Marketing Tips for Selling Honey On A Small Scale

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One of the biggest challenge when you start to sell honey at first is how to go about doing it? Many people are not experienced in this sort of stuff.

The key thing is to start small. Small steps will eventually get you where you want to go and you will definitely learn tonnes while at it. This will keep the cost low and flexibility to change any time.

There are a few things that you have to consider, namely the target market, how you will distribute to them, ie your marketing channel, the packaging of your product and how you will promote it.

Most people when starting will not have many hives. Typically you can start with one or two just to get a hang of how to do beekeeping. So to test the water in marketing honey, first off and easiest to promote it amongst close friends or relatives. It could be that when you start just invite them for tea with a spread of honey and let them taste it! You can get their feedback and take it from there.

Essentially for a start, the target would be market locally within your circle of friends or neighbors and you can also set up a road side store or if your place is the near the road, to have a clear sign board informing them that they can get fresh honey from you!

It is worthwhile to take time and come up with a simple yet attractive sign board and something that is big enough for drivers to notice and want to drop by. Graphics and visuals attract. Put on your creative cap to come up with ideas and get feedback … gosh there are many ways, maybe even create a variety of design as ask people to vote which is best. Nowadays you can do it online even – ask your Facebook friends 🙂

Besides your signage, the product packaging is also crucial. Even though there's a saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover", you know for a fact that in the real world most of us DO judge by how someone or something looks! How many times have you pick up that "cute" little box in the supermarket because it looks great (even though you didn't initially plan to buy it)?

Creativity does play an important role. You don't have to have a million dollar research to do that, but the packaging should be decent enough that someone will want to buy it. That means that the labels should be stick properly and it's clean. Usually the winning strategy in honey is to put it in clear glass or plastic bottles so that people can see what's the color.

You may want to also do some branding, by including your company name and type of honey and probably contact no. or website if you have. Well, you knows what opportunity this will bring.

Yes, there will be some cost. Take this as part and parcel of business. Nowadays you can source for cheaper solutions like getting the containers for eBay or Walmart.

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Source by Mike Jasons

Apartment Building Investing – Find Motivated Sellers

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As the creator of the "Buy Your First Apartment Building E-Course" I have many potential students and beginning investors ask me, "How do I find motivated apartment building sellers?"

There are many ways that investors use to find motivated sellers, however, what I see happening many times with beginners is that they start looking for properties to purchase before they thoroughly understand how to identify a truly profitable opportunity. Here are my recommendations for how to begin learning about multifamily investing and then how to find motivated sellers.

Begin by learning what makes mult-family property profitable by taking these steps:

  1. Study and learn about what makes an apartment building profitable.
  2. Read as many books about real estate investment and apartment building investment as possible. It is a lot easier to learn from other people's mistakes. There is no need to reinvent to the wheel.
  3. Find a reputable real estate investment club in your geographic area and meet with the commercial investor members. These "old hands" are a valuable source of market information.

After the aspiring multi-family property buyer has received a thorough education by reading books, industry magazines and networking with other commercial real estate investors then he or she is ready to begin the process of searching for an actual property to purchase.

Contacting Commercial Realtors

A great reference source for finding well educated commercial real estate agents is the CCIM website. The CCIM is a professional designation that qualifies a commercial real estate professional as capable and knowledgeable in the field. You can also find commercial real estate agents using a simple search on the web.

When searching for a commercial real estate agent take these steps:

  1. Speak to a number of commercial realtors in the area and ask about "pocket listings". Pockets listings are apartment building owners that the experienced realtor might know who are serious about selling their building but they have not listed the property yet.
  2. Find a commercial realtor who specializes in multi-family investments. A good commercial realtor who specializes in multifamily properties should have a great knowledge of what apartment buildings have sold for recently.

Alternative Strategies for Finding Apartment Building Deals:

  1. Place an ad on Craigslist stating what you are looking for:
  2. "Looking To Sell Your Apartment Building? I am a commercial real estate investor interested in buying multi-family property in Philadelphia between 5 and 100 units. I am looking for owner financing over five years with 5% down or will buy with a 20% down payment and a bank loan. " Or, here is an ad that I copied directly from Craigslist this morning:

    I BUY MULTI-FAMILY PROPERTIES W / SELLER FINANCING OR QUICK CASH. Need to sell? Moving? tax benefits run out? call me for a offer.

  3. You can also place the same ad in the commercial real estate section of your local newspaper but be prepared to pay a handsome sum for the ad and also be ready for unsolicited calls for real estate agents. Newspaper ads do work but you are better off using free or more direct methods like direct mail.
  4. Another strategy is to contact the owners of commercial real estate directly. This can be done in a number of ways. Multi-family owners can be located by researching the tax records of a metropolitan area. Usually, the owner of record will be listed along with his or her or contact information. The next step is to write a letter that explains who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. The purpose of letter to have many interested apartment building owners contact you. You should leave your phone number, mailing address and email address for sellers to contact you. You should make it very easy for the sellers to get a hold of you. Remember, you will need to look at dozens of deals and sellers before you find the one that fits your investment criteria. You can also contact owners directly by telephone. Keep in mind that multifamily property owners are usually very busy so you might want to write a script or have talking points written down so you are able to get right to the point and get your message across accurately.

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Source by Ted Karsch

How to Sell an Unprofitable Business

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We've all been there! You worked your tail off for years, you put your heart and soul and everything else you had into building a business but it just didn't work out. Sure the company makes money, and you're able to meet payroll most of the time, but as far as being profitable … well that's another matter.

And you finally made the decision, it's time to get out.

So how exactly do you sell an unprofitable business? Believe it or not, even a company that doesn't make a profit, still has value and is worth money to the right people. In this article I'm going to discuss several ways to sell an unprofitable business that you may not have thought about.

In my mind there are basically for potential ways to sell a company that is losing money.

The first way to sell an unprofitable business is to look for a large publicly traded company. I'm talking about companies who's stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ. Look for a company that closely mirrors the industry that you are in or one that has a specific need for what your company offers. These companies often have large sums of money at their disposal, as well as stock in their own company to use as incentives. Just because your company is not profitable, doesn't mean it would be unprofitable for them. Often economies of scale allow large companies to turn a profit when a small company would not.

The next way to sell an unprofitable businesses is to look for entrepreneurs. People who like to buy and run companies often have a higher risk tolerance. Look for an entrepreneur with experience in your specific market or industry. Why would an entrepreneur buy your money-losing business? Because many times it is cheaper to buy an existing business that is to start one from scratch. And as an entrepreneur, they may have ideas that you've never thought of to turn the business around … that's what they do.

The next way to sell an unprofitable business is to consider the company's current management. Sure, you were the owner, but have you been running things on a day-to-day basis? There's a good chance that you had a management team in place, and those managers may want to buy the company from you. Current management can always find venture capital for seed money if necessary.

The fourth and last way to sell an unprofitable business is to look for foreign companies. Many times foreign companies are just looking to get in the front door in a particular US market. They just want a toehold in America, and you can give them one! There may be additional hurdles for this technique if your company is a technology company, in which case the US government may need to sign off on your sale to a foreign company. But if your company doesn't deal in technology or another strategic industry, selling to a foreign company may be just the thing.

So there you have it four ways to sell an unprofitable business! Whichever way you choose, the next step is to quietly send out test balloons, that is, send out feelers to whichever group you've decided to approach. Look at it from the potential buyers point of view, and be ready to show them exactly why your company makes sense from their point of view and you will be just fine.

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Source by Jason Markum

Three Critical Factors to Consider When Buying a Home Or Lot on Lake Murray South Carolina

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All real estate is not created equal, and this is certainly true with waterfront property on Lake Murray South Carolina. Understanding what to look for can help in the decision making process and can also help to ensure years of enjoyment from your lake-front home. For most people, the three critical factors to consider when purchasing water-frontage on Lake Murray are whether it has fringe-land, whether the property can have a private dock, and whether it has year-round water.

The first critical factor is fringe-land. Fringe-land is a term used by SCE&G (South Carolina Electric and Gas) which basically refers to a seventy-five foot wide strip of land which is owned by SCE&G and lies between the edge of the lake and the adjacent waterfront property.

Owners of the adjacent property only have foot access to the lake and are restricted from encroaching upon the land or cutting trees or shrubs on the land without written consent. While the majority of properties on the lake do not have to contend with this „vegetative buffer“, there are still many properties in the more rural areas of the lake where this is a consideration. Generally, properties free from fringe-land are more desirable.

The second critical factor is the ability to have a private dock. Not all Lake Murray properties can have private docks. SCE&G controls dock permitting, and they have strict guidelines governing permit issuance. Properties that have the ability for a private dock are in more demand and typically command a higher price than those with only a shared dock or with no dock at all.

The third critical factor is whether the property has year-round water. With Lake Murray being a hydro-electric lake, it has an annual draw-down in the fall and winter. The result for land owners is that some properties might be „dry“ during the low period. Unfortunately, most real estate agents do not understand how to properly evaluate this aspect of lake properties.

Often times properties will be presented as having year-round water, but they don’t. This is not usually intentional deceit on the part of the listing agent, but usually just a lack of skill. If you plan on purchasing a home or lot on Lake Murray, be sure your real estate agent can do a USGS based depth analysis on any property of interest.

When buying any real estate, you should perform proper due diligence. Now you have an idea of what to look for when considering making a purchase on Lake Murray South Carolina. See you on the lake!

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Source by Creighton Edmonds

What is the Title Company's Responsibilities?

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Buying and selling real estate is certainly not an easy proposition; innumerable factors have to be taken into consideration, exhaustive researches have to be conducted, important financial and legal matters have to be efficiently handled, and endless paperwork has to be done meticulously. In such a complex scenario, the helping hand of the Title Company provides the much needed relief and peace of mind.

What is a Title Company?

Before we deal with the definition of the Title Company, it is essential to understand the term Title. A Title is basically a document that confirms that a particular person or company is the owner of the property. It is very different from Possession, where a person just holds the property, irrespective of whether he has any right to do so or not. Title, on the other hand, confirms true ownership.

The company that looks for such Title Deeds is called a Title Company. In addition to this, the company examines the title thoroughly to validate its authenticity, and also tries to delve out all the legal and financial issues related to the property. Furthermore, it facilitates the smooth closing of the real estate deal.

What exactly are the responsibilities of a Title Company?

The primary responsibility of a Company tackling issues related to the title is to search for the Title Deed to ascertain whether the seller is the true owner of the property or not. Apart from the ownership details, the company also looks for possession details. False claims can adversely affect the deal; for this reason, Title research is crucial.

The next important responsibility of a Title Company is to find out all the legal and financial upheavals that are bordering the property. Pending litigations, back taxes, first and second mortgages, debt, mechanical liens, and so forth are the matters of grave concern. Although they have to be tackled by the seller, but when the deal closes, the buyer becomes the owner of the property and thus inherits all these hassles. If you wish to acquire a clean and clear title, hire a Title Company without a second doubt.

Yet another significant responsibility of the Company checking titles is to help in closing the deal properly. When the deal is about to be closed, tons of documents have to be read and signed. A good company not only makes the process really easy, but also helps you to understand all the intricate terms and phrases. When you mind is clear of confusion, you can think about and enjoy your newfound landowner status.

Some additional duties that a Title Company performs

An important responsibility of the Company dealing with titles is to issue title insurance. A superlative company would leave no stone unturned to authenticate the legitimacy of the Title Document. However, if the company makes any mistake in finding the ownership details or tracking the legal and financial problems associated with the property, the title insurance would provide you all the protection. Thus, title insurance is exceedingly important, but such a situation is preventable too. All you need to do is to select a Title Company that has an impeccable track record.

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Source by Anubha S Shyam

31 Items to Put in Your Lease Addenda Rental Form

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The Lease Addenda is a very, very important form for landlords. This lease addenda spells out in plain English all the key things that we've learned over the years that our renters really need to be informed about. This document includes but is not limited to (there are actually 31 items covered in this document) items like:

  1. Deposits and last month rent (not to be used for).
  2. Due dates and late fees for rent.
  3. Smoke Alarm Batteries Reminder
  4. Air Conditioning Filter Reminder
  5. Landscaping Responsibilities
  6. Unauthorized Repairs / Improvements
  7. 30 Days Notice Reminder
  8. Criminal Activity
  9. Move-in Inspection (Rental Property Condition) Reminder
  10. Subletting

You'll want to copy and paste these items as well as others items that you can think of that make sense for your specific property into the body of the document at the bottom of this post (which is just a sample header and footer for ease of use). So, with out further ado, here are the 31 items that we put in every lease addenda for every rental agreement that we sign with a tenant:

  1. Tenant understands that the Security / Cleaning / Redecorating Deposit is NOT to be used toward the last month's rent.
  2. Rents are due on the 1st of each month and are delinquent on the 2nd. 5-day notices will be served; there is a service fee for each notice, and this is charged to the tenant. Late fee is $ 35.00 per day retroactive from the 5th day of the month.
  3. Tenant shall take responsibility for checking batteries in the Smoke Alarm at least once a month and replacing when needed. If the smoke alarm is not functioning, the Tenant should notify Owner / Landlord immediately.
  4. Tenants are to change air conditioner filters every 30 days. Tenant's failure to change filters may cause the Tenant to be billed for damages. Tenant to maintain the home interior in a neat, orderly and "maid serviced" manner. Failure to do so may be a cause for excess wear and tear, and may be considered a material breach of the lease terms.
  5. The Tenant is responsible for maintaining the lawns, desert landscaping, shrubs, trees and other landscaping including mowing and trimming. Failure to maintain the exterior of the premises is justification to withhold deposits to restore the property to pre-rental condition.
  6. Repairs caused by resident neglect or negligence will be charged to the Tenant (ie a child's toy causes blockage in a toilet or sewer line, or excess hair stops up sink or shower line). Such charges must be paid within ten (10) days of written notice from the Landlord / Owner.
  7. The Property Owner / Landlord will NOT pay for unauthorized repairs.
  8. Tenants will not work on / repair vehicles at the premises; there should be no unregistered, non-functioning or commercial vehicles parked on, in front of or adjacent to the property that is visibly in sight from the street.
  9. The Owner / Landlord only warrants serviceability on the following appliances: air conditioner, heater, conventional water heaters, range / oven, refrigerator and dishwasher, if provided, and all other major electrical and plumbing systems. Owner / Landlord does not warrant or repair washer (s) and dryer (s).
  10. It is the responsibility of the Tenant to acquire and maintain liability insurance if the Tenant has a waterbed and / or pet. As noted in lease, written permission must be obtained from the Owner / Landlord to install a waterbed or have a pet at the property.
  11. The Owner / Landlord is not responsible for the Tenants personal belongings. Tenant understands that they may choose to obtain Renters / Tenants Insurance.
  12. Tenant must give written notice thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of this agreement to vacate or renew. On a month-to-month basis, the termination of this lease can only coincide with the end of a calendar month, unless agreed to by all parties.
  13. Tenant is to allow Landlord / Owner / Real Estate Agents to show the property for lease or sale during the last thirty (30) days of tenancy with proper notice. Tenant will allow placement of a Lockbox with property key the last 30 days of tenancy. Failure to comply may result in forfeiture of deposits.
  14. Tenant may obtain a free copy of the AZ Residential Landlord / Tenant Act from the Secretary of State office.
  15. Non-refundable fees will be applied to the following: cleaning / carpet cleaning / re-keying property.
  16. Tenant acknowledges receipt of a move-in inspection form. It is the Tenant's responsibility to return to Owner / Landlord within ten (10) days of occupancy.
  17. Criminal Activity: Tenant (s) or members of Tenant's household will not permit the dwelling to be used for, or to facilitate criminal activity, including drug related activity, regardless of whether the individual engaging in such activity is a member of the household or a guest. Violation of this provision shall be a material and irreparable violation of the lease and good cause for immediate termination of tenancy. Proof of violation shall not require criminal conviction, but shall be by preponderance of the evidence.
  18. Indemnity: Tenant (s) shall indemnify and hold Owner harmless from and against any and all claims, liability, penalties, damages, expenses and judgements for injuries or accidents to people or property of any nature however caused, occurring on or about the leased premises during the lease term and any other period of occupancy, including costs, expenses, attorney's fee incurred by Owner in defense of any such claims, whether or not such claims are adequately covered by insurance.
  19. Waiver: Either party's waiver of any breach of this lease shall not be deemed to be a waiver of any such breach on subsequent occasion, and failure of either party to insist on performance of the terms, agreements and conditions of this lease shall not include a relinquishment of such party's right thereafter to enforce such term, agreement or condition but the same shall remain in full force and effect. Should any provision or any part thereof in this lease agreement be determined unenforceable or illegal, the remaining terms shall remain in full force and effect.
  20. Utilities: Tenant (s) are responsible for having all utilities placed in their own name (s) prior to move in. Tenant further agrees to pay any and all deposits (if any) as required by utility companies.
  21. Assignment and Subletting: The Tenant may not assign or sublet the premises without the express written permission of the Landlord / Owner. An application fee will be charged by the Landlord / Owner to cover the cost of credit and background checks.
  22. Alterations: The Tenant shall make no alteration, addition or improvement to the property, either inside or outside, without the written consent of the Owner / Landlord.
  23. If property has an electric garage door opener, remotes will be operable upon move-in. Remotes are not warranted beyond move-in.
  24. Tenant agrees to return all house keys, mailbox keys, garage door openers and any other keys at time of move out. A $ 75.00 re-keying fee will be charged if all keys are not returned and $ 35.00 for each garage door remote.
  25. Tenant agrees to conduct a final walk-through inspection with Landlord / Owner at the end of the lease term. Tenant agrees to have all personal property removed from the premises at the time of final walk-through inspection. Owner / Landlord has no obligation to conduct a joint move-out inspection with the Tenant if ARS 33-1321C shall apply.
  26. FIRSTNAME LASTNAME and FIRSTNAME LASTNAME are owners of said property.
  27. Tenant understands that smoking is not permitted inside the home or garage.
  28. Tenant agrees to notify Landlord / Owner immediately of any water leaks that occur (ie leaks at sinks / vanities / tubs / showers / laundry spigots / appliances, ceiling stains or any water penetrations observed).
  29. Tenants are responsible for carpets being professionally cleaned prior to lease expiring; proof of cleaning is by receipt.
  30. If property is located in a homeowners association, Tenant is responsible for any fines assessed to property for violations caused by the Tenant. The two most common violations are garbage cans being left out on non-pick-up days and weed control. Homeowner's rules and regulations are available upon written request only.
  31. In the event that the property is sold the lease / rental agreement between landlord and tenant is cancelled on the date the new owner takes possession of the property. Tenant has 30 days to vacate the property or sign a new lease with the new owner at the owner's option.

Actual.pdf and word documents are available on the post of this article I made on my blog. Located here:

http://landlord.ideaboxllc.com/2010/06/31-items-to-put-in-your-lease-addenda-rental-form/

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Source by Joshua Cork

10 Most Expensive Tax Mistakes That Cost Real Estate Agents Thousands

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Are you satisfied with the amount of taxes you pay? Are you confident that you’re taking advantage of every available tax break? But most of all, is your tax preparer giving you proactive advice to save on your taxes?

The bad news is that you probably do pay too much tax and you’re probably not taking advantage of every tax break. And most preparers do a poor job of actually saving their clients money.

The good news is that you don’t have to feel that way. You just need a better plan. This article reveals some of the biggest tax mistakes that business owners make. Then, it gives brief solutions to actually solve these problems. Please note that this article is designed to be an informational tool only. Before you implement any of these strategies, you should consult a tax professional for more specific guidelines and requirements.

#1: FAILING TO PLAN

The first mistake is the biggest mistake of all. It is failing to plan. It doesn’t matter how good your tax preparer is with your stack of receipts on April 15. If you didn’t know that you could write off your kid’s braces as a business expense, it’s too late to do anything when your taxes are prepared the following year.

Tax coaching is about giving you a plan for minimizing your taxes. What should you do? When should you do it? How should you do it?

And tax coaching offers two more powerful advantages. First, it’s the key to your financial defenses. As a real estate agent, you have two ways to put more cash in your pocket. Financial offense is increasing your income. Financial defense is reducing your expenses. For most agents, taxes are their biggest expense. So it makes sense to focus your financial defense where you spend the most.

And second, tax coaching guarantees results. You can spend all sorts of time, effort and money promoting your business. But that can’t guarantee results. Or you can set up a medical expense reimbursement plan, deduct your daughter’s braces, and guarantee tax savings.

#2: MISUNDERSTANDING AUDIT ODDS

The second big mistake is nearly as important as the first, and that’s fearing, rather than respecting the IRS.

What does the kind of tax planning we’re talking about do to your odds of being audited? The truth is, most experts say it pays to be aggressive. That’s because overall audit odds are so low that most legitimate deductions aren’t likely to wave „red flags.“

Audit rates are actually as low as they’ve ever been for 2008 – the overall audit rate was just one in every 99 returns. Roughly half of those audits targeted the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families. The IRS primarily targets small businesses, especially sole proprietorships, and cash industries like pizza parlors and coin-operated laundromats with opportunities to hide income and skim profits.

#3: TOO MUCH SELF-EMPLOYMENT TAX

If you’re like most business owners, you pay as much in self-employment tax as you do in income tax. If that’s the case, you might consider setting up an „S“ corporation or limited liability company to reduce that tax.

If you run your business as a sole proprietor, you’ll report your net income on Schedule C. You’ll pay tax at whatever your personal rate is. But you’ll also pay self-employment tax of 15.3% on your first $106,800 of „net self-employment income“ and 2.9% of anything above that in 2010.

Let’s say your profit at the end of the year is $60,000. You’ll pay income tax at your regular tax rate, depending on your total taxable income. But you’ll also pay about $9,200 in self-employment tax. This tax replaces the Social Security and Medicare tax that your employer would pay and withhold if you weren’t self-employed.

An „S“ corporation is a special corporation that’s taxed like a partnership. The corporation pays the owners a reasonable wage for the work they do. If there’s any profit left over, it passes through to the shareholders, and the shareholders pay the tax on their own returns. So the „S“ corporation splits the owner’s income into two parts, wages and pass-through distributions.

„S“ corporations are so attractive because even though you pay the same 15.3% on your wages as you would on your self-employment income, there is no Social Security or self-employment tax due on the dividend pass-through. Let’s say your S corporation earns the same $60,000 as your proprietorship. If you pay yourself $30,000 in wages, you’ll pay about $4,600 in Social Security taxes. But you’ll totally avoid $4,600 in self-employment tax on the $30,000 pass-through distribution.

The „S“ corporation takes a little more paperwork to operate than the proprietorship. And you have to pay yourself a reasonable wage for your service. That means something like you’d pay for an outside employee to do the same work. But the IRS is on the lookout for agents who take all their income as pass-through. The reasonable wage for agents varies, depending on the amount of time spent on real estate activities and your location.

#4: WRONG RETIREMENT PLAN

If you want to save more than the current $5,000 limit (additional $1,000 for taxpayers 50 or older) for IRA’s, you have three main choices: Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs), SIMPLE IRAs, or 401ks. Generally, if you have a business retirement plan, it must be offered to all your employees and the calculations for contributions must be applied in the same manner as for yourself or any family employees.

The SEP and SIMPLE IRAs are the easiest plans to set up and administer. There’s no annual administration or paperwork required. Contributions are made directly into employee retirement accounts. For SEP plans, self-employed individuals can contribute up to 25% of your „net self-employment income,“ to a maximum of $49,000 for 2010. For SIMPLE IRAs, the maximum contribution for 2010 is $11,500 (50 or older can contribute an extra $2,500 catch-up.) SIMPLE IRAs may be best for part-time or sideline businesses earning less than $40,000. You can also hire your spouse and children, and they can make SEP or SIMPLE contributions.

For even larger retirement contributions not limited to 25% of your self-employment income, consider a 401(k) retirement plan. You can even set up what’s called a „solo“ or „individual“ 401(k) just for yourself. The 401(k) is a true „qualified“ plan. And the 401(k) lets you contribute far more money, far more flexibly, than either the SEP or the SIMPLE. For 2009, you and your employees can „defer“ 100% of your income up to $16,500. If you’re 50 or older, you can make an extra $5,500 „catch-up“ contribution. You can also choose to match your employees‘ contributions, or make profit-sharing contributions up to 25% of their pay. That’s the same percentage you can save in your SEP – on top of the $16,500 or $22,000 deferral, for a total maximum contribution of $49,000 per person in 2010. 401(k)’s are generally more difficult to administer. There are anti-discrimination rules to keep you from stuffing your own account while you stiff your employees. Like SEPs and SIMPLE IRAs, you can still hire your spouse and contribute to their account.

If you’re older and you want to contribute more than the $49,000 limit for SEPs or 401(k)’s, consider a traditional defined benefit pension plan where you can contribute an amount to guarantee up to $195,000 in annual income. Defined benefit plans have required annual contributions. But you can combine a defined benefit plan with a 401(k) or SEP to give yourself a little more flexibility.

#5: MISSING FAMILY EMPLOYMENT

Hiring your children and grandchildren can be a great way to cut taxes on your income by shifting it to someone who pays less.

  • The IRS has upheld deductions for children as young as 7.
  • Their first $5,700 of earned income in 2010 is taxed at zero to the child. That’s because of the standard deduction for a single taxpayer – even if you claim them as your dependent. Their next $8,375 is taxed at just 10%. So, you can shift quite a bit of income downstream.
  • You have to pay them a „reasonable“ wage for the service they perform. This is what you would pay a commercial vendor for the same service, with an adjustment made for the child’s age and experience. So, if your 12-year-old son cuts grass for your rental properties, pay him what a landscaping service might charge. If your 15-year-old daughter helps keep your books, pay her a bit less than a bookkeeping service might charge.
  • To audit-proof your return, write out a job description and keep a timesheet.
  • Pay by check so you can document the payment.
  • You have to deposit the check into an account in the child’s name. But the account can be a ROTH IRA, Section 529 college savings plan, or custodial account that you control until they turn 21.
  • If your business is unincorporated, you don’t have to withhold for Social Security until they turn 18. So this really is tax-free money. You’ll have to issue them a W-2 at the end of the year. But this is painless compared to the tax you’ll waste if you don’t take advantage of this strategy.

#6: MISSING MEDICAL EXPENSES

Surveys used to show that taxes were small business owners‘ main concern. But now it is skyrocketing health care costs. If you’re self-employed and pay for your own health insurance, you can deduct is as an adjustment to income on Page 1 of Form 1040. If you itemize deductions, you can deduct unreimbursed medical and dental expenses on Schedule A, if they total more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. But most of us don’t spend that much.

But there is a way to write off all your medical bills as business expenses. It’s called a Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP), or Section 105 Plan. This is an employee benefit plan, which means it requires an employee. If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or S corporation, you’re considered self-employed and don’t qualify. But if you’re married, you can hire your spouse. If you’re not married, you can do this with a C corporation. But you don’t have to be incorporated. You can do this as a sole proprietor or LLC by hiring your spouse.

The one exception is the S corporation. If you own more than 2% of the stock, you and your spouse are both considered self-employed for purposes of this rule. You’ll need to use another source of income, not taxed as an S corporation, as the basis for this plan.

Let’s say that you are a self-employed real estate agent and you’ve hired your husband. The MERP plan lets you reimburse your employee for all medical and dental expenses he incurs for his entire family -including you as his spouse. All of these expenses qualify for reimbursement: major medical insurance, long-term care coverage, Medicare and Medigap insurance, co-payments, deductibles, prescriptions, dental care, eye care, chiropractic care, orthodontists, fertility treatments, special schools for learning-disabled children, vitamins and herbal supplements, medical supplies and even over-the-counter medicines.

You can reimburse your employee or pay health care providers directly. You will need a written plan document and a method to track your expenses. There’s no special reporting required. You’ll save income tax and self-employment tax.

If you have non-family employees, you have to include them too, but you can exclude employees who are: under age 25, work less than 35 hours per week, work less than nine months per year, or have worked for you less than three years. Non-family employees may make it too expensive to reimburse everyone as generously as you would cover your own family. But, if you’re offering health insurance, you can still use a Section 105 plan to cut your employee benefit cost. You can do it by switching to a high-deductible health plan, and using a Section 105 plan to replace those lost benefits.

For example, a married self-employed agent with two children pays 25% in federal income tax and 15.3% in self-employment tax. A traditional insurance plan was replaced with a high-deductible plan – $5,000 for the family which cut his premium by $7,620. So, even if he hits that $5,000 deductible, he saves $2,620 in premiums. And now, since he deducts his medical costs from his business income, his self-employment tax savings add another $1,156 to his bottom line. He’ll save at least $3,121 in taxes by switching from his traditional healthcare plan to the Section 105 Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan.

If you can’t use a Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan, consider the new Health Savings Accounts. These arrangements combine a high-deductible health plan with a tax-free savings account to cover unreimbursed costs.

To qualify, you’ll need a „high-deductible health plan“ with a deductible of at least $1,200 for singles or $2,400 for employees and an out-of-pocket limit of $5,950 for singles or $11,900 for families in 2010. Neither you nor your spouse can be covered by a „non-high deductible health plan“ or Medicare. The plan can’t provide any benefit, other than certain preventive care benefits, until the deductible for that year is satisfied. You’re not eligible if you’re covered by a separate plan or rider offering prescription drug benefits before the minimum annual deductible is satisfied.

Once you’ve established your eligibility, you can open a deductible health savings account. You can contribute 100% of your deductible up to $3,050 for singles or $6,150 for families. You can use it for most kinds of health insurance, including COBRA continuation and long-term care plans. You can also use it for the same sort of expenses as a Section 105 plan.

The Health Savings Account isn’t as valuable as the Section 105 plan. You’ve got specific dollar contribution limits, and there’s no self-employment tax advantage. But Health Savings Accounts can still cut your overall health-care costs.

#7: MISSING A HOME OFFICE

If your home office qualifies as your principal place of business, you can deduct a portion of your rent, mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, home maintenance and repairs and utilities. You will also depreciate your home’s basis over 39 years as nonresidential property.

To qualify as your principal place of business, you must (1) use it „exclusively“ and „regularly“ for administrative or management activities, and (2) have no other fixed location where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities of your trade or business. „Regularly“ generally means 10-12 hours per week. The space doesn’t have to be an entire room.

Your business use percentage is calculated by either dividing the number of rooms used by the total rooms in the home if they are roughly equal, or by dividing the square feet used by the total square footage in the home. Special rules apply when you sell your sell your home, but the home office deduction is still a very valuable deduction for most agents.

#8: MISSING CAR/TRUCK EXPENSES

If you take the standard mileage deduction for your business, you may be seriously shortchanging yourself. Every year there are various vehicle operating surveys that are published. Costs vary according to how much you drive – but if you’re taking the standard deduction for a car that costs more than 50 cents/mile, you’re losing money every time you turn the key. If you’re taking the standard deduction now, you can switch to the „actual expense“ method if you own your car, but not if you lease. You also can’t switch from actual expenses to the standard deduction if you’ve taken accelerated depreciation on the vehicle.

#9: MISSING MEALS & ENTERTAINMENT

The basic rule is that you can deduct the cost of meals with a bona fide business purpose. This means clients, prospects, referral sources, and business colleagues. And how often do you eat with someone who’s not one of those people? For real estate agents and other professionals that market themselves, this might be „never.“ Generally, you can deduct 50% of your meals and entertainment as long as it isn’t „lavish or extraordinary.“

You don’t need receipts for business expenses under $75 (except lodging), but you need to record the following information: (1) How much?, (2) When?, (3) Where?, (4) Business Purpose?, and (5) Business Relationship.

You can also deduct entertainment expenses if they take place directly before or after substantial, bona fide discussion directly related to the active conduct of your business. You can deduct the face value of tickets to sporting and theatrical events, food and beverages, parking, taxes and tips.

#10: FAILING TO PLAN

Now that you see how real estate agents like you miss out on any so many tax breaks, you should realize what the biggest mistake of all is – failing to plan. Have you ever heard the saying „if you fail to plan, you plan to fail?“ It’s a cliché because it’s true.

With just a simple investment of your time, you can implement valuable tax-saving strategies that will make a major difference come April 15.

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Source by Julie Bohn

Phone Call Rules For Women – When to Call Him

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It’s difficult to anticipate how intricate the dating maze really is until you are in the middle of it. Single women all wish it was as easy as simply meeting a great guy, connecting with him and that leading to a fulfilling relationship. Unfortunately, it’s rarely that easy. Women are often faced with the prospect of men who just can’t communicate the way the woman wishes they could. If you approach the dating dilemma from a strictly feminine point of view you are going to be disappointed. You need to see things the way a man does and this includes phone calls. There are some basic phone call rules that women should live by.

Number one on the list of phone call rules for women is to remember that men don’t view the telephone the same way women do. Men don’t automatically pick up their cell to call the woman they are dating just because. Women love communicating with a man they are interested in, some men are the same way about the women they want to pursue, but most aren’t. It’s rare to find a man who will find long or frequent calls appealing. Don’t get discouraged if a day or two passes and you don’t hear from the man in your life.

Another of the phone call rules for women focuses on the issue of men who stop calling. If you’ve been dating a guy for awhile and he suddenly stops calling, you might jump to the hasty conclusion that he’s spending his time with another woman. That’s certainly a possibility, but it’s highly unlikely. There’s a typical explanation in a situation like this. Men sometimes decide to test the women they are with. One way to do this is to break off contact for a bit just to see how she’ll react. If a woman starts to panic and goes on a mission to hunt the man down, he knows he can relax because she’s obviously crazy about him. On the other hand, if a woman acts as though she doesn’t even notice his absence in her life, he’s going to wonder what is going on. If the man is interested in you, and you don’t call him, he will call you. Wait it out and see.

You also need to remember the phone call rules for when he leaves you voicemail. If he does happen to call and you aren’t available, don’t be too hasty to return his call if he was simply touching base. If he called to firm up some plans for that evening, give him a quick call back. Some women think they need to dial his number the moment they hear his voicemail, but give it a few minutes. It certainly doesn’t hurt for him to be the one waiting for the phone to ring.

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Source by Gillian Reynolds

Frame Control: How to Bust the Power Frame in Business and Sales Situations

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The definition of a frame is a set of emotions and desires that you bring to the table anytime you are communicating with another person. Now the interesting thing about frame control is that whenever two or more people are interacting one person’s frame will overcome the other person’s frame and this person will usually get their way.

Example: Think about a courtroom, you have a judge, two attorneys and a group of jurors. The two attorneys both have their own desires and emotions, the attorney who’s frame is adopted by the jurors will win the case.

Technique: busting the power frame.

This is a technique that you could probably use in a variety of situations but the best examples for it are ones that are relevant to the business situations.

If you are in the business world you have had the experience of dealing with someone who had the power frame because of their massive ego. This is person who is used to getting their way, they are used to people acquiescing to their desires, this is a person who usually does whatever the hell they want to do regardless of the information or how it effects other people. Power frame types tend to be oblivious to what others think. Their ego is rooted in their status. These are usually people who have big titles or feel some kind entitlement.

If you are communicating or negotiating with a power frame a lot of times they will only listen to the first few seconds of what you have to say and then make a snap judgment about what they will do. Inevitably in business and in life we have to deal with these kinds of people coming from this kind of ego driven a power frame. However, the good news is that they are vulnerable to your power busting frame because they do not expect it. They expect your difference & obedience. You will take them by surprise with this technique:

To bust a power frame, use a mildly shocking but not unfriendly act. Do or say something that is slightly defiant but at the same time be humorous.

When you are defiant and funny at the same time, a power frame personality is going to be pleasantly challenged by you and instinctively knows that they are in the presence of a pro.

Example: Let’s say you are a sales person and you are in the boardroom making a power point pitch. While you are in the middle of your pitch you realize that one of the key decision makers of the deal gives you an objection to doing the deal.

Since you are true sale bro you are say: „Hey Chris, that’s a great question, I would really like to finish this presentation because I think when you have the total picture of what I am proposing it will make sense to you“ then you go on with your presentation.

A few minutes later you notice Chris is playing on their blackberry and not paying attention to your presentation. Anyone who’s been in sales or negotiates deals for living is familiar with this kind of situation, now say: „Hey Chris, I would just hate to have to use my Jedi powers to take your blackberry from you while I finish my fascinating presentation“ While you do this make sure you are smiling big at Chris and roll your eyes a little when you say fascinating presentation.

This line accomplishes a few things:

It’s slightly shocking because you are calling out Chris for not paying attention.

You are being funny saying that you have Jedi powers.

Using positive and body language and joking about your presentation being fascinating you are building rapport between you and Chris.

Chris is now going to be super focused on you for the duration of your presentation.

So when you encounter the power frame be a little defiant or deny them what they want from you while at the same time being funny and friendly and you will win frame control of the situation.

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Source by Jonathan Roseland

How to Care for Your Kitten – A Short Guide

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While caring for kittens is not that difficult, they do have special needs.

What to Feed a Kitten

When they are about 4 weeks old, kittens begin to eat solid food though their mother continues to nurse them. Ready-to-eat cat foods in the grocery are often well-balanced, which is beneficial for your kitten. They are available in different brands and most manufacturers produce specific cat food. These come in packets, cans and rolls, among others. Buying premium or popular brands, though not really necessary, can assure you of complete nutrition for your cat. When choosing cat food, make sure that the label contains words like "total nutrition for kittens / cats".

The diet of your kitten should be supplemented with fresh meat like chopped chicken or fish. Keep in mind, though, that fresh meat on its own does not give your kitten the complete nutrition it requires.

It is best to feed your kitten with a wide range of foods and change these from time to time. Kittens can get fed up and lose interest in eating when given the same food everyday. This also prevents them from becoming picky.

Kittens can start to eat dry cat food when they are very young and this is somewhat enjoyable for most of them. There are supermarket brands as well as those that are only offered at the vet or pet food shop.

Water

Kittens should always have access to fresh, clean water. Avoid giving water in plastic bowls since they easily tip over. Instead, use something heavier – like pottery, china or a porcelain dish.

Milk for Kittens

It is not advisable to feed cats / kittens with cow's milk since most kittens have lactose intolerance and this can lead to an upset stomach or diarrhea. You can give them milk from the supermarket, which is specially made for cats and kittens. When you are house training your kitten, you certainly would not want it to have diarrhea.

How to Feed a Young Kitten

Just like babies, young kittens need to be fed several times daily. Those that are below 6 weeks old should still stay with their mother.

As a rule, kittens from 6 to 12 weeks old require at least 4 meals a day. Since their tummies are still small, they cannot eat too much at a single time. By the time they reach 12 weeks, they can eat 3 meals daily, and once they are 6 months old, they can eat twice a day.

Certainly, how often a kitten should be fed depends on several factors, one of which is the daily routine of its owner. An owner who works will not have the time to feed the kitten as regularly as one who stays home most of the time. He / she will not likely leave kitty food outside for different reasons, like for example, the weather.

In places where the climate is warm or hot, it is not advisable to leave cat food outdoors the whole day since it will get spoiled and draw flies. At certain areas, ants can also pose as a problem. In addition, there may be other pets that may eat the food intended for the kitten.

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Source by Matt McWilliam