Category Archives: Nuts & Bolts

Power Boost!

I know, back in April, December seemed so far away. Anything was possible! You were busy and you just wanted the urgency to go away, so you could put first things first.

Now that far away future is here. Have you accomplished all you wnated to accomplish? Have you added up all your business-purpose miles from your calendar?

If not, please take a deep breath, and stop berating yourself. Beating yourself up because things aren’t as they “should be” is a waste of energy. It’s like aol or norton antivirus, always running in background draining your computing power. I trust that you learned this behavior honestly, as a strategy for motivation. Thing is, it doesn’t work. Your parents, your teachers, did the best they could, but you’ve out grown

AND it makes you smaller, your perspective narrows.

Practice, just a moment at a time, accepting what is.

Q&D: tools and truth

Quick & Dirty

Q&D is a new occasional series here on the blog. In a Quick & Dirty post you get my uncensored thoughts, jotted down quickly and released. These will often be a response to something I see going on in the world, or with my clients, but it could be anything.

Remember that a Profit and Loss statement is set up to show you specifically where the money flows. Income-Expenses=Profits

You then have 3 options for how you use the profits: take them home for personal use, reinvest them in something for the company- like a new computer, a course, or even an assistant, OR you can hold on to them as “Retained Earnings”, saving them for later.

You are going to have a basic Profit and Loss report for every separate business you have. That way you can examine each of them for their own gifts and their own needs.

You also get to look at your personal cashflow, when looking at the personal cash flow, the businesses each get a single line under Money IN and/or Money OUT.

Here is where you have a chance to be really, really beautifully honest with yourself- how much of that personal development is your “happy place”, your leisure activity, or well-being and how much is essential for one of your businesses. Clearly your therapy is personal, and your financial coaching is a business expense, but many of these courses could go either way. It makes no difference to me which way you categorize any of these, but telling yourself the truth about each of these will give you an opportunity for clarity, that is powerful.

I’ve seen people lie to themselves in both directions, pretending to be less profitable that they are (because they are willing to justify a business expense, but not a personal well-being expense) AND other people pretend to be more profitable that they really are (because if they aren’t already making X amount of money, then they make-up that they have wasted their time). Both positions are ways to compromise on yourself.

Tell yourself the truth!

You are living a created life. You make delightfully idiosyncratic choices to serve your purpose, to live your values, and deal with your circumstances. You may not always hit your mark. You will get scared and you will make mistakes. AND when you give yourself the gift of telling the truth to yourself, you build resilience and you can recognize new opportunities.
One of the powerful tools you have to do this is a simple Profit and Loss statement. Use your numbers and be honest, at least with yourself.

Celebrate July with Community and Everyone’s Favorite: Discounts!

For the entire month of July, I’m supporting Houston’s newest collaborative work community: CoInside. For every person who signs up for Foundations of Sustainable Profits, I’m donating $50 to CoInside. And to sweeten the deal, I’m offering a $100 discount for the course. This way, my clients can build a solid basis for their financial future, and CoInside can support likeminded entrepreneurs who need a space to work and develop new ideas with others.

CoInside, located at 1919 Houston Avenue, believes that “independents do it differently.” CoInside’s fresh, creative workspace brings independent workers together to accomplish their goals. With four membership tiers, everyone can find a level of community that works for them and get a dedicated desk outside of their home where they can work independently. You can stop by for a $15 drop-in fee, or get a $30 introductory pass good for three co-working days.

Get your $100 discount on Foundations of Sustainable Profits today, and support yourself and this fantastic organization.

Sweet Tools: The CoWorking Collective

This is a guest post from the delightfully curious Andrea Lewicki. We first met a year ago in a branding boot camp. I was immediately drawn to her quiet playfulness, and deep thoughtfulness. It has been such a pleasure to watch (and be a tiny part in) the evolution of her Lewicki Agency. This Spring she opened up a really great, simple, tool for all of us who work independently.  Below she shares The CoWorking Collective, in her own words. Check it out & maybe we’ll be work buddies for the session that begins June 11th!


One of the best and worst things about being self-employed is not being part of an organization. On the bright side, you have the freedom to arrange your workday. You decide the mission and vision for the work you do. You are liberated from bureaucratic duty.

On the other side, you miss out on the embedded support structure an organization provides. You always have to take the lead, do the work and deliver in your team of one. It can feel like you’re working in isolation, and sometimes you feel like you’re the only person that cares about the work you do behind the scenes.
So much of what we do as self-employed people happens when nobody is watching. Sure, you might work at the coffee shop now and then, but the people hidden behind the other laptop screens don’t care if you’re working or goofing off on Twitter. It’s true that there are people who are interested in your work and can’t wait to see what you do next, but they’re not asking you what you’re going to accomplish between now and tomorrow. It doesn’t matter to them if you launch your big idea this week or two weeks from now. Maybe, like me, you’ve taken a online class aligned with what you’re trying to do. You get to connect with people in similar situations and there’s a support forum, but all of it comes with extra items for your to-do list. Depending on the class, you may end more behind than where you started!
And don’t get me started on all those time-management techniques. Most of them don’t work in the long run because you’re left being accountable to yourself. You and I both know how easy it is to justify your way out of that kind of accountability. You don’t need a lot of accountability — just enough to keep you showing up and doing the work.
For all of these reasons, I decided to create a simple support system to fill the void. It’s called The CoWorking Collective, and it’s a virtual CoWorking system that’s easy on your wallet, your time and your attention. I designed it to meet two specific criteria:
  • a low-overhead structure that balances freedom and support without weighing people down
  • a support system without teaching, coaching or obligation beyond the short daily check-in
Investment: $15 per work cycle (8 business days), 15 minutes a day (first + last days are 30 minutes)
That’s it. In return, you and your CoWorkers are partners in accountability. Check-ins happen via Skype or Google+ hangout. Partners are matched to optimize time zone compatibility (it’s a global enterprise). I provide tips on starting the conversation, getting to know each other and handling the check-ins. Once you’ve completed a work cycle, I’ll ask you how it went and what I can do to improve the program. The whole thing happens in 5 easy steps, shown in the diagram below.
It’s a fantastic tool for sprinting a project to completion. You can sign up for work cycles 12 weeks in advance, meaning you can plan support into your execution strategy!
It’s amazing what a difference those 15 minutes can make. One of the most remarkable things is that you begin to notice how much you’re really getting done. Chances are it’s a lot more than you think! Another thing that happens is you get better at breaking up large, overwhelming tasks into doable increments. You make progress. You get to the end without pulling out your hair!
The next work cycle begins on Monday, June 11th. Registration closes on Thursday night. You can find more information, including registration here. If you’re interested in the Collective but you’re not ready to schedule, you can also add yourself to the mailing list here.
There’s one other fringe benefit of joining us in the CoWorking Collective is the Brown Bag Lunch Series. I invite guests to share helpful information on topics relevant to independent business owners. The first guest is Christyna Lewis on Tuesday, June 12th! She’ll be talking about Financial Friday and how to make it a supportive part of running your business.
how it works

time sensitive 1099s & W9s

Hello Lovelies,

Now is the time to get your records in order for 2011. Hopefully, you’ve been tracking your spending as you go along, but if not you have just a couple weeks to know who you paid for work last year.

If you paid anyone $600 or more for their services over the course of 2011, you are responsible for telling the IRS about their income. You use the 1099 form to do that.  Of course, this is not for employees (most of you reading this don’t have employees yet). We are much more likely to collaborate with sub-contractors and other professionals. Any amount that your business pays to a lawyer needs to be reported.

You can read all the rules on the IRS website here.

Gathering up this information & putting it in the correct forms and formats is a great Financial Friday activity.

  1. Be sure you have Tax ID Numbers (TIN) or Social Security Numbers (SSN) and current mailing addresses for everyone you’ve worked with.  Asking them to fill out a W9 is an easy way to do this.
  2. Search through your records for how much you have paid them. Those $40 checks to the cleaning lady can add up! Fill out the 1099 forms for all the people your business paid $600 or more (remember your IT guy, your cousin who was your ‘assistant’ for 2 months, everyone!)
  3. Send them their copy of the 1099 & ask them to get back to you *pronto* with any corrections or questions. They need to get back to you by Feb 15th, 2011.
  4. Send the IRS their copy of the 1099s (the red copy) with a 1096 form “cover letter” before the deadline.
  5.  Do a happy dance!

And then get on with your fabulous work-creating for, healing, building up your community.

Any questions or observations? Leave ‘em in the comments.