June 2010  
Real Bookkeeping. Virtual Assistance.
Volume 7 Issue 6  www.offassist.com

School's Out!

Magic words to kids everywhere, bringing joy to their hearts.

Magic words to home office workers everywhere, bringing terror to their hearts!

But seriously...One of the reasons so many of us choose to work from home is to gain a little balance between work and family life. Now that school's out, it's time to make some extra deposits in the Family column to balance out all the ones we put in the Work column the other nine months of the year. Okay, okay, enough with the accounting references!

Summer does tend to be a slow time for most home-based folks and, yes, it is largely because the kids are home. The simple fact is that we aren't going to get as much work done this time of year. And that's okay. It's good for the family and it's good for business.

When we're busy we sometimes lose sight of the big picture. June marks the halfway point in the year. It's time to take out the goals you set for yourself and your business at the end of last year and re-assess. Are your goals the same? Which have you accomplished and which ones need some attention?

In this issue...


How Work at Home Moms Can Keep Business on Track During a Summer Break
By Denise Willms

One of my big reasons for wanting to be a work at home mom (WAHM) was summertime.

That little pang I felt whenever I had to leave the kids on sunny days to go into the office hurt so badly. I wanted to work at home just so I could have memories of going to the beach or the playground, and hanging around the house with the kids, instead of staying in an office all day.

Now that I've been working at an online business for several years, of course I've learned this isn't something I can ignore for several weeks at a time and expect everything to stay on track while I'm out having fun. But if you plan ahead, you can still take the summer break you want. Here are some ways you can schedule more fun time this summer, and keep your business moving forward:

1. Hire a Virtual Assistant. Find someone who can keep up with tasks you don't have time for while you're taking a summer break. Even if you only hire a Virtual Assistant for an hour a week, that's still an extra hour you can spend doing something you really enjoy.

2. Schedule your newsletter, tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts ahead of time when you want to take a few days off. There is a lot to be said for spontaneity when it comes to your online presence. But consistency is important as well. If you're going to take a few days offline, you can still keep in touch with your lists, your followers and friends by scheduling your messages ahead of time. When you return from your vacation, you might even find these resulted in a few new sales!

3. Write articles and submit them to article directories. People will find your articles and reprint them along with your resource box and a link to your website. As your article circulates around the Internet, more and more people will learn about your product or service from the one article you wrote - and you don't have to be anywhere near your computer for that to happen.

You won't be able to completely ignore your business, but if you plan well, you will be able to take a vacation and enjoy a summer break with your family.

About the author: One place to submit your WAHM articles is http://www.WAHM-Articles.comwork at home tips from work-at-home-moms who have been there and done that.

Article source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Denise_Willms where Denise Willms publishes articles written by work at home moms, for work at home moms. Subscribe to our newsletter WAHM Tips and get weekly.

QuickBooks Tip

Recording a gift card

Q: What is the proper way to record a gift card sold?

A: When you sell a gift card you should show the income as a liability on your balance sheet until it is sold. In order to do this you need to create a Gift Card Payable liability account as an other current liability. You also need to create a new item (go to lists: item list) Gift Cards and use the Gift Card Payable account for the item. You would use this item for your sales receipts or invoices. If you enter your sales directly as a deposit you would use the Gift Card Payable liability account at that screen.

To recognize the income when your customer redeems the gift card you would create an invoice or sales receipt as you normally would but create a negative line item using the item Gift Cards and the amount used from the gift card as a negative amount. The balance would be the balance due from the customer.

Note: Check with your accounting professional before doing this to be sure that's how they'd like it done. YMMV!

Humor

A housewife, an accountant and a lawyer were asked "How much is 2+2?"

The housewife replies: "Four!".

The accountant says: "I think it's either 3 or 4. Let me run those figures through my spreadsheet one more time."

The lawyer pulls the drapes, dims the lights and asks in a hushed voice, "How much do you want it to be?"

 
Tax Deadlines

June 15

- US Taxpayers Overseas Individual Personal Returns due
- US Taxpayers Overseas Claim Foreign Earned Income
- US Individuals Overseas Personal Return Extensions due
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit
- Corporations - 2nd Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
- Pay 2nd Quarter Estimated Tax Payment

July 15

- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit

Tech Talk With Tom...

Spring Cleaning!

Have you looked inside your computer case recently? How about just at the back vent? I'm betting most of us have not. Even I, a consummate computer junkie, always manage to find an excuse not to look at these areas. After all, my office is cleaned regularly; shouldn't that keep my computer from getting too dirty?

Unfortunately, the answer to this one is, "No." No matter how clean your work area, your computer will still serve as a major repository for the building's dust. Think Fort Knox, but with dusty bunnies instead of gold bars.

As a rule, most computers should be cleaned every 5 months. Why? All that dust and dirt can do bad things to computer components. The dust restricts air flow inside the case. This causes the computer to heat up. Hot computers tend to run slower and have shorter life spans than cool computers. Second, dust can hold condensation. This condensation can cause your case, and important electrical connections, to begin to corrode.

Here is a list of cleaning tips to help get you started:

  1. If you need to spray, spray a cloth. Never, and I really do mean absolutely never, spray liquids into a computer, or onto any component.
  2. Use fresh water or rubbing alcohol to clean. Solvents may leave a residue or corrode sensitive components.
  3. Never get a component wet, or leave standing water in the case.
  4. Make sure the computer is off and unplugged before starting a cleaning session.
  5. If you unplug peripherals from the back of the computer, make sure you mark where they go.
  6. Never use a standard vacuum inside the computer case. If you feel you must vacuum, use a special, battery-powered vacuum designed specifically for this task.
  7. When cleaning fans, do not let them turn. This can damage the fan or, in rare cases, damage the computer itself.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

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

Spotlight On...

Taylored Office Solutions

Candy met Lanel through the IVAA mentor program (Candy was Lanel's mentor). Five years later Lanel is both a part of the OffAssist team and the proud owner of Taylored Office Solutions. Not only that, but this Spring Lanel, who is single and works for herself, bought her first house. We are SO proud of her!

Lanel has been a part of the OA team for a while now and we recently interviewed her to get a little insight into what makes her tick.

OA: Most VAs are either moms, or married women with another income coming in. You don't fit the usual mold -- what made you decide to become a VA?

Lanel: I was going back to college and needed something to pay the bills so I could do so and that got me started. Shortly after I finished school I decided to move from California to Idaho. After I got settled in I thought about going back to work but I was going to have to work 40+ hours a week to make what I could make working 10 hours a week as a VA and that left no room for growth. Plus, I realized I liked being my own boss and I was kind of good as the whole entrepreneur thing.

OA: What do you enjoy most about being a VA? Least? Why?

Lanel: I like being in charge of my own destiny. I like the satisfaction of knowing that my success is mine. Unfortunately, that's also the thing I like least. If something goes wrong...it's all on me. I also like that I've built myself to the point that other business owners in my community and clients respect my opinion and knowledge and ask me for help.

OA: What is the one thing about being a VA that no one asks you and you really wish they would?

Lanel: Surprisingly, one thing most people don't ask me is "do you like it". My business is comprised of two aspects: bookkeeping and business support. The bookkeeping is the main aspect of my business. While I like bookkeeping, and love the service I provide for my clients, it doesn't bring me the deep satisfaction I get from meeting with my clients and helping them take their business to the next level. That part I LOVE. Lately Iv'e been doing some mentoring; I love walking alongside these business owners and seeing them grow.

OA: What is your proudest moment as an independent service professional?

Lanel: My proudest moment was finding out that the bank thought that I, as a single woman and business owner, was successful enough for them to say, "Yes, you can buy a house and we'll loan you the money." That was pretty amazing and helped made me realize, wow, I guess I am successful.

We think so, too. For more information on Lanel's business, Taylored Office Solutions, check out her website at www.tayloredofficesolutions.com.

 
Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Candy@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.


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.

The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the copywriting/editing skills of Ink Think VA, and the coding talents of Time Is Of The Es-Cents.