What Business Expenses Can I Write Off?

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Tax time is here.

Does that statement fill you with stress?

For most people it does. I just want to say upfront that I am not a tax professional and this is not tax advice in any shape or form. What I am is a fellow small business owner and like you are wondering what business expenses can I write off? According to Bench.co and Cogent Analytics, here is a short list of what is currently deductible with the new tax laws that went into effect this year:

  1. Office Snacks & meals

  2. Company Wide Party

  3. Banking Fees

  4. Donations to Charity

  5. Advertising Deductions

  6. Convention and Trade Show Attendance

  7. Business and Business Vehicle Insurance Premiums

  8. Home Office Expenses

  9. Professional Costs like bookkeeping and legal fees

  10. Interest on Business Credit Cards and Business Loans

  11. Education Expenses

  12. Wages and Salaries

  13. Taxes Previously Paid

  14. Non-Cash Rewards and Gifts

This is just a short list of what you can write off according to these sites. Do you have a tax professional to help you get this squared away? if not check out The Endorsed Local Provider program that is on Dave Ramsey’s site. It is a location specific directory where you can research professionals who have this expertise to help you get through this tax season stress-free. And if you need help to get your books in order to give to your tax professional I am always here to help.

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Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year Everyone!

We have officially made it to 2019. It sounds so strange to me but we are here. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family.

Did you spend time in quiet reflection at any point?

I hope so.

I did a lot of thinking and goal setting for this year.

Do you have a theme for this year? My theme for this year is the year of completion; Plan It & Do It!

The new year brings with it a clean slate and a chance to start fresh. Name your goals and make a plan to get them crossed off your to-do list. Here is a previous blog that I wrote to help you get started.

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Countdown To The New Year! Let's Get Ready For 2019

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I am so excited for 2019 and all the great things that are ahead.

I don’t know about you but 2018 was filled with many twists and turns. It was a good year but there are always areas for improvement. Especially when it comes to being a business owner. I was listening to a podcast by Christy Wright from The Business Boutique and she talked about creating a list of what went well, what went wrong, what was missing and what left you confused about your business. I thought this was a great idea and I plan on taking some quiet time to complete this exercise. If you want to learn more about it and other tools that will help you get ready for the new year check out her podcast episode #63 here.

I hope 2018 was a good year for you. As you relax during the holiday season take a moment to celebrate your wins for this year and get ready to kick butt in 2019.

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Help Wanted

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I hope you are enjoying the holiday season with your family. This time is very magical and filled with fun. I hate to bring up taxes right in the middle of this fun time of year but hey we are business owners and it’s that time. :)

So do you have a CPA?

If the answer is no then check out Dave Ramsey’s ELP program. ELP stands for endorsed local provider and this is where you can start researching and hopefully find a CPA for your business.

I know you don’t want to think about this but it’s good to get this taken care of so you won’t be in a panic once the new year starts.

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IT's Tax Time

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We are getting down to the wire and the end of the year is upon us. Soon we will be in the year 2019 (which sounds very futuristic:) and the tax season will be in full swing.

Are you ready?

According to a stat on Entrepreneur.com, “50% of small businesses in the U.S. spend more than 40 hours a year managing their federal taxes.” That doesn’t sound like fun at all.

Check out this short list to help you not become a part of this statistic:

  1. Have a bookkeeping professional help you get your books in order.

  2. Gather your receipts and supporting documents

  3. Find a CPA that fits your personality & business

Here are some resources for you to check out to help you with these 3 checklist items:

CPA On Fire - Here is an article/video on how to find the best tax preparer for you.

Fit Small Business.com - Here is an article on how to find a bookkeeper who is right for you.

Startups.com - Here is an article on how to best manage those pesky receipts.

I hope this will be helpful to you as you wind down your year and get ready for the one ahead.

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Ready Set Go!

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The end of the year is here. I don’t know about you but it seems like it got here really quick. I hope this year was one of your best ones yet and that all the goals you set have come to pass. If not then check out my previous post on how to start fresh with new goals in 2019. This is a busy time of the year for many reasons but don’t forget tax time is just around the corner. Next week I will chat with you about how you can get organized and ready for your favorite CPA. If you don’t have one yet then I will give you some places you might want to check out.

Have an awesome day and as always Keep it Sunny!

:)

Got Goals?

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Do you remember the popular milk campaign called “Got Milk”?

The goal was to raise awareness about drinking more milk to improve your health. In the same way I am asking you this question:

“Got Goals”?

My Business Is Stagnate

In order to reach higher areas in each part of our lives including our business we need goals. Sounds pretty simple right?

Yes and no.

We can think of a million things we would like to accomplish BUT never get results. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post on how to set easy goals for your business. Now I want to go one step further. Recently I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, 48days to the work you love by Dan Miller and stumbled across a goal setting e-book that he was promoting on his website. It’s very comprehensive and it took me about 2 hours to complete. In all fairness I was watching t.v. at the same time and did the exercises in between commercials. :) I found it to be very helpful and useful as a system that will help me make more achievable goals. Take a peek and see if it can work for you. Whatever tool you decide to use doesn’t matter. The real deal is picking a solution that will be easy for you to use and then taking action. What do you have to lose? Give it a go.

What system do you use to achieve goals? Share in the comments below so we can learn from each other.

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What Are You Thankful For Today?

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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love all the food, festivities and time spent with friends & family. There is a lot of noise that comes much in the form of black Friday holiday shopping offers, holiday travel stress, meal prep or missing a love one that has passed on. And as business owners we have additional stress that can take place.

It’s Time To Give Thanks

It can be easy to get caught up in the hoopla of the season and not stop to really reflect on what you are thankful for today. I am thankful for my faith and connection to Jesus, my loving family & friends and for my business. Not to mention being in good health and just for having an overall attitude of positivity.

What About You?

What are you truly thankful for today? Forget the madness that this season can bring and take a quiet moment (I know that maybe hard with a house full of people:) but give it a try. I hope you discover the richness that fills your life with joy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

:)

Easy Goal Setting For Your Business

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Do you set goals for your business?

Do you achieve the goals that you set for your business?

If the answer is “yes” to both of these questions then you should be very proud of yourself.

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BUT

If the answer is “no” on both fronts then it’s time to take a look at how you can get better at setting and reaching goals for your business.

Last week I talked about how to manage financial stress in your business by making a plan. This week I will keep it short and sweet. We will look at 3 easy steps you can take to set goals for your business.

  1. Pick a goal and break it down. I know that sounds like a no-brainer but most of us suffer from goal overwhelm. The end result according to Rebeca Brown from Life Hacker.com is that, “This struggle can make us feel extremely overwhelmed, triggering us into habits that are less than productive and that keep us from getting things done. When the day ends, we then feel a crushing sense of guilt and anger for not having accomplished what we set out to do.”

  2. Pick a system to manage your goal. There are one million ways to manage your projects and goals that sometimes we get lost in the sauce. I don’t want to add to the madness so I will refer you to one book called 12 Week Year. The authors state that you can get more done in 12 weeks than others. That sounds like it is worth checking out.

  3. F.O.C.U.S. Follow one course until success. John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur On Fire says this motto all the time and I would have to say it works and you know it works. Think back to a time when you had no choice but to focus and accomplish a goal and it worked. Perhaps it was graduating from college or completing a work deadline.

There you have it.

Short and sweet.

Have an amazing day & of course Keep It Sunny!

Pain Management For Your Business

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Do you feel like this poor teddy bear sometimes?

There are client requests to fulfill and business operations to maintain and of course you need to keep your eye on the bottom-line.

It can get crazy!

The end of the year is upon us. Halloween is over and the official holiday season has begun. And let’s not even talk about black Friday, cyber Monday and all the special deal madness that is coming our way to get us to release money from our bank accounts.

All This Financial Stress Can Take It’s Toll

But don’t fear. I believe that planning is the BEST prevention and the best medicine for this type of pain. Take a deep breath and check out this post I wrote in July about how to manage your financial pain and take back control of your business and your life.

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It's Time To Start Winding Down & Planning Ahead

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It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is almost here.

>Sigh>

I know it went by really fast and hopefully you had a productive year. Right now is a good time to start planning ahead for your business.

In the last blog post I talked about how you could take steps to make sure you stay healthy. This time around we need to take at look at how to make sure your business stays in shape. Check out this awesome end of the year checklist and get busy.

Don’t procrastinate.

We all know that once Halloween has come and gone the holiday madness will begin so start planning how you will wrap up this year strong and start fresh for 2019.

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How To Stay Healthy As An Entrepreneur

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Are you taking care of yourself?

Life can get pretty hectic as an entrepreneur. There are clients to take care of, services to deliver, finances that need to be managed and being there for your team if you have employees. None of this includes your personal life. It’s easy to see how quickly a person can get run-down and eventually not feeling their best.

But what can you do?

These things must be handled in order for your business to operate and be profitable. According to Entrepreneur.com and the American Institute of Stress, “Stress in the workplace is more strongly correlated with health issues than even financial difficulties or family problems.” If you work from home then this issue can get much more complicated and real. Here are 10 quick ways to stay healthy as an entrepreneur:

  1. Take scheduled walk breaks daily

  2. Eat healthy during lunch and snack time

  3. Cut out the distractions during your work day

  4. Get organized with your time

  5. Create boundaries with your clients & team

  6. Don’t work after hours

  7. Have fun time scheduled In your down time

  8. Go to the gym during the day during lunch time

  9. Go to bed on time

  10. Breathe

    These 10 tips aren’t anything you haven’t heard before. They are more of a reminder to take time out for yourself and to take care of yourself. You can’t be good to anyone if your not healthy.

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Using Your Personal Story To Market Your Business

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We all love a good story.

Marketers know this and you can see the results of this every time you turn on the t.v. and a commercial appears. I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel like I am watching a mini-movie and then discover that it’s a commercial to sell me an Apple product or some other “must have” item.

Why Did You Start Your Business?

I am guessing that you probably started your business based on something that happened to you and it compelled you to change it by sharing your talents. I know I started my business for a number of reasons but primarily because I was tired of the old way of working. I didn’t want to be constrained by corporate bureaucracy which was preventing me in my opinion from growing in my career. I wanted to be able to travel and live my life in real-time. I wanted to be able to have choices in where I worked, how I worked and to be able to work on things that I was passionate about. So you can say pure frustration with the status quo is what moved me to start my own business.

:)

When you are faced with life challenges there are a myriad of ways to deal with it. Jennifer Esposito the actress has an interesting story about what led her to start her own online business, The Simply Box. The actress shares on her site, Simply Jennifer that after experiencing multiple divorces and an undiagnosed celiac disease illness she decided to use these challenges to help others to improve their lives. She goes on to say that, “Money; toxic people; toxic places; toxic jobs; toxic behavior; even toxic living situations were a catalyst. It was a surplus of unneeded excess that was not for her greater good.”

That got my attention and I am sure it resonates with others. She married her love for healthy cooking and a desire to learn more about living a healthy lifestyle by attending the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to help people change their lives for the better.

Are You Relatable?

We all have heard this statement; “We buy from people we know like and trust”.

Are you relatable? Are you someone that people can resonate with and take a chance on trying your product or service?

What is your story?

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Are You Using Social Media To Share Your Business?

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I love social media. It’s a great way to build connections with others and stay abreast of what is going on in the lives of your friends and family. But it is also a great tool to use to build business relationships, network with others and find clients.

How Can I use Social Media To Increase My Brand Awareness?

  1. Listen and Share: The best way to use this tool is to share your resources and answer questions that are pain points for others.

  2. Focus: It is good to have a presence on the top 3 social media channels, FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn but to really get the most out of it start with focusing on just one core activity like blogging. The question of how many channels to use really depends on how much time you have to spend on it. Jeff Bullas a social media strategist states that, “It is more a matter of the resources that you have available, both in time and money to engage in Social Media effectively.

  3. Be Consistent: According to Buffer.com, “The first thing that businesses and entrepreneurs can do to find success is make a commitment to social media. They’ve found that it takes eight months to one year to really get the hang of social media. Not only to get a consistent content stream going, but to figure out what your audience resonates with and what they don’t”.

  4. Be on a team: Often the best way to really build lasting connections is to join a specific group on Facebook, LinkedIn or on any social media channel that you use. If you treat the group like your in person group associations and provide support you will get more out of it.

This is a short list on how you can use social media to share your business. The most important thing is to get started and share information, pick one focused channel to put your time and effort into, be consistent and join a group or groups where you can provide the most value.

What are your tips for using social media to share your business?

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FALL IS HERE!

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Summer is winding down and fall is fast approaching. I hope you enjoyed your downtime and had time to have moments of reflection. We all know that if we are not sharing our business with others and actively doing marketing then we are one step away from not being in business.

:(

This month we will look at different ways to market our business and share what we do with others.

What are some low-cost ways that you use to share your business with others?

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How To Create More Peace In Your Business

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Being an entrepreneur is an exhilarating ride.

There are ups & downs.

When things are going great it's like living in the roaring 20's.

BUT when things are not going so great....well...it is like a black cloud follows you around. Is there a way to create some ying & yang within your business?

I believe there is a way. Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at a few different areas within your business and how you can create more peace and balance in those areas. 

How do you create that ideal balance within your business and in your life?

 

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Do You Have Work-Life Balance?

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Does your life look like the picture above?

Or

Does it look like the picture below?

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If you picked the second photo but wished your life could look more like the first photo then you are in good company.   According to an article from Entrepreneur.com, "More than 11 percent of American workers say they work 50 or more hours a week."  And The American Institute of Stress stated that "77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stressed." 

Can you really achieve a work-life balance?

I think you can achieve balance in both areas of your life. It takes effort, focus, and patience with yourself. To get you started on this journey check out this article with 20 great ideas towards getting your life to look more like picture number one. You can't be a successful entrepreneur if your life is falling apart. But you can stop and redirect your energy towards living a more positive and intentional life.

Do you have any tips to share on how you work to achieve balance in each area of your life? I love shutting off all electronics and just meditating. What about you?

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Self Care For Health & Wellness Practitioners

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Are you approaching burnout from being a helping professional?

If so you are not alone.

According to an article by Health Trust, "More than half of all U.S. physicians surveyed in 2014 by the Mayo Clinic reported at least one symptom of burnout—an increase of 9 percent from a study three years earlier."  Although you may be another kind of health and wellness practitioner the fact remains that helping professionals who suffer from career induced burnout is on the rise.

What Can You Do Right Now 

Take action to prevent burnout and increase self-care for yourself.

According to an article by Holistic Primary Care, there are 5 primary burnout insulators:

  1. Reflection and Recognition

  2. Self-Care

  3. Coping Styles

  4. Community

  5. Structure

These may seem like a no-brainer to you but it is a good reminder to zone in on preventative measures that can help you to be your best so that you can take care of your clients and your business. Check out the additional resources below for more tools to use for creating a self-care plan of action today.

The Signs of Burnout

Self-Care Revolution by Ellen Rondina, LMSW

Wellness and Self-Care Tools

Health and Wellness Burnout Prevention

What are your best strategies to help prevent burn-out? I love to turn off all electronics and listen to nature. What about you?

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Is Financial Stress Blocking You From Reaching Your Business Goals?

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Are you stressed out? If you are you are not alone. According to The American Institute of Stress and The American Psychological Association, "77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Additionally, 76% of people cite money as the cause of their stress".

Stress and Your Business

As an entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, you help others deal with the effects of daily stress in their lives. The problem is that you put your needs on the back burner and this can cause havoc in your business and in your life. It can show up when managing operational tasks such as your finances. For example, if you are stressed out then most likely you won't stay on course with taking care of receipt management for expenses, monthly bookkeeping, budgeting and forecasting and adjusting prices with your clients to ensure you are bringing in enough revenue. When you are not bringing in enough revenue then you might be tempted to work with anyone instead of your ideal clients and that can certainly add to your stress. 

 

"How you deal with stress determines how well you and your business do".

So what is the solution?

Stress Management Tips

1. Get enough sleep. If you are not well rested there is no way you can do your best work or make good business decisions. Set a specific time to power down each night and stick to it. If you are having challenges powering down check out apps like Sleep Cycle to help you relax.

2. Create a financial emergency cushion for your business and personal life. Dave Ramsey has great tips on how to do this on his site www.daveramsey.com.

3. Create a financial business team. This team which should consist of a CPA, an attorney, a financial planner and, a good bookkeeper. They can assist you with managing your business finances and ease stress related to planning for your financial goals. 

Financial stress is a daily challenge that most entrepreneurs face. It doesn't have to sink your ship. The key to stress management is prevention. If you put a plan in place to mitigate stress it will have no room to slow you down from reaching your business goals. Do you have tips you can share on how to manage financial stress?

 

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Are You Stuck In A Business Rut?

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I hope you enjoyed the 4th of July holiday with your friends and family. I think it is a good time to sit back and reflect on those who fought to make sure we have the freedoms we enjoy today including the freedom to work for ourselves.

But what if you are just burnt out?

What do you do then?

Take some time to remember why you started on your journey and just give yourself permission to re-direct your course. 

This is your business and you can color outside of the lines with a joyous smile on your face.

 Sit back and just take time to smell the roses and celebrate your wins.

 

Keep It Sunny!