Entrepreneurship http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4815/all en-US How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/waitress_holding_an_open_sign_at_a_restaurant.jpg" alt="Waitress holding an open sign at a restaurant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The conventional wisdom is that to &quot;scale&quot; a business, you have to do it the traditional way &mdash; by hiring employees. Otherwise, the thinking goes, you'll be limited to whatever revenue you can generate personally.</p> <p>That presents a conundrum. What if you really don't want to hire employees because you're not the managerial type &mdash; or can't pull it off financially? Creating jobs does a lot of good for society, but it is a big responsibility. For very small businesses that have uneven cash flow, it can be unmanageable. You can't just opt out of cutting paychecks one month if a big client pays you late. Employees depend on getting paid on time.</p> <p>Fortunately, there's another option. In the digital age, it's increasingly possible to grow revenue in a one-person business or partnership without hiring traditional W-2 employees. In researching my upcoming book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2i09ttX" target="_blank">The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business</a>, I came across many people who were approaching or breaking $1 million in revenue without adding employees. They are among the 35,584 owners of &quot;nonemployer&quot; businesses that the U.S. Census Bureau found were hitting or breaking $1 million in revenue in 2014. (Nonemployer businesses are those staffed only by the owners.)</p> <p>So what are they doing? It runs the gamut. Entrepreneurs are breaking $1 million while running internet retail sites, professional services firms, real estate investment firms, healthy cooking online courses, and many other businesses. It's not necessarily the type of businesses they run, but the way they run them that has enabled them to scale. Here are three growth strategies they are using that anyone in a one-person business can start using today to greatly increase revenue.</p> <h2>Outsource</h2> <p>In many small businesses, your time is your currency. If you waste it on nonproductive activities that don't add to the bottom line, you'll never maximize your revenue. The conventional wisdom is you need to hire staff so you can offload tasks that can be delegated, but many of the million-dollar entrepreneurs I interviewed used another approach. They outsourced whatever they could to make their business more efficient.</p> <p>One example was Camille and Ben Arneberg. They started Willow &amp; Everett, a store with its own website and a presence on Amazon, in 2015. Neither was a retail veteran. Camille had worked in the corporate sustainability field, while Ben had been in the military. But they loved home entertaining and had a knack for selecting products other people like, such as decorative tea kettles.</p> <p>The couple started small, investing $5,000 in inventory, and reinvested in new products as they went along. By April 2016, they had grown the business to $1 million in revenue, one year and four days after their launch.</p> <p>One secret to their rapid growth was hiring the right kind of service to help them. After trying to pack a bunch of early orders themselves and finding their home buried in boxes of mugs, they switched to using a fulfillment service offered by Amazon. Although there is a small cost for this, the service handles tasks like labeling and fulfillment, freeing the Arnebergs to focus on growing their business.</p> <h2>Contract it out</h2> <p>One of the myths about running a one-person business is that it's an isolated affair. In reality, many smart <em>solopreneurs </em>rely on a team of trusted contractors to expand their capabilities. One entrepreneur I interviewed, Dan Mezheritsky, founder and president of Fitness on the Go in Vancouver, follows this model. As a former junior national champion decathlete in Canada, Mezheritsky founded his one-person, in-home personal training franchise in 2005 and grew his own annual revenue to $1.5 million in 2016. He did it by building a network of 180 personal trainers, who are all contractors.</p> <p>Mezheritsky got burned out on the idea of bringing on traditional employees after finding out that many of his original hires were not motivated to help him grow the business. Because they were paid on salary, they didn't share in the financial gains the business made in a tangible way. When he switched to hiring them as contractors, that changed. Now that they had their own businesses, they saw a direct financial benefit if he brought on new customers &mdash; whom they would get to serve.</p> <p>Mezheritsky provides help to the trainers that makes it more advantageous for them to work for him than on their own entirely. He licenses the right to use the company's brand name to the trainers and provides support with business management, leads, continuing education and other areas of the business for $400 a month. The company sets prices for the training sessions and the trainers keep about 91 percent. &quot;It was a no brainer for the trainers, when they took a look at what they were receiving,&quot; Mezheritsky told me. &quot;It was simpler than trying to do everything on their own.&quot;</p> <h2>Automate</h2> <p>Like many of the million-dollar entrepreneurs I interviewed, Mezheritsky is passionate about finding ways to automate repetitive tasks in his business. For instance, he hired a pro to help him build customized software that handles billing for all of his trainers, acts as a customer relationship management platform, handles his client rewards program, and more.</p> <p>But you don't have to build your own software in most one-person businesses. For instance, you can save several hours a week on scheduling tasks by using inexpensive tools like ScheduleOnce or Calendly &mdash; scheduling programs that let you send business contacts a link to your public calendar so they can book a time to meet with you without emailing back and forth.</p> <p>My new favorite app is Everlance, which tracks your mileage automatically from a smartphone. That way, you don't have to keep a written journal in your car.</p> <p>Incorporate a couple of other time savers like that and you can easily free up a day every week to recharge and figure out new ways to grow your business &mdash; while enjoying the pleasures of running an ultra-lean operation.</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-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">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-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</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/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For 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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips">Going Freelance: The Top 10 Tips</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-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship business owner employees entrepreneur hiring process hiring staff human resources small business Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 2035053 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Famous People Who Got Rich After 30 http://www.wisebread.com/8-famous-people-who-got-rich-after-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-famous-people-who-got-rich-after-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/legacy_mcdonald's_hamburger_sign_with_speedee_v.jpg" alt="Legacy McDonald&#039;s Hamburger Sign with Speedee V" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people are under the impression that if they haven't made any serious money by the time they hit 30, it's just never going to happen. But as the following famous people can attest to, &quot;rich&quot; can be achieved well after you hit the big 3-0. Get ready to be inspired.</p> <h2>1. Vera Wang, fashion designer</h2> <p>You probably know the name Vera Wang even if you don't own any of her products. She's one of the most famous and lucrative fashion designers working today. But, she did not start out as a budding fashion designer in her 20s. In fact, she was a skilled figure skater who started the sport at just eight years old.</p> <p>In 1968, Wang competed at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and was featured in <em>Sports Illustrated</em>. But when she failed to make the U.S. Olympics team, she turned her attention to fashion. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence, Wang was hired as an editor at Vogue, where she worked for 17 years. In 1987, she joined Ralph Lauren, and her brief stint there gave her the drive to go out into the fashion world on her own. Two years later, at the age of 40, she designed her first wedding gown.</p> <p>Since then, Wang has made gowns for a litany of famous people and her career has exploded. Vera Wang is now a household name and she has a net worth of $420 million.</p> <h2>2. Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company</h2> <p>Who doesn't know Henry Ford? He is often considered the father of the modern automobile, having created an assembly line technique that revolutionized the auto industry. And while he didn't actually invent the car, or the assembly line for that matter, he did combine the two to make automobiles affordable for American families. However, this revelation did not come to him early in his career.</p> <p>After a series of experiments in his free time, Ford built a fully-functioning vehicle in 1898 at the age of 35. This eventually led to a partnership with Alexander Malcomson and a contract with the Dodge brothers. On June 16 1903, with $28,000 in capital, the Ford Motor Company was born. Five years later, in 1908, the Ford Model T was introduced to America. At a price of $825 (around $22,000 today), it was very affordable.</p> <p>Just 10 years later, when Ford was 55, half the cars in America were Model T's. The business had exploded, and he continued to build his empire. Ford was president of the company he had built well into his late seventies, and when he died in 1947 at age 83, he had a net worth of what would have been almost $200 billion in today's dollars, adjusted for inflation. That made him the richest man in the world by a long, long way.</p> <h2>3. Ray Kroc, president of McDonald's</h2> <p>Recently immortalized in the movie <em>The Founder</em>, Ray Kroc is the man responsible for creating the McDonald's company as you know it today.</p> <p>At the age of 53, well into what many would consider the twilight years of their career, Kroc was selling milkshake mixers door-to-door. It was not a thriving business. However, when he discovered that brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald had purchased eight of his multi-mixers for their burger joint, he had to see the restaurant for himself. And what he saw changed his life.</p> <p>Kroc convinced the brothers to franchise their store and eventually bought them out for just $1 million each; a pittance considering the value of McDonald's today. Kroc innovated the chain restaurant, the real estate process that drives the McDonald's empire, and rolled out inventions like the Chicken McNugget and the Happy Meal. When he passed away in 1984, he had a net worth of over $600 million.</p> <h2>4. Donald Fisher, founder of Gap Inc.</h2> <p>Born in 1928 in San Francisco, Donald Fisher hardly had the career trajectory of a traditional fashion icon. After finishing school, he served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve before becoming a cabinet maker.</p> <p>In 1960, at the age of 32, he started his own business renovating hotels and purchased the Capitol Park Hotel in Sacramento. This was to be a turning point in Fisher's career. He leased some of the hotel's retail space to Levi Strauss &amp; Co., and after a poor customer service exchange involving the return of a pair of Levi's, he noticed something that was crippling the store; it had a limited selection of jeans.</p> <p>He suggested to Levi's that they open a store with a much greater range of sizes and styles, and they bought into it. In August of 1969, at the age of 41, Donald and his wife Doris opened the very first Gap store (so named because it served the &quot;generation gap&quot;) and sold Levi's jeans, records, and tapes. It was a massive success. Just three years later, the Fishers launched their own Gap clothing label, and later went on to buy out Banana Republic and found the Old Navy chain. When he died, Donald Fisher had a net worth of over $3.3 billion.</p> <h2>5. Reed Hastings, founder of Netflix</h2> <p>It's hard to imagine life without Netflix these days: instant streaming, incredible original series, and a massive library of movies all at our fingertips. But the man behind it, Reed Hastings, did not come up with the idea until he was 37 years old.</p> <p>Hastings spent the beginning of his career in the Peace Corps teaching high school math in Swaziland from 1983 to 1985. When he came back to the States, he went to Stanford University and graduated with a master's degree in computer science. He used his skills at a company called Adaptive Technology where he invented a tool for debugging software. From there, Hastings went on to found Pure Software in 1991, which focused on software troubleshooting.</p> <p>Just six years later, his company was acquired for $750 million; and Hastings knew just what to do with that money. After getting a $40 late fee on a VHS rental of <em>Apollo 13</em>, he came up with the idea of a monthly DVD rental business that had no late fees. You keep the discs as long as you want, return them, and get another disc in your queue. It basically led to the downfall of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video and the creation of a service that changed television and the movie rental industry. Hastings has a current net worth of $2 billion.</p> <h2>6. Martha Stewart, author, cook, and businesswoman</h2> <p>Martha Stewart is one of the most popular household names in America, despite her brush with the law and a highly-publicized prison sentence for securities fraud. Ironically, after a career in modeling, Stewart was actually a stockbroker for some time. And while she was trading, she started a catering business in her basement with Norma Collier, a friend from her modeling days.</p> <p>After catering the book release of <em>The Secret Book of Gnomes,</em> she was introduced to Alan Mirken, head of a large publishing firm. He was so impressed by Stewart that he asked her to develop a book. <em>Entertaining</em>, ghostwritten by Elizabeth Hawes, was a success. From there, the Martha Stewart name started to take hold, with many more books in the series hitting the shelves. Stewart also made regular appearances on <em>The Oprah Winfrey Show</em> and <em>Larry King Live</em>.</p> <p>In 1990, the magazine <em>Martha Stewart Living</em> was launched, and three years later, her massive TV show based on the magazine took to the airwaves. Martha Stewart was 52 at that time. Now Stewart has a net worth of over $300 million.</p> <h2>7. Momofuku Ando, inventor of instant ramen</h2> <p>Born in Taiwan in 1910 to a wealthy family, Momofuku Ando was raised by his grandparents following the deaths of his parents. At 22 years of age, he started a textiles company. But after the end of World War II, he was convicted of tax evasion and spent two years in jail. His company declared bankruptcy.</p> <p>In the decade that followed the end of the war, Japan was suffering from a severe food shortage. The government was trying to convince its citizens to eat bread with the flour supplied by the U.S., but Ando thought noodles were a more obvious solution to this problem. After many months of trial and error, Ando, aged 48, perfected his prepackaged instant noodles. In 1971, at 61 years of age, he brought Cup Noodles to the market.</p> <p>Ando died when he was 96, and it was said he ate his chicken ramen noodles almost daily. His net worth was around $100 million.</p> <h2>8. Sam Walton, founder of Walmart</h2> <p>If you ever wondered why the Walmart warehouse chain is called Sam's Club, now you know. It was Sam Walton who started the massive Walmart empire, and it began in 1945 with a loan for $20,000. He was 44 years old at the time, and that $20,000 figure was no small sum. Adjusted for inflation, that's $250,000 today.</p> <p>He used the money to buy a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas, and three years later, he bought another. And then, another. By 1962, along with his brother Bud, he owned 16 stores in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas. In fact, 1962 was a banner year for Sam Walton. He opened the first true Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas &mdash; the Walmart Discount City store.</p> <p>Ironically, Walton was determined to market only American-made products supplied by U.S. manufacturers that could price their items low enough to meet foreign competition. These days, Walmart stores are stocked primarily with foreign-made items, something Sam would no doubt despise. He died in 1992 from a type of blood cancer, and the empire was taken over by his wife and children. His net worth was estimated at $65 billion.</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/8-famous-people-who-got-rich-after-30">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/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</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-top-7-blogs-for-entrepreneurs">The Top 7 Blogs for Entrepreneurs</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-business-lessons-from-these-child-entrepreneurs">5 Business Lessons From These Child Entrepreneurs</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/make-sure-you-get-paid-and-4-other-great-tips-from-famous-commencement-speakers">Make Sure You Get Paid and 4 Other Great Tips From Famous Commencement Speakers</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-beloved-books-of-successful-millionaires">10 Beloved Books of Successful Millionaires</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship after 30 age businesses celebrities famous people inspiration inventors net worth wealth Tue, 10 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 2033606 at http://www.wisebread.com How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medical_costs.jpg" alt="Medical Costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you run your own business, times like the present &mdash; when there is a lot of uncertainty about health care policy &mdash; can be challenging. Many self-employed Americans are already struggling to pay for insurance and medical costs. And it's hard to predict whether your premiums or out-of-pocket costs will rise substantially in the near future.</p> <p>So how do you insulate yourself? There isn't an easy answer, as I found during the roughly 10-year period when my husband and I were both freelancers raising four children in New Jersey, a very high-cost state when it comes to health care. (Last fall, he went in-house with a client, so now we get our health care through his job.) This is what worked for us.</p> <h2>Opt for a high-deductible plan with a health savings account</h2> <p>When it comes to health insurance, many people prefer plans that cover most of their out-of-pocket costs &mdash; such as a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan. Unfortunately, the premiums for these tend to be extremely high. For us, enrolling in a PPO plan would have been like taking on a second mortgage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-plan-on-the-health-care-marketplace?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Right Health Care Plan</a>)</p> <p>If you don't use a lot of medical care, you may find yourself over-insured with a PPO plan. Generally, if you're self-employed, the most affordable option is a high-deductible health care plan (HDHP), which allows you to open and use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=internal" target="_blank">health savings account (HSA)</a>.</p> <p>The premiums for an HDHP tend to be lower than those for a PPO plan. Like most health care plans, an HDHP will completely cover preventive health services such as routine physicals and vaccinations &mdash; meaning you don't pay anything. However, there's a catch. Outside of preventive care, with a high-deductible plan you need to pay a certain dollar amount of medical costs &mdash; your deductible &mdash; before the plan starts covering your medical expenses. Often the deductible for an HDHP is thousands of dollars.</p> <p>A health savings plan can help you save for those medical costs in a tax-advantaged account, which is only available to people who have an HDHP. To use a health savings plan, your insurance plan's annual deductible in 2017 must be at least $1,300 if you're an individual, or $2,600 per year for a family plan (these numbers are adjusted every year).</p> <p>Putting that money into a health savings account on a pretax basis can reduce your taxable income. Because this helps cut your tax bill, there are, of course, limits to how much you can contribute ($3,400 for yourself only, or $6,750 for a family plan). You can use the money you put into the HSA to pay your medical expenses with a special debit card or checkbook you get when you open the account. The IRS publishes a <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf" target="_blank">list of expenses you can use an HSA for</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <p>To be sure, it is not easy to come up with the money to fund an HSA, especially if you are a freelancer with uneven income. We have funded ours by cutting down on extras. Sometimes making a small change, like switching to a better mobile phone plan, can make a difference. Even if you can only put in a quarter of the amount you're allowed and gradually increase the amount you contribute each year, you'll be further ahead than if you don't put anything into an HSA.</p> <h2>Get second opinions and shop around</h2> <p>There have been many cases over the years where the medical community has revised evidence-based recommendations as new information has become available for treating particular conditions. Given that reality, I've realized that there are many gray areas in medicine and have taken time to get second opinions any time a family member is advised to get a test or treatment that comes with risks or could be very costly. Sometimes, the doctor giving me a second opinion will suggest a way to tackle a problem using a simpler, less expensive solution that I haven't considered.</p> <p>I've found that functional medicine doctors can be fantastic allies in this respect. These MDs tend to be oriented toward finding the root cause of a problem so you can eliminate it, rather than simply treating the symptoms. Some don't take insurance, but there are a few who do, so it's worth asking health-oriented friends if they know one.</p> <p>Sometimes, it's even possible to shop around for medical procedures, despite the general lack of transparency in U.S. health care costs. I haven't personally used it, but the site <a href="https://www.mdsave.com/" target="_blank">MDsave</a>, which one entrepreneur highly recommended to me, allows you to compare prices and pay for medical procedures in advance at prearranged prices. There are also a number of other websites that let you compare medical costs.</p> <h2>Live a healthy lifestyle</h2> <p>None of us has total control over our health, but by doing what you can to eat well and stay fit, you can at least reduce your chances of developing health problems that have a lifestyle component or mitigate the harm they cause if you already have developed one.</p> <p>Many chronic conditions can be very costly, as a recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans pointed out. Employers who completed the survey said the number one condition impacting their medical costs was diabetes, cited by 41 percent of respondents. Obesity, heart disease, and hypertension/high blood pressure were also among the top 10 medical costs.</p> <p>Two simple things you can do to stack the odds in favor of staying healthy, without any added expense, are buying fresh, unprocessed foods and preparing your food at home as often as you can. When you eat a lot of prepared frozen foods or eat out all the time, it's hard to avoid unhealthy ingredients, unless you can afford the highest-end options. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-meal-prep-subscription-boxes-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Meal Prep Subscription Boxes Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>The less-is-more approach can work with fitness, too. Instead of waiting for that perfect day when you can afford to sign up for a CrossFit or Barre class and do it regularly, find some type of enjoyable physical activity that is available to you now, whether that's taking a yoga class at your YMCA, going for a walk or jog around your neighborhood, or playing actively with your kids. And if you participate in an activity that gets you away from your computer, you'll probably meet some new friends, too, which is another good way to reduce stress. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-lifestyle-changes-that-will-always-pay-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Lifestyle Changes That Will Always Pay Off</a>)</p> <p>These steps do take some effort, but they can pay off in lower health care costs. That's a big benefit if you're paying for your premiums and medical bills on your own.</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-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520the%2520Self%2520Employed%2520Can%2520Cut%2520Health%2520Care%2520Costs.jpg&amp;description=How%20the%20Self%20Employed%20Can%20Cut%20Health%20Care%20Costs"></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%20the%20Self%20Employed%20Can%20Cut%20Health%20Care%20Costs.jpg" alt="How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs" 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-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs">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/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</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-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</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-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</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-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</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-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Health and Beauty Insurance freelancers hdhp health care health savings accounts healthy living high deductible plans HSA medical care PPO self employed small business owners Tue, 03 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 2028483 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Business Lessons From These Child Entrepreneurs http://www.wisebread.com/5-business-lessons-from-these-child-entrepreneurs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-business-lessons-from-these-child-entrepreneurs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/two_boys_dressed_as_nerds_smiling_with_mind_reading_helmets.jpg" alt="Two Boys Dressed as Nerds Smiling with Mind Reading Helmets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Kids inspire us to look at the world differently. Their insights and optimism help us find the best in ourselves and in others. This unbridled belief in their ability to make an impact also makes them inspiring entrepreneurs. If you've ever had a business idea and doubted yourself, let this short list of kid entrepreneurs erase your fear and teach you the lessons you need to build the business of your dreams.</p> <h2>1. Mikaila Ulmer, founder of Me &amp; the Bees Lemonade</h2> <p>Imagine taking a painful experience and rather than growing bitter, you get better. That's exactly what happened to Mikaila Ulmer. When she was four years old, she was stung twice by a bee. That would make many people afraid of bees, or at least dislike them. Instead, Mikaila was fascinated by them. Those bee stings gave Mikaila a mission: to learn about bees and their role in our ecosystem. In the course of that research, she learned that bees were dying at an alarming rate.</p> <p>Simultaneously, Mikaila also received an old cookbook from her grandmother that contained a recipe for flaxseed lemonade. She took that recipe, added local honey to it, started selling it at events, and donated a portion of her profits to help save the bees.</p> <p>Today, <a href="https://meandthebees.com/" target="_blank">Me &amp; the Bees Lemonade</a> is going strong, flying off the shelves at Whole Foods and at many other restaurants and stores nationwide. And Mikaila? You can often find her speaking and educating people about bees and our ecosystem at events and on panels, and running workshops to save the bees. Her motto is &quot;Buy a bottle. Save a bee.&quot;</p> <p>Her lesson to us: Find the silver lining. Spin an unpleasant experience on its head, look at the situation from a compassionate, curious perspective, and use what you learn to build a successful business.</p> <h2>2. Neha Gupta, founder of Empower Orphans</h2> <p>Imagine that you have the tradition of giving gifts to others to celebrate your birthday. That's the tradition in Neha Gupta's family. Every year, to celebrate their birthdays, her family members travel back to their hometown in India to give presents to orphans.</p> <p>Neha wanted to do more than just provide gifts to orphans. She wanted them to have the resources they need to create a better life for themselves as they get older. To fund this effort, she made and sold wine charms door-to-door and at community events. The wine charms became so popular that she attracted the attention of corporate sponsors who also supported her effort.</p> <p>With the success of the wine charms, Neha started a nonprofit organization called <a href="http://www.empowerorphans.org/" target="_blank">Empower Orphans</a>. The organization has raised over $1,000,000, and Neha has won numerous awards for her work, including the International Children's Peace Prize.</p> <p>Her lesson to us: A rising tide lifts all boats. Passion for a cause can drive success not only for you, but for others as well.</p> <h2>3. Bella Weems, founder of Origami Owl</h2> <p>A few years ago, my mom gave me a locket to celebrate the opening of a play I wrote and directed in New York City. It's a metal locket with a glass center that has a charm inside. My charm depicts the tragedy and comedy faces associated with theater. It's a beautiful locket and I was so intrigued by how unique it is that I looked into the company that made it, <a href="https://www.origamiowl.com/" target="_blank">Origami Owl</a>.</p> <p>I learned that it was created by teenager Bella Weems. She wanted a car of her own, and rather than help her get one, her parents told her to find a way to earn the money to buy a car for herself. Bella always loved making jewelry and was particularly passionate about locket necklaces and bracelets. Origami Owl was born!</p> <p>In just two years, Bella had turned her passion for jewelry making and her desire to have a car of her own into a multi million-dollar direct sales business. Since then, she's empowered others to be designers and supported other kid entrepreneurs by being what she calls a Force for Good.</p> <p>Her lesson to us: Sometimes, entrepreneurs are born out of something as simple as wanting a new car. You never know what life event will spur you to create something successful. Then, when you find that success, pay it forward.</p> <h2>4. Moziah Bridges, founder of Mo's Bows</h2> <p>Are bow ties fashionable? In the hands of Moziah Bridges, they certainly are! Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, Mo founded <a href="https://mosbowsmemphis.com/" target="_blank">Mo's Bows</a>. Mo learned how to sew from his grandmother and mother, and his very first ties were crafted from vintage fabric he found in his grandmother's closet. His bow tie designs have been so successful that he recently inked a licensing deal with the NBA. His next goal? He wants to finish school in Memphis so he can attend Parsons School of Design in New York City, and develop his own full clothing line by the time he's 20.</p> <p>His lesson to us: Follow your creativity and perfect your craft. Produce a quality product you are proud of, and success will ultimately follow.</p> <h2>5. Lily Born, founder of Imagiroo</h2> <p>The best products are born from pain points: That's a main tenant in product development. Find something that ails you or someone else, create a solution, and build a business around that solution.</p> <p>Lily Born saw her grandfather struggling with Parkinson's disease. One of the primary difficulties for people with Parkinson's is the tremor that makes their hands shake. Lily's grandfather was having a hard time holding and drinking from a cup because of his tremors. She designed a cup that wouldn't tip over and would prevent her grandfather from spilling his drink.</p> <p>She found this design was also helpful for her father, who was prone to spilling his coffee on his computer when he was working. The seed of her future company, <a href="http://www.imagiroo.com/" target="_blank">Imagiroo</a>, was in that original cup design. Her cups are now available in a durable plastic material with comfortable grips and in a wide variety of fun colors.</p> <p>To encourage all of us to imagine a better world through better products, Lily also created the <a href="http://www.imagiroo.com/invention-workbook/" target="_blank">Invention Workbook</a>. It walks readers through the invention process, and is available for free on her website in PDF format.</p> <p>Her lesson to us: Don't overthink it. Sometimes, the answer is right in front of you. Solving a common problem with a simple solution is often all it takes for a business to flourish.</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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-business-lessons-from-these-child-entrepreneurs&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Business%2520Lessons%2520From%2520These%2520Child%2520Entrepreneurs.jpg&amp;description=5%20Business%20Lessons%20From%20These%20Child%20Entrepreneurs"></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%20Business%20Lessons%20From%20These%20Child%20Entrepreneurs.jpg" alt="5 Business Lessons From These Child Entrepreneurs" 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/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-business-lessons-from-these-child-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/the-top-7-blogs-for-entrepreneurs">The Top 7 Blogs for Entrepreneurs</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-8-best-books-for-entrepreneurs">The 8 Best Books for Entrepreneurs</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/over-7-million-money-making-ideas-google-patents">Over 7 million money-making ideas - Google Patents</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-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</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-famous-people-who-got-rich-after-30">8 Famous People Who Got Rich After 30</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship businessowners children design inspiration inventions kids small businesses Mon, 18 Sep 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 2021153 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-607504814.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to budget with inconsistent income" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Freelancers, small business owners, contractors, and salespeople working on commission all have one thing in common: irregular income. Anyone who has worked in these professions knows the insecure feeling you get when you are lurching from flush months to lean months as work (and on-time payment) waxes and wanes.</p> <p>Since the majority of budgeting advice starts with the assumption of a steady paycheck, it may seem like budgeting is out of reach for the average person with an irregular income. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only can you successfully budget an irregular income, but creating and adhering to a budget can mean the difference between surviving the lean months and thriving through them. (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> <p>Here's how to create a budget if your income is inconsistent or irregular.</p> <h2>The cash flow bucket system</h2> <p>Before you even get started, you should know what budgeting success will look like. According to Roger Whitney, certified financial planner and podcaster, &quot;the goal for inconsistent income is to slowly build up your savings to the point where you can pay yourself a regular monthly salary out of your cash reserves.&quot;</p> <p>How do you do this? By using a method called the cash flow bucket system. With this system, instead of having your paychecks deposited into your checking account, they will go into savings. Once a month, you'll transfer the amount you need for expenses and bills into your checking account. This is your own self-created &quot;monthly paycheck.&quot; This system is a great fit for anyone with irregular income, because it keeps excess money from burning a hole in your checking account, and will help you smooth over the irregularities in your income.</p> <p>However, creating a cash flow bucket system can take a little more time with inconsistent income. Here are the steps you need to follow to get this system to work for you.</p> <h3>1. Capture excess income</h3> <p>Before you plunge headlong into depositing all of your income into your savings account, start by putting away excess cash during high-income months. This can take some discipline.</p> <p>Anyone who has received irregular income knows the feeling of being flush when several paychecks or client payments come in all at once. It's very tempting to use that excess income for discretionary spending, especially if you can thank your own hustle for the huge payday. But before you blow the big check on a steak dinner, slow down and remember how tough it is to go grocery shopping with the change you pilfered out of the couch cushions.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to recognize when you are experiencing a flush month and immediately put aside as much of the excess income as you can. The larger your savings account is as you start the cash flow bucket system, the easier it will be for you to smooth over the inconsistency of your income.</p> <h3>2. Determine your minimum budget baseline</h3> <p>The next step is determining your baseline expenses for a regular month. This baseline should be comprised of the expenses that are the absolute essentials for maintaining your life &mdash; such as your rent or mortgage, utility bills, transportation, groceries, and child care.</p> <p>This figure should be relatively easy to calculate. Write down your fixed expenses, such as your rent or mortgage, and estimate the fluctuating expenses, such as utility bills and groceries, by figuring the average cost over the past six to 12 months.</p> <p>When you know your baseline minimum, compare it to your existing savings account balance. Assuming you already have some money saved, you can see how many months' worth of minimum expenses you have set aside in your savings account &mdash; or how much you need to accumulate. It's a good idea to have three to six months' worth saved up, depending on the variability of your income. Just recognizing that you could survive with no money coming in for several months can help ease a great deal of the financial stress that comes with an inconsistent income.</p> <h3>3. Calculate your discretionary expenses</h3> <p>Once you know the bare minimum that you need to have on hand to keep the lights on and everything running, it's time to calculate how much you spend each month on discretionary purchases. This will include your spending on everything from dining out, to entertainment, to your hobbies.</p> <p>It's a good idea to go over several months' worth of bank statements and credit card bills to figure out how much you have spent on average on these discretionary expenses in the past. This way, you can come up with an average monthly discretionary budget.</p> <p>Be prepared to cut your discretionary spending as needed, since that can help you smooth over your inconsistent income more quickly.</p> <p>The best way to pare down discretionary spending is to cut things from easiest to hardest. If you love your weekly movie date with your best friend, then make sure that $15 you spend per week is preserved in your budget. But if you get coffee at the local coffee shop out of habit rather than enjoyment, then be prepared to start brewing your own.</p> <h3>4. Start having your paychecks deposited into savings</h3> <p>Now that you've beefed up your savings account during flush months, and figured out your baseline budget level and monthly discretionary spending, you can start having your payments from clients deposited directly into savings, rather than checking. Then, on the first of each month, transfer your &quot;monthly paycheck&quot; from your savings account into your checking account to pay for your monthly expenses.</p> <p>This is where things differ between someone with a steady paycheck and someone with irregular income. Depending on how much money you have already set aside in your savings account, and how frequently you deal with lean months, early on you may need to decide from month to month whether you will be living on your baseline budget or your baseline budget plus discretionary spending.</p> <p>However, as you build up your cash reserves, you will be able to eventually switch to an automatic transfer of your baseline budget plus discretionary spending.</p> <h3>5. Keep an eye on the system</h3> <p>Your checking account will be nearly depleted by the end of the month, but if you calculated your budget correctly, the money should last you until the first of the following month.</p> <p>If you find you are running short before the end of the month, you will need to look at your expenses to see where your calculation went wrong or your spending was too high. You can also decide to move more money from your savings account into your checking account or end all unnecessary spending until the next month begins.</p> <h3>6. Start saving for the future</h3> <p>The final step of budgeting irregular income is to incorporate saving for the future. While the cash flow bucket system will put excess income into your savings account and hold it for your lean months, it does not take the place of saving for retirement or other financial goals.</p> <p>Once you have reached a point that you have enough savings to consistently pay yourself a monthly salary, factor saving for the future into your monthly budget. Set up an automatic transfer of that amount from your savings account to your retirement fund or (other savings vehicle). Though you won't see that money in your monthly &quot;paycheck,&quot; you will need to factor in the deduction from your savings account.</p> <h2>Budgeting like a boss</h2> <p>Earning an irregular income can feel overwhelming. Not knowing how much you make from one month to the next may seem like a liability. But with the right money management, your irregular income can empower you to take control of your finances, your career, and your life.</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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Budget%2520Consistently%2520Without%2520a%2520Steady%2520Paycheck.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Budget%20Consistently%20Without%20a%20Steady%20Paycheck"></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%20Budget%20Consistently%20Without%20a%20Steady%20Paycheck.jpg" alt="How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck" 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/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship contract work expenses freelance inconsistent incomes irregular incomes paychecks saving money self employment Fri, 11 Aug 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1998639 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516427450.jpg" alt="Woman paying off debt on variable income" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying off debt can be a challenge even if you have a steady paycheck. When your income is variable, it's even harder. These strategies can help you take care of your financial obligations even when your salary isn't stable.</p> <h2>1. Set a budget from your baseline</h2> <p>Take a look at your earning potential and set a baseline. Base it on what you can expect to earn even in a worst-case scenario month. For example, if you're in sales and you earn a base salary plus commission, your baseline is your base salary. If you're a freelancer with several contracted clients and fluctuating income from other projects, your baseline is what you earn from the ongoing contracts.</p> <p>From your baseline, build a budget that covers the minimum payments you need to make every month. If more money comes in, you can split it among savings and paying down debt. (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>2. Reduce your expenses and bills</h2> <p>Be very detailed in your baseline budget. Your recurring bills are the starting point; your actual spending is just as important. You need to know, for example, if you spend $100 on books every month, or if your grocery bill is $200 more than you think it is. Once you're aware of all your bills and expenses, look for ways to reduce them. You don't need to reduce them all; keep the expenses that give you the greatest payback in satisfaction and minimize the costs that don't add much to your quality of life.</p> <p>If you're paying off more than one debt, debt consolidation might be key to reducing multiple high-interest payments into one monthly payment. Explore your options to determine if you can lower your debt interest and payments and close that gap.</p> <h2>3. Build up your gap savings</h2> <p>When you have a high-earnings month, send a percentage into a savings account and let it accumulate over time. When needed, you can use it to fill in the gap when your baseline earnings aren't quite enough.</p> <h2>4. Pick up a side hustle</h2> <p>Another strategy for closing the baseline gap is to pick up a steady side job. There are many kinds of side hustles and part-time jobs you can consider; it's most helpful, in this case, if you find one that will give you a predictable amount of earnings every month. That way, you can add it to your baseline so that there's no longer a gap between what you'll make and what you need to make.</p> <p>When you get that big commission or finally get paid for the last project, it's tempting to splurge and enjoy the high times. A little splurging is good for morale, but the key to surviving and thriving on a variable income is making the most of the big paydays.</p> <h2>5. Follow a savings plan</h2> <p>You may not be able to add to your savings during the lean times. But when your earnings spike, save a good percentage of it. Put a plan in place before you get the big payday. You might decide, for example, that anything over your baseline gets divided into three categories: 30 percent for savings, 30 percent for debt payments, and 30 percent for expenses that have been on hold. That leaves you 10 percent for splurge money.</p> <h2>6. Follow a debt reduction plan</h2> <p>If you use the plan above, or one similar to it, you'll know that a set percentage of your earnings over baseline go to reducing your debt. It's good practice to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, otherwise known as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">avalanche method</a>. You can also negotiate with creditors if you have a good chunk of the debt ready to pay. Some creditors will reduce your total amount owed if you're able to pay off most of it in cash, right away.</p> <h2>7. Maximize your savings</h2> <p>Finally, don't let a variable income keep you from being smart about how you save. While it feels good to have cash at the ready, it's a smarter long-term strategy to put your savings into high-earning investments. Build up a decent <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">emergency fund</a> so you can handle a crisis and close that baseline gap as needed. Put any savings beyond the emergency fund into longer term investments with a higher yield, so you make the most out of your income, variable or not.</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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Strategies%2520for%2520Paying%2520Off%2520Debt%2520When%2520Living%2520on%2520a%2520Variable%2520Income.jpg&amp;description=7%20Strategies%20for%20Paying%20Off%20Debt%20When%20Living%20on%20a%20Variable%20Income"></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%20Strategies%20for%20Paying%20Off%20Debt%20When%20Living%20on%20a%20Variable%20Income_0.jpg" alt="7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income" 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/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">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/6-ways-to-avoid-vacation-debt">6 Ways to Avoid Vacation Debt</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them">4 Psychological Traps Preventing You From Saving — And How to Fix 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/8-tips-for-improving-or-starting-a-budget">8 Tips for Improving or Starting a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Entrepreneurship debt payments emergency fund financial planning freelance saving money self employed side gigs variable income Wed, 02 Aug 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Annie Mueller 1990975 at http://www.wisebread.com Think Like a Startup to Boost Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/think-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/think-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/confident_in_her_business.jpg" alt="Confident in her business" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From tech giants like Facebook, Dropbox, and Instagram, to retailers like Harry's, Warby Parker, and CartFresh, companies who found success as startups seem to be all the rage in business news. But don't take startups as a business fad &mdash; there are plenty of personal finances lessons that the average Jane and Joe can learn from them.</p> <h2>1. Focusing on too many things can kill your finances</h2> <p>Spreading your financial goals too thin can often do more harm than good. Successful startup founders often find that a service that does one thing really well works better than a service that tries to do many things.</p> <p>Venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel advises all budding entrepreneurs to think hard and pursue a single idea that nobody else is doing. In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Thiel asked entrepreneurs, &quot;What valuable company is nobody building?&quot; The answer to this question is harder than it looks.</p> <h3>Personal finance lesson</h3> <p>Keep things simple. Focus on the biggest issue affecting your finances. For example, hone in on paying back a 401(k) loan or eliminating high-interest credit card debt.</p> <h2>2. Forgetting that cash is still king</h2> <p>Startups famously burn through cash for &quot;growth,&quot; believing they will land yet another round of capital the next time around. That plan cannot only backfire, but become the death sentence of some startups. An example of this is server chip designer Calxeda. Despite raising $131 million in four rounds of financing, executives had to shut down operations in 2013 and declared, &quot;We simply ran out of money.&quot;</p> <h3>Personal finance lesson</h3> <p>Plan ahead and be ready for periods in which you won't get a constant paycheck. Even when receiving payment from your employer, sometimes <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces?ref=internal" target="_blank">paychecks can bounce</a>! Pay yourself first out of every paycheck and build an emergency fund to cover your basic expenses for three to six months.</p> <h2>3. Preparing to be wrong</h2> <p>&quot;Pivot&quot; is among the top three terms most used by startup founders. And for good reason: There are countless stories of million-dollar ideas that flopped but were able to turn into much more profitable ones after a well-timed adjustment.</p> <p>Take Payal Kadakia, for example, who first founded Classtivity (a self-described &quot;OpenTable for fitness classes&quot;) with a pay-per-class model. About two years into operations, Kadakia's service wasn't seeing the user traction that she was seeking. So, she pivoted Classtivity into ClassPass, a monthly $99 subscription that lets users go to any class at any participating gym. Once a struggling startup, ClassPass is now a $470 million business.</p> <h3>Personal finance lesson</h3> <p>If the plan isn't working at all, it's time to change the plan. Consider these facts:</p> <ul> <li> <p>50 percent to 70 percent of college students change their majors at least once and most <a href="https://sites.laverne.edu/careers/what-can-i-do-with-my-major/" target="_blank">will change majors</a> at least three times before graduation.</p> </li> <li> <p>American workers stay on the same job for a median of 4.2 years, according to MarketWatch.</p> </li> <li> <p>The average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times (with an average 12 job changes), according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Change is inevitable, so welcome it and make the most out of it. It may very well improve your financial situation.</p> <h2>4. Outsourcing nonessential activities</h2> <p>&quot;Spend your calories on things you do well and the things that make you and your business valuable &mdash; and outsource things that aren't core to that mission,&quot; Jeff Haynie, co-founder and CEO of Appcelerator, wrote for Recode. From accounting to employee meal planning, startups are well known for outsourcing as much as possible to keep overhead costs down.</p> <p>To improve your overall productivity, Matt DeCelles, co-founder of sunglass retailer William Painter, recommends mapping out all tasks and determining which ones may be better completed by another person. By focusing on core operational activities, DeCelles is able to make the most out of his day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people" target="_blank">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World's Busiest People</a>)</p> <h3>Personal finance lesson</h3> <p>Remember complaining about how you never seem to have time to balance your checkbook, organize your tax deductions, or get an additional quote for a home or car loan? Spending money on &quot;help&quot; to complete these tasks can save you a couple hundred dollars in the long run.</p> <p>If you think that you need to be a high roller to hire somebody, think again. Leverage gig economy sites such as Fiverr, Elance, ODesk, Fancy Hands, or Zirtual to post your tasks, find talented freelancers, or hire a virtual assistant for as little as $5 to $10 per hour, depending on the type of task.</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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthink-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-finances&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThink%2520Like%2520a%2520Startup%2520to%2520Boost%2520Your%2520Finances.jpg&amp;description=Think%20Like%20a%20Startup%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Finances"></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/Think%20Like%20a%20Startup%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Finances.jpg" alt="Think Like a Startup to Boost Your Finances" 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/think-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-finances">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/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money">9 Things Football Teaches Us About Money</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-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</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-talk-to-friends-and-family-about-money-without-making-everyone-mad">How to Talk to Friends and Family About Money (Without Making Everyone Mad)</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-new-podcasts-thatll-improve-your-money-mindset">10 New Podcasts That&#039;ll Improve Your Money Mindset</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> Personal Finance Entrepreneurship advice cash financial lessons gig economy outsourcing planning startups strategies Fri, 28 Jul 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1989544 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Hire Your First Employee http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-hire-your-first-employee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tell_me_more_about_yourself.jpg" alt="Tell me more about yourself" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hiring your first employee is exciting! And also pretty intimidating. You don't need a complicated system in place to make your first hire, but you <em>do</em> need to take a few essential steps along the way. Here are some ways to simplify the process of hiring your first employee.</p> <h2>Decide what your employee will do</h2> <p>First things first: You know you're busy and you have more on your plate than you can accomplish alone. However, do you know exactly what your employee will take off your hands? Before you write an ad or think about a salary, make a list of the tasks and responsibilities you'd like to hand off to an employee. This list will help you hire the right person, and will also help you know exactly how to get them to full productivity quickly.</p> <h2>Write that employee handbook</h2> <p>Writing an employee handbook sounds like an overly complicated, formal process. It doesn't have to be! An employee handbook can be direct, casual, whimsical, full of pictures, and even interactive. It can also be a simple document of a few pages that covers the important values and rules you need to have in place for all employees, present and future. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a thorough guide to <a href="https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/hire-retain-employees/employee-handbooks" target="_blank">writing a handbook</a>, or you can find free templates online.</p> <h2>Set up a payroll service</h2> <p>In hiring an employee, what's most important to you is getting work done. What's most important to your first employee is getting a paycheck. Take some friendly advice: Hire a payroll service to handle the paycheck part of the equation. You will save yourself countless dollars in time and headaches. A good payroll service will provide necessary tax withholdings according to federal and state rules, keep accurate documentation, allow customizable withholdings to be set as needed, and ensure that your employee gets paid on time. All you have to do is go through the initial setup process and put a salary in place.</p> <p>And for the record: It's a really, really good idea to pay yourself through a payroll service, too. Missing tax documentation will always come back to haunt you.</p> <h2>Advertise for a great employee</h2> <p>Now you're ready to start seeking your first employee. Start by writing a great job listing ad. How, you ask? The keys to a great employment ad are specificity and authenticity.</p> <p>Specificity means that you'll list the exact tasks and responsibilities that your employee will take on. Don't use a vague term like &quot;Office Manager&quot; or &quot;Production Assistant&quot; without stating exactly what that means in your business. By making your ad specific, you will automatically filter out the applicants who aren't qualified or interested in completing the work you actually need done.</p> <p>Authenticity means that your employment ad should be like you, and like your business. If you're a casual, mom-and-pop kind of place, don't write an ad with formal language and overblown requirements for employment. Use first-person language, for example: &quot;We're looking for someone to work at the front counter.&quot;</p> <p>On the other hand, if your business is a more formal establishment with a dress code and high-end clientele, reflect that accurately in your advertisement. Use a more formal tone: &quot;Bobkin, Bobkin, and Butters, LLP, seek a qualified office assistant.&quot; The language and tone you use in your initial ad help you attract the type of applicant that will fit well and work well in your business.</p> <h2>Provide initial training</h2> <p>While you're waiting for the pre-filtered applications to roll in, thanks to your stellar employment ad, get your training materials in place. Do this by going back to that list of tasks and responsibilities that you want your first employee to handle. For each major task, write down the step-by-step process to complete it, well, completely. For each responsibility, list the tasks to be completed and, as appropriate, the timelines, resources, contacts, and other pertinent information.</p> <p>When you make that first hire, you'll have the information to start their training. As a general rule, it's a good idea to do two things: First, provide a copy of the complete training material to your employee, so they can go over it and get a big picture of the role they're taking. Second, prioritize the tasks and responsibilities and work with your new employee on each one in order of importance.</p> <h2>Set up a system for performance reviews</h2> <p>Ah, the dreaded performance review! Employees don't tend to love them, and frankly, neither do employers. However, when done well and frequently, reviews can create a working relationship that's much more beneficial for everyone involved.</p> <p>Start by letting your employee know that you will provide weekly feedback in their first month, or quarter. This is important as new employees often have no way to gauge if they're doing the job right and meeting your standards, or not. Not knowing leads to anxiety and tension, which leads to more mistakes, and can create an ugly cycle of stress and mess-ups. Provide clear, regular, weekly (at a minimum) feedback for your new employee for at least their first month.</p> <p>Thereafter, feedback sessions on a quarterly, monthly, or even a continued weekly basis are the most effective. Annual reviews are too few and far-between to be effective; they have the fun effect of making employees feel blindsided and betrayed. Don't do that! Instead, provide ongoing, informal feedback to your employee, either in face-to-face meetings or via phone, email, or messaging.</p> <p>You can provide feedback on a scheduled basis (weekly or monthly, for example) or after the completion of a task or project. In both cases, shorter, more frequent meetings tend to be more helpful. For best results, focus less on &quot;what you did wrong&quot; criticism and more on &quot;specific steps to improve&quot; instruction.</p> <p>A last note: It's a great idea to get feedback from your employee, as well as giving feedback to your employee. It's your first hire, but it probably won't be your last. Ask your new employee how you can make the process easier and be a better boss; you'll be even better prepared when it's time for your second hire.</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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-hire-your-first-employee&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Hire%2520Your%2520First%2520Employee.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Hire%20Your%20First%20Employee"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div align="center"> <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%20Hire%20Your%20First%20Employee.jpg" alt="How to Hire Your First Employee" 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/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">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/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</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-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</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/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business owner employees employment first hire hiring interviews reviews small business training Fri, 28 Jul 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 1990725 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Signs It's Time to Close Your Business http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/owner_closing_shop.jpg" alt="Owner Closing Shop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people dream of launching their own business. Some start small, with a side gig or moonlighting on top of their full-time job. Others jump right into launching their own company. Regardless of the business type, surviving can be difficult. According to the Small Business Administration, 50 percent of new small businesses close within five years of opening.</p> <p>However, it's hard to know when to shut down when you've poured your heart and soul into a business. Making a smart, objective decision can be compromised by the passion you have for your company and the thought of the money and time you invested. Having a list of concrete indicators can help you make a wise choice.</p> <p>Here are five clear signs it's time to make the difficult decision to close.</p> <h2>1. There's no more profitability</h2> <p>It can take a while for a small business to break even, let alone turn a profit. But while you should expect some time to ramp up your clientele, your business should show progress and eventual profitability. Otherwise, you'll be unable to pay your bills, buy inventory, or afford basic essentials.</p> <p>If you've been working around the clock and cannot get in the black month after month, it may be time to reconsider your business model and sustainability.</p> <h2>2. You cannot take a large enough salary</h2> <p>Many entrepreneurs forgo paying themselves to help their business grow and succeed. The expectation is that after a year or two, they can start taking a salary. In the meantime, they have to live off their savings or rely on credit cards to fill the gap.</p> <p>That's a dangerous game to play for too long. Going without pay &mdash; or working for less than minimum wage with a side gig &mdash; can cause you to go into debt and give a false sense that your business is doing well.</p> <h2>3. The market changed</h2> <p>While your side hustle or business idea may have been successful for the first few months or even years, the market can change. What was a hot business can cool down quickly as time goes by.</p> <p>For example, driving for ride-share services was a great way to make extra money. Some drivers found it so lucrative they quit their jobs to drive full-time. However, there's been more competition in the industry, and companies like Uber and Lyft have cut drivers' rates to attract new customers. That can make it more difficult to make money, and many are making a fraction of what they used to.</p> <p>If you see your earnings decline continually, don't hold onto hope for a recovery for too long. It's better to cut your losses and pursue something else than to be overly optimistic about a return to form.</p> <h2>4. You no longer enjoy it</h2> <p>When you first started your business or side gig, it may have consumed and fulfilled you. But while working on a passion project on a part-time basis can be enjoyable, it can change when you devote more of your time to it or make it a full-time endeavor.</p> <p>Work can start feeling more like a drag than fun. If you go to work every day dreading what's to come, consider shutting down to give yourself the freedom to start elsewhere.</p> <h2>5. It's just not worth your time</h2> <p>Make sure to calculate how much you need to earn (and not just to pay your bills) for your small business to be worth your time. If you're working 20 hours a week, but making just a couple bucks an hour, it may be a better idea to invest your time in another business or just enjoy your hobbies.</p> <h2>Closing a business</h2> <p>Shutting down a business of any kind can be hard. Whether you invested $100,000 to launch a restaurant or just $500 to start an online craft store, you likely feel very passionately about your work. The idea of closing it and admitting defeat can be difficult. But doing so can save you thousands over time, and free you to pursue a new career or side business you enjoy.</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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Signs%2520It%2527s%2520Time%2520to%2520Close%2520Your%2520Business.jpg&amp;description=5%20Signs%20Its%20Time%20to%20Close%20Your%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%20Signs%20It%27s%20Time%20to%20Close%20Your%20Business.jpg" alt="5 Signs It's Time to Close Your 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/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-close-your-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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business ownership closing freelance going out of business profits salary self employment side gigs small businesses Tue, 27 Jun 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Kat Tretina 1969825 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-485337116.jpg" alt="Freelancer making sure she gets paid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After 10 years working for various digital marketing agencies, I jumped ship and went freelance in 2005. Though making the switch was stressful, I've never looked back. Freelancing has given me control over my schedule, put an end to my mind-numbing commute, and allowed me to work from anywhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance</a>)</p> <p>Of course, all that freedom assumes one big thing &mdash; that I'm getting paid on time. If late payments are derailing your freelance dreams, listen up. Here are eight ways to make sure you always get paid on time:</p> <h2>1. Track everything</h2> <p>Getting paid on time starts with you. That's why organization is one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs" target="_blank">life skills every freelancer needs</a>. Keep meticulous records of all work completed and the payment status of every invoice. I rely on a basic Excel spreadsheet that's organized with the following headers: <em>Client Name</em>, <em>Project Description</em>, <em>Hours/Rate</em>, <em>Amount Invoiced</em>, <em>Date Invoiced</em>, <em>Date Payment Received</em>, and <em>Notes</em> (for tracking important communication with clients and the dates any payment reminders were sent).</p> <h2>2. Invoice immediately</h2> <p>To get paid promptly, you have to invoice promptly. Waiting weeks or months to invoice exposes you to client-side staff turnover, shrinking budgets, and sometimes even insolvency. Strike while the iron is hot. Unless you've made other arrangements, send a detailed invoice within 48 hours of completion of the work.</p> <h2>3. Tighten up the terms</h2> <p>Avoid confusion about payment terms by making them a standard part of your invoice template. Some variation of &quot;Payment is required within 30 of receipt of invoice. A late fee of 5 percent will be assessed each month payment is past due&quot; will usually do the trick. Oh, and be sure to include your contact information on every invoice. You always want your phone number front and center in case a client has billing questions.</p> <h2>4. Pave the way for easy payment</h2> <p>Encourage quick payments by making things easy. Set up a PayPal account or work with other payment apps like <a href="https://www.google.com/wallet/" target="_blank">Google Wallet</a> or <a href="https://www.waveapps.com/payments/" target="_blank">Wave</a>, which allow clients to pay online with a credit card. Though there's a nominal fee to process payments, it's well worth the immediacy and convenience.</p> <h2>5. Be kind, remind</h2> <p>Though some freelancers send follow-up reminders for every invoice (whether payment is late or not), that seems a little heavy-handed to me. Focus on what's unpaid and keep the tone of your message friendly and positive. Remember, the goal is to facilitate payment, not ruin a relationship.</p> <h2>6. Levy a late fee</h2> <p>Applying a late fee to past due payments is sometimes a necessary motivator. To minimize ill will from valued clients, make sure your late fee structure is modest (say, 5 percent each month), consistent, and clearly stated in the payment terms on every invoice.</p> <h2>7. Polish your professional image</h2> <p>If late payment is an ongoing problem, maybe your business isn't being taken seriously enough. Upgrade your image and work on how you present your business in all communications &mdash; including invoices. Download a free invoice template, tailor it to fit your needs, and add your logo. Better yet, create, track, and manage invoicing with a service like <a href="https://www.freshbooks.com/" target="_blank">Freshbooks</a> or <a href="https://www.zoho.com/invoice/" target="_blank">Zoho</a>.</p> <h2>8. Set up a retainer</h2> <p>Retainer agreements are simple work contracts. They provide freelancers with a recurring and predictable source of income, while at the same time allowing clients to reserve your services for extended periods of time &mdash; usually in preparation for big projects. Though invoices are still required in most retainer arrangements, they don't drive the payment process. For repeat clients, suggest establishing a retainer and offer an incentive. I reduce my hourly rate by 10 percent for all work completed under a retainer agreement of three months or longer.</p> <p>In the freelance world, getting paid on time takes the same skill set that built your business in the first place: an obsessive attention to detail, a big dose of diplomacy, and a touch of ingenuity. Still need some motivation to speed up those slow-paying clients? Just remember how terrible your commute used to be. It works for me every time.</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-ways-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time">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-big-business-accounting-tools-every-side-gig-needs">4 Big Business Accounting Tools Every Side Gig Needs</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/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-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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship clients freelancing getting paid independent contractors invoices organization self employment Thu, 04 May 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1938380 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Big Business Accounting Tools Every Side Gig Needs http://www.wisebread.com/4-big-business-accounting-tools-every-side-gig-needs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-big-business-accounting-tools-every-side-gig-needs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-505095190.jpg" alt="every side business needs these accounting tools" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While side gigs are becoming an increasingly common way for Americans to bring in extra income, many people do not understand how that additional income can affect their taxes. If you're not prepared, freelancing or working on the side can lead to serious issues with the IRS, costing you thousands in penalties and fees.</p> <p>If you plan on taking business deductions for expenses, you'll need some tools to manage your reporting and minimize your tax headaches. Treat your side hustle like a small business. Below are four business tools you should use to keep your side gig from overwhelming your finances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Signs It's Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career</a>)</p> <h2>1. Business bank account</h2> <p>If you have a side business, you should seriously consider opening a dedicated business bank account. It will make tracking your expenses and profits so much simpler, which makes tax time simpler as well.</p> <p>Keeping your business and personal finances separate is not just easier, it's also important. Should the IRS ever take a closer look, you want them to see a clear distinction between personal and business expenses, as well as all of the business income you've earned. Jumbling this together with your personal banking is a recipe for confusion and possible contention.</p> <p>Having a business bank account lends you more professional credibility, too. Asking a client to write a check to your business, for example, feels much more legitimate than having them make it out to your name.</p> <p>All of the business income you earn doesn't have to stay in your business bank account. You can pay yourself the appropriate amount after considering taxes and expenses. Simply transfer that money to your personal account, and leave the rest in your business account.</p> <h2>2. Business credit card</h2> <p>Similarly, it's a good idea to have a separate credit card you use solely for business expenses. (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>By having a card solely for your side gig, you will be able to manage your business deductions quickly and accurately. When you do your taxes, or if you work with a tax professional, you just need your credit card statements to get an accurate picture of your expenses and deductions. Some business cards even offer special reporting tools that automatically itemize your spending for you. This can greatly streamline your accounting process and save you some trouble come tax time.</p> <p>Many business credit cards offer other unique benefits, such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards" target="_blank">extended warranty protection</a> and rewards targeted specifically for business-type purchases. They also tend to come with higher limits than personal credit cards. If you need to make a substantial business expense but don't want to dip into your own savings or take out a business loan, these higher limits can be a huge help. They're also a great way to build credit for your business, should you ever need a loan or other financing down the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <h2>3. Invoicing system</h2> <p>While you can find free invoice templates online and create your own in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, it's a good idea to use a professional invoicing system. Invoicing software tracks clients, invoice numbers, and your profits. They are more accurate than something you create on your own, and they look more professional than the do-it-yourself approach.</p> <p>And you don't have to spend a lot of money to create polished invoices. There are a number of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers?ref=internal" target="_blank">free and low-cost bookkeeping programs</a> out there that are designed specifically for freelancers and side hustlers. <a href="https://pocketsuite.io/pricing/" target="_blank">PocketSuite</a>, <a href="https://www.freshbooks.com/" target="_blank">Freshbooks</a>, and <a href="https://www.waveapps.com/accounting/" target="_blank">Wave</a> are excellent and no-cost options that can help streamline your business management.</p> <h2>4. Tax professional</h2> <p>While many people opt to do their own taxes, when you add a side business to the mix, a tax professional can be a huge asset. When you're self-employed or freelancing, even on a part-time basis, you owe self-employment taxes, which can be complex and confusing. You'll receive forms 1099-MISC from any clients that have paid you more than $600 during the tax year. If you receive a 1099-MISC, you have to pay self-employment taxes. Not to mention if you add expenses in the mix, you'll want to make sure you are claiming the proper deductions.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-hire-a-tax-professional-even-if-you-dont-mind-the-work?ref=internal" target="_blank">Tax professionals</a> can help you navigate paying estimated quarterly taxes, or calculate how much money you need to withhold from your main job's salary to avoid paying quarterly taxes. They can also identify deductions and credits you may be eligible for, such as a home office or education deduction. These are substantial tax breaks that no self-employed individual should overlook. You want to be sure you're claiming any deductions or credits accurately in order to receive the maximum benefit possible. A tax pro can help you do this.</p> <p>By working with a professional, you'll have overall peace of mind and avoid any surprises at tax time.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-big-business-accounting-tools-every-side-gig-needs">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex">How You Can Earn $18 to $25 an Hour With Amazon Flex</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/15-ways-to-make-money-on-halloween">15 Ways to Make Money on Halloween</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-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online">7 Surprising Ways to Earn Money Online</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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Taxes accounting audits banking business tools freelancing invoices side gig side hustle tax professional Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Kat Tretina 1931275 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-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/iStock-525498442.jpg" alt="Man learning how taxes change after starting a small business" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Starting a small business or taking on a side gig can do wonders for your household income. But that entrepreneurial spirit does come with at least one negative: Filing your income taxes will become much more complicated.</p> <p>How will your taxes change after you start a small business or take on a side gig? Here are five key ways. Make sure you understand all of them before you start filing your income taxes.</p> <h2>1. Say hello to estimated payments</h2> <p>Starting a successful small business will introduce you to the world of quarterly estimated tax payments. As the name suggests, you make these payments four times during the tax year. It's a way for the federal and state governments to ensure that you won't owe them big dollars every April 15.</p> <p>Business owners who file as sole proprietors, partners, and S-corporation shareholders must make estimated tax payments if they think they'll owe $1,000 or more for the given tax year. Generally, your estimated tax payments, made to both the federal government and your local state government, are due April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15 of the following year. (These dates might change if they happen to fall on a weekend or holiday.)</p> <p>How much you pay each quarter depends on how much money your business makes. The IRS says that calculating your estimated tax payments requires you to first determine your expected adjusted gross income, taxable income, taxes, deductions, and credits for the year.</p> <p>It's all complicated. And even if you take your time calculating a quarterly figure, there's no guarantee that you'll pay enough each quarter so that you won't owe your state or the federal government tax money at the end of the year.</p> <p>Your best bet is to hire an accountant or tax expert to work with you to determine the right amount of estimated taxes to pay each quarter. (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> <h2>2. Self-employment tax can be a big hit</h2> <p>When you work for an employer, that employer withholds 6.2 percent of your paycheck for Social Security, and 1.65 percent for Medicare. Your employer also matches these amounts, meaning that, in essence, 15.3 percent of your income each year goes into Social Security and Medicare taxes on 92.35 percent of your net earnings (but as an employee, your employer splits the cost with you).</p> <p>If you are running your own business or side gig, you are responsible for paying the entire amount. Make sure that you prepare for this by setting aside 15.3 percent of your net revenue throughout the year. This is money that you don't include in your quarterly estimated payments. Instead, it's due in April when you file your income taxes.</p> <p>If you don't set aside this money, you might be scrambling to come up with thousands of dollars to send to your state government and the federal IRS. (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>3. You'll have to become a master at tax deductions</h2> <p>Not all of the tax changes that come with owning a business are bad. Consider tax deductions. In general, you can deduct the cost of anything that you use to run your business. If you buy a new computer for your business, you can deduct the cost of it. You can deduct the cost of office supplies and health insurance. You can even deduct part of the costs of travel and business meals, as long as these trips and dinners really were held for business-related matters.</p> <p>If you run your business out of your home, you can also deduct home office expenses. This means that you can deduct a portion of your utility bills, for instance, depending on the square footage of your home office. Just be careful with home office deductions. You actually have to use your home office <em>only</em> as an office. Don't try to trick the government. If you get caught taking a larger deduction than you actually deserve, you could face heavy fines.</p> <p>Be honest about your business deductions in general. Don't try to write off an expensive meal if you only spent two minutes during it bragging about the success of your business. That doesn't count as a business expense.</p> <p>Remember, too, that deducting something doesn't make it free. It just means you'll be paying a bit less for it. If you spend, say, $1,000 on new office equipment, your deduction &mdash; depending on your tax bracket &mdash; means you might only pay $750 for it. Don't treat tax deductions as an excuse for overspending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-tax-deductions-you-might-miss?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Surprising Tax Deductions You Might Miss</a>)</p> <h2>4. Goodbye, 1040EZ</h2> <p>Before starting your own business, you might have filed your income taxes using the 1040EZ or 1040A tax forms. Once you are running your own business or side gig, your tax form will become more complicated.</p> <p>Most people starting new businesses operate these enterprises as a sole proprietorship. When you are filing in this category, you'll have to file your taxes with form 1040 while also including either a Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) or Schedule C-EZ (Net Profit from Business).</p> <p>If you are responsible for paying self-employment tax, you'll also have to include a Schedule SE.</p> <h2>5. You'll probably need tax help</h2> <p>Odds are high that you'll need help from an accountant or tax-prep firm when filing your income taxes as a business owner. Taxes simply get more complicated, and making a tax mistake can cost you big in the form of missed deductions or penalties.</p> <p>Hiring an account or tax-preparation firm isn't free. But it's usually an important investment for business owners to make. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-reasons-why-an-accountant-is-worth-the-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Reasons Why an Accountant Is Worth the Money</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-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-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/what-freelancers-and-side-giggers-need-to-know-about-income-taxes">What Freelancers and Side Giggers Need to Know About Income Taxes</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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</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/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-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-marriage">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Taxes 1049ez deductions estimated payments schedule c self employment side jobs small businesses tax changes Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:30:17 +0000 Dan Rafter 1922317 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_computer_187025458.jpg" alt="Woman using free accounting tools for freelancers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a freelancer, you're responsible for every aspect of your business. Not only do you need to deliver a great product, but you also need to manage your expenses, invoice clients, and handle your own taxes. And as a freelancer, time is money. Instead of juggling spreadsheets and files yourself, check out these five accounting tools that are completely free.</p> <h2>1. Zoho</h2> <p><a href="http://zoho.com">Zoho</a> is one of the most robust bookkeeping platforms out there. With the free version, you can invoice up to five customers a month. And you can track expenses, customize your invoices, receive online payments, and manage timesheets.</p> <h2>2. Due</h2> <p>If your business is growing and you need to be able to accept credit card payments rather than just cash or check, <a href="https://due.com/invoicing/">Due</a> may be the solution for you. Due is free to use, and you can send invoices and get paid online. Due charges a processing fee of 2.8%, and promises to match any lower offer.</p> <h2>3. PocketSuite</h2> <p>For people running smaller businesses, such as dog-walking services or housecleaners, some of the bookkeeping software can be overwhelming with unnecessary features. And many of them don't offer essential features those freelancers need, such as scheduling or client contact options.</p> <p><a href="https://pocketsuite.io/pricing/">Pocketsuite</a> is a mobile app that allows you to connect with clients and manage your business finances all in one spot. With the free &quot;Pro&quot; version, you can schedule appointments with clients, send professional invoices, accept credit card payments for a flat 2.5% processing fee, send messages to your customers, and even accept tips.</p> <h2>4. PayPal</h2> <p><a href="https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/ec-telesales-signup">PayPal</a> allows users to upgrade to a free business account in order to receive credit card payments for purchases and create invoices as needed. You won't pay a transaction fee for shopping through your personal account, but upon receiving funds for goods or services, you will pay a 2.9% fee, plus $.30, of the total amount received. PayPal also lets you run reports on all funds coming and going, so you can seamlessly track your professional finances.</p> <h2>5. Wave</h2> <p><a href="https://www.waveapps.com/accounting/">Wave's</a> bookkeeping and accounting services are completely free; you only pay a fee if you add employees. They also charge a 2.9% processing fee if you accept credit card payments from clients.</p> <p>You can track your expenses and income, and with the easy-to-use platform, it's easy to manage even if you don't have experience in accounting. Everything is cloud-based, so you can check your account and update your information from any computer or mobile device.</p> <p>Best of all, Wave generates tax reports that will save you time and money at tax time, making your life &mdash; and your accountant's &mdash; much easier.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers">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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</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-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship bookkeeping bookkeeping apps bookkeeping tools computer programs expenses free invoicing tools Fri, 17 Mar 2017 10:30:17 +0000 Kat Tretina 1910226 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-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="/8-common-myths-about-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_designer_tablet_496600060.jpg" alt="Woman learning financial myths about working for herself" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the &quot;dot com&quot; era of the 1990s, I started a couple of technology companies and ended up running my own profitable small business for five years. Starting your own business and working for yourself sounds great &mdash; and it can be! But it seems like many people who dream of starting their own business don't understand some of the hard realities that go along with this undertaking. Don't buy into these myths about working for yourself.</p> <h2>1. You Have No Boss</h2> <p>A big reason some people want to start their own business is so they can be their own boss. But even if you own a business, you still have a &quot;boss.&quot; Your customers, investors, and employees are now your boss. The bottom line is your boss, too. Instead of answering to one boss, you now need to answer to many.</p> <h2>2. You Can Work Fewer Hours</h2> <p>While you can set your own schedule as a business owner, you will likely end up working a lot of hours overall to get everything done. In my startup days, I knew entrepreneurs who worked 100 hours per week, including lots of late nights and weekends. Starting a business is generally not a way to gain more free time.</p> <h2>3. Your Minions Will Take Care of the Details</h2> <p>The reality is that most small business owners wear a lot of hats and handle matters big and small to keep the business going, including things no one else wants to do. As the owner, you will get to work on lofty tasks such as business planning and strategy, but you will likely also clean the bathroom at first.</p> <h2>4. If You Build a Better Mousetrap, the World Will Beat a Path to Your Door</h2> <p>A common entrepreneurial myth is that you can invent something great and then sit back and watch people buy it. The reality is that you need to produce the right product at the right time for the right price in the right market channel to be able to watch people buy it. Even if you have an awesome product idea, it takes enormous work and resources to produce your product and bring it to market.</p> <h2>5. You Have More Control Over Your Income</h2> <p>As a business owner, I seemed to have little or no control over my income. I worked hard all the time trying to bring in income and win new business. Sometimes there was a lot of income, but sometimes there was none, despite my best efforts. My income ultimately depended on fickle customer decisions and economic forces beyond my control. Income for small business owners can be quite volatile.</p> <h2>6. Investors Will Throw Money at a Great Idea</h2> <p>I was disappointed after my first few pitches to potential investors. I imagined that I could simply summarize the potential market size, present my brilliant product concept, and walk out of the meeting with a briefcase full of money. The reality is that it is hard to find investors willing to risk their money in a startup business venture &mdash; even if you have a great business concept.</p> <h2>7. Determination Can Overcome Any Obstacle</h2> <p>Determination is perhaps the most important attribute you need to start a business, but you also need the right opportunity. Some people throw everything they have into starting a business venture that has almost zero chance of success due to limited market size, faulty assumptions, or other flaws. Persistence can get you started, but a viable opportunity is necessary to build a prosperous business.</p> <h2>8. By Taking Big Risks, You Set Yourself Up for Big Rewards</h2> <p>Another popular myth is that entrepreneurs reach success by trading risk for reward. The reality is that most entrepreneurs trade hard work and a good plan for a modest reward. Successful entrepreneurs reduce and manage risk well in order to avoid quick business failure. Taking big risks should be a last resort, not the primary plan.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs">How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs</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/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-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 investors jobs myths self employment small business owners startups work for yourself Thu, 02 Feb 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1876848 at http://www.wisebread.com Learn How to Travel Forever From These 7 Digital Nomads http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-travel-forever-from-these-7-digital-nomads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/learn-how-to-travel-forever-from-these-7-digital-nomads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-513070060.jpg" alt="these people will teach you how to travel forever" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Chances are you've heard the term &quot;digital nomad,&quot; as this lifestyle has become more popular &mdash; and more visible &mdash; in recent years. Digital nomads are people who have taken their work online, using the Internet as a means to continue working while they travel. Their work is truly location independent, allowing them to earn money no matter where they are.</p> <p>But here's an intriguing statistic: In the United States, freelancers make up around a third of the workforce, according to a study commissioned by Freelancers Union. And while most have not become digital nomads, many of them certainly could. At the least, telecommuters and freelancers can borrow some of the tricks and strategies digital nomads use for more flexibility, or even to get away for brief working holidays.</p> <p>If you've been wanting to travel more often or for a longer period of time, take a moment to explore the world as seen through the eyes of these six digital nomads. Who knows, maybe one day you'll join them.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year</a></p> <h2>1. Matt Kepnes</h2> <p>Founder of <a href="http://www.nomadicmatt.com/" target="_blank">NomadicMatt.com</a>, Matt Kepnes started traveling in 2006 after finishing his MBA in the United States. He liked it so much, he decided to continue traveling as a lifestyle. He started a travel blog, and since then has continued running his website from anywhere (and everywhere) in the world.</p> <p>On Matt's blog you'll find plenty of advice for staying on the road for extended periods with his handy tips on saving money and sustaining travel. His motto is &quot;Travel Better. Cheaper. Longer,&quot; after all. He's also authored several guides for different locations around the globe. His site contains a plethora of resources for those looking to become digital nomads or just wanting to travel for extended periods.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a></p> <h2>2. Derek &quot;Earl&quot; Baron</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wanderingearl.com/" target="_blank">Wandering Earl</a> started his journey to becoming a digital nomad way back in 1999, right about the time when this type of work was becoming a real possibility. Now one of the main aims of his website is to &quot;use [his] own experiences to prove that long-term travel does not have to be a crazy fantasy. It can, and should be, a realistic lifestyle option instead.&quot;</p> <p>He does so quite convincingly and thoroughly. He's not one to sugar coat the digital nomad lifestyle, and his posts are all the more valuable for their honesty about both the good and the bad that come along with living on the road.</p> <h2>3. James Clark</h2> <p><a href="http://www.nomadicnotes.com/" target="_blank">Nomadic Notes</a> is a website started by James Clark, who has been location independent since 2003. His well-written website provides guides, honest reviews, and tips about managing extended travel. In fact, his site features an entire section devoted to long-term travel as well as an information packed resource page for digital nomads. He also shares information on starting your own travel blog, and a directory that links to blogs from around the world, so you can easily find location-specific information.</p> <h2>4. Jodi Ettenberg</h2> <p>After five years of working as a corporate lawyer in New York City, Jodi Ettenberg decided to ditch the routine for a yearlong sabbatical on the road. That was in 2008 and she's still traveling today.</p> <p>When Jodi started <a href="http://www.legalnomads.com/" target="_blank">Legal Nomads</a>, it was to share stories and photos with friends and family. The website grew to be a big success and she started getting offers to do freelance work. Now she dedicates an entire section of her site to providing resources for other digital nomads.</p> <h2>5. Pat Flynn</h2> <p>Although, his website, <a href="http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/" target="_blank">The Smart Passive Income Blog</a> is not directly related to travel, Pat Flynn provides valuable information about how to set up passive income streams, which can be important if you're looking to use a website to help you sustain your travels.</p> <p>Check out his website if you have questions about the finances of running a business online, podcasts, or blogging.</p> <h2>6. Tom Allen</h2> <p><a href="http://tomallen.info" target="_blank">Tom Allen</a> has a website with just about every resource you need if you're looking to travel by bike. But he also has some great posts for non-biking digital nomads. He writes thought-provoking essays that are good food for thought for prospective or experienced digital nomads. He also posts useful video editing tips, if your brand of digital nomadism involves anything to do with videography.</p> <h2>7. Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift</h2> <p>I don't mean to toot my own horn, but <a href="http://www.goatsontheroad.com/" target="_blank">Goats on the Road</a> has become a valuable resource for people interested in the digital nomad lifestyle. The blog is built on more than just our personal experience, which makes it unique. We interview and feature amazing digital nomads who tell their stories, share their income, explain their achievements and failures, and break down their business models so that others can follow in their footsteps.</p> <p>We've covered almost every job one can get overseas with in-depth guides about how you can get started, find work, and make money abroad. Check out our Sustaining Travel Section for dozens of jobs that allow you to earn a living while traveling.</p> <h2>Ready to Hit the Road?</h2> <p>As you've certainly noticed, many of the digital nomads that made this list are involved with travel blogging, and it's true that travel blogging can be a great way to sustain travel. However, there are many other ways that you can travel forever.</p> <p>While it is true that digital nomadism is a relatively recent development in the global workforce, it has become a viable lifestyle for successful entrepreneurs, freelancers, writers, and others who conduct their business mainly online.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Flearn-how-to-travel-forever-from-these-7-digital-nomads&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FLearn%20How%20to%20Travel%20Forever%20From%20These%207%20Digital%20Nomads.jpg&amp;description=Learn%20How%20to%20Travel%20Forever%20From%20These%207%20Digital%20Nomads" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Learn%20How%20to%20Travel%20Forever%20From%20These%207%20Digital%20Nomads.jpg" alt="Learn How to Travel Forever From These 7 Digital Nomads" 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/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-travel-forever-from-these-7-digital-nomads">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/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</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-ways-that-anyone-can-travel-for-free">7 Ways That Anyone Can Travel for Free</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/airline-credit-card-or-flexible-rewards-card-whats-the-best-way-to-earn-a-free-flight">Airline Credit Card or Flexible Rewards Card: What&#039;s the Best Way to Earn a Free Flight?</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/9-free-things-to-do-in-any-city-you-visit">9 Free Things to Do in Any City You Visit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Travel digital nomad free travel travel bloggers work abroad Thu, 02 Feb 2017 10:30:35 +0000 Nick Wharton 1884233 at http://www.wisebread.com