self employment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9839/all en-US How to Tell if That Home Business Opportunity Is Really a Pyramid Scheme http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-that-home-business-opportunity-is-really-a-pyramid-scheme <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-tell-if-that-home-business-opportunity-is-really-a-pyramid-scheme" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_chatting_tablet_506624473.jpg" alt="Women learning if a home business is a pyramid scheme" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Work from home! Get out of debt! Make a full-time income selling products you love! Such are the promises of companies and their agents looking to recruit people to be distributors or &quot;consultants&quot; for them.</p> <p>These types of &quot;job opportunities&quot; are called multilevel marketing (MLM), and most people who sign up never realize the benefits. If you're considering becoming a distributor for an MLM company, beware of the many warning signs that you could end up making little to no money, or worse, adding to your debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multi-level-marketing-the-future-or-folly?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Multi-Level Marketing: The Future or Folly?</a>)</p> <p>Tupperware, Avon, and Mary Kay are some of the best known MLM firms, though they sometimes shun that term in an attempt to distance themselves from controversy-laden companies such as Herbalife and Amway. Both of those companies have been accused of making inflated earnings claims and of being pyramid schemes. The main difference between MLM companies and true pyramid schemes is that the primary purpose of a pyramid scheme is recruiting other distributors, rather than making direct sales. Pyramid schemes are illegal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-terrible-work-from-home-jobs-you-should-avoid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Terrible Work-From-Home &quot;Jobs&quot; You Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2>What Are MLM Companies?</h2> <p>MLM companies, also called network marketing or direct selling companies, incorporate a business model in which representatives make money in two ways. The first is direct sales to consumers &mdash; often friends and acquaintances &mdash; through parties, social networks, and other web sales. The second income source is commissions from sales made by team members you recruit, also known as &quot;down line&quot; distributors.</p> <p>IBISWorld estimates the direct selling industry makes $41 billion in revenue and employs about 800,000 people. Intense competition from mass merchandisers has kept growth to a modest 0.6%.</p> <h2>MLM Promises Are Tempting</h2> <p>The sales pitches of MLM companies can be alluring, especially for stay-at-home moms, students, and the unemployed. Just imagine, they exclaim, a work day that includes jumping on social media, talking up strangers at the grocery store, or networking with friends. By selling products you love and believe in, you could earn extra money while enriching others' lives. And if you could convince a few friends to become distributors beneath you, you could have your own business &mdash; becoming the &quot;boss&quot; for the first time in your life. The promise is this: If you pour your heart into your business, get people to sign up beneath you, and never give up, you can (and will) become successful &mdash; no matter what.</p> <p>And when it comes to recruiting new distributors, some MLM companies pull out the big guns. It Works! &mdash; a company that sells body wraps, supplements, and personal care products &mdash; advertises huge cash payouts for new distributors who meet specific sales goals. How huge? The company frequently advertises bonuses of $15,000 or more for their top tier sellers, although it's hard to find concrete data on how many sales you need to make to earn these bonuses, or how they are paid out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school?ref=seealso" target="_blank">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</a>)</p> <h2>The Problem With Multi-Level Marketing Operations</h2> <p>While people can and do earn huge sums of money with MLM companies, there are myriad pitfalls to avoid. First, it can take a ton of sales to get anywhere near the mind-blowing income levels posted on corporate websites. And to reach the highest ranks of earners with any MLM, you may need to recruit dozens of people to work beneath you (with them recruiting people to work beneath them as well).</p> <p>Secondly, as we mentioned before, the line between MLM firms and pyramid schemes is fuzzy. In a pyramid scheme, the price of the products sold is inflated, making them hard to sell and causing the vast majority of participants to lose money. The <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0065-multilevel-marketing" target="_blank">Federal Trade Commission (FTC)</a> warns of the similarities, noting:</p> <blockquote><p>Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it's probably not. It could be a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.</p> </blockquote> <p>Even if the company is legitimate, most MLM companies require a &quot;buy in.&quot; You'll need to pay a certain amount of cash upfront to sell their products. While these &quot;starter kits&quot; normally cost a nominal amount (a few hundred dollars), they will certainly start your business in the red. If you're trying to make money to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off debt</a>, that's the last thing you need. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-signs-the-job-is-too-good-to-be-true?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Signs the Job Is Too Good to Be True</a>)</p> <h2>How Much Do MLM Distributors Really Make?</h2> <p>If you make money right out of the gate, then a nominal investment could be money well spent. Unfortunately, most distributors for MLM companies barely eek out a profit, let alone earn a full-time income from home. You can find proof directly on their websites.</p> <p>Let's go back to It Works!, the body wraps and personal care products company. According to its <a href="https://www.myitworks.com/Legal/Income/" target="_blank">2015 annual income disclosure statement</a>, 82% of its representatives had been with the company for an average of one month and were still on the first rung of the payment hierarchy &mdash; distributor status. Their monthly earnings ranged from a low of $1 to a high of $3,847, with a monthly average of $54.</p> <p>Income grows incrementally up the ranks, and tends to coincide with longer time spent growing the business. But income growth is slow, and the percentage of distributors who stick around more than a month drops dramatically. Only 7.8% of It Works! sales people are at the Executive level. They've been there an average of three months and earn an average of $231 a month. About 0.6% of reps are at Double Diamond level, making an average of $4,741 a month after 13 months of effort.</p> <p>Of course, some huge, mythical incomes do exist. According to the disclosure, the top tier income earner (. 02% of all distributors) &mdash; Ambassador Diamond &mdash; pulls in around $37,583 per month.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the average income for all It Works! Distributors was only $227 per month in 2015.</p> <p>And It Works! is far from the exception; their distributors actually make more than those working for many other MLM companies. Check out these annual income figures from other multilevel marketing disclosures for more proof:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://issuu.com/thirtyoneleader/docs/income-disclosure-statement-2015" target="_blank">Thirty-One Gifts</a>: a company that sells organizational totes and monogrammed bags. In 2015, the average consultant (92.1% of distributors) earned $548 per year.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://meltascent.com/download/scentsy-income-disclosure-statement/" target="_blank">Scentsy</a>: a company that focuses on candles and wax warmers. In 2014, the average lowest-level rep, called an Ecsential Consultant, earned $81 per year, while the average Certified Consultant (one level up from Ecsential) earned $463 per year.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.advocare.com/opportunity/" target="_blank">Advocare</a>: a company that sells nutritional supplements and diet products. In 2015, the average annual compensation paid by Advocare to active distributors was $1,586.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.beachbodycoach.com/uploads/fckeditor/mdbody/File/downloads/statement_of_independent_coach_earnings.pdf" target="_blank">BEACHBODY</a>: a company that sells fitness products and nutritional shakes. In 2015, the average BEACHBODY coach earned $502.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.isagenix.com/~/media/compliance/earnings-statement/us-en-earnings-statement.pdf" target="_blank">Isagenix International</a>: a company that focuses on nutrition and diet products. In 2015, 87% of Isagenix business builders earned between $702 and $2,101, on average per year.</li> </ul> <p>As you can see, the average &quot;little guy&quot; is not making bank with any of these companies. In fact, your average distributor may be earning $100 per month or less. If they're a hobbyist who signed up for product discounts, then that might be fine by them. But when someone signs up to follow their dreams, the reality of not earning much can burn.</p> <p>MLM supporters argue that the reason so many people don't earn more is because they aren't really dedicated to building the business. Barriers to entry are very low, so many people sign up, then lose interest and give up in a way they wouldn't if they were building a regular business in which they'd had to invest more.</p> <p>But there are also real challenges to growing a viable business using the MLM model, even for committed salespeople. For example, many MLMs ask you to focus your sales efforts on family members and friends, which can be awkward and presents a limited pool of customers. Even if you expand your sales network, the products may be overpriced, making them difficult to sell.</p> <p>Lastly, it's not easy to grow your sales if your MLM is overly saturated with distributors already. And if you happen to recruit a distributor (the key to earning commissions), they then often become your competition.</p> <h2>Tips for Vetting an MLM Company</h2> <p>Just like anything else, it pays to do some research before you sign up for a multilevel marketing company. As the FTC notes, it's smart to not only consider the products, but to learn more about the company itself.</p> <p>Questions to ask should include:</p> <ul> <li>How long has the company been in business?</li> <li>What is its standing with the BBB?</li> <li>Has the company been sued for deceptive business practices?</li> <li>What are the company's annual sales?</li> <li>What percentage of average sales are made to distributors, as opposed to retail consumers?</li> </ul> <p>Beyond those considerations, the FTC suggests making sure you understand compensation structure, terms and conditions, and potential business expenses. Also, get all the company's details, including their refund policy, in writing.</p> <p>The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also offers an array of tips for people vetting a MLM and trying to avoid a pyramid scheme. According to the SEC, you should:</p> <ul> <li>Watch out for MLMs that don't appear to offer a product or service. If you can't figure out what a MLM sells, run.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be leery of MLMs that promise huge returns in a short amount of time. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be skeptical of companies that offer compensation for little work. Terms like &quot;easy money&quot; and &quot;passive income&quot; should be a red flag.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Look for proof of retail sales. Ask to see documents that show how the MLM generated revenue from the selling of its products to people outside the program.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Think long and hard before you &quot;buy in.&quot; Question the value of any opportunity that makes you purchase a product to get started.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Watch out for complex commission structures. If it's hard to understand how you'll get paid or you can't figure out how commissions work, beware.</li> </ul> <p>Lastly, the FTC and SEC both suggest avoiding MLMs that place a heavy emphasis on recruiting members to work beneath you. The hallmark of a pyramid scheme is when you make more money recruiting than you do for product sales.</p> <p>Check out these <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/multilevel-marketing" target="_blank">FTC</a> and <a href="https://www.sec.gov/enforce/investor-alerts-bulletins/investoralertsia_pyramidhtm.html" target="_blank">SEC</a> pages for further details on how to vet a multilevel marketing company. While these companies do offer a path to earning extra income, the reality is that most of that income goes to the very top few earners, not to the average distributor like yourself. And if you don't wind up earning much, the costs of buying a &quot;starter kit&quot; and hosting parties could easily leave you in the red.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-that-home-business-opportunity-is-really-a-pyramid-scheme">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-protect-yourself-from-an-investment-scam">How to Protect Yourself From an Investment Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</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/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</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-great-jobs-for-people-who-hate-the-9-5">10 Great Jobs for People Who Hate the 9-5</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-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Consumer Affairs businesses distributors MLM multilevel marketing pyramid schemes sales scams self employment work from home Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:30:39 +0000 Holly Johnson 1902525 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/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-lessons-that-teach-your-kid-to-be-their-own-boss">5 Lessons That Teach Your Kid to Be Their Own Boss</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/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">6 Signs It&#039;s Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career</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 Freelance Your Way to More Income and Flexibility http://www.wisebread.com/freelance-your-way-to-more-income-and-flexibility <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/freelance-your-way-to-more-income-and-flexibility" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-626259596.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="144" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Freelancing is nothing new, but digital technology has made it easier than ever to work as an independent contractor from home &mdash; or the road. A 2016 survey by UpWork, a website matching freelancers with companies looking to hire, found that more people are freelancing than ever before, with 35% of the U.S. workforce now made up of freelancers.</p> <p>Why the growth? Employers like to hire freelancers, especially for temporary or project work, because the arrangement is more flexible, and they save on employee benefits and extra office space. Freelance workers gain by getting to choose the projects they want and working flexible hours. It's a work model that offers greater choice for both parties.</p> <h2>Challenges to Being a Freelancer</h2> <p>While freelancing offers concrete advantages, many people worry about giving up the stability and benefits of a traditional job. Losing company-sponsored health insurance, paid vacations and retirement contributions are indeed valid concerns, especially since it takes time to attract new clients and develop relationships with them.</p> <p>For this reason, some people do a combination of both types of work, retaining stability with a part- or full-time traditional job, while also following their passions and earning more money through additional freelance projects.</p> <p>For others, according to the UpWork survey, full-time freelance work actually feels <em>more </em>secure because they have several different clients, rather than relying on one employer for their income.</p> <p>Another major concern that freelancers share is receiving fair compensation for the work being done, as well as losing out on a reliable pay schedule. Freelancers often have to balance a &quot;feast or famine&quot; phenomenon, when they may either have too much work or not enough.</p> <p>Still, the UpWork survey showed 79% of freelancers viewed freelance work as better than working in a traditional setting, and half of them even said they wouldn't take back a traditional job, regardless of the compensation that was offered to them.</p> <p>That's not to say that freelancing is for everyone or for every type of job, but many of those who have decided to pursue this path have found it extremely rewarding.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/day-job-or-freelance-which-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">Day Job or Freelance: Which Is Right for You?</a></p> <h2>Greater Freedom and Flexibility</h2> <p>Freedom and flexibility are two of the biggest draws that attract people to work as freelancers, according to UpWork's survey findings. They feel they have more control over their work schedule by being their own boss. Long weekends are no longer reserved for holidays and special occasions.</p> <p>Many also enjoy the freedom to choose what type of work they want to do and, in many cases, where they do that work. Especially for people who have been commuting long distances or in heavy traffic to get to their workplace, working in a home office can be truly liberating.</p> <p>Plus, if you're just freelancing on the side, the extra cash may help alleviate stress about saving for retirement, travel or education.</p> <h2>Getting Started as a Freelancer</h2> <p>If you think the freelance lifestyle might be right for you, the first step is to identify a marketable skill you have that you can use to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-one?ref=internal" target="_blank">attract potential clients</a>. Some examples include writing, editing, computer programming, business or financial consulting, and photography, just to name a few. Picking a clearly defined skill and, even better, a niche that you want to focus on will help you to cater to your potential clients and make you an attractive candidate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-freelance-jobs-that-pay-surprisingly-well?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Freelance Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well</a>.)</p> <h3>Make a Portfolio</h3> <p>Gather a portfolio to showcase related projects you've worked on. These may be projects from your current full-time job, or from classes you've taken, or pro bono work you've done to gain experience in the field you want to pursue. A portfolio allows potential clients to see examples of your work to decide if they want to work with you. The better portfolio you're able to put together, the easier it will be to find clients.</p> <p>Depending on what type of freelance work you are going to do, you may want to make a website to showcase your portfolio online. You can also create a portfolio on <a href="https://www.upwork.com/" target="_blank">UpWork</a>, <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a>, or specialist websites like <a href="https://contently.com/" target="_blank">Contently</a> and <a href="https://www.clearvoice.com/" target="_blank">ClearVoice</a>, which focus on content marketing.</p> <h3>Create a Network</h3> <p>Like any job, networking is a very important part of finding freelance gigs. You can do this using social media, but you should also focus on real-life networking opportunities through conferences, professional organizations and Meetup groups. There is nothing that can replace the value of meeting people face-to-face.</p> <p>Even social gatherings in your everyday life could lead to valuable contacts. Bring up the work that you do in casual conversations and you'll be surprised how many doors may open for you.</p> <h3>Pitch Your Best Ideas</h3> <p>If you have a great idea for a project, now is the time to reach out to potential clients and, in a professional manner, pitch your idea to them. There's an art to writing a great pitch. Especially if you're contacting an editor or CEO you don't know personally, you will need to make as good of an impression as possible over email.</p> <p>This is the equivalent of cold calling, so you need to have your pitch polished and well thought out. For writing gigs, it's often recommended to provide a specific outline and an article title. Think about the company's needs, and then send them your best ideas, not run-of-the- mill ideas that anyone could have thought of.</p> <h2>Remember, You're Running a Business</h2> <p>Once you've made the leap to freelancing, whether it's full time or as a side gig, remember you are running a business. You'll need to track your business spending (a dedicated <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=internal" target="_blank">business credit card</a> can help with this), as well as organize your billing, taxes and retirement savings. This all takes time that you'll need to work into your schedule. (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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelance-your-way-to-more-income-and-flexibility">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/13-businesses-your-tween-can-start">13 Businesses Your Tween Can Start</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/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</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/what-to-do-when-youre-sick-of-your-side-gig">What to Do When You&#039;re Sick of Your Side Gig</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance</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-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income career free time freelance self employment side gig small business Wed, 01 Feb 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1879593 at http://www.wisebread.com What Freelancers and Side Giggers Need to Know About Income Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/what-freelancers-and-side-giggers-need-to-know-about-income-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-freelancers-and-side-giggers-need-to-know-about-income-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/desk_hands_paperwork_623498764.jpg" alt="Freelancers learning what they need to know about income taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The freelance lifestyle has numerous advantages &mdash; among them, freedom and flexibility. Even so, you can't escape your tax obligation to Uncle Sam, and being a freelancer poses its own challenges at tax time. Consider these factors that might impact your income taxes: (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-return-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Tax Return Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a>)</p> <h2>1. Track All Forms 1099-MISC</h2> <p>Every client from whom you earn $600 or more in payments for services performed must file <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1099msc.pdf" target="_blank">Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income</a> with the IRS. Like employer-issued W-2s, every time that a client issues you a 1099-MISC, the IRS receives a notification. They're essential in order to prove your income, so make sure to keep track of all of them. Generally, form 1099-MISC needs to be issued by January 31st. If you haven't received your form by February 15, request a duplicate from your client for your own records.</p> <h2>2. Include Income From All Sources</h2> <p>While a client isn't obligated to file a 1099-MISC when their total payments in the same year to you are under $600, you're still responsible to report those payments as taxable income in your return. The IRS charges a 25% inaccuracy penalty on top of applicable taxes and interest for late payments, including income from all sources, even when not reported on a 1099-MISC.</p> <p>(As a side note, we keep on specifically referring to a 1099-MISC by its full name because there are several types of 1099s, including 1099-DIV, 1099-G, 1099-H, and 1099-INT.)</p> <h2>3. Separate Individual and Business Finances</h2> <p>To help you track cash flows directly related to your business, open a separate business bank account and credit card. (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> <p>The monthly statements of those business bank accounts and credit cards will allow you to reconcile your monthly income statement and will be very handy in case of an IRS audit. When shopping around for a business checking account, consider one that keeps copies of used checks. The reason is that bank statements and canceled checks are acceptable documents in case you receive a <a href="https://www.irsvideos.gov/audit/docs/Form%204564,%20IDR1%20-%20Howard.pdf" target="_blank">Form 4564, Information Document Request</a> from the IRS.</p> <h2>4. Hire an Accountant if Using Schedule C</h2> <p><a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040sc.pdf" target="_blank">Schedule C</a> from Form 1040 is one the most useful tax forms for freelancers and side giggers because it allows them to deduct all applicable business expenses, ranging from cost of promotion in local media to use of home space for business purposes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">101 Tax Deductions for Bloggers and Freelancers</a>)</p> <p>However, individuals using Schedule C often make mistakes on this form. Whether those errors are intentional or unintentional, the IRS has noticed the higher number of mistakes and has set the policy of auditing individuals using Schedule C <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yourmoney-freelancing-irsaudit-idUSTRE81R1QR20120228" target="_blank">three times more often</a> than it does corporations. Hire an accountant to file your taxes and they will make sure to cross your t's and dot your i's throughout your return, including the pesky Schedule C. Not to mention, their fee is an eligible expense on your Schedule C, too!</p> <h2>5. Calculate Your Withholding</h2> <p>Unless you're a full-time freelancer, keeping track of your estimated tax liability can be hard. When you're receiving income from both an employer and portfolio clients, you'll have more sources of income. In that case, the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator" target="_blank">IRS Withholding Calculator</a> is a useful tool to avoid having too much or too little federal income tax withheld throughout the year.</p> <p>Analyzing data from your most recent pay stubs, invoices from your clients, and copies of past tax returns (they will help you estimate applicable deductions), this calculator will provide you suggestions on how to update your Form W-4 with your employer. Adjusting your W-4 throughout the year is a smart way to increase the take-home portion of paychecks from your employer when you're withholding more than you really need to.</p> <h2>6. Make Estimated Tax Payments</h2> <p>Due to the nature of freelancing, you may receive some last minute assignments that will make your bank account happy in the short term. Prevent those lucky breaks from turning into an unexpected large tax liability by the time you file your return next year. Whenever you expect a very large payment or an end-of-year assignment, use the IRS Withholding Calculator to estimate your necessary withholding.</p> <p>An alternative to adjusting your W-4 is to make a lump-sum payment using <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/form-1040-es-estimated-tax-for-individuals-1" target="_blank">Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals</a>, which allows you to pay estimated tax payments on April, June, and September of the current year and January of the next year. Form 1040-ES can be a lifesaver to compensate for extreme low withholding throughout the year. For example, you can submit a payment for tax year 2016 on January 17, 2017.</p> <h2>7. Don't Forget About State Income Tax</h2> <p>On top of federal income taxes, you're also liable for applicable state and local income taxes. Depending on the legal structure of your business, you may file business income taxes on a separate form. Sole proprietors report their personal and business income taxes on the same form.</p> <p>Spreading out your state tax liability is a better idea than trying to come up with a large lump sum in very few days. If you have an employer, you can also adjust your withholding of state taxes throughout the year. Most states allow freelancers and side giggers to submit estimated state tax payments on a quarterly basis. To learn more about your applicable state tax obligations, find the <a href="https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/filing-paying-taxes/determine-your-state-tax-obligations" target="_blank">appropriate office in your state or territory</a>.</p> <h2>8. Get Health Coverage</h2> <p>Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, you're subject to a penalty when you go more than two months without health coverage. In 2016 and 2017, the penalty fee is 1/12 per month of <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/" target="_blank">2.5% of your household income</a> or $695 per adult, whichever is higher. If you didn't meet the minimum essential coverage during 2016, use the IRS tool to estimate your <a href="https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/estimator/isrp/" target="_blank">individual responsibility payment</a>.</p> <p>When you're a full-time freelancer, you're responsible for getting qualifying coverage on your own. January 31, 2017 is the last day to enroll or change a 2017 health plan. After that date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a special enrollment period. To learn more about available plans in your ZIP code, visit the health insurance marketplace at <a href="http://www.healthcare.gov" target="_blank">HealthCare.gov</a>.</p> <h2>9. Save for Retirement</h2> <p>Freelancers and side giggers with no employees can open a solo 401K to build or give their nest eggs a major boost. With a solo or Roth 401K, an independent contractor could save up to <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-401k-and-profit-sharing-plan-contribution-limits" target="_blank">$53,000 ($59,000 if age 50 or over)</a> in 2016 and $54,000 ($69,000 if age 50 or over) in 2017. By the way, married couples and legal partners receiving income from the same business practice can double those contribution limits. This means a couple under age 50 could potentially contribute up to $108,000 to a solo 401K in 2017!</p> <p>If you're one of the estimated 54 million of U.S. independent workers or freelancers, consider a solo 401K to lower your taxable income and get closer to the target amount of your retirement fund.</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/what-freelancers-and-side-giggers-need-to-know-about-income-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-tax-mistakes-we-need-to-stop-making">5 Common Tax Mistakes We Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</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-you-probably-need-an-accountant">5 Signs You Probably Need an Accountant</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/35-bizarre-things-you-can-be-taxed-on">35 Bizarre Things You Can Be Taxed On</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-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes 1040 1099 accountants audits income taxes IRS miscellaneous income schedule c self employment side jobs Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1871080 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Best States to Start a New Business In http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_open_sign_517678150.jpg" alt="Man learning best new states to start a new business in" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>America is the land of entrepreneurship. The dream of quitting the 9-to-5 rat race and becoming your own boss is alive and well: There are an estimated 54 million independent workers out there today.</p> <p>Regardless of their generation, many Americans are becoming entrepreneurs, freelancers, or small business owners. Baby boomers are starting <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/brooks/2015/02/24/retirement-entrepreneur-small-business-401k/23845271/" target="_blank">50% of new business</a> and 66% of Millennials would like to <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/BentleyU/preparedu-the-millennial-mind-goes-to-work-41415813" target="_blank">start their own business</a>.</p> <p>As with everything else business-related, the old maxim of &quot;location, location, location!&quot; also applies to starting a new business. Improve the odds of your business surviving its first years and thriving throughout all of its life by choosing one of the best states to start a new business in.</p> <h2>1. Utah</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/salt_lake_city_474192330.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>In 2016, the Beehive State topped Forbes' annual ranking of the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/best-states-for-business/#7992ccc718cc" target="_blank">best states for business</a> across 40 business metrics. And it has done so for the sixth time in the last seven years of this survey. With 93.5 startup businesses per 1,000 business firm population, Utah has the third-highest density of startup businesses.</p> <p>One of the top reasons that Utah is so friendly to business is its track record of showing entrepreneurs the money. In 2015, business owners in Utah held the most Small Business Administration (SBA) <a href="https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/small-business/most-entrepreneurial-states-where-small-business-loans-rule-2015/" target="_blank">guaranteed loans per 100,000 people</a> in the nation, with an average SBA loan size of $278,754. In 2014, Utah companies raised over <a href="https://medium.com/startup-nuggets-from-the-silicon-slopes/utah-beats-new-york-in-per-capita-venture-capital-45dd896a02f8#.fay2fm87f" target="_blank">$800 million in venture capital</a>, more than twice the $316.2 million raised the year before. With a population of just three million, Utah is able to outrank major states, including New York, based on venture capital dollars raised per capita.</p> <p>Key hotbeds for entrepreneurial activity in Utah are Provo and Ogden. The Provo metro area offers Camp 4, a collaboration between the public and private sector to help startup tech businesses with office space and other resources, and Brigham Young University's Innovation Academy, a small business incubator for university students. For its part, Odgen starts off Utah's well-known ski corridor that has been dubbed &quot;Silicon Slopes.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Texas</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/austin_texas_501154548.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Everything's bigger in the Lone Star State, including entrepreneurial spirit. While Texas came in fourth place on Forbes' 2016 list, the state makes it up by being home to four of the top 10 <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/11/the-top-20-metro-areas-to-start-a-business-in-america.html?slide=1" target="_blank">metro areas to start a business</a> in America, according to CNBC. With its city of Austin taking the top spot in the nation, Texas also offers Houston, Dallas, McAllen, El Paso, and San Antonio as attractive alternatives for would-be business owners.</p> <p>Austin has consistently drawn Internet companies, including the recruiting site Indeed.com, digital coupon site RetailMeNot.com, photo-entertainment site TheChive.com, and technology investments, such as Google Fiber in 2013.</p> <p>Affordability is a major force enabling entrepreneurial growth. A combination of no state tax on personal and corporate income, a median home price below the national average, and an overall lower cost of living compared to other states in the nation allow Texas to provide a cost of doing business that is <a href="http://www.forbes.com/places/tx/" target="_blank">10% below the national average</a>. Many small business owners are taking note of the business-friendly Texas climate because the number of SBA loans per 100,000 grew by 41.90% during the 2012&ndash;2015 period.</p> <h2>3. Colorado</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/colorado_convention_center_498249160.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Since 1993, the nonprofit Kauffman Foundation has been providing educational resources for U.S. entrepreneurs, working to accelerate metro-area entrepreneurship hubs. Through its indexes of startup activity, main street entrepreneurship, and growth of entrepreneurship, in 2016 the Kauffman Foundation provided a positive outlook for potential and current <a href="http://www.kauffman.org/microsites/kauffman-index/rankings/state?Report=MainStreet&amp;Indicator=LRank" target="_blank">business owners in the Centennial State</a>:</p> <ul> <li>8.56% of adult residents list business owner as their main occupation (highest in the nation);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>70.28% of firms 10 years or younger that started small grew to employ 50 people or more by their tenth year of operation;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>87.2 startup businesses per 1,000 business firm population;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>47.93% of small businesses remained in operation throughout their first five years.</li> </ul> <p>Colorado also fared well on Forbes' list, ranking #5 for the best states for business. Three key factors contributing to Colorado's high ranking are its young and highly-educated labor force (38% of adults have a college degree, a figure behind only Massachusetts), robust current economic climate, and expected second-fastest job growth in the nation over the next five years.</p> <p>One key area in Colorado that is experiencing extraordinary growth is the Denver metro area, in part due to the legalization of marijuana in 2012. The legal marijuana industry has been estimated to be worth <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/21/from-colorado-glimpse-life-after-marijuana-legalization/rcccuzhMDWV74UC4IxXIYJ/story.html" target="_blank">$1 billion per year</a> since 2014 and created more than <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/2016/10/26/colorado-weed-economic-impact-report/" target="_blank">18,000 full-time jobs</a> in 2015.</p> <h2>4. North Carolina</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/north_carolina_476250858.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Ranking second on Forbes' list (and in the top five overall for 11 straight years), the Tar Heel State generated $2.7 billion in <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2016/11/16/the-best-and-worst-states-for-business-2016/#69ce73d2112b" target="_blank">foreign direct investment</a> and 5,300 jobs in 2015. Key reasons for these numbers are that North Carolina's business costs are 11% below the national average (fourth lowest in the nation) and only 3% of the state's workforce is unionized.</p> <p>In 2016, the Kauffman Foundation provided the following key details about North Carolina:</p> <ul> <li>49.28% of small businesses remained in operation throughout their first five years;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>75.5 startup businesses per 1,000 business firm population;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>0.33% of adults became entrepreneurs in a given month (fourth in the nation).</li> </ul> <p>Key hotbeds for entrepreneurial activity in North Carolina are Charlotte and the tri-city region of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh (known as the Triangle). Over the past few years, attracted by fairly low property taxes, affordable home prices and living costs, and low tax rates (5% for corporate tax and 5.75% for personal income tax), many Americans have been moving into these two areas and looking to establish businesses of their own.</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/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in">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/8-clever-ways-people-are-making-money-from-pok-mon-go">8 Clever Ways People Are Making Money From Pokémon GO</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/six-tips-to-good-business-management">Six Tips to Good Business Management</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-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship best states business owners growth job markets self employment small businesses Fri, 13 Jan 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1873232 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save for Retirement Without a 401K http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/401k_plan_000007571872.jpg" alt="Learning how to save for retirement without a 401k" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Employer-sponsored retirement plans are not mandated. They're an added benefit to being on the job. As a result, there are instances where an employer may not offer one. And even those who <em>do</em> may have strict participation rules that create gaps in your savings plan or disqualify you altogether.</p> <p>According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, of full-time private sector workers, 25% were denied access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. In fact, studies indicate that access to workplace retirement plans is lower today than it was in the late 1980s.</p> <p>Often we get so tied up with our careers that we forget that the reason we're working in the first place is to support ourselves &mdash; now and into retirement. But don't let your career focus derail your retirement. Here is what you can do if your employer doesn't offer a retirement plan.</p> <h2>1. Seek an Employer Who Does</h2> <p>If you're putting your retirement first, it is not unreasonable to think about taking your skillset elsewhere, especially if the new employer matches 401K contributions. Even the standard 3% employer match, on say $60,000, would yield an extra $1,800 in free money per year. On the other hand, let's assume that you receive a generous year-end bonus, but no retirement offering. In this scenario you might be better off staying at your current job and following my next piece of advice &mdash; unless of course, you can find a position that offers you both, which many do.</p> <p>There are many variables to consider when deciding whether to leave or stay with an employer. Be willing to design your own retirement plan and don't be afraid to see what's out there. Fear and/or complacency will only hold you back.</p> <h2>2. Start an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA</h2> <p>The best alternative to employer-sponsored retirement accounts are IRAs. In fact, these are nice to have <em>in addition</em> to employer plans, and are in some ways more advantageous than 401K accounts because they offer greater investment flexibility. There are two types of IRAs: Traditional and Roth, though they each have distinctive differences that need to be taken into consideration.</p> <h3>Traditional IRAs</h3> <p>Traditional IRAs are funded with pre-tax income. Additionally, Traditional IRA contributions are tax deductible (depending on your adjusted gross income), however, distributions are taxed at withdrawal and cannot be taken before age 59 1/2 without incurring income tax and a 10% early-distribution penalty. All contributions must cease at age 70 1/2 and mandatory withdrawals have to made by April 1st of that year.</p> <h3>Roth IRAs</h3> <p>The Roth IRA is a less complicated option because it is funded using after-tax dollars, which allows your earnings to grow tax-free. Distributions from your contributed funds can be taken at anytime without penalty, assuming the account has been open at least five years. And unlike the Traditional IRA, there are no mandatory distribution rules, so you can make contributions for the rest of your life, if you'd like.</p> <p>Individuals can maintain one or both types of accounts. The current annual contribution limit for all IRA accounts combined is $5,500 ($6,500 for ages 50+). Learn more about the benefits of IRA accounts from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-set-up-an-ira-to-build-wealth?ref=seealso">How to Set Up an IRA to Build Wealth</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k?ref=seealso">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May Be Better Than Your 401(k)</a> are two great articles that explain the benefits of IRA accounts.</p> <p>Your choice of employer doesn't have to stymie your retirement plans. Consider all the alternatives available to ensure a safe and comfortable financial future for your family.</p> <p><em>Does your employer offer a retirement plan? If not, how are you planning for your future?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k">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/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you">Your 401K in 2017: Here&#039;s What&#039;s New for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</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/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</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-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k employers no retirement plan Roth IRAs self employment traditional iras Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:00:49 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1577211 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs It's Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/female_student_working_000052734564.jpg" alt="Woman deciding to make her side gig her career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You daydream about it: turning your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-to-prevent-side-gig-burnout">side gig</a> into your career. Quitting your day job and achieving your business goals on your own terms. But it can be hard to know when the right time to actually make the move is.</p> <p>If you're unsure what's holding you back, but suspect you may be ready, take a look at these six signs it's time to quit your day job.</p> <h2>1. Your Bills Can Be Covered on Side Business Income</h2> <p>Are things going pretty well right now? It's time to do the math. Add up all of your household's living costs. Now, add up your side business's month-by-month revenue over the past year. Can a decent percentage of basic expenses be covered by your side business?</p> <p>Making a big move based on this sign depends on a couple of factors such as how much your spouse or roommate contributes to the household, and whether or not those contributions can be counted on for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>For many people, the answer is a gradual transition. In my business, my partner/husband and I found an arrangement that let us spend 75% of our time on the company, and the rest of the time on freelance income to bridge the gap.</p> <h2>2. You're Leaving Money on the Table</h2> <p>Are more opportunities arising, ones you don't have the time to take? A small business can only flourish if it has enough time to grow the infrastructure and increase client communications and partnerships. If you can only spend nights and weekends on your side business, then you will hit a plateau that is very difficult to break through without hiring help.</p> <p>The best way to learn if you are leaving money on the table is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-write-a-business-plan">reviewing your business plan</a> and making a new <a href="http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/76418">year-to-year projection</a>.</p> <h2>3. Your Clients Want More</h2> <p>Surely you've had more ideas on how to upgrade your services. Do you see your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/market-segmentation-to-grow-customers-sales-and-profits">customer or client base growing</a> and becoming more reliable? This kind of stable growth begetting a stable fan base is a good sign that your regular clients are ready to be upsold on more services. If you are B2B, don't let them grow antsy to leave for a bigger company. If you are a consumer-facing business, don't let your customers grow bored with your product offerings. Start with your most loyal customers to show them that your business is growing with their needs and that you value your relationship.</p> <p>In my business, we grew so quickly in the past year that our customers were not able to keep up with our newest releases. So we started a new subscription program for our most rabid fans that allowed them to get everything we make for a monthly fee. When you start with your most loyal, you can work out the kinks of the new program with minimal pain and customer service issues before rolling it out to the public. We wouldn't have been able to plan, set-up, execute, and maintain this new service if one of us hadn't gone full time.</p> <h2>4. You Find Yourself Becoming an Expert</h2> <p>Are friends, family, and peers increasingly asking you for advice or resources on your industry? If so, the outside perception of your company must be good enough for you to be considered a thought leader on the topic.</p> <p>A great way to give back as an entrepreneur is to share your expertise. It's also a great way to grow your business indirectly by inserting yourself in the major ongoing conversations within your industry. Look up <a href="http://www.allconferences.com/">industry conferences to attend</a>, and you could create a Slideshare about what you've learned. When you have become a full-time entrepreneur, others will take you even more seriously. If you were already planning the full-time transition, this sign might be the morale boost you needed.</p> <h2>5. You Need More Time at Home</h2> <p>Is your household changing? Maybe you are planning to have children in the next two years. Maybe your spouse is earning enough money to cover the basic expenses so you can take more time on your business. Staying at home provides you the flexibility to grow both your business and your family on your own schedule.</p> <p>Do it smart: Using your monthly expense calculator and business projections, start mapping out a plan that allows you transition to a home office. Calculate the costs of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">making a functional home office</a>: desks, computers, office and creative supplies, and storage solutions. You might have to incorporate freelance income in your revenue mix alongside the other services your business provides.</p> <h2>6. You're This Close to Hiring Employees</h2> <p>Are you looking for help to improve workflow? It will be hard to manage employees from a desk at another company. It's time to look at the numbers and see how much more revenue you could earn with an employee's help, versus quitting your day job and doing most operations yourself for a while.</p> <p>People-specific skillsets you don't possess (i.e. coding, graphic design, etc.) might be hires you can't avoid. But what if you just have too much basic upkeep to do? What I have learned is that repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming tasks are great to outsource to a freelance employee for an affordable rate. Core work like business development and creative should be left to you until you go full-time, so you can properly manage your employees and give them the one-on-one time they need to grow within your company.</p> <p>Make sure you have what you need to <a href="http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2013/10/top-7-tips-for-hiring-managing-your-1st-employee.html">hire your first employee</a>, and learn about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-take-the-pulse-of-your-employees">managing staff</a>.</p> <p><em>How's your side gig doing? Ready to make the leap?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">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/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right">Freelancing: A Beginner’s Guide to Doing It Right</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/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads">12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads</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/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight</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-freelance-jobs-that-pay-surprisingly-well">11 Freelance Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well</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-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">8 Truths From a Mystery Shopper You Must Read Before You Get Started</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Extra Income business self employment side jobs work Tue, 19 May 2015 17:00:10 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1416883 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Woman_working_000045281724.jpg" alt="Woman answering financial questions before going freelance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning to quit your day job to become a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">full-time freelancer</a> can be the most exciting transition in your career. You gain control over your own schedule, and have the freedom to choose the type of projects you work on.</p> <p>But with this excitement comes a lot of financial questions and planning. In order to make the leap from your day job as smooth as possible, here are five questions to ask &mdash; and answer! &mdash; before becoming a full-time freelancer.</p> <h2>1. How Much Should You Save?</h2> <p>If you have no other sources of income to pay the bills after you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-should-quit-your-job">quit your job</a>, how long would your savings last? Do you feel comfortable giving yourself three months to get your new freelancing career off the ground? Or is six months a more reasonable timeline? Obviously the more money you save up, the less risky your leap into freelancing will be.</p> <p>There are additional factors that need to be accounted for too, like whether or not you're the breadwinner for your family. It's likely you'll have to pay for your own health insurance, taxes, and fund your own retirement account. All of these things need to be calculated before you can accurately estimate how much money you should save.</p> <p>Most experts suggest that you keep at least three to six months' worth of expenses in a separate savings account to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">cover any emergencies</a> or losses of income (some even suggest as much as twelve months' worth). As a freelancer you might as well double this amount to account for the added risk of being self-employed.</p> <h2>2. What's Your Bare Minimum Budget?</h2> <p>What's the bare minimum amount of money you need to make in order to pay your bills each month? Make sure you add in all of your household bills (utilities, insurance, groceries,) as well as the cost of doing business as a freelancer.</p> <p>When I was in the process of quitting my day job, I calculated my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">bare minimum budget</a> to be $3,000 a month. This meant that I needed at least $18,000 saved up ($<em>3,000 a month X six month savings cushion = $18,000</em>) in order to cover my bare expenses for six months while I built my freelancing business.</p> <p>Calculate how much money you need to adequately pay your bills every month, then multiply this figure by six to eight months. This is the amount you'll need to save in a separate account to make the transition from a day job to freelancing a successful one.</p> <h2>3. Do You Have Passive Income Streams?</h2> <p>One other way to make this process much easier is creating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-freelance-gigs-anyone-can-do-to-make-extra-money">multiple streams of income</a>. Aside from your core freelance duties, do you have other options for creating passive income? What other assets can you leverage to bring in more money each month?</p> <p>Maybe you can branch out and offer business consulting, or create an online course that teaches a specific skill based on your background and experience. Do you have investments that earn small dividends or interest?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-a-side-hustle-can-further-your-career">Every little bit of income</a> can help you save up money faster, while easing the transition of quitting your job and steady paycheck.</p> <h2>4. Are You Willing to Do What it Takes?</h2> <p>How much time do you have available to dedicate to finding work? Are you prepared to spend nights and weekends building your business? In the beginning, clients won't come to you, so you'll have to actively seek them out and build a solid network from scratch.</p> <p>How much time you spend in the beginning will determine how quickly you're able to replace your day job's income. There will likely be a lot of sleepless nights and stressful days, but in the end you have to determine if the reward is worth all the effort.</p> <p>Freedom is never free, and this includes financial freedom. You have to figure out if the cost is worth it.</p> <h2>5. Do You Have a Financial Backup Plan?</h2> <p>What happens if Plan A doesn't work out? Do you have a Plan B in place? In the event that you blow through all of your savings, and are still not where you can fully pay your monthly expenses, how are you going to cope?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-money-for-a-week-here-s-what-to-do">Create a backup plan</a> of action for this specific event. List out the possible solutions and scenarios for how you and your family will deal with this. Are you going to find another full-time job? Will you be able to move back in with your parents?</p> <p>This is another reason that having a large chunk of money stashed away in savings can really help you during the process of quitting your job to freelance full time. Calculate at least six months' worth of your minimum budget expenses and then save money like crazy.</p> <p><em>Are you in the process of quitting your job? How are you preparing yourself financially?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers">5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers</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-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship emergency funds freelance income self employment Mon, 18 May 2015 21:00:09 +0000 Carrie Smith 1424770 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Woman_organized_ideas_000038689064.jpg" alt="Woman figuring out how to fund her business without borrowing money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Becoming a small business owner or freelancer is a great way to regain control of your schedule while having limitless potential for income and locational flexibility. The only problem is that starting a new business venture usually comes with a big price tag.</p> <p>It may be difficult to fund a new business without using loans or credit cards, but it's not impossible. Here are some tried-and-true ways to avoid taking on debt when becoming your own boss. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-market-your-side-business?ref=seealso">6 Simple Ways to Market Your Side Business</a>)</p> <h2>Bootstrap Your Business</h2> <p>Bootstrapping is essentially the DIY version for business owners. It's the process of streamlining your expenses while spending as little as possible in order to grow your business in the long term. It's not just about being cheap, but more importantly about spending money on the right areas of business while being conscious of your bottom line.</p> <p>A few bootstrapping techniques include outsourcing small projects to contractors using paid gig sites, such as <a href="http://tracking.fiverr.com/aff_c?offer_id=1441&amp;aff_id=4437">Fiverr</a> or <a href="https://www.upwork.com/">Upwork</a> versus hiring regular employees, or paying for a course to learn a bit of copywriting, versus hiring a professional copywriter.</p> <p>But don't stop there. Are there existing sources of funding you can use for your new venture? Can you use the cash value of your life insurance policy, sell a little-used second vehicle, or downsize your home? Bootstrapping takes many forms, and if you're serious about avoiding debt, you should also be serious about locating funding.</p> <h2>Seek Out an Investor</h2> <p>This is not a new idea by any means, but it's one that should nonetheless be considered. If you need capital for inventory or equipment, seek out an investor who believes in your idea and is willing to become part owner. This will give you the added cash flow your business needs without going to the bank.</p> <p>You can choose to be as informal as you want, by asking friends and family to invest in your idea, or be more formal by seeking out someone like an angel investor, either through local professional networks, or on websites such as <a href="https://gust.com/">Gust</a>.</p> <p>You have to be willing to take on a partner of course, but working with someone who has deeper pockets than you do could be a real advantage.</p> <h2>Leverage a Day Job</h2> <p>Consider leveraging your current day job while starting your business on the side as a means of generating revenue for your new venture. This is a very smart way to vet out your idea before having the added pressure of making it produce revenue to support itself. Many entrepreneurs choose this route before starting an online business, and essentially use their day job to fund their dream job.</p> <p>This method may take a bit longer to build up, and you'll have to juggle multiple priorities at the same time, but you will be the sole owner of your business and able to build a solid foundation from the beginning.</p> <h2>Try Crowdfunding</h2> <p>If your business venture is an idea for something that people will buy, such as a physical product or a smartphone app, consider crowdfunding as a way to infuse your new idea with the cash it needs to get off the ground. Sites like <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/">Kickstarter</a> and <a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/">IndieGoGo</a> are perfect platforms for bringing your new idea to the masses.</p> <p>There have been quite a few ideas brought into the market this way, including everything from video games to watches and beer, that have grossed more than $1 million dollars from crowdfunded pledges.</p> <p>Give your new business the fighting chance it deserves by avoiding taking on debt in the beginning stages. You will learn to streamline your work process and focus on the true priorities while the business grows. Then you can later expand and build upon the foundation you've created.</p> <p><em>Have you launched a business or side business? How'd you pay for it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">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-5"> <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/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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-myths-about-starting-a-small-business">8 Common Myths About Starting a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship freelance funding investors self employment small businesses Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:00:28 +0000 Carrie Smith 1400876 at http://www.wisebread.com Self-Employed? Here's How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_cartoon_apartment_000044030686.jpg" alt="Self-employed couple trying to rent an appartment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While there are great benefits to being self-employed, like setting your own hours and working on projects you really enjoy, there are a few downsides to not getting a regular paycheck. Aside from the inconsistent income, you also have the added hurdle of <em>proving </em>your income when you want to move to a new apartment. This is something my husband and I are dealing with, because we both work from home.</p> <p>The standard apartment application includes providing proof of current employment and copies of your latest paycheck stubs. So how do you get approved for a new apartment when you don't have either of those things?</p> <p>Here are a few things to do if you're self-employed and moving to a new place.</p> <h2>1. Seek Out Independent Landlords</h2> <p>Any landlord wants the best tenants to ensure the rent gets paid on time. But larger property management companies often have stricter policies and guidelines for renting to self-employed individuals, so it may be best to avoid the big complexes.</p> <p>Opt for smaller, individually-owned duplexes or triplexes, where you can connect to an independent landlord. Their rules may be a bit more flexible, and allow you to apply for an apartment without a traditional paycheck. It's also a good idea to ask local contacts, friends, or family members if they know of any landlords who are open to self-employed individuals.</p> <p>We have an appointment with a landlord who was introduced by one of our family members, and on top of being lenient with self-employed income, we may also get a discount on our rent because of our connections.</p> <h2>2. Enlist a Real Estate Agent to Help</h2> <p>Of course, a real estate agent can help you <em>buy</em> a new home, but they also come in extremely handy when you're looking to rent an apartment &mdash; particularly in a new city. It's a real estate agent's job to know the local laws, as well as contacts for landlords who accept self-employed applications.</p> <p>They will be able to most effectively help if you share <em>all </em>the information about your work and lifestyle situation. I have a freelancer friend who had a difficult time finding roommates because they didn't want someone working from home all the time. I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's because many people view at-home freelancers as lazy or messy.</p> <p>In any case, be up-front with your needs and explain how you work during the day. This will also help you be the most productive if you need a place that's quiet and free of outside distractions.</p> <h2>3. Keep Your Financial Records Organized</h2> <p>There are several things you will likely have to hand over to your landlord or apartment management company during the application process. So it's important that your financial records are accurate and organized.</p> <p>Since you don't have the advantage of simply printing off copies of your latest paycheck stubs or W-2s, you'll most likely need:</p> <ul> <li>Six month's worth of bank statements</li> <li>Three year's worth of tax returns</li> <li>Copies of long-term client contracts or big projects that prove consistent income</li> <li>A healthy savings account that covers at least three month's worth of rent</li> <li>References in writing from previous landlords</li> </ul> <p>If you don't have a lot of extra debt, this will help your case as you become much less of a risk to the landlord. Obviously a few other things that will help are to dress appropriately when meeting the landlord, and sharing any other advantages you bring as a tenant (in my case it's the fact that we don't have kids or pets). Sell them on how great a tenant you are and make them feel good about having you in their apartment.</p> <p>Finding a new apartment is a bit more difficult when you're self-employed, and you'll likely have to save up a bit more money to prove you're financially responsible. However, by using these tips you can find a new place that works for both you and your landlord. Happy apartment hunting!</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to find a new apartment while self-employed?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fself-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FSelf-Employed-%20Heres%20How%20to%20Get%20Your%20Apartment%20Application%20Approved.png&amp;description=Self-Employed%3F%20Heres%20How%20to%20Get%20Your%20Apartment%20Application%20Approved" 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></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Self-Employed-%20Heres%20How%20to%20Get%20Your%20Apartment%20Application%20Approved.png" alt="Self-Employed? Here's How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved" 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/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">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/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</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-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap">10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</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/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid</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/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Real Estate and Housing freelance landlords moving renting self employment Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:00:06 +0000 Carrie Smith 1392099 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Not Be a Wage Slave http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-not-be-a-wage-slave <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-not-be-a-wage-slave" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/33194262_b698ea579a_z.jpg" alt="chain around arm" title="chain around arm" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Choosing to be a wage slave is very different from choosing to be a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-not-be-a-debt-slave">debt slave</a>, because it's a choice you make every day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-way-to-avoid-the-worst-financial-problems">The Best Way to Avoid the Worst Financial Problems</a>)</p> <p>One doesn't become a wage slave with one decision, the way a single choice to take on debt can color your life for decades. The only way to become a wage slave is to make the decision to be one day after day.</p> <p>It starts like this: You get a job, find a place to live, buy the stuff you need &mdash; and without much thought going into it, pretty soon your lifestyle demands the continued flow of your wages or salary.</p> <p>Of course, just earning wages doesn't make you a slave. It's only slavery when you lose your freedom. But when your boss asks you to do something unethical, and you feel like you've got no choice but to do it &mdash; that's slavery.</p> <p>It's a gentle sort of slavery. No one makes you go to work every day &mdash; and yet, you do not have the freedom to say, &quot;Today I think I'll go fishing instead.&quot;</p> <p>Many people seem to think this is a good thing. Many people are afraid that, if they didn't <em>have</em> to go to work, they <em>wouldn't</em> go to work, and that that would be a bad thing.</p> <p>It's not just a fear that they might lose the lifestyle to which they become accustomed. It's a fear that they'd find a more meager lifestyle <em>acceptable</em>, that only the goad of keeping up with expectations keeps them from being slackers (or worse).</p> <p>The hard part of escaping wage slavery is making this mental shift &mdash; to stop choosing wage slavery every day, simply because it's what people do.</p> <p>Once you do that, the key moves are easy:</p> <h3>1. Be Frugal</h3> <p>Don't let your cost of living rise until there's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-finances-fragile">only one job in town</a> that pays enough to cover your bills.</p> <h3>2. Avoid Debt</h3> <p>...except perhaps to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/good-debt-bad-debt">finance the purchase of a productive asset</a>.</p> <h3>3. Earn Some Non-Job Income</h3> <p>Even small amounts of extra income &mdash; from a small business you run on the side, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">a hobby that makes a little money</a>, interest or dividends on your investments, rent from a piece of property &mdash; can cover an important fraction of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">bare minimum expenses</a>.</p> <h3>4. Expand Your Skills</h3> <p>New skills that would let you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-investment-yourself">find a job in another field</a> give you much more flexibility than just better skills in your current field.</p> <p>Even when people out there were warning against freedom because it enabled sloth, to my mind choosing freedom was always the right choice. And I think a lot more people have come to share my view. When jobs are plentiful, you can work for wages and still be fairly free. So what if one employer goes out of business, or one boss turns out to be a psychopath, or one career turns out not to suit you &mdash; you can always find another job.</p> <p>With the financial panic and recession, a lot of people were reminded that you <em>can't</em> always find another job.</p> <p>When there's only one job, the shackles of wage slavery start feeling pretty tight. (And, of course, when there's no job, it's even worse.)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-not-be-a-wage-slave">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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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/book-review-your-money-or-your-life">Book review: Your Money or Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-choosing-temporary-freedom">On choosing temporary freedom</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/wage-slave-debt-slave">Wage slave, debt slave</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">Self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and freedom</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance freedom self employment skills Fri, 02 Mar 2012 11:36:15 +0000 Philip Brewer 905749 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Office Habits to Keep When Working From Home http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-office-habits-to-take-home-with-you" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-office-habits-to-take-home-with-you</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007129515Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you've set out on your own or have convinced your boss to let you telecommute, it may feel like a huge relief to finally lose the commute and be able to work from home. So it may come as a surprise when you find yourself struggling to maintain productivity and a stable work-life balance, when you've never struggled with either before.</p> <p>What happened?</p> <p>You left your at-work attitude back at the office.The structure and formality of an office setting offers unconscious cues that allow you to get in &quot;work mode&quot; that a home office may not provide. However, you can replicate the benefits of an office setting but still have the flexibility and comfort of working from home.</p> <h3>A Physical Boundary</h3> <p>The most obvious difference between commuting to an office and stepping out of your bedroom is the physical boundary. When you're at the office, you can't access your couch, your bed, your Tivo. Your neighbor can't knock on the door to borrow some tools. All the stuff you have at home &ndash; a leaky faucet, laundry, DVD set of <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i> &ndash; is literally out of your reach until you get home. It sets your mind at the tasks that are in front of you.</p> <p>Consider using a coffee shop or a library as your &quot;office&quot; to avoid distractions at home. Sometimes doing this just once or twice a week can make a big difference in your ability to focus on tough tasks or when working on a deadline. At home, create a designated work space. If you can't have a whole room for an office, use something physical to block off the space and make sure both you and others in the household respect that space. Get noise reduction headphones and turn off the house phone so you can't be disturbed, just as if you were in an office elsewhere.</p> <h3>Watercooler Chats</h3> <p>Among the most valuable aspects of a traditional office are daily social interaction and camaraderie. It's not just nice to have social relationships, but it's an opportunity to network and establish bonds with other people in the industry.</p> <p>Remember to make time for professional engagements that allow you to connect with colleagues. This might be joining a local meetup group or just keeping in touch with old coworkers by meeting them for lunch. If you are telecommuting while fellow coworkers are at an office, it's all the more reason for you to maintain regular contact (in person) to stay properly integrated into the team.</p> <h3>Role Models</h3> <p>Not having a boss down the hall who can easily look over your shoulder may be liberating, but on the flip side, not having someone you can quickly reach out to for advice and direction limits your productivity. Further, one of the best ways to grow professionally is to have a mentor. If you're working from home, you may need to reach out to people you look up to and see if they'd be open to mentoring you.</p> <h3>Respectable Clothes</h3> <p>One of the best things about working from home is that you can be on important conference call in your bunny slippers. However, being in your PJs all day isn't conducive to training your mind to be in work mode. After all, PJs equal bedtime; our bodies respond to routine. If you go through a &quot;getting ready for work&quot; process, it will help your mind and body gear up for it. This doesn't mean you have to wear a tie at home, but it does mean getting out of your PJs and brushing your hair.</p> <h3>Office Hours</h3> <p>Increasingly, employees are breaking out of the usual &quot;office hours&quot; anyway by checking and sending emails during non-office hours, but it's still important to establish your work hours regardless. Working from home allows you a lot of flexibility in setting those work hours. For example, you can work 4 hours in the morning, break for 4 hours, and then work 4 hours in the evening. Whatever works best for you is what you should go with, and then make sure the people in your life are aware of that.</p> <p>One of the problems about working from home is that friends and family think that you're available for them at any time. You'll get requests for airport pickups, impromptu visits, and other tasks and events that you're expected to do or participate in because you can work &quot;any time.&quot; While it's true that you are able to adjust your work time, it's just as important to maintain a regular schedule so that your colleagues can reach you, your work is done promptly and efficiently, and you don't lose your professional edge.</p> <p>It's easy to take for granted some of the ways that a &quot;real office&quot; contributes to your professional growth and productivity. But a home office can give you the best of both worlds. All you have to do is step out of your bunny slippers and keep yourself actively engaged.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home</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-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</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/freelance-your-way-to-more-income-and-flexibility">Freelance Your Way to More Income and Flexibility</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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Small Business Resource Center home office self employment small business telecommute work habits Tue, 28 Jun 2011 09:30:00 +0000 Lynn Truong 559429 at http://www.wisebread.com Making Progress: The Missing Link Between Management and Employees http://www.wisebread.com/making-progress-the-missing-link-between-management-and-employees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/making-progress-the-missing-link-between-management-and-employees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5277574270_8f52d2ed73.jpg" alt="happy worker" title="happy worker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm always looking for what motivates people to do good work, because I think that it can make us all happier in the workplace. A recent <em>Harvard Business Review</em> <a href="http://hbr.org/2010/01/the-hbr-list-breakthrough-ideas-for-2010/ar/1">worker-motivation survey</a> came up with some great insights.</p> <p>The study asked 600 managers from varying industries what they thought motivated their workers the most. They were given five options:</p> <ol> <li>recognition</li> <li>incentives</li> <li>interpersonal support</li> <li>support for making progress</li> <li>clear goals</li> </ol> <p>Their #1 answer was &quot;recognition.&quot; Before I tell you the results on the worker side, take your pick on what makes &quot;a great workday&quot; for you.</p> <p>Researches analyzed more than 12,000 worker diary entries and there was a clear winner: <strong>making progress</strong>. On over 76% of &quot;great work days,&quot; employees made a reference to making progress &mdash; far more than any other factor. Does the answer surprise you a bit?</p> <h3>The Lazy Worker Stereotype</h3> <p>The &quot;progress&quot; finding might prove a bit surprising because a perception exists that many workers, given the opportunity to slack off, will do so. This common misconception often lead to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry">misguided incentive plans</a>.</p> <p>Americans aren't lazy. We want to earn our keep. And management wants us to earn our keep as well (so they can earn theirs). It's the common ground &mdash; the missing link, if you will &mdash; to a super productive workplace.</p> <p>If an organization can work with its employees to remove roadblocks instead of creating new ones and help employees outline and achieve clear objectives, then they are likely to have a very inspired work environment.</p> <p>The <em>Business Review</em> rated the &quot;progress&quot; finding as a &quot;Breakthrough Idea of 2010.&quot; All managers and non-managers should take note. It might result in a happier workplace for everyone.</p> <h3>What's Next?</h3> <p>If you're not in management and you're not happy about your current work situation, does &quot;making progress&quot; resonate with you?</p> <p>If it does, what's next isn't exactly easy. First, you'll have to figure out what roadblocks keep you from more progress in the workplace. Is it something internal that you need to address? Or are there other roadblocks that you need to address with management?</p> <p>If these roadblocks are factors that are out of your hand, make a list and discuss constructive solutions with key decision-makers. If they are good managers, they should be open to ideas.</p> <p>If you're the key decision-maker, what can you do to make your employees' jobs easier? Make a list, discuss it with other managers and your employees, and then take the steps necessary to help people get things done.</p> <p>It may not solve all problems overnight, but it'll put things in motion. And that's what I call &quot;progress.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-progress-the-missing-link-between-management-and-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-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/25-signs-that-youve-been-at-the-same-job-too-long">25 Signs That You&#039;ve Been at the Same Job Too Long</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/14-behaviors-and-attitudes-that-can-drive-workplace-success">14 Behaviors and Attitudes That Can Drive Workplace Success</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/become-a-star-employee-by-thinking-like-an-entrepreneur">Become a Star Employee by Thinking Like an Entrepreneur</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-lessons-from-moneyball-can-help-your-career">How Lessons From Moneyball Can Help Your Career</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-sing-your-own-praises-at-work-without-bragging">How to Sing Your Own Praises at Work (Without Bragging)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building employee motivation self employment unhappy at work workplace success Thu, 07 Apr 2011 10:00:05 +0000 G.E. Miller 508475 at http://www.wisebread.com Online Tax Payment and Filing for Small Businesses http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/online-tax-payment-and-filing-for-small-businesses <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/online-tax-payment-filing-for-small-businesses-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/online-tax-payment-filing...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/online-tax-payment-and-filing-for-small-businesses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004101627XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The IRS wants businesses to pay their taxes online, as well as file their taxes online. It's faster, eliminates the need for the IRS to have people open envelopes and process paperwork and has been running for more than a decade.</p> <h3>The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System</h3> <p>The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (or EFTPS) offers taxpayers the technology to make payments online. You can submit all federal taxes through the system, either online or by phone. That includes quarterly estimated taxes &mdash; even if you wish to make payments weekly, monthly or quarterly. The payment is deducted from your bank account and sent to the Department of Treasury. You can even schedule payments ahead of time if need be.</p> <p>EFTPS has been in place since 1996. In that time, more than 901 million electronic payments have been made through it. You will need to enroll online to use it; the site uses the highest level of security available and requires you to use a secure browser with 128-bit encryption in order to access it. Since not only will you be submitting your EIN or Social Security number through the site, but also information about your bank account, that level of security is reassuring.</p> <p>It is free to submit payments through EFTPS. Some payroll processors will handle payroll tax payments through EFTPS, although you'll need to check with any processor that you work with to see what fees and special instructions it will need to make payments on your behalf.</p> <p>Signing up for EFTPS is a relatively simple process. You will need your taxpayer identification number (depending on the type of business you operate, that may be your EIN or your Social Security Number), the routing transit number for your bank and the account number from which you will be making your tax payments. You can complete the enrollment process online. You can also complete your enrollment on paper with IRS Form 9779. Once you've finished the enrollment process, you will receive a personal identification number in the mail. You can use that number to complete payments by phone; in order to make payments online, you'll need to to also create an internet password.</p> <p>Once you have your EFTPS account set up, you can make payments to the IRS through EFTPS. You will schedule payments, which will then be transferred from your bank account to the Department of Treasury's account. When the transaction is complete, the IRS' records will be updated with your payment. If necessary, you can cancel a payment or check up to 16 months of your payment history online.</p> <h3>The eFile System for Business and Self-Employed Taxpayers</h3> <p>The IRS actually maintains what amounts to two separate eFile systems, built to process individual and business tax returns separately. In most cases, as a business owner, you won't use eFile directly. Instead, your tax preparer has the option of submitting your returns through the eFile system. The eFile system offers faster refunds, as well as a reduction in the paperwork necessary to complete a tax return. If your taxes are completed early, but you aren't ready to pay the balance of your 2009 tax bill, the IRS offers a &quot;file now and pay later&quot; option to any taxpayer using the eFile system. You can file your taxes now and get that off your plate, but wait to make a payment until the calendar day before April 15 (assuming you're also using EFTPS).</p> <p>The IRS maintains a list of <a href="http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118516,00.html">eFile providers for business taxpayers online</a>. Different providers handle different forms and it is worth noting that for corporations, partnerships and non-profits, a provider who can handle Modernized eFile (MeF) internet filings, is necessary. Just because a provider is listed on the IRS site, however, does not mean that it is endorsed by the IRS. It's still important to double check any tax service provider yourself.a</p> <p>The eFile system is available for services beyond submitting your tax return. If you work with a payroll service provider to handle payroll for your employees, that company is likely able to file the related tax forms through eFile.</p> <h3>The Benefits of Handling Your Taxes Online</h3> <p>If you've ever realized that you were about to miss making a quarterly estimated payment, EFTPS is a particularly useful tool. As long as you submit your payment one calendar day prior to the due date, it's considered in on time. You can submit your payment at any time and from anywhere with an internet connection. Whether you're on vacation or you just can't get into the post office because it's a Sunday, EFTPS always offers an alternative. It is possible to make a same-day wire payment through EFTPS, if necessary, although it can come down to the capabilities of your bank as to whether the payment will actually arrive the same day.</p> <p>Online submissions of both your business tax return and your tax payment speeds up processing time significantly. While the cost of a stamp and an envelope isn't particularly high, EFTPS eliminates the need to spend time on either. Many states now also offer systems similar to EFTPS, making it possible to handle the majority of your taxes online.</p> <p>You may find that eFile also cuts your <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395199;41474888;e?http://www.plumcard.com/?eep=17460">expenses</a>, and it has been shown that tax returns filed through eFile typically contain fewer errors. That is due to the fact that many tax preparers offering eFile use software that allows them to directly input your company's tax information &mdash; there's no copying information between different forms. The IRS has also built in additional checks within the eFile system, which makes it easier to catch and resolve a problem with a tax form without the IRS needing to send taxpayers error letters. You will also receive confirmation within 48 hours that the IRS has received your business' tax return through eFile.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "plum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/online-tax-payment-and-filing-for-small-businesses">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-3"> <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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-one">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART ONE</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/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Taxes IRS self employment small business Thu, 04 Feb 2010 17:00:02 +0000 Thursday Bram 4971 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART ONE http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/small business pitfalls.jpg" alt="small business is big business" title="small business is big business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">Whether you have been downsized by the corporate world and are going out on your own, or are <a target="_blank" href="/rewriting-the-definition-of-retirement">&ldquo;retired&rdquo;</a> and opening that business you have always dreamed of running, or are simply filling a niche with your special idea and skill set, the world of small business is vast and rife with pitfalls.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The opportunities are as great as the hazards, and no matter which way you slice it, running a small business takes a lot of hard work and tenacity.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But it doesn&rsquo;t have to be all bad: by knowing where the typical traps lay and how to avoid them, you can soar to great heights with your business.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">In this, the first of a two-part series, we will examine four of the six ways you can avoid some of the largest pitfalls any business owner can fall into. Navigating through these entrapments can mean the difference between success and failure.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Get a Jump on the Learning Curve</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">When starting out in your new business, you often have to do it all yourself. And a <em>lack of management experience</em> (outside your area of expertise) is a recipe for disaster if you don&rsquo;t address it properly.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">A tradesman I know was recently downsized and decided to seize the opportunity to work for himself. He figured that he knows the business &ndash; he has spent a lifetime working in it &ndash; and so he was astonished when he floundered and ultimately failed at his own craft. What he didn&rsquo;t realize is that running a small business is about so much more than performing the service or providing the product in question; you have to manage the books, file taxes and understand your write-offs, meet legal requirements, provide exemplary customer service, collect debts, pay employees, and so on.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">And even if you <em>can</em> accomplish all the tasks above in addition to the daily income-generating work, what will your life look like if you have to learn it all &ndash; the hard way - as you go? You probably won&rsquo;t have much of a life at all, you will work back-breaking hours, and with every day of maintaining this level of activity, it will be even harder to <em>delegate</em> these tasks later on (we will get to that shortly) since they probably weren&rsquo;t done optimally to begin with.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you run your business in an off-the-cuff manner without at least seeking management training and a grounding in the basics, you will run the business right <em>out</em> of business. <strong>Training doesn&rsquo;t have to be expensive</strong> &ndash; many local government offices offer free courses to help encourage new entrepreneurs. It will be well worth the time (and money) spent; it could be the difference between solvency and bankruptcy.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Learn to Delegate</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Eventually &ndash; and possibly right from the start &ndash; you will have to delegate if you want your business to grow (or even just to succeed). Wearing every hat and being everything to everybody will quickly tire, and if you survive it without burning out, you may likely lose sight of why you got into business for yourself in the first place.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Learning to delegate involves two crucial steps:</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Trust Your Employees and Contractors</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">You simply have to trust that you are paying the right person to do the right thing. They may not always do it your way, but if they get the job done, let it be. If they need some extra guidance to get it right, then provide it patiently and wait for the results. And if they still can&rsquo;t do what you need them to do, find a new employee or contractor. Yes &ndash; your business may stumble in the process, but it is all part of the fabric of entrepreneurship; pick yourself up and keep on going. The big businesses of the world didn&rsquo;t become so from one person doing everything themselves.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Your clients will indeed understand if you pass the management of their accounts on to an employee. Assure them that you are still at the helm and are there to help them, but that in order for you to provide exemplary service, you can&rsquo;t always be the one to answer the phone, or send their statements, or even provide the actual service (depending on the level of delegation you embrace).</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>Phase Yourself Out of the Business</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">It may seem strange to be discussing how you will phase yourself out of the business before you are even out of the starting gate, but this is a foundational principal of good business. Your aim should be to structure it to run smoothly &ndash; <em>with or without you</em>. Even if you don&rsquo;t have ambitions of being the next huge conglomerate, there will be times when you will want to take time off, or may fall ill, and your business should not suffer as a result. The ultimate indicator of success in business is if you can step away from it and continue to enjoy a passive income from a distance.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Cash is King. So Avoid the Cash Crunch: Buy &amp; Manage Sensibly</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">The amount of expenditures when starting a business is overwhelming. Knowing this, there are ways to engineer your business so that you don&rsquo;t experience the cash crunch. The last thing you need is to default on loans and have a business that is just getting off the ground ripped out from under you.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">A big temptation when getting started in business is to insist that you need a whole pile of items that you don&rsquo;t actually need. You absolutely &ldquo;must have&rdquo; the top of the line this, or super-expensive that, or you may drastically over-estimate what you will sell and how much of it will move off your shelves. Some ideas:</p> <ul> <li>That bulk sale for a stock item that you don&rsquo;t yet need replenished may be a great deal, but if you already have stock that isn&rsquo;t flying off the shelves, resist the urge to stockpile. It&rsquo;s a surefire recipe for a quick cash crunch.</li> <li>Lease equipment instead of buying it, especially if you only need it for short-term use, or if it will be obsolete by the end of the lease term. Although leasing isn&rsquo;t always the most financially effective way of doing things, having cash in a fledgling business means increased solvency.</li> <li>If you have stock that just isn&rsquo;t moving, be ruthless: get rid of it by discounting it more deeply than you may wish to. As long as it sits on your shelf, your bills won&rsquo;t get paid.</li> <li>Avoid state of the art equipment. <em>Choose the frugal route</em> and buy second hand at auctions or through online or newspaper ads. You can save a bundle of money and still have all the functionality you need.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Don&rsquo;t Forget About Tax!</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Income Tax, along with various mandatory employer-paid benefits, can turn year-end accounting into a shocking experience if you haven&rsquo;t made proper allowances. Cash in hand <em>does not</em> translate directly into profits for pockets.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Next time, we will look at the two remaining small business pitfalls &ndash; and they&rsquo;re doozies! For now, put the above into practice and you&rsquo;ll already be ahead of the small business game.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-one">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-3"> <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/llcs-and-s-corps-and-c-corps-oh-my">LLC&#039;s, and S Corps, and C Corps! Oh My!</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">The 5 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/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/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship building business contracting delegation entrepreunership self employment small business small business tax starting a new business starting a new company Sat, 27 Sep 2008 00:08:24 +0000 Nora Dunn 2460 at http://www.wisebread.com