Why It Is Important to Have a Legitimate Business

Business Coaching Price List

As more people enter the side-hustle space, many often grapple with the idea of establishing a legitimate business entity. This is usually because their side-hustle is all about making extra money to supplement or enhance their income. On the other hand, establishing a business entity means paying fees and taxes that can chip away at extra earnings.

Thus, it is easy to understand why a new entrepreneur would be hesitant to go legit at first. But it is important to remember that having a legitimate business has more perks than downsides. So here are a few reasons why you should legitimize your business.

Avoid Legal Issues

Any time you earn money you must report and pay taxes on that income. In order to pay taxes on money that you earn as part of your entrepreneurship endeavors you must have a taxpayer identification number (TIN). For sole proprietors this is generally their social security or individual taxpayer identification number.

However, for many business entities an employer identification number (EIN) is required for tax reporting and paying purposes. In order to have a legitimate business entity you must obtain this or some other identifying number for your business.

In addition to a TIN you will also need to do the following to establish a legitimate business:

  • Select a Business Structure
  • Register the Business in Your State
  • Get Necessary Licenses and/or Permits
Main Page

Completing these steps will keep you in compliance at the state and federal level. You can thereafter easily report and pay your business taxes without having to worry about fines or imprisonment.

Protect Yourself Against Litigation

In addition to avoiding tax-related legal issues, you can potentially protect your personal finances against legal action when you establish a legitimate business. Certain business structures such as limited liability companies (LLC’s) or corporations legally shield business owners’ assets from being seized in law suits.

Establish Your Business Identity

It is also important to establish your business identify so that you can avail opportunities to help you business grow and expand. Setting up your business bank account is one of the most important things that you need to do in order to access funding for your business.

In order to get loans, grants, credit cards, lines of credit, etc. most lenders or grantors require that you have a business bank account. You must have a legitimate business entity in order to set up a business bank account. Banks require that you present your articles of organization and business licenses to establish a business banking relationship with them.

You will likewise need to have a legitimate business structure in order to process credit cards, digital payments, wire transfers, etc. Also, in order to legally hire and pay employees you must have a legitimate business structure.

Thus, it is better to start your business ownership journey off on the right foot from the beginning. This way you don’t have to waste precious time doing these things once your business starts to generate revenue.

Improve Your reputation

The average consumer prefers to do business with a legitimate, reputable operation. This provides them with protection against fraud and abuse. Establishing a legitimate business entity can give your customers the confidence to do business with you.

Your social media presence is also an important aspect of establishing and improving your business reputation. Without a legitimate business operation, it is not very wise to establish a social media presence for your business. You can easily subject yourself to legal troubles as mentioned earlier.

Main Page

Why Africa is an Entrepreneur’s Paradise

Entrepreneurship in Africa
Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania

The African continent has been getting a lot of attention lately by entrepreneurs. Many economic forecasters has pivoted the continent as the new frontier for growth in almost every sector imaginable. While the continent still has many challenges, it is growing and expanding in many ways. A number of African leaders are starting to implement polices that make their nations attractive places to do business.

Market Potential

Africa is probably home to the most fertile business prospects on the planet. The continent is trying to catch up with its more developed counterparts. Yet, many African nations still lag behind in infrastructure development. This makes the continent a goldmine for entrepreneurs who are willing and ready to contribute to the dynamic growth of the continent.

Almost every major market has untapped potential on the continent. Only a few business sectors are saturated in Africa. This also makes the continent prime real estate to sell quality goods and services. So for almost any business endeavor that you can think of you can probably find a dozen or more countries in Africa to do business in. Most African nations have fertile ground for sewing the seeds of entrepreneurship.

Main Page

Low Start-Up and Overhead Costs

The cost of living in most African countries is much less expensive than the average developed nation. This means that it will cost much less to establish and maintain most businesses on the continent. It is fairly easy and inexpensive to lease or own property in many African nations. Salary and wages are also much less than in most developed regions of the world. This means that financing your entrepreneurship dream on the continent can easily become a reality.

Burgeoning Middle Class

Africa’s middle class is growing at a fast rate. On the other hand the middle class in most developing countries is experiencing slow growth or disappearing altogether. Africa’s middle class represents the rise in professionals and entrepreneurs that are taking the continent by storm. A number of African college graduates who left their home in search of a better life are migrating back home. Many others send money to their loved ones in an effort to help restore the economy of their home lands.

As this trend continues, more businesses now enjoy the ability to cater to more discerning customers on the motherland. Middle class and affluent Africans desire luxury goods and high quality services. This dynamic has created a growing demand for new businesses, especially those that are designed to serve westernized tastes. So now is the time to establish or relocate your start-up or franchise to the continent. Doing so can help you can gain more exposure and realize greater capital potential.

Social Transformation

As I write this post, many African nations are undergoing drastic social transformation. The youths in these nations are not satisfied with business as usual. They are frustrated with the corruption and infrastructure issues that have plagued Africa for so long. And they are doing something about it.

The youths in a number of African nations are beginning to demonstrate against their governmental representatives. They are also beginning to hold these politicians accountable for their actions. They are demanding a better socio-political structure and the entire globe is starting to take note.

Social transformation in Africa

Thousands of people march to Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, to demand that the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, step down immediately because of his corrupt rule on April 7, 2017.

As governmental leaders start to rise to the occasion many of these nations are subsequently experiencing significant socioeconomic development. So if you decide to transition to this entrepreneur’s playground you can easily realize your vision. You can also simultaneously help many Africans realize the social change that they need.

Need more help developing your business plan for African entrepreneurship? Contact us and we will gladly assist you.

The Skills You Need to be an Effective Entrepreneur

Effective entrepreneur skills

In my line of work I constantly meet people who want to become entrepreneurs. While I celebrate and encourage entrepreneurship, I must say that it is not for everyone. Even more I don’t take clients who I feel won’t be effective in their entrepreneurship journey. This is because I don’t want them to waste their time or money.

While you don’t have to be born with an innate inclination for entrepreneurship, you must be willing to make the effort to build the right skills if you want to be an effective entrepreneur. For the average person building or growing a business takes hard work and dedication. It is not something that you should do just because you want to “be the boss”. However, it is something that you should do if you wish to be of service to your community. And you can’t do this if you don’t have or aren’t willing to acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities that it takes to be an effective entrepreneur.

So if you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur you need to do a thorough self-assessment to determine if you meet the following qualifications:

Strategic Thinking

In order to be an effective entrepreneur you must have the ability to think strategically. This does not mean that you have to be world’s best strategist. But you do need to know how to effectively think and plan long-term. You must think beyond selling to the small number of clients that you may already have. You must investigate how you plan to support multiple clients in the future.

The average new business owner that I meet is simply focused on the here and now. These individuals can only think about how they can make money from their service or product. They don’t think about the logistics of manufacturing mass goods or providing consistent services to large numbers of clients. They don’t think about ways that they will market their business, transact payments, or even expand in the future.

In order to be an effective business owner you must be able to think through every aspect of your business operations before going public. This is why it is important to have a sound business plan. You can easily draft one on your own if you have strategic planning training and/or experience or if you are a natural strategic thinker. However, if you don’t have the skills, experience, or expertise to think and plan strategically, you should consult a professional to help you with this very important task.

Determination

As an entrepreneur you must be willing to tough it out through thick and thin if you endeavor to be successful. You can’t give up at the slightest challenge that you face. You must be in it for the long haul if you plan to see results.

One common theme among new entrepreneurs is that they want to experience success overnight. As soon as they open their storefront or publish their website, they expect to make instant sales. In most cases, this is not realistic. It will take time to build your brand and your clientele.

Though businesses with physical storefronts are likely to see some activity on the first day of opening, it is unlikely that they will achieve massive sales right away. Exceptions to this general guideline are business owners who invest in franchises or other recognizable brands. Even more, it will generally take new virtual businesses much longer to build a steady and consistent clientele base. Competition in the online marketplace is very stiff right now. Without proper planning and sound marketing strategies it may be more difficult to get a stronghold in your niche market.

So if you wish to have a successful business you must be patient and ready to deal with the challenges ahead. Understand that many of today’s successful, well-known entrepreneurs failed several times before they or their brands became household names.

Adaptability

Effective entrepreneurs must be able to quickly adapt to changing and uncertain times. You can’t get stuck in one way of doing things. You must be able to bend or grow in a different direction if you want a successful business. Modern day technology has proven this time and again. If you are not willing to adapt to societal changes you will most likely be left behind.

Even more, you must be able to adjust your thinking to the way that customers think. You can’t do everything the way you like it. Your goal is (or at least it should be) to please your customers. You shouldn’t expect to only sell the products or services that you like. Doing so may be counterproductive in the long run. Consumers have varying preferences and tastes, which means that you should try to cater to their needs and desires and not your own.

Self-Starter

If you desire to be an entrepreneur, you must be a self-starter. You must be able to initiate and execute your business plan without the promptings of others. Unless you are starting your endeavor with a partner(s) you won’t have someone standing over your shoulder to ensure that you get the job done. You will need to set your own deadlines and stick to them.

Though there are many resources available to help you get started, you will need to do all the groundwork. Entrepreneurship is not for those who aren’t willing to take charge and take responsibility for ensuring the success of their business.

Main Page

Discipline

Entrepreneurship also requires serious discipline. You must be capable of managing yourself as you execute the day-to-day operations of your business endeavors. You need to be able to start your duties on time and stay until the job gets done.

I meet a number of prospective entrepreneurs who want to start their own business so that they can be the boss and do whatever they please. Entrepreneurship often means the exact opposite of this – you may have to work earlier and/or later than your employees. This is often the case in the beginning phases of your business endeavor. In fact, you may be the only employee during the start-up phase.

If you are not willing to put in the hard work, your business can easily fail. Few people will care more about the success of your business than you. So you should not anticipate being able to lay back on the beach while your employees oversee and complete all the work. You will need to be an active part of your business until it is running well enough for you to focus your attention on other matters.

Integrity

In order to be successful in business you must operate with integrity. Your customers must be able to trust that they are receiving a quality product or service. Otherwise, you will most likely lose many of them. You must consistently deliver your products and/or services in a timely and in an equitable fashion. Not only are you at risk of losing customers if you fail to operate with integrity you can also subject yourself to litigation. This can easily result in fines or imprisonment.

Studious

In order to be a successful entrepreneur you must be willing to learn. Even more, you must take the necessary steps to acquire knowledge about laws, rules, and regulations related to business ownership. You will also need to grow in your knowledge of marketing techniques, networking, and other business matters. This is a never-ending task as the world is consistently changing. You will need to stay abreast of the latest trends and happenings in your industry.

Again, there are professional services available to assist with many aspects of your business in terms of marketing, payroll, etc. However, you must have some foundational knowledge in these areas in order to avoid being taken advantage of. So adopting an attitude of continuous learning will serve to aid and protect you in the long run.

Need more business coaching ideas? Contact us and we will gladly assist you.

Main Page

Should I Quit My Job to Start My Own Business?

I am a staunch advocate of following your dreams and achieving your life goals. I feel that everyone should wake up happy and excited to start their day. This is the main reason that I started my coaching business – it energizes and excites me when I help people discover and pursue their passions.

At the same time, I am a staunch believer in not making impulsive decisions that can have a long-term adverse impact on your finances and overall quality of life. This is why I think that the pursuit of our passions should be founded on the principle of wisdom. You need to understand the how, when, where, and why of executing your plan of action before you dive in.

As much as I love doing what I do, I would not be able to do it without the foundation that I built from working a full time job. I worked for many years building my business while remaining employed at a fairly demanding job. There were many times that I thought about quitting my job and starting my own business during my transition phase.

About a year before I left my last full time job I was completely burned out but I kept going because I wanted to set a firm foundation for my business before leaving. I was not in the financial position that I wanted to be in during the early phases of my business start-up. So I stuck with my full time gig until it was the right time for me to leave.

Of course, my situation doesn’t apply to everyone so I never answer this question with a one-size-fits-all answer. Ultimately, it depends on your situation and your career goals. So I always challenge my clients to consider these three questions when they contemplate quitting their job in favor of entrepreneurship:

Are You Financially Prepared?

Generally, I recommend that you have at least 6-12 months worth of living expenses in savings before you voluntarily leave your job. This may sound excessive, but it can be a life-saver especially if you do not have another source of income. No one knows what tomorrow will bring so it is better to be prepared than to be sorry later.

Think about some of the individuals who left their jobs to be a full time entrepreneur within a few weeks of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic. A few of them probably made impulsive decisions to leave their jobs and had little savings in the bank to carry them through a few months. They were fired up and ready to give their business their all and out of nowhere the entire globe was forced into an economic shutdown.

So, what does that look like for them now? Number one, because they voluntarily separated from their employer they can’t access unemployment benefits right now. Number two, they also don’t have access to employer-sponsored healthcare benefits. This means that they may have to delay or forgo treatment if they experience health concerns.

Number three, unless their business provides essential products or services they probably won’t make many sales right now. Because consumers tend to primarily buy only essentials in a down economy a number of businesses that provide non-essential goods and services are suffering right now.

Therefore, more than likely these individuals have unnecessarily fallen on difficult economic times due to poor preparation. And believe it or not, I actually know someone who is in the exact situation at present. This is why I strongly advocate for financial preparedness when starting a business endeavor.

Even in an up economy, the average business owner typically has more expenses than revenue in the first year of their business opening. For some, this may be the case for the first two to five years. This means that you may not be making a profit while your business gets off the ground. Therefore, you need a financial cushion to keep you afloat during these times.

Do You Have an Economically Viable Business Strategy?

Is your business tried and true? By this, I mean have you tested the market and seen if your business is profitable for you? Generally this requires that you start building your business while working a full or part time job. That way you will have a better understanding of how much you can anticipate making from your business once you transition into it full time.

Taking a tiered approach to full time business ownership also helps you make less costly mistakes. You can take your time to see what works well for your business operations and what doesn’t while you still have a viable income scream. You can easily write off losses and lessen your tax liability while not breaking the bank if you strategically plan your transition.

Do You Have a Backup Financial Plan?

If you plan to leave your job, do you have have another viable means of income to sustain you through the transition? This could include income from other income earners within your household, alimony or child support payments, pensions, annuities, royalties, investments, lottery winnings, etc. This source of income can be in addition to or a replacement for the earnings from your employment.

It is very important to have a steady scream of income flowing while you start your business, if at all possible. Having a backup financial plan will help ease tension and anxiety from business losses or slow growth. It can also be an extra source of business capital in times of need. So think about how you plan to live as you grow your business before you leave your job.

Summary

After you have taken time to diligently consider the impact of leaving your job in favor of starting a business, you should strategically plan your course of action. You should never make an impulsive decision by simply quitting your job in the heat of frustration or excitement. No matter how tired you are of your employer or how burn outed you may be, impulsivity is rarely the best plan of action when it comes to financial matters.

Even if you decide that quitting right away is the best option for you at least follow proper protocol. Tender your resignation according to your employer’s guidelines and be diplomatic throughout the resignation process. You never know if you will need your job again in the future or if you will meet up with your former supervisor, colleagues, or customers in a different capacity.

Also, try to wait for the most opportune time to leave even if you are ready to walk out the door right away. For instance, if you work in education generally the best time to leave is in between terms or during the summer break period. This gives your employer enough time to replace you and you aren’t leaving your customers in a difficult situation. After all, your customers from your current employment may be your business customers one day. So you should always try to resign in a graceful manner.

Need more business coaching help? Contact us so that we can help you achieve your goals.

Tips for Effectively Using Social Media for Your Small Business (For Introverts)

Effectively using social media in business

If you are anything like me when it comes to personal social media networks, you prefer to stay as far away from them as possible. I passively use video sharing platforms like YouTube on a regular basis and I engage with my friends, loved ones, and clients on WhatsApp quite frequently. However, I never quite jumped on to the social media bandwagon during the peak of its emergence.

This is primarily because I am a very private person and somewhat of an introvert in unfamiliar social settings. I have never really come to terms with sharing some the most intimate and sacred moments of my life or those of my family. Also, as one of my dear friends often says, “I want to control my own narrative”.

While I do not have many personal social media accounts, I have created and maintained a few social media accounts for my businesses throughout the years. And, I often help clients grow their social media presence for their career or business endeavors. While I make a conscious effort not to engage in social media in my personal life, I consider it to be a necessary tool for business-related matters.

In fact, if you operate certain types of businesses it is absolutely essential to have a social media presence. However, most businesses can benefit from maintaining a positive social media presence. Doing so allows you to capture a wider audience which can potentially help your business grow and flourish at a faster pace.

If you are an introvert or otherwise prefer to remain anonymous in your personal life, there are ways to effectively employ social media while maintaining your privacy and anonymity. Many social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter offer business versions of their platforms. This option allows you to use your business name and business-related images in your profile. You can also easily advertise and promote your products or services through these platforms.

Here are a few more tips to help you effectively use social media for your business:

Select the Right Platform

While I advocate the use of social media for business owners, I also caution them to be wise. There are more than 65 popular social media websites worldwide that you could potentially use to leverage your business. As such, you must select the platforms that you use with caution and care.

On average 2-4 social media networks are sufficient for small business owners, especially for those who self-manage their social media presence. Creating, scheduling, and moderating social media posts can be time-consuming if you do it as frequently as you should (more in this later).

In general, the platform that you choose should be based on your target audience, type of business, and desired reach. While the larger platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter are great for reaching larger general audiences, they may not be best for smaller businesses that operate within niche markets. Instead, you may want to use social media networks with fewer followers that have a more targeted focus. This way you can get the word out about your business with less competition and noise.

Post Frequently and Consistently

At minimum you should have your own business blog. This is a space where you can freely create and share your thoughts and content without having to worry about external regulations, policies, or guidelines. Also, a business blog is a living, breathing marketing tool that helps you connect with your consumers in a more intimate and natural way. In addition to your blog, you should create accounts with some of the major and/or minor social media networks as discussed earlier.

Business social media for introverts

You should post content to your business blog and social media channels on a frequent and consistent basis. The more you post, the better your chances of getting ranked by Google and other search engines.

There is no magic number for how often you should post to your blog or other social media networks. However, on average 2-4 posts per week will typically get you recognized easier by search engines and customers. On average social media channels with more than 400 posts get more traffic.

These numbers may seem daunting so don’t get overwhelmed if you can’t post this often. The key is to do what works best for you and your business. You may want to start off posting two or more times per week in the first 3-6 months and slowly decrease your posting frequency as your business grows.

However, don’t stop posting altogether – once you have built up enough content it is best to maintain a weekly or bi-weekly posting schedule. The name of the game is consistency. The more consistent you are the greater your chances of building a larger customer base.

Post Relevant, Quality Content

Your content should be useful for your consumer base in some type of way. Whether you are sharing ideas or tips or showcasing your product line, your social media content should make sense in the context of your business operations. You should not be posting pictures of your children, pets, or vacations on your business social media networks unless this type of content is relevant to your product or service line.

Your post don’t have to be extensively long, but they do need to be of high quality. Your content should be well-written and virtually free of grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors. It should likewise be accurate and honest. Once you establish yourself as an expert or artisan in your industry your customers will begin to look to you as an authority. So be careful with the content that you publish on any social media network.

Need more ideas on how to leverage social media for your business? Get in touch with us.

The Holistic Business Plan Model

Holistic Business Plan

The traditional business planning model emphasizes developing a mission and vision statement, and writing goals, objectives, or values. This model helps business owners assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These elements are important in strategic thinking for business longevity. However, this method does not focus on how these elements align with an entrepreneur’s mind, body, soul, and spirit, which are critical factors in determining entrepreneur satisfaction and motivation, and overall business success.

This is why I use the holistic strategic planning model to assist my clients during our business coaching sessions. This model helps entrepreneurs develop a keen sense of self-awareness so that they can fully understand how their business operates as an extension of themselves. This in turn adds to the health and well-being of the business owner and the business.

Mind

It goes without saying that you should have the mental aptitude to coherently engage in whatever business endeavor that you embark upon. In fact, the average business owner starts a business related to an occupation or profession that they have a number of years of experience in or are otherwise familiar with.

However, it is also important to continue to build your level of knowledge, skills, and expertise as you grow your business. It is even more important to build adequate knowledge, skills, and abilities if you decide to start a business in which you have little to no prior knowledge about. Regardless of whether you are an expert or amateur, it will also be important for you to learn about legal and regulatory issues pertaining to business ownership.

Holistic business planning

Therefore, a very important part of your strategic plan should include your professional development goals and objectives. I am not referring to the type of professional development required by employers or professional associations. I am talking about real, hands-on knowledge that can help you become the best at what you do.

As a new business owner, you will often find yourself learning critical knowledge and skills in rushed or time-sensitive situations. Why not include this as part of your business plan so that you can avoid or decrease the likelihood of such situations from occurring. So think about creating a plan to grow in your respective business endeavors and in the rules and regulations of business ownership.

Body

So often new entrepreneurs only think about the financial gains from their business endeavors. Of course, this is sometimes necessary based on an individual’s circumstances. And there is certainly nothing wrong with considering the role of economics in business as financial gain is generally the ultimate goal of establishing a business. However, the challenge with allowing money to be your motivating factor in strategic planning is the potential sacrifice that you may be making to your physical well-being.

Operating a financially profitable business that drains and tires your body can quickly lead to burnout that will likely have you reconsidering your decision to be an entrepreneur. This scenario often happens when an individual is not properly aligned with their passion,which I will discuss in more detail in the next section.

On the other hand, when your business mission and vision is properly aligned with your soul purpose, the business energizes and excites you even if your business operations require a great deal of physical exertion. This is when you know that you have chosen the right business path.

So spend some quality time meditating on how your business operations can or will impact your physical health. If you get tired at the thought of carrying out the daily duties of your business operations, this may be a sign that your business is not in proper alignment with your physiological well-being. In which case you should seriously reconsider your strategic plan.

Soul

Whenever I hear a person say that I would do this for free if I didn’t need the money, I know that they are in alignment with their soul path. When I refer to soul path I am not talking about only one aspect of your life. Life purpose or soul path is often thought of in a monolithic fashion. People usually think that their soul path is a series of steps or a long winding road that leads to one epic event or accomplishment in their lives. We are multidimensional beings so it would make sense that our soul path is likewise multidimensional.

One thing that links us to this multidimensional soul path is passion. Our desires or passions show us what we really want, what we will be good at, where we should be, and how we should start our mission. This is why our business plan should be inevitably intertwined with our passion.

Your passion can be something that inspires you or something that angers you. Like all of our other emotions, passion is a continuum. Whether you have intense love or intense hate for something, either emotion can be a driving force that causes you to accomplish the same goal.

For instance, a number of people who start schools do so because they intensely disagree with the way public school systems are ran. Others may do the same thing because of their intense love for education and knowledge. Either way, both can have very prosperous schools because they are passionate about their intent.

This is why celebrities and public figures know that “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. Their goal is to get noticed and be in the public eye – someone who has intense disdain for them can oftentimes stir up more drama and attention than their devoted followers. This in turn puts them in the limelight, thereby allowing them to accomplish their goal of getting more attention and notoriety.

Therefore, part of your strategic plan should involve assessing how passionate you are about your business operations. The more intense you are about something, in either direction, the more likely you are to succeed at it.

Spirit

Our spiritual sensibility guides us to understanding if or how our lives benefit the greater good of society. So when you are led by spirit in your business endeavors you are removing your ego or self-serving desires from the picture. You think about whether your business endeavors are serving or harming society at large. Even more, you dig deeper into how your business is serving the greater good of society, if it is indeed doing so.

Your business should be of service and benefit to mankind and the planet. It should not just be a profit-making machine that is useless or hazardous to society. When your business serves the greater good, your spirit will be at peace and you can enjoy tranquil days and restful nights knowing that you are benefiting society.

On the other hand, your business may be successful even if it does harm others but you will lose your integrity in the process. This will ultimately cause you to disconnect from yourself and society at large. You will lose your sense of peace even if you are financially or otherwise successful.

So know what you want when you plan your business. If you desire peace and holistic well-being, think about how your business aligns with your personal goals and desires, society, and the planet. If all of these elements are benefiting from the services and/or products that you offer then you are most likely on the right path.

Need more inspiration developing your strategic plan? Contact us and we will gladly assist you!

The Benefits of Employing Your Child in Your Family-Owned Business

Children Working in Family-Owned Businesses

Chances are your child or children already help out a bit in your small business operation. They may do anything from helping to carry, count, or sort inventory to answering phones and relaying messages. These are all work-related duties that they should be getting paid for just like any other employee.

Under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act parents who operate a sole proprietorship, single-owner limited liability company, or spousal partnership may legally employ their child in their business. This guideline applies as long as the child is at least 7 years of age and is able to reasonably perform business-related tasks and duties.

There are certain occupational restrictions that apply to the employment of minors, however, in most non-hazardous workplace environments children can be legally employed and compensated. Additionally, there are daily and weekly work hour restrictions depending on the child’s age and school status. So definitely check the law in your state on what kind of work your child can legally perform and how frequent your child can work.

Aside from the obvious monetary benefits that the child receives, this employment situation can be advantageous to you and your child in a number of ways.

Work Experience

When you employ your child in your business and give them real, transferable work skills you are helping them build their resume or entrepreneur profile. This way if there is ever a need or desire for them to work for a non-parental employer they will have bona fide work experience.

Parental employment situations can also help children learn to be socially and economically responsible. If children are allowed to manage their time and income (when appropriate) they can quickly develop life skills that will benefit them for years to come.

Labor Costs

While individuals under the age of 20 must be paid state minimum wage rates after the first 90 days of employment, it is often cheaper to pay and sustain a child’s salary in small business operations. By law, a child must be paid fair wages for the job he or she is performing and in most cases state minimum wage rates meet this requirement for entry level jobs.

In general, you want to pay your child according to industry standards for the job he or she is performing. However, an adult with household responsibilities would usually request more in the same role. Even if the adult agreed to the same wages, his employment may be short-lived with your small business if he is able to secure better wages elsewhere. So not only are you able to save on wages, you can also save on recruitment and retention costs that often plague small and large businesses alike. This is an excellent benefit in the start-up phase of your business.

Tax Breaks

Employing your child in your family-owned businesses has its share tax perks for you and your child. First, the child’s wages are exempt from Social Security, Medicare, and Federal Unemployment (FUTA) taxes as long as the child is under the age of 18. Social Security and Medicare taxes start to kick in at the age of 18, but you are still exempt from paying FUTA taxes until the child reaches the age of 21.

Additionally, if you pay your child less than $12,400 this year her entire salary is exempt from taxes per IRS rules. This guideline only applies if the child is single or married filing separately. In which case, the average child will qualify for the standard tax deduction which usually increases every year.

Second, your tax benefits will come in the form of payroll deductions. You can deduct any and all payroll expenses on your annual tax return. This includes the salary you pay your child regardless of how the child uses it. This guideline is even applicable if you qualify for a child tax credit under your small business and/or through employment.

Succession Planning

If you are like the average entrepreneur, you want your child to eventually follow in your footsteps. This could mean either taking over the family business or building his or her own empire. Either way the earlier you start preparing your child for business ownership, the better. Your child can develop valuable skills and abilities if they start working with your family-owned business from a young age. This way if you are unexpectedly unable to maintain your business, your child can do so lending to your family’s economic stability.

Need more beneficial business development ideas? Contact us and we will gladly assist you in your endeavors.

Tips for Working Remotely During the COVID-19 Quarantine

This COVID-19 situation has caught us all off guard. It has turned the workforce upside down on many levels. Unemployment claims have soared and many part time employees have reduced workloads while employees in high demand industries are being asked to work overtime. Additionally, a great number of us who are fortunate enough to maintain our employment status are now tasked with working remotely, which has created it’s own set of challenges.

I have had the pleasure of being a remotely-based freelance worker for a number of years now due to the nature of my work. So this situation hasn’t been a great challenge for me in this regard. However, my work load has increased significantly since I offer a number of coaching services, which are all in high demand as a result of the COVID-19 situation. Though I am truly grateful for this surge in work, it has kept me away from my blog for a few weeks.

However, it has likewise given me the inspiration for this article since many of my clients have been asking me for suggestions to help them cope with shifting their work space to the virtual environment. So, here are a few tips to help you transition your business or work operations to your home base or other remote location…

Maintain Your Normal Schedule and Routine

Keeping a regular work schedule was tremendously helpful for me when I started working from home. When you work from home, there is technically no going “home” from work. Because you effectively spend the majority of the day in your home when you work from home, it easy to blur the lines between home and work. It is common to find yourself working earlier or later than you would normally work in an office or other setting.

This often happens due to extra pressure or boredom. It is highly likely that you will feel extra pressure when you first start working from home, especially in crisis situations such as the one we are currently faced with. It is likewise normal and acceptable for you to spend more time preparing for and getting acclimated to your new work environment. Learning how to use virtual systems like video conferencing tools and industry specific web-based software can easily add an extra hour or two to your work day.

And, let’s not forget about boredom. After you have binged-watched all the Netflix series that you can digest, it is not uncommon to find yourself checking your work email during your “off hours”. This is also acceptable on occasion, especially since we are being bombarded with an overflow of communication about the COVID-19 situation during the early phases of this work space transition process.

However, overextending yourself too often for too long can easily lead to drain, fatigue, and burnout. So once you get settled and can easily navigate your way around new technology, processes, etc. set an amenable work schedule and stick to it. It is best to stick to your normal work schedule, if at all possible. However, it may be necessary to shift your work hours depending on employer or client demands. Even in these circumstances it is still important to keep standard working hours and shifts so that you can maintain your health and well-being.

Create a Dedicated Work Space

Having a dedicated work space is just as important as having a standardized work schedule. You need to work in a space or area of your home that provides you with the level of privacy, comfort, and peace and quiet that you need for optimal performance.

When setting up your space keep the requirements of your job and your personal preferences in mind. Do you deal with highly sensitive data? Will you need to make frequent phone or video calls? Do you have any needs that require specialized equipment? There are many factors that can impact the size and type of space that you may need to perform your work efficiently. Keep in mind that purchasing extra work-related equipment or resources may be tax deductible depending on your work situation.

Creating a dedicated office space may be as simple a setting up a desk and computer in a nook of your bedroom or dining area. Or, it could be as elaborate as converting a whole room into a home office. In fact, you may already have a dedicated computer room in your home that you use frequently for work-related and other purposes. Depending on your family situation, you may need to find a way to keep your spouse, children, or other household members out of the space when you do work assignments that require privacy, quietness, or solitude.

Get Dressed for Work

Yes, get up and get dressed as if you were going to your regular job. While working in your PJ’s may sound enticing, it can actually complicate your work situation. Sitting in front of a computer in your night or workout clothes can trick your brain into thinking that it’s time to mindlessly surf the internet. Instead, you want your brain to shift into work mode when you sit down at your computer desk. Putting on professional attire will easily kick your brain into work mode so that you can perform your job duties at optimal level.

Dressing professionally will also help you stay prepared for impromptu and scheduled virtual meetings. If you get dressed at the start of your day, you don’t have to scramble to find an outfit when your supervisor or a client wants to do a virtual face-to-face at the last minute.

Connect with Colleagues on a Regular Basis

Maintaining consistent verbal communication with your colleagues is also important during extended remote work situations. Not only do we need to maintain communication because we are hardwired to connect with other humans, we also need to keep a sense of normalcy. Scheduling time to chat with our peers is very important in maintaining our sanity through this situation. We need to find meaningful ways to consistently interact with our colleagues, customers, and/or clients as we venture into this brave, new workforce.

Don’t Overwork Yourself

Finally, my last bit of advise is to not overwork yourself. This goes along with maintaining a standardized work schedule. Try not to work on weekends unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. Pace yourself and do what you can. Most employers and clients are willing to extend deadlines and work with you in a variety of different ways to ensure that you have a safe, healthy, and efficient transition to your new remote work environment. While you may need to work a few hours more on certain days, this should not be the norm. Try to cancel or delay any non-essential tasks, meetings, or events. Learn to say “no” when you need to. And most importantly, take proper care of yourself and those around you as best as possible.

Need more coaching ideas? Contact us and we will be happy to assist you.