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Author Archives: Ali

About Ali

Hi! My name is Ali. I make stuff and think things. http://www.buttonhead.org

Home Business Taxes – End of Year Preparation

It’s the end of the year! Sleigh bells are ringing, holiday sales are finished, business has slowed down a bit, and it’s time to take that much-needed vacation. Right? Wrong. By the end of December, you only have a few more days to maximize deductions for this year’s taxes. This means that your taxes need to be essentially finished before the 31st.

Ok, ok. So, doing your home business taxes in December may sound like a task for the overachievers, but in reality, all big businesses are doing exactly this. If you are an independent business owner, you too need to dig out those receipts and start reconciling. Why, you ask? Well, once the current year is over, your income, expenses, and deductions are locked in permanently. There can be no, “Darn, I wish I would have spent more/less”. If you wait until April only find out you owe a bunch of money, it’s tough luck. Believe me, there is nothing worse than finding out you owe hundreds or even thousands of dollars you don’t have. With a little bit of foresight, this situation can be avoided entirely.

Now, in most cases, you should be doing a budget analysis on a quarterly basis, but the end of the year is the most critical time to make sure that your finances are in check, so that there will be no nasty penalty surprises when the new year begins. If you review your financial situation, discover that you owe more than expected, but still have money in the bank, why not take advantage of your expense deductions? Buy some new equipment, stock up on supplies, sign up for a subscription service. All of these are perfectly legitimate ways to lower those taxes, while benefiting your business directly. Worst case scenario, if you are out of cash and facing a huge payment, you will at least know what you’re up against.

So, let’s hop to it! Don’t let the end of the year be an excuse to rest on your laurels. I recommend using H&R Block’s e-file right now to make sure you are fully prepared for what’s to come. The software is easy to use and very accurate. I’ve used it with great success for the past three years. There is a $20 fee to complete the Schedule C, but you only pay when you’re finished and are ready to print or file in the following year. TurboTax offers a significantly more pricey solution, but with more bells and whistles. If you are on a super tight budget, you can use FreeTaxUSA to file Federal at absolutely no charge.

Happy crunching!

Note: I am not a certified accountant. I am an independent business owner offering my perspective based on personal experience.

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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Finances

 

Great Customer Service Is Key

Why do people choose to shop with an indie business instead of a large retailer? It’s simple. Personalized service. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or a current one, always keep in mind that exceptional customer care is what sets you apart from the big boys. Take time to engage with your clients, understand their needs, deliver beyond their expectations, and follow up to make sure they’re satisfied. Buyers are much more likely to return to your shop (even when they can get an item for a cheaper rate) if they feel they can trust you. So, make it a priority to establish and maintain that trust. Great customer service is not dead! Indie business is where it’s at.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Customer Service

 

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How To Start a Home Business – 10 Tips

Now that you have a great home business idea, it’s time to start putting a plan into action.  You can dream about being your own boss all day long, but it will never happen until you decide to turn those dreams into reality.  Here are 10 tips to help you learn How to Start a Home Business.

Let’s make it happen!

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Getting Started

 

Home Business Ideas – Do What You Love and Love What You Do

Home business ideas are everywhere all around you!  You don’t need a ‘get rich quick scheme’.  You don’t need anyone else’s business model.  You can make a living for yourself in your own home with your own plan!  All you need is a solid business idea and the will to see it through.  Here are some tips to get you started.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…
It is!  I can tell you from experience, websites that promise ideas to make you ‘easy money from home’ are almost never worth the time.  You want to create a home business because you want to do your own thing.  So, don’t spend any more time searching for ready-made plans.  The best legitimate home business ideas are the ones that you create with personal ingenuity.  Develop a home business to capitalize on your natural talents, and you will continue it as a long term job. 

Assess Your Talents
“Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life”.  It’s true!  Take a weekend to sit down and really think about your best qualities.  Write down your ideas in a notebook.  Look around your home.  What do you like to do?  What have other people said about your skills?  What are your weekend hobbies?  Chances are, you’re already doing something that can easily be turned into a home business.  You are much more likely to succeed if you start your home business idea with genuine interest.  Don’t just chase the money.

Start Small
Home business ideas can be big, but you are only one person.  You probably don’t have the resources right away to make every part of your dream business come true.  Just take it step-by-step.  Use a calendar to make and keep short-term goals.  If you have chosen an idea that truly makes you happy, the full scope of your home business will develop naturally.  You’ll be surprised with how quickly your ideas grow once they have been planted.

Don’t Invest a Ton of Money
You absolutely do NOT need to spend a ton of money to start a home business.  Make investments only when it is necessary and strategic.  For everything else, find a way to make it happen for free.  Get donations, ask for help, barter, and trade – and for the love of God, don’t take out a bank loan or use credit cards!

Involve Your Friends and Family
Being an independent home business owner does not mean you have to do everything by yourself.  Ask friends and family to help with small tasks.  Can they help you promote or provide a website link.  Ask them to help with paperwork.  See if they can set up your home office.  Brainstorm with them for product ideas.  Just talking to your loved ones about your home business will make sure that you stick with it.  Friends and family have a good way of holding us accountable for our goals.

Network
There are so many great places to meet other business owners online and in person.  Use the internet to research groups and meetings.  If there are none that speak to you, create one!  Connecting with like-minded business people can do wonders.  You may meet people who help you just by sharing ideas.  Better yet, you may even meet people who can help take your home business to the next level.

Give It Time and Don’t Give Up
Nothing worth having is easily gained.  With a home business, sometimes success is not measurable right away.  If you want a long-lasting profitable home business, it takes time.  Don’t become discouraged if you don’t see initial results.  Your home business will grow as you learn and develop your skills.  It may sound cliche, but it’s true – Believe in yourself!  Believe in your ideas!  You have every reason to succeed.

How to Start a Home Business

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Getting Started

 

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