Titillating Tuesday Business Tip

with The Luvely Rae

It’s a new year and as my business grows, my recording keeping must improve. I do not consider myself a math wiz. I hated Psychological Statstics and I avoided Calculus like the plague growing up. I do like financial independence. I didn’t want to marry for money, or take a job I didn’t like for money, or take a client I didn’t like for money. The “jobs” that were money based didn’t last long and the clients that were money based never seemed to be worth the hassle. 2013 taught me that in order to be self sufficient financially I have to like number enough not just to record them or anticpate them, but to be clariviant about them. To be willing to go beyond my “season overview” projection sheets and my “new dance number” excel sheets. Sure those were good, but with business growing my time is not infinte. So it’s time to go from good to better.

Titallating Business Tip: Boldly look deep into your financial future.

When it comes to your money, skip the goals and go for benchmarks. Benchmarks are measurable. Goals are almost lofty ideas that you are trying to attain.

Below is a list of high tech tools (free apps) that I am using to take my business to the next level:

Payment Processing- Square Online

I’ve decided to switch from Paypal to Square. I love Paypal but when it comes to my dance classes, I spent a ridiculous amount of time editing button code.

I also discovered that when it came to my event clients 25% did not know how to use Paypal. Strange I know, but when people ask you if they can just give you their credit card information because they can’t figure out Paypal well, that has to be taken into consideration. Additionally, Paypal takes longer to reach my bank account (2-3 days) unless I get the Paypal debit card (same day). With Square, once I approve an order the money is in my bank account the next business day.

I’ve had my Square accounts for 1 week setup was under an hour, and processing sales online via the webstore has been easy. Zero customer complaints thus far. This may change when I get the card reader, but so far so good.

Get the App: Square App

Update 1/14/ 2014:  Still no complaints from customers. Payments are coming without delay. It would be nice if I could mark an product at “sold out” via the webstore. According to customer support I have to delete the item when it’s sold out then reenter the item when it’s back in stock. Not fun when you are trying to sell t-shirts in multiple sizes.

Financial tracking- Check App

Though I have apps for both of my banks, I still would fighting to see a full picture of my finances. The Check App lets me import data from all of my bank account as well as my bills. I can set reminders and send payments all from the app. Bonus: I can even see my Paypal balance from the App. I may finally be able to leave my excel sheet bookkeeping method behind…

Get the App: Check App

Updated 1/14/2014: Since I set up Check App, I put in a few test as automatic payments. Big mistake! The delay in the payment actually being with drawn from my account and received by the vendor contributed to an nasty problem where I double paid 2 bills. I don’t recommend the autopay as you may be left thinking you have more money than you do. Other than that I’m still happy with the app.

Financial tracking and forecasting- All Budget App

This is where being a small business owner gets tricky if you are doing your own books. In 2013 I not only ran my casting department as a separate business from my production department, but I also pushed my dance education department forward. That’s 3 separate sets of books to monitor. I wanted a free app that would let me look at the sales and expenses for each business. Now meet All Budget. Truthfully it’s designed for very basic budgeting, and frankly I wouldn’t recommend this app for that purpose (looks outdated, only accepts manual data). Under Accounts I’ve input the names of each business. I think select income every time I make a sale or expect to close a deal. Next I input the expenses related to the sale (transportation or shipping, credit card fees, additional staff). There are also regular monthly expenses that are input for every month even if I don’t know what the sales will be yet. This system allows me to see how much each business must make in order to pay its bills. It also forces me to stop borrowing from one business to keep another business afloat during a slow month.

If you are a dancer,actor, or a performance artists terms like “budget” and “forecasting” may sound foreign. Don’t forget you are your business. Knowing your financial future as far in advance as possible will help you to determine what types of work not to audition for, whether you can afford those new photos, and how much you need in order to take that well deserved vacation.

Get the App here: All Budget App

Update 1/14/2014: I did run into a problem where looking at the multiple transactions on my smart phone was a little overwhelming and was unsure if I have the correct number of entries entered. This app has a nice export and import function so I easily exported the data, cleaned it up, and checked my totals. The great thing is I’ll be able to export this data come tax time next year. The bad things is when I imported the revised data there were a few line items that were rejected. I haven’t figured out how to check which items were rejected. Putting in a message to tech support.