October 2008  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
Volume 5 Issue 10   www.offassist.com
October Fun

Wow, is it October already? October is a crazy month for OffAssist, both professionally and personally.

On the professional front we have quarterly reports to prepare for clients. We frequently pick up a few new clients this time of year, too. I think October is when people start realizing that their New Year's resolution isn't going to work out the way they want it to without some help. It gives me and my team time to learn their needs, making it easier to get everything to them on time in the New Year.

On a more personal note is October's BIG Event: my son Jamie's Birthday! As The Mom it is my job to embarrass him in this newsletter every year. A totally self-indulgent Happy Birthday goes out to my big little guy (8!) this month.

October also means Maker Faire! Yes, we are geeks. We had SO much fun there last year and can't wait to go again later this month.

And, of course, the last hurrah before we all start getting holiday-ed to death: Halloween! October 31st is, bar none, our favorite family holiday. Sure, it's not a traditional holiday, but when else is it socially acceptable for adults to play dress up and TRY to scare kids? We love being silly, decorating our yard, and spending the evening having fun! For those of you that celebrate Halloween, have a great, fun and safe one!

Enjoy this month's newsletter!

In this issue...
Tech Talk With Tom...
Stop the Nagging!

Windows security features have come a long way over the years. Microsoft designed and built Vista as a solution to the last 2 decades plus of trial and error that they've invested in developing an effective security solution. I genuinely believe that Vista's security features have a lot to offer for the average person.

Unfortunately, businesses are not average users. Businesses spend a lot of money every year on hardware and software firewalls and other security measures that make Vista's attempts at protection look tissue-paper thin. Often Vista's built-in security just gets in the way of the other applications. So what do you do? Turn off Vista's security.

And that's when the nagging starts.

If you're like me and tired of the constant, "Check your security settings," warning, I have good news! Here is how you can turn them off for good:
  • Hit "Start"
  • Select "Run"
  • Type gpedit.msc
  • On the right side, double-click "Turn off the Security Settings Check feature" and set it to Enabled
And there you go, no more nagging to take out the trash! Whoops...I mean to increase your security levels. Sorry, can't do anything about the trash...

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

Designing a More Creative Life

A lot of people start their own business because they want to live full lives, lives that are meaningful and joyous. For many people, working for someone else is simply not part of achieving that goal. After years of law school and some time practicing what she'd learned, Aharon Hill decided she was one of those people who needed to work for herself.

The stress, late nights, and deadlines of the law firm were challenging. Aharon learned jewelry-making as a way to relax and recharge her creative side. Soon the rewards of her hobby began to outweigh the rewards of her legal career and Aharon chucked it to become a full-time jewelry designer and photographer. She wants to help people express their personal style, which is why her business, Kaleo Designs, derives its name from a Hawaiian word meaning, "the voice."

To see how Aharon spends her time, visit her on the web at www.kaleodesigns.com. You can also check out the Kaleo Design blog, "Truly, Madly, Deeply," at www.kaleodesigns.blogspot.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.

QuickBooks Tip
Handle Recurring Bills with Ease

Q: I have a few invoices that I receive and pay monthly and that are always the same amount. How can I set up QB so that I don't have to enter these each month?

A: You can set up a "memorized transaction" that will generate these bills based on specific criteria that you set.
  • Create an Invoice
  • Don't hit save yet
  • You can either click "edit" and "memorize invoice" or right click and "memorize invoice"
  • Choose "automatically enter"
  • Choose how often you want this invoice to recur, the next date to generate, etc.
  • Click OK
If you want the invoice you just entered to be the "first" recurring invoice, save it. If you have set up the start for the next due date, don't save - it will generate automatically on the date you specified.

What's the definition of an accountant?
Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand.

What's an auditor?
Someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded.

Why do actuaries exits?
So accountants have someone to make fun of.
Tax Deadlines
October 15 - U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040 final due date

October 15 - U.S. Partnership Return of Income, Form 1065 final due date

October 15 - U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, Form 1041 final due date

October 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for September issued payroll

October 20 - State Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly and quarterly filers

October 31 - Employer's Quarterly Payroll Tax Report(s) Form 941 and TWC (Texas Workforce Commission)

November 15 - Texas Franchise Tax return final due date (if extension filed 5/15)

November 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for October issued payroll

November 20 - State Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

Since Halloween is all about dressing up...

Shine by Dressing for Success
by Sue Currie

Dress for Success. Is that irrelevant in today's business world? How much importance do we place on "dressing up"' for work? Well I think in some instances - not enough.

What message does your image send? Do you feel confident in the way you present visually through what you wear? It seems that there is still a lot of confusion in the work place about how we should dress. I read a posting recently on a small business website which detailed one guy's dilemma about what to wear to a client interview and possible photo shoot. To wear a tie or not to? Well the reaction from the comments posted were varied, from "I wear a funny bowtie to break the ice"' to "my best suit"' to "who cares?"'

How well do you understand the image you put across? Image is created by a lot of different ingredients acting together. Physical appearance, dress, voice, manner, the views you express or the fact you don't express any and the way you react to the people around you. These impressions are made instantly. Images are so powerful because however little you may like it they do say something true about your personality. It's no accident that you dress, talk and behave the way you do.

So what is your visual appearance like? Do you grab the first thing you see in the morning or put some thought into what is the most appropriate outfit for that day? Having an extensive wardrobe of all the latest fashions isn't really necessary. Establishing your own image and a strong sense of individual personality and style is the key. You may only need a few quality, signature pieces that reflect your individual style and that you can mix and match. You don't have to look different every day, you just need to look good and look professional.

Let's look at the scenario of work from home.

Get up and get dressed! Ditch the pj's and track pants. Put on something smart and comfortable. I've often read that it helps to have a separate work place in your home, a dedicated office phone line. Well it's the same with your personal brand. To be making calls, sending emails and acting in a professional way to run your business, means dressing in a professional way too. Now I don't mean you need a shirt and tie or a corporate outfit, but choose clothes that make you feel like you're working. You must look smart not only in the eyes of the people you're around but your own as well.

Going out to meet a client? Dress appropriately for the occasion. Do your research. You wouldn't go to a client meeting without knowing something about the company. Find out how the boss dresses, that's a start, or the code of dress in that organization and take it up a notch. After all you're there to win the client's business and that won't happen if you dress inappropriately or look like a slob.

Think about what they're looking for. If you're in finance, law or other professional services they want you to look like a credible, successful business person. You might be in IT or a creative service. Your potential client wouldn't expect to see you in a 3 piece suit. However does that mean you need to wear jeans and scruffy sneakers? Think about it, plan it out. You are part of the package that you're presenting to the client. People shouldn't judge us by our outward appearances, but of course they do.

I know a number of professional speakers - it's the industry I'm in. Let me share an example of two men, both $10,000 speakers. One works mostly with creatives yet has invested time and money into developing his image, finding the right cut to suit his body shape, wearing flattering colors, and choosing smart casual outfits. He looks like a $10,000 speaker. Another with a great reputation for the work he does with leading entrepreneurs still chooses to wear the tried (or maybe tired) and trusted jeans and black jacket. Mmmmm.

This scenario should be considered also by those that work in a slightly more casual workplace environment or have to endure casual work days. Jeans just don't cut it. They are what you wear when you are out and about at weekends or going out with friends at night.

Your appearance does label you; therefore it is crucial to get the right label! If your appearance shows that you care, people will recognize this. If you look like a slob, they begin to question your professionalism. It's not trivial to concentrate on your outward appearance. When you carefully select your wardrobe and create your look and personal style, you propel yourself forward by having a unique self brand.

Let's take a look at the corporate workplace.

Each workplace usually sets its own standards. However in the corporate environment there is an underlying code of dressing which is smart and professional. Suits have been the most acceptable form of dress in most industries with a trend today toward more casual wear particularly in IT and advertising and similar industries. Men have it easier than women in the matter of image. They at least have an example to follow. If everyone in the office wears suits there's no question they will do the same.

I think if you have one good working outfit for every day of the week that is all you really need. The idea is to mix and match and choose good, quality pieces. You can update with shirts, ties and accessories. What your clients or bosses want is someone who looks, speaks, and acts like they think someone in that position should speak or act. I think a woman or man who dresses smartly, elegantly and looks neat has a clear image of his or herself and what they are presenting to the outside world.

Sue Currie, the director of Shine Communications Consultancy and author of Apprentice to Business Ace - your inside-out guide to personal branding, is a business educator and speaker on personal branding through image and media. Sign up for free monthly tips on personal and professional PR at www.shinecomms.com.au/subscriber.html and learn more about how you can achieve recognition, enhance your image and shine.

Article courtesy of www.articlesbase.com

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 VA Lab Designs.