March 2006

All of your business needs. One easy solution.

03/10/2006       Vol 3 Issue 3

http://www.offassist.com


My favorite number...

My favorite number is 29. Yes folks, earlier this month I celebrated my 29th birthday, for the errr... 3rd time. I figure I can get away with that for a few more years before people start looking at me funny. This month also marks the 4th year in business for OffAssist. What a ride!

Always a girl after the branding of her business, the place where my friends took me out had my color - I give you the signature blue sombrero. And yes, I had a designated driver :) 


Photo by my good friend and fellow margarita 
lover, Amy "oh, just get the pitcher" G.

In this issue:

  • "Tech Talk With Tom" talks about the new Windows Firewall features in SP2 
  • Learn about matching payments to deposits in the Quickbooks tips section
  • Our spotlight this month is on Virtual Business Solutions, a VA with personality who specializes in personalized service.
  • My usual collection of quirky office and accounting humor.
  • ... and those ever important upcoming tax deadlines

I hope you enjoy this month's issue! I am always looking for articles. If you have an article you would like to write, please feel free to email me at candy@offassist.com

Brain Freeze? Hire A Ghost Writer

By: Nell Taliercio

Does this sound familiar? You have a newsletter that needs to go out in a few days, but you just can’t come up with a good article to write. You have a serious case of writer’s block. Or, you know you should be adding more content to your site on a regular basis to keep the search engines (and of course your visitors) happy, but you just can’t find the time to sit down and write articles every week. There’s an easy solution to both problems. Hire a ghostwriter to write the articles for you.

Basically, a ghostwriter is someone that writes articles for you that you get to claim as your own and publish under your own name. No one other than yourself and the ghostwriter has to know that you didn’t write the article yourself. Once you pay for the article, you hold all rights to it and can publish it wherever and however you see fit.

Now let’s talk about the hard part. How do you find a good ghostwriter? You can start by posting a small project on elance or guru.com. Anyone interested in writing for you can bid on the project and you will get to choose your writer from the bidders. I mentioned posting a small project because you just don’t know exactly what you are going to get until you receive the finished articles. A small project in elance or guru terms would be about 15 to 20 short articles on a subject that’s either common knowledge, or easily researched. You want to make it worth the bidders (to attract good writers) without having to spend too much per article.

Other great ways to find a ghostwriter is to network with others in your field, ask friends and post on message boards related to the topic you want the articles written about. Just ask if there is someone interested in writing for you. There are also quite a few freelance writers that offer ghostwriting as well. Search for ghost writing in your favorite search engine to find sites like momva.com .

Pricing for ghostwritten articles can range anywhere from $2.00 to $65 per article. Most writers will charge about $5.00 to $12.00. Keep in mind that you will pay less for shorter articles than long ones. The average article size is from 300 – 1200 words. Shop around, but don’t shop by price along. Like anywhere else you will get what you pay for. Articles in the $2 to $6 range tend to be pretty simple and to be honest quite boring. To get any decent hourly rate, the writer has to crank out 4 – 5 articles per hour and it will show in the quality of the article. You can however find some great articles in the $8 to $12 price range.

When choosing a writer, start by asking for sample articles. Find a few writers who’s style you like and ask them to write a few articles each. You should be able to tell who will work out and who doesn’t. If you have done a good bit of writing yourself, you may want to provide the writers with some of your own articles before they start, so they can get a feel for your style and personality. Pick one or two writers to write for you on a regular basis. It may also be worth staying in touch with the runner-ups in case a writer doesn’t work out, or doesn’t have time for additional projects down the road.

So, will it be worth paying someone to write your articles? It sure does for me. Submitting article and adding them to your own site is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get traffic to your site. When you add the articles written by your ghostwriter to your site, optimize them by a particular keyword, or key phrase to get more search engine traffic. Then submit the un-optimized version to the various article directories. As your article is used on other sites and in newsletter the traffic will start coming in.

How much are you paying right now to advertise on various websites and in newsletters? $25 per ad or more? For $25 you can easily get 2 to 5 quality articles from a ghostwriter. These articles can then appear in countless publications and websites over and over again. Don’t forget, your resource box, with a link to your site will be included each time the article is published. Your articles may appear in larger newsletters or even print papers and magazines that you could never afford to place an ad in. If you ask me, hiring a ghostwriter and getting more articles with my resource box out there is a great investment.

Article Source: www.ladypens.com

More business information, how and where to get started, go to www.mommysplace.net today!


Quickie QuickBooks Q & A 

RN from TX says: 

I have a QuickBooks question I'm hoping you can help me answer.

I make lump sum deposits, say Company A paid $5 and Company B paid $5.  My total deposit=  $10.  It goes on my statement as $10.

In QB, I have invoices I've created for individual clients.  When I get their money, I go to Receive Payments.  I enter the company name, amount, date, it matches it to an outstanding amount, apply that payment to my Business Checking and I save it.

Say I've done this for Company A & B individually.  I go to Banking, View Items Received From Financial Institution.  On my Banking register for that bank account I try to match a deposit, but it will only match with one PMT entry in my registry.  

Register: Company A PMT $5
              Company B PMT $5

Received Items: Deposit  $10
 
Can you help me find how to match these?

Okay... you need to go back to the receive payments on those and change where it shows your checking account to "undeposited funds". Do this for both $5 payments.

If you do not have an undeposited funds option, follow these steps:

    1. Go to Edit/Preferences
    2. Click on "Sales and Customers".
    3. Verify "Use Undeposited Funds" is checked

After you have both payments sitting in undeposited funds go to banking/make deposits. A window should pop up showing these two payments. Just check them both off and click OK. It should then go to the regular deposit screen, just save it and it will show up as one $10 charge on the register.

    Note: If you turn on undeposited funds ALL of your deposits will go there, so make sure you do that extra banking/make deposits step each time.
 
Have an article you’d like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?
Email candy@offassist.com.

 

A special thank you to our copyeditor and all-around language-geek, Dyanna Larson of Ink Think - visit her website for more information about her services
 
 
Important Tax Deadlines

March 15 - S-Corp election paperwork due for those changing status
 
March 15 - Returns/Extensions due for corporate returns
 
March 15 - IRS Monthly Payroll tax deposits due for February

April 17 - March 15 - IRS Monthly Payroll tax deposits due for March

April 17 - Returns/Extensions due for individuals/partnerships

April 17 - First quarter estimated tax payment due (1040ES)

April 30 - Form 941 due for 1st Quarter Payroll

 

 

Complaint cartoon

 

Spotlight On...
                        Virtual Business Solutions

Taking center stage this month is Lana Newlander, the mind behind Virtual Business Solutions.

When the opportunity to take on her first client and go private came up in 2004, Lana didn't think twice about leaving corporate America to work for herself.  Her children were teenagers, their schedules were as busy as hers, if not busier, and life was getting lost in work so she went independent.

Lana offers a variety of administrative services as well as personal assistance and calendar management and has a soft spot for clients in the coaching industry.

Working from home has enabled Lana to enjoy a successful career and allowed her time to be home with her children before they leave home.  She also uses the time she doesn't spend commuting to volunteer, along with her dog Ginger, at a local nursing home as part of   Therapy Pet Pals of Texas.

If you want to find out more about the wide range of personal and professional assistance Virtual Business Solutions provides, visit Lana (& Ginger) on the web at www.vbs-lana.com.

 

 
A shopkeeper was upset when a brand new business much like his own
opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read:

"BEST DEALS"'


He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his other side and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading:

"LOWEST PRICES"


The shopkeeper was in a panic until his wife came and  put the biggest sign of all over his shop. It said:

"MAIN ENTRANCE"

Tech Talk with Tom...
  Welcome to High Security with
Windows Firewall 

Security on high! 

This new watch phrase has had many scurrying for cover since Windows XP Service Pack 2 hit the Internet. This month we're going to take a look at the new Windows Firewall and  its improved functionality over the old Internet Connection Firewall.

The first thing you will notice is that the default settings for many of the new security features is on, not off. You need to be aware of this if you already have security measures in place. You may find you need to make adjustments to ensure everything works smoothly.

The new Windows Firewall is switched on when you install SP2. This feature used to be known as the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF), but  a new name is definitely in order because the Windows Firewall is an entirely different creature.

ICF was a lackluster, although not ineffective, firewall. It had almost no options and little oomph. Windows Firewall is considerably more configurable and it even functions during Windows boot up, protecting your system right from the start.

The firewall monitors incoming traffic and stops any which is either unsolicited or is not on an exception list. 'Unsolicited' traffic is anything which is not in response to a request from a program on your computer, such as your browser requesting a remote Web page to load.
The  exceptions list is entirely configurable, or you can ramp up security by allowing no exceptions whatsoever.

If you have multiple connections on your PC – both a local area network and a modem, for example – you can make global settings that will affect all connections, or adjust settings on a connection-by-connection basis.

The good news about Windows Firewall is that it has scored very well in the real world as well as in bench testing. If you have no other option
for protection on the Internet, Windows Firewall is much better than no protection at all. With no additional cost above the initial expenditure
for Windows XP many small and home offices are turning to Windows Firewall as their firewall of choice.

Tune in next month when we discuss the  wonders (and blunders) of the new  and improved Windows Automatic Updates.

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.  



An auditor is hard at work auditing a manufacturing plant.

He notices one worker at the end of the shift who is always pushing a wheelbarrow covered with a thick cloth.  

The auditor is certain something is fishy.   He asks the security to check the wheelbarrow.  After many surprise checks, security finds nothing.  

On the last day of the audit the auditor goes to the worker and asks, "Alright, I give up.  I know you are taking something.  I cannot prove it .   I do not want to pursue it.  I just want to know.  What are you stealing?" 

The worker replies, "Wheelbarrows."

 

 

 


 
 


This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. (c) 2006
Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA or other professional..