EDD Claim – Hall of Shame

A copy editor quit of her own volition and tried to claim unemployment. Supposedly we “were training a summer intern to replace her”. Retarded idea… You can’t replace a full time employee with a summer intern. We even told her she could move up if she got her work on track. Ugh.

Plan For a Better Life: Business Cheat Sheets

Better Life - Business Cheat Sheet

Download the Better Life Plan Cheat Sheet PDF here.

  • General health

    • Life is a wonderful, amazing and rare gift. Maximize your enjoyment of it by taking care of your body. You take care of your body now, it will take care of you as you get old.

    • Never smoke, avoid drinking more than 3 glasses of wine in a week (and no more than 2 in a sitting), never take prescription or illegal drugs.

  • Nutrition

    • Eat at least 2,000 calories a day (2-4 separate meals, the biggest one being breakfast)

    • Majority of diet should be vegetables, some fruit, seeds, nuts, fish

    • A blender drink a day is one of the healthiest and most consistent ways to eat a big healthy breakfast

  • Exercise

    • Vigorously exercise at least 4 times a week

    • Do strength training of some sort

    • Do cardio/ endurance training of some sort

    • Do flexibility training of some sort

    • Pick an activity that is fun for you that meets the above needs (yoga, group running, volleyball, etc)

  • Finances

    • Save at least 25% of your income every pay period. Just take your paycheck and put money straight from it into a savings account. Pretend you make only 70% of what your actual paycheck is and budget your life accordingly.

    • If you have less than 25% of your annual income saved, save 50% of your income every pay period until you get this rainy day fund built up

    • Once you have 25% of your annual income saved, move this fund into a Scottrade investment account.

  • Career

    • Understand the business owner’s need for good team members and fill these needs to get the maximum promotions and raises you can:

      • Reliable: show up before official start every day and work later when necessary

      • Productive: work with focus and energy and passion. Find ways to improve your job and get more done than we were able to get done before.

      • Attitude: have a smile on your face and be willing to try anything to help the company improve. Make other people around you happy to have you on the team.

  • Fun

    • Find regular hobbies that you really enjoy that you can do at least 2x a week at home

    • Find hobbies you can do at least once a week that you enjoy that involve other people… book clubs, movie clubs, yoga, enterpreneur groups, etc

    • Plan your weekends and many evenings with the same fervor you plan your work. Come up with good ideas and execute on them.

    • Plan your bigger trips with your finances in mind – think about ways to have an awesome trip without blowing out your budget or all your vacation. It is an excellent idea to have vacations during slow times in the business when you can get multiple holidays so you dont lose as many vacation days (thanksgiving and christmas and new years  and 4th of july are excellent choices

How To Get Free Labor – Business Cheat Sheets

In my time as CEO of Coalition, I have worked with dozens of business owners and have seen what makes a business owner successful and what makes others fail. The single biggest distinguishing factor I have observed is NOT intelligence or connections. Instead, the single biggest factor that determines the success or failure of a new business is the amount of work the business owner himself puts into the company.

The cheap labor I refer to in the title of this article is not overseas, nor is it interns. It is your own time. You might make a big salary working at a company right now, but if you want a successful business you must do everything yourself at first.

When you start your business, you need to go into it with the realization that in order to build a successful company and gain the ground that your competitors already have on you, you need to work twelve hours a day, six days a week for at least the first five years. I myself am not to the five year point and I put in these hours. It is completely necessary to do all tasks in the business yourself until you can afford to hire someone to help you. At that point, you continue to work 12 hours a day, you just delegate some of the tasks that you can’t get to yourself to the person you have hired to help.

Let’s say that you raised $1 million to start your business – you don’t still have to put in six days a week, 12 hours a day do you? Absolutely, yes. Here’s why:

You will never do a good job hiring or assessing someone’s performance if you cannot do their job yourself. The most affordable training in how to do a job is to do it yourself and read everything you can get your hands on. Avoid school – I went to a prestigious undergraduate business school and learned less in 4 years of formal education than I did in my first 3 months of starting Coalition.

For most businesses, you will need to learn the following basic skills by doing the work yourself and researching as much as you can:

  • Bookkeeping / Accounting / Finance
  • Legal
  • Recruiting / Hiring / Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Operations

You will want to set up each of these systems yourself and learn the basics in the process of doing so. Sure, you will never be a CPA, but having an understanding of accounting terms and practices will be very powerful for you later in the life of your business when other people are doing this for you.

You should do as much as you can each day and only have other people do work that you cannot get to. As your business grows, this means you will understand how EVERYTHING is done inside of it and you will do a much better job of managing and optimizing the entire thing.

 

Business Tax Credits and Tax Preparation: Business Cheat Sheets

Download the PDF of the tax credits and preparation cheat sheet here.  Business Tax Advice and Tips

 

Taxes are an inevitable part of life for the successful business owner. Once your company is built and operational and bringing profits, Uncle Sam is going to come knocking at your door to take his share. You want to make sure you pay all of the taxes you are legally obligated to or you will find yourself in prison or paying huge fees at a high interest. Politicians make very sure that they get your money. You do want to minimize your tax burden as much as you legally can though otherwise. There are a number  of tax credits and strategies you can use to help reduce the amount of money you pay in taxes each year so that you can reinvest in your company and increase your growth. Below I will run through the best tax software to use, the best tax credits and breaks for business owners and tax preparation strategies to be aware of. These strategies will of course change depending on what state you are in, talk to a local tax specialist for more advice.

Best Tax Software For Small Businesses

I strongly suggest using TurboTax from Intuit for small business owners. This software is well crafted and comprehensive in checking most of the things you need to do. For a small business owner on a limited budget this software is a godsend. I have used it myself in my business for the last 3 years and expect to use it going into the future as well.

Small Business Tax Strategies and Tax Credits

Owning a small business and making ends meet is hard enough, but once you are successful there you have to figure out the byzantine American tax code. The United States tax code has been put together in a patchwork way that makes doing your taxes very challenging. Here are some of the core areas to focus on as you put together your taxes:

  • Know basics of taxation. The government taxes you generally based on your profits. Revenues – expenses = profits. The IRS uses a schedule of tax rates so that the higher your profits are the higher percentage of your profits you pay as tax. Your goal as a business owner is to use tax rules and tax credits and other tax tools to make your revenue appear as low as legally possible to the IRS and your expenses as high as legally possible so that the IRS sees a smaller profit thus making you pay less total money in taxes.
  • Understand what is and is not a deductible business expense. The IRS defines any expense that is “ordinary, necessary, and reasonable” as a deductible business expense. Buying a computer for your business is deductible, but buying a computer for your home is not. Each expense or property that you purchase must be used specifically in your trade or business and help you generate income. Certain items are specifically prohibited from being deductible such as traffic fines, illegal payments, clothing at work, etc.
  • Avoid trouble with the IRS by keeping good records. Never forget the “3 R’s” of an audit: recordkeeping, recordkeeping, and more recordkeeping. IRS studies have shown that poor recordkeeping, not fraud, is what causes most small businesses to end up getting penalized and audited. Keep receipts and invoices for everything you can and try to organize them either by month or by category (or both) so that if an audit happens you can easily find your records to prove your purchases. You especially want to keep records for travel, entertainment, and car expenses as these are items the IRS loves to look at.
  • What type of business structure should you use? Small businesses generally get better tax treatment by filing as an S-corporation because you don’t need to pay as much medicare and social security taxes on yourself. However, as you grow and reach $400,000 in income as a single filer or $450,000 as a joint filer you will want to consider switching to a C corporation structure as a C corporation has a lower maximum tax bracket than the S-corporation (35% vs 39.6%).
  • What items can be deducted in full this year versus what items need to be spread over several years? Current expenses, such as paper, rent, electricity and other consumables you use immediately can be deducted this year. If you purchase an item that will have value to the business for several years, you need to depreciate that asset over future years. Assets that require depreciation are items like a desk, copier, car, or real estate you purchase. IRS has a set of rules that explain what the specific depreciation schedule is for different types of items.