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Archive for February, 2008

PostHeaderIcon I have the coolest clients…

My birthday is this weekend. I’ll be 29 again (shut up, Tom). One of my clients sent me a huge bag of goodies from Austinuts – one of my favorite addictive places – Yum! Oohh… it had those praline pecans I love… It came in a big pretty box, but my daughter confiscated the bow for her stuffed dog and the box “for her party dolls”.

Sometimes, you just don’t ask questions.

Austinuts Bday Gift From Client

PostHeaderIcon Client in the News!

A few years ago we featured Robert Grunnah, one of OA’s real estate clients, in the newsletter. Like us, his business has grown and changed.

Robert recently launched a new venture, Home Auction Live! and was featured on the local Austin news talking about it. Check out the story and video here.

3/2/08 Update: Looks like things went well at the first auction! Check out the follow-up story here.

PostHeaderIcon More Moola for Mail-Outs

The USPS has finally jumped on the inflationary bandwagon. I didn’t notice the fine print when postage went up last year, but apparently it is going to be an annual thing.

The post office, like most VAs I know, will be evaluating their rate plan yearly from here on out and will adjust accordingly. By law, the price increases, on average, cannot be more than the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

By average I am assuming they mean across all types of postage, since the rate change is not the same for all types, weights, and destinations.

On February 12, 2008 the Postal Service gave their legally required 90 day notice that postage will be going up again in May, just $.01 this time, to $0.42 for a standard first class letter.

PostHeaderIcon Starbucks WiFi — Hmmm???

I love the folks over at Improv Everywhere. They are always doing something silly if not bizarre. One of my favorites was their Best Buy thing.

The latest? Bring a full CRT and tower to Starbucks….

Check ’em out:

I’m a dork, yeah… I giggled when I saw the Windows 95 symbol.

PostHeaderIcon Had A Bad Day?

A friend forwarded me this…

I had to laugh because there are days I want to pick up the screen and throw it right out the window… stay with it, we’ve all seen that first one… I love the one with the one guy throwing stuff at the other one across the big table… dude… remind me not to tick him off.

It also makes me even more happy I work out of my own office!


PostHeaderIcon Get It Fast!

Tax help, that is. The IRS has invested some time and money in keeping people off their backs so they can deal with their form* problems by updating and upgrading their online resources for tax payers.

Read more here. Or, check out IRSe Publication 17 for yourself.

Like accountingweb, we here at OffAssist want to remind you that the only place for legit IRS info on the web is their website, IRS.GOV. Sites that look similar but end in anything else (.com, .net, .info, et cetera) are scams, so make sure the .gov is there before you ask questions and remember the real IRS will never ask for personal information over the web or via email unless they have already been in touch with you regarding a specific issue.

*Yes, karma came for me after I spouted about how I would not be affected by the tax form problems/delay this year. Apparently, if you or a spouse went to college at all last year and are taking advantage of the lifetime learning credit, well those forms were among those affected.

PostHeaderIcon Look Out Yahoo!

Microsoft has apparently decided NOT to up their offer for Yahoo! I rejoiced at first, until I read that the rumor on the Street (Wall St) is that they intend to play hardball.

Get the scoop here.

PostHeaderIcon eBay on Strike!

That’s right. Apparently a number of eBay sellers are planning to go on strike this week, February 18-25, in response to the auction site’s recent policy changes.

eBay has decided to prevent sellers from leaving negative feedback for buyers and has (once again) raised seller fees. Several sellers indicate that if the change sticks they will find new auction sites to do business with.

eBay has pretty high fees for sellers, especially those who use the eBay-owned PayPal system, which results in them paying eBay 3 separate times for each sale, once to list an item, twice when it is sold, and the third time when PayPal takes their cut of the payment. This triple-ding is actually why I stopped using eBay–give me craigslist any day!

For more info on the seller strike check out these articles:
accoutningweb: eBay sellers attack negative feedback ban
Wired Blog: Exasperated eBay Sellers Threaten to Strike
Percworks blog: eBay sellers strike next week

PostHeaderIcon Are you messy enough?

Messy enough to bring in the big bucks? MyFax Internet fax service is holding a contest to see just messy an office can get and still have someone working in it. Top prize? $10,000!

For more details, visit the MyFax contest site at Deadline for entries is noon on Monday, February 25, 2008.

If you see an office with blue & yellow striped walls and a large abstract painting that looks likes it was done by a 2-year old (three, actually), well, I wouldn’t know anything about that 😉

PostHeaderIcon Press Release: Home Auction Live!

Robert is one of our favorite clients. He asked if we’d help him spread the word about his new venture, Home Auction Live!. See the release below for more info:


Agents: Do you have listings with motivated sellers that aren’t moving? Do you have buyers sitting on the fence?

I’m working with a new startup called Home Auction Live!, started by Top Producer Robert Grunnah of Castle Hill Investments.

The first auction is March 1st at 9am at the Hyatt Town Lake downtown, and I know they are looking for inventory to feature in the auction. So far, they have 10 properties and need 15 more by the end of this week.

They’re running a promotional special: no auction entry or marketing fees, Realtors can keep their listings, and sellers can accept or reject ANY offers.

It’s really a fantastic promotion because there is no risk for a seller or their agent; the worst case is that a desired price is not achieved at auction.

They’ve spent $100,000 on major media marketing (with big Statesman ads and radio airplay) and a great website – and many people will be bidding at the auction and online.

Please check the site out at or call Robert Grunnah at 512-444-7799