Monday, May 24, 2010

Out of a job? Time on your Hands? What to do???

I believe now is a great time to get into business for yourself.  Of course cash is important under any circumstance but while you're not involved with a 'regular' job how about thinking about what you could do in the meantime that may bring in some income AND may be a place you would rather spend your time than somewhere that isn't as exciting.

Oh sure, I get the money is good and the benefits are great...but that isn't always the case anymore as companies have had to focus on trimming their costs in order to survive an economy that isn't as generous.  So it's important to correct your thinking and start looking at alternative ways to build your life and self-employment or a business may be one of them.

I was reading an article in Inc. Magazine about the best industries in 2010 to get involved in - I thought you might enjoy it as it makes you think about what's going on around you.  Remember encouraging your mind to think outside the box is good and can be fun!  Here's the link:  The Best Industries for Starting a Business in 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Those taxes are a comin'

I just finished reading the NYT article What Higher Taxes will Really Mean?  and it carefully explained how the very wealthy will be paying more taxes.  As the article mentions, being told what the % increase is really doesn't equate to many as meaning anything, so we get a more detailed description in dollars and cents.

What I want to know is how will impact the regular working woman or man who is making $50K or $60K a year, combined income?  I would imaging the difference may be insignificant but I'm diving in to find out the answers as I haven't had the worries of being taxed for income over $250K, $1million or $3million lately.  What a problem to have I guess. More to come on taxes.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting Motivated while under the gun!

If you are reading this you too are trying to find ways to keep going...keep moving forward.  I know because that's what I'm trying to do by getting connected to others who are walking in the same shoes (though probably different size.)

When I think about how many people out there are unemployed I say to!  Now there's opportunities for all those folks out there just waiting to be seized and delivered.  What you say?  Yep, if you have worked for a number of years or possibly many years like I have, certainly you have developed skills and talents that people will buy.  Now is a great time to test the waters.  Why not?  If you're still looking for a job you have time to be creative.  Why not sit down and discover what area(s) you are truly talented in and is there a market for this talent?  Surely opening your mind to the possibilities of turning those skills / talents into self-employment cannot be bad.  As I have mentioned in a prior posting, many small businesses evolve from individuals like you and me who are 'technicians' in a particular field.  Bookkeeping, accounting, computer programming, technical engineers, plumbers, etc etc.

Why not sit down (with all this time if you are unemployed) and think about these questions:  what skills do I have that others need?  and  Is there a market for them?

In an economy where companies are downsizing, businesses cannot afford to have full time staff in all the necessary areas, it's possible you could secure some work as a contract worker or as a self-employed individual.

Let me know your thoughts.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Information that helps you know your business.

Often when I talk with self-employed or small business owners they discuss their business in terms of their 'feel' for it.  That makes sense to me since they are involved daily in the actions involved in performing their services or selling their products.  However, when it comes to the real numbers, their knowledge begins to fail as they usually have limited resources for this information and thus return to their instincts on how they are doing.  When the information is finally organized and put together in a typical reporting style like profit & loss statement or income statement, this is when I see their attention becoming focused.

Knowing not only how much money you are bringing in but where it is going is very important to evaluating the progress and success of your business.  Even if you are self-employed providing a service, it is not enough to know you are getting checks in the mail.  It is critical to your decision making to have good information available so when you are thinking about spending money on advertising or purchasing equipment, you know if you can afford it or if financing will work for you.

Tracking Critical Numbers in your business    (Click on this link for more information)

If you are able to spend some time putting your numbers together you will see how easy it is to really get to know how you're doing and what decisions make sense for you now and in the long term.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

LaVergne Poe and Money Matters: Simple ideas that can create big changes: Convincing thru Data

LaVergne Poe and Money Matters: Simple ideas that can create big changes: Convincing thru Data

Convincing thru Data

Guy Kawasaki has a blog that I follow.  If you don't know who he is just Google him and you'll find out quickly.  He's an interesting individual who has a unique point of view.

Anyway, his latest quest is compiling ideas and thoughts for his new book by using his blog followers.  His latest request is to give examples of how data was used to 'pursuade' someone.  My thought was how sometimes even hard core, black and white data doesn't do the trick.

What I mean is in my experience working with people who are 'financially challenged' they often say they know who they owe, who owes them what bills need to be paid, yet, on the other side of that comment they will remark, "I work so hard...where is all the money going?" To that I respond by putting together their numbers showing the pathway of the money flowing in and the money flowing out.  It's pretty clear and the numbers don't lie yet...often times it remains a mystery to them.  As if they are thinking (and sometimes saying) I see what you are showing me but I just don't believe it.  Did I really make those purchases? did.  But seeing the numbers in front of you in a simple concise summary helps the enlightenment process.  People who are working for themselves and who have been doing it for a long time usually have an intuitive sense about where they are financially.  However, what they usually don't know is how much they've been spending on specific items and/or areas.  This is where having the 'data' helps me show them what is really going on and what incremental changes can be made to make a difference in their own bottom line.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good References for People in Business

I've always been an advocate for reading as much as you can on business.  Not all of us are gifted in our ability to absorb knowledge or create new and exciting adventures that end up making millions of dollars.  To the contrary, most of us wind up doing things we know how to do and make a business out of it.  Paul Hawken wrote a wonderful book "Growing a Business" which was about the creation of Smith & Hawkens -- it followed his travels from beginning to end and it serves as a very inexpensive education on what it takes to make something successful. 

Another very valuable book is "The "E" Myth" by Michael Gerber.  This book really points out how people who are very skilled turn their skills into a business - self-employment opportunity but find themselves trapped by their inability to grow beyond their skills.  When I read it I had many moments of realizing I did the same.

I will follow up with other books that help you understand the challenges that all people going into business for themselves encounter.  They are fun to read and they will inspire you to never give up on your dream!

Monday, May 3, 2010

How do you think about money?

Sometimes I like to discuss the role money has played in a client's life.  When they were growing up how did they view it, experience it?  How did their parents manage it?  Was there secrecy around it?  A sense of never having enough?  Did your parents ever have problems related to money?

The reason these types of discussions are valuable is because the answers are filled with reasons as to why you may be challenged with managing money or paying bills or never feeling like you have enough or feeling like you're entitled to spend as much as you want.

Relating back to your business or self-employment, if you are not sure of yourself and feel like managing money is overwhelming, it will be a challenge to take charge of both your business finances and personal finances.  Some spending habits may begin to creep in as you make money in your business but don't really know where all the money is going.

Business and money go together and learning how to do simple things that help you account for your income and manage your spending will lead you to feeling better about the process and increase your confidence in the fact that you can manage your money.