Danielle Dory

Thinking About Incorporating?

In Blog, Business on August 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

To say that I’ve been busy these past few weeks would be an understatement.  Part of my time was spent registering for classes on Coursera (a site I highly recommend for anyone dealing with classroom learning withdrawals).  The rest of my free time was spent attempting to decipher cryptic tax laws.  I wish I could claim an exotic trip, or losing myself in crowded city streets but admittedly I’ve been hunched over my computer and books.  

Yet a few weeks later, here I stand-  bags under my eyes and a little bit more knowledgeable about the beginning steps of owning your own business.   Over the past few weeks I have been trying to figure out how to register with the state as a LLC.  To be honest, a few weeks ago I had no idea what the difference between an LLC, LLCs, LLCc, Inc, or Co’s was- last week  my brain was still swimming in an alphabet soup.  Today, I’m finally ready to share what I’ve learned …

Just as a reminder, I am not a tax expert.  I’m just someone who spent a lot of time on the internet.  If you are thinking about incorporating, talk to an accountant and business owners who have incorporated.

  1. Why Would You Want to Become “Incorporated”?

For small businesses with plans on making it big one day, incorporation helps to protect your personal assets from lawsuits. 

If you’re being brought in as a consultant, filing as a single member LLC will protect your personal assets from lawsuits, but it will also allow you to separate your business expenses from your personal income.  This is particularly important from a tax perspective.

    2.  How do I become “Incorporated”?

The process varies by state, so if you want to register on your own you’re going to have to do a bit of research. If you don’t want to do that, a great website to register your company with Legal Zoom. If you’re like me and you don’t want to pay any extra processing fees, I suggest registering with your state’s Department of Treasury.  You will need to:

1. Pick a name

2. Write a statement of purpose

3. Understand what type of business you want to register as- if you are the only person involved in the business MAKE SURE you register as a single-member LLC. That will unable you and your business will be taxed once as one entity.   If you have a partner- set it up as a partnership… make sure you know exactly what you are before you register.

4. Create an EIN with the IRS

  3.  Handling Your Funds

 If you’re incorporated, you will be filing and reporting your own taxes- social security taxes, income taxes, the whole 9 yards. This site, will help you to calculate your estimated daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly taxes. From there you will need to keep detailed record of all your business expenses- gas, milage, car payments, health care ect.  This will help you determine the difference between your business expenses and your personal income. 

A helpful way to keep track of your business expenses is opening up a business account.  Shop around a bit in order to get a policy that works for you, but essentially you will want to use this business account to collect your income and track your business expenditures- for taxing purposes. 

 

Okay folks, that’s what I’ve learned. 

 

If you know any additonal infromation, feel free to email me or leave a comment.  I’ll be sure to update this post with any additional information I come across in the next few weeks.

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Read and Digest: Today’s Lunch Sell By 7/02/2012

In Read & Digest on July 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Smells like lunch time… 

Back to the Drawing Board. Writing, or Should I Say, Rewriting Your Cover Letter

In Blog, Business on July 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

Well folks, after reading this article from INC. I realized that my pride and joy,  my cover letter, needs a lot of work.  In an article titled “10 Ways You Should Never Describe Yourself”  businessman and ghost writer Jeff Haden lists 10 adjectives you should never use in your cover letter.  To my horror and dismay, my cover letter currently has 6 of these words.  I’ll let you figure out which words they were, but with every new word listed, I felt a little dagger dig deeper into my heart.  Upon finishing my read, I had a mental image of a my cover letter bleeding in red ink.

I have yet to meet a single individual who actually enjoyed writing a cover letter.  Think about it.  The qualities needed of a cover letter are full of slight, and blatant, contradictions.  Be boastful but genuine.  Be aggressive but not too aggressive.  Then we look at all the things to include:

  1. Highlight your talents
  2. Sell yourself
  3. Show that you know about the company
  4. Explain why you’re a perfect fit of the position
  5. Keep it short.

Writing about myself is probably one of my most difficult tasks, but despite the big adjective problem that I apparently have, I’ve picked up a few pointers over the past year.  Here are tips from professionals on how to be better about, well, bragging.

  1. It’s not we.  It’s me.

I had an interview a few months back, and I was discussing the marketing campaign my partner and I did for a local free health clinic.  The interviewer asked me questions like, “So what did you do?”  “How did you do that?” “What did you learn from that experience?” “What was your biggest struggle in completing your project?”  I answered each and every response with, “Well we…”  and every time I went to answer a question, I noticed a slight sigh.  It was a project that I was extremely proud of and it was for a great cause. I couldn’t for the life of me understand I was doing wrong.

After the interview, she took the time to give me some feedback.  It was then that she explained.  I was so concerned with making sure that I didn’t take all the credit for a group effort, that I failed to highlight all that I accomplished.  She was interviewing me for hire, not my partner and I.

  Moral of the story? Focus on your accomplishments and individual achievements.  Even if you are discussing a group effort, focus on your individual responsibilities.

2.   Quantify. Quantify. Quantify.

Whether you’re tweaking your resume or your cover letter, quantify  accomplishments. It adds substance and context.  It also helps to set you apart. Don’t just say what you did, show what you did.

3.   Revise. Revise. Revise.

The dreaded act of revision.  We all hate to do it, bur once we have we’re always glad we did.  For example, this blog.  I hate looking over my posts once they’ve already been published.  Why, because I know for certain that no matter how many times I edited it before I made it public, I will always find mistakes. You’re first try is never perfect.  It’s tedious.  It’s nerve wreaking.  Sometimes it becomes a bit compulsive, yet I know I’ll feel a lot better knowing that I’ve posted something that I don’t have to feel insecure about. Usually, that takes about 3 revisions.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the Revision Lecture from your English professors.  Turns out the lecture also applies to  preparing for interviews, or writing resumes. Most recently, after reading Jeff Haden’s article, I’ve come to realized that The Lecture of Revision most definitely applies when writing cover letters.

So, it’s back to the drawing board for me.

How about you?  Know any other tips that I didn’t cover?  Leave a comment, or email me at beginnersguide2workplace@gmail.com.