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Invoicing: Do it Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Many small business owners struggle when it comes to bookkeeping, accounting or invoicing. Some decide not to use the services of professionals and others tend to pay accounts at the moment they launch their business.

There are situations when business owners decide they will use professional accounting or invoicing only part time like when they need to create a business plan or company formation, to fill in the loan application or create government audit.

In all cases when starting a business you need to focus on the growth of the company and eliminate all time spending tasks.  Because if it takes you 10 hours to do your invoicing, and your time is worth $100 an hour. That’s a cost of $1000 to do your invoicing yourself.

So if you are thinking of doing your invoicing yourself or hiring a professional here are some tips you can take under consideration:

  1.  An accountant can do a complete analysis of your financial situation and offer strategic advice. It’s always good to have a professional take a look at your business finances and give you a clear picture of the whole situation. Even if it just an audit.
  2.  Outsource if you can afford in-house. Many small business owners stick to outsourcing accounting or bookkeeping services for quite some time and in some cases, they outsource them for part-time as they don’t need a full-time person for that type of task.
  3.  If you decide to hire an accountant do that when you are ready to delegate – some business owners need to control everything in order to run their businesses but the moment you let go of some of this control you can focus on your part and that is managing your business and employees. That moment is perfect to hire an in-house accountant.
  4. Hire an accountant when you need to deal with government or audits – these are serious matters where you need to have a professional on board. Have this in mind when you need to fill government paperwork, you are being audited or even in a situation when you need apply for a business loan or overdraft.
  5. Calculate and plan – if you are a small business or you are just starting you can start doing you invoicing or account at first, as there are a lot of tips, tools, and software that will guide you on how to do it best without taking too much time from your core business

Whatever option you choose is up to you and what you think is best for your business.

If you start researching you can see that most companies have leaders that have strong operational that are needed to maintain perfect organization and productivity in each team. Which of course is crucial when running a business.

The lack of employees with know-how, experience, and confidence can bring down your business and cause problems that can not be fixed in time. In some cases, this means total anarchy in the company, missing respect, and managerial hierarchy – mostly seen in the companies or startups where the lean organizational structure is practiced.

10 tips on practicing to become a strategic leader

But it does not matter if you are a new small business owner or a startup founder. Having a strong leadership and management in the company is the key to running a successful business.

According to a research done in 2015 among 6,000 senior executives analyzed only 8 percent of them turned out to be strategic leaders or those effective at leading transformations. But what it takes to be a strategic leader to run a company in good times and bad times through different transformations? Here are several tips that you can practice to become a successful strategic leader:

  • Distribute responsibility – one of the things you can do regarding the distribution of responsibilities is to know your own current and future role and responsibilities of the company after which to identify each employee’s duties and level of responsibilities. That way you will have a clear structure of roles and responsibilities in the company as well as you can be informed of the potential each employee has  as well as be ready for possible restructure if needed

 

  • Be honest and open when sharing information – employees prefer honesty instead of internal PR and missing out of important company information that is considering their work position and future in the company. So being open is hones can build strong loyalty towards you and the company

 

  • Have several ways for raising and testing ideas – from brainstorming to A/B testing, from encouraging one to one meetings with team members to open discussions, there are multiple ways to bring out ideas within the team and boost team work and team spirit.

 

  • Create a safe environment for failure – most people have fear of failing which can lead to demotivation, lack of contributing to team work and fear of losing their job. That is why it is crucial to use methods like test-driven development, eliminate the blame game points and reward some failure moments, divide failures into: preventable, complexity-related, and intelligent mistakes and deal with them with a different approach, and create best practices for safety and risk management to avoid unavoidable failures in complex systems.

 

  • Give access to another strategist – diversity and different point of view can always be beneficial for the company, especially when it comes to strategies from different industries or teams that can see things objectively and share ideas for improvement.

 

  • Provide opportunities for experience-based learning – real-life experience has often shown that working in outside environment can boost learning, brainstorming, developing new ideas and boosting team work. Having that combined with opportunities like month climbing, cycling, fun games, swimming etc can give surpassing results among the team

 

  • Hire for transformation – not just to fill in someone else’s spot. If your company is growing and developing, then hiring new competencies is an important requirement for seeking executive talent from outside your organization.

 

  • Bring your whole self to work – embrace the fact that you can be vulnerable. Too often we avoid difficulties, challenges, and conflicts with others because we’re afraid of the consequences of speaking up. But, if we engage in those kinds of conversations, we can increase our ability to resolve conflicts and create deeper connections.

 

  • Find time to reflect – period for you to create a good  time-management schedule, self-retrospective, and organization as well as one-thing-at-a-time focus

 

  • Let the leadership development be your ongoing practice – don’t push yourself to bring results in a short period of time. Unleashing leadership potential in all employees will help you develop your leadership skills as well, boosting team spirit and helping company growth.

5 things you need to know in order to create the perfect professional invoice for your first clients when starting a business

Did your business just started to boost, and you are caught in the maze called invoicing instead of working on getting more things done? If so, even though it might appear complicated, we all can, at some point, become invoicing masters.

Here are 5 things you need to know in order to create the perfect professional invoice for your first clients:

 

Start at the beginning

The first and most important thing you need to understand is the anatomy of one invoice. It doesn’t matter if you are handling your own invoicing or you hired someone else to do it for you. Here are several things you need to be familiar with:

  • Your invoice should include both yours and your client’s contact information
  • Your invoice should include Invoice number and Due Date
  • Your invoice should include a breakdown list of the service your provide
  • Your invoice can include a Terms and Conditions
  • And of course, your preferred payment methods you want to use like for ex.  PayPal, Stripe, Payoneer or credit card

 

Get paid at once.

Did you know that only 18% of the people who are waiting to get paid more than 90 days, get paid from clients? To avoid not getting paid on time, establish a good paying time cycle for you and for your clients, in order to send invoices promptly. You can have a recurring invoicing schedule and have a specific time when to send your invoices. In the beginning, the best time to send out an invoice is immediately after completing the project/service. You can also assign yourself a day in the week that will be spent on invoicing every week.

 

Track your income and invoices

Same as using a time tracker tool, you can start using an invoicing software which can help you track your expenses, completed projects, clients, send invoices, and much more depending on the software. Some invoicing apps have also recurring payments features and sending automatic payment reminders features that can help you automate your invoicing process and get paid faster.

The good thing about using an invoice software is that you don’t need to worry about tracking the numbers of your invoices or worry if you added the right email address, or contact name, even if your invoice looks professional enough. Almost all of them will take care of those problems and help you save time while invoicing your clients.

 

Don’t forget to follow-up

It’s so frustrating when we have to chase our clients for due payments, spending time in emailing and phone calls instead of focusing on our business tasks. That is why most invoicing solutions have features that will help you set up a reminder emails to remind your clients for due payments.

5 things you need to know in order to create the perfect professional invoice for your first clients when starting a business

Be nice and always ask for a testimonial

It’s professional and polite to say “please” and “thank you”, which will increase your chances of invoices being paid on time. Your customer testimonial is always important, don’t forget to ask for a testimonial from your clients.

PayPal hidden fees and how to notice them

2017-08-02 | ALL | No Comments

paypal hidden fees

While starting my business in the beginning I never checked how much money I received from my clients as a payment. As I was using PayPal for online payments I only gave my PayPal account and withdraw money when they were sent. Of course, as I am not in a country where you can pay with Euros or US Dollars, I usually converted them money into the local currency and never noticed the difference in the sum.

As you probably know PayPal is a popular transactional website that allows you to send and receive money online quickly and easily. When I started Payoneer was not that famous and somehow I trusted PayPal more so I made it my primary payment method.

It was only three months ago when I started to calculate the amount of money I lost in fees while getting paid online via PayPal.

So I did a research and starting to read even more about this thing everyone calls “hidden fees” – or the amount of money PayPal deducts from your account as fees. (And they can be a lot of those fees depending on the amount you receive and the business you run). But there is some good news even though PayPal does charge fees for some of its transactions, it does offer money transfers that do not incur charges. You will be able to send, receive and withdraw money without incurring any fees.

But let me share you some tips on where you can potentially have problems with PayPal “hidden fees”:

While Sending Money

If you want to send money to your friends and family than there will be fees when you use your PayPal balance or connected bank account as your funding source.

But when the transaction is funded by credit, debit or PayPal credit, PayPal charges 2.9% of the amount of your transaction plus $0.30 per transaction.

So for an example: a payment of $100, will be charged $3.20 ($2.90+$0.30) to the account sending the money.

For all of you that transfer money internationally you will be charged an additional fee. Typically, this will be somewhere between 0-2% when funded by your bank account or PayPal balance. If you use credit or debit, then it will be 2.9% to 5.99% plus a fixed fee based on the currency of the transaction will be billed to you.

Note that international transfers to Canada in US dollars are free if they are funded by a bank or account balance.

While Receiving Money

When you receive a notification that you have received money on your PayPal account, there are no fees incurred for receiving payments, and you can use that amount to send money through PayPal or to transfer to your connected bank account. While receiving money within the USA is free if it is done using the PayPal, requesting from another user to send you money with their email address or number, will cost you 2.9% of the transfer amount + $0.30 USD.

While Withdrawing Money

Depending on which country are you, PayPal has different fees. In my case, as I am from Bulgaria, my fees for withdrawal are 2.00 EUR per transaction. That is why you should check your transaction fees when starting using PayPal for your online payments.

Of course, PayPal has different other fee charges but this is the basic info you need to know when sending, receiving and withdrawing money. And also there are other ways you can receive and send money online such as Payoneer, Stripe or eCheck for example but all of them calculate fees for transactions, withdrawal or conversion if there are payment in foreign currency.

If you are still not sure how much money you pay for fees before sending you invoice to your clients calculate your amount fees with Envoice fee calculator.

influencer marketing envoice

As a longtime online marketer with almost 10 years experience, I have had many opportunities to work for businesses that are looking to find their market in the b2b segment. In the sea of marketing tactics and strategies, most small businesses tend to get creative and cheap or free techniques, instead of using the standard advertising techniques like TV, Radio and Print media. In most cases, small business and startups focus on interactive techniques to share their messages to the exact targeted audience, which will bring them more credibility, popularity, trust, and sales.

Among those tactics is the influencer marketing.

But what is Influencer Marketing and how you as a small business owner can use it to gain more customers?

In short and simple influencer marketing can be defined as the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. Or in other words letting other people (usually someone who has a decent amount of followers on the internet and is a specialist in his or hers field) tell the story of your brand to his or hers audience.

Why Influencer Marketing?

Well, it proved in the past few years that people can easily buy products from other people that are their idols or heroes.

Who is an influencer?

These days in the world of the internet everyone can be an influencer. As long as they have a small or huge audience. Even you reading this can be an influence to some degree as you sharing specific content which will be some kind of influence on your audience and particular individuals following you.

But the ultimate question is should you as a small business use Influencer Marketing?

If you have money – yes, if you don’t have money it will be a challenge, but it’s worth to try. If we compare the cost per action, there is a significant difference between the PPC cost and Price Per Influence, and most of the time, the second one is very very expensive.

So if you are really up for using Influencer Marketing into your business strategy and you have the financial support for that, you can potentially follow these steps:

Find out what is your buyer persona?

Who are they admiring on the internet? Who is their favorite internet person that they follow everyday? You can use tools like mention.com or buzzsumo.com to identify potential influencers that have an influence on your targeted customers.

Gather as much content as possible.

When an influencer starts promoting your brand you need to have a tonne of content to back up his. A tool that can assist you with that is serpwoo.com.

Make a plan to support your influencer marketing campaign with additional campaigns like remarking, email marketing and social media marketing. That way you will reach to customers that just got a glance of your products or services by the like remarking, email marketing and social media marketing. That way you will reach to customers that just got a glance of your products or services by the influencer.

Contact the influencer.

Before you start sending emails, create a list of potential influencers you want to contact. Research them online, see what are they famous for and write it down.

 

Send a nicely written email.

There are few tips when it comes to writing an email to influencer:

  1. Write a straightforward subject line. Make it look like a headline, short and to the point. Don’t be vague and informal. Make sure to mention your company and what the opportunity is. Ex. Join the Awesome Bloggers Network
  2. For greeting, go with first name only, unless they refer to themselves on their blog as Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc. There’s no need to bring titles when you’re aiming to open a comfortable back and forth line of communication. Introduce yourself in an open manner. Tell them your first name, your title, and the company you work for. Link to your site. Most influencers will not bother to search or type the name of your business to learn more. Make their life easier.Ex.  My name is [First Name]. I’m the [Position] at Awesome.example-email-influencer1
  3. Let them know what is what you are aiming to – your business goal. Get to the point quickly about what you’re looking to do.  Keep it brief using one or two sentences.Ex. We’d like to offer you an exclusive position in that network.
  4. Give them a reason to write your email. Shoot the incentive and explain why you would like them to endorse your brand. Here is very important to use the research you have done because each influencer has different incentive key points. Also give them a unique, researched reason why they should be working with you.
  5. Influencers are busy people so make sure to explain that they commitment will not be time-consuming for them.Ex. We’re not looking for a heavy commitment. All we would ask of you for a monthly post on a topic of your choosing
  6. Share an interesting fact about your brand – service or product. Ex. Awesome currently 3500 active users, 5000 likes on Facebook, 2600 followers on Twitter and strong will to grow our audience even more.
  7. Set up a deadline and end the email short and sweet. Ex. The deadline for accepting our offer is July 31st, please let me know if you need more information for our side. I look forward hearing from you.
  8. Write interesting specific content for your niche and mention them in it. That way when you share it on social media they will most likely share it.

BONUS:

Here is a list of the most popular influencers online today – among them are: Logan Paul, Cassey Ho, Emily Henderson, and much more.

 

Between all the clients and the frequent travels, life has become quite hectic. Time itself as a resource is limited and valuable, so we all need to be selective in how we spend it. On the other hand, success doesn’t come from ignorance. Time and effort need to be put into learning new things, keeping the focus and staying on top of your game. And that is why I am a big fan of podcasts. When you don’t have a lot of time for reading books, or don’t have the focus for watching videos, podcasts are the perfect tool for leveling up. There are a few better ways to multitask and to learn new things that podcasts.

And here is a list of the 10 best entrepreneurial podcasts, every business owner should subscribe to.

Entrepreneur on fire – EOFire is a daily interview with the most inspiring entrepreneurs on their best and worst career moments. Perhaps the most valuable part is the segment “The Lightening Round” where Dumas manages to get an extra piece of valuable advice from the guest. You can find a lot of great advice in the podcast that not only are proven to work but are also easy to apply.

Mixergy – Andrew Warner’s interviews with high-level entrepreneurs on how to create a successful business and everything on the topic can provide you with answers to some of the biggest questions you might have. The best take away is that some of the interviews are arranged into online business courses.

The Tim Ferriss Show – Angel investor and #1 New York Times bestselling author Tim Ferriss, interviews successful people from entrepreneurs, to athletes, to celebrities, digesting their success path and thus derives their own tips and tricks with the listeners. This is a great choice for serious content, but with fun and light approach.

Smart Passive Income – Pat Flynn is famous for building an online business almost entirely through passive income channels. On his podcast, he shares a ton of passive income strategies that work as well as the ones that don’t. He is very transparent with his business experience and the results, even his monthly income statement is on his blog. 

StartUp – The StartUp Podcast is, as the name suggests, a complete guide on how to start your business. You can find some of the most valuable tips when first starting a company, such as how to name your company and how valuations work, all the way to in-depth discussions about depth and how to conciliate family and career.

The GaryVee Audio Experience – Rock star entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk shares a ton of useful and inspirational material for his podcast. The show follows a simple Q&A format, with Gary answering viewer-submitted questions about marketing, social media, and entrepreneurship.

The Foundation – This podcast contains excellent interviews with so many high-profile entrepreneurs. It is an entirely online program for entrepreneurs, and its podcasts have the role of guest lecturers.

This Week in Startups – This Week in Startups basically shares what’s happening in the world of entrepreneurship. Jason Calacanis, every week has a few experts over in order to discuss and share with the listeners some of the most interesting events and news happening that week. Apart from the world of web companies, the panel of experts also shares their own tips and strategies towards becoming a better business person.

Jocko Podcast – It is a show run by Jocko Willink and Echo Charles on business management and leadership. Besides the business aspect, you can also learn about leadership in war, relationships, and everyday life. You can gain a fresh perspective on how to deal with stress, self-discipline, negativity, how to be strong etc.

The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes podcast will, without a doubt, inspire you to achieve your biggest goals and dreams. His focus is not only on his own views and strategies toward success, but he also interviews other entrepreneurs, celebrities, and athletes who want to share their success story.

These are my picks for podcasts that can give you the unique chance to learn and improve yourself on the go. No matter if you are starting your first business, or just looking for inspiration, you can all find tips and tricks in these podcasts that can turn your business into a great success.

My personal belief is that in order to grow your business, you must grow yourself first. Keep your brain in shape, sharp your own knife and learn new things that can help your business through reading books. And there are thousands of great business books out there. In fact, there are so many books on the shelves that deciding which one is worth reading can be a bit overwhelming.

I have put up a list of 10 favorites, which are essential for every small business owner.

1. “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber – Lack of systems is one of the reasons small businesses fail. In this book, the author not only explains why systems are important but how to install them as well. This book will help you grow your business in a predictable and productive way and the end result will be both happier employees and happier customers.

2. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – One of the all-time best sellers teach us how to become more effective by balancing the personal and professional at the same time. Stephen Covey, with his holistic approach to solving personal and professional problems, fills the book with anecdotes from both his worlds.

3. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t by Jim Collins – In this great book,

 Collins answers the question why some companies achieve enduring greatness and others don’t. He shares his extensive research of 6 000 articles and 2 000 pages of interviews and reveals what it is that makes top companies tick.

4. “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie – This one is an oldie but is a must read on every entrepreneur’s read list.  Solid network and good relationships are the foundations of successful business, and that is what makes this book a great read. It is full of techniques for enhancing relationships that can help you in getting what you want out of people (in a good way!).

5. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki – This is probably the number one book on personal finances of all time. The author busts the myth that you need to earn a high income in order to be rich. He explains the difference very well between working for money and having your money work for you.

6. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz – Ben Horowitz, an entrepreneur himself, share the difficulties of running a business. In the book, he shares stories of when his business nearly failed, how he fought to defeat, and how all of us can do hard thing too. It is a nice reminder that our problems are not unique and other have succeeded in the face of similar challenges.

7. “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters – Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and a lead investor of Facebook thought a class on start-ups, at Stanford, and Blake Masters took very good notes. It resulted in a legendary book on how we can find singular ways to explore uncharted frontiers and create new inventions.

8. “Speak and Get Results” by Sandy Linver – Public speaking, even one on one speaking, can be frightening to many people and this is a book that offers a solution to that problem. The author broke down the science of designing a speech or presentation that will get audiences hooked. In the book, there is a formula for this which can be used at every sales meeting, pitch, client proposal, and so on.

9. “Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box” by the Arbinger Institute – This is a straightforward

 book on how to discover your own self – deceptions, which, according to the book is the root of all leadership problems in today’s organizations. The authors demonstrate that breaking destructive patterns can lead to improved teamwork, communication, trust, motivation, commitment, and leadership.

10. “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen – Small business owners know how hard can be to find and maintain high levels of productivity. This is a book that offers a popular method on organizing, prioritizing, and accomplishing tasks that are important. According to David Allen, the secret to increased productivity is the ability to relax. The whole book outlines a system that will help you achieve it.

 

I can probably add twenty more on the list, but let’s keep it short and basic. It is no easy being a small business owner, and always being prepared and on top of your game. So, keeping your mind sharp and building off the experience of others will give you this advantage. These books will provide you with the wealth of knowledge of those who have gone and done that before you. Happy reading!

Envoice is a professional invoicing app that can save you time that you spend for invoicing and help you run your business smoothly. Learn more about Envoice on www.envoice.in