Danielle Dory

Posts Tagged ‘office space’

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 (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!

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.  

“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!

Use What Your College Gave Ya’

In Blog, Business on June 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

In this ever changing world of technology, software, and programs, I’ve learned that you have to capitalize on the tools that your university supplied you with.   General knowledge, the ability to research, dynamic people skills and world smarts are all capitalizing tools, but the most important tool we learn in college is how to teach ourselves. Thanks to campuses’ digital resources we’re more prepared and equipped than scores of people in the work force to expand our abilities.  All we need is a computer. 

The resource that I use the most is Lynda.com. If you’ve ever wanted to be a wiz at Adobe, Excel, HTML or just figure out how to send a meeting invitation on Outlook just ask Lynda. If your school doesn’t offer a free account, Lynda offers a few free video tutorials.  If it’s a computer program, no matter what the field, Lynda can teach it to you in no time. 

Computer technology knowledge is becoming a must have in the work place. So, don’t waiting around for a training session or pass up on a dream job just because you’re unfamiliar with a program.  Use what your college gave ya’ and figure it out yourself. 

…It’s also a great way to pass time in the office if you have some downtime.

Other great technology knowledge databases:

youtube.com

http://www.techtutorials.net/

http://www.actden.com/

 

“Get Your Free Knowledge!”

In Blog, Public Speaking on June 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

The nerd/lifetime student in me is pretty excited today!  The VP of the Higher Education Division is giving a lecture on the future of higher education soon, and today a pioneer in Early Education is coming to share her teacher competency testing model!  I won’t lie to you, I miss college.  I miss my friends. I miss the conversations.  I miss most of my professors.  I even miss the communal feeling I get when I look down from the top floor of the student union at 4am to see that 5 other people are still typing away perfecting papers.  Still, what I miss the most about college are the open lectures.  Award winning and small time artist come from all over the world.  CEOs, economists, doctors, homeless people of Charlotte, and they all come partake in intellectual and cultural exchange.   So it should come to you as no surprise that when my job is offering lectures and seminars, I almost always sign up.  This leads me to my next tip and trick…

Keep an eye out for free lectures!  My grandfather always told me, “No matter how much education you have, you’re not the smartest person in the room.”  Basically, no matter where you are you can always learn something from the person sitting next to you, on the other side of the room, or besides you in the elevator.  So if someone is offering a lecture on something that remotely interests you, go ahead and sign up for it!  Don’t throw away the chance for some free education!

It’s also not a bad place to work on your personal conversation initiative or to keep yourself busy!

Forbes, I’ll Have to Respectfully Disagree.

In Blog on June 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy a busy day with minimal downtime, but everyone needs a little break.  I think Susan Adams meant well when she posted this article a few days ago on Forbes.  I’ll admit that Eight Ways Goofing Off Can Make You More Productive is an enticing title, but 3 out of the 8 suggestions would have led me straight to the unemployment line – especially as an intern or new employee !  Here are columnist Susan Adam’s 8 suggestions, and alternative solutions that I offer:

    1. Take a walk around the block.

Luckily, my job is excellent about encouraging employees to walk around its campus.  There are scenic walking paths, and during lunch time groups of 2’s and 3’s own the road.  Yet, I understand that not every company has the same environment, and not every boss is going to be okay with you randomly leaving for a stroll in the middle of the day.

Instead I suggest taking a walk around your mental pathways.  Plug your headphones into your laptop or MP3 Player and just zone out for a few minutes.  Take a second to reflect or meditate on your next meeting or something personal.  Take some time to center yourself.  It may not be the change in scenery you were craving, but it’ll be a change in mental scenery.

2.   Take a nap.

ABSOLUTELY NOT.  If I were to list the top ten ways to get on the bad side of your boss, this would probably be in the top 5.  The best replacement for this piece of “advice”? Make a cup of coffee and have a chat with someone in the kitchen.

3. Chat with a colleague.

This is a great suggestion, and it will defiantly help you with your personal conversation initiative.  There is absolutely no harm in conversing with your colleagues.

4.  Run an errand.

Again, this is a tad inappropriate. Instead organize yourself so that you have time to run your errands later. Or just de-clutter your life. I suggest cleaning out your email, or creating those new inbox folders in your Outlook that you never had time to make.     Another constructive way to pass time, and step away from work without leaving your desk, is working on your personal career goals.

5.   Brush your teeth.

Adams pretty much correlates the removing of plaque to ridding yourself of sluggishness.  If this works for you, great!  Me? As the new person in the office,  I don’t really want to be known as the girl who is always brushing her teeth in the office bathroom.

Instead, pop a stick of gum into your mouth.  The minty zing really does help to give you a little boost of attentiveness.

6.   Spend ten minutes checking Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.

I am not a hypocrite.  I think that most of us take the occasional peek onto Facebook.  After four years at college  mastering the art of procrastination while achieving major success, by multitasking with Facebook or Twitter, Facebooking and surfing the web are hard habits to break.

BUT it is how you web surf that makes it work appropriate.   Above facebooking, I would recommend checking out LinkedIn, that way you can continue working on your network and expand your knowledge of other industries.  I would also recommending web-surfing on news sites like Forbes, CNN, NYT, BBC or the Wall-Street Journal.  Or you can read an industry/career blog  like…maybe… this one?

7.  Go to the gym.

ONLY if your company has a gym on site.

If your company doesn’t and you’re feeling a bit antsy, check out this website:

        • 29 Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk

If you want a good laugh, check out this website:

 8.  Go out to lunch.

I highly recommend going out to lunch once in a while, even if you are not going out to eat.  Sometimes a nice little drive, or some time spent window shopping, can do wonders.  If you’re still feeling antsy, maybe you can go find a nice quiet place besides work to do the outrageous moves from A Workout At Work.

 

Got a Shyness “Problem”?

In Blog on June 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I’m incredibly shy. Now, usually when I say this to anyone who has known me over hm… 30 minutes all I get is an eye roll.  I project well, I carry myself well and I’m pretty good at carrying a conversation.  Still, if you throw me in a room filled with people I hardly know, it takes me awhile to warm up to people and feel comfortable.  I think that for most of us that’s pretty normal.  However I’ve learned that in the workplace this type of timid behavior will rarely get you noticed.  Yes, it is true that hard work and diligence goes a long way, but so do smiles, hellos and relationships. 

For a young (or old)  intern, or someone new to a company taking the first step towards getting to know that person around the corner, or even your boss’ boss’ boss can seem a bit intimidating.  Even waving can be tricky (in cases of unreciprocated waves, I’ve always pulled the ol’ cramp in the wrist routine simply pretend like you’re cracking your wrist until your hand is back at your side).   Although typically approaching people after you’ve already met them may not be a problem, meeting people in a new place (or just in general) can be especially tough.

THIS BBC ARTICLE written by tech reporter David Lee discusses how companies are just as concerned as we are about not building relationships in the office place.  Lee mentions that companies spend millions of dollars on creating a familial workplace.  Yet, really feeling comfortable in the workplace is up to you.  Yes, ice breakers at office parties can start dialouges, but creating a personal conversation initiative goes even farther. 

For me, the best place to spark new dialogue has been in the floor’s kitchen.  What better way to kill 1 minute and 45 seconds as your Lean Mean Cuisine warms up? Turns out Georg Ell (manager of Yammer– a social network vehicle dedicated to building relationships in the workplace) and I are on the same page.  We both suggest opening dialogue with “What are you working on?” Not only does this start a dialogue, but it helps you to learn more about the company while establishing a stepping stone towards building a network.  Follow up with, “I work in insert department how do our departments interact?” or more questions about their position/department.  Later the conversation will become more organic.  After that? It’s all up to you.

Tip: If your memory is as bad as mine, keeping a Word document of people that you meet and looking names and faces up in the work directory will help you remember names and faces.  It’s also not a bad way to kill time.  

Feeling Insecure?

In Blog on June 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

As polished, prim, and proper as we might be in the work place, nobody’s perfect.  Whether they are silly or not, we all have insecurities.  For some, this insecurity is the awkward cowlick that makes your hair standup no matter how you pull or prod it.  For others, it is the twitch in your right shoulder when you speak up in a meeting.  Maybe, it’s the pool of sweat gathering under your armpits whenever you are (and are not) nervous.

I have a few insecurities of my own, but my biggest one is my grammar.  Even as an English major from a top-ten ranked liberal arts college, I still catch myself wondering if my grammar is correct which drives me crazy. Once you send an email, proposal, meeting notes –whatever- it’s gone and there’s no getting back those blunders. So here’s a little tip: If you have any questions about what word or phrase to use, go ahead and make Grammar Girl a bookmark.   She’s pretty much my cyber best friend.