Danielle Dory

Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

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.

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.

Read and Digest (Weekend Edition): Vacation, or Something Like That

In Blog, Read & Digest on July 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I interrupt your weekend to let you know that come Monday, I will be returning to the blogosphere. I took a mini vacation, which could also be interpreted as the fact that my work and personal life got extremely hectic!

Although I wasn’t up to all fun and games, I did get to witness The Jacksons (Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Jackie) perform in Atlantic City.  The experience was filled with lots of dancing and lots of tears.  My family also threw a very successful 4th of July BBQ Bash, and I am still recovering from exhaustion.

Hopefully your weekend went as well as mine.  I’m currently sheltering from the heat at my local Starbucks.  I hope you are too. I’d like to offer you some light reading in the form of my most popular blog postings:

Got a Shyness “Problem”?

Forbes, I’ll Have to Respectfully Disagree.

Coming Short of Your Personal Goals? Bolster Your Performance & Create a GAP Model

“I’m Sorry What Was Your Name?” : Simple guidelines if you’re feeling like the outcast in meetings

For more postings, just click on the Archives link.

Happy reading and relaxing.  I’ll meet you back on the Interwebs tomorrow!

Supreme Court UPHOLDS ObamaCare- click photo for live broadcast sponsored by Bloomberg Law

In Blog, Business, Public Speaking on June 28, 2012 at 10:50 am

HUFFPOST’s BREAKING NEWS BLOG!

More is More

In Blog, Business on June 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I know you have all heard the saying “less is more” but for the first two months of your internship or your new job more is defiantly more.   When a project or task is given to you, either go beyond what is expected, or complete the task with meticulous detail and foresight.  Google samples of the format you have been asked to use and partake in some self teachingOne of your major goals as an intern or new employee should be self-promotion, so put yourself out there by going the extra mile by handing in a product that goes beyond being solid.

It’s important that you follow a more is more work ethic for multiple reasons:

  1. First Impressions

First impressions really are everything, but I’m sure you didn’t need me to tell you that.

  1. Learning Curve

    You’re going to get the most information about a company thrown at you in the first few months of employment.  Taking the extra time to hand over dynamic products will help you to sort out all the information that you are learning and understand the inner workings of a company. 

    You’re also learning how to do your job to your best ability.  Once you give your boss the most you can (within reason and scope of the assignment), they will be better able to gauge your ability and fill in the gaps from there. 

Yes, going the extra mile is challening, and it will most definatly raise the bar of what is expected of you.  Adhering to the more is more philosophy is a lot of work, but once it becomes routine, tasks that took you a day to complete will take less time and less effort.

  1. Aesthetics

This principle doesn’t only apply to content.  It also applies to the ascetics of a project, proposal or document- partially.  The more do to a document while increasing the functionality of an assignment and keeping it user friendly, the better.  If you’re creating a document in Excel, throw in some conditional status boxes or make the heading cells a certain color to distinguish them from the value cells. If you are using a generic template make sure you take the extra time to verify that all your information and styling is consistent.  Don’t have a list that is part sentences and part statements.  Don’t have some subtitles underlined while others are italicized.  Go over your final project with a fine tooth comb.  

Read and Digest: Today’s Lunch Sell By 6/27/2012

In Read & Digest on June 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm

 

Cool Jobs: ‘Artrepreneur’ Uses Web to Expose World to Artists of Color

The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal

Facebook Acquires Facial Recognition Startup Face.com

“I’m Sorry What Was Your Name?” : Simple guidelines if you’re feeling like the outcast in meetings

In Blog, Business on June 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm

It’s always strange being the new kid on the block- or the only kid for that matter.  I’m not referring back to shyness problems. I’m talking about walking into a project meeting weeks, months or years after its start, and not knowing what anyone is talking about.  Or that dazed and confused feeling when people throw around so many acronyms, terms and software names that you can’t even tell the difference between the three.  The temptation to lose yourself in daydreams about anywhere else might be overwhelming but…DON’T TO THAT. Do this…

Here are some quick tips that I’ve learned from my experience…

  1. Sign Out and Plug In
    1. Sign out of email, Facebook and Twitter.  Plug into the conversation around you.
  2. Take notes
    1. Write down everything especially things that don’t make sense to you.  For the first meeting, that will probably be everything.
  3.  Be a Jigsaw Master
    1. Try to put all the pieces together.  Start trying to understand the process and the history of the project.  Write down how you think things might work.  You’ll need this for # 5.
  4. Make a Buddy
    1. Establishing a rapport with everyone in the room on the first day might be tricky, picking one person is a piece of cake.  Use the personal conversation initiative approach or find someone who seemed sympathetic to your newbie status,  Make them your friend.  If that person doesn’t warm up to you, find someone else!
  5. Buddy Meeting
    1. Ask your new buddy if they have time to run over some questions you had about the project.  When you meet, or have a phone conversation, with your buddy have your notes handy.  Showing that you attempted to contextualize all the new information being thrown at you well help narrow down information gaps, show your attentiveness, and display that you’re eager to get caught up.
  6. Try Not Being Too Self-Conscious
    1. You might be afraid that people are looking at you- sizing you up if you will.  They are.  Sit up straight, smile and tune into the conversation.  People will get used to your presence.  They’re just a bit curious.
  7. Shhhh
    1. Have you ever heard the difference between a wise (wo)man and a fool?  Speaking just to get your voice heard and yourself noticed is going to do a lot more harm than help.  Hold your tongue until you understand the situation more.
  8. Speak up
    1. I am fully aware that 7 & 8 are contradictions- they’re not.  Once you have embedded yourself in the context of the project, speak up if you have a question or comment.  My first manager gave me really great advice for feeling self-conscious, preface it.  Say, “I know I’m new to this but I was wondering, have we tried this approach?…”  Starting your comment with something like that will add to your contextual knowledge and let people know that you’re thinking critically and are ready to become a player in discussions.

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be part of the club in no time!

Read and Digest: Today’s Lunch Sell By 6/26/2012

In Read & Digest on June 26, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I apoligize for the neglect.  I know you’re starving, but I hope I can hold you over with today’s lunch… and for our first article, it looks like Facebook is at it again! (audience groans)

Facebook Draws User Ire with Email Switcheroo

 

Read and Digest: Today’s Lunch Sell by 6/2512

In Read & Digest on June 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm