If you have ever stepped out and started something new, you have probably experienced the doubt that most entrepreneurs experience regularly. You may have started a new business, changed how you take care of your body, began playing an instrument, went back to school, or embraced any of the thousands of other opportunities to improve your life. I have great respect for anyone who reaches out for more (any way you may define it.)
Did you stick with it? Is it still a part of your life? How long did it take to become distracted? Was the new hobby a distraction from the last new thing? I am an idea guy with an entrepreneurial spirit. I love change and am great at responding to crisis situations. I will become distracted by the next great idea if I don’t hold myself to a standard.
About 15 years ago, I started using a tool that has helped me maintain focus and direction in my business ventures. Its pretty easy. As I go through my day, I ask myself 3 questions that apply to any arena of my life and keep me moving toward my goals.
- Where am I?
- Where am I going?
- How do we get there from here?
These are simple questions if you are looking at them geographically. How about spiritually? Maybe apply the questions to your family. Do you need to change direction to arrive at your intended location? Is your business on the right path to reach your goals?
Distractions happen. Some distractions can help us walk away from our daily stresses and give us a chance to recharge. Other distractions will pull you off track and hurt the pursuit of your dreams. I use this quick self-assessment tool throughout the day to stay on track.
While distractions can set us back, the real danger is how we deal with the effects of the distraction. If we get caught in guilt and defeat, the damage can be catastrophic. The distraction becomes a failure and a justification for straying from your goals. Many times, this is all that we need to give up on our dreams of self-improvement. The last step in my process is simple. That doesn’t mean it is easy. I lean on a simple statement. I remember sitting with my son watching Meet the Robinsons and hearing “Keep Moving Forward!” I had already been saying this for years.
KEEP MOVING FORWARD!
Although it is such a simple statement, I lean on it as a mantra to overcome distractions and the feeling of failure that will destroy your progress.
If you would like to read more about how I break down my process, please visit my site at https://atomicbookkeeping.wordpress.com/our-business-philosophy/
In today’s social media world, business owners are constantly learning a new technology to share their vision. For some keeping up with the tech is no big deal. Others of us find it to be a distraction.
I normally tell entrepreneurs to outsource any process that is not revenue-generating, distracts from the vision, or wastes mental energy. This networking may take mental energy and potentially distract you, but it is a valuable revenue generator.
So my advice is to do some soul searching and decide how much of your media you can handle without it costing you. Then find someone to help you manage your media presence. Maybe they can help by educating you on a better system to share your thoughts. Or they might be the best sales professional your business could hope for (Other than yourself).
I had an experience this week that most of us can probably relate to. My friend mentioned a recent injury. It was one of those situations where all I could say was TALK TO A DOCTOR. I mean the bone wasn’t sticking out of their leg, but come on man, get that thing looked at. His response “Yeah I should get it looked at.” The guilty look on his face said that he knew the importance of seeing his doctor, but didn’t want to. I started thinking, I see that same look when I talk to entrepreneurs about their bookkeeping processes. Although there are exceptions to the rule, almost every conversation I have with entrepreneurs (who don’t have a bookkeeper) goes something like this:
- We start out talking about their company and they are confident and passionate about their business. Then they ask me what I do.
- I explain that I provide Financial Evaluation, and Business Coaching based by Managing the companies Bookkeeping functions, Focusing on their Financial Health and Looking for Process Improvement opportunities.
- They are very supportive of what I do. They recognize the need for a good bookkeeping process for a company to be healthy.
- Then we talk about their bookkeeping processes. Usually, I see the passionate entrepreneur lose confidence and take on that same guilty look my friend had last week. Their response is some version of: “I have some bookkeeping questions sometimes, but I do my own bookkeeping. I will be interested in a bookkeeper when I grow a little more.”
I look at the relationship between the business owner, bookkeeper, and accountant much like an HMO. The business owner (or more accurately the business itself) is the patient. With today’s technology, the Bookkeeper should be more than the nurse who receives your information and enters it into the computer for your doctor to evaluate. The Bookkeeper should be able to collect current information, report on financial health and provide their opinion on the health of your business as both nurse and doctor. The Accountant is the specialist, the surgeon who takes the information from the doctor, evaluates it, makes their own observations and surgically manages your taxes and legal representation with the IRS. Like the HMO process, having a separation of duties between the Bookkeeper and Accountant saves you money and allows you to have multiple advisers reporting on your business health.
In today’s world we are on a fast track where everything moves rapidly. Right now your business might be on the upswing looking like you are on the verge of being on top of the world. Then in a few months an unwatched financial health issue (such as an imbalance between your income vs. expenses during your recent growth) may explode into a full-blown cardiac event. Although you are the expert on your business and have a firm grasp of your business plan, it is wise to have an adviser who has access to your business’s health history.
With all the freelance and side hustle opportunities out there nowadays, a lot of us provide services as Independent Contractors. I had a conversation with a friend recently about the trend of contracting out business functions of every type. We had some concerns that some new contractors may not know that each state has requirements that must be met to be a contractor rather than an employee.
In Wisconsin (for other states please consult your state licensing agency) there are 9 requirements that must be met to be an Independent Contractor.
- The contractor must “maintain a separate business.” This means that the contractor must maintain his/her own office, equipment, materials and other facilities.
- The contractor must obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), file business tax returns, or file self-employment income tax returns with the IRS based on the work or service in the previous year. It is important that the WI Department of Workforce Development specifically points out that a Social Security Number is not a substitute for an FEIN.
- Operate under a contract to perform specific services or work. The contract must contain the agreed price for the work. The contractor is responsible for controlling the means of performing the work. The Independent Contractor is free to set work hours and determine the order and sequence to perform the duties contracted.
- The operator is responsible for operating expenses for the work defined in the contract.
- An Independent contractor is paid by bid, per job, commission, or competitive bid.
- The contractor must be subject to profit or loss in performing the contracted work.
- A contractor must have recurring business liabilities and obligations.
- The Independent Contractor must be able to succeed or fail if business expenses exceed income.
So next time you apply for a position where they want to pay you as a contractor, look over your state requirements. I know I have been offered 1099 positions in the past that did not meet the standards in my state.
The beginning of a New Year brings all kinds of hope and optimism. We make resolutions to fight back the weight from last year. We are determined to make changes for a positive upcoming year. It’s like an annual life reset.
As business owners, it is also that time of year where Business Planning, Taxes, and (dare I say it) Bookkeeping (that you have ignored since who knows when) take center stage. While business planning can be fun, I don’t know too many entrepreneurs who look forward to bookkeeping or taxes.
When I talk to entrepreneurs about bookkeeping, many of them start out their business expecting to do their books after they do all the other things involved with chasing their vision. After a short while, the necessary evil that is bookkeeping becomes a weight of guilt that haunts them/us. This time of the year your books may feel more like the Ghost of New Year’s Past than the record of your successes from the last year, month, week…
It really need not be this way. Your books should be the starting point when Business Planning, and I encourage you to have someone else keep them in order for you. You may have a great grasp of the vision for your business. You may have every detail locked down. That is fantastic and rare. Outsourcing your bookkeeping has several major benefits for you the business owner.
- The benefit of having another professional give you their perspective from what is reported in your books is a huge relief. It is like having a coach on the bench cheering you on as you take the field. He knows the game plan and can look for adjustments while you play the game.
- Having a bookkeeper assures you will have the up to date financial data you need to make adjustments to your planning when the need arises. You didn’t start the business to do the books. The books should not be your primary focus, but they should have someone focusing on them so you can be nimble and prepared as your business grows.
But Scott doesn’t a bookkeeper just do data entry?
- Not in today’s world, with today’s tools. Today’s bookkeeper should be a professional who goes beyond the data entry and can report on the holistic health of the business documented in the books.
All right here’s the real shameless plug. Atomic Bookkeeping believes that your books are foundational at the base, Atomic-level of your business. We want to discuss the needs of your business and be part of the business planning for your future success.
Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.
Atomic Bookkeeping LLC
I will admit that I read a lot of motivational articles. It is an amazing time to learn from and be inspired by successful people. Most of the articles I read have at least one concept that I find relevant and helpful to my situation. I recently read “3 Energy-Draining Habits That Undermine Your Health and Waste Your Money,” a short article by Julian Hayes II in Entrepreneur Magazine. He points out that reducing the amount of mental energy you expend each day can make significant changes to your life and business. Maybe one of his tips can create a positive change for your life.
Life is busy. Even if you love what you do, running a business adds a lot of stress to your days. We encourage you to:
1) Step back and get a big-picture view of your daily processes.
2) Look at each of your daily processes/tasks/actions/habits and ask Why? Do they help you? Do they move your business forward? Is this revenue-generating? Should you be the one performing the task? Can you pass the task to other staff or contractors? What is the benefit for you to continue as you are vs passing it on to another? Can you get better control of your business and meet your goals more effectively by delegation?
3) Act on your evaluation. It is so easy to say “I’ll get to it once I’m through with _____ “, then 6 months go by.
Atomic Bookkeeping is not just here to balance your books. We love process improvement. As we watch over your books we keep an eye for improvement and offer suggestions. It’s your business. Run it the way you want, but know that you have a team watching your back. We are a coach, watching from the press box, knowing your game-plan, giving you timely observations to assist you to be successful.
Give us a call or email me: