I felt like I was shark bait.ย  This little fish in a big ocean, treading water just waiting to be gobbled up alive. I was newly in business for myself and had no idea what I was doing.ย  None of us do! I decided I wanted to forge forward, but I knew I couldn’t carry on feeling like that.ย  Listen in to my latest podcast interview on how I went from shark bait to bullet proof.ย 

๐”๐“ธ๐”๐“ธ

Jackie

ย How to Create a Financial System for your Business

Having a financial system for your business is crucial for business organization, knowing your numbers and running an efficient operation positioned to thrive. I am not a financial professional but I do have a thriving business, I have done it the hard way plus I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting and I’m happy to teach you what I have learned so you can avoid my mistakes. I am also a slight math geek, I think because my inner control freak loves the stability of numbers but if you’re not, that’s OK! I promise this is a system you can follow.

What system? A financial management system.

There is an easy way and a hard way to run your business finances.

Can you guess which way I started? Yup..

I thought I knew what I needed to do. After all, I have a degree in accounting (insert smirk here).

I wrote everything down in my handy, dandy notebook. I filed all my Paypal payments in a folder in my email. In the beginning, money was errr… less than steady – so anything that came in was transferred into my bank account and used for supplies or groceries.

I kept all my receipts organized by month. I even totaled up my income and expenses each month on paper.

Then it came time to filing my year end taxes. I had my numbers but I had no idea what to do with them. I just had numbers, not categories of spending, not profit magins and there were lots of other blanks I was struggling to fill. I had to work backwards month by month, which was a huge pain. So let’s take it from the top:

Step 1: Set up your business

Check with your local County or Town to find out about registering your business as a d/b/a. My first business was Jackie Lopez d/b/a (or doing business as) Jackie’s Dragonfly Designs. You may choose to register as a sole proprietor or LLC later, but a d/b/a is an affordable way (I paid $35) to establish your business legally.

Once you have your d/b/a certificate you can register with your State to collect and remit sales tax. Businesses that offer services and retail products are usually required to collect tax but before you are legally permitted to do so, you must obtain the appropriate Certificate of Authority as its referred to in my home state of New York. You will be required to thereafter file quarterly or annual sales tax returns. Check with your state finance department for your local rules.

Sales tax can be a beast. I almost didn’t pursue my business because I was afraid of sales tax, but, with proper systems in place, sales tax becomes a breeze. Keep reading.

Step 2: Business Banking

Now that we have our business entity, it’s time to take your certificates to your bank of choice and open a business checking account. I was able to set up a business checking and savings for free at my local credit union in about an hour and left with a debit card and starter checks.

Having dedicated business accounts makes it super easy to see where your business stands and total up your income and expenses. When Paypal or Etsy payments came in, I directed them to my business account. I use my business account to purchase postage and supplies. These are reliable records I can follow.

If you’ve started the hard way like me, don’t panic. Start where you are and begin to sort your transactions. Get a business bank account and start today where you can.

Step 3: The System

Now that we are official and have a handle on our business assets, we need a system to maintain it. There are several ways to do this so pick one and commit to it. The secret to success here is next level organization.

The Notebook System – I still use my notebook for order tracking and production schedules but as a financial management system, it is lacking. So if you love your pen and paper like me, you can keep it, but it’s time to pair it with a spreadsheet.

Now despite loving math and numbers, I hate spreadsheets. Despite hating spreadsheets, I have created a basic Profit/Loss Sheet (Income less expenses = profit) and a Gross Margin Sheet (Cost of Goods Sold – revenue) and I encourage you to do the same. It does not have to be fancy and you can surely google around to find a form. Or if this sounds like an inhumane form of torture, you can head over to Paper + Spark and grab her spreadsheet templates. They are tailored and awesome.

In fact, you can run your entire business with the right spreadsheets an Paper + Spark is a great resource. If you’re spreadsheet savvy, you can absolutely create basic templates. You’ve got this!

Done For You Recordkeeping – If all of this sounds terrible, perhaps a service like QuickBooks or Mint.com may be for you. You will have to input your information and, well, garbage in, garbage out, but once you do the work, you will have a fully automated system ready to use and grow. A huge bonus to this system is sales tax is kept track of and calculated at the press of a button. Spreadsheets will too, provided you entered the data. As a matter of fat, most online sales systems will help you account for sales tax and it is worth investing in these sales systems. At a minimum, review your local county and state rules to inquire about your requirements to collect and remint sales tax (different than end of year income taxes) and obtain your permit to do so.

These are the basics but depending on your business structure, additional steps may be required. When we are just beginning our entrepreeneurial journey it is easiest to keep things simple with minimal fees and reporting requirements.ย  ย 

The good news is, we are in control. You control your business and its structure and you can change it and modify things to suit your needs.

What may be next?

-Decide how you will take payments in person and online.

-You can now open or convert your Paypal to a business account. This will allow you to send invoices, add items to a virtual shop or create buttons for check outs and subscriptions. Yes, Paypal takes a fee, but this fee becomes a business expenses to use later to offset business income for tax purposes. You with me?

-Sign up for a Square account and get a card reader and free processing with this referral link

Note: I also receive free processing ๐Ÿ™‚

-Upgrade your social media accounts from personal to business to unlock analytic data about the performance of your content.

Keeping payments and expenses all in one place, organized and up to date is crucial to a successful system. That is why I do not accept payments by CashApp or Venmo (although they now have a business account option) or FB Pay, because these additional methods create more leg work for me. It’s more to keep track of, which means more time and more spreadsheets. Yuck!

No need to create more work for yourself. Keep it simple.

Maintain it…

Now that you have your business set up, registered and your financials in place, we need a system to maintain it. Here’s what I recommend:

-Do your business bookkeeping weekly

This includes things like recording transactions, expenses and checking for unpaid invoices.

-Review your numbers monthly

It’s important to know where your business stands, how much cash you have available and whether you’ve hit your goals.

-Save monthly for your quarterly taxes

Saving for taxes is just smart.

-Pay yourself each month

We are in business to make money so do not forget to pay yourself.

-Do an audit seasonally or at least annually of your business spending

Check your spending and be sure to be purchasing supplies at wholesale, tax free, when applicable. You can apply with your new d/b/a certificate.

Know Your Numbers

Keep track of your earning and expenses. Tally your sales, costs and cash each month. Calculate your return on investment and profit margins. This is important! In the beginning of my business journey, I was making sales but not turning profits. Knowing your numbers is key.

If your business doesn’t have enough left at the end of the month to pay you and you haven’t made any large purchases, you may be over paying for supplies or need to look over your gross margin sheet with a magnifying glass. This step can sound overwhelming but it;s what business owners do. Be the CEO. If you are struggling, get the help you need. The struggle is not required my friend. Hire a professional, call your accountant, invest in software, download a spreadsheet, do what you need to do. You are worth it and you will thank me later.

Whether you are an online business or sell from a physical store, I hope this has provided you with a framework to get started for success. I’d love your feedback so please feel free to drop me a comment and let me know how you feel about tackling your business financials.

๐š†๐š‘๐šŠ๐š ๐š’๐šœ ๐™ฟ๐š›๐š’๐šŸ๐šŠ๐š๐šŽ ๐™ป๐šŠ๐š‹๐šŽ๐š• ๐™ผ๐šŽ๐š›๐šŒ๐š‘๐šŠ๐š—๐š๐š’๐šœ๐šŽ?

Private label merchandise is something I talk a lot about, so what exactly is it?

Private label means you and I co-create branded merchandise specifically for you and your business. Simply put, it is custom branded merchandise made by me for you.

You choose your product and quantities and I manufacture them, shipping them off to you or drop shipping them direct to your clients all around the world.

Itโ€™s a done for you approach to growing your brand and itโ€™s so fun!

My business naturally expanded into private label but I began making t-shirts for friends!ย  As business owners, we always get to grow and expand in new ways that feelย good! I get to support other entrepreneurs in growing their brands while still being creative! Win-Win!ย ย 

So who is it for? Everyone!

My clients are coaches, mentors, entrepreneurs, authors, speakers, wellness studio owners and business owners of all sorts!


Cool, right? But how can it help your business?

I’m glad you asked.ย ย 

Private label merch creates an emotional connection with your people; it showcases your brand, puts it in the homes and on the bodies of your clients; it’s a great conversation starter and lead generator; it’s perfect for client gifts (ahem- the holidays are coming and everyone loves a branded present!); perfect for giveaways, pay in full bonuses, early bird specials; incredible ways to close out programs, masterminds and 1:1 containers and there is nothing better than our own branded swag bag for in person and virtual retreats! Yep, I do that too!

I love it! I love immersing people in a brand experience. I love the feeling it creates. I love creating it. I love my clients! They are all incredible.ย 

My goal is to make it easy. To allow you to have the things without having to do the things so if you’ve thought about how cool it would be to have your own line of custom merchandise, reach out and let’s chat about bringing your brand to life.

If reading this reminds you that your business is in need of a shift, I’d love to support you. Let’s connect.

The #1 Question That Can Change Your Life

The #1 Question That Can Change Your Life

Lots of people want to change their life but aren’t willing to put in the action required to make the shift. Okay, that was harsh. No one says that, right? We WANT to shift – to be more organized; to reach a goal weight; to eat healthier; to have a better relationship; to do more for ourselves; to travel more; to have more money; to pay off debt; but often somewhere between our desire and the action required to get us there something happens. We lose steam. We lack motivation. We don’t see results quick enough so we stop trying. Sometimes, we don’t try at all.

The thing about not moving toward our desires is this: no action = no change

I believe that with consistency, persistence and time, anyone can be successful and more specifically, wealthy beyond their wildest dreams while doing what they love. So why is it that only 2% of the population achieve this higher level success?

Are the 2% special? Definitely. Though not in the way you’d think.

Think to yourself, what holds you back from doing the things you desire?

Why does the list of places to visit or things to do remain intact and untackled?

We worry about how things will turn out…

We don’t know how…

We don’t know how we will pay the bills while we…

We don’t believe we are good enough, smart enough, have enough capital, know the right people…

For most of us it boils down to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what could happen. Fear of being uncomfortable. Fear of failure. Fear of success.

Often times fear of the unknown keeps us playing small and playing safe. We stick to what we know, sometimes even trying to invoke change from our safe space, taking baby steps, but when we continue to embody the old versions of ourselves, our new desired changes just don’t ‘stick’.

One of the up-sides of growing up is that no one can tell us what to do and so we get to choose whether or not we will walk in fear or stay safe and comfortable. Guess which one the 2% chooses over and over again?

The old version of me will never get to me to my next level me.

Here’s the shift: when we are faced with new things, uncomfortable situations, ideas and dreams that scare us to death, we must as ourselves this one question-

‘What if this works?’

This question has the power to unlock your magic, shift your mindset and sky rocket your determination for success!

Unfortunately, often the question that first enters our minds is “What if I fail?”

The energy between the two is worlds apart.

‘What if this works?’ is a question asked in enthusiasm, belief, desire and trust for all the amazing things the universe has in store for us.

What if I fail? is rooted in scarcity, lack of belief, short sightedness and control.

What in this world are we really in control of?!

We shape our future but we rarely control it.

If instead of staying comfortable and trying to control every outcome we just embodied the results we desire and took inspired action that felt good, trusting things would work out for our greatest good, more things would work out for your highest good.

If we move from a place of enthusiasm, hope, belief and trust, we unlock opportunities, create moments and fall into circumstances that inch us closer to our goals.

So how do we do it?

The next time you find yourself faced with a predicament, a decision, an idea that shakes your core, as yourself..

‘What if this works?’

…and then go chase your dreams!

๐”๐“ธ๐”๐“ธ

Jackie

HOW TO STAND OUT IN THE ONLINE SPACE

HOW TO STAND OUT IN THE ONLINE SPACE

Standing out online an be hard. Standing out online if you are selling can be even harder.

This past week I found myself struggling to show up online for my business.

What’s my deal? What’s with the funky energy?

I had a choice. I could beat myself up over not ‘feeling it’, or I could give myself grace and dig deep to see what’s going on. This process looks different for everyone but it is worth exploring. It may include deep thought reflection, journaling, meditation, talking out your feelings with a trusted friend, etc. Whatever you do, don’t let the weird energy linger. Though my own process, I realized I hadn’t been making time for personal development. Personal development is a world I immersed myself into several years ago and I find it extremely helpful in managing my mindset and motivating me for success. I used to listen to podcasts regularly, putting them on in the background while i was working throughout the day, but my routine changed when my husband began working from home in March. He has since returned to the office but I have not integrated podcasts back into my routine. This slight change was making a big impact because it took away the time I invested into filling my own cup with positive vibes, love, insight, coaching and fun.

The fix in this case was easy. I just needed to make time for personal development to help me get out of my head and into my heart. I needed to get back to being me. I had been guilty of comparisonitis, you know, when we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to everyone in our online circles. See, without personal development, my ego takes the wheel and all the yucky feelings creep in. I start looking around instead of forward. I start worrying about what others are doing and stop focusing on myself and what I want. When we feel yucky, we often don’t feel inspired to share, or we share with a cloudy message. This can be a problem in our business. We think the problem is that we don’t know what to post, but really the problem is we don’t know what we want to say. When this happens, it is a clear sign to me that I am out of alignment.

It is important to recognize your pattern before you spiral. I know for me, if left to my own devices my mind wanders down the path of destruction. My message gets mixed up, my attitude shifts my energy and my audience feels that. Women especially are the queens of compound emotions. We feel bad and then we get mad that we feel bad which makes us sad and then we start to feel crazy for feeling all these feelings and none of them feel good which makes us feel even worse. Sound familiar?

As soon as it starts feeling hard to share about yourself or your business, ask yourself what’s going on? Are you disconnected from your message? Are you sharing from a place of inspiration or the vibe that you need to put out content today? Are you feeling overwhelmed in some areas of your life? Are you taking care of you?

Standing out online is all about showing up powerfully as your authentic self and crafting your message so you are speaking to your ideal buyers. If we are struggling with confidence or messaging this is going to be difficult. People who try to fake it come off… well fake. Being you gives your people an opportunity to get to know you and connect with you and connection leads to influence, growth and sales. Getting back to feeling great as yourself is step one. Engage, engage, engage in posts, groups and messages to be sure you are creating new conversations and leads. Identifying pain points or aspects of convenience in your products or services helps tap into your buyers emotional spectrum which helps them connect to you. Providing value lends a new level of legitimacy to you and your business and gives people a taste of what it is like to be in your energy and shop with you.

Need some more ideas? Here are 5 ways you can show up powerfully online each day:

I would love for you to share the ways you fill your cup, your favorite podcasts or any other thoughts you have around the topics discussed here. Feel free to drop them in the comments.

Want to grow your business? Do these 5 things

Want to grow your business? Do these 5 things

#1 – Grow yourself Frankly whether you are in business or not, growing yourself should be at the top of your to do list. Growing ourselves is a broad term but it involves working to know yourself better and more deeply, it is recognizing and acknowledging the patterns we all have that keep us playing small, safe, stuck and in our heads instead of in our hearts.

#2 – Refine your message Whether you are selling handmade goods or high end jewelry, youโ€™ve got to know your customer base and craft your messaging to speak directly to those customers. Refining your messaging and marketing to attract your ideal buyers and close the sale will help your engaged audience grow and allow you to deepen the conversation quickly.

#3 – Be willing to invest If you are not investing in yourself and your business growth you are basically telling the universe- Iโ€™m good where Iโ€™m at. So if youโ€™re not good where youโ€™re at, itโ€™s time to invest in that new equipment, those bulk supplies, that course or coach youโ€™ve dreamed of working with because stretching yourself to learn, do and be accountable will undoubtedly lead to business growth. Work harder, not smarter.

#4 – Do the things youโ€™ve been putting off At the risk of sounding like mama bear, you have got to do the things you say you are going to do. So, if youโ€™ve got a list of things youโ€™ve been putting off, create the time to get them done. Cleaning up the mental clutter has its benefits, being a woman of your word is priceless. #5 – Prepare & Trust Plan for your products, your offers, your programs with excitement and then trust that they will sell. Sounds easy, and it does take some practice but if weโ€™ve created the offer in the most amazing energy, knowing it is high quality and beneficial, then all we must do is trust the right buyer will come along and fall in love. Does that mean we shouldnโ€™t share our offer? Of course not! To strategize, market and map out sales and profits are all part of the plan. But once the plan has been rolled out, thereโ€™s nothing to do but wait for to close the sale. Trust the timing of our buyers money blueprint and desires. How we do one thing is how we do everything- life, love, parenting, marriage, business, so the willingness to look at all of these areas and the commitment to improve them means your life and business have the opportunity to be everything you’ve ever dreamed!

It is not easy work, but it is worth it work!

If you are not already hanging with us over on Facebook in Get It Together, Girl, join us today for extra support, motivation, exclusive trainings and a sisterhood of women excited to see others succeed.

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