This is a special episode because this is my first return guest and for good reason. John Eckle is a CPA and has come to give us some tips about out taxes. This episode is packed with tips for write-offs and forms you may need. I have never had a contracted employee but John gives us some tips on what we need to consider.
Obviously we are just touching the tip of the ice burg when it comes to taxes in this interview but it's my goal to give you some information so you can at least start getting the dialog going with who ever is doing your taxes.
Below is a list of links we mention and below that is an outline John sent me to help you be the most prepared and questions to consider.
Make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen and if you know anyone who could benefit from what John shared please pass this along. :-)
The Willie Wags is more than just a subscription box company. Owner Jamie Clark saw how women in business were competing and not celebrating each other victories enough. To help bridge that gap The Willie Wags began. Each box contains serval items and most boxes even have a book to help inspire. That is a great thing, but Jamie and her small team (of one at the moment) are also telling the stories of these business owners.
Be sure to listen in and take hold of Jamie's vision to celebrate women in business and how she overcame challenges and what priorities she had to make in order to launch The Willie Wags. You won't be disappointed, in fact I'm willing to bet you will be inspired.
At the bottom of this page will be links for all the social media outlet to keep up with Love Lee Rolls and I hope you do follow them!
As you will hear a lot of the challenges of running a business out of your kitchen is because of laws that ensure the health of your customers. These are the cottage food laws and if you are planning on selling anything out of your kitchen I would encourage you to research these laws for your state. For the sake of this episode I did link the Mississippi Cottage Food Laws below. Again, be sure to check for you personal state.My two favorite parts of this episode were when Christa talked about setting boundaries to protect her most important asset and that was her family. As a new business they had just experienced an extremely busy week and the fruit of that wasn't great for them personally as they were exhausted. They realized that they over extended themselves and their date night didn't offer much in the way of connection. And you may say well that's just one week. But that one week can easily turn into one month which can turn into a habit of over extending themselves. Recognizing challenges early and keeping to their priorities will help so many areas, not just their business. My second favorite part was talking about integrity. When you're in business for yourself by yourself no one is looking over your shoulder. If you happen to do some bending of the rules there's no one to know otherwise. Under the Mississippi Cottage Food Laws the Lee's are not able to ship items they sell. And with friends that aren't local that want to support their business their hands are tied. The Lee's could probably sell and send items around the country. But, they have committed to running their business with integrity and that may cause their business to grow more slowly than someone without integrity but they are growing something they can be proud of.
In this episode we talk about being very specific with your target market, so much that we actually have a target PERSON, sometimes called an avatar. That's because this person, who we've totally made up, represents our market. If we can clearly define our goals and customers we can spend our time more wisely! It all starts with sitting down and writing honest goals, and then writing down as specific as possible who we are targeting. Give this ideal customer a name, an occupation, and a challenge you can solve. Then we can give our business and identity. Something our customers can know and count on. As well as giving us direction with our business so we can spend our recourse, namely time, wisely.
One of the most important things we can do is to be diversified. That gives us the ability to ebb and flow through market shift and changing tides of technology. Income is also something we need to look at adding addition ways we make money. Amazon offers a few ways to do just that.
Amazon can act as a fulfillment center for you products. There are several ways to get products outside of developing them yourself. I list a few below. Here is more information about utilizing Amazon's fulfillment service.
A great recourse for white labeling is a podcast called The Amazing Seller. He really outlines the process much better than I ever could and has had major success.
A few episodes ago I mentioned my shoutout as The Selling Family. That's actually what spurred on this episode. They focus on retail arbitrage so if this is something that sound interesting to you check them out.
To sell your wholesale products on Amazon the process is done really similarly to the previous two methods as far as sending in your products. Unless of course you having pallets and truck load delivered to Amazon fulfillment centers. The main difference is getting items from a wholesale resource, which can be kind of challenging. But if you know a specific product often times finding a wholesaler in your area is as easy as contacting the product company directly and asking.
Affiliate marketing is like word of mouth (or site) adverting. A customer buys a product after you recommend them, because they trust you. Companies understand that and want you to recommend them. This is called affiliate marketing. Get more information on becoming an Amazon Affiliate. Many other companies use affiliate marketing, but if you're just getting started Amazon make it pretty easy and give you access to all their products to recommend. Of course it's about building and establishing trust and proving yourself a resource in a niche. So, recommending a play set on your dog walking site may not be beneficial. Amazon has a very low payout but the potential is high. And if you're going to recommend a product some is better than none. Now, the cool part is the 24 hour cookie that Amazon drops when someone clicks your link. After clicking your link ANYTHING the person buys on Amazon you will get 4%-10% on. Think about it. You put out a list of hot items in your niche for Christmas, someone click on that link and decides to do their Christmas shopping with in that 24 hour window, you're in for some good money! And the don't actually even have to buy the item you recommended.
There are ideas that come along and you don't know how to see it come to fruition. A physical product or subscription box company may be one of your ideas. But how do you actually.. do it? In episode 10 I talk with Brandon Gordon of Heritage Solutions on just this topic. He is a sales rep that works with businesses to get their packaging and sometimes even fulfillment done. There aren't many companies who do both!
With the help of Brandon I got to wrap my head around walking down this path and at what point do you bring in someone like Brandon. Heritage Solutions works with several companies everyday and they see the market but also want to get involved with startups. Because when they help your business grow, they grow. It's not just about getting a company when their big. It's walking through the process with you.
There is no way to do it all. Finances are one of those things better left to the experts!
When I asked some of my peers about a CPA to interview I was give one name by several people: John Eckle.
John is a CPA. And gives us so many insights as an accountant and all around helpful guy. I could see why he was so highly recommended. Because he is a real person and treats others as such. That doesn't sound overly profound, but sometimes we lose touch with the fact that people all start at the same place: the beginning.
Finances are scary and you have to trust someone who examines them and when they can go beyond that and advise you on something so personal as your finances and you business. You have to know that the person has your best interest in mind. Again, I could see why people feel safe trusting those things with John.
We cover a lot and the shoutouts are great! So check it out, give a review and please share the valuable information that John shares. Because information in powerful.
Some of the topics we discuss:
Did you know that you can work with and even challenge the IRS on their presumptions?
When is you hobby considered a business?
What is cost benefit?
The devils is in the details
People don't plan to fail but fail to plan
What are key performance indicators?
What is your dynamic plan?
Do you have measurable goals that help you treat your business like a business?
Social media is a beast every business has to deal with. We all understand the power but now always how to use it. I was really interested in what Adams Tegeler, host of Lightbulb Moment, had to say specifically about Google+. I thought Google+ was dead. Just taking up room on the internet. Not the case! Adams share with us some incredibly good reasons why you should write off Google+ and how you can use it in a better way.
There are some great tips throughout the episode but on thing I thought was incredibly valuable was the number of hours Adams and his company suggest you spend on social media. Just how many hours is it? And what do you do if you can't dedicate that time? Adams has some suggestions on how to get the most out of those hours as well as what to do if you can't get those hours in yourself.
Sometimes you're a scientist, sometimes your a chef, then sometimes you're a scientist who becomes The Grilled Cheez Guy. That's just what Michael Davidson did. The ultimate east cost competitor did. He and his trusty brick headed to a competition and on the second attempt won and thus The Grilled Cheez Guy was born! That was in 2009 and 7 years later we get to chat with Michael about his business and how he runs his catering/ popup business. It can be challenging, time consuming, and lonely at times. So what does he do to make things work on a daily basis? What are his main struggles? Listen in and don't forget to check out the shoutouts at the end to get some GREAT tips! You won't want to miss them or out next guest! How to find The Grilled Cheez Guy - Michael Davidson Website - www.grilledcheezguy.com Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/GrilledCheeseGuy/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/GrilledCheezGuy Links Mentioned Laughing Squid Awards and other mentions Rocket Lawyer Up Work
Piper has a sweet soul. You can hear it in her voice. She's also very intentional and driven. That combination to me is without a doubt someone I want to know. She is also someone I would want to work with. Owning a business and especially and extra small business we need to know how to let go of some aspects and bring in a professional. I personally believe the investment of hiring a good graphic designer is well worth their weight in gold. We spend a lot of time talking about Piper working as in a firm as well as freelancing. For most freelancers it can be kind of scary to make the jump to full time. Piper has just recently made that jump but has been freelancing for years. I also enjoyed how she talks about college and the role it played as a graphic designer because I thought those skills could really be learned outside of a formal education and she offers up a few good reasons as to why art school is a good choice. What's in a domain? Piper has a unique one and it really work in her field. Don't forget to Don't forget to leave a review where ever you're listening and I'll see you back on episode 4! Themes discussed: Art schools Working in an agency Stay creative and freelancing with a full-time job Getting client to take a risk Using a .name as a domain Work flow - Pencil then pen then scan - she really puts a TON of effort in How to stand behind her work What is the trifecta in graphic design and how to be a good client Finding others to spur on creativity Being passionate about what you do Links Mentioned: Piper's Website Piper's Instagram Cal Art Rhode Island School of Design Please Write - Piper's Etsy Shop joker.com Photoshop Illustrator Working not working Classes and techniques - Skillshare.com Jessica Hische Erik Marinovich Cool packaging and design inspiration - thedieline.com Debbie Millman "Design Matters" Podcast The Growth Show - The Power of No The Growth Show Homepage Thanks again, see you on episode 4 with Jay B.!
Zach is the kind of guy everyone wants to know. He’s a great friend you can count on, has a great music library, and can talk sports better than most and he has some of the best business sense of anyone I know. That being said I bounce just about every business idea off of him and he’s always encouraging and had great insights. He was one of the first people I mentioned this podcast as well.
All the great qualities he has really played into networking. Mainly the indirect networking that I can appreciate. We didn’t talk too much in the interview itself but I spend some time in the intro talking about networking for a few minutes. After going back over the interview I realized how much Zach’s interpersonal skills have helped in his career.
The best part of Zach’s networking is that it comes in the way of supporting others. I tend to think of networking as kind of a sleazy gig. Just handing out a business card to anyone who will listen and bombard people with your business. That’s not how it should be. It should come in the way of supporting others and also letting people know your skills, interest, and your business while building relationships.
As far as working in fire reconstruction Zach brings a lot to the table working in this field in three different states. One of my favorites things about this field is that it’s unique. You have to think outside the box to get into this field. And you may not personally be interested in working in construction but is there a field or a niche that you are in or can target for your customers? What can you do differently? Let’s not be so stuck in the norm that we miss opportunities for growth.
Business models – S-Corp
Working with insurance companies
I have always loved businesses, more specifically extra small ones. Before we get too far, let me define extra small business. It is a business that is owned and operated by 1, 2 or maybe a small team of people that is less than 5. Some things I have always loved about businesses of this size is their ingenuity. These business owners aren't afraid to think outside the box because they often have to. While I have found a lot of companies and that fall into this category. I don't tend to find a lot of helpful information unless it's niche specific. In my interpretation of generalized business materials, I find that a good percent is dedicated to start-ups. And the vast majority are for businesses who want to grow into large companies. Granted, it's not that the information doesn't exist because it does, it's just much harder to find. Each person starts their business with a desire to do a task. Maybe that writes a book or to be a barber. The challenge comes when they have to run the business. Paying taxes, coming up with a logo, websites, social media, moving from hobbies to professional and earning the respect as a business owner from their peers. It's not just a glorified hobby, it IS a business. Outside of their specific niche each company has similar challenges, but they address differently. And those are the stories I love. How does a person take their passion and turn it into a company and get out of their comfort zone to do things they are not familiar with? Each week we will learn about an extra small business by meeting the owner(s) and find out what has worked for them and what hasn't worked so well. By talking to these entrepreneurs we can be inspired and learn a few tips and tricks along the way. A contractor can learn a lot from a stylist and visa versa because each business brings something unique to bring to the table but they also have similar goals. To create and grow a successful business. When I mention grow, that doesn't mean grow as in becoming a large or huge company with thousands of employees. I merely mean grow and change to meet the needs of the business. To be healthy and thriving by adapting to new obstacles. The word success can mean a lot of different things to different people. Ultimately, you have to decide what that looks like. And I'm excited to meet people who define that differently. This podcast is for anyone. If you have been an extra small business owner all your life or are just thinking of taking a hobby to the next level or perhaps you have found a service people need and are willing to create something to meet that need. All are welcome. Thank you for listening and if you know someone who is interested in extra small businesses please, spread the word. Also, don't forget to subscribe and if rate this podcast, especially if you're listening on Stitcher or iTunes. Links: 70% of small business are run by 1 person Thanks for the support!