While in reality no harder than any other part of being an entrepreneur, the money side of starting a business can seem scary and overwhelming at first (especially to those of us non-accountants) — make sure you’re not overlooking an important bookkeeping to-do, with this assemblage of “get-your-fiduciary-house-in-order-before-you-end-up-in-bankruptcy-court” seminars. The content is based on my book, “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career” — however, these workshops are appropriate for all consultants and freelancers (from organizing to coaching, from accounting to graphic art, from personal training to interior design, from corporate training to project management — and everything in-between). If you’re an independent contractor who sees clients (and plans on maybe getting paid for your services) — this educational series is for you!
Each can be scheduled for any size professional group as a live private teleseminar/webinar or an in-person event — I’m prepared to give you anywhere from 90 minutes of my life to several days in a row, whatever it takes to make sure you understand the concepts you need to succeed. I’m also happy to shorten, lengthen, cut-and-paste, moosh together multiple topics, or otherwise customize the content to suit your attendees’ schedule, interests, and budget. And if you’re one lone entrepreneur flying solo in the world, you can certainly purchase a pre-recorded download of the program to listen to in the comfort of your own home/office. (Just as soon as I get a chance to tape it fer ya!)
The IRS will never be more interested in your business than during the start-up phase. There are things you can do right from the beginning to make your governmental dealings relatively pain-free — and things you can do very, very wrong that will screw you in a tax-consequences-kind-of-way for years to come. This workshop explains the fiscal issues you need to consider as your company gets off the ground:
Once you’ve calculated the price tag attached to your overhead costs, it’s time to grubstake it all. How exactly will you be paying for the American dream? Figuring out your funding takes a substantial commitment of time and effort, so don’t wait! This workshop reviews your financing options, look at the pros and cons of each, and guide you through the steps for obtaining outside cash for your venture:
Compared to big corporations, accounting responsibilities for small service businesses are relatively minimal — until you get involved in selling products or managing a large staff. This workshop looks at setting up a bookkeeping system that tracks your income/expenses, makes submitting your tax return easier, and lets you run a few projections to see where you might make some improvements:
You’re guaranteed to experience ups and downs in your businesses — but if you don’t take advantage of the “feast” times (while planning ahead for the “famine” times), you might find yourself in a bit of a crunch. Cash flow is all about timing — this workshop teaches some simple techniques for matching receipts with expenditures, putting you in a better position to weather the inevitable slow periods:
Only you can decide how much your time/talents are worth, what the market will bear, and what dollar amount you’re comfortable quoting to clients. Your fee schedule may not look anything like your colleagues’ — it just needs to pay the bills and be commensurate with your abilities. This workshop examines the pros and cons of different pricing schemes, as they apply to your business goals:
What’s included with your “regular” services? And what’s considered “extra?” The best answers (in order) are “most everything” and “next‐to‐nothing!” When you first start out, you may have a slew of additional fees beyond your hourly rates — but roll those costs into your “base,” and see what a difference that makes. This workshop looks at different ways of packaging your services for higher sales and profit:
There’s more to getting remuneration for your services than simply handing your client a bill — you also need to be extremely clear about when each tab is due and how it may be paid. The general rule of thumb in business is “the easier you make it for customers to hand you their money, the more likely they are to buy.” This workshop discusses the pros and cons of different payment policies and methods:
Even veteran consultants have a hard time accurately eyeballing projects — and fledgling freelancers give notoriously specious estimates, for no other reason than inexperience. This workshop examines the whole “per job” thing — holding off until you get a sense of what it takes to complete a job, avoiding “scope creep,” and 3 common quoting methods from which to choose when offering an estimate:
When it comes to making a living as a service provider, you can either work more hours for less money (a “beginner” fee structure that becomes unsustainable as the cost of business increases) — or fewer hours for more money. This workshop talks about what to do when you find your “amateur” rates out‐of‐whack with the high value you’re providing clients — and you need a little fiduciary realignment:
Although discounts provide first‐time clients with an incentive to try your services, you run the risk of setting a dangerous precedent when you drop your rates for every prospect who bats an eye in your direction. Once folks get used to that lower dollar amount, they often have a hard time shifting back to your higher normal prices. This workshop looks at the right time/place/reason for a sale — as well as alternative ways of adding value to your services without reducing your prices:
Once folks are in the habit of paying late, getting them back on track is almost impossible — so let’s nip this practice right in the bud. The easiest way to prevent fiduciary problems is to ask for your money in advance — this workshop explores proactive options like retainers, payment due when services are rendered, up-front deposits, installments, and prompt‐payment discounts for those net-30 clients:
Stay in business long enough, and you will receive a temporarily-overdrawn-can-you-wait-to-deposit-it or oops-I-didn’t-reconcile-my-statement or omg-I-forgot-I-closed-that-account check from a customer. This workshop suggests some business boundaries that can prevent issues from arising, a few common-sense precautions for reducing risk, and ways to recoup that loss if you do receive a worthless payment:
It’s time for an intimate look at how the complicated and convoluted state of regulatory affairs in Washington affects your company’s bill with the federal government every April 15th! This workshop outlines those aspects of our incredibly confusing small business tax code related to legal requirements and potential deductions — ‘cuz pleading ignorance won’t help when the IRS shows up at your door:
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
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