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Archive | January, 2016

Professional Courtesy Online

For some reason some people think they can just be as rude as they want to be online. It’s as if they believe they are dealing with machines and don’t feel that they need to be courteous in any way. People run the machines, and they do have feelings. Because they are working in ‘service’ does not mean they are sub-human.

be nice

There are several forms of abuse such as those that will just come in and tell you how to do your job or that you haven’t done something they expected, even though they don’t have a clue what is going on yet. They come in with a ready-made agenda and will send you a rudely long, tedious list to explain every single detail they could think of, and assuming you will do everything that they have determined will be necessary. This is usually before they even give the training or documentation so much as a peak to see what is necessary and/or what has already been done for them. If you have to say ‘it’s not my job’ in any shape, way or form, you can expect lots of attitude from there on out.

It would be a nice touch to have enough humility to pose the problem by asking a question rather than making an accusation. For example, ‘is there something I don’t understand?’ or ‘can you please explain why I can’t find such-and-such?’ So much kinder – whereas an accusation basically proclaims ‘you are not doing your job’ and/or ‘you have not met your obligation or promise’. How insulting when you know you have.

Then there are those that refuse to follow instructions. No matter how much time you spend trying to explain something logically so that they will know how to do it, they will not follow. At best, they will give it their own spin or interpretation as to what you must mean to say, and will do just sort of what you said. The problem is many things will not work except one way so they are going around in circles and you are forced to go around with them and wasting your time.

For one thing computers are just machines – they do not understand ambiguity – they understand off and on, yes or no, zero and one. They don’t get it with ‘sort of’ or ‘something like’. Just the same as why passwords have to be exactly what they are (for security) and web addresses need to be the exact correct spelling and syntax in order to function properly. Don’t start screaming that your website is down for the past week, when the problem is only that you can’t spell your own domain name which is running just fine.

Terminology is not inter-changeable so when a technical support or a customer service agent tells you to phrase something a certain way, when referring you to another site for assistance, don’t change the words around at all, especially if you are not sure what you are talking about; the person you are speaking to will not understand what you are trying to say and can only guess. Then they will either give you the wrong information as a result or tell you they can’t help you.

It is not fair that now you will have to take up more of someone’s time to explain again what should have been done or said the first time. Time is a finite resource for everyone – support is there to help you and they wouldn’t do that kind of work if they didn’t like it. But you need to realize they are human and have just so many hours in their day. Oddly enough you may not be the only person who requires assistance so please try to cooperate as much as possible.

Preparing Your Business for the New Year

Part of the preparation for the new year, of course is to close out the old year first. Especially for tax purposes you should be as organized as you can about everything. Even though taxes are not due until April the year actually ends December 31 and begins anew January 1. Don’t get caught off-guard with the April 15 deadline looming and then start scrambling around to find things.

pay the piper!

Particularly since we are talking about possible tax deductions that you can claim for your business expenses, that might make it seem a little bit more palatable to keep track of your expenditures as well as your income. You absolutely want to be able to document every penny you claim in case of an audit. They may be rare but they are always possible when you are self-employed and it will take you many years to live it down if you fail an audit.

It really helps to print out the previous year’s monthly bank statements and highlight any business expenses incurred, as well as payment processors such as Paypal.com and other places where your expenses are documented. Don’t have the denial attitude that you probably will never get audited and you will worry about it when and if it ever happens. You don’t have any idea when it will happen if it ever does and that is a real good reason you always want to be prepared.

You are responsible to keep your financial records for 7-years and you may as well have a folder for your taxes that can be prepared as part of filing your taxes each year. When you have your own business it really may be best to have your taxes done professionally as there are many forms that you need to fill out so that you get for example deductions for use of your home for business. You don’t want to miss anything in this regard just as you don’t want to miss reporting income that may come back to bite you someday.

Keep all paper receipts or printouts when you make purchases of equipment or office supplies, monthly affiliate program membership dues. and invoices for technical support, etc. These are all deductible for a business. It is actually a good idea to have a folder for tax receipts that you keep all year long and just drop things in it as they come in.

A lot of people don’t seem to know that you can file taxes for your business and claim deductions even if you have not made a profit yet. You can do this for a few years but then if you don’t make any money they will deem your business a ‘hobby’ and you won’t be able to deduct expenses anymore. (so one more reason to try as hard as you can to generate a profit with your business!)

p.s. be sure to check the IRS website for any changes or forms each year as well as your state’s tax website. Be sure your tax preparer is familiar with self-employment taxes.

Keep it Real With Your New Year’s Resolutions

Just like your target goals, if you make them unrealistically high, you will do nothing but disappoint and discourage yourself when it is not possible to meet your expectations. This surely does not engender the motivation you need to develop a business. Keep your goals and resolutions doable. Think logically rather than to ‘shoot for the moon’.

keep it real!

There will be obstacles in any new endeavor and there will be times when you can’t see any results yet. This is just such a time when your awareness that you have not met your goals will start to weigh on you. You need to arm yourself with coping mechanisms like being realistic, that will allow you to stay positive no matter what it looks like.

One important thing to remember is it is not about one campaign or one weekend of working to promote your business. It is about being consistent over time. Although it is commendable that you took action you have to realize it is almost nothing in the grand scope of things. This is working hard vs hardly working. Take that one thing you did or those few days you expended some energy toward developing your business and use it as a plan for what you need to do all the time, maybe for a long time in order to see substantial results.

You can break your resolutions down into logical stages or levels just like your target goals. You can have short, medium and long-term goals that are achievable. To break this down into an easy example, you might aim to earn $100 a month in the short-term and plan to achieve $200 a month at 6-months in and plan on $400 in one-year. If you keep on extrapolating, (and working steadily) in a few years you will have a nice income from your home business.

This is definitely not to say everyone could progress at this level, but keep in mind it is proportionate to how much effort you can invest. Maybe if your level of action is lukewarm for example you should make your goals, $50, $100, $200 – Still doubling but at a lower amount. It’s all good. You are not competing with anybody but yourself.

Just remember, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. You have to be really realistic about how much effort you are really making. It is sad yet comical to hear people whine and moan about having done so much work and not to see results yet. When you ask what they did it is almost nothing. This is sad because the person has magical thinking and expects something for nothing. It’s not logical to think you will get something for nothing. You should realize you need to be doing the work to build a business slowly and steadily over time. This is the way it is for most legitimate businesses in reality.

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