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Tracking Your Expenses When operating a Business

Accurate expense tracking is the foundation of solid business because it lets you keep track of deductions, prepare tax returns and make your filings legitimate. But expense tracking is often overlooked. You should pay particular attention to the following categories of expenses.

Meals and entertainment.  Business meetings are often held in restaurants. Be sure to document these meetings well by noting who attended and the purpose of the meetings.

Travel. The IRS doesn't like people who claim personal activities as business expenses, so be sure to use your travel receipts to provide documentation of your business activities.

Vehicle expenses.  If you use a personal vehicle for business, be sure to record where, when and why you used the vehicle for business. Then calculate the percentage of your vehicle used for business and apply that to all expenses (such as insurance and gas).

Gifts.  When giving a gift (such as tickets to a sporting event), it's only considered a gift if you don't attend the event; otherwise, it's considered entertainment.

Home office.   Running a business from your home offers some unique tax breaks. You can deduct the portion of your home that's used for business as well as things like the internet and phone. But as with vehicle expenses, you must calculate the percentage of your home used for business, then apply that percentage to the expenses. 

It's a good idea to establish a solid system to organize your receipts. This system can be simple (Excel) or you can use a service like Shoeboxed.

How to Win Big in Today's Economy

The altered economic landscape presents innovative and nimble businesses with opportunities to thrive. Find out how by requesting my free report "How to Win Big in Today’s Economy."

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Wally Funk Proves It's Never Too Late to Achieve Your Goals

When chasing goals, regular mental stumbling blocks many people come across are the thought that they're running out of time or that it's too late for them to do the things they always dreamed of.

Enter Wally Funk, the 82-year-old space traveler who has smashed those concepts to smithereens by becoming the oldest woman ever to fly in space.

The pioneering aviator with a rock star-like name launched into space aboard the New Shepard , a private spaceship financed by Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos.

Bezos also happened to be on the spacecraft built by private space flight company Blue Origin. This was far from a fleeting moment for Funk, though; rather, it was the culmination of six decades of work towards her dream of entering space.

Funk was part of the famous Mercury 13, a group of female pilots who undertook astronaut tests in the 1960s during the Cold War space race. She'd also unsuccessfully attempted to join NASA's astronaut corps four times, having trained in both Russia and America.

In the years since, Funk has clocked an incredible 19,600 hours as a pilot and is believed to have taught at least 3,000 people to fly, some of whom were present at the landing site to welcome her back when New Shepard finally returned home.

The octogenarian was described by Bezos as having outshone the rest of her New Shepard crewmates despite being three decades older than the oldest of them.

Her determination and drive to finally accomplish her goal almost six decades later is an inspiration to all of us making resolutions and reexamining our goals for this new year. Even if it may seem impossible, never stop working towards your goals.

Worth Reading
Receiving Feedback Doesn't Need to Be Scary. Here's How You Can Get Most Out of It
Julia Furlan
Feedback is one of those words that can fill us with hope or fear. Many of us see it as proof that something is going wrong, but actually, it's a really important part of the business. If you or your team has trouble accepting feedback, give this article from NPR a read. After all, feedback is just information, and this piece is full of it!
Read More
The German Idea of "Hate Days" Helps Me Power through My Most Annoying Tasks
Michael Thompson
Is your week constantly filling up with all those chaotic little tasks that you find hard to fit into your day? In this article, Michael Thompson introduces us to the idea of "hate days," based on a German philosophy by which you pile all the energy-draining tasks into one day to free up the rest of your time. He also discusses "free, buffer and focus" days, which could help you organize your schedule.
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5 Tips to Start the New Year Right with Self-Care

Happy New Year! Time to think about what goals and habits you want to incorporate into your lifestyle. Healthy eating, healthy living and finding the right work-life balance are important for all types of business owners. Here are some tips to weave into your resolutions for 2022.

Exercise daily. Start your day with an active workout. The CEO of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, swears by it. It's a good way to get yourself ready for the day both mentally and physically. Not only does it contribute to a healthy lifestyle, but it also eases stress and anxiety.

Take time for yourself. When starting a business, we are suckers for wanting to dedicate every single waking moment to it, but the only thing this guarantees is burnout. This year, make sure you set some time aside every week to focus on yourself.

Get some sleep. Late nights will have to happen occasionally, but whenever you can, give yourself a bedtime and stick to it. You'll wake up refreshed, less stressed and ready to work!

Stick to a routine. Routines are so important, but it's easy to wake up and skip breakfast, journaling or yoga. This sets the tone for your whole day! A routine helps you feel centered and in control, which helps in the office as well as at home!

Meditate. It can be hard to set aside even 10 minutes for some meditation, but a little bit of breath work goes a long way. It helps you de-stress and relaxes you after a stressful day.

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Links You Can Use - Boosting Creativity
Creativity is vital for every business, but more often than not, it is forgotten rather than fostered. Here are some useful links to help your business be a space for creativity to bloom.
A free Creative Planning visual template for you

Need some help coming up with your company's next big idea? This free visual template can help you and your business with your creative goal setting.

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11 online tools for creative entrepreneurs

We all need a little helping hand when it comes to being creative in our businesses, and these 11 online tools will help you elevate your ideas.

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How Creative is Your Marketing? These 4 Tools Will Inspire You

Does your marketing strategy feel a little bit stale? Do you need a little help adding some creative ideas to your social media plans or email newsletters? This article from B2C has four tools to inspire you.

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Need to get creative? Try these expert tips and tricks

This article from The Guardian asks business experts what they do to cultivate the right environment to come up with their best work.

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10 Steps to Set Up (or Review) Your Accounting

If you've just launched a new business, or if you have an established business, congratulations! It took passion and perseverance to get where you are today. As you know, however, small business owners often have a number of milestones to achieve. If you haven't done so already, one such milestone you may want to tackle is getting on top of the accounting tasks that come with owning and operating a small business. Here are 10.

Get the necessary bank accounts.  Having separate bank accounts keeps business and personal records separate and will make your life easier when it's tax time.

Track expenses.  A key tenet of solid business bookkeeping is accurate expense tracking. From the start, establish an accounting system for organizing receipts. This process can be old-school (bring on the paper), or you can use an app.

Use a bookkeeping system.  As a business owner, you'll need to manage your books. You can choose an Excel spreadsheet, use software like QuickBooks or outsource to a part-time bookkeeper. When your business is big enough, you can hire an in-house bookkeeper.

Set up payroll.  When you need outside help, you can hire an employee or an independent contractor. Either way, understand how each is treated from a payroll perspective. For employees, you'll have to set up a payroll schedule and ensure you're withholding the correct taxes. For independent contractors, you may be required to file 1099s at year-end.

Figure out how you'll get paid. If you sell products online, you may want a way to accept credit card payments. Shopify Payments accepts debit and credit card orders. Alternately, you can get a merchant account or use a third-party payment processor like PayPal, Stripe or Square. Fees vary.

Understand sales taxes.  If you sell online, customers may be located in different cities, states and countries. Determine if you operate your business in an origin-based state (meaning you charge sales tax based on the state where you run your business) or a destination-based state (meaning you charge sales tax based on the purchaser's location). International purchases are tax-exempt for U.S.-based businesses.

Decide how you'll pay taxes.  If you're a sole proprietorship, LLC or partnership, you'll claim business income on your personal tax return. If you're a corporation, your income from the corporation is taxed as an employee.

Get accounting help.  If you need some extra accounting guidance, consider enlisting a certified public accountant (CPA), bookkeeper, tax preparer and/or tax attorney.

Apply for a loan.  Sometimes a growing business needs to secure external financing. You can obtain that through a line of credit, investors or a small business loan.

Keep reviewing your methods.  When you first start out, you may keep things simple, perhaps tracking expenses with a spreadsheet. But as you grow, you'll want to consider more advanced methods like QuickBooks.

Completing these accounting steps will give you the confidence to know you've covered your bases and are ready to move on to the next item on your small business finance to-do list.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.

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