Posts Tagged ‘organization’

It Isn’t Enough to Care (a Guide to REALLY Perfecting Your Craft)

BrainFullA friend emailed me asking for help.

“I care so much about (my craft). Why does it always end up coming last?”

There’s a short answer to this question.

It isn’t enough to care.

I’d submit it isn’t even just about hard work.

It’s about systems.

Setting up systems to win is the key to your success. Financially, having systems for the right tasks is equally important.

The Sherlock Holmes Story

In one of the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, someone asks Sherlock about a piece of current events. Holmes replies that he has no idea what the person is talking about. The questioner is shocked. The great Sherlock Holmes doesn’t know something? Holmes replies that the mind is only so large. If you fill it with trivia, there won’t be room for the information you really need to be successful.

Practice The Sherlock Holmes Method of Systems

Your goal should be to fill your brain with your craft and the things that really matter to you. Therefore, everything that isn’t important shouldn’t take up very much space. (more…)

4 Year End Financial Moves To End 2012 With a Bang!

4 Year End Financial Moves To End 2012 With a Bang!

I can’t believe it’s almost that time of year again! We’re saying goodbye to 2012….and it seems like we just said goodbye to 2011. This can be a crazy time for creatives. We’re busy building, sculpting, performing. But don’t forget that the end of the year is also a time to close the books on your financial life so you can begin 2013 fresh. Here are some of my favorite year end moves:

 

Paperwork & Technology Moves

This is a great time to shred unnecessary papers from the year and delete unnecessary emails. Set up your systems to ensure you roll easily into 2013.

–  If you haven’t yet, create a series of email folders to funnel important financial documents. I also like the free financial tool Dropbox to store important papers in “the cloud” so they’re available from any computer.

–  Adjust your budget. Automate budget tracking if you have a smart phone or computer using programs such as Mint. Last week I went over my grocery budget and before I’d unloaded the groceries into my car, Mint had already emailed me a warning.

–  Create times to plan. Take out your 2013 calendar (or purchase one!) and lay out non-negotiable times to review your overall financial picture. You might want a quick once-a-week to review your budget, pay bills and review any new investment correspondence. More important is a twice-yearly “where am I” session. (more…)

Daily ProsperiTIP

 

Right now, you’re probably receiving tons of tax documents. 1099’s from clients, W2’s from employers, statements from loans and savings plans….all kinds of important stuff. I hear all the time that people lose documents or can’t find one piece of paper and have to file an extension. This extra document you’re filing because you can’t find forms is time you could be using on your craft!

Here’s another idea:

  • Create a tax basket and place it near your front door (or wherever you sort through your mail).
  • As you come across tax documents, place them in the basket. Don’t open them yet. Just know they’re in the right spot.
  • On a quiet weekend day, open each envelope and review the documents to ensure your income and expenses have been documented correctly. Leave yourself plenty of time before tax day for this task. If something is wrong it might take a few weeks to receive a corrected document.

Using the “tax basket” strategy, you’ll never lose a document and will save tons of time before tax day.

5 Steps to a Better Business in 2012

I have to admit, I’m a perfectionist about planning my business. While making dinner, my mind races through lists of ways to perfect my craft. When folding laundry, I’m usually strategizing about my next potential project. My mind seems to always be at work on the next “better” idea, even when daily mundane tasks rule the moment.

I was reading management guru Tom Peters recently, who stated that balance is baloney. Top people in any field don’t have balance. They obsess. They strategize non-stop. They’re always looking for the better idea, the perfect “new thing.”

As a bit of an obsessor myself, I mostly agreed with his statement, except in one area. You shouldn’t obsess about your money.

It’s actually easier to obsess about business if you’ve done a good job of setting up a sound financial structure. By taking care of some small details today, you’ll be able to focus all of your energy on your craft. (more…)

Daily ProsperiTIP

Getting financially organized is probably the biggest contribution you can make to your long-term financial stability.

I know, I know… I tend to write a lot about “clearing the clutter!” But the truth is that I started to create big changes in my financial life on the day I realized that piles were NOT a filing system. Many of us are buried in paperwork: bills, old receipts, and bank statements. It’s not surprising that we get confused as to when bills are due and how much money we have in our account at any given time.

Dive in to Artist’s Prosperity 101 for step-by-step guidance that will get you organized in four short weeks. In the meantime, here are some quick organizational tips:

  • Get rid of bills once you’ve paid them. Purchase a shredder to destroy sensitive financial information when you’re done with it. Or consider contacting vendors to set up “paperless” accounts.
  • Use a software program to organize your finances quickly.
  • Set up automatic bill pay to make sure bills are paid on time.
  • Create envelopes or files (labeled with categories) to store receipts needed for tax purposes. Put them in the appropriate file at the end of each week so they don’t become unmanageable.

Take on your organization one bite at a time and slowly but surely you’ll see improvement in your overall financial situation.

Belated Spring Cleaning

It’s time for the big reveal: I’m not a fan of spring cleaning.

Once I’ve finally dug in and begun the process, I enjoy organizing shelf space and rearranging household supplies so they’re easier to find. When it’s over, I’m always glad it’s done, and I love that when I want something, it’s right at my fingertips. Yet, if you asked me what my least favorite five tasks around the house would be, cleaning closets and organizing the garage would be near the top.

I mention this because the other day someone mentioned that for her, financial organization is like a trip to the dentist. She dreads the process and can’t wait for it to be over. My friend said that she’d much rather focus on her craft than organize her money. She loves the tools that I’ve made available and the coaching that she receives, but in the end she cried, “Miata, why can’t someone just do it for me?”

Ouch.

Let’s be clear. Most of my audience isn’t in love with the financial planning process. They don’t relish budgeting. I can’t recall any stories about my students jumping out of bed in the morning, clapping hands and screaming, “It’s time to review my car insurance!”  Shockingly, it doesn’t happen. So why do people subject themselves to this process? Why do they endure the pain of learning how to streamline their financial lives? Wise savers know that the same truth about organizing closets applies to their financial picture. Once it’s clean, everything goes more smoothly. Items don’t get lost. Money decisions quicken. Accounts are easier to follow.

A solid financial plan frees up more time for your craft

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Seven Tax Tips For 2010

THE REALITIES of business sometimes get in the way of our artistic pursuits.  Because we earn money from our work, reporting income to the government is something that has to be done.  That’s why this is my busiest time of year for tax tip questions; but I’m afraid it’s also the worst time of year to try and implement tax strategies.  The truth is that most of your real tax planning for 2010 should have been done long ago. Still, there are at least seven steps that you can use to improve your 2010 taxes – strategies that should help you keep more money in your pocket.

Some people have tax documents in a neat stack, ready to be organized.  These aren’t usually artists like us!  But hopefully you at least have a general idea where to locate 1099’s, W2’s and other documents so you can quickly hand them off to your tax professional or input them into your tax accounting software program.  Since it’s too late to improve the numbers that are on those documents, it’s now a matter of arranging the puzzle of numbers in a way that decreases your tax bite most dramatically. (Once you use these seven tax tips don’t forget to seek out advance strategies to make your 2011 tax bite smaller.)

For now, let’s focus on arranging this year’s numbers as effectively as possible for your tax return.  Before we start, I’d like to warn you that a true tax professional is invaluable!  There’s nothing I can say here that will apply specifically to your situation. Consider hiring a company or individual that has direct experience working with other artists. They should have the most current information regarding the allowable deductions for your particular business.

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How Do You Survive the Paycheck Roller Coaster?

Some of us like a good roller coaster ride. That feeling in your stomach as you look down the big hill. The realization that you’re voluntarily about to do something really, really stupid. It gives you a rush unlike many others.

However, I don’t think anyone wants that exciting, seat-of-your-pants rush with your paycheck.

Sadly, roller coaster income seems to come with the territory for many of us. How do you control your income stream when it’s difficult to predict what money is going to come in next week? How do you maintain a budget when you aren’t sure what the next pay day will bring?

Much like quality acting demands discipline and preparation to create a performance that appears spontaneous, maintaining your sanity with gyrating income requires you to perform a few steps so that your money can work on autopilot. With your money system in place, you’ll be better able to ride the ups and downs of pay days without having that pit in your stomach that the rent is due and you’re not sure where the money is going to come from.

Here are the basics…

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Business or Hobby: It’s Your Choice

You are an artist. You may be an actor, a painter, or a writer, but you are an artist. And of course, you are running a business. Or is it a hobby? The biggest question of all is – do you know the difference?

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What is your Financial Starting Point?

This week we are going to begin examining the second step of the Artist’s Prosperity System: Clear your financial clutter and get it organized for good! There are several elements involved in truly getting financially organized. It can be easy to feel a sense of overwhelm which keeps us from moving forward. Over the next few newsletters our goal is to guide you through each element—so just hang in there, go one step at a time and don’t stop!

Perhaps you are someone who has spent the time putting together a budget: you may even feel you try hard to work within that budget. Then why do you still have so little money every month? You should have some left over yet, when it is time for your next paycheck, you are counting the hours until you receive it so that you can go buy groceries. If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone.

So, how does this happen? Well, there are a few reasons.

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