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Small Biz Life

YOU STARTED A BUSINESS! YOU ARE AMAZING AT WHAT YOU DO. But there is a lot more to running a successful business: accounting, marketing, IT, sales, management. You wear so many hats. Add family, friends, health, home…no wonder you are tired! WE GET IT! We have been small business owners for the past seven years and have worked with small business owners for the last fourteen years. We know the challenges of finding the right solutions and juggling all the responsibilities. We know how hard it is to put YOURSELF on the to-do-list. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. COME JOIN THE COMMUNITY. TOGETHER WE CAN GROW AND THRIVE.
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 24, 2017

The key to sales is effectively communicating your message. In this episode, Kristin and Jeff discuss tips for improving your communication online and in-person.

For complete show notes check out the podcast on SmallBizLife.com

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Episode 4 - Who is your ideal customer? http://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-4-who-is-your-ideal-customer

Episode 113 - Why you need an avatar https://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-113-why-you-need-an-avatar

Episode 12 - Are you speaking your customer's language? http://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-12-are-you-speaking-your-customer-s-language

Episode 97 - How to deal with unhappy customers https://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-97-how-to-deal-with-unhappy-customers

SEO Yoast WordPress plugin https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/

Flesch Reading Ease Tool http://www.readabilityformulas.com/free-readability-formula-tests.php

 

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Dec 17, 2017

Kristin and I are always looking for ways to grow our online business. So we have started researching creating an online conference or summit.  They offer much of the benefits of a real-life conference with networking and sales. However, the can be put together at a fraction of the cost.

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How to Earn Six Figures from a Virtual Summit https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/250580#

 

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Dec 10, 2017

Join Kristin and I as we go deeper into the future trend of small biz retail. The destination location.

Why are destination locations become so appealing?

  • Are you a destination or location?
    • Destinations rely on people to make a conscious decision to stop at your business
    • Locations rely on high traffic areas to bring in customers
  • Creates a larger potential audience
  • Become a place people must see if near your area
  • Not just for craft stores

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Dec 3, 2017

Especially if you run a small business.  In the United States, it seems the craziness from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day can destroy us.  However, we do not have the Rocket War Day every Easter Day like in Chios island in Greece. It takes surviving the holidays to a whole new level.

Survival is key if you want to thrive a holiday season like we talked about in Episode 67 - Thriving through peak season. However, not everyone is busy during the holidays. If we are slow sometimes survival is more difficult so this year Kristin and I decided to look at both.

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Episode 67 - Thriving through peak season https://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-67-thriving-through-peak-season

Episode 82 – Breaking out of your burnout https://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-82-breaking-out-of-your-burnout

Rocket War Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR7K-s2Z4sA

The Rocket War of Chios (Full Documentary) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDb_7hPNIoM

 

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Nov 26, 2017

Facebook keeps changing how it shares information with its users. Many times they make these very attractive for business owners and then when more people use it throttle it back page grew and then groups. However, Facebook reduced the usefulness without paying for Ads.

Do not get upset, change your focus to Facebook Events. Join Kristin and Jeff as the look at how you use facebook events to grow your business.

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Nov 19, 2017

Why is it when Kristin and I talk to business owners about problems with marketing and sales they always seem adverse to the idea of building an audience in any fashion. Many will spend time developing content for platforms and leave the content hidden among the billions of sites on the internet and billions and billions of post in social media.

Many owners will:

  • Create content
  • Look at engagement
  • Look at page views
  • Look at followers
  • give up if creating the material does not generate an audience

Building an audience takes effort

It is marketing. It takes energy, strategy, and persistence. There is NO easy button. However, why spend the time creating valuable content without spending the time to turn that content into a marketing guru for your company.

You can build a machine that will generate you a predictable number of leads a month, which will lead to anticipated sales. We should all be looking for more predictable sales. So join Kristin and I as we talk some strategy about building an audience.

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How to Build a Loyal Audience Online [Infographic]

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/build-audience-online

What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong

http://time.com/12933/what-you-think-you-know-about-the-web-is-wrong/

Link Building in 2017

https://ninjaoutreach.com/link-building-2017/

 

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Nov 12, 2017

Small business owners can be funny. We spend so much time trying to find better ways to run our businesses, we overload ourselves and get overwhelmed and avoid getting the basic work done that our business needs. We need to a few strategies when starting that we have to get done and in this episode, we are going to explain one, avatar.

Yes, we have talked avatars before

Back in Episode 4 - Who is your ideal customer? and we also talked about your avatar in the sales process in Episode 79 - The 4x4x3 Insight Guide for Sales. If you do not believe us, Russel Brunson covered the subjects in Dot Com Secrets and more in his follow up book Expert Secrets.

The truth is Avatars, Ideal customers, or Perfect customers are not a secret

So Kristin and I decided to do an entire episode talking about why having an avatar is important.

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Episode 4 - Who is your ideal customer? http://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-4-who-is-your-ideal-customer

Episode 79 - The 4x4x3 Insight Guide for Sales https://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-79-the-4x4x3-insight-guide-for-sales

 

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DocCom Secrets http://amzn.to/2yrOWSj

Expert Secrets http://amzn.to/2ADQTNa

Nov 5, 2017

The human brain is funny. It will do many things to protect us. The worse thing it does is lie to us on our behalf. And to be honest Kristin and I see this a lot when business owners share content or try and sell online.  We tell ourselves we are launching; however, we are really just checking off a to-do list item. 

Sharing on Facebook and saying we are done is a failed launch!

Even if we get a few people into our sales process and make a few sales and most people will not do even that. They will complain that they tried to do it and the people just did not want it. The Truth is we just lied to ourselves, we spent so much time creating something of beauty for the world, we spent no time trying on the marketing and sales process. We wished for success and did set ourselves up for failure.

Start planning for your success

Join Kristin and I as we talk about some actionable steps you can take now to improve your next launch. and talk about some of the tools we use to try and improve our odds of success. Stop letting your fear of failure ensure it happens, listen to the show now and learn about:

For Complete Shownotes go to SmallBizLife.com

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7 key elements to a perfect product launch: https://marketingland.com/7-key-elements-perfect-product-launch-134634

6 elements of a successful product launch: https://labs.openviewpartners.com/successful-product-launch/#.WfdN7mhSxhE

Episode 47 - Trolls, haters, and critics https://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-47-trolls-haters-and-critics

 

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Evergreen Social Media Sharing at Recurpost https://recurpost.com/?source=smallbizlife

ThriveThemes link https://thrivethemes.com/affiliates/ref.php?id=3007_1_3_4

Email, Website, Digital Product E-commerce site at Kajabi https://app.newkajabi.com/r/9PKwusgU

Oct 29, 2017

I have been working on web applications for over a decade. It is an ever-changing environment that can be confusing for a person that has created apps and websites for a living.

So, I am not surprised for a second that many entrepreneurs are confused by the technical side of their website.  

Most website owners fail to understand that there is that SEO optimization is about much more than Keyword strategies.  Search engines like google want their users to not only find the best articles on a search. They want them to have a great experience on the site they are going to. Mobile friendly and website speed are essential parts of this experience.

So, join Kristin and I as we talk about the complete picture of Website Optimization.  And the simple SBL WordPress Optimization Checklist to get started with the easiest problems to fix.

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Oct 22, 2017

Kristin and I always talk to our Facebook group members. The other week the topic of Facebook ads came up. We talked about small business owners about their experience and/ or problems with Facebook ads.

What are the 3 top reasons your Facebook ads do not meet your expectations?

  1. No expectations
  2. No objective for the Ad
  3. Do not understand how to target an audience

 

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Episode 4 Who is your ideal customer https://smallbizlife.mykajabi.com/blog/episode-4-who-is-your-ideal-customer

Facebook Blueprints https://www.facebook.com/blueprint

 

 

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Oct 15, 2017

Kristin and I have been working with each other in small business since 2005. We have seen lots of good and bad times since we started working together. We have learned the most important truth about working with your spouse. 

A family business is no place for a weak marriage

The truth is maintaining a great marriage is work. No matter how much you love each other. Between survival, family, and friends many marriages strain. In 2015 16.9 divorces happened per 1,000 married women according to researchers at Bowling Green State University.  That is over 1.1 Million woman in 2015 alone and that was a good year.

You risk going from husband and wife to business partners.

However, all is not lost. There have been many family businesses that have stood the test of time. They have not only survived the marriage, they have not gone out of business. And to be honest, even if your spouse is not officially part of your small business they often help out the entrepreneur of the family run their business. 

The most important thing you can do is learn your 3 Rs

Not the 3 Rs of school. The 3 Rs of working with your significant other. 

  • Roles
  • Respect
  • Responsibilities

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DIVORCE RATE IN THE U.S.: GEOGRAPHIC VARIATION, 2015 https://www.bgsu.edu/ncfmr/resources/data/family-profiles/anderson-divorce-rate-us-geo-2015-fp-16-21.html

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Oct 8, 2017

Small businesses are formed for many reasons. We started ours because we loved our hobby of teaching, inspiring, and entertaining people. There are many reasons to start a small biz. You might want to work for yourself or make some more money. However, we live in a changing world. We cannot afford to lose track of the trends in small business or we risk losing the business we love. So we need to understand, where small business if going.

What is the biggest change coming to small biz?

There are many changes that will continue to happen with Small Business. Record numbers will be starting up and failing every year. However, the biggest change is that the older definitions will start disappearing. Local business versus international business and online business versus offline business will merge into business.

It really has been changing with the invention of the online business and people growing more connected to the internet via their mobile devices. The great thing is the growth of this technology provides great opportunities to those willing to keep changing.

These opportunities will create a huge challenge for small biz

We will no longer be able to hide from competition. They will invade our communities and try and lure away our customers. So, we need to adapt and move our business into this space before someone else occupies it.

Join Kristin and me as we look at this vital topic in this weeks episode of the Small Biz Life podcast.  Also, check these articles referenced in the episode "Small Business in 2020: Dramatic Shifts Predicted", "10 Businesses That Will Boom in 2020", and "Why Small Businesses Should Prepare For 2020"

 

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https://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2012/09/10/10-businesses-that-will-boom-in-2020

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/305-small-business-trend-shifts-predicted.html

https://www.digitalistmag.com/cio-knowledge/2017/09/25/why-small-businesses-should-prepare-for-2020-05359724

 

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Oct 1, 2017

Have you ever had that day where you work for hours, and check off dozens of items off your to-do list and feel like you have achieved nothing? I have. I have had so many days I started to look at this years ago when I worked at UPS. I started to find that we have a way of creating busy work for ourselves. We create so much of it, we start to use systems to create track it. And private industry has responded with those applications. The task management apps and website. 

Listen to the show on iTunesStitcherYouTubeGoogle Play MusiciHeart Radio, or with the player below. 

Task Management software can be great

It can make you get more work done. I am a big believer in getting more done in less time. However, It appears the systems can become a burden. I have worked with many large businesses and government agencies that would start creating more and more applications to track the work that then left the workers in a bind.

If you spend more time tracking yourself, then you have less time to complete the work you were hired to get completed. For more check out the show notes on SmallbizLife.com

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Episode 106 – 3 major mistakes getting tasks done, and how you can start fixing it now https://www.smallbizlife.com/blog/episode-106-the-3-major-mistakes-we-make-with-task-how-you-can-start-fixing-it-now

Google task https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas

Trello https://trello.com/signup

Asana https://asana.com/

 

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Sep 24, 2017

Stop floundering creating task

Have you ever been told that if you work hard you will succeed? I was. I believed it. For years whenever I had an issue I just started to work more. Work more hours! Push! Push! 
I kept moving.

I would do great for a while and then I would burn out. Sometimes I would kill it and prosper, but to be honest most of the time I seemed to go nowhere.

It was frustrating. However, I just kept doing it. I would also get very focused on the work. I was told if I just work smarter. all my problems would go away. I just needed to focus on the type of work I was doing. However, that failed to make my life better, or my business larger.

I also went through a period, where I cut out all the work that I didn't like, that was the worse mistake. I lost touch with so much that was important to my business because I did not want to do work I did not like. I would store up all that crappy work until I was forced to do it. I managed to 10x the work I hated. This is a 10x you never want, please trust me.

How to fix it?

It all started with a great piece of advice from Brendon Burchard. I figured out what I needed to look like to live the life I love.

It freed me from a trap I was in. I was trapped spending so much time, trying to find new hacks, apps, and techniques to improve my time management. I missed the root problem. I needed to get over myself.

The first part of troubleshooting is finding the problem. If you get stuck in a GTD hell. You need to identify, what you are screwing up.  From my work with clients and myself, it appears most people's task management issues is because of one of these mistakes:

  1. You Focus on the work
  2. You focus on our immediate feelings
  3. How hard we are working

What we should focus on for better task management

  1. We should focus on the result the output of task
  2. How the task moves us forward in our life our goals
  3. Think about your next task before you start

This Week in the Small Biz Life Podcast

Kristin and I look at these mistakes and go into much more detail about how we should look at our task management. If you have not, I would also check out episode 104 – How to get it all done. Also read "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen. 

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Sep 17, 2017

Before you panic

Yes, it is best to be concerned about your data. Between all of our smart devices and services that connect our data over the web. It seems like it is only a matter of time before we have our identity stolen.

However, panic is never a plan. We need to understand how the latest breach effects us and what we need to do to protect ourselves better.

My biggest concern with the Equifax Breach 

Equifax is one of the three credit reporting agencies in the United States. This breach exposes the name, address, birthday, and Social Security number of 143 million people. 209 thousand people had their credit card information lost. And 182 thousand lost documents by Equifax according to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. The first thing you need to do is go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and see if you or your children have been affected.

What to do now?

Chances are you or someone in your family have been exposed.  Here are the quick steps you need to do if you are part of the 143 million.

Ways to protect yourself

  1. Check your credit reports for free on www.annualcreditreport.com
  2. Place a Fraud Alert or credit freeze on EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion
  3. File your tax return ASAP
  4. Signup for a service like Credit Karma
    1. The market leader is LifeLock
    2. Or what we use ID Shield which is like LifeLock with extra SSN protection
  5. Or better yet higher a service that will help resolve problems if you are compromised
  6. Protect your passwords and track all the sites you have bad or duplicate passwords with LastPass.
  7. Always use VPNs when you are not in a secured network. Try NordVPN

24 other reasons to protect yourself

Since 2016 there have been 25 major data breaches with at least 900 Million records lost. And out of those numbers, there have been many companies who do not know or did not state how many records have been lost. There could have also been other breaches that have not been publicly released.
In these days of an interconnected world, you should consider the best ways to protect yourself and assume that at some point you or a family member will have their identity stolen. Please consider a service like Identity Shield as a way to protect yourself.

  1. Equifax  2017
  2. Taringa 2017
  3. Grozio Chirurgija 2017
  4. Erie County Medical Center 2017
  5. Friend Finder Networks 2016
  6. Commission on Elections 2016
  7. Weebly 2016
  8. Taobao 2016
  9. 21st Century Oncology 2016
  10. KM.RU 2016
  11. Nival Networks 2016
  12. Verizon Communications 2016
  13. Apple Health Medicaid 2016
  14. University of California, Berkeley 2016
  15. University of Central Florida 2016
  16. Central Coast Credit Union 2016
  17. Cox Communications 2016
  18. Department of Homeland Security 2016
  19. Democratic National Committee 2016
  20. Inuvik hospital 2016
  21. EyeWire 2016
  22. Gyft 2016
  23. Ofcom 2016
  24. Rosen Hotels 2016
  25. TaxSlayer.com 2016

Other Sources

Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN)

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/understanding-your-cp01a-notice

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

When Information Is Lost or Exposed

Best Identity-Theft Protection 2017

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Sep 10, 2017

We all have so much to get done. Our small businesses can turn us into workaholics. Our family and friends are always trying to distract us. And all those hobbies take time. So can we really get it all done?

Human nature says no

Think of how much life has changed for humans since the dawn of recorded history. We have created air conditioning, air planes, escalators, teddy bears, the Theory of Relativity and all those major changes happened in the first 5 years of the 20th century.

As a species, we are driven to make our life, and the life of our family members better.  It has taken humans from small tribes of hunter gatherers to data scientist in ~5,500 years. So stop worrying about getting it all done, until we reach a utopian state we will always come up with new tasks to do next.

So stop trying to get it all done

Your time is better spent trying to learn how to figure out what to do and how to do what you are doing better to get to your next goals. And understanding our nature will force us to pick new goals and create new tasks along the way.

So join Kristin and Jeff in this episode as we look how we work to get the most done every day so we can maintain our momentum allowing us to focus on what is important to us and enjoy our this crazy thing that we call life.

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Sep 3, 2017

As a CPA, Kristin is asked many questions about how small business owners should deal with money and tax issues for small businesses.  There is one question that she is asked to most.

How should I form my company?

Well, as with most questions involving the government and taxes it is never quite that simple.

The common options:

  • S Corporation (S Corp)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership

There are many reasons to pick any of these selections. However, the first thing you need to understand is an LLC is considered a disregarded entity for tax purposes. That means that if you have one owner, your business will be treated as a sole proprietorship by default. Have two or more owners? Your LLC will be a partnership by default. You can elect that your LLC be treated as an S Corp as well.  If you ever decide to move your sole proprietorship or partnership to an S Corp you will save yourself paperwork if you become an LLC.

THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE TO REMEMBER

The time you should really consider paying a bit more to set up your S Corp is when your compensation equals the reasonable salary to replace you in the business, including an additional amount for your management function. The best place to learn your reasonable salary is Salary.com.

There will be some additional cost as an S Corp

You will need a payroll service like Gusto, plus pay for unemployment taxes and additional tax filings. Email Kristin@SmallBizLife.com to get set up in Gusto today.

There are more considerations in the process. Check out the episode to get all the financial impacts for free. It is also a good idea to discuss the legal implications with an attorney. We are not lawyers and do not offer legal advice in this episode. 

If you would like to set up a call or a video call to get Kristin's help with your situation create an appointment with Kristin today.

 

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Aug 27, 2017

Public speaking is an important skill for small business owners because it gives us another opportunity to show the world we are an authority and is great free publicity. In this episode, we discuss small biz speaking tips with Aurora Gregory, co-author of Get Picked and owner of Aurora Gregory Consulting.

About Aurora

As an 8th grader, Aurora was a finalist in a speech contest. She didn’t win but that just might have been the start of her career as a communicator. Some of the biggest brands in business have worked with her to get their message right, create communications programs that connect with target audiences and set marketing strategies – all achieving stellar results. Aurora’s gotten high marks as a communications trainer, helping people develop skills to deliver their most important messages to customers, media and presentation audiences. She has years of experience in leading speaker’s bureau programs that have placed hundreds of speakers at local, national and international conferences. When she’s not talking, you’ll likely find her hiking the foothills in her hometown or on the sofa watching classic movies. 

To find out more about Aurora, check out her website.

Purchase your own copy of Get Picked: Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Creating Irresistible Speaking Proposals.

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Aug 20, 2017

There are a lot of retirement plan options for small business owners. How do you determine which one is right for you? In this episode, we discuss all the options to help you find the right plan for your biz. 

All the numbers in this post are valid for 2017. Each year, these numbers are updated by the IRS. 

Individual Retirement Plans (IRAs)

If you are just starting to save, an IRA might be an easy way to get started. An IRA will allow you to save up to $5,500 in 2017. If you are over the age of 50, you can make an additional catch-up contribution of $1,000. 

There are two types of IRAs: a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. 

Traditional vs. Roth

It's important to understand the difference between these two plans to ensure you are achieving your goals. 

Traditional

With a traditional plan, you put the money in pre-tax, which means you get a tax deduction now. However, when you take the money out at retirement, you must pay taxes based on your normal tax rate. With a traditional IRA, you are also required to take "required minimum distributions"  starting at age 70 and a half even if you don't need the money. 

Roth

Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars. You won't save on taxes today but the money will be withdrawn tax-free at retirement. There are also no required minimum distributions required. 

SEP IRA

A SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA allows you to put away a lot more money if you have a lot of profit. A SEP IRA allows you to put away $54,000 per year. However, in order to do that you must have a profit of $216,000. For a SEP IRA, you are limited to putting away 25% of your profit. Also, if you have qualifying employees, you must put the same percentage of their pay into their plan that you put into your plan. That can quickly add up. You can put in less than 25% but you are also limiting your own contributions to the plan. 

A SEP IRA allows you to put away $54,000 per year. However, in order to do that you must have a profit of $216,000. For a SEP IRA, you are limited to putting away 25% of your profit. Also, if you have qualifying employees, you must put the same percentage of their pay into their plan that you put into your plan. That can quickly add up. You can put in less than 25% but you are also limiting your own contributions to the plan. 

Solo 401(k)

A solo 401(k) is designed for single-owner or husband/wife owned businesses. This plan allows you to put away a lot of money but is more costly to set up and maintain. 

This plan is a hybrid between a contribution plan and a pension plan. The owners can put in up to $18,000 per year, plus another $6,000 if 50 or older. An additional contribution of up to 25% of profit can also be added to the plan for a maximum contribution of $54,000. It's nice because you can put up to $18,000 (or $24,000) away each year without having to worry about having a high profit. You can also elect to have a Roth option for the $18,000 (or $24,000). The pension portion would need to be traditional. 

However, if you hire employees that would qualify for your plan, you'll need to discontinue this plan and choose something else. You could pick a 401(k) without the profit sharing option or one of the other plans discussed. All 401(k)s have higher fees than the other options but it may be worth it for the amount of money you can put away. 

SIMPLE IRA

The SIMPLE IRA is a popular option for many small businesses because it is a plan that works whether or not you have employees and still allows for a nice annual contribution. 

A SIMPLE IRA allows you to put away $12,500 per year plus an additional $3,000 if 50 or older. Plus, you will also put an additional 3% of your profit. 

If you have qualifying employees, you will need to match their contributions but only up to 3% of their wages, which keeps the costs low. Also, the fees are typically paid by the employee (but are very low). 

Retirement Savings Contribution Credit

In addition to any tax deductions you might qualify for, you might also qualify for the Savers Credit. If you meet the income limits, you can even take this credit if you make a ROTH contribution.

This credit is designed to encourage low-income households to save for retirement. The maximum credit is $2,000 for a couple filing jointly, but your adjusted gross income cannot be more than $37,000 and the credit is only 50% of the contribution. As the credit phases out, the percentage and the maximum credit amount both decrease. If your income is $62,000, your maximum credit is $200 and 10% of your contribution. Luckily, if you put money into a tax-deductible plan, which lowers your AGI. 

That's why it's important to work with a CPA who can help you maximize your tax deductions. 

All figures are taken from Bankrate.com.

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Aug 13, 2017

We can't believe it's been 100 episodes and almost two years since we started Small Biz Life. In this episode, Jeff and Kristin reflect on where they were on episode 1 and where they are today. 

A lot has changed since we launched the show on September 15, 2015. Join us as we discuss what we've learned and how our lives have changed. 

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Aug 6, 2017

Money and Budgets affect every aspect of out a small business owners and our lives.

Personal Finances matter as much as business finances for small biz owners

Kristin and I have a discussion with Melissa about controlling budgets, working towards our dreams, and her new book, "Building My Yellow Brick Road: Life Lessons from Pursuing a Dream".

Listen to a great interview and get out and Building My Yellow Brick Road: Life Lessons from Pursuing a Dream and learn more about her business Melissa the Coach and how to deal more about your personal finances. 

 

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Jul 30, 2017

We all experience failure at one time or another. Successful business owners learn from their failures and keep going. In this episode, we discuss how to learn from failure to increase your success next time.

What to do when your plan fails

Jeff and Kristin discuss the following items this week:

  • First thing is to accept that your plans can (and sometimes will) fail
    • Understand there is risk
    • Go in with eyes wide open
    • Try not to risk it all for an opportunity
  • Own it!
  • Understand the damage
  • List out what when wrong
  • Determine what can be salvaged
  • Determine if there are other wins
  • Make a new plan to move forward
  • Breathe and smile
  • Keep moving
  • Learn from it

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Jul 23, 2017

None of us want to deal with unhappy customers but it is inevitable as a small business owner. In this episode, we discuss how to save your sanity and your reputation next time you must deal with one. 

Before you respond

Many of us get a negative email, message, or review and want to instantly respond while we are seething mad. Probably not the best way to respond. Before you reply:

  • Breathe
  • Empathize
  • Do not take it as a personal attack
  • Think of solutions

How to respond

  • Listen objectively and get to the root of the problem
  • Come up with a quick resolution
  • Implement the resolution quickly
  • Don't be a pushover
  • Sometimes you cannot make them happy, no matter what you do

Sometimes you must fire customers

If a customer is too demanding or gets out of line, you can fire customers. Make sure you have disengagement language in client contracts where applicable. 

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Jul 16, 2017

Small business owners typically struggle with pricing their products, especially digital products. In this episode, we discuss the factors that must be considered when setting your prices.

For more information about pricing your services, check out episode 90.

The components of pricing

There are four components of pricing:

  1. Direct materials - These are the materials that go into each unit of your product. This might be the cost of a product that you have someone else manufacture for you or bonus items you give away with the cost of a digital course (maybe you mail a welcome packet or t-shirt). Direct materials can also be the cost of software that is incurred on each sale (if you are selling software as a service or other products with incremental software costs).
  2. Direct labor - This is the direct cost of labor to make or provide the product. An example of this would be the cost associated with your labor to record videos for a monthly membership site like Small Biz HQ. This would also be the cost of editors and graphic designers for your new book. 
  3. Overhead costs - Overhead costs are all of your other costs associated with running your business. This includes other materials, labor, selling, and administrative costs. This definition is slightly different than the traditional accounting definition but it helps to simplify things.
  4. Profit - Yes, you must actually figure profit into your calculations. There are a few different ways to do this. The most common way is to calculate your monthly desired profit or profit over the life of the product. For products with a longer lifecycle, I want to include monthly profit. Your profit should include your take home pay, any savings you wish to retain in the business, and your taxes.

You must also estimate how many units you can sell per month or over the lifecycle of the product (if it is short). Typically, we are very conservative with our estimates. If you estimate too high, you may end up not being able to cover your costs. If your estimates are conservative and you sell more units, your profit will be higher (which is a really good thing!).

Total Costs + Profit / Estimated Number of Products Sold = Price

Delays and procrastination will cost you

Time really is money. As the time you take to get a product to market increases, so do your costs. All of these costs, including the cost of your time, must be recovered. Here are some tips to minimize delays and procrastination:

  • Have a plan to get new products to market in 30 to 60 days.
  • If longer, minimize costs as much as you can.
  • Work off your strengths to develop new products more quickly.

Additional advice for physical products

  • Look for price breaks on order quantity but balance with storage and other costs.
  • Look for print on demand for books.
  • Discuss your plans with an accountant to avoid headaches, especially when working with affiliates or fulfillment in another state.
  • Discuss your plans with an attorney for intellectual property, claims, and safety issues. 

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Jul 9, 2017

 Why do we always look at numbers that mean very little?

Vanity metrics are the numbers that push most online businesses. However, they are just that vanity. They can make us feel great when they look good or grow.  However, if they are low then we feel horrible. It makes us what to stop.   

However, we need to remember that good or bad they mean nothing on their own.  Views, downloads, likes, views, and hearts all mean nothing on their own. 

VS what we need to know

What we need to look at is revenue, customers,  conversion, cost or ultimately profit. 

However, when we start a business those numbers are bad.  They are the numbers of "old" business.  They are not as sleek and sexy as these more modern metrics that make us feel like we are at least helping others even if we are not yet making money.

We understand 

We are looking for validation as well.  We want profits.  However, we do this to help people. However, the less money we make, the less help we can give people.

So we need to look at metrics that tell us the complete picture of our business. 

Use these to use get the most value out of your vanity metrics

  • Per Customer
  • Per dollar of revenue
  • Per dollar of profit
  • Per hour
  • Cost per Metric 
  • Earnings per Thousand Metric

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