Kellie is my personal CPA. I met her in a local FB moms group and immediately connected with her. She is a wonderful lady and is always very helpful answering questions! I will recommend this lady 100 times over. So now, let’s have a little tax tip time… with Kellie.

Tax Tip Time – With Kellie Vincent

What do I do with all these receipts?

Back in the day before we had innovative technology, a business owner would walk in their accountant’s office at tax time and dump a big shoebox full of receipts on their accountant’s desk and say “See ya later.”  This scene is now most likely to be found in old movies rather than real life.  One would say accountants got smarter in requesting information, but truth is I believe business owners realized what they were missing out on.

A receipt is more than a thin slip of paper – it’s a timestamp and a journal of your transaction.  Yes, it might be for a $4.39 spool of yarn or a $29.99 package of ink toner, but it provides a record for you as a business owner.  It shows what store you went to which you could then calculate the mileage from your home to the store and back, it tells the description (for the most part) of what you purchased, and the time/date it was rang up.

Financial records when put together tell a story of your business.  This story can help the business owner make decisions about his/her company which results in making more profit (which is why you’re in business any way, right?).

The key of keeping up with your receipts/transactions is finding a method that works for you.  Because we do live in the world of wonderful technology, we have a lot of options but keep in mind simple is better.  A system is only as good as its data input.  Finding the solution to your business and lifestyle is key; don’t force a round peg in a square hole.

Why should I hire a tax adviser if I can do my own taxes?

As a CPA that predominately completes tax returns I hear very often about the ease of online tax software and preparing returns on your own.  I am proactive for this movement and appreciate that taxpayers are getting online and taking control of their taxes.  But, and this is a big but, there comes a time when you need a professional.

The time comes when a business owner is making enough money that ensuring all deductions that can be taken are taken which is worth an additional cost.  The value a tax preparer provides is ensuring the right questions are asked and reviewing the information provided by the taxpayer in relation to the business.  Also, the tax preparer provides guidance to ensure the proper documentation is being retained in case of a review by the IRS.

In my practice, the approach I use is simple:  Understand, Explain, and Plan.  I first get to know the taxpayer in the current tax year (a lot can change in one year).  I do this by reviewing the data and asking questions.  I then explain in full detail the tax return from where the numbers come from to how the final numbers are calculated, leaving no question unanswered by either party.  Then, we plan for the following year and I follow up throughout the tax year to see if there are any questions or if the plan needs to change.  The objective is that the tax return is the final product of the planning work completed throughout the year, not just an annual report.

The deadline for 2016 tax payments this year is Tuesday, April 18, 2017.   You may choose to extend the filing deadline to Monday, October 16, 2017 but any tax liability is due in April.  If you have any questions please feel free to email me at [email protected].  Best of luck to you and your business!

 

 

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THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. BUT THESE ARE ALL PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND AND USE MYSELF.

The Hungry Jpeg has impressed me from day one. Not only do they have amazing fonts, monthly bundles, freebies and $1 deals, but their customer service cannot be beat! Their products also always come with commercial use so you don’t have to guess if you can use their items for things you make and profit from!

Their January bundle is only $29! Use code CRAFTMAMA20 for an additional 20% off making the final price $23.20! 86 fonts and 40 graphics! Amazing deal!

Here are some of their other fonts and bundles I love!

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small portion from the products you purchase.

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I first met the owner of Punkin Rumpkins, Amanda Poma, in 2015 when HoopMama Designs was first starting out. She has helped me with testing designs, answering questions in my group pages, and has just overall grown to be a great friend! I have watched Amanda grow her business in a very organic and natural way. Word of mouth has been her weapon of choice for the most part, but her product line really makes her stand out above the rest!

I asked Amanda these questions about her business and wanted to share her responses with you here!

Punkin RUMPkins

Been in business since July of 2014.

Platforms selling on: Facebook & Etsy

Which Platforms Work The Best For You?

I opened my Etsy shop in September of 2016 and it has been amazing! I’m not very thrilled with their listing and selling fees but the amount of traffic the website brings has been great for my business.

How Much Do You Invest In Advertising Monthly?

I have only advertised during my Anniversary giveaways. I usually spend $15-20 for the two weeks that I have the giveaway open. Other than that I do not spend any money on advertising. I post my finished items in various groups that allow watermarked photos and try to direct traffic to my Facebook page. My customers are great with referring new customers to me.

How Would You Say Your Items Are Priced In Comparison To Your Competition?

My items are competitively priced with where most boutiques have similar items. I know what my time is worth and the products I make and sell are made with excellent quality. I don’t ever under price my products unless it’s a new item that I am trying to promote or I am trying to clear out some inventory which is very rare as I try to use mock ups.

What Types Of Items Do You Offer?

I offer custom hand made clothing and embroidered children’s tops. I recently ventured into the HTV world and am really loving it. As much as I love embroidering, the HTV is much faster as far as turn around time and I can charge less to my customers for these items. Making my shop a place to shop for all incomes levels.

What Types Of Items Are Your Best Sellers?

My best sellers would have to be my newborn outfits and my custom made women’s free socks.

Why Did You Start This Business?

When my son was six months old I was big into cloth diapering and making sure he had the cutest phrases on a bodysuit. I was always buying a new cloth diaper or another embroidered bodysuit and one day my husband said to me”why don’t you just start making your own?”. He asked me what it is that I would need and BAM! Christmas of 2013 he had purchased my first sewing machine. Little did he know that it actually costs more to have all these fancy machines, fabric, supplies etc than it was to just buy from another WAHM. (He eventually learned how much, haha!) I was constantly being told my work was amazing and that I should consider selling. With the support of my husband and family and after becoming compliant to sell children’s clothing I opened my shop in July of 2014.

What Do You Think Would Help Your Business The Most?

I think becoming more active in my Facebook group and possibly hiring an admin to run my page, my business would really take off. I haven’t ventured to that yet but it is my goal for 2017.

Name A Few Things That You Can Attribute Your Success To? Diligence? Patience? Right Place At The Right Time?

My business first took off when I had a customer in 2014 refer twenty of her friends to me. I still have most of those customers to this day. Having lots of patience and knowing when to say ‘no’ has really helped me become successful. I’m very picky when it comes to items I purchase for my son so I’m constantly making sure anything I make and sell is up to my ‘high’ quality you and control standards because I know what I look for in anything that I buy.

If You Could Go Back In Time And Give Yourself Advice Before Opening This Business, What Advice Would You Give?

If you plan on going into business take inventory of EVERYTHING you buy! My first year in business was a MESS! I went on a shopping spree and didn’t log anything in my inventory books. Tax time the following year was a headache. I learned my lesson and luckily I knew to save all of my receipts and got it all squared away.

What Do You Do Differently Than Your Competition?

I find what sets me a part from other sellers is that I make the matching clothing items to accessorize my outfits. Other than fabric, I never buy inventory from suppliers.

Anything else you would like to share?

If I could share anything it would be to take on only what you can handle. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to customers if you feel it’s more than you can handle. Never under sell yourself, you know what your time and materials are worth. Anytime a particular project is giving you grief…. walk away, clear your mind and when you’re ready get back to it. It’s much easier to do this than accidentally making a silly mistake and having to start all over. Join Facebook groups pertaining to your craft, they are FULL of helpful information. If you can’t find your answer don’t be afraid to ask. No question is a silly question. Have fun in what you do!

 

Thank you, Amanda for sharing your journey with us!

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Hello 2017! I know so many of you have goals that you’re looking forward to accomplishing this year and I’m so excited to be a part of your journey! I remember saying in December of 2015 that I wanted 2016 to be great… but I wanted 2017 to be even better!

Every dream must have roots in order to come true. If you’ve been dreaming of something for a long time… those are the roots. It’s no longer a vision you had while you were sleeping. It’s real. It’s deep inside you and ready to grow!

See, dreams aren’t just a wish your heart makes. Dreams of doing something you’re passionate about are a vision of what life has in store for you. You just have to do some leg work to put it in motion.

If you have a goal this year for something you want to accomplish in your life or in your business, THIS IS THE YEAR to make it happen! It may mean saying “no” to things that don’t serve a long-term purpose. It may also mean that you make adjustments along the way to refine your focus. But no one can take away this dream from you, and no one can execute it the way you can. Keep that dream BIG and don’t be afraid to do the impossible.

Happy 2017!!! Let’s do this!

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Do you have a written plan for 2017? If not, let’s get one in motion right now.

I know we all dream of our businesses being like a well-oiled machine that just simply “works.” However, not very many of us have a full-time staff complete with marketing managers, bookkeepers, inventory control or even front desk customer service smiley girls. Many times we’re lucky if Paw Patrol will keep the kid’s attention long enough for us to heat up that cup of coffee again for the 5th time today.

But even though we may not have the luxury of having full-time help, we do have the ability to make a plan of action that works for our situation and then execute it.

One of the hardest things I have faced in my business is planning. Not necessarily because I don’t know what I want to do… but because I tend to get distracted or overwhelmed or too excited and I end up throwing the “plan” out the window. While there is something to the “go with how you feel” execution being a part of the creative process… we have to learn to turn that creative brain off and let the business brain turn on occasionally. Otherwise, creative brain will have you painting rainbows and butterflies on the wall and then taxes will go unpaid.

Being your own boss means that you are responsible for the boss stuff too. Thus experiencing all the glory that entails. While it may include mind-numbing tasks, those tasks are necessary to make your business successful. They don’t have to be painful, though! If we set up a plan that works for our lifestyle, not someone else’s, our chances of success and follow-through increases.

Let’s identify 6 areas to focus on in 2017 for your business to thrive.

1. Finances.Yuck. Why start here? Well. Because we have a business to make money, right? If we didn’t care about the money, then this would be a hobby and not a business. In the HoopMama Crafter’s Calendar there is a day designated for planning each month. Understanding your financial situation is necessary for understanding your forecast of growth. Yes, sometimes in business we do have to take a loss, but we need to analyze carefully if that loss will bring us growth later. For example, investing $200 in a new machine may put us in the red for a month or two, but will that $200 investment help us grow by $2,000 a month? And then the opposite, will $200 on higher quality supplies gain us that many more orders if we don’t up our pricing?

In owning a business, it’s important for us to weigh our purchases and make sure we’re making smart decisions. Sure we may make a few bad choices, but having a better “long term” view of how our money is working, will help us to say “no” when the return just isn’t there.

Another important thing with finances are that we need to protect them. Crafters have some of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. I have met so many people who just want to help their customers out. While this is admirable, there must be a point where the switch flips back and the business mind jumps in control otherwise we will craft ourselves right into the poorhouse. This is where standing behind your pricing and payment policies will also help you protect those precious dollars.

2. Pricing & Payment Policies.

“What should I charge for this.” Is a question I am asked over and over again. I personally do not like pricing formulas. Pricing formulas do not take into account anything other than “what it cost to make” and “how long it took to make it.” Pricing formulas do not have anything to do with branding, your target market, your personal life, your craftsmanship, or your salesmanship abilities. We’ve all heard the phrase “she can sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman in white gloves,” right? Well here’s where crafters go wrong. We rely on “pricing formulas” to answer the questions that WE need to be asking and answering ourselves. We group ourselves into a “what is everyone else doing” group and forget that we are different. There are crafters who do products for their neighbors and follow a pricing formula, sure. But if we want to establish ourselves as a brand and a real business, we need to ignore what everyone else is doing and do some serious research on the market we’re trying to reach and price accordingly to the market and your expertise. Basically, price it where you WANT to price it. And then be ready to back up that pricing! Don’t charge $22.99 for a thin and poor quality shirt, but do charge that for a high quality, well made and show worthy product.

Same goes for payment policies. An easy way to establish yourself to your customers as a business is to stand firm in your payment policies. Getting payment up front, canceling unpaid invoices, and having a clear cancellation policy for them to refer to will help tremendously in the long run. If you’re lax in your policies, word will get around fast, and you’ll be trampled on. Take time this year to write out your policies, post them everywhere you sell, then follow through with them. Obviously this doesn’t mean to turn into the Grinch and not have a heart for a customer going through a hard time, but it does mean to stand firm especially when it comes to the topics mentioned above.

3. Equipment & Inventory.
The beginning of the year is a perfect time to examine your current equipment and supply inventory. If you’re wanting to upgrade machinery or switch brands you use for your supplies, turn  that business mind back on and get your pros and cons sheet out. If you determine that a new machine will help you this year, but the funds aren’t immediately available, start working on a goal sheet that puts a date on when you want it by, and the weekly or monthly funds needed to get there by that target date. This will sometimes be tricky, especially if you may be in debt with your personal finances. Reading Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover is an excellent start to getting your personal finances on track so you can focus on business goals without feeling like the money should be going elsewhere. I think many crafters still have their mom-cap on that says “I shouldn’t buy anything for myself,” but if we’re serious about being a business, we need to go ahead and accept the fact that costs are, and will always be, involved. This doesn’t mean to go into purchases without careful consideration, but it does mean to stop feeling guilty spending $200 on a heat press, or $150 on some AMAZING Mighty Hoops!

4. Product Offerings. If you know what you want to offer already then you’re heading in the right direction! Most crafter’s end up picking up an “I can make that” syndrome and quickly become a “me too” girl. The same thing that makes us entrepreneurs is also the problem that many of us face. Yes! We CAN make basically ANYTHING. However, what happens is we get pulled in so many directions that we lose our focus and become “just like everyone else.” If your business tagline is “Vinyl & More!” or along those lines. Consider narrowing your scope and specializing in just a few products or occasions. We will dive into this deeper with CraftMama University, but narrowing your offerings to what YOU WANT to do and not what you CAN do, may help you free up a lot of time and frustration, and may even make your business grow!

5. Social Media & Online Presence. This one is huge! Sure we can buy the stuff and make the things, but so what? If no one knows where to find us, then how will we ever be successful? Having a Facebook page is great!  But if we don’t market it correctly, then we may have trouble getting up and going. Etsy may have some negative emotions pop up especially now that they’ve gone public. But Etsy honestly reaches a market that you may not be able to reach on your own. I see people constantly worried about getting their Etsy shop shut down for no reason, but with my research and experience, that isn’t usually the case. Sure sometimes they make a mistake and close a shop wrongfully (they are humans too) but when a mistake is made, they will fix it! If you make smart business choices and avoid using trademarked or copyrighted materials, Etsy will be a great resource for you! You can also get your first 40 listings here FREE!

I also always recommend to have several platforms to sell on. My website HoopMama Designs is on BigCommerce. Which is similar to Shopify. CraftMama is on WordPress and hosted on BlueHost, which is where I will eventually take HoopMama because there is more flexibility. But with WordPress, you will have to learn quite a bit more of the technical side which can be pretty time consuming. But in the end, it’s always a great idea to have a website to send people to. Even if you just purchase a domain from somewhere like GoDaddy and “point” the domain to your Etsy store for now, the domain will add another layer of credibility and trust with your customers. Domains can be very cheap! I believe I paid .99 cents for the 1st year for my HoopMamaDesigns.com domain name. So it’s definitely worth it to show your customers you mean business!

$.99* .COM Domain! Get going with GoDaddy!I know a lot of you are more comfortable selling through Facebook, and YES you can have a very successful business this way! But having a domain name provides a level of professionalism that many customers desire.

6. Personal Growth. This must never stop. Ever. When we stop learning, we stop growing. Books like 48 Days to The Work You Love and No More Mondays by Dan Miller inspired me in ways I can’t even explain. I have always had an entrepreneurial mind so books along those lines have always held my attention longer than any fictional book. I always listened to Dave Ramsey’s debt free podcasts while I worked and my husband and I read the Total Money Makeover together. These books and books like these will inspire you to grow not just in your business, but in your personal/financial life as well. If reading isn’t your thing, try taking a class/webinar on a topic that interests you. Craftsy has many classes that will help you refine your craft!

7. Business Goals.  A business without profit is just a hobby. As small business owners, sometimes we’re embarrassed to set a monetary goal. We see ourselves as “the little guy,” when we should actually be aggressive in hitting our sales goals and reaching toward growth whenever possible! Take time to create monthly, quarterly, and yearly business goals and review them often! If something isn’t working, adjust it. If you hit your goal earlier than expected, set a new one. But your business should always have a focus. If you are asked “what are you working on right now,” you should be able to respond with 3 key areas that your are focusing on. Goals are what keep the business rolling month after month. They limit boredom and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.

2017 can be the best yet, but you have to put in the time if you’re going to collect the dime.

That’s all for now! Join me in March for another GAME PLAN! Until then, stay positive and always move forward. – CraftMama

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small portion from the products you purchase.

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