1008 – Profit First straight from Mike Michalowicz

Mike Michalowicz the author of Profit First along with Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, Pumpkin Plan and Surge; joins us today for an interview about his new book being released. If you had questions about Profit First, we probably got them answered here! Complete show notes can be accessed at http://dreambuilderfinancial.com/1008.

Join us for an exclusive webinar with Mike Michalowicz. Head on over to http://dreambuilderfinancial.com/mm for all the details.

1007 – How to Take Your Profit First and the Secret Ingredient to Savings

The key to determining savings amounts for savings goals is the length of time available for saving. Time value of money can be a very strong participant in meeting financial goals. Understanding Profit First is the first step but here you will learn exactly how to implement it. Show notes and links can be found at http://DreamBuilderFinancial.com/1007.

Intro:

In the personal finance section this week, we’re going to talk about how to look at goals, and how to look at the logic behind setting savings amounts for the goals. We won’t get into specific numbers or calculations for how to do this for yourself yet, but rather will look at the concepts behind the big picture.

The time value of money is what happens over the course of time if you put money to work for you, and its basis is compounding interest. Also, there are two factors that affect the growth of money: the rate of return, and the length of time available. I explain all of this in the podcast, but I’ll write out an example of how compounding interest works in case you’re more of a visual learner.

Compounding Interest Example:

Let’s say you start with $100, and you can earn 10% interest or return over the course of a year.

At the end of a year, you’ve earned $10 (10% of $100).

Without compounding interest, at the end of 10 years, you’ll have earned $100 ($10 per year times 10 years). Your account balance will be $200.

With compounding interest, you earn interest on the amount in your account at the beginning of each year. Since you started year 2 with $110 in the bank (the initial $100 plus the $10 interest you earned), you’ll earn $11 that year, bringing your balance to $121.

The next year, you’ll earn $12 dollars, bringing your balance to $133. In year three, you’ll earn $13 dollars, bringing your balance to $146.

By the end of the ten-year example, with compounding interest, you’ll have $259. After 40 years, it would turn into $4,526.

 

In the business section, we move onto part 2 of implementing profit-first in your business. We’ll cover the how-to in this episode, but for much more detail, get a copy of Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.

Implementing profit-first methodology is a five-step process, which I discuss in the podcast. For easy reference, here are the five steps:

  1. Get crystal clear on your motivation for implementing this system.
  2. Open a separate bank account and immediately deposit 1% of your business’ cash into this account. This is now your profit account.
  3. Open seven bank accounts, five of which should be at one bank, and two at another.
  4. Fill out a grid (Profit First Instant Assessment) using information from last year’s P&L, personal tax return for every owner, and your year-end balance sheet.
  5. Resolve the discrepancies on your Profit First Instant Assessment over the course of six quarters (a year and a half).

There’s no tax section this week or next week because of our focus on profit-first methodology.

 

Show Notes:

[01:46] – Moshe introduces what the show will cover this week.

[02:18] – The first thing to understand with saving for any goal is the time value of money. Moshe explains the importance of compounding interest with a clear example.

[05:16] – Moshe discusses the two factors that affect the growth of money: the rate and the time.

[07:03] – We learn how this relates to savings goals, which we’ve already broken into short-term goals, mid-term goals, and long-term goals.

[08:49] – Moshe offers a specific example to illustrate what he’s been talking about.

[14:36] – Most of the monthly savings amount in his example was for the short-term goal, Moshe points out.

[15:42] – Next week, we’ll cover strategies for how to save for these goals, and cover the logistics of how to calculate how much to save for each goal.

[17:17] – We kick off the business section of the episode.

[18:16] – Moshe dives into implementing profit-first in your business, which is a five-step process.

[18:24] – Step one is to get crystal clear on your motivation for implementing this system.

[19:23] – We move onto step two: opening a profit bank account.

[20:28] – Step three is to open seven bank accounts. Moshe explains in detail what each of the seven is for, and why they’re divided between two banks.

[25:25] – Moshe takes a moment to address the question of bank fees when you have so many accounts. There are several solutions to this, including CapitalOne’s Spark banking unit.

[26:32] – We learn about step four. To make this easier, text howtoprofitfirst to 44222, or get a copy of the Profit First Instant Assessment online.

[30:41] – Moshe offers an example using babysitting to explain the concepts he’s been talking about.

[31:55] – Moshe lays out some specific rules, and explains how to calculate your real revenue.

[32:57] – We learn the next steps of filling out the Profit First Instant Assessment, after having calculated the real revenue. He also discusses the difference between owner’s pay and profit.

[35:39] – Now that we’ve filled out the actual column, we move onto the TAP (Target Allocation Percentages) column.

[37:39] – The next column is just column A multiplied by column B. Moshe walks us through this as well as the final two columns.

[39:08] – You’re likely to be pretty sad when you look at the results, Moshe explains, because most businesses are way off on these numbers.

[39:43] – Step 5 involves resolving discrepancies gradually, because abrupt changes tend not to be sustainable.

[42:11] – Moshe introduces a new concept, the CAP (Current Allocation Percentage).

[44:32] – We discussed the 10-25 rule in the last episode, and Moshe now explains how you’re going to use that in your profit-first system.

[45:16] – The last part of this step is sending estimated tax payments.

[46:28] – Mike Michalowicz has graciously offered a special gift for listeners, as you’ll learn here. To sign up, go to this link.

 

Links and Resources:

DreamBuilder Financial

Facebook.com/dreambuilderfinancial

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

CapitalOne Spark Business Checking

Profit First Instant Assessment

DreamBuilder Financial Episode 1006

1006 – Financial Goal Setting is the key to Wealth Creation and Profit First is the key to Business Cash Flow Management

Last week in the personal finances section, we introduced the personal financial statement as the starting line you can later look back on. This week, we’re talking about goals — the finish line that you’re set on getting to.

With the release of his Freedom Journal last year, John Lee Dumas introduced the acronym S.M.A.R.T., which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Your goal needs to meet these five criteria or it won’t be achievable.

Specific – you need to have a specific end in mind.
Measurable – you need to have a quantifiable way of measuring your goal.
Achievable – your goal needs to be something that is achievable from a general perspective.
Realistic – your goal also needs to be achievable for you.
Timely – there needs to be a finite end; a date by which your goal will come to fruition.

When you don’t have a goal, you’re in what Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy call a “state of drift” in their book Living Forward.

To set your own financial goal, try this five-step exercise:
1. List all your wants, desires, and must-haves.
2. Estimate a dollar value for each item on your list.
3. Organize the items on your list by priority. For each item, list a length of time until you need to reach that goal.
4. Divide your list into three categories based on the time length for each:
a. Short-term goals (within 18 months)
b. Medium-term goals (18 months to 5 years)
c. Long-term goals (longer than 5 years)
5. Within each time frame, organize the goals by the priority you’ve already determined.

In this episode’s business segment, we’re going to talk about the concept of “profit first,” a concept from Mike Michalowicz’s book of the same name.

As Moshe explains, most entrepreneurs get into business to try to fulfill a specific dream or motivation (such as having more time with family, or more money). Often, a few years into the business, they and their business are still just making it by month-to-month. This is often due to Parkinson’s Law.

Moshe also talks us through owner’s pay. If all you bring home is the amount that you would pay someone else to run your business, you aren’t actually making any profit. The value of your business is what’s left after someone (you or someone else) is paid to do your job.

Profit-first methodology flips the formula around: instead of “sales – expenses = profit,” it’s “sales – profit = expenses.”

If you ask any health or fitness coach how to change the way you act, they’ll tell you to eat smaller portions — and to do that by using a smaller plate. Profit-first strategy works similarly, as Moshe illustrates. You’ll set aside profit first and make less money available for expenses, in effect eating from a smaller plate.

Moshe starts the taxes section by talking about income tax, which is the most complicated tax that most people need to face. The government uses this to control some of our behaviors, so it builds in things to give us credits based on certain actions. Other types of taxes include sales tax, property tax, VAT, FICA, and many more.

For most of this segment, Moshe focuses on health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. One of the problems, he reveals, is that the plans available through the ACA aren’t necessarily great. He also discusses the tax penalties involved in not having health insurance for the entire year.

Show Notes:

[01:31] – Goals are the destination, or finish line. We learn about the acronym S.M.A.R.T. and what it means in terms of goals.
[05:45] – Without a properly formatted goal, you’re at risk of falling into a “state of drift.” Moshe explains what this means in some depth.
[06:49] – Moshe clarifies the importance of various aspects of setting goals, using the example of a runner. He then offers another example: weight loss.
[09:40] – This works the same way from a personal financial perspective. This time, Moshe offers himself up as an example.
[11:15] – As the availability increases, our demand for that resource increases at the same degree, Moshe explains.
[12:14] – How do we go about setting financial goals for ourselves? Moshe gives a five-step exercise to help.
[18:48] – Moshe pulls up an exercise that he did a while ago, listing his short-, medium-, and long-term goals from around 2014.
[26:25] – Launching into the business section, Moshe talks about the book Profit First. He then shares his own relation to profit-first methodology.
[27:52] – There was a specific problem that profit-first methodology was created to solve. Here, Moshe explains what it is.
[29:18] – Parkinson’s Law indicates that as the availability increases, our demand for that resource increases at the same degree. This is the crux of the problem, Moshe explains.
[30:54] – Moshe discusses owner’s pay, which is the pay that you would pay someone else if you walked away from the business and had them run it. He also explores the difference between owning and running a business.
[33:42] – Profit-first attacks this system and allows the owner to escape this pattern, and Moshe talks about how this works.
[36:17] – Moshe talks us through the four principles involved in implementing profit-first. He uses the example of weight loss (and gain) to illustrate his point. The first concept is using a smaller plate.
[38:47] – The second principle, using the same example, is to eat your vegetables first.
[39:38] – The third concept is removing temptation.
[40:48] – Finally, the fourth principle is establishing a rhythm.
[43:04] – A frequent question that Moshe gets from business owners is this: “What do I need to know about business taxation?” Fortunately, he has the answer! To get a copy of his free guide with five tax tips every business owner needs to know, you can text “5taxtips” to 44222 or go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/5taxtips.
[43:52] – Moshe talks us through income tax, property tax, and sales tax.
[45:35] – We learn about VAT, or value-added tax, in a fair amount of detail in terms of how the tax functions and its impact on the final price of the item.
[46:47] – In the United States, we have a FICA tax, which Moshe explains fairly briefly here.
[47:25] – Moshe rattles off lots of other tax types that he hasn’t yet covered.
[47:55] – For the rest of this show, Moshe will focus on the Affordable Care Act. He starts off by explaining the basics of how the ACA functions, both for individuals and insurance companies.
[49:58] – The plans available through the healthcare marketplace aren’t typically that great, Moshe explains.
[50:33] – Going without health insurance results in penalties, which Moshe lays out in detail.
[51:45] – There are a few exceptions for people who would be exempt from the penalties
[52:03] – You need to use caution with the premium tax credit.

Links and Resources:

DreamBuilder Financial
Facebook.com/dreambuilderfinancial
Freedom Journal by John Lee Dumas
Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy
Kiplinger’s Retirement Savings Calculator
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
Parkinson’s Law
5 Tax Tips Every New Business Owner Needs to Know
The Affordable Care Act

1005 – Compelling Reasons Why Business Ownership Leads to Wealth

This week, the personal finance section of the show deals with the often-overlooked personal financial statement. Even though many people neglect to complete one, this statement is integral in knowing your net worth and assessing whether you’re making progress. It’s so important, in fact, that Moshe recommends making one every three to six months.

Basically, a personal financial statement is a snapshot of your total net worth, broken down into assets and liabilities. By subtracting your liabilities from your assets, you can determine your total net worth.

A personal financial statement offers several benefits. It can help with long-term goals by giving you a snapshot of your starting point. It also causes you to start paying attention to how much of an impact various things have on your net worth. Finally, it gives you a point of comparison when you make another one later, which allows you to track your progress over time.

The easiest way to create a personal financial statement is with a spreadsheet. You’ll have separate columns exploring your assets (including liquid assets, investments, property, and retirement accounts) and your liabilities (including credit card balances, student loans, medical bills, money owed to the IRS, mortgages, and so on). For a template and example, go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/pfs.

Of course, you’ll need to gather quite a bit of information to make your personal financial statement. You can do this manually, of course, or with software. Moshe mentions Mint as a free option, or YNAB (for “You Need a Budget”) as a paid option. For an old-school desktop application, Quicken is still around.

In the business section of the show, Moshe discusses why you should start your own business. He offers some pretty compelling reasons. For example, when you have your own business, you have unlimited income potential, meaning the sky’s the limit. Having your own business also encourages you to give the venture everything you’ve got, something you’ll never fully do when you’re working for someone else.

By starting your own business, you’ll also be creating an asset that can later be sold. In addition, your business can be a potential income source for other family members; you can hire a spouse, your parents or siblings, or even your children. It may even save you money, as expenses that you’re incurring anyway can become business expenses.

When you’re deciding whether to start your own business, one of the most important questions to consider is how to do it. Will you quit your job to focus on your business full-time? Will you continue working full-time while starting the business as a side hustle? Will you reduce your work hours and spend half your time on the business? There is no one right answer, so Moshe shares his own experiences. For him, working a full-time job and starting his own business on the side was the way to go. He then talks about Pat Flynn, whose book Let Go describes the very different path he took. Zach Spuckler took yet another path, as did Jon Acuff.

Finally, regarding taxes, Moshe provides a basic explanation of our tax system. Taxes are an earn-as-you-go system, he explains, which makes it easy to have too much or too little withheld over the course of the year.

If you’re employed, your employer withholds taxes and sends them to the government. If you’re self-employed, you need to send in estimated taxes every quarter. Either way, most people are going to overpay the IRS, and then have money sent back to them in the form of a refund.

Getting a large refund is basically giving the government an interest-free loan. Some people think this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it’s something like a savings plan, but Moshe explains why that’s a misconception. Whether you overpay or underpay, you should correct the situation to be as close to accurate as possible, and Moshe wraps up the episode by giving some information on how to do this.

In This Episode:
[01:17] – In the first segment of the show, Moshe will explore the personal financial statement. He begins here with an explanation of net worth.
[02:19] – Why is it important to have a personal financial statement?
[05:17] – Moshe lists several other instances, outside the realm of what he’ll be covering in depth, in which you might need a personal financial statement.
[06:35] – Now that you know what a personal financial statement is, how do you create it? Moshe gives listeners an overall view of how to create one. To download a template and see an example of how to create your personal financial statement, go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/pfs.
[09:43] – Moshe discusses how to gather all of the information you need.
[13:07] – What should you include in the asset and liability columns?
[20:59] – Moshe, who had been talking about assets, moves on to the liability section.
[23:14] – We move onto the business section of the podcast, with Moshe providing some great news: he’s offering a flowchart that walks you through the steps you need to take to get your business going the right way. To get the Entrepreneur Blueprint for free, text “entrepreneur” to 44222 or go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/entrepreneur.
[23:53] – Are you thinking of starting a business? Do you already have one? If so, and you have questions, head over to the show notes page at dreambuilderfinancial.com/1005 and let Moshe know!
[24:23] – This business section will cover why starting a business is a great wealth-building tool. Here, Moshe lists some reasons.
[27:55] – The next reason belongs in the tax section, but it’s important enough that Moshe can’t skip over it, so he talks about it briefly.
[32:02] – The biggest challenge when you’ve decided you want to start your business is deciding how to get started (whether you should keep your job full-time, for example, or quit and dive fully into the business).
[36:46:] – A frequent question that Moshe gets from business owners is this: “What do I need to know about business taxation?” Fortunately, he has the answer! To get a copy of his free guide with five tax tips every business owner needs to know, you can text “5taxtips” to 44222 or go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/5taxtips.
[37:30] – Moshe moves into the third section of the podcast — taxes — by beginning with the basics of tax-related topics (and misconceptions).
[40:36] – What is the tax return?
[42:03] – Getting a large refund is actually a bad thing, not a good thing, and Moshe explains why.
[44:36] – Moshe gives advice on how to prevent getting a large refund, now that we’ve established that this is a bad thing.
[45:48] – What should you do if you had too little money taken out, and want to fix that for next year?

Links and Resources:
DreamBuilder Financial
Facebook.com/dreambuilderfinancial
dreambuilderfinancial.com/pfs
The Entrepreneur Blueprint
Mint
YNAB
Quicken
Pat Flynn
Let Go
Zach Spuckler
Jon Acuff

1004 – A Look at the Past and the Future, What to Expect in the Year Ahead

In this episode, Moshe invites you to visit the past and future. You’ll remember that last week, he explained that the podcast will take a new, three-section format covering personal finances, business, and taxes. In this episode, he goes through each section in turn, offering some backstory for why he focuses on these topics and how he got interested in them, and then offering a look at the year ahead with lists of the specific topics he plans to address.

We kick things off with the personal finance section. Moshe explains that as a teenager, he used to read Money Magazine, which opened his eyes to the possibilities of what money can do for you. As soon as he started earning money, though, he noticed the lack of financial information available for people just starting out. As he recounts his history, he explains some of the personal experiences that helped him learn about finances.

Upcoming broad topics in the personal finance section include the following (for more details, listen to the episode to hear specifics within each category):

  • Budgeting
  • Personal financial statements
  • Saving
  • Debt
  • Investing
  • Insurance

In the business section, Moshe tells us that he went straight to work after finishing high school, and discusses how his personal life forced him to become a breadwinner very young. He walks us through his early career choices, and discusses how each one contributed to his overall knowledge and skillset.
Moshe then went back to school as an adult while working two full-time jobs. He explores how distance learning differs from the traditional college experience, then gives us some insight into his credentials. Finally, he explains why he created Dream Bulder Financial: to provide information to enhance the financial situation of anyone interested.
Broad categories Moshe will cover in this section in the next year include:

  • Market research
  • Business plans
  • Legally forming your entity
  • Separating your funds
  • Accountants
  • Profit-first methodology
  • Tracking expenses
  • Getting started
  • Building an audience

Taxes became a subject of interest to Moshe during a college class. He talks about the surprising way in which his childhood Jewish education trained his brain to work in the ways necessary for a great tax consultant. He then talks about why taxation was a clear choice when he decided to open his own firm.
In the upcoming year, you can expect to hear about subjects within the following categories in the taxes section of the show:

  • Understanding the tax system in general
  • Form 1040
  • Children and dependents
  • Itemization
  • Alternative minimum tax
  • Residency
  • Investments
  • Real estate
  • Business tax topics
  • Sales tax
  • Payroll tax
  • Retirement options

In This Episode:
[01:19] – Moshe starts things off by explaining what he’ll cover in this episode and touching on what he’ll cover in future episodes.
[02:40] – We hear the backstory of how Moshe got interested in personal finance. He touches on the life experiences that shaped his knowledge of finances.
[07:14] – In future episodes, Moshe will go into more depth about these personal experiences and stories.
[07:53] – What can you expect to learn about in the personal finance section of the podcast in the upcoming year? Moshe rattles off an impressive list of topics within the categories of budgeting, saving, debt, investing, and insurance.
[13:32] – Moshe has great news for you if you’ve recently started a business or feel stuck and want more information about setting up your business properly. He’s offering a free flowchart called The Entrepreneur Blueprint. To get your copy, text the word “entrepreneur” to 44222 or go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/blueprint.
[14:12] – We hear about how Moshe got interested in business. He shares his educational and work history, explaining briefly how each experience contributed to his knowledge and skillset.
[17:56] – Moshe lists some topics that he plans to address in the business section of the podcast. The impressive array includes topics relating to market research, defining your client, preselling, business plans, legally forming your entity, profit-first methodology, budgeting, and getting started with a new business.
[22:58] – A frequent question that Moshe gets from business owners is this: “What do I need to know about business taxation?” Fortunately, he has the answer! To get a copy of his free guide with five tax tips every business owner needs to know, you can text “5taxtips” to 44222 or go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/5taxtips.
[23:43] – Kicking off the third section of the show, Moshe talks about what got him interested in the topic of taxation, and what drew him to become a tax consultant.
[25:33] – Moshe lists what we can expect from the tax portion of the show in the upcoming year.

Links and Resources:
Facebook.com/dreambuilderfinancial
The Entrepreneur Blueprint
Profit First
5 Tax Tips Every New Business Owner Needs to Know

1003 – Avoiding Common Mistakes at Tax Time

A New Show Format; Basics of Financial Goal Setting; Tax Tips; and an Apology

Starting with this episode, these podcasts will have a new format consisting of three sections. Each show will begin with a personal finance topic, move on to a business topic, and conclude with a tax topic.

The personal finance topic in this episode revolves around prioritizing savings goals. Moshe discusses the importance of defining your goals so you know what you’re aiming for and can prepare adequately. He then explains that having too many goals can be overwhelming, so it’s important to prioritize and segment savings.

Coming up with a time horizon for each savings goal lets us differentiate between long-term and short-term goals, which is important because there’s a difference between growing money growing and saving money. Moshe discusses how to apply this concept to goals of different lengths.

In the business topic, Moshe takes a moment to offer Cliff Ravenscraft an apology for saying, “Cliff, you suck at marketing” in the last podcast. He then goes on to make suggestions in answer to Cliff’s question about how to compensate a key employee, which involves a combination of a fair base salary and performance-based bonuses.

Concluding with a tax topic, Moshe offers some specific tax tips and insights. He starts things off by reminding listeners about charitable deductions of cash or non-cash asset donations. For a value over $500, these deductions require a separate form.

Next, we hear about home office deductions, with Moshe explaining the important differences between deductions for employees and businesses. He also sheds light on the two ways of calculating the deduction.

Under the Affordable Care Act laws, there are penalties for each month any member of the family didn’t have adequate health coverage, so Moshe advises being careful to fill out the relevant section of the tax return fully and accurately.

Moshe wraps up the episode with advice for two specific groups: teachers and new homeowners. Teachers can take adjustments of up to $250 for out-of-pocket expenses and claim the remainder of these expenses elsewhere. Homeowners who have purchased a home in the last year should remember to claim the real estate taxes paid to the previous owners on their tax returns.

Finally, consider using a tax professional for any type of non-simple situation. Taxes often aren’t the place to use a DIY strategy to try to save money.

 

In This Episode:

[01:03] – We hear a clarification; even though this episode was recorded last year, the tax due date mentioned (of April 18th rather than April 15th) is still accurate.

[02:03] – Moshe introduces himself and then tells listeners about a new tool he’s found: Periscope. He then explains how his thrice-daily use of Periscope has inspired the new three-part format for his podcasts.

[04:34] – Launching into the personal finance section of the show, Moshe reveals that today’s topic is how to prioritize savings goals.

[06:54] – Moshe talks about establishing an order of priority for savings by defining two facts: a time horizon and the dollar amount needed for each goal. He goes on to clarify why it’s important to differentiate between long-term and short-term goals.

[11:12] – Moshe explains how he defines long-term and short-term goals, and gives advice on how to save (or grow) your money differently depending on the time horizon of each goal. He also talks about the differences in calculating how much you need to save for long-term and short-term goals.

[14:50] – We transition into the second part of the show, with an emphasis on business topics. Moshe reveals a new resource for people in the early stages of setting up a business: a flowchart called The Entrepreneur Blueprint. To get your copy, text the word “entrepreneur” to 44222 or go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/entrepreneur.

[15:32] – In the last podcast episode – Episode 1002, Moshe responded to Cliff Ravenscraft. We hear what Moshe wrote to Cliff, as well as how Cliff responded after having listened to the podcast.

[21:50] – Moshe offers an open and heartfelt apology, taking ownership of his mistakes in assuming Cliff’s lack of growth was unintentional.

[22:26] – Cliff had asked a question about compensating a key employee; here, Moshe answers that question.

[25:15] – Moshe kicks off the third and final part of the show, which addresses taxes, by revealing one of the most common questions DreamBuilder Financial receives from business owners: “What do I need to know about business taxation?” To get a copy of a free guide with five tax tips every business owner needs to know, you can text “5taxtips” to 44222 or go to dreambuilderfinancial.com/5taxtips.

[26:00] – Personal income tax returns are due April 18th this year. Moshe offers some tips to remember when doing your taxes. Specific tips are about charitable deductions, home offices, the Affordable Care Act, deductions for teachers, and taxes on a new home purchase.

Links and Resources:

DreamBuilder Financial

Facebook.com/dreambuilderfinancial

Periscope

Michael Hyatt

Daniel Harkavy

Living Forward

The Entrepreneur Blueprint

Cliff Ravenscraft

Five tax tips from DreamBuilder Financial

Lessons for the Online Entrepreneur when Moving to a New Home

5 Lessons I Learned During the the Renovations and Move to our New House

This Friday my family will be moving to a new home. The months leading up to this move have been a big, crazy, wild and hairy ride. Moving should be up there on the top ten list of things people should never have to do. With 3 teenage girls and a little baby boy, there is nothing more frustrating than everything being placed exactly where I can’t find it or get to it.

I could write 10 blog posts just on the selling, renting and buying experience and then another 10 on the basic construction that we chose to do before moving in. However, in this article I wanted to focus on what happened to my productivity and business while this was all transpiring and what you the energetic entrepreneur can learn from my experience.

In the last couple of months, I made a decision to focus our business on one specific targeted industry subset, namely online coaches and digital product creators. This change in focus has initiated the need for new advertising, changes in back-end processes and taking actions that are far outside the norm for a typical accountant. I have been live broadcasting on Periscope and Facebook Live. Writing guest blog posts for other industry websites and other actions typical for the online entrepreneur.

Engaging in these actions are needed not just to get the name of my firm out there into the masses of online entrepreneurs but also to put me into my clients’ shoes. I want to know exactly what you are struggling with so that when I service you, I understand what your pain points are and where you might be getting stuck.

I know, for example, what it feels like to play around with WordPress, LeadPages and ConvertKit until 3 in the morning only to go to bed frustrated that I still haven’t gotten my sequence to be just right. I also know that after a long hard day, sometimes, I just want to grab a cold beer and put my feet up instead of turning my laptop on. I know when you first start running Facebook ads, you will check your dashboard every few hours to see if you had any conversions. Trust me, I am living your experience every step of the way as I go through the Grind and the Hustle (stages as termed by Screw the 9 to 5 in their Momentum Marketing plan).

After closing on the new house, my evenings have been taken up with ripping down sheetrock, running to Home Depot, spackling, painting, running to Home Depot, pulling wires, crawling in super-hot attic spaces, running to Home Depot, etc. This has left me in a real tight spot – when do I work on my business?

What I did, was analyze all the actions that I have been regularly taking and started prioritizing. Will it hurt my business if I stop broadcasting on Periscope for a few weeks? Will it hurt my business if I don’t take on new clients until I have a desk again in my new home office space? As I answered these questions honestly I began to give myself permission to step back and slow down my business acceleration just temporarily.

Here are some things that this process has taught me:

  • It is okay to step back and let your business run without growing for a defined period of time and for good reason, as long as it is done very intentionally and with a defined date to resume the growth efforts.
  • Everything you plan for will always present itself in an option that is more expensive. We saw this with our home as we selected hardwood floors, paint colors and brands, etc. Make a detailed budget before any project so that you can make decisions based on that amount and avoid cost overruns. For example, we budgeted $6,000 for a fence for the backyard. When my wife decided that she wanted white fencing in the front and it would add $1,000 to the cost, we could not find anywhere else in the project to shave $1,000 so she had to forgo the white fence in the front.
  • If you setup your online business marketing and sales funnels effectively, you will continue to earn revenue even when taking a step back. Last night while my daughters and I were dragging wardrobes up the stairs of the new house, someone was clicking the link on my Facebook ad and ended up purchasing our introductory offer that is displayed on the Thank You page.
  • It is easy to allow our health to go by the wayside during times of stress and transition. My refrigerator and pantry are bare and we are always on the go. I am involved in lots of physical activity so I fool myself into thinking that I could eat more calories or carbs. It can be more challenging to eat healthy when always in a rush. This is exactly the time to use extra caution and make sure that you take the extra time to eat a salad instead of wolfing down a double cheeseburger.
  • Relationships are fragile and always need tending to. Whether family, friends or co-workers. During times of stress and pressure, it is easy to ignore those around you or even to be short, impatient or downright nasty to them. First, determine which relationships can be put on the backburner until after the time period of stress has passed and allow yourself to concentrate on the more frequent and important ones. In my case, my friends are not going to hear from me for a few weeks and I am going to focus any energy I have on my immediate family to endure that we make it through this process as easily and happily as possible. How you act to others directly affects how they act to you and it only takes one small nasty moment to create a week long back and forth miserable mood fest.

I hope that my experiences and the lessons that I have learned from this moving experience have encouraged you to never move. However, if you find yourself in a similar pickle, take my 5 lessons above and hopefully it will help you make it through as best as possible – relationships, wallet and business intact.

5 Reasons to File Your Taxes Early

Why You Should Run (not walk) to Your Accountant and File Your Taxes Today!

As the old saying goes, there are only two certainties, death and taxes. Like a birthday, taxes are due the same day every year (well, almost). Yet, people still wait until the due date to send in their tax return. Read on to find out why you should be different.

To most people February means snow, mid-winter vacations, fireplaces and skis. For tax professionals like myself, it means busy season. However, most clients procrastinate their tax return appointments to the last minute. According to the IRS, more than two thirds of tax returns are filed in the last 6 weeks of the filing season. Some of the reasons people state for delaying their tax return filing are:

  • I owe money so I want to delay paying it
  • It is a lot of work to gather all those pesky medical receipts and charitable donations
  • I am getting a refund, so there is no rush, I will get to it eventually
  • I am afraid of finding out I might owe money
  • I have no idea where to turn to get my taxes filed

If you relate to these or have another excuse of your own, you are not alone. According to the IRS, nearly half of the 2014 Federal Income Tax Returns filed in 2015 were filed in the final four weeks before the due date. However, you may be causing yourself a lot of pain by procrastinating. Here are 5 reasons why you should gather your papers and head straight to your accountant’s office:

Click Here to schedule a FREE no obligation call and discuss your individual situation.

  1. Tax return fraud has become a huge business for identity thieves. According to the IRS “In calendar year 2015, through November, the IRS rejected or suspended the processing of 4.8 million suspicious returns” and “that’s a total of $10.9 billion in confirmed fraudulent refunds protected”. Fraudsters will file batches of hundreds of returns electronically using stolen identity information and some of these will get accepted by the IRS allowing the fraudster to monetize on a refund. The taxpayer finds out about the fraud when their own return is rejected because a return was already filed for their social security number. It can take many hours to rectify the issue with the IRS and will delay a tax refund for a considerable amount of time, sometimes years.The best way to prevent this from happening to you is to file early. By doing so, you limit the window of time for a fraudulent return to be filed with your social security number. Once you file your return, other attempts to file with your social security number will be rejected automatically.
  2. When you meet with your tax professional, they may very likely find ways to help you save on taxes that may require additional information or documentation. It may take additional time to produce this documentation causing you to be unable to file as quickly as you had hoped. Beginning this process too close to the deadline may force you to file an extension, thereby, costing you more in fees to your accountant, delaying your refund (if you owe taxes, they still must be paid at the time of filing the extension) and dragging out the process even longer.
  3. Accountants are busy people from January 19th through April 15th (this year in 2016 the date is April 18th). Imagine if all of Walmart’s customers in a single day showed up 10 minutes before closing. You would have a stampede, massive lines and probably not get the attention of any staff members should you need it. Getting your tax bill to the lowest amount possible within the confines of the tax law is an art that takes time to run various calculations and scenarios and ask many questions. If you join the last minute mad rush, it is almost guaranteed that less effort will be made on your return and without knowing it, you could be paying more taxes than necessary. That is IF you are able to get an appointment at all.
  4. If you anticipate a refund, filing early will get that refund processed more quickly. Not every taxing authority processes refunds in the same manner. Last year, clients of mine waited until June to receive a refund from the State of New Jersey. The later you wait in the filing season the more likely it is for a problem to occur such as a backlog, computer glitch or simply errors on both ends. Additionally, don’t you have something you would like to do with this refund? You can’t do anything with it until you get it.
  5. If you anticipate owing money on your taxes, you should know that you can e-file today and schedule an electronic payment to process on the due date or if mailing a check, mail it on the due date. Filing and paying your taxes are two independent actions and you do not need to delay filing just because you are not ready to pay yet. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know two and half months before the due date that you owe a significant amount of tax? Most of my clients who did not anticipate owing money on their taxes, when filing within the last few weeks of the due date, end up requesting a payment plan. This causes increased fees and interest payments that may have been avoidable had they filed earlier.

The bottom line is file early, keep the thieves at bay, pay the least amount of taxes and get an early refund or leg up on your taxes owed.

Click Here to schedule a FREE no obligation call and discuss your individual situation.

1002 – Solopreneur to Entrepreneur – The Cliff Ravenscraft Next Step Solution

There are always many options to every dilemma, the key is finding the right solution for you.

In this episode, I address Cliff Ravenscraft’s dilemma outlined in Podcast Answer Man Episode 432 – Year of Identity – Part 1 and The Cliff Ravenscraft Show Episode 635 – Year of Identity Part 2. Cliff has found a calling to become a life and business coach and wants to stop his involvement in the Podcast Answer Man. His wife is encouraging him to take the plunge because she knows that this is the only way for him to be successful in a timely fashion. Whereas, his mastermind group is encouraging him not to walk away immediately from Podcast Answer Man.

My recommendation to Cliff is a mindset shift from being The Podcast Answer Man to owning The Podcast Answer Man. I outline how Cliff can transform this business into an enterprise that runs without him, without delaying the launch of his new brand and venture.

Please join the discussion below and let me know what you think Cliff can do as well as what struggles you may be facing today.

1001 – Is Lack Of A Dream Holding You Back?

Dreams are the most important component of a financial plan. Without dreams, there is no motivation and without motivation there cannot be true success.

As the inaugural episode of The DreamBuilder Financial Podcast, it was crucial to start with this critical first step. In this episode, I cover why having a dream (or many dreams) is so important and how to use that dream as the centerpiece of your motivation.

I would love to hear what your dreams are and what you find to be your barriers to achieving that dream. Please join the conversation by commenting below.