OffAssist

 

September 2013
Volume 10, Issue #8

Taking Care

Hi, Dy here! I’m usually the voice behind the scenes as Candy’s writer/editor, I also happen to be one of her best friends, so we kind of both took August off to take care of her.

The bad news? Well, Candy is looking more toward the outside edge of the 6-12 week recovery that is normal for the surgery she had in July. The good news? She is doing well, better every day, and OffAssist has run smoothly in her absence.

As a solopreneur myself, watching Candy go through this and the neck fusion last year has been hard. It’s scary. I don’t have a team of people I can rely on to step up if I’m incapacitated or, heck, even on vacation. If I go away for any reason the work doesn’t get done, the clients aren’t happy, and I’m not making any money. Many solo operators are in the same situation.

Don’t wait until an emergency to start planning for one. I’ve been reaching out to other writers I know, people whose work I enjoy. I want to build a network of people I can feel comfortable asking my clients to work with. Do I want to offer direct referrals or subcontract to them? I don’t know yet, it’s still early days, but these are the things you have to think about when you’re your only employee.

If you have any suggestions on how to make planned absences (or unplanned ones!) easier as a sole operator, please email them to Patty and we’ll include them in another newsletter or blog.

In the meantime, keep on keeping on and Candy, I, and the rest of the OffAssist team will do the same!

Dy

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In this issue...

Article: Self-Care Isn't a Luxury, It's a Matter of Survival for Entrepreneurs

Bookkeeping Tip: Streamline your Lists

Tax Deadlines September 2013/ October 2013

Spotlight on Eisley Jacobs

Tech Talk: Bite-Sized Pictures and Documents

Humor

Self-Care Isn't a Luxury, It's a Matter of Survival for Entrepreneurs

By Barbara Searles

I love the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey, mostly because she says the craziest things! One thing she said in the first season has stuck with me ever since that show. She said, "Weekend... what's a weekend?" As an entrepreneur, I could really relate to this idea although of course she didn't mean it the way it struck me. Her life is one of leisure and there's never a need for "down time." But for us business people, the idea that we put business aside (and gasp... relax!) for two whole days is pretty foreign!

So what's an entrepreneur to do... burnout isn't pretty and we are all just a weekend or two away from that frustrating exhausted feeling. Am I right? THIS is exactly why self-care isn't a luxury. Taking time for yourself is the best way to be sure that you can keep doing amazing things in the business you love!

So what is self-care exactly? The obvious answer would be, "It's taking care of yourself." As someone whose 10-year entrepreneurial career is all about taking care of others, I have often found my own self-care at the bottom of the "to-do" list. And then four years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition that forced me to figure out what kind of self-care I really needed. Since then I have found a long list of things I do on weekends and weekdays to be sure I actually take care of me.

Here are my five favorite steps to self-care:

1. Good nutrition IS self-care. If you want to be at the top of your business game, you have to fuel your body to excel. This means finding easy, tasty choices that are high in essential nutrients but not highly processed. Things like vegetables, fruits, high-quality protein and whole grains. If you keep your choices in this range at least 80% of the time, you will have the fuel to make the best decisions, focus, and maximize your business hours.

2. Go outside. Leave the house, the office and the computer for at least 15 minutes each workday. My friend Ken has a "porch office," which is a great example of breaking out of the "home office" shell. There's also Earthing, which is new research on the benefits of getting your bare feet on the earth every day. Just take your shoes off and sit with your feet on the grass for five minutes every day. Even though this is a challenge in the winter, do it whenever the weather permits!

3. Sleep. It's that simple... get enough sleep! But I understand it may not be easy to sleep. Doesn't your mind race with all the tasks at hand? If you struggle with sleep, consider limiting caffeine later in the day (you knew I was going to say that, right?). Drink your hydrating water earlier in the day so you aren't awakened during the night. Dim the lights in your house starting at sunset, which creates a winding down ritual for both mind and body. Turn off the electrical devices including your TV at least 30 minutes before bedtime. And keep a notebook by your bed to write down any great ideas or solutions that are running around in your head during the night.

4. Reach out for help with self-care. Find professionals whose mission is to help you be a better you. Scheduling that time can be the best thing you do for yourself every month. Maybe for you this means making a massage appointment, a golf lesson, or personal training session. I also use acupuncture to help me manage the mental and emotional stresses of entrepreneurial life. If needles aren't your thing, there's always counseling or talk therapy too.

5. Be spontaneous and have fun! Sounds crazy to schedule time for fun, doesn't it? When we live and breathe our businesses (whether corporate or entrepreneurial), balance isn't always a natural inclination. Having entirely open days every month with zero plans is a great thing. Find friends and family you'd enjoy spending the day with, and resolve to plan nothing until that day. Just do something you're in the mood for right then.

Now darn it, get off the computer and go relax. It's a matter of survival!

About the Author: Barbara Searles, Holistic Pain Relief Coach, founded ConfidentWellness.com in response to her own life experience with chronic pain and entrepreneurship. Barbara's personal and business mission is helping entrepreneurs living with chronic pain through her Confident Energy, Minimize Pain(TM) system.!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Bookkeeping Tip: Streamline your Lists

You can hide items you no longer use. This makes managing your lists easier and enables you to easily find what you really care about. Remember that once you’ve created and used an item in a transaction, you can't delete it, even if you no longer use or sell that item.

Tax Deadlines

9/16/13
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
- Partnership Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE
- Corporate Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE
- S Corporate Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE
- Estate & Trusts Returns - Final Deadline; Bankruptcy filings use the same form
- Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 3rd Quarter Estimated Tax Payment
- Corporations - 3rd Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
- Estates & Trusts 3rd Estimated Tax Payment
- Deadline for Corporations and Partnerships to fund SEP-IRAs for previous year.

9/30/13
- Last day to establish SIMPLE plans for current year
- Time for businesses to consider setting up retirement plans

10/15/13
- Personal Returns due - Nonresident, US income, etc. FINAL DEADLINE
- Personal Returns due - Easy - Final Deadline
- Personal Returns due - Not Itemizing - Final Deadline
- Deadline for Schedule C filer to fund SEP-IRAs for previous year.
- Net Operating Loss - Eligible Small Business carry back loss
- US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return - Final Deadline
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
- Employers File Annual Return for Employee Benefits Plan 5500, if on extension
- Employers File Annual Return for Employee Benefits Plan 5500-EZ, , if on extension

10/31/13
- 3rd Quarter Payroll Taxes Due
- Employer's Deposit Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) - if total due is more than $500 through Sept 30th.
- 3rd Quarter Federal Excise Tax Return & Payment Voucher - Form 720

Spotlight: Meet Author Eisley Jacobs

In the normal course of things, I read a lot. I’m a little derailed right now by the recovery process and it’s attendant medications and their effect on my ability to focus... In the meantime, I wanted to introduce you to someone whose work I enjoy when I ~can~ focus long enough to read a book. If you want to know what I thought of specific titles, you can find my reviews of Eisley Jacobs’ books here.

Author Eisley Jacobs writes the characters that stroll through her head. While studying at college, stories began to plague her mind and she tried her best to keep them at bay while she did more important things like… like… who are we kidding. Her grades suffered because the voices wouldn’t stop. So instead of going insane, she wrote.

It wasn’t until 2005 that Eisley realized her love of words needed to go somewhere besides the bottom drawer of the file cabinet. She began to write a young adult fantasy series (which is still a work in progress) and continued until she had two complete books and feverishly worked to complete book three.

In 2010, a blue dragon named Deglan interfered in her attempts to finish the final book in the YA series and thus Born to be a Dragon was hatched. The novel was written in less than two months and, almost a year after completion, found a home on Amazon and in the hearts of many children.

Now, with the third book in the Dragons Forever series out, Dragons of the Deep out she is actively working on a YA Dystopian called TWISTED. Pieces of Me her YA Science Fiction/Fantasy/Thriller was released in March 2013.

Eisley also has two inspirational fiction publications out; Runaway Choices - A Christian Speculative Fiction Novel and The Unseen Chronicles – An Unseen Realm Anthology.

You can find Eisley on her website or Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and anywhere coffee is served.


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 Patty@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.

Fine print: We do reserve the right not to feature anyone and a request is not a guarantee that you will make it into the newsletter. Also, if your news, announcement, etc. is time sensitive or tied to a specific date, please let Patty know in your email.

Tech Talk: Bite-Sized Pictures and Documents

Tom BeauchampBy Tom Beauchamp

So I have been remodeling my home office. It has been a month-long project. It is not completely finished, but I’ll work on the little touches over time. A lot of people have asked me to email them pictures of the process. The only problem: The 37 pictures took up a total of 100 megabytes. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you are waiting for the pictures to upload over and over, it gets a little old.

One friend suggested resizing the pictures? Opening, resizing, and saving 37 pictures is not my idea of fun. How about putting them all in one pdf? At least that means you are still sending just one file. Even at the lowest quality, the file still came out at 28 MB, plus the images were grainy.

But where there is a will, there is a way!

Step 1: Create a new Word document (this will also work with other word processing suites).
Step 2: Click “Insert” on the tool bar, click “Picture”, and then select all the pictures you want in your document. Hit “Ok” when done.
Step 3: Print to Adobe PDF.
Step 4: Save your new, much smaller, document with your pictures in it.

So, how much smaller?

Original folder of pictures: 98.8 MB
Original folder zipped: 98.6 MB
Straight to PDF: 28 MB
Straight to Word: 4 MB
Saved as PDF from Word: 1.6 MB
Printed to PDF from Word: 624 KB

That final figure is 1/162 of the original total size. And to make it even better, Word even resizes the pictures and arranges them for you automatically. This also makes storing those images on your hard drive long-term a lot less space intensive.

So whether you need a quick way to send multiple high quality documents or a way to maximize your available storage space, a combination of two readily available tools can make your life a lot easier.

Now if only I could do the same to my son’s appetite.

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

Humor

Not that we’re in a hurry to get the kids back in school or anything...

Props to the geeky school administrator with a sense of humor who planned this:

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.

Ink Think       Time Is Of The Es-Cents

This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. © 2013

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.