. Turnover is costly and common among warehouse workers. It can cost up to $28,000 to recruit and train one, according to Bloomberg.</p> <p>The tactic may be working. Huang told CNBC that only 10 of Boxed's full-time employees have quit since the company was founded in 2013. That loyalty has helped build Boxed into a company worth over $100 million in revenue as of 2016. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Small Business Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p><strong>The take-away: </strong>Treating your employees well breeds loyalty that builds success for the whole company.</p> <h2>Bootstrapping is sometimes the best way to build a business</h2> <p>When starting a business, many entrepreneurs try to follow a familiar blueprint that they see as necessary for success. Come up with a unique idea, raise millions in venture capital funding, use that money to get the business on the map and, voilà, an initial public offering is just around the corner. But there are other ways to achieve this end goal, and not securing venture backing doesn't mean all hope is lost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a>)</p> <p>Take Little Passports, the educational subscription service that delivers activity kits to kids. Founders Amy Norman and Stella Ma failed to secure any venture capital when they started the business back in 2009, yet they persevered. They bootstrapped the company with their own savings and contributions from angel investors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-resources-for-female-entrepreneurs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">35 Resources for Female Entrepreneurs</a>)</p> <p>Without generous venture backing, they were forced to be very disciplined about hiring, marketing, and facilities decisions. Now they believe this path was a blessing, as it allowed them to grow the business organically at a sustainable pace that wouldn't have been possible with millions of dollars in venture capital. Today, with millions of loyal subscribers and a revenue of $30 million, they've proved all of their doubters wrong.</p> <p><strong>The take-away: </strong>Disappointments can be blessings in disguise. Using your own resources and hard work gives you a scrappiness that can pay off as your business grows. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-business-lessons-from-these-child-entrepreneurs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Business Lessons From Child Entrepreneurs</a>)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonBookmark" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20Small%20Business%20Owners%20Can%20Learn%20From%20Top%20Forbes%20Entrepreneurs.jpg" style="float: left; width: 30%; margin-right: 3%; margin-bottom: 0.5em;" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/TOP%20TIPS%20FOR%20SMALL%20BUSINESS%20OWNERS%20FROM%20TOP%20FORBES%20ENTREPRENEURS.jpg" style="float: left; width: 30%; margin-right: 3%; margin-bottom: 0.5em;" alt="" /> <img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Small%20Business%20Owner%20advice%20from%20Top%20Forbes%20Entrepreneurs.jpg" style="float: left; width: 30%; margin-right: 0%; margin-bottom: 0.5em;" alt="" /></p> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-small-business-owners-can-learn-from-top-forbes-entrepreneurs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-bedtime-routines-of-famous-financial-gurus">5 Bedtime Routines of Famous Financial Gurus</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-land-more-freelance-clients-in-a-snap">How to Land More Freelance Clients in a Snap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-successful-millennials-do">7 Things Successful Millennials Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in">4 Best States to Start a New Business In</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business owners business tips entrepreneurs forbes how to be successful small business owners success Wed, 07 Feb 2018 09:31:07 +0000 Nick Wharton 2098611 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/modern_business_lady_at_paperwork.jpg" alt="Modern business lady at paperwork" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No doubt about it, being a freelancer is hard. From serving clients to staying on top of your money game, there's no shortage of work to do. Sometimes, things may be overlooked or set on the back burner while you tackle pressing business matters. However, there is one major thing that just can't be ignored &mdash; taxes.</p> <p>As your own chief financial officer you'll need to be aware of major tax missteps that could ultimately ruin your business. Ideally, you'll engage the help of an experienced small business accountant who knows the ins and outs of tax strategies for freelance business owners. However, you've got to have your ducks in a row to double and triple check their suggestions and advice, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-freelancers-and-side-giggers-need-to-know-about-income-taxes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Freelancers and Side Giggers Need to Know About Income Taxes</a>)</p> <p>These are the top tax mistakes freelancers really need to stop making.</p> <h2>1. Not paying self-employment tax</h2> <p>As a freelancer, you probably have a number of clients that pay you without deducting any taxes. Because you are a contractor, you are responsible for any and all taxes on your income.</p> <p>Self-employment tax is a term that covers two main taxes: Social Security and Medicare. As an employee of a company, your employer would cover part of this tax. However, lucky you, since you are your own employer, you get to pick up the tab on the entire tax bill.</p> <p>On the other side of paying all these taxes, you do get some reprieve by deducting a portion of these payments from your gross income, which can reduce the amount of taxes you owe overall.</p> <p>Just know that it's very important to pay self-employment taxes on your freelance income. If your client issues you a 1099 form, it's also transmitted to the IRS. The IRS becomes aware of this income and can demand you to make an accounting for that money if they suspect you owe taxes on it.</p> <h2>2. Not having an accounting system</h2> <p>Making a lot of money as a freelancer can also increase your tax liability. If you don't have a good system in place to track all of your income and expenses, you could end up paying more (or less) taxes than you're supposed to.</p> <p>Charleen Fariselli is a CPA who has worked with small businesses for over 10 years. She says that freelancers who don't accurately track income and expenses are at a disadvantage. &quot;This affects their taxes because they don't have a good accounting system and are often losing deductions so they pay more in tax,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Charleen also adds that a lack of a good accounting system can have an impact on making timely, accurate tax payments: &quot;These freelancers can't calculate what their taxable income is each quarter for making tax payments, so they over or underpay, if they pay at all.&quot;</p> <p>The good news is that there are many accounting software options out there to help you organize your books, including QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, and Freshbooks. You can also use a simple Google Sheets document. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Mixing business with pleasure</h2> <p>One of the worst things a freelancer can do is allow their business expenses and income to spill over into their personal finances. For example, a business owner may use a business credit or debit card to cover a personal expense like purchasing groceries for their family.</p> <p>The biggest problem with this behavior is how it affects record keeping for tax filing purposes. Joshua Zimmelman of Westwood Tax &amp; Consulting says that bad record keeping can cause confusion for freelancers at tax time. &quot;Too many freelancers miss out on deductions because their finances are not organized,&quot; he says. &quot;Separating your expenses from the start makes filing your tax return so much easier.&quot;</p> <p>If you need help keeping your personal and business finances separate, you can opt for a business checking account or credit card. You could also use both.</p> <p>If you do have to use money from your business dealings to cover personal expenses or vice versa, make sure you keep a record of such transfers. A small business CPA can help you categorize (loan, owner draw, paycheck, etc.) the transactions so that you don't run into problems with record keeping or tax liabilities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a>)</p> <h2>4. Neglecting retirement savings</h2> <p>The freelance life can be a roller-coaster ride of feast or famine, but it's still important to keep savings in the equation &mdash; especially retirement savings. Saving for retirement is not only critical for your golden years, but can also help you save on taxes.</p> <p>When you put money away for retirement, it reduces the amount of your income tax withholding. Joanna Zarach is a consultant who helps freelancers plan for retirement. She says, &quot;Solo retirement plans are the most effective way to lower your tax bill now and to build tax-free growth in your investment accounts.&quot;</p> <p>There are different options to save for retirement. Some smart options include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Individual 401(k): This type of account is ideal for solopreneurs who want higher contribution limits. You can save with pretax dollars while receiving tax deductions for employer contributions (you are the employer) as well.</p> </li> <li> <p>SEP IRA: Tax-deductible contributions are made by the employer (in this case, you). Growth is tax-deferred until withdrawal.</p> </li> <li> <p>ROTH IRA: With this type of retirement account, you save after-tax income that grows tax-free forever.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Neglecting health care contributions</h2> <p>Paul Jacobs is a CPA, EA, and officer at Palisades Hudson Financial Group. He says he often sees freelancers, &quot;Forgetting to deduct health insurance premiums. A great tax break that is available to the self-employed is the ability to deduct this expense.&quot;</p> <p>As a small-business owner, there are tax benefits when you pay insurance premiums for yourself and family members. Premiums for medical, dental and, in some cases, long-term health insurance qualify.</p> <p>Reporting these premiums on your taxes can reduce your adjusted gross income (AGI) which can make you eligible for certain tax breaks. The only caveat here is that you may now have to itemize deductions in order to take advantage of this deduction come tax time due to the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Tax%2520Mistakes%2520Freelancers%2520Need%2520to%2520Stop%2520Making.jpg&amp;description=5%20Tax%20Mistakes%20Freelancers%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Tax%20Mistakes%20Freelancers%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making.jpg" alt="5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aja-mcclanahan">Aja McClanahan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing">7 Signs It&#039;s Time to Quit Freelancing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-every-first-year-freelancer-should-make">6 Moves Every First Year Freelancer Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-audited-how-your-side-gig-needs-to-handle-taxes">Don&#039;t Get Audited! How Your Side Gig Needs to Handle Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Taxes accounting bookkeeping deductions freelance health care medicare retirement savings self employment social security tax mistakes Wed, 07 Feb 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Aja McClanahan 2095995 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Build a Side Business While Keeping Your Day Job http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-a-side-business-while-keeping-your-day-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-build-a-side-business-while-keeping-your-day-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_with_smiling_face_talking_on_mobile.jpg" alt="Businesswoman with smiling face talking on mobile" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The saying, &quot;Don't quit your day job,&quot; has become all but obsolete. We live in an era of entrepreneurship. Being your own boss is the chic new trend. But while throwing caution to the wind and only having a Plan A is tempting, keeping your day job while turning a side gig into a business is a great way to mitigate risk, learn your market niche, and test ideas and business models.</p> <p>However, building a business and a brand while working a nine-to-five is tough. Below are a few tips to help you ease your way into doing both. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <h2>1. Consider getting a business partner or co-founder</h2> <p>Taking on a business partner is an excellent way to hedge risks, gain access to additional resources, and split the workload. It is also the quickest way to ruin a friendship and drag your business down before it gets off the ground. Before jumping into bed with your bestie, here are a few things you should consider:</p> <h3>What type of partner do you need?</h3> <p>The first step in getting a partner is to determine the type of partner you need and the role he or she will play. Do you need help with ideas, branding, marketing, balancing the books, procuring finances or additional resources? Or, do you need a silent partner &mdash; someone who helps financially and that's it?</p> <h3>How much of the business does your partner own?</h3> <p>Drawing lines in the sand early is essential. The longer you wait, the murkier things become and the harder it will be to determine who owns what. It is critical that you state upfront who is in charge or if everything will be split 50/50. Draw up a contract that reflects this decision. A contract between friends, you ask? Absolutely.</p> <h3>How do you make decisions?</h3> <p>Who has the final say? Establishing how decisions are made during the infancy stages of the partnership is beyond important. If you are the sole owner, should your partner make decisions on your behalf? If so, which decisions? Or should they run all decisions by you? A great way to work through this is by establishing roles and areas of responsibility. Your partner will clearly know his or her sphere and the boundaries will be better defined.</p> <h2>2. Respect your nine-to-five</h2> <p>Understand and respect the fact that your nine-to-five is your main, primary, and most important job. Your side gig has to be done outside of business hours. Until you are ready to divorce your employer and make your side gig your new bride, you must prioritize your day job as such &mdash; even if you hate it.</p> <p>Just remind yourself that your day job is paying the bills and providing you with the means and motivation to launch out on your own. Here are a few ground rules when it comes to respecting your nine-to-five:</p> <h3>Work while you are at work</h3> <p>Do your best to <em>be</em> the best at your current job. Work to be fully present and to always do a good job. This will translate to your business as well.</p> <h3>Beware of conflicts of interest</h3> <p>If your side business is in the same market or area as your current employment, you need to tread lightly. Your employer's clients, business procedures, and intellectual property should not be used for personal gain.</p> <h3>Check what contracts you've signed</h3> <p>If you signed a nondisclosure or noncompete agreement, then you may be prevented from working for a competitor or against your employer for a specific amount of time. Find out exactly what your rights are and what you can and cannot do.</p> <h2>3. Do the hard, boring, and expensive stuff</h2> <p>While you are gainfully employed, it's a good idea to do as much foundational work as possible. Draft your business plan, secure any licenses or certifications you may need, and establish your business as an LLC or sole proprietorship.</p> <p>It's also a good idea to begin buying equipment and paying any legal fees associated with your business niche. It may feel like a waste of money to shell out this type of cash upfront before you begin earning revenue, but it's worth it. The more you can take care of before launching the business, the more profits you keep and the less capital you'll need down the road.</p> <p>This is also a great time to work on branding and developing a solid marketing strategy. It's easier to nail these things down before you begin doing business versus winging it after you're officially open. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-market-your-side-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Simple Ways to Market Your Side Business</a>)</p> <h2>4. Start generating revenue</h2> <p>If it is in any way feasible, start generating revenue while you are still employed. Test out your prototype. See how much of your product you can sell or which services you can provide on a smaller scale before you go all in.</p> <p>This allows you to test the market, make better financial projections, and properly scale your business before you open. You can tweak processes, find new vendors, and get a sense of your business's flow. It will also help you answer these questions:</p> <ul> <li> <p>What adjustments do I need to make?</p> </li> <li> <p>How are people responding to my marketing campaign?</p> </li> <li> <p>Am I properly branded?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are my prices too high or too low?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do customers pay on time?</p> </li> <li> <p>How much business can I handle alone? At what point should I hire additional staff?</p> </li> <li> <p>Is my service or product in demand? How can I increase demand?</p> </li> </ul> <p>Generating revenue before you officially dive into business ownership is also crucial if you need investors. You need to demonstrate the profit potential of your business in order to entice people to invest. And the best way to show that you can make money is by actually making money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Fundamentals of Naming a Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use downtime efficiently</h2> <p>The biggest myth concerning entrepreneurship is that you get to set your own hours. As a business owner, your time is no longer truly your own &mdash; your customers, the market, and the need to get work done are your new bosses, at least at first. You work when you need to work &mdash; or you go out of business.</p> <p>You've got to learn to use downtime efficiently. Days off from your nine-to-five become full workdays for the business. And yes, you will have to work on holidays.</p> <p>It also means getting up an hour or two earlier to reconcile the books, answer emails, or order more inventory. You lunch hour is now time for you to nibble on a sandwich while you update your website, post on social media, and generate new marketing ideas (on your own computer). And the evenings &mdash; which used to be a time for socializing with friends and vegging out with Netflix &mdash; are now devoted to doing whatever needs to be done to keep the business running.</p> <p>The schedule may sound brutal, and it is. But hopefully, it's only temporary. Success comes at a cost, and in order to make it in business, you have to initially pay up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-starting-a-small-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>6. Set a date</h2> <p>Make your business Plan A and your current job Plan B. Set a firm date for quitting your day job and work diligently toward that goal. Structure your life around achieving that goal. Restructure your personal finances to help you reach that quit date. Cut back, reduce your overhead, downsize, and save as much money as possible to help stabilize your income while you shift business gears. See if your employer will allow you to work part-time for a while before quitting.</p> <p>Quitting your job and going into business full time must be your end game. If not, your business will become and forever remain a hobby. With a good idea, proper planning, and a bit of luck, your business will eventually be able to provide you a full-time income, and then some. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think &mdash; Here's How</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-build-a-side-business-while-keeping-your-day-job&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Build%2520a%2520Side%2520Business%2520While%2520Keeping%2520Your%2520Day%2520Job.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Build%20a%20Side%20Business%20While%20Keeping%20Your%20Day%20Job"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Build%20a%20Side%20Business%20While%20Keeping%20Your%20Day%20Job.jpg" alt="How to Build a Side Business While Keeping Your Day Job" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-a-side-business-while-keeping-your-day-job">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-small-business-needs-an-emergency-fund-too">Your Small Business Needs an Emergency Fund, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-and-fun-ways-to-reward-yourself">20 Free and Fun Ways to Reward Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit">The Self-Employed Person&#039;s Guide to Getting Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business ownership business partners day jobs goals income investors productivity revenue Mon, 29 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Denise Hill 2086770 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions Retirees Should Ask Before Starting a Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-retirees-should-ask-before-starting-a-small-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-retirees-should-ask-before-starting-a-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_in_florist_shop.jpg" alt="Woman working in florist shop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retirement is a time to kick back, slow down, and do all of the things you didn't have time to do during your &quot;clock-punching&quot; years. But for an increasing number of retirees, becoming an entrepreneur is the new thing to do after leaving the workforce.</p> <p>In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2015 that the self-employment rate among retirement-aged workers (65 and older) was the highest of any age group, at just over 15 percent.</p> <p>However, before diving headfirst into the pool of startups, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before starting a small business in retirement.</p> <h2>1. What do you have to lose?</h2> <p>Unfortunately, in business, failure is a very real option. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50 percent of new businesses don't survive past five years. And if your business fails, you need to be able to survive. You must count the costs before you begin.</p> <p>Answering the question, &quot;What do I have to lose?&quot; will help you assess and determine your risk tolerance and accurately scale your business. It will help you develop a business model that works for your lifestyle, interests, financial status, and physical health.</p> <p>If you retired and are looking forward to leaving the world of nine-to-five, it makes no sense to start a business that operates primarily during these hours. If your health is beginning to deteriorate, doing work that is physically demanding with lots of heavy lifting or repetitive motions may not be the way to go. Be sure you keep your needs and limitations in mind before you begin. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-starting-a-small-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>2. How will you finance the business?</h2> <p>The adage, &quot;It takes money to make money&quot; is the truth when it comes to starting a business. You must understand that you may have to shell out &mdash; depending on the industry &mdash; large sums of money up front. Taking on huge amounts of debt, or any debt for that matter, during retirement is a tremendous risk and should be avoided if possible.</p> <p>If your business requires a large amount of upfront capital, you need a plan for getting your hands on funds. Dipping into your retirement stash to pay business expenses is not recommended by most financial advisers. You may need to scale back your business plan, take on a partner, or allow others to become investors. You may even need to delay starting the business for a year or two and reduce your living expenses to help set aside funds to get the business going.</p> <p>Another financial surprise that comes with new ventures is the hidden costs associated with starting a business. Again, these costs are contingent on the business type, size, and the area in which you live. Things like insurance, professional fees, permits, licenses, attorneys &mdash; and everyone's worse nightmare, taxes &mdash; can derail the business before it gets off the ground, and significantly impact your retirement nest egg. Do your homework to see which fees apply to your business in your area and plan accordingly.</p> <h2>3. How much time and energy will it take?</h2> <p>Nurturing a business in its infancy requires, time, energy, and a ton of diligence. Starting a single proprietorship with no staff, no outside financing, no products, and no facility will take a couple of months. If you factor in hiring staff, securing a bank loan, and purchasing product, the time it takes for your business to be up and running could be six months or more. And while you do have more time now that you are retired, you must understand that time affects your bottom line.</p> <p>Counting the cost of becoming an entrepreneur doesn't just mean finances, it also includes sweat equity. Retirement is a different season of life and, depending on your particular circumstances and the industry you enter, you could be making a bigger time commitment than you expected.</p> <p>Be sure you understand the marketplace and all of the &quot;small&quot; jobs that go into running a business &mdash; especially if you are doing it alone or with minimal staff. What will you do if your computer crashes or your printer breaks down right before an important meeting? Figure out what can you afford to outsource and what you can you do yourself. And most importantly, be sure you can commit the time and energy it takes to make your business successful.</p> <h2>4. What can you do before you retire?</h2> <p>If starting a business is something you know you want to do before you retire, you should do as much ground work as possible before giving up your income. It's even advisable to launch the business <em>before </em>you retire.</p> <p>Starting a business while working a full-time job is tough (speaking from experience here), but it does have its advantages. It makes you budget your time and start small. You have to go at a slower pace, which is a good thing. You are able to learn the intricacies of the business, establish relationships, and make mistakes within a controlled environment.</p> <p>If starting a business while working your regular gig is too much, see if you can shadow, intern, volunteer, or work part-time for a similar business. You can also establish your small business framework &mdash; write your business plan, become an LLC, and get any necessary licenses, permits, or certifications &mdash; so you are ready to go as soon as you retire. It is also advisable that you save, save, save to help offset startup costs, minimize debt, and to keep from disturbing your retirement funds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>5. What am I giving up?</h2> <p>Becoming an entrepreneur in retirement is a great way to indulge in your passion, spend your time and energy meaningfully, and earn some extra cash. But being your own boss comes at a cost. The biggest expense that comes with starting a business in your sunset years is opportunity cost.</p> <p>Opportunity cost is the cost of what you're giving up while choosing to do something else. Things like spending time with the grandkids, taking tropical vacations, or even establishing a college fund for the grands or giving your kids the down payment on their dream home are all things you may have to forgo, at least for a time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-your-new-identity-after-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find Your New Identity After Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Before you make your decision, be sure you thoroughly count all of the costs. Pay a visit to your financial adviser, and discuss your options and sketch out a solid financial plan. Hold yourself accountable, know when to scale back, and know when to walk away.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-questions-retirees-should-ask-before-starting-a-small-business&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Questions%2520Retirees%2520Should%2520Ask%2520Before%2520Starting%2520a%2520Small%2520Business.jpg&amp;description=5%20Questions%20Retirees%20Should%20Ask%20Before%20Starting%20a%20Small%20Business"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Questions%20Retirees%20Should%20Ask%20Before%20Starting%20a%20Small%20Business.jpg" alt="5 Questions Retirees Should Ask Before Starting a Small Business" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-retirees-should-ask-before-starting-a-small-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-starting-a-small-business">8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business">10 Fundamentals of Naming a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Retirement capital expenses pros and cons questions self employment small business owners startups Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:30:08 +0000 Denise Hill 2085768 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Small Business Needs an Emergency Fund, Too http://www.wisebread.com/your-small-business-needs-an-emergency-fund-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-small-business-needs-an-emergency-fund-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_at_a_restaurant.jpg" alt="Woman working at a restaurant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately one-third of all businesses fail within the first two years. Half fold within five years. And of the businesses that fail, a banking survey showed that 82 percent do so because of cash flow issues.</p> <p>These numbers are not meant to keep small-business owners up at night or deter new entrepreneurs. They're simply a statement of fact and should serve as a reality check for all small business owners: Having an emergency fund is not optional. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-starting-a-small-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>Three reasons your small business needs an emergency fund</h2> <p>In business, the term used to describe emergency or rainy day funds is &quot;retained earnings.&quot; Retained earnings are cash supplies that are kept on hand to enable your business to continue operating in lean times or in an emergency. These funds allow your business to keep providing services while making payroll, paying bills, and purchasing supplies, and they allow you &mdash; the owner &mdash; to continue sustaining your family's income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pull Your Small Business Out of a Cash Crunch</a>)</p> <p>Most businesses fail due to a lack of preparation for the inevitable. Below are three major reasons your small business needs an emergency fund.</p> <h3>Emergencies</h3> <p>The most important thing an emergency fund does is it provides immediate access to funds during critical times. And while you may be insured against product loss, property damage, and equipment repairs, the time it takes to process those claims and get your hands on the necessary cash could be detrimental. And insurance may not cover every eventuality.</p> <p>An emergency fund allows you to continue operating and immediately begin making repairs and replacing any lost, damaged, or stolen products. The saying, &quot;Time is money&quot; applies in business, and having extra funds on hand could be the one thing that keeps you on the favorable side of those business statistics.</p> <h3>Cash flow issues</h3> <p>A staggering 82 percent of businesses that fail do so because of issues with cash flow. Cash flow doesn't just mean the flow of money that is coming in and out. It also encompasses timing and liquidity.</p> <p>For example, if your business operates on an invoicing system and invoices aren't paid or are paid late &mdash; after your loans and other payments are due &mdash; you could run into a cash flow problem. This is extremely important if you operate a seasonal or cyclical business.</p> <p>Having funds that are available and easily accessible is the life raft that can keep your business afloat while you wait for payments to be made. It will also protect you from incurring unnecessary debt since you won't have to borrow money to make ends meet. Accumulating debt through lines of credit to cover problems and shortfalls is a prime reason that so many startups fail within the first few years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Small Business</a>)</p> <h3>Capitalize on opportunities</h3> <p>Another extremely important purpose of having cash on hand for emergencies is to capitalize on business opportunities. Liquidity supports agility.</p> <p>It can allow you to expand the business and strategically launch a new product line. It allows you the freedom to capitalize on opportunities in the marketplace, meaning you could buy out a competitor or purchase extra inventory at rock bottom prices. Your retained earnings give you the ability to move with speed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a>)</p> <h2>Establishing your small business emergency fund</h2> <p>The idea of stashing thousands of dollars in a savings account for the off chance that it may come in handy at some point in the future may seem a bit impractical. Yet there is one guarantee in business &mdash; it is going to rain. And the storm is going to impact your cash flow. While the thought of amassing thousands of dollars can be stressful, you can't let it stop you. Having an emergency fund is nonnegotiable.</p> <p>Establishing your retained earnings or emergency fund is very similar to the personal finance process. You set your goal, and throw every extra dollar at it until you reach it. It's a good idea to set up an automated savings plan so that your emergency fund contributions are made before you have a chance to count them as profit. It should be a regular line item in your budget.</p> <p>It's also important to regularly prepare and analyze cash flow statements to ensure you have a clear picture of where you are at all times. Hiring a bookkeeper, using cloud-based software such as QuickBooks, or staffing a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) are great ways to help keep a handle on your cash flow.</p> <h3>How much should you save?</h3> <p>Much like a personal emergency fund, businesses should have anywhere between three months' and a year's worth of expenses set aside for emergencies. The specific amount your business needs will depend on your unique circumstances such as your expenses and the reliability of your income sources.</p> <p>You also must consider other aspects of your company that could affect cash flow, such as the type of business and that industry's culture. Some industries are more susceptible to lawsuits and legal actions. If you operate a medical practice or a financial consulting firm for example, you will probably need a larger emergency fund than someone who runs a graphic design business.</p> <h3>Where should you put the money?</h3> <p>Once you've decided how much you'd like to save, you need a place to put it. These funds are not meant to ride the stock market or earn very much in interest. The goal is for the money to be there, liquid, and available when you need it.</p> <p>Experts suggest that you consider things like money market funds, savings accounts, and short-term certificates of deposit (CDs). Shop around online for the highest-paying interest rate, or if you have a good relationship with your bank, you may be able to negotiate a better rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <p>As you embark on your journey of grounding and fortifying your business by establishing a solid emergency fund, remember to start off small. Set short, realistic goals and remain steadfast. Look for ways to lower expenses and save more during high volume seasons. Be frugal and stay away from risky deals until you have reached your emergency fund goal.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyour-small-business-needs-an-emergency-fund-too&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYour%2520Small%2520Business%2520Needs%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund%252C%2520Too%2520%25281%2529.jpg&amp;description=Your%20Small%20Business%20Needs%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%2C%20Too"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Your%20Small%20Business%20Needs%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%2C%20Too%20%281%29.jpg" alt="Your Small Business Needs an Emergency Fund, Too" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-small-business-needs-an-emergency-fund-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Turn for Help When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds">Why &quot;Opportunity&quot; Funds Are the New Emergency Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-your-roth-ira-as-an-emergency-fund-ever-a-good-idea">Using Your Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund — Ever a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-emergency-fund-big-enough-to-keep-you-afloat">Is Your Emergency Fund Big Enough to Keep You Afloat?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entrepreneurship business opportunities business ownership cash flow emergency funds retained earnings savings Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:30:06 +0000 Denise Hill 2086413 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Signs It's Time to Quit Freelancing http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tired_girl_with_hands_on_her_face.jpg" alt="Tired girl with hands on her face" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tell someone you're a freelancer, and you'll usually be treated with a mix of envy and admiration. Freelancing brings with it a perception of freedom and flexibility that is a definite plus, but much harder to sustain than many people might realize.</p> <p>As a freelancer, chances are you put in more hours and are on the go more than regular full-time employees. You don't get subsidized health care, a 401(k) match, or paid vacation. It can be tough &mdash; sometimes, too tough. And when the following red flags appear, it may be time to throw in the towel. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/day-job-or-freelance-which-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Day Job or Freelance: Which Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>1. You don't enjoy it anymore</h2> <p>Let's start with the most obvious reason. If it's just not something you like doing anymore, maybe it's time to start thinking about a different career path. Remember when you first decided to jump into the freelancing pool? The buzz you felt going it alone. Hustling for clients. Being your own boss. It all felt like the world was your oyster. If you now get up every day wishing you'd made a different choice, that's life telling you you're wasting time.</p> <p>Our job takes up the majority of our waking hours, so to be doing something that makes every one of them painful is just not worth it. What do you daydream about doing instead? What would reinvigorate those passions you once felt for freelancing? Listen to your gut and make a move in that direction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-the-9-to-5-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs the 9-to-5 IS Right for You</a>)</p> <h2>2. It's getting harder and harder to find work</h2> <p>When you first dipped your toe into the freelance pool, you had to hustle to get those initial clients. But, after some hard work, you built up a nice client roster and had enough regular work to make freelancing a financial success. However, things change. Markets change. Freelance industries can become flooded with new and cheaper talent. And, of course, there are those sites like Fiverr and Guru that are crammed with people all over the world charging rates that you cannot even begin to compete with.</p> <p>That mix of more competition, lower freelance rates, and even corporate downsizing can have a serious impact on the time you spend trying to find work. And if you spend more time looking for it than working on it, you could be in real trouble. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-land-more-freelance-clients-in-a-snap?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Land More Freelance Clients</a>)</p> <h2>3. You can no longer afford to pay for your own health care</h2> <p>This is a big reason freelancers are returning to the workforce, and it's a sad sign of the times. Corporations and small businesses have the clout to negotiate excellent rates for their employees. Not only that, but the company pays the majority of the monthly premium, with some companies even offering completely free HMO coverage for an employee and family.</p> <p>As a freelancer, you don't have that kind of power. According to data gathered by eHealth, the average individual health insurance premium for 2017 was $393 a month. It skyrockets to $1,021 a month for families. That's not taking into account deductibles, which you have to meet before the insurance kicks in. It's a huge burden for a freelancer to take on, and coming back into the fold can be a relief. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-work-perks-you-cant-get-as-a-freelancer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Work Perks You Can't Get as a Freelancer</a>)</p> <h2>4. You miss the interaction with other employees</h2> <p>Freelancing can be a lonely business. Many people take daily human interaction for granted. In fact, some people tire of it all, and it becomes a major reason for freelancing and going solo. But over time, you can go days without talking to anyone except the checkout cashier and the dog.</p> <p>Humans, for the most part, are social creatures; it's only natural to start longing to be around other people again &mdash; for those water cooler talks about last night's killer season finale, or the latest and greatest music you've discovered. And while texting and calling people can help with the loneliness, it can become depressing. If it's starting to weigh on you every day, and you are making excuses to leave the house, it's time to think about returning to the workforce. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a>)</p> <h2>5. You're bored and you're coasting</h2> <p>Has the freelance life lost its spark because you are simply not being challenged anymore? It's possible that your daily work routine is filled with the same projects, for the same clients, over and over again.</p> <p>Some freelance writers get stuck penning annual reports and company brochures week in, week out, and it becomes monotonous work. Some freelance photographers get stuck doing weddings and graduations, and although it's special for the people being photographed, it can be tedious taking the same shots every time. Whatever your freelance gig, if you are dreading getting out of bed in the morning because you have &quot;those projects,&quot; you have lost your passion. Dive back into something more challenging, for your own mental wellbeing.</p> <h2>6. You can't make ends meet</h2> <p>Freelancing is a constant hustle. It can be exhausting to find work for yourself. What's worse is when the jobs start paying less, or you lose a few clients. Some clients will be tempted by younger freelancers offering lower rates. Others may just be retiring, or going in another direction. And while it's important not to panic if you do lose some regular monthly income, you have to be prudent about how long you ride it out.</p> <p>Can you find something that will make up for that income loss before it really starts to eat away at your emergency fund? Do you even have an emergency fund? What can you cut out to keep going? Examine the budget carefully, and if things are looking bleak, you may need to cut and run to a regular, full-time salary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-budget-on-a-freelance-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Budget on a Freelance Income</a>)</p> <h2>7. The work-life balance is no longer acceptable</h2> <p>When you first started freelancing, you knew you'd have to put in extra hours to get the business off the ground. After that, it should have been more like a day job, with regular hours that you work, regular time to relax, and hopefully, a week or two of vacation. However, some freelancers swear by the saying, &quot;Never turn down work &mdash; they may never ask again.&quot;</p> <p>That can be a huge problem. You don't want to turn work away and risk an income stream drying up. But you're tired. You've been putting in 60-hour weeks and you need a break. If you have reached that stage where you are living to work, and not working to live, you should consider quitting and finding a full-time job with an employer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-work-life-balance-is-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Signs Your Work-Life Balance Is Off</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Signs%2520It%2527s%2520Time%2520to%2520Quit%2520Freelancing.jpg&amp;description=7%20Signs%20It's%20Time%20to%20Quit%20Freelancing"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Signs%20It%27s%20Time%20to%20Quit%20Freelancing.jpg" alt="7 Signs It's Time to Quit Freelancing" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time">8 Ways Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-retirees-should-ask-before-starting-a-small-business">5 Questions Retirees Should Ask Before Starting a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business">10 Fundamentals of Naming a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship cons freelancing health care insurance loneliness losing clients loss of income red flags self employment warning signs Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 2086410 at http://www.wisebread.com What Does Your Personal Guarantee On a Business Credit Card Mean? http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-personal-guarantee-on-a-business-credit-card-mean <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-your-personal-guarantee-on-a-business-credit-card-mean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_talking_on_smart_phone_and_holding_credit_card.jpg" alt="Woman talking on smartphone and holding credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Millions of Americans own their own businesses, and each one of them can potentially qualify for a small business credit card. Small business credit card holders need to be aware that they are personally liable for repayment of their charges, but what does this mean?</p> <h2>What your personal guarantee means</h2> <p>Your small business may be incorporated in different ways, or it may just be a sole proprietorship. But regardless of your company's legal structure, you will almost always be personally liable for the charges on your business credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-you-should-get-a-business-credit-card-over-a-consumer-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When You Should Get a Business Credit Card Over a Consumer Card</a>)</p> <p>Wording in the card's terms and conditions will usually state that both the business and whoever signed for the account are liable for all transactions made with all cards (including those of authorized users) and convenience checks on the account. It may also say that if you leave your company, you will continue to be responsible for outstanding balances on the account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Small-Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a>)</p> <p>These personal guarantees mean that you will always have to pay the charges on your business credit card account. You can't claim that you aren't responsible for paying the charges of your business partner or your employees. You can't say that the debt is part of &quot;the company&quot; and that you no longer work there. In short, you are just as responsible for all of the charges to your small-business credit card account as you would be if they were made by you on your personal credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <p>There is a type of business card that doesn't require a personal guarantee, but that's a corporate card designed for larger companies, nonprofits, and government organizations.</p> <h2>Can you get a business credit card without a personal guarantee?</h2> <p>It's possible to get a small business credit card without a personal guarantee, but it's not easy and it takes time and patience. It helps if you keep your personal credit record pristine, while building your business credit scores. FICO, Equifax, and Experian all have their own business credit scores, but the Dun and Bradstreet score known as Paydex is one of the most widely used. To get a Paydex number, you have to file for a DUNS number through the D&amp;B website, and the bureau must have payment records from at least four vendors.</p> <p>You build your business scores over time, by using small business credit cards responsibly, keeping your credit utilization ratio low, and paying on time every month. But not all small business credit cards report activity to the credit bureaus. Some only report negative activity such as delinquencies, and others don't report at all. Check with any credit card you're considering applying for to see if and how they report to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>If you get a small-business loan, line of credit, or trade line from a vendor who reports to the business credit bureaus, that also helps build your business credit. Loans backed by the Small Business Administration are guaranteed by the SBA and are therefore very attractive, but they're also hard to get.</p> <p>Once you have built a solid business credit score, you can ask your credit card issuer if they will remove the guarantor from the account. The bank will conduct a review of the account, and may check both your personal and business credit reports. The bank wants to see that losing the personal guarantee won't increase the risk of nonpayment. If they agree, great, you're on your way to a guarantee-free account. But some banks never remove guarantors as a matter of policy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You're Self-Employed</a>)</p> <p>Another way to get credit without a personal guarantee is to grow the business to the point where it meets the revenue and size requirements of some creditors. For example, one major retailer offers a business card that doesn't require a personal guarantee for businesses with at least $5 million in revenue. Others may also require collateral such as business equipment.</p> <p>Getting business credit without a personal guarantee is not a quick process. Count on needing a personal guarantee for the first three to five years of your business. In the meantime, focus on growing your company, building your business credit score, and making all payments on time.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-does-your-personal-guarantee-on-a-business-credit-card-mean&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520Does%2520Your%2520Personal%2520Guarantee%2520On%2520a%2520Business%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Mean_.jpg&amp;description=What%20Does%20Your%20Personal%20Guarantee%20On%20a%20Business%20Credit%20Card%20Mean%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20Does%20Your%20Personal%20Guarantee%20On%20a%20Business%20Credit%20Card%20Mean_.jpg" alt="What Does Your Personal Guarantee On a Business Credit Card Mean?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-personal-guarantee-on-a-business-credit-card-mean">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-a-balance-transfer-does-to-your-credit">Here&#039;s What a Balance Transfer Does to Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-fair-credit-billing-act-protects-you">How the Fair Credit Billing Act Protects You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Entrepreneurship business credit card tips business credit cards credit card tips line of credit personal guarantee small business Fri, 12 Jan 2018 09:30:05 +0000 Jason Steele 2085316 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know About Employee Retirement Accounts http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-every-small-business-owner-needs-to-know-about-employee-retirement-accounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-every-small-business-owner-needs-to-know-about-employee-retirement-accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hanging_open_sign_on_door.jpg" alt="Woman hanging open sign on door" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Among small businesses, employer sponsored 401(k) plans seem to have gotten a bad rap. According to the United States Government Accountability Office, between 51 and 71 percent of small business employees don't have access to a workplace retirement savings plan.</p> <p>There is a misconception that retirement plans are just for huge companies. However, this isn't true, and offering a retirement savings plan is the biggest step that a small business can take to increase workers' retirement savings. Let's review some of the many reasons why offering an employer-sponsored retirement account is a great idea for small businesses of all types. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-starting-a-small-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>1. Employees may prefer a retirement plan over a salary increase</h2> <p>According to a 2015 Glassdoor survey, 31 percent of workers valued a workplace retirement account, such as a 401(k) or pension plan, over an increase in pay. This makes sense; several studies have shown that workers benefit from automatic paycheck deductions to contribute to a workplace retirement plan. The Employment Benefit Research Institute found that two-thirds of employed workers not currently saving for retirement say they would be likely to start if automatic paycheck deductions ranging from 3 to 6 percent were used by their employer. By offering a retirement plan, small businesses may be able to attract more talent.</p> <h2>2. There are low-cost options available</h2> <p>Many small-business owners have the misconception that their only option to set up a workplace retirement plan for their employees is to pay an annual 1.5 to 2 percent fee to a provider. But nowadays, business owners have access to many lower cost options. Here are three examples of 401(k) providers for small businesses and their schedule of fees for employers:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://captain401.com/pricing/" target="_blank">Captain 401</a>: $499 setup fee; monthly cost starting at $120 plus $4 per employee.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.employeefiduciary.com/401k-plan-pricing" target="_blank">Employee Fiduciary</a>: $500 setup fee for new plans; $1,500 annual fee plus a custody fee of 0.08 percent of plan assets.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.myubiquity.com/retirement/plans/expressk/" target="_blank">Ubiquity</a>: $495 setup fee; monthly cost starting at $115 plus other transaction service charges.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Besides providing lower costs, choosing a third-party plan provider allows you to delegate certain plan responsibilities, such as implementing nondiscrimination testing for retirement plans (in layman's terms, making sure that a company isn't favoring specific employees when making contributions). This lets you focus more on core activities of your business.</p> <h2>3. Eligible small businesses can claim tax credits</h2> <p>Those fees to set up and run a retirement plan may be tax deductible. If your small business employed 100 or fewer individuals who were compensated at least $5,000 in the preceding year, and your business hasn't offered a workplace retirement plan in the past three years, it may be eligible for the Credit for Small Employer Pension Plan Startup Costs.</p> <p>Using Form 881, eligible small-business owners can claim a credit of up to $500 for qualified setup and administration fees, and costs to educate employees about the plan for each of the first three years of the plan. You can start claiming the credit in the tax year before the tax year in which the plan becomes effective, and you may carry it back or forward to other tax years if you can't use it in the current year.</p> <p>Just remember that whatever plan expenses you use toward this credit, you can't use as business expense deductions.</p> <h2>4. Employer contributions are tax-deductible</h2> <p>In 2017, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that nearly 73 percent of workers not currently saving for retirement would be at least somewhat likely to start if contributions were matched by their employer. The good news for employers is that the IRS usually allows them to deduct these matches, subject to contribution limits on qualified employee plans (including the employer's own plan).</p> <ul> <li> <p>Defined contribution plan: An employer can deduct contributions to an employee retirement plan, up to 25 percent of the employee's annual salary. In 2017, no more than $270,000 of an employee's annual salary could be used when calculating that 25 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Defined benefit plans: The IRS recommends hiring an actuary to figure out your deduction limit based on the rules of your defined benefit plan.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Remember that all deferred employer contributions, including earnings and gains, are tax-free for employees until distributed by the small-business plan. This is why an employer contribution is so valuable.</p> <p>Let's assume that an employee and your small business have a 20 percent and a 10 percent tax rate, respectively. If you were to give that employee a $4,000 raise, he would only actually see $3,200 of that and your small business would pay $400 in taxes. On the other hand, with a $4,000 employer contribution to the employee's plan, the employee gets the full $4,000 now and the employer gets to deduct the $4,000 as a business expense.</p> <h2>5. Some states provide their own retirement plans</h2> <p>Across the nation, many states have launched, or are preparing to launch, state-sponsored plans to help workers save for retirement. Here are a few examples:</p> <ul> <li> <p>California: The <a href="http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/scib/" target="_blank">California Secure Choice</a> program (scheduled for soft launch in late 2018) will offer a retirement savings option to millions of workers employed by small businesses (under 100 employees) who don't have access to a retirement plan.</p> </li> <li> <p>Connecticut: Nearly 600,000 workers lack access to a workplace retirement plan in the state of Connecticut. The <a href="http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/retirement%20authority/" target="_blank">Connecticut Retirement Security Program</a> (currently in planning stages) will aim to offer retirement plans to private sector workers without a retirement option through their employer.</p> </li> <li> <p>Oregon: <a href="https://www.oregonsaves.com" target="_blank">OregonSaves</a> launched in November 2017 and aims to offer workers employed by small businesses of less than 100 people a retirement savings plan. The program is expanding in &quot;waves,&quot; with the next wave planned for spring 2018.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Depending on the state that your small business operates in, you may have to address whether or not your small business will offer a workplace retirement plan soon.</p> <p>For example, let's say you have a small business in Oregon. OregonSaves is planning its next registration &quot;wave&quot; for spring 2018 for small businesses with 50 to 99 employees. If your business is<em> not </em>offering a retirement plan, you'll have to start enrolling employees in the state program (unless the employees opt out) on May 15, 2018. Following suit, small businesses that employ 20 to 49 workers will have to enroll on December 15, 2018.</p> <h2>The bottom line: Take action today</h2> <p>As a small-business owner, it makes sense to take a look at offering a retirement savings plan to your employees. This is a perk that employees value, is available through lower cost options, and provides tax breaks to both employees and employers.</p> <p>In the near future, your employees may have to enroll in a state-sponsored retirement plan depending on whether or not you offer a workplace retirement plan. Offering an employer-sponsored retirement plan is an effective way to attract and retain the best talent and demonstrate that you have your employees' best interest in mind.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-things-every-small-business-owner-needs-to-know-about-employee-retirement-accounts&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Things%2520Every%2520Small%2520Business%2520Owner%2520Needs%2520to%2520Know%2520About%2520Employee%2520Retirement%2520Accounts.jpg&amp;description=5%20Things%20Every%20Small%20Business%20Owner%20Needs%20to%20Know%20About%20Employee%20Retirement%20Accounts"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Things%20Every%20Small%20Business%20Owner%20Needs%20to%20Know%20About%20Employee%20Retirement%20Accounts.jpg" alt="5 Things Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know About Employee Retirement Accounts" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-every-small-business-owner-needs-to-know-about-employee-retirement-accounts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-of-these-9-retirement-accounts-is-right-for-you">Which of These 9 Retirement Accounts Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life">7 Easiest Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings Later in Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-know-about-your-401k-match">7 Things You Should Know About Your 401(k) Match</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-critical-401k-questions-you-need-to-ask-your-employer">8 Critical 401(k) Questions You Need to Ask Your Employer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Retirement 401(k) benefits business expenses contributions employees small businesses tax deductions Thu, 11 Jan 2018 09:30:10 +0000 Damian Davila 2085310 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Your Small Business Targeting the Wrong Customer? http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-small-business-targeting-the-wrong-customer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-your-small-business-targeting-the-wrong-customer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/florist_taking_orders_on_the_phone.jpg" alt="Florist taking orders on the phone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've met with a potential client, had a couple of great conversations by phone, and followed up. So why isn't your prospect ready to start work? The problem may not be you. It may be that you're talking to someone who will never buy what you're selling.</p> <p>There could be many reasons. Maybe you're talking with a serial researcher who may never make a decision. Or perhaps the person has no budget to spend or an unrealistic understanding of what services like yours cost to deliver. It's easy to waste hours by spending too much time with tire kickers, so the sooner you recognize you're talking to the wrong customer and move on, the better. Here's how.</p> <h2>Know how to spot your ideal clients</h2> <p>Regardless of your industry, your ideal clients will probably have two characteristics: They're great to work with, and they're profitable. In many cases, they may also be repeat buyers.</p> <p>Look beyond these factors to identify if there are any common threads in your customers' industries, company size, or location, so it's easy to spot them when they're in front of you. You can use popular accounting software programs like FreshBooks and QuickBooks to sort your clients this way. You may spot some interesting patterns you had not noticed, like one particular state where you get a lot of business.</p> <p>Look a little deeper. If, for instance, you sell marketing services and most of your clients are big companies, peruse the job titles of the clients who have signed contracts with you. Perhaps buyers in these firms tend to have a certain level of seniority in their organization. This doesn't mean you should ignore prospects with more junior titles, but if those junior buyers seem to be moving slowly, you may need to involve more senior people on their team to move a project along. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-starting-a-small-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>Ask qualifying questions</h2> <p>Learning as much as possible about why clients are considering buying your product or services can save you from spending a lot of time with someone who is highly unlikely to move ahead or won't turn out to be a good fit.</p> <p>I do this when people ask me to ghostwrite books for them &mdash; a process that takes a lot of time and energy for both the author and myself. In our first conversation, I might ask: &quot;Why do you want to write a book?&quot; If the author is eager to share ideas they're passionate about with the world and says they've already done a rough outline of the book or lectures on the topic, those are positive indicators.</p> <p>However, if someone says that colleagues, a spouse, or friends keep nudging them to write the book, I'll suggest a smaller project first to make sure they are truly motivated. Even if someone has the budget to hire me, I don't want to work with someone who is likely to lose steam and see the project fail.</p> <p>There are many other qualifying questions you can ask to weed out people who are not serious. You might, for instance, ask if they need a project by a certain deadline &mdash; which will naturally give them an incentive to hire you. You might also ask what their expectations are. If they would like to receive certain services you don't offer and that you don't want to start providing, that's a disqualifier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>Be transparent about pricing</h2> <p>Many business owners hesitate to talk about what they charge because they're afraid of scaring clients away. That can be a big mistake. Many potential clients could be price-sensitive, so being direct and upfront about what you charge, by sharing it early in your conversations, can save you a lot of time.</p> <p>If someone's budget is too small to afford your highest-end products or services, be prepared to suggest other creative alternatives. For instance, instead of the yearlong retainer contract you usually offer, what about a three-month version? That way you won't have to turn away clients who you might otherwise enjoy working with.</p> <h2>Watch out for clients who don't value your time</h2> <p>When you hire outside professionals &mdash; whether to do your social media or clean your house &mdash; do you expect them to donate their time? I didn't think so.</p> <p>One sign that you're talking to the wrong clients is that they want you to &quot;prove&quot; yourself by doing a project for free. Someone who does not understand that you need to get paid for your work now will never respect your time and is likely to become a nonpaying client later. If prospects want to get a chance to see what it is like to work with you, suggest they work with you on a very small, paid project instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get a Small Business Loan</a>)</p> <p>There's one exception. If you're selling clients access to a service many people haven't tried yet, such as a specialized type of fitness class, there's nothing wrong with offering one free trial class or even a discounted monthly membership to make sure they know what they're buying. Just make sure you're offering an experience they will value enough that they want to come back when they have to pay full price.</p> <p>Relying too heavily on bargain hunters for your cash flow could lead to a crowded atmosphere that drives away clients who would be willing to pay you a little extra for some elbow room and tranquillity. Experiment until you find the right approach to attract great new customers and keep your ideal ones coming back. Once you find the right balance, you'll enjoy your business a lot more.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fis-your-small-business-targeting-the-wrong-customer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FIs%2520Your%2520Small%2520Business%2520Targeting%2520the%2520Wrong%2520Customer_.jpg&amp;description=Is%20Your%20Small%20Business%20Targeting%20the%20Wrong%20Customer%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Is%20Your%20Small%20Business%20Targeting%20the%20Wrong%20Customer_.jpg" alt="Is Your Small Business Targeting the Wrong Customer?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-small-business-targeting-the-wrong-customer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch">How to Pull Your Small Business Out of a Cash Crunch</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship clients customer service entrepreneur grow your business small business small business owner Thu, 04 Jan 2018 09:30:11 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 2082514 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Pull Your Small Business Out of a Cash Crunch http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/freelance_calculating_a_budget.jpg" alt="Freelance calculating a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're working around the clock. So why are you short of cash? For a lot of self-employed people and small business owners, the answer is poor cash flow. Even if you're making a great living on an annual basis, there may be periods where the money flowing into your business slows to a trickle.</p> <p>Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to prevent a cash crunch and get out of one if you're short of funds. Here are the steps you can take.</p> <h2>Vet clients carefully</h2> <p>We all love making sales, but closing a deal is only helpful to your business if you can collect the money you've earned in a reasonable period. If someone wants to hire you for a big project, suggest working on a small project together first and then build from there.</p> <p>Use the small project to test how quickly the client pays you. If someone takes 90 or 120 days to close a $500 invoice, imagine how long it will take to get paid for a $10,000 gig. You may be better off working for another client, instead. Your bills are generally going to be due monthly and there's no way around that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time</a>)</p> <h2>Diversify your client base</h2> <p>If you are a contractor dependent on just one client, you're very vulnerable to a cash crunch if something goes wrong in the payment process. Should that client hit a slump and postpone paying you, it will be easy to run out of money. &quot;If you want them to pay you on time, you're at their mercy,&quot; says Bob Shoyet, CFO of Melillo Consulting in Somerset, New Jersey.</p> <p>Although you don't want to spread yourself too thin, adding just a few more clients will give you income security you don't have with just one or two.</p> <h2>Let a third party handle client payments</h2> <p>Another way to reduce the risk of late payments is to onboard some of your clients to a freelance platform such as Upwork. Although Upwork will take a cut in your pay, it offers options for you to get paid for completed projects every Wednesday, twice a month, monthly, or quarterly &mdash; and takes on the task of collecting the payments from your clients.</p> <p>Another option is Freelancer.com, which offers a feature called the Milestone Payment System. It requires clients to pay you at predetermined points as you hit certain project goals. Payments are made securely within the site, which can be a benefit too if you're worried about checks getting lost in the mail.</p> <h2>Negotiate contracts carefully</h2> <p>Ask for a substantial deposit on projects upfront with progress payments along the way if this is customary in your industry &mdash; rather than billing for the whole project on the back end. If you do retainer work, invoice for payment at the beginning of the month, rather than at the end, with a due date of a week or 10 days after that. Very small businesses really aren't in the position to finance projects for their clients, so make sure you're doing that as little as possible.</p> <p>If you work in a field where it's not common to ask for a deposit and clients tend to take more than 30 days to pay &mdash; as is often the case with big companies &mdash; consider offering them a discount if they pay you early. &quot;Companies do take that into consideration,&quot; says Shoyet.</p> <p>Some of my own freelance clients require vendors to use an electronic payment system called Coupa to submit invoices. They have set up their accounts so vendors can access a pulldown menu that includes an option to offer a discount if the client pays earlier than the standard 60 days.</p> <p>If you do offer a discount, make sure to record the dollar amount of the discount as an expense in your accounting software, Shoyet says. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You're Self-Employed</a>)</p> <h2>Finish projects on time</h2> <p>Getting into a situation where you have a lot of projects that are in the middle of the completion process and not many that are finished can lead to long periods where you can't submit many invoices &mdash; and have little money coming in later. When you're planning your weekly schedule, look for ways to bring as many projects as possible to the finish line while still doing a great job. Even finishing a few small projects can give you a lifeline. The more quickly you finish a project, the sooner you can send an invoice.</p> <h2>Stay on top of invoicing</h2> <p>When you offer 30-day payment terms to a client, the 30 days start when you send the invoice. If you're routinely waiting a week or two after completing a project to invoice, you'll be postponing the day you get paid.</p> <p>No matter how busy you are, set aside at least an hour or two a week to submit invoices so you don't fall behind. If you just can't find the time, consider hiring a bookkeeper to help you keep your books and submit invoices for you. A very small business should not require more than a few hours of help a month, and this modest investment could save you from having to borrow later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers</a>)</p> <p>If your clients are willing to pay you electronically, that can speed up payments. The popular accounting software programs QuickBooks and FreshBooks let you accept both ACH payments and credit card payments. I prefer to use ACH to avoid credit card processing fees, which can add up on large projects. But if you're working with a client who may have cash flow issues, paying the credit card fee may be a good investment in protection against receiving a seriously late project payment.</p> <h2>Follow up</h2> <p>Sometimes, when I've checked on an unpaid invoice, I find out it has been lost in a client's inbox. The sooner you figure out that this happened &mdash; and follow up in a cheerful manner &mdash; the better.</p> <p>If you send your invoice as a link from QuickBooks or FreshBooks, you can see whether an invoice was &quot;viewed.&quot; Sent it as a PDF? Use your email functions to see if the email was read. If an invoice was not viewed, mention to your client that it's showing up as &quot;unread&quot; and ask if he or she would prefer that you send it in another format. There might be an issue that is causing it to get lost in Inboxland and hold up your payment.</p> <h2>Put a safety net in place</h2> <p>Make sure you have at least one <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card for your business</a> and, ideally, a line of credit with your bank, too. You don't have to use them, but it's good to have them set up for an emergency &mdash; particularly if have a payroll for your business. If your credit is good and you are not maxed out on debt, many banks can help you get a business credit card quickly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a>)</p> <h2>Know where to turn for quick cash</h2> <p>What if you're in a crunch now? Make one last attempt to collect seriously late invoices that you've just about given up on. Try reaching out to the company's accounts payable team, instead of your original contact.</p> <p>Also consider putting your receivables to work for you. <a href="http://www.fundbox.com" target="_blank">Fundbox</a>, one service that has been picking up traction, will allow you to borrow up to $100,000 against your receivables and repay the loan over 12 or 24 weeks. To work with Fundbox, you need to use one of the invoicing platforms the company works with &mdash; Clio, eBillity, FreshBooks, Harvest, InvoiceASAP, Kashoo, Jobber, PayPal, QuickBooks, Sage One, Xero, and Zoho.</p> <p>Borrowing this way isn't cheap, but if you have urgent bills to pay or need to make payroll, it may be necessary. Then, once you're out of your crisis, take some time to put better systems in place so the cash starts flowing more evenly. You'll enjoy your business a lot more that way.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Pull%2520Your%2520Small%2520Business%2520Out%2520of%2520a%2520Cash%2520Crunch.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Pull%20Your%20Small%20Business%20Out%20of%20a%20Cash%20Crunch"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Pull%20Your%20Small%20Business%20Out%20of%20a%20Cash%20Crunch.jpg" alt="How to Pull Your Small Business Out of a Cash Crunch" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Gluttony Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship cash crunch cash flow freelancer freelancing tips money management saving money small business owner Thu, 28 Dec 2017 09:31:05 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 2077708 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Land More Freelance Clients in a Snap http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-land-more-freelance-clients-in-a-snap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-land-more-freelance-clients-in-a-snap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mature_businesswoman_talking_on_the_phone.jpg" alt="Mature Businesswoman Talking On The Phone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've got a freelance business. Maybe you already have a few clients, or you're looking for your very first ones. Either way, you need successful strategies to add more customers to your roster. Diversification is key when you are freelancing, so use the following tips to expand your client base and build a more solid foundation.</p> <h2>1. Take advantage of social media</h2> <p>It's free, it's popular, and it's a quick and easy way to reach millions of people. If you don't already have them, set up business pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and if it's applicable, Pinterest. Then start pushing out content.</p> <p>Retweet articles about your industry and comment on them. Publish links to articles you have written. Get your work samples photographed and uploaded, and make sure you use plenty of hashtags so that people can find you easily. Check out the social media sites of businesses you would like to do work for, and leave comments leading back to your pages. The more you post, ideally several times a day, the more chance you have that people will find you.</p> <h2>2. Attend networking events regularly</h2> <p>Depending on your location, you should be able to find regular networking events that you can attend to promote yourself. Websites like Meetup, Eventful, and even Facebook Events make it easier than ever to find something close to you that will be filled with the kind of people you want to meet. Be prepared with business cards, but don't jump right into your elevator pitch. Just mingle, get to know the people there, and when the conversation turns to the inevitable &quot;So what do you do?&quot; question, that's when you can promote yourself.</p> <p>Don't be too pushy, keep it light, but make sure you leave a great impression and a way to be contacted. Even better, ask for their information and hit them up a few days later with a follow up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a>)</p> <h2>3. Speak at a conference</h2> <p>If you don't have a problem with public speaking, you should consider speaking at a conference. There are many different organizations and venues to explore, and it is fantastic exposure for you and your business. Speaking at TED is tough, but the local <a href="https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/tedx-program" target="_blank">TEDx events</a> are much easier to get into. They are well organized, extremely popular, and the TEDx talks get almost as much coverage as the bigger TED presentations. They are filmed and distributed via the TED website and app.</p> <p>If that's not to your liking, find local (or national) conferences that are industry specific. For example, if you're in the design and advertising industry, <a href="http://howdesignlive.com/" target="_blank">HOW Design Conference</a>, <a href="https://www.sxsw.com/" target="_blank">South by Southwest</a>, and <a href="http://www.advertisingweek.com/" target="_blank">Advertising Week</a> offer excellent opportunities to put you in the spotlight and reach new clients. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-public-speaking-less-terrifying?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make Public Speaking Less Terrifying</a>)</p> <h2>4. Do some spec work for a client you really want</h2> <p>Picture the ideal client list on your website. Who's on it? Who are you most proud of? Now, create something for that client that's better than anything you've seen out there. If it's an ad campaign, flesh it out. If it's a logo design, show it across a range of applications. If it's a website design, make it functional. Spec work like this can often lead to real work for that same client.</p> <p>Now, it's important to note that this is work you will do to prove your abilities, and was not asked for by the client. This is more of a, &quot;Hey, look over here, I'm really good,&quot; kind of deal. If a client approaches you asking for free work, that's another story. You should consider this carefully. Reach out to other professionals and ask them if it led to paid work. If not, they may simply be exploiting your talents. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time</a>)</p> <h2>5. Become friendly with freelancers in your field</h2> <p>While freelancers are often in competition with each other for the same business, they also know that it's important to have good contacts. For a start, freelancers with impressive client rosters can put you in touch with people who could provide regular work. Then, there's the case of overflow, or last-minute unavailability. If a freelancer has bitten off more than they can chew, you could become a lifeline.</p> <p>How do you meet these fellow freelancers? Well, at the same places you'd meet clients: networking events, online forums, and group chats on Facebook. Be polite, ask for advice, and tell them you are looking for work. Sow these seeds now, and harvest the rewards later.</p> <h2>6. Check in daily at job boards</h2> <p>There are plenty of them out there now, including Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, Indeed, and Glassdoor. Plus, LinkedIn has a jobs section, and you can also create a Google alert for freelance jobs in your industry. Be wary of jobs that pay very little (such as postings on Fiverr, for example), as these are more like one-off projects that will rarely lead to anything substantial. Don't be afraid to pitch on multiple projects at the same time. The chances are, your success rate in the beginning will be low, so you'll want to improve your odds of landing a gig.</p> <h2>7. Consider an ad campaign on Google or Facebook</h2> <p>If you have the funds available, a well-written text ad targeted at the right demographic could bring in some great prospects for you. With both Google ads and Facebook campaigns, you dictate the amount of money you want to spend over a set period of time, and fine-tune the target audience so that the clients you're interested in landing will see the ads.</p> <p>You will want copy that is search engine optimized, so if you are not savvy with SEO, find a copywriter to help you. You will obviously need to make sure that your website is completely finished, and you should also consider a unique landing page. This is first page that the potential client will see, and is a good opportunity to hit them with a bulleted list of your services and easy contact information. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Ways a Personal Website Can Improve Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>8. Partner with an agency</h2> <p>Sometimes, the easiest and most convenient way to get new clients is to work with agencies that have already done the hard work. They have access to a wealth of accounts, and if you work directly for them, you can make the agency your own client and work on a diverse array of projects.</p> <p>Advertising, marketing, design, and PR are some of the industries that cannot survive without freelancers. There are also agencies looking for freelance writers and bloggers, photographers, artists, and even carpenters and security guards. Do a search for agencies in your line of work, and don't limit yourself to local firms only. Many writers and designers have clients halfway around the world.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-land-more-freelance-clients-in-a-snap&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Land%2520More%2520Freelance%2520Clients%2520in%2520a%2520Snap_0.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Land%20More%20Freelance%20Clients%20in%20a%20Snap"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Land%20More%20Freelance%20Clients%20in%20a%20Snap_0.jpg" alt="How to Land More Freelance Clients in a Snap" width="250" height="374" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-land-more-freelance-clients-in-a-snap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-new-years-goals-every-freelancer-should-make">8 New Year&#039;s Goals Every Freelancer Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-and-unexpected-ways-to-get-out-of-a-business-rut">5 Fun and Unexpected Ways to Get Out of a Business Rut</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time">8 Ways Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-small-business-owners-can-learn-from-top-forbes-entrepreneurs">What Small Business Owners Can Learn From Top Forbes Entrepreneurs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship clients conferences customers freelancing job ads networking public speaking small business owners social media Thu, 21 Dec 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Paul Michael 2075579 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 New Year's Goals Every Freelancer Should Make http://www.wisebread.com/8-new-years-goals-every-freelancer-should-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-new-years-goals-every-freelancer-should-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/latina_businesswoman_using_laptop_in_her_office.jpg" alt="Latina Businesswoman Using Laptop In Her Office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s part of the magic of the season &mdash; each new year is a chance for a new beginning. For those of us who freelance, this time of year is particularly important. It&rsquo;s a moment to reflect on what&rsquo;s going right in our businesses, what needs improvement, and what goals should shape the next 12 months. In short, it&rsquo;s time to plan for the care and feeding of our self-made careers. With that in mind, here are eight New Year&rsquo;s goals every freelancer should make.</p> <h2>1. Build your brand</h2> <p>No matter how small the enterprise, branding matters. If you haven&rsquo;t established a brand for your freelance business, resolve to do it this year. Remember, a brand is more than a logo and tagline; it&rsquo;s also the <em>experience</em> clients have with you.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;ve already established a brand, apply it consistently and flawlessly online, in all printed material, and in person. Remember, the goal is to make sure clients keep your business top-of-mind and recommend your services without hesitation.</p> <h2>2. Update your LinkedIn profile</h2> <p>LinkedIn has established itself as <em>the</em> social networking hub for all things employment-related. Its network connects professionals in nearly every field imaginable &mdash; and many of them are in desperate need of freelance help. If your LinkedIn profile is out of date, sloppy, or incomplete, it reflects poorly on you and your business. Update it ASAP. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn</a>)</p> <h2>3. Learn a new skill</h2> <p>Regardless of what field you&rsquo;re in, markets never stand still. Changing technologies, new tools, and shifting tastes all demand that freelancers adapt or die. Stay competitive by sharpening your current skills; stay engaged by learning new ones. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a>)</p> <h2>4. Expand your network</h2> <p>Freelancing can be isolating, especially for those who work from home. A strong network of colleagues will keep you engaged socially and plugged into new professional opportunities. Devote an hour or two each week to expanding your network through social media, blogs, and industry events. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a>)</p> <h2>5. Ditch toxic clients</h2> <p>Take a critical look at your project list for the past couple of years. Are there clients who consistently paid late? Had endless demands and unreasonable deadlines? They&rsquo;re likely costing your more money than they bring in. Free yourself by phasing out chaotic professional relationships. But be diplomatic; bad clients often employ good people and you never know where those folks may land.</p> <h2>6. Bump up your rates</h2> <p>For many freelancers, it&rsquo;s tempting keep rates low to draw in more business. But over time, this loss-leader strategy can do more harm than good. Not only does it keep you at a financial disadvantage, it implies your services aren&rsquo;t as professional or in-demand as your competitors&rsquo;.</p> <p>Assess what price the market can bear and adjust your rates accordingly. Communicate the increase clearly in writing and give your clients at least 60&ndash;90 days notice.</p> <h2>7. Make time for downtime</h2> <p>When you work for yourself, the boundary that separates your personal and professional world can get a little fuzzy. This year, establish (and stick to!) a more formalized schedule &mdash; one that allows for real downtime and breaks from client calls, email, and paperwork.</p> <h2>8. Save for retirement</h2> <p>Without access to employee-sponsored retirement programs, freelancers must take the lead on saving for the future. Roth, traditional, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sep-ira-is-how-the-self-employed-do-retirement-like-a-boss?ref=internal" target="_blank">SEP (Simplified Employee Pension)</a> IRAs each have distinct benefits and limitations. Choose the one that works best for you and make regular contributions &mdash; starting <em>now</em>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-retirement-plans-for-the-self-employed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Simple Guide to Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-new-years-goals-every-freelancer-should-make&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520New%2520Years%2520Goals%2520Every%2520Freelancer%2520Should%2520Make.jpg&amp;description=8%20New%20Years%20Goals%20Every%20Freelancer%20Should%20Make"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20New%20Years%20Goals%20Every%20Freelancer%20Should%20Make.jpg" alt="8 New Year's Goals Every Freelancer Should Make" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-new-years-goals-every-freelancer-should-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Close Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in">4 Best States to Start a New Business In</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship branding freelance goals networking new year's resolutions retirement self employment skills small businesses social media Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 2074044 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fundamentals of Naming a Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/female_business_owner_holding_tablet_computer.jpg" alt="Female business owner holding tablet computer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What's in a name? When it comes to a small business, quite a lot, actually. While it may seem like a fun side project, the name you choose for your business could have a long-lasting impact on the success (or failure) of your startup. However, if you follow these guidelines, you should come up with something that makes a great first impression for your new business venture.</p> <h2>1. Do not name it after yourself</h2> <p>The biggest mistake people make when choosing a business name is to go straight for the ego option: &quot;Well, it's my business, I should use my name.&quot; You see it with law firms, handymen, auto garages, and so on. While it may be nice to see your name on a big sign and a business card, it doesn't tell anyone anything about what you do or provide. Therefore, you have to add a second line to spell it out: &quot;The Smith Brothers: Plumbing and Heating Experts.&quot; That's not catchy.</p> <h2>2. Be smart, but not too clever</h2> <p>It's tempting to have fun with your business name. However, keep in mind that when people see the name of your company for the first time, they do not have the background that you do. They know nothing about your business, how long you've been dreaming of it, and what kind of thought process you went through.</p> <p>For example, imagine someone passionate about great hot dogs opens an eatery called The Top Dog. To that person it's a great name, but they know it's a reference to hot dogs. To someone else, it's more likely something to do with actual dogs; perhaps a dog grooming service, products for pooches, or a place to buy a dog. The business is going to have to work harder to identify itself as a restaurant. If instead they'd chose a name like Hot Dog Heaven, or The Tasty Wiener, there wouldn't be any confusion.</p> <h2>3. Keep your sights set on expansion</h2> <p>Small businesses sometimes become big businesses. When that happens, and the company grows to include new locations, your company name might suddenly become very confusing. For instance, if you base the name on your current location (maybe something like Delaware Dinners), you may have people scratching their heads when you move to a different state, or even a different country.</p> <p>Similarly, think about not just physical expansion, but product line growth. You may start out as a T-shirt company, and call yourself something like Top Shelf Tees. But what happens when you decide to make branded caps, bags, and sneakers? Your original product name limits the expectations of customers, and you may have to rebrand to Top Shelf Apparel. So, think about the future.</p> <h2>4. Cutesy spellings aren't for everyone</h2> <p>The rise of the internet, and the need for a unique dot-com address, has brought about a glut of misspelled words. Carz instead of cars. Kabbage instead of cabbage. Wzrd instead of wizard. All in the name of getting a name that sounds memorable.</p> <p>But consider the additional steps you will have to take to inform your customers of the odd spelling. For example, if you choose to do radio promotions, you'll have to say something like, &quot;Remember, that's carz with a Z.&quot; And when potential customers hear a little buzz, and search for you on the web, will they be searching for the right company? Chances are, they'll use the typical spelling, and it could end up taking them to a major competitor.</p> <h2>5. Completely made-up words make life difficult</h2> <p>There are hundreds of companies out there that have names that either mean nothing, or were based on a real word from any number of languages. You already know some very well, including Verizon, Google (although it was based on Googol), Etsy, Skype, Hulu, Zillow, and eBay.</p> <p>Now, the reason you know these words so well is because the companies are huge, and spent major branding and advertising dollars to get their name to be recognized. Plus, as word of mouth has spread, the familiarity of these names has grown. Let's be honest, have you ever considered what Google means over the many years you have used the service? Because the brand is so dominant, it hasn't really mattered to most people.</p> <p>However, you're the owner of a small business right now, not a major corporation. You have limited funds. Unless you think your company will scale to the size of these giants, you are better off avoiding completely nonsensical words.</p> <h2>6. Make sure your name conjures positive imagery</h2> <p>To this day, it baffles many marketing and branding experts that the company The Athlete's Foot was named something so horrendous. Athlete's foot is described as &quot;a contagious fungal infection that causes itching, blisters, cracking, and scaling, especially between the toes.&quot; And yet for some reason, a boardroom full of people said &quot;Yeah &hellip; we want our footwear store to be associated with that.&quot;</p> <p>Bizarrely, it worked; the store is still going. But you <em>really</em> do not want to take that chance with your own company. If the first thing people conjure up in their heads is negative, you have a tough image mountain to climb. If you are a mobile hairdresser, Curl Up &amp; Dye might sound funny for a second &mdash; but what kind of image are you putting in your customers' heads? Keep it positive, unless it really does fit the bill (like Vinyl Resting Place, a store that sells old vinyl records and has a sense of humor about it).</p> <h2>7. Don't pick a name out of a hat</h2> <p>The hat comes in many forms. It can be a dictionary or thesaurus. It can be a random word generator online. Or, it could in fact be a bunch of words you put into an actual hat. These methods are just not going to work out for you. There has to be a logical reason as to why you went with the name you did.</p> <p>What's the background? How does it tie to your business? Does it accurately describe what you do, or at least invoke some part of it? For example, Pinkberry is not an accidental or random name. While it sounds fun and trendy, it also relates directly to the fresh fruit cut daily for its frozen yogurts and ice creams. If the company had simply pulled a word out of thin air, it would not have been as successful.</p> <h2>8. Think alphabetically</h2> <p>There's a reason there are so many AAA Plumbers, and AAAA Lawyers; they were looking to be first in the phone directory. While that is not always the case anymore when it comes to search engines, alphabetical listings are still a way to organize companies. If your company is called something like Zoomfood or Yogalicious, you're going to be stuck at the back of the line.</p> <p>Consider a name that will bump you up without compromising the fun and originality of your name. For example, Foodzoom is just as fun, but vaults you way higher up the list. While it may not be the most important consideration, it's worth thinking about.</p> <h2>9. Combining words can produce great results</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to come up with a good business name is to combine two (or more) words to create a new word that's both eye-catching and memorable. Start by writing down a list of all the traits of your company. Don't worry about coming up with actual names just yet, this is a brain dump. Your company mission statement will include a lot of these words. When you have that list, start making connections.</p> <p>Which words fit well together? For example, if you're a meal prep company, you may have a list that includes food, easy, preparation, timesaving, meals, dinners, fresh, delicious, organic, diet, delivery, and simple. Now, which of those words can you combine to make something new? It could be as simple as FreshPrep, or EasyMeals. You could also do it another way, like Dinner 'N Delivery, or Meals On Time. These are just quick examples, but it's a great way to brainstorm a name that includes essential aspects of your company.</p> <h2>10. Test out a few names before you commit</h2> <p>When you have a list of business names that you're happy with, it's time to put them to the test. Narrow the list to the top three, and set up a simple survey through a site like Survey Monkey. Ask questions like, &quot;What did the name instantly make you think of?&quot; or, &quot;Does this business sound professional?&quot; You want a good variety of questions and possible answers. Send the survey to people you may already be working with, online forums, a subreddit devoted to your industry, and anyone else that could be of help. However, don't send it to immediate family and friends; they know too much and won't give you an unbiased opinion.</p> <p>One last note: When you have picked the winning name, think about how you will turn that into a memorable and noticeable logo or brand mark. Work with a freelance designer to get some options, and use the same survey system to help you select the best one. This will be your logo for the foreseeable future, although brands change identities often, so it's not as important as the actual business name. Good luck.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Fundamentals%2520of%2520Naming%2520a%2520Small%2520Business.jpg&amp;description=10%20Fundamentals%20of%20Naming%20a%20Small%20Business"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Fundamentals%20of%20Naming%20a%20Small%20Business.jpg" alt="10 Fundamentals of Naming a Small Business" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-finances">Think Like a Startup to Boost Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-retirees-should-ask-before-starting-a-small-business">5 Questions Retirees Should Ask Before Starting a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in">4 Best States to Start a New Business In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-new-years-goals-every-freelancer-should-make">8 New Year&#039;s Goals Every Freelancer Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship advice naming a business self employment SEO small businesses startups strategies Wed, 06 Dec 2017 09:30:11 +0000 Paul Michael 2066636 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Self-Employment http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-lessons-i-ve-learned-from-self-employment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-life-lessons-i-ve-learned-from-self-employment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_at_cafe.jpg" alt="Woman working at cafe" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2011, I started a side hustle that would ultimately lead to self-employment. I didn&rsquo;t know at the time that I would become my own boss one day. But you know how life can be; sometimes the stars align and you end up doing <em>exactly</em> what you were meant to be doing all along.</p> <p>And it didn&rsquo;t take me long to figure out I was, in fact, in the ideal career for my personality and talents. So, after a successful year of part-time work, I quit my steady professional job in 2012 to begin a career as a blogger and online content creator.</p> <p>Since those early days, my husband has come home to work with me, our profits have grown, and our business dealings (and taxes) have become a lot more complex. Where I was once a novice at all things self-employment, I feel like I <em>finally </em>know what I&rsquo;m doing.</p> <p>Of course, most of our biggest lessons were learned the hard way &mdash; by messing things up and figuring out how to fix them. I also learned a ton about what <em>not </em>to do just by realizing my own mistakes.</p> <p>Here are some of the lessons I&rsquo;ve learned about self-employment, and why I don&rsquo;t think I could ever go back to my old life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-every-first-year-freelancer-should-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Moves Every First Year Freelancer Should Make</a>)</p> <h2>1. With self-employment, you reap what you sow</h2> <p>At my old office job, there were days when I would sit and stare at the clock for hours, counting down to 5 p.m. so I could leave. Even when there wasn&rsquo;t enough work to fill my day, I still got paid for being there.</p> <p>But self-employment is an entirely different animal. When you work for yourself, slacking off means taking money from your own pocket. When you run out the clock or don&rsquo;t do your best, you&rsquo;re only hurting yourself. You don&rsquo;t get paid for showing up (not to mention vacations and sick days!), nor will you automatically get a salary bump each year or be in line for a promotion. You have to reach for your potential on your own &mdash; grow your skills, raise your rate, and land your clients.</p> <p>Once I became self-employed, I realized that <em>I </em>was the one in charge of my own destiny. If I wanted full-time results, I had to put in everything I had. So that&rsquo;s exactly what I&rsquo;ve learned to do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/day-job-or-freelance-which-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Day Job or Freelance: Which Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>2. You can&rsquo;t avoid taxes, so you might as well plan for them</h2> <p>Paying taxes as an employee isn&rsquo;t that painful. Although you can see how much is withheld from each paycheck you receive, the money is gone before you really see it. And as long as you set your withholdings up the right way, you shouldn&rsquo;t owe too much money come April 15.</p> <p>But self-employment taxes can really hurt, and they start hurting even more as your income grows. Since you don&rsquo;t have money withheld from your paycheck, you have to make a payment each quarter for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-irs-penalties-with-this-simple-estimated-payment-strategy?ref=internal" target="_blank">estimated taxes</a>.</p> <p>I hate writing those checks every three months, but it&rsquo;s a lot easier to handle when you have the money already set aside. Over time, I&rsquo;ve learned to set aside around 30 percent of my income as I earn it so I&rsquo;m ready to pay my tax bill when the time comes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a>)</p> <h2>3. Living below your means is the best way to deal with an unpredictable income</h2> <p>While we always earn more than enough money to pay our bills each month, our monthly income often fluctuates by thousands of dollars. This is an inevitable part of self-employment, but it&rsquo;s one I&rsquo;ve gotten used to.</p> <p>Since I hate owing money or feeling like I don&rsquo;t have enough, I decided early on in self-employment that I wanted to keep our bills as low as possible. As a result, we live well below our means. We don&rsquo;t have any credit card debt, we don&rsquo;t have any expensive hobbies or toys, and our house payment is less than 10 percent of our gross income. Even though we could afford to live a little more lavishly, I&rsquo;ve found the peace of mind that comes with living below our means is well worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-every-first-year-freelancer-should-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Moves Every First Year Freelancer Should Make</a>)</p> <h2>4. When it comes to health care, you&rsquo;re on your own</h2> <p>One of the biggest drawbacks of self-employment is the fact you don&rsquo;t have any benefits unless you buy them. This means buying your own health insurance plan, purchasing your own life insurance, and paying all your dental bills out-of-pocket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs</a>)</p> <p>While health care has always been a struggle, we are finally at a place where we&rsquo;re happy with what we have. We have tried a few different plans over the years, but we ultimately ended up in a health care sharing ministry called Liberty Healthshare after the Affordable Care Act was passed.</p> <p>In terms of dental care, our local dentist offers a $799 per year for a family plan that includes two cleanings with X-rays for all of us plus a 20 percent discount on dental work.</p> <p>None of this is ideal, but it&rsquo;s the price we pay for self-employment and something we&rsquo;ve had to get used to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-work-perks-you-cant-get-as-a-freelancer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Work Perks You Can't Get as a Freelancer</a>)</p> <h2>5. Saving for retirement is not that hard</h2> <p>A lot of people assume that health care and retirement are the biggest issues facing the self-employed. Personally, I&rsquo;ve found that, while dealing with health care is a pain, retirement planning is a breeze.</p> <p>You don&rsquo;t need to have an employer to set up a retirement plan. We set up our own SEP IRA and Roth IRA plans with Vanguard when we first got started, but have since transitioned to Solo 401(k) plans instead. Either way, Vanguard funds are some of the least expensive available, and you can find all kinds of resources online to help you choose the right funds. When in doubt, you can even buy target date funds that automatically adjust for risk based on the year you want to retire. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-retirement-plans-for-the-self-employed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Simple Guide to Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed</a>)</p> <h2>6. You have to set limits on yourself</h2> <p>When you work a nine-to-five job, you can leave your work at the office and enjoy your free time at home. When your work is <em>at home</em>, on the other hand, it can be very challenging to separate your personal time from your work time. If you&rsquo;re not careful, you end up working all the time.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve fallen into the habit of working 50-hour weeks several times over the years, but I try really hard not to. These last few years, I have tried to work only when my kids are in school, or during the hours of 8 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Once they get home, I put my computer away to do housework and spend time being a mom. It doesn&rsquo;t always work out that way, but I have a much better work-life balance when I set clear limits for myself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-working-from-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Working From Home</a>)</p> <h2>7. Freedom is better than PTO</h2> <p>If I had a dollar for each time a person asked me if I missed having paid time off, I would be rich! For some reason, people assume that not having paid vacation is a huge drawback of self-employment.</p> <p>While it may be a downside for some people, I am more than happy to forgo paid vacation in order to set my own hours and work when I want. With the freedom to make my own schedule, I can work ahead any time I take a trip. And I never have to ask permission, either.</p> <p>At the end of the day, I value freedom over paid vacation and sick days &mdash; even if that means working during vacation or having fewer days off each year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelance-your-way-to-more-income-and-flexibility?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Freelance Your Way to More Income and Flexibility</a>)</p> <h2>8. I wouldn&rsquo;t trade self-employment for the world</h2> <p>The final lesson I&rsquo;ve learned from self-employment is that, for me, this was a one-way street. Even though self-employment isn&rsquo;t perfect, I couldn&rsquo;t imagine going back to a regular job now.</p> <p>I truly enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to earn a living without a steady salary. I am used to putting my head down and working hard to achieve my goals without having to make small talk or drive to an office. And I love the fact I can earn more money by working harder, instead of relying on someone else to determine how much money I make. Even though my income varies widely and I don&rsquo;t have any benefits, I have something more important &mdash; real freedom to live my life how I want.</p> <p>No job is perfect, and that&rsquo;s certainly true when you work for yourself. But self-employment lets me bet on myself every day of the week &mdash; and it doesn&rsquo;t get any better than that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-the-9-to-5-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs the 9-to-5 IS Right for You</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-life-lessons-i-ve-learned-from-self-employment&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Life%2520Lessons%2520I%25E2%2580%2599ve%2520Learned%2520from%2520Self-Employment.jpg&amp;description=8%20Life%20Lessons%20I%E2%80%99ve%20Learned%20from%20Self-Employment"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Life%20Lessons%20I%E2%80%99ve%20Learned%20from%20Self-Employment.jpg" alt="8 Life Lessons I&rsquo;ve Learned from Self-Employment" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-lessons-i-ve-learned-from-self-employment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-three-secrets-to-a-successful-family-business">The three secrets to a successful family business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-freelance-jobs-that-pay-surprisingly-well">11 Freelance Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Lifestyle blogger entrepreneur freelancer self-employed self-employment work from home Fri, 01 Dec 2017 09:30:05 +0000 Holly Johnson 2059321 at http://www.wisebread.com How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/florist_holding_a_credit_card_in_her_flower_shop.jpg" alt="Florist holding a credit card in her flower shop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're looking for a new credit card, then you&rsquo;ve probably noticed that many cards are offered in both personal and small business versions. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=internal" target="_blank">Business credit cards</a> can offer rewards and benefits more suited to the needs of small companies, but how does their use affect your personal credit?</p> <h2>Business credit card basics</h2> <p>When you apply for a small business credit card, the card issuer will check your personal credit report and credit score to see if you qualify for a new account. It doesn&rsquo;t matter whether you supply an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Social Security Number, your personal credit information will be checked, since nearly all small business credit cards require your personal guarantee of repayment. This means that even if your business dissolves, gets sold, or goes into bankruptcy, you&rsquo;re still responsible for paying off the credit card debt. The credit card may have your business name on it, but as part of the application, you agree to be personally responsible for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&rsquo;re Self-Employed</a>)</p> <h2>How applying for a business credit card affects your credit</h2> <p>When you apply for any new credit card, it has several effects on your credit. To grasp these, it helps to understand the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">five main factors that go into your FICO score</a> &mdash; the most commonly used personal credit score. These factors are:</p> <ol> <li> <p><strong> Payment history (35 percent of the total credit score):</strong> On-time payments are the most important part of your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a>)</p> </li> </ol> <ol start="2"> <li> <p><strong> Credit utilization (30 percent of the total score):</strong> It&rsquo;s best to keep your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a> &mdash; the amount you owe compared to how much total credit you have available &mdash; as low as possible.</p> </li> </ol> <ol start="3"> <li> <p><strong> Length of credit history (15 percent of the total score):</strong> The higher the average age of your accounts, the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</a>)</p> </li> </ol> <ol start="4"> <li> <p><strong> New credit: (10 percent of the total score):</strong> Opening <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-too-many-credit-cards-hurt-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">too many credit lines</a> at once could suggest you&rsquo;re having financial trouble.</p> </li> </ol> <ol start="5"> <li> <p><strong> Credit mix: (10 percent of the total score):</strong> Lenders like to see that you can handle a variety of debt types, such as installment loans and credit cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-inquiries-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score</a>)</p> </li> </ol> <p>When you apply for a new card, it affects the new credit part of your score because the application will result in a new inquiry on your credit report &mdash; a so-called hard inquiry. Applying for a single line of credit will have very little effect on your credit score, but applying for multiple new lines of credit in a short period of time could cause a small, temporary drop in your score.</p> <h2>How business credit cards may affect your personal credit differently</h2> <p>In most ways, a small business credit card will affect your credit just like a personal credit card. However, some credit card issuers only report your business credit card account if it&rsquo;s delinquent and don&rsquo;t report balance and payment information at all. Therefore, your use of business credit card accounts may or may not affect your credit one way or another. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-you-should-get-a-business-credit-card-over-a-consumer-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When to Get a Business Credit Card Over a Consumer Card</a>)</p> <p>Assuming you have a card that does report regularly to your personal credit, once approved, the new account will affect the credit history part of your score. It will lower the average age of your lines of credit, which on its own might cause a small drop in your score, especially if you have a very limited credit history.</p> <p>Your monthly balances and payment for this new account will appear on your credit report as well. So long as you make your payments on time, this new account will help build your credit history, which is good for your credit score.</p> <p>Finally, having a new line of credit may or may not help to reduce your credit utilization ratio. A card with a large credit limit (and business cards tend to have higher limits than personal cards) raises your amount of available credit. But in order to keep your utilization ratio low, you have to keep your balances low. If you quickly max out the new card, you could actually hurt your credit utilization ratio.</p> <p>If you get a business credit card that doesn&rsquo;t report to your personal credit, then the small dip in your credit from the hard inquiry will bounce back and nothing else will happen to your credit, unless you default on the business credit card. Then it will appear on your credit report as a loan in default.</p> <p>The only way to know for sure if your business credit card accounts are reporting your balance and payment information is to look at a copy of your credit report. You can obtain a free credit report each year from each of the three major consumer credit bureaus by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.</p> <h2>How business credit cards affect your business credit report</h2> <p>In addition to possibly affecting your personal credit report, your small business credit card may also affect your business credit reports. Your issuer may report your balance and payment information to companies that compile credit reports on small businesses. The main business credit reporting agencies are Dun &amp; Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. For many small businesses, having a strong business credit report is vital to securing future lines of credit and favorable payment terms from suppliers. It&rsquo;ll also benefit you to be able to get funding without a personal guarantee, which can only happen by building a strong business credit history first.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Small%2520Business%2520Credit%2520Cards%2520Affect%2520Your%2520Personal%2520Credit.jpg&amp;description=How%20Small%20Business%20Credit%20Cards%20Affect%20Your%20Personal%20Credit"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Small%20Business%20Credit%20Cards%20Affect%20Your%20Personal%20Credit.jpg" alt="How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-personal-guarantee-on-a-business-credit-card-mean">What Does Your Personal Guarantee On a Business Credit Card Mean?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Entrepreneurship business owner credit cards credit score personal credit small business Tue, 21 Nov 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2057716 at http://www.wisebread.com