Is Xero Right for Your Business?

| Bookkeeping, Small Business

Is Xero Right for Your Business?

Xero believes in giving you — the small business owner — the power to plan ahead with your finances.

And truth to be told, I’m completely biased. (I liked the software so much I became a Xero-certified bookkeeper!)

If you’re in the market for software, consider Xero and then check out WaveApps, Zoho, Kashoo, and Freshbooks, too.

Overview of Xero

Xero is a robust accounting software that entrepreneurs can use by paying a monthly subscription between $9 and $70. It’s cloud-based, which means that it’s online and all of your information is kept on the Internet as opposed to your computer.

Is it easy to learn?

Since Xero is so robust, it’s not the easiest of software to get up and running. In fact, I recommend that you use it with a professional accountant or bookkeeper. If you’re looking for accounting software that’s free and easier to learn, check out WaveApps.

That being said, it can be easily navigated once your accountant or bookkeeper is keeping everything organized. You’ll be able to see your cashflow in real time, which allows you to make smart financial decisions, check reports to see if you’re on track with your revenue goals and send beautiful quotes to potential clients.

What are the downsides?

There are a few downsides to using Xero as a small business owner, and I’m going to break them down into three categories: limited multicurrency options, no recurring billing, and accounting jargon.

1) Limited multicurrency option – Unless you choose the most expensive subscription ($70/month), you won’t be able to receive or invoice using foreign currency, which makes doing business with people outside of your country really difficult. So if you’re a solopreneur who needs under 5 invoices but needs multicurrency, you still have to choose the most expensive option.

2) No recurring billing – If you’re invoicing many different clients the same amount each month, you don’t have the option to charge their cards automatically. While Xero will duplicate the previous month’s invoice and send it, the client will still have to enter their credit card information to pay it.

3) Accountant jargon – This software, like many of the others on the market, is made with accountants and bookkeepers in mind. That means that a lot of the feature I love about it (old-school style, journal-based bookkeeping) are things that won’t matter much to you. It also means that you’ll have a more difficult time navigating the software and being able to make the most of its features. It’s best used with a professional.

Why should I use it?

1) Better than a spreadsheet – While Xero isn’t perfect, it’s also a major step up from spreadsheet-style bookkeeping. That means tax time will be easier to manage because everything has already been captured and recorded.

2) Easily accessible and useful reports – The reports are one of my favorite features of Xero.

3) Constant updates and great customer service – Xero knows the value of listening to its customers. As a result, they’re always rolling out new features, fixing technical bugs, and generally making the software more beautiful and easier to use. Plus, if you do encounter problems, the customer service is fast and at your disposal 24/7 for free. They’ll get back to you almost immediately and explain how to solve whatever problem you’re facing with patience.

4) Openly available information – While this software is made for accountants and bookkeepers, Xero still offers a lot of information for the DIY entrepreneur. You can find tutorials in dedicated training, articles, videos, and their handy-dandy accounting glossary.

5) Able to track inventory – This is a built-in feature that’s great for business owners who sell physical products, like t-shirts.

Quick rundown of Xero

  • Started doing business in: 2006
  • Based in: New Zealand
  • Cost: Paid monthly subscription ($9 – $70)
  • Free trial: 30 days
    Credit card processing fees (via Stripe): %2.9 + 30 cents
  • Automatic billing: No
  • Payroll available: Yes (includes features like built-in timesheets, employee leave, and reimbursement of expenses)
  • Multicurrency: Yes
  • PayPal payment option: Yes
  • Etsy connection: No (only through 3rd party applications)
  • Shoeboxed connection: Yes
  • Freshbooks connection: No
  • Customized invoices: Yes
  • Mobile app: Yes (There are separate apps for Invoices / Receipts / Payroll)
  • Option to collaborate with team members: Yes

Still have questions about whether or not Xero is right for you? Leave a comment below or send me a message.

0 comment

Is WaveApps Right for Your Business?

| Bookkeeping, Finances, Small Business

Is WaveApps Right for Your Business?

So you’ve heard of WaveApps, the accounting software, and now you’re wondering what all of the fuss is about. Is it really comparable to other software like Xero, Freshbooks, or Zoho?

And, as a small business owner, how is it going to make your life easier, if at all?

Before I tell you about WaveApps, I want to remind you that no software is perfect and that many of the suggestions I give are going to be made for accountants and bookkeepers. So they take time to learn.

What’s most important is that you choose one that fits for the size of your business and the type of work you do.

Also, any cloud-based software you choose is going to be a step up from the standard spreadsheet-style bookkeeping.

Overview of WaveApps

WaveApps is free accounting software. It’s cloud-based, which means that it’s online and all of your information is kept on the Internet as opposed to your computer.

It’s free (no, really) and was made primarily for small business owners, consultants, and freelancers. While that price tag can be very kind to your bank account, it also means that you give up features that other software, like Xero or Freshbooks, provide. You’ll see these in the section below about the downsides.

Is it easy to learn?

Yep, Wave is one of the easiest cloud-based software to learn. When you sign up for an account, you’ll be prompted to connect your bank accounts (including PayPal) and credit cards. It works even if you have international bank connections or use a foreign currency.

After connecting your accounts, you’ll be able to track your income and expenses, send invoices, and read reports to see a bigger picture of your money.

You can access reports for:

  • Financial – Balance Sheet and Income Statement
  • Taxes – Sales Tax and Payroll Wage (paid feature) and Tax Report
  • Customer – Income by Customer and Aged Receivables (how much money is coming in and how long you’ve been waiting for it)
  • Vendors – Expense by Vendor and Aged Payables (which expenses you haven’t paid yet and how long overdue they are)
  • Other – General Ledger (similar to a general overview all of your accounts), Account Transactions, Trial Balance (can see all account balances), Gain / Loss on Foreign Currency Exchange

You can customize all of the reports by date.

What are the downsides?

There are a few downsides to using WaveApps as a small business owner, and I’m going to break them down into three categories: accountant jargon, technical bugs, and Etsy sales.

1) Accountant jargon – To be fair, Wave does a great job of always trying to make things easier for small business owners who aren’t accountants. That being said, there is still a lot of jargon that an entrepreneur would have to learn to be able to make the most of the software. What’s more, if you’re not familiar with how your books should be kept, you often won’t know if there’s a bug or if something isn’t being properly recorded. Mishaps like that could lead to you paying more than you owe in taxes or making decisions based on false information.

2) Technical Bugs – Since it’s a free software, identifying and fixing technical bugs takes a bit longer (2+ days). What do I mean by technical bugs? One I encounter regularly goes like this. Let’s say your balance sheet says there is $100 in your bank account. But when you go to the Transactions screen, you have $90. You then go check the balance of your account, and it’s also $90. That means that somewhere in all your transactions, there’s a mystery $10 difference. In other words, you have a “ghost transaction” that you now have to sift through and find. Even as a trained bookkeeper, transactions like these can take me 1-2 hours to find. Not the best way to spend your Wednesday, right?  

3) Etsy Sales – If you sell on Etsy, you’re able to collect sales through Wave, which is great. However, since you’re also connected to PayPal, those sales will be recorded twice. That means your sales numbers will be misleading unless you go through and manually merge the two transactions. That’s also a time suck.

Why should I use it?

1) Better than a spreadsheet – While Wave isn’t perfect, it’s also a major step up from spreadsheet-style bookkeeping. That means tax time will be easier to manage because everything has already been captured and recorded.

2) Free and easy to set up – It’s free and setup is painless, which is great for any entrepreneur who is bootstrapping her business. That being said, it also allows room for growth by giving you the option to invite your accountant, bookkeeper, or team member into the software.

3) Responsive customer service – The customer service is really responsive and attentive. If you’re confused about why your numbers are wrong or how to get rid of duplicate transactions, you can open up a chat box from directly within the software and be connected to someone.

4) Easy to learn – Much of the software, like looking at transactions and invoicing, is going to feel intuitive if you’re tech savvy. If you encounter something tricky or want to learn how to use the software to its fullest potential, there is plenty of information available. You can start with a free series of articles called Wave University.

5) Multicurrency option – With most accounting software, multicurrency is either unavailable or an add-on for a higher-priced subscription. WIth Wave, though, you can invoice and receive funds in any currency, which makes it a lot easier to do business with clients abroad without worrying about the exchange rate.

6) Can save credit card information of clients – Clients can choose to save their credit card information so that each time you invoice them, all they have to do is click “Pay Invoice.”

Quick rundown of WaveApps

  • Started doing business in: 2010
  • Based in: Toronto, Canada
  • Cost: Free
  • Credit card processing fees: %2.9 + 30 cents (varies for non-Canadian / non-US countries)
  • Automatic billing: No
  • Payroll available: Yes ($15 + $4 per employee in the US)
  • Multicurrency: Yes
  • PayPal payment option: No
  • Etsy connection: Yes
  • Shoeboxed connection: Yes
  • Freshbooks connection: No
  • Customized invoices: Yes
  • Mobile app: Yes
  • Option to collaborate with team members: Yes

Still have questions about whether or not Wave is right for you? Leave a comment below or send me a message.

1 Comment

Why Entrepreneurs Should Stop Using Spreadsheets for Bookkeeping

| Bookkeeping, Business Basics, Small Business

Why Entrepreneurs Should Stop Using Spreadsheets for Bookkeeping

If you’re still using a spreadsheet for your business’ bookkeeping, we need to have a heart to heart.

I’m guessing that if you’re still using them, it’s either because:

A) You don’t know other options.

B) You can’t choose between the other options.

But here’s the problem. When you use a spreadsheet, bookkeeping has a tendency to take over the important stuff that keeps your business running, like bringing in new sources of revenue or marketing.

Here’s what I believe: bookkeeping should NOT take over your business tasks.

I know this isn’t news to you. Your spreadsheet has been clunky, constantly out of date, and often difficult for you to understand.

And when you don’t understand what you’re seeing, making smart financial decisions becomes a whole lot more difficult and making realistic goals feels impossible.

So what should you do instead?

That’s why the next best move for your business is to choose and sign up for a cloud-based accounting software.

I know that sounds kind of intimidating. But really, depending on which one you choose, the transition can be smooth, and you’re going to LOVE all the time you save.

Let me make the difference between a spreadsheet and online accounting software clearer by talking about something we all love: food.

When you cut a carrot, you can use a knife and cut one slice at a time. It will take a bit of time (especially if you AREN’T Gordon Ramsey).

Or your other option is to invest in a food processor, which will cut your carrot into little pieces in seconds.

The food processor is like your accounting tools, it gets the job done faster and more efficiently. Plus, you were probably able to chop more carrots in the same amount of time.

Remember, no software is perfect

As a bookkeeper, I see accounting software in a different light, and I read a lot of comments that look something like this, “I hate XYZ software. It’s so confusing and so hard to use. I want to find a new one. Any suggestions?”

I want to make sure you know that no software is perfect and that many of the suggestions I give are going to be made for accountants and bookkeepers, so they take the time to learn. What’s most important is that you choose one that fits the size of your business and the type of work you do.

Also, any cloud-based software you choose is going to be a step up from the standard spreadsheet-style bookkeeping.

I know that making the decision to move from spreadsheet to online can feel like a lot of work, so I’m going to go over my favorite accounting tools that help me and my clients with bookkeeping tasks.

These are:

  • Xero
  • Zoho Books
  • WaveApps
  • Freshbooks
  • Kashoo

These tools will help you streamline your business when it comes to sending invoices, accepting payments, tracking income and expenses, and managing your cashflow among so many other benefits.

We’ll talk about who each software is most suited for, the cost, benefits, and disadvantages.

Each requires a different process for making the move from a spreadsheet (or paper and pen) to online bookkeeping, and I love them because they all have a fantastic library of resources and responsive customer service. So, no matter which you choose, they’ll take care of you. 🙂

If you have questions you definitely want me to address or a specific software that you’ve been thinking about, leave me a comment below so I can make sure to cover it.

 

 

0 comment

Take Control of Your Finances: Training

| Bookkeeping, Budget, Finances, Personal, Small Business, Tutorial

Congratulations!

You’ve made it to the final step of taking control of your finances! If I could, I would definitely give you a big hug (I was going to say pop a bottle of champagne, but alcohol is usually one of the things people can trim).

If you’ve been following along, you’ve done the first three steps in the process of finding financial prosperity:

  1. Tracking
  2. Targeting
  3. Trimming

Now we can move onto the last step: Training.

Now that you know where your money goes, what your financial goals are, and how you’re going to get yourself there, it’s important to keep up the work.

It’s so easy to be tempted to go back to your old ways. But, unlike the proverb suggests, you can absolutely teach an old dog new tricks.

Treat it like going to the gym to maintain your physical health. You want to do the same and keep up your financial health.

Let’s discuss ways to maintain your financial fitness.

How to Maintain Financial Fitness

There are a number of ways to do this, and I think the simplest one is to keep learning.

Read financial books, watch videos, or even hire a bookkeeper (like me!).

By reading about financial matters in books and articles online and by continuing to keep up with your finances, you can make it a part of your everyday life and make it easier to maintain.

Financial health is a lifelong process and one you should continue to keep up.

Most importantly, think about paying it forward. Don’t keep your newfound financial knowledge to yourself!

Teach your kids, neighbors, or coworkers about finances. Make recommendations to others on how to get more information regarding money and how you got your finances in order.

For example, in my house, I teach my kids the value of money by opening their own savings accounts.

They have to decide how much to save and when they want to buy something they have to count their money to see if they can afford it.

Resources Recommendations

Here are some resource recommendations:

Books

Websites

Facebook Groups

Podcasts

Money Coach

Bookkeeper

If you get stuck, I’m here to help. You can ask me questions directly on my Facebook page. 

Keep up the good work!

0 comment

Creative Money: An Interview with Stacy Abke, Mindset Coach

| Interviews

Creative Money: An Interview with Stacy Abke, Mindset Coach

The Creative Money Interview series exists to remind the passionate, DIY entrepreneur that she can navigate the confusing, messy world of business numbers with grace, ease, and humor.

Today, I’m speaking with Stacy Abke, a mindset and clarity coach for women entrepreneurs who want to make an impact in the world without compromising who they truly are. After working with her and seeing the results that are possible from shifting your mindset, I wanted to share her story with all of you. Thanks for being here, Stacy!

Interview Highlights

  • What super common mistake she first made with her business finances
  • How she decided what to price her signature coaching package
  • What she would do if she weren’t an entrepreneur

LET’S TALK ABOUT MONEY

What about money most confused you when you started your business?

The most confusing thing about money when I first got started was learning to separate business and personal finances. When I was first starting out, my business was “me,” so I was just using personal everything – my personal credit cards for business expenses and any income was going straight to my personal bank account.

I hardly even had a business budget. I was just winging things. It definitely was confusing to learn the importance of separating the two, especially how to do it with ease while still paying myself.

How did you solve that problem?

I first learned about WHY I needed to separate the two (it’s crazy important) and then decided to go for it. Then I had to set up my business the “right” way and get everything taken care of legally. That was probably the hardest part.

After that, I knew I needed to create a budget to make sure my business was profitable and that I was still able to pay myself. Figuring all of that out took a bit of trial and error, especially with knowing how much to re-invest, what to pay myself, and messing around with my overhead.

What challenges are you currently having with managing money in your business?

I would say keeping on top of bookkeeping. Keeping track of everything would be so much easier if I did it more regularly instead of hustled to get it all together each quarter. Trying to backtrack and remember all of the income and expenses is a lot more challenging when you do it less often!

I hardly even had a business budget. I was just winging things.

How did you decide what to price your services?

For me, it was a combination of industry standards, what felt good to me, and what I felt my ideal clients were able to afford. My prices aren’t so low that they don’t allow my clients to stretch with the investment but not so high that they literally can’t afford it or have a hard time afterward. I took a look at what other people in my industry were charging, felt into it, and came up with a number that made me feel confident.

When is the last time you raised your prices / rates? What made you decide to do that?

I raised them slightly about a year ago when I re-did the package itself.

I knew that it was worth more than I had been selling it at, and I no longer wanted to give my time and energy away for the original price.

LET’S TALK ABOUT BUSINESS

What’s your current business model? In other words, how do you make money?

Right now, I do 1:1 business and mindset coaching for entrepreneurs in online industries. I also have a mastermind that I run – we have weekly calls and a group for extra support.

Why do you love what you do? 

I love what I do because my business gives me the freedom to express myself, create my own schedule, and create what I want while empowering others to follow their dreams and turn their passions into successful businesses.

It’s my goal to help my clients break free from the mold they think they’re supposed to stay in.

I don’t really think that the way society works right now is sustainable – working 9-5 – until you can’t stand yourself anymore then retiring on barely enough to live off of… there’s no passion there. I’m not dissing the standard 9-5 job. If that’s what lights you up, then go for it… but it’s not for most people. It’s my goal to help my clients break free from the mold they think they’re supposed to stay in and finally follow their purpose.

What’s one mindset shift you had to make to get to the next level of your business?

I had to switch my mindset from “hobbyist” to “entrepreneur…” meaning I had to start treating my business like a business. This meant treating my business investments as necessary ones instead of scary personal decisions.

I now ask myself the question: “If I were working for someone else, would I still be making this decision?”

It also meant standing my ground on the time and energy I needed to create a successful business. I now ask myself the question: “If I were working for someone else, would I still be making this decision?” Meaning… would I still be calling my babysitter and telling her I don’t really need her today? Would I be saying “Oh, I can do this later” to go hang out with friends for the third time this week?

Setting these boundaries was the first step for me in having that business owner mindset instead of just someone who has a hobby.

AND LET’S HAVE SOME FUN

OH NO! Your creative juices are running low. What’s one thing you do to get them flowing again?

I love being in nature, and I’m blessed with a beautiful, big backyard. I go out into the woods and just walk around until ideas come back to me.

Usually, I need to ground myself and get back into my body (my mind tends to wander) so going outside and being with nature really brings me back to the present and into my body… which is when the creativity can really happen!

If you weren’t running this business and you could do anything — no limits — what would you do for work?

I would want to write novels! I’ve always loved to write, and have about 15 novels started (now I just have to finish one! ;))

When we worked together, you helped me with my mindset by encouraging me to use this mantra: “Until now I’ve been unsuccessful, and now I am confident…” I found it very helpful. Can you explain a little about why mindset work is incredibly important?

Mindset work is the backbone of what I teach, plus it’s been a huge tool I’ve used in improving my own life.

We ARE what we think we are, so if someone is confident – they believe they can do things and are worthy of what they get out of their work – they’re going to be successful so much easier.

There are times in working towards any goal (but especially entrepreneurship) where things get really hard, and it’s during those times that the only thing keeping you going is going to be what you believe.

If you believe in yourself, your purpose, and your mission… you’re going to be able to stick with things and make it through.

If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re going to give up or never make it out of that “stuck” feeling.

Be Virtual Friends with Stacy

Stacy hangs out on her website, in her Facebook group, and on the social channels below. If you join her email list, she’ll give you a free course on how to move forward with clarity, confidence & focus. Say hi to her! 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments Off on Creative Money: An Interview with Stacy Abke, Mindset Coach

Take Control of Your Finances: Trimming

| Budget, Finances, Personal, Small Business, Tutorial

 

You’ve tracked. You’ve targeted. And now?

Now you get to Trim.  

Now that you know where your money goes and what your goals are, you have a better sense of where you can “trim” your spending to achieve those goals.

Ready? Let’s get started.

How to Trim Your Finances

Start by reviewing your tracking work. You may have some surprises from when you initially categorized all of your spending habits…. like discovering you spend way too much on transportation when you thought you were spending too much on eating out.

Now it’s time to start trimming.

Note your biggest overruns. Are they shopping, food, entertainment?

Look carefully at these categories. Where can you cut back?

For example, do you need your cigarettes or daily Pepsi?

The easiest way to start trimming is to replace your bad habits. I know, easier said than done, but it works. If you need help with this, I recommend starting with this article from James Clear.

The most recent thing I started to trim was the amount of junk food I bought. I found that just buying junk food on Fridays, as a treat, saved 300 dollars a month!

If you have a debt repayment goal, here’s where you can start making dents. Shift your spending from one of your categories (and bad habits) into your debt.

You can also look at other areas to trim your expenses so you can put as much money toward spending down your debt.

I know it’s tough, but you can do this.

Here are some tools to help you with your trimming.

Create a balanced budget

Start by creating a balanced “budget.” This budget worksheet from Gail Vaz-Oxlade called Gail’s Interactive Budget Worksheet is a great tool to help keep you on track from month to month and help you not go over in certain categories.

Use the Debt Repayment Worksheet

Another tool to help you redirect your money towards your debt and savings goals is the Debt Repayment Worksheet. This worksheet is another one from Gail Vaz-Oxlade and will help you “snowball” your debt and use it to pay down each of your subsequent debts faster. 

You can also use this Savings Calculator from Tangerine to help see how much you need to save each month to reach your goals.

Make it a Habit

No matter what your targeting goals are, frequently look back on your tracking and continue to trim any overruns you have in your spending. Shift your spending towards paying down your debt or towards your financial goals.

You’ll need to review and reevaluate every month to keep on track.

Being financially “fit” is a lifelong skill, and you need to have constant vigilance to stay on top of your money.  But now that you have the tools, you’re ready to tackle your money goals each and every month.

In the next post, we’ll go over how training will help keep you on track with your finances. So stay tuned and come ready to hit the financial gym. 🙂

Comments Off on Take Control of Your Finances: Trimming

Take Control of Your Finances: Targeting

| Budget, Finances, Personal, Small Business, Tutorial

 

So you’ve done all the tedious work of tracking your finances to see where your money has been going. Enlightening, yeah?

It’s time for the next step in taking control of your finances: Targeting.

While we complete this step, continue to follow your spending by adding any new expenditures to your spreadsheet or paper. You won’t need to refer to your tracking work for the targeting task so you can mostly set it aside for now.

Just don’t forget to keep adding anything new. It’s an ongoing habit that will continue to benefit you.

Targeting

Targeting is a form of financial goal setting. It’s a way to identify your financial goals, write them down, and set a loose plan on how to achieve them.

So what are your financial goals?

Do you want to help pay for your children’s college education? Do you want to own a home? Will you need to care for aging parents down the road? What about giving money to your church or other charities? Do you want to take a big trip with the family?

Those have all been financial goals of mine, and they tend to be common ones.

Goals

Now here’s the hard part.

Take a pen and paper and write down each financial goal you have.

Write down the goal, how much money you’ll need to reach it, and a specific date you want to reach your target.

For example:

Goal – Own a house
Amount needed – $150,000
By – January 2020

Do this for each financial goal you have.

It’s important to write each one down, including a number, and the date you want to achieve it by because once you have it written down, it becomes more real.

If you don’t write it down, it’s a dream, not a goal.

Once it becomes a goal, you can start to think about a plan of attack because without a plan; you’ll never achieve your dreams.

Debt

Another area to target during this step is your debt. Just like with your financial goals, write down each debt, who you owe, the total amount, and when you want to have it paid off.

For example:

Debt – Personal Credit Card
Amount – $1256.32
By – December 2017

Next Steps

It can be scary to see all these numbers laid out in front of you, but it’s even scarier to choose not to do something and hope you get what you want.

Now you can see what’s important to you and to give it the weight it deserves.

Having your goals and debts written out also gives you the leeway to sort and prioritize them.

Think about what you want to tackle first. Is it saving for a house or giving to charity?

While each of your financial goals is important, you may not be able to achieve everything at once. That goes for debt repayment as well.

Right now one of my biggest financial goals is to save $45,000 dollars, which I’ve calculated to reach in 3 years, so that I can pursue traveling full-time with my family. Big goal, right? But now that I have one, I can get super clear on the plan to achieve it. 

Next time, we’ll have very specific steps on how to tackle your debt.

We’ll dive into how to trim your money to help make your financial goals that you wrote down today. You’ll learn how you can repay your debt and continue to take control of your money.

Comments Off on Take Control of Your Finances: Targeting

Take Control of Your Finances: Tracking

| Budget, Finances, Small Business, Tutorial

Last time, we talked about the four steps to taking control of your finances. And today, we’re going to start down the path to financial control with Tracking.

Here’s what to do first. Gather up the last six months of your bank, credit card, and any other financial statements.

Why? Because it’s the best way to track where your money goes.

You’ll see the most results with your money if you have an understanding of your spend behavior and choices. Without it, you won’t be able to take control of your finances and make informed decisions around money. Like, you’ll just keep buying all those candles you know you don’t need and kick yourself about because you’re still in debt. Or those shoes. You get what I’m saying.

Overspending is a very real and tricky thing, and I want you to have control over it instead of it controlling you.

Once you have the last six months of your statements, we can get going.

The good news (and the bad news) is that Tracking is the most challenging part of the four steps to financial control.

That’s because sorting through six months of financial statements takes… a while, but trust me when I tell you that it will be worth it in the end.

Start with your bank statements, then follow those with your credit card statements, and end with any other transactions and miscellaneous financial statements.

Don’t forget about any ATM withdrawals. You may have to think carefully about what you spent your cash on, especially if you no longer have the receipts. It’s alright to estimate your cash purchases as long as you’re accounting for all your money.

As you look over each statement, break down your transactions into these categories modified from Gail Vaz-Oxlade:

  • Housing. Anything that has to do with your house will go here, mortgage payments, or rent and any maintenance or insurance.
  • Utilities. Electricity, cell phone bill, cable, and any other type of utility bill goes here.
  • Food. Everything you buy that’s food related. Your daily trip to the coffee shop should definitely go here.
  • Shopping. Anything and everything you buy that isn’t food.  
  • Transportation. Car payment, air travel, taxis, or bus money goes here.
  • Entertainment. Sporting events, concerts, movie tickets, and the aquarium all count.
  • Bank fees. Service charges and ATM withdrawal fees would fall here.
  • Debt payback. All student loan payments, credit card payments, and any other loan payments go here.
  • Savings. Any money that you put towards your savings should go here.

You may want to do this with a spreadsheet so you can quickly add up the columns. Some banks may even have the option to download your statements so you can easily transfer the information into your spreadsheet. But if you don’t want to do it that way, a large pad of paper and pen will do just fine.

Sorting your transactions will take the most amount of time. So go slow. You may want to set aside 30 to 45 minutes a night to complete the task, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Choose a category for each transaction. When you’re done, add up each of the categories.

Look at those end totals. Are there any surprises?

More often than not, you may be shocked by where your money is going each month. And that’s ok because now you know.

When I suggested this to a friend of mine, she was surprised to see how much she had been spending on coffee alone, which is a common story.

Overall, this knowledge will help you get a handle on your finances and help you move forward with your money instead of backwards and in more debt.

In the next post, we’ll dive into how to target your money and help you make financial goals. I’ll offer lots of advice and tools that will help you take control of your money. So stay tuned next time and come ready to Target. (That’s the next step. It’s not an invitation to go to Target. 🙂 )

Comments Off on Take Control of Your Finances: Tracking

Creative Money: An Interview with Sage Grayson, Life Editor

| Interviews

Creative Money: An Interview with Sage Grayson, Life Editor

The Creative Money Interview series exists to remind the passionate, DIY entrepreneur that she can navigate the confusing, messy world of business numbers with grace, ease, and humor.

Today, I’m speaking with Sage Grayson, a professional Life Editor who helps ambitious career women edit their habits, routines, and mindsets to balance their happiness at work and home. I love being in her Internet community because she’s always offering loving and insightful advice about how to get real with myself and my business as well as how to make the most of my limited time. Plus, she always gives great book recommendations. Thanks for sharing your story, Sage!

Interview Highlights

  • Which system Sage uses to decide when to raise her rates
  • How she earned 50k from ONE email
  • How she’s crafted her sales funnel to guide her clients along a journey
  • What she would do with an extra $10,000

LET’S TALK ABOUT MONEY

What about money most confused you when you started your business?

At my old job as a book editor, I got used to taxes being taken out of my paycheck automatically. When I quit my corporate job and created my life coaching business, I failed to research how taxes work for businesses. I didn’t understand how to pay taxes for my business throughout the year, and that led to a hefty tax bill the next year. Whoops!

How did you solve that problem?

I hired a CPA who helped me get organized, track my income and expenses, and (most importantly!) pay my taxes quarterly. No more unpleasant surprises. 🙂

What challenges are you currently having with managing money in your business?

I’m in a major growth phase for my business, and it can be complicated tracking my expenses for multiple live events, vendors, and freelancers. I’m juggling a lot of different priorities.

You don’t want to resent your clients — you want to love them!

How did you decide what to price your services?

I once had a coach who suggested that I choose the highest prices I could say without stuttering. What she meant was I had to feel ultra confident when I say my prices because if I don’t believe them, then my potential clients won’t believe them either.

I choose prices that are one step outside my comfort zone. It’s not so far that I feel scared about asking for that amount, but I’m still owning my worth through an even exchange of energy.

When I first started coaching, my prices were dirt cheap. But those were the prices I believed in (i.e., could say without stuttering)! I ignored everyone else’s advice about pricing and still don’t look at what other coaches are charging. I’m not competing against them, and there are more than enough clients to go around.

When is the last time you raised your prices / rates? What made you decide to do that?

Every 3 months, I review my prices for my products and services. If they still feel congruent, then I leave them alone. I know it’s time for me to raise my prices whenever I start to resent my clients. “Oh man, I’m doing so much work for her and she’s only paying that little bit???”

You don’t want to resent your clients–you want to love them! Inch your prices up until it feels like the energy between you and your client is balanced.

LET’S TALK ABOUT BUSINESS

What’s your current business model? In other words, how do you make money?

I make money through my well-defined sales funnel. It’s the logical path I want my potential clients to take as they move through my products and services. Whenever they reach the end of something (a blog post, a worksheet, a planner, a class, a group program, etc.), I always tell them the next step on their life editing journey. Never leave ‘em hanging!

My followers start by signing up for my free Editor’s Toolkit that has dozens of free worksheets, guidebooks, video trainings, and resources. Then they purchase one of my Editor Year Planners. Then they join my paid Life Editor Clubhouse membership site. Then they join my paid group programs such as Life Editing for Beginners or Startup In 60. Then they pay me for private coaching. Then they pay for a ticket to my live event Life Editor Weekend here in Orlando. Then they join my paid Life Editor Academy mastermind group.

These tiny baby steps through my sales funnel help build trust between me and my potential clients.

Why do you love what you do? 

I love life coaching, and it’s my “zone of genius” for those of you have read the excellent book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I was a great book editor, but I’m a much better coach. This is where I truly shine.

Ding! The lightbulb turned on over my head. I quit my book editing job and devoted myself full-time to coaching.

I was a medical textbook editor for 10 years before I burned out from reading about death and disease all day long. At the time in 2012, I had a mildly successful advice blog, and I loved reading other blogs from life coaches and productivity experts. I soon realized that they were getting paid for the same advice I was giving away for free.

Ding! The lightbulb turned on over my head. I quit my book editing job and devoted myself full-time to coaching. By 2015, I was earning more than $100,000 per year from my business.

What’s one mindset shift you had to make to get to the next level of your business?

To break the 6-figure mark, I had to think BIG! Giving away free worksheets was fun, but I had a feeling that my followers were just waiting for me to offer them something ginormous that would blow their minds. They didn’t want another printable…they wanted ME!

As an extrovert, I thrive on human interaction. Watching my clients on Skype through my laptop screen wasn’t enough anymore. I wanted to give them hugs in person and hang out in our pajamas eating pizza.

By the end of the day, I had earned $50,000 from that one email.

In the summer of 2015, I created my Life Editor Academy mastermind group for 10 ambitious ladies to spend an entire year editing their lives with me. There were one-on-one coaching calls, group calls, a book club, care packages, and 4 live retreats in Orlando, Florida.

I was sweating bullets when I sent the email to my list announcing the Academy. I was so nervous! But I trusted that my Life Editors were ready to play big just like I was. By the end of the day, I had earned $50,000 from that one email.

If you want to reach the next level of your business, you have to stop doing the comfortable things at the current level and shift your focus to the things that make your heart feel like it’s going to burst out of your chest. What do you really, really, REALLY want? Trust yourself and take that leap!

AND LET’S HAVE SOME FUN

OH NO! Your creative juices are running low. What’s one thing you do to get them flowing again?

When my brain is mush and nothing’s getting done, I take my dog Skyla for a long walk around the neighborhood. The fresh air and sunshine always make me feel more hopeful and optimistic. Some people get inspired in the shower, but I’m inspired when I watch Skyla chase squirrels up trees.

If you weren’t running this business and you could do anything — no limits — what would you do for work?

In my wildest dreams, I would be one of the characters at Walt Disney World posing for pictures and handing out balloons. I’m only 5 feet tall so I’m too short to be a princess, but I would have a blast being Daisy Duck!

You have 30 seconds to choose the one meal to eat every day for a full month. What do you choose?

If calories don’t count in this magical scenario, then I’d have to go with a never-ending bowl of pasta primavera with extra veggies. Nothing’s more comforting than carbs. 🙂

WHOA, someone has just given you $10,000. You have to save 20% of it, but you can do whatever you want with the rest. What do you do?

I’d hire my Happiness Guru (AKA my executive assistant). I’m currently a team of one, and it gets super lonely sometimes. I’d love to have an assistant to delegate stuff to and keep things happy around the office.

What’s one of your favorite quotes to remember when things in business get tough?

I’m a Buddhist, and I meditate and chant every morning. One of my favorite mantras is “Everything goes right for me.” I say it dozens of times to calm down and let the universe take over. Funnily enough, since I’ve started saying this affirmation, everything does go right for me. 🙂

Anything else you want to tell us about / invite us to?

Life Editor Weekend tickets are now on sale! Give me 4 days, and I’ll take you from overwhelmed to overjoyed! Spend a weekend here in sunny Orlando, Florida, with dozens of your fellow Life Editors and learn how to stop drifting through your life and start editing it. There are practical life editing sessions, goal planning, Q&A with me, roundtable discussions, tons of yummy food, relaxing by the lake, dancing like a maniac…and a pajama party! Grab your ticket before they sell out.

Be Virtual Friends with Sage

Sage hangs out on her website, makes videos on her YouTube channel, and on the social channels below. If you join her email list, she’ll give you her Editor’s Toolkit that includes resources like the Face Your Fear Digital Guidebook and From Lazy to Amazing. Say hi to her! 

 

 

 

 

Comments Off on Creative Money: An Interview with Sage Grayson, Life Editor

Creative Money: An Interview with Lacey Craig, A Lit Up Life

| Interviews

The Creative Money Interview series exists to remind the passionate, DIY entrepreneur that she can navigate the confusing, messy world of business numbers with grace, ease, and humor. Today, I’m speaking with Lacey Craig, business mentor, success coach, and founder of the website A Lit Up Life. I love reading her blog as it always reminds me how much is possible as a business owner and sparks ideas about how to create new connections, build relationships, and be seen. Thanks for sharing your story, Lacey!

Interview Highlights

  • What makes Lacey feel empowered when it comes to managing her money
  • How she prices her services
  • What made her decide to raise her rates
  • Which mindset shift she had to make to get more results in her business
  • What career she would choose if she couldn’t be a business mentor
  • Which two businesspeople have impacted her the most

LET’S TALK ABOUT MONEY

What about money most confused you when you started your business?

I was most confused about everything tax-related when I started my business. I didn’t know what I should be tracking, what counted as a write-off, how often to be filing taxes, etc. I have my MBA so I had a clear view of how important this was in business, but I didn’t know what applied to ME specifically. I really wanted to do it right from the beginning.

How did you solve that problem?

I invested in accounting support IMMEDIATELY in my business. I made sure I knew what I needed to know, felt equipped to track and document what I needed to, and felt supported in having a tax professional on my side.

What challenges are you currently having with managing money in your business?

Right now, I feel really empowered around my business finances. I take “CEO time” each week to look at my books, the income coming in, the money being spent, and what I want to invest in. My biggest challenge as I grow is continuing to make this a TOP weekly priority in my business and not giving into the temptation to put it to the side in favor of doing something more immediately pressing. I KNOW how important this is overall.

I take “CEO time” each week to look at my books, the income coming in, the money being spent, and what I want to invest in.

How did you decide what to price your services?

I love to use a combination of market research and intuition. It’s important to me that my price feels good to me… to say, to sell, to receive. However, it’s also important to me that it makes sense within the market.

I want my clients to feel like they received AT LEAST 5 times the value, and I know most of my clients say they received ten times the value, which feels amazing to me and tells me I’m priced right but still have room to grow.

When is the last time you raised your prices / rates? What made you decide to do that?

About four months ago. I had been full in my practice and on a waiting list for quite some time. I also saw my clients getting results that far exceeded my prices, and I knew it was time to make a shift because it felt good to me, it made sense in the market, and it felt good to my clients.

LET’S TALK ABOUT BUSINESS

What’s your current business model? In other words, how do you make money?

I have a long-term coaching program, personalized intensives (both Skype and weekend), a group program, a mastermind, two retreats, and passive income products.

Why do you love what you do? 

I love this work because I know it’s the place where ALL of the things I love and care about meet. I’m obsessed with business, leadership, and strategy (and have started another business as well since I have my MBA with a concentration in ethical leadership). I’m also obsessed with psychology, mindset, and confidence (and have my M.S. in mental health counseling).

I’m obsessed with business, leadership, and strategy.

Business coaching is the place where I’m able to bring those two driving interests and passions together, integrate them, and use them to help my clients create A Lit Up Life AND business!

I started this business because after leaving what was supposed to be my “dream job” (and was actually making me terribly unhappy) I found MY OWN lit up life in entrepreneurship and I knew I could use my skills, education, and experience to help other women do the same, which ultimately creates big impact and ripple effects in this world.

What’s one mindset shift you had to make to get to the next level of your business?

Detachment has been a HUGE mindset lesson for me.

I find the more detached I am to a SPECIFIC result, the more I tend to create results. I get attached to feelings, impact, process goals, etc. and I work very hard to remain excited BUT detached about specific results in my business.

It keeps me open to all of the fun, excitement, and possibility that’s present, rather than chasing one specific goal that “has to look a certain way”.

The more I grow and the more moving parts and opportunities present themselves, the more I find detachment infinitely valuable. It’s not because I don’t care what happens in my business. It’s because it keeps me open to all of the fun, excitement, and possibility that’s present, rather than chasing one specific goal that “has to look a certain way”.

AND LET’S HAVE SOME FUN

OH NO! Your creative juices are running low. What’s one thing you do to get them flowing again?

I get my booty outside. Whether it’s for a run, walk, time with my dogs, or just laying in the grass– time outdoors always moves me into a creative space!

If you weren’t running this business and you could do anything — no limits — what would you do for work?

I’d run an animal rescue sanctuary focused on utilizing pets to help people heal from anxiety and depression.

You have 30 seconds to choose the one meal to eat every day for a full month. What do you choose?

Haha! What I had for breakfast popped into my mind! Gluten free waffles with peanut butter, fruit, and a hard boiled egg.

WHOA, someone has just given you $10,000. You have to save 20% of it, but you can do whatever you want with the rest. What do you do?

I’d donate 40% and invest the other 40% in myself and my business because, to me, that is ALWAYS the best investment.  

If you could say THANK YOU to two business mentors that you’ve never met, who would they be and why?

Yvon Chouinard: He is the founder and owner of the outdoor company, Patagonia. I am SO inspired by the leader he is, the integrity with which he runs his company, how EXPLICIT he is about his values, and how unrelenting he is about making sure his company and his actions express those. His book “Let My People Go Surfing” was really impactful to me, as is watching how he’s run and built his company.

Elon Musk: The risks he’s taken as an entrepreneur and his commitment to only being part of world-changing endeavors in the most massively innovative ways just endlessly inspires me. I’m impressed with how engaged he is in his organizations, how responsive he is to making changes, and how strong he appears as a leader.

Be Virtual Friends with Lacey

Lacey hangs out on her website, in her Facebook group Lit Up & Loaded Entrepreneur, and on the social channels below. If you join her email list, she’ll give you useful resources like 7 steps to get booked solid or the Captivating Content Challenge. Say hi to her! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments Off on Creative Money: An Interview with Lacey Craig, A Lit Up Life

1 2 3 5

© COPYRIGHT LISA SAVAGE BOOKKEEPING ~ BOOK A CONSULTATION  SITE DESIGN BY GINA PALHA