Business Mistakes That Owners Make

As a relatively new business owner, I sometimes worry if I am doing something right or wrong. No, I’m not losing sleep over it, but sometimes I question if I could be doing something just a little better.

And, since I used to work with business law, I saw a good amount of mistakes that businesses made. Some were probably just honest mistakes, but others made me cringe.

 

Below are some mistakes that business owners make:

Throwing away receipts.

Receipts are important, and you should keep them. If the receipt is for a business expense, then you should definitely keep them. At the end of the year, you shouldn’t just be guessing what your business expenses were. You should have hard proof.

If you get audited, the IRS will want hard-proof as well. They won’t want just estimations of everything.

Keeping business and personal accounts intertwined.

If you are a business owner, or if you have a side job, do you keep your sales and expenses separate? Using your personal bank account for everything can get difficult, and it’s almost always best to just keep your business accounts completely separate from personal accounts. This also makes it a little easier for when tax time comes around as well.

Not hiring an accountant.

I’m going to guess that most business owners don’t have a background in accounting, so why is it that most business owners do most of their own accounting and taxes?

Never hiring help.

When I worked in retail management, there was a fairly large business next door which never hired a single person. He worked open to close and did everything on his own because he could not trust anyone.

This then led to his downfall because there was only so much that he could do with a high-quality level of service. His store completely closed down soon after he opened and he went out of business. And, this was after he sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into his business.

Starting a business without a plan.

Having a business plan may be the last on your mind, but it should really be the first.  Do you know who your competition is? How long will it take you to make a live-able income? What type of funding will you need? Will you need to rent a space or can you work from home? Will you need employees right away? What will you be selling? How will you sell it?

Will your business allow you to eventually retire? I’ve been reading up on retirement on Suncorp’s website and this is something very important to think about when starting a business.

What other business mistakes have you seen? Have any horror stories to share?

 

Ways to Make Money Online

jofalltrades.com Home Office [explored]I say this every single week, but I am this close to making the self-employment switch.

Seriously, I wish I could give you the exact date, but lets just say that it is within the next day or two 🙂

Since my main site, Making Sense of Cents, has “evolved” and I talk a lot about extra income lately, it only makes sense that I receive many emails every week from readers about how they can make extra money as well.

With my side business (which will very soon be my main business), mostly everything that I do is online. I can work from the comfort of my home and create a schedule which best works for me and my services.

Blogging for money.

Not all bloggers make money, and I talk about ways to make money with blogging in my post on Making Sense of Cents.

With blogging for money, you can make money from affiliate links, ad networks, direct advertising, and so on. Blogging is not easy money though. You will most likely work for months or even years before you make any money.

Freelance Writing.

I don’t do as much freelance writing as I used to, but I am working on increasing this again. With freelance writing, you write for other clients. You might summarize documents for them, staff write on their blogs, create advertisements, and so on.

Start out slowly when you decide that you want to start freelance writing. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself. In the beginning, you probably won’t get paid as much, but eventually you can demand a higher rate once your experience and quality increases.

Virtual Assistant work.

I have been a virtual assistant, and I have hired virtual assistants myself as well.

A virtual assistant helps a business run, all while staying virtual (most likely at home or at their own virtual assistant business). You can be contracted for one project (such as fixing old articles on a website) or it can be a continuing job such as replying to e-mails and comments.

So, why would someone need a virtual assistant? A business is a lot of work, and if you can outsource some of the things that need to be done so that you can focus more on the end goal and direction of your business, then why not? Also, one person realistically cannot do everything. When help is needed, it’s best to look for it because your business could end up going downhill because of it. Trying to handle everything yourself when you realistically can not may not be a good idea.

Don’t forget to read my post on how to become a virtual assistant.

Sell products online.

Many people work from home and sell items online. You can create your own products, or wholesale from a company. You can sell on Etsy, Craigslist, eBay, and so on. There are so many possibilities!

Other ways that you can make money from home:

  1. Enter contests. There are so many contests out there. I used to enter many, and I actually won a decent amount as well.
  2. Take online surveys. I used to do surveys. Usually the pay is very low and the work is tedious though. However, occasionally you can score some free products.
  3. Mystery shop. Not all mystery shops need to be done on person. Sometimes you just need to call the store or send the store an email and evaluate their customer service. The mystery shop report is then most likely submitted online.
  4. Create an eBook.
  5. Become a website designer.
  6. Sell your photography online.

Do you make money online? Why or why not?

 

Tips for New Bloggers

BLOG IDEASAs a blogger, I am constantly asked what my top tips for bloggers are. I even have people in the offline world ask me to spend a day with them and teach them.

Blogging is something that I don’t think that you can exactly “teach.” Learning as I went is what worked for me. However, there are some things that new bloggers can learn in order to improve their blogging skills.

Have direction.

No, you don’t have to settle on one niche or settle on one direction, but it does make things a little more easier. My main website, Making Sense of Cents, is sort of a mix of everything possible, but I do try to make everything relate to money in some way.

Are you a beauty blog? Lifestyle blog? Personal finance blog? Mom blog?

Determine why you are blogging.

Are you blogging anonymously? Are you trying to get your freelance services out there? Is your blog a part of a business? Are you blogging for money? Determine why you want to blog.

Don’t copy others.

Yes, you might like that post that someone else wrote. However, should you copy it? NOOOOOO!

If you are looking at an article for inspiration or research, don’t copy it word for word. Read the article and then look away. If you read it sentence by sentence, then your article will most likely be exactly like the article you are researching.

Publish interesting content.

Yes, you can run a content mill where all you do is crank out articles that no one will read. However, if you are looking to entertain and keep readers, then having high quality and interesting content is key.

Start a Twitter account.

I didn’t start my Twitter account until maybe a year or so after I started blogging. I really regret that because I was missing out on an important way to interact with readers and other bloggers.

Allow sharing on your blog.

If you want to gain new readers, then having a share plugin such as Shareoholic is key. This way readers can easily share your content.

Do your social media icons actually link to something?

Something that really bothers me is when I find a new blog that I really like, and they have social media icons on their sidebar that lead to nothing. Does your Twitter button just link to Twitter’s homepage? WHY do you do this to me?!

Try not to look at your stats too much.

I know that as a blogger, it is hard to just ignore your blog stats completely. However, stressing over them and looking at them multiple times each hour will not increase your stats.

Network.

Just like with everything else, networking is very important. Talk to other bloggers. Interact with readers. Reply to emails. Have conversations on Twitter. Attend blog conferences if you can. Guest post on other websites.

What tips would you give a new blogger?

What’s something that you wish you knew when you started?