Thursday, August 4, 2022

Planning a Successful Career-Related Move

If your company is relocating to a new city or a different state, you may be forced to uproot your family and move to an unknown locale. So what can you do to prepare yourself and your loved ones effectively in order to avoid stress and to save both time and money? Depending on your situation, here are a few tips for a smooth relocation, courtesy of KJH Financial Services.

Relocate Your Business

If you’re a business owner and are relocating your company to a different state, you’ll need to re-register your LLC or corporation. To avoid costly lawyer fees, you can file the paperwork yourself or use a formation service that will help you understand and follow the rules applicable in your state, as well as obtain all the licenses and permits you may need to legally operate.

Try to plan your move several months ahead and get in touch with a local accountant to review your paperwork and inform you of possible tax incentives, as well as to prepare for unforeseen expenses. And if you need to find a new brick-and-mortar location for your business, spend some time in your new city to find a neighborhood where your target market likes to shop and find retail space in that area that fits your budget.

Additionally, if the new job isn’t what you were hoping or planning for, don’t panic. There are plenty more opportunities out there! To give yourself an advantage over the competition, here’s a free resume builder that you can use to professionally highlight your skills.

Find a Place to Live for Your Family

In an ideal world, you would have plenty of time and opportunities to visit your new state or city, explore different neighborhoods, inquire about the best–and worst–schools in the area and find the perfect home for yourself and your family. But sometimes, a career-related relocation leaves you with barely enough time to pack. So try to optimize the time you have by doing a lot of research based on the needs of your family.

If you have school-aged children that will be enrolled in public institutions, find a house or apartment located in the school district that best suits your children’s educational needs. And if you’re concerned about spending too much time away from your loved ones, find a rental home close to your new place of employment to reduce your commute time. Two bedroom/two bathroom homes in the Boston area start at around $2,400 per month, so do your research. Certain areas are more desirable than others, especially when you take school districts into account. Once you know the area better, and if you want to put down roots in your new city, you may start looking for a place to buy.

Create a Budget for Your Moving Costs

Some companies will offer to pay for some of your relocation costs, so make sure you keep all your receipts handy. Contact a few moving companies in your area and have them come to your house in person to assess the cost of moving your household to a different city or state, and get several estimates in writing. You may be able to save money by packing your belongings yourself, but make sure to allow enough time to do so, and don’t forget to keep track of how much you spend on packing boxes, tape, and bubble wrap for your fragile items.

When creating your moving budget, be sure to include upfront costs such as internet, utilities, rent, and security deposit, as well as your travel expenses like gas, hotel accommodations, and meals. It adds up pretty quickly. Make a list of everything that will need to be turned off at your old house (cable, gas, electricity…) so you don’t end up paying providers you no longer need and don’t forget to notify the post office, your bank, and your insurance company that you are moving.

Relocating can be a wonderful thing if you’re looking for a change of scenery, but make sure you and your loved ones have a soft place to land. That means making sure that your kids have great schools to go to, that you live in a safe neighborhood, and, if you’re a business owner, that your company can thrive in its new location.

Building your career requires many strategic moves and a lot of work. If you’d like guidance on the financial planning aspect of your growth, contact KJH Financial Services. We can help you manage your money and invest in ways that will secure your future. Visit us online to learn more.

Friday, July 29, 2022

7 Smart Ways to Leap Into Entrepreneurship


As an aspiring entrepreneur, you understand that you’re going to wear several hats. Figuring out how to juggle it all while managing to stay sane is the key to understanding how to successfully take the leap into pursuing your dreams. KJH Financial Services shares some ways that you can make your entrepreneurial ideas happen.

Outsource Administrative and Technical Tasks

There are certain things that you can pay other professionals to do without compromising your company. Small businesses use outsourcing to reduce expenses and plan to increase their efforts in the future. 

Outsourcing administrative and certain technical tasks reduce costs and provide you with the necessary support. For example, you can hire video editing services to help you create and edit promotional videos for your business through online platforms. Additionally, you can hire a web designer or a virtual assistant to take care of simple administrative tasks.

Standardize Contract Templates

Creating contract templates cuts negotiation time and business risks while speeding up the approval process, because all parties are aware of the benefits and risks involved. For example, if your business needs office supplies, such as toner, a contract with a supply company guarantees regular supplies delivered every month so you don’t run out.  

Incorporate Project Management Software

When it comes to business, good communication is paramount. In the report, Top Ten Email Blunders that Cost Companies Money, Debra Hamilton states that small businesses lose about $450,000 annually due to miscommunications. 

Investing in project management software facilitates communication and collaboration between teams. In fact, businesses that enlist project management practices made 28 times more money than those that didn’t.  

Use AI Chatbots

AI chatbots are great customer engagement tools. In fact, they handle close to 70% of customer chats from beginning to end. In addition to that, they provide valuable insight into your customers that you can use for future marketing strategies. There are several platforms you can use to design AI chatbots for social media or your own site or choose to hire a Miami-based company to design one for you.  

Have a Mentor

Behind many successful startups and small businesses is a mentoring relationship that puts them on the path to success. In a recent study, mentors and mentees were promoted six and five times more often respectively , which shows just how impactful the relationship can be on both sides. If you’re searching for a business mentor, working on your networking habits is a great place to start. The key is to find quality mentors who have achieved success in your industry and can help you focus on the major issues facing your business. Having this insight is like having a personal guide for your business.  

Market More

A lot of a business’s success depends on getting your name out there. Marketing can do this. You likely developed a marketing strategy in your business plan, so return to that regularly to make sure you are staying on track and making adjustments when needed. If you didn’t develop a logo, or if it doesn’t really match with your company or purpose, take some time to rebrand and redesign. You can make a custom logo online for free. Then use those colors and styles across your marketing platforms to build consistency, so that people will recognize your business when they see your materials.

Create a Realistic Financial Plan

Whether you’re coming up with your business plan or need to come up with a budget for a loan, it’s a smart idea to create realistic financials based on historical information. Take a look at your fixed, variable, and one-off costs and track your sales to measure your performance. An important metric to track in your level of debt payments to income. Tracking this will give you an indication about when your business is becoming financially overextended. This will guide your business and put you in a better frame to manage unexpected challenges.

If you’re searching for a deeper understanding of your business costs and even cut them down, contact Kimberly J. Howard, CFP. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge to help you get in better financial shape.

Take the Leap

Behind every successful business is a set of rules that entrepreneurs need to follow. One of the most important ones is if it can be automated or streamlined for greater efficiency, it should.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Actionable Tips for Entrepreneurs to Support Startup Success

 


If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you enjoy significant freedom in your professional life. You get to be your own boss. That freedom also brings great responsibility with it, however. Startup founders face unique practical and psychological challenges, from struggling to find reliable staff to dealing with imposter syndrome. One lesson every new business owner must learn is the importance of delegating. Many business-owners initially want to do everything themselves. However, this can lead to burnout.

Kimberly J. Howard, CFP invites you to read on for more actionable tips and tools designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed.

Create a business plan.

When you first launch your business, you want to have a business plan in place to guide your path forward. This is a comprehensive document that outlines exactly who owns and manages your business as well as how it’s run. It covers everything from market analysis and financial projections to marketing and sales plans. Your Story provides a comprehensive guide to drafting a business plan.

Create a legally recognized business entity.

Take the time to formally establish your company as a legal business entity, like a limited liability company. This provides added legal protection. For example, if someone sues your business, your personal assets will be safe. Incorporate explains additional benefits of an LLC, such as simplified tax and reporting paperwork.

Set up a dedicated business space.

From Amazon to Spanx, many major enterprises started out as home businesses. While there’s nothing wrong with this arrangement, you should designate a distinct space within your house as your workspace. You will be able to focus better when you aren’t distracted by household chores, pets, or kids. As a rule, create a home office that fosters productivity — for instance, by decorating with focus-boosting hues.

Get your finances organized from the beginning.

You want to organize your financial documentation now to streamline bookkeeping and tax filing later. One valuable step towards this end is setting up a business bank account, which allows you to separate your personal and professional funds. You can easily open a business bank account online. There are even banking services available that allow you to integrate your payroll software, allowing for more streamlined payments.

Foster positive business relationships.

Networking is critical to any business’s success. This is how you find new clients, meet potential employees, and get to know future business partners. CallRail has some tips on how small businesses can help each other through networking. Joining your local chamber of commerce is another option. You can find local events geared towards business owners and meet like-minded people who share your entrepreneurial spirit.

Promote yourself and your business.

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you are the face of your company. You should promote yourself just as much as your business. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field can help attract new clients. Of course, you should actively market your business as well. From SEO practices to websites, digital tools are a great way to do this. If these aren’t your strong suits, consider hiring external professionals to help.

Running your own business can get scary at times. The above tips can help ensure things run smoothly and help you achieve the entrepreneurial success you’ve been dreaming of.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Overview of Essential Inheritance Laws in Colorado

If you live in the state of Colorado, or if a family member or loved one has diedin the Mile High State, you may need information about the basic laws governing inheritanceprobate, and an estate. The Colorado Probate Code establishes the essential elements of law that govern the manner in which a deceased person’s estate is dealt with in Colorado. There are a number of key features of the law that need to be understood.

Defining Probate Assets or Probate Property


In defining what constitutes probate property, an initial step is defining what are the assets of a person’s estate, according to the inheritance laws in Colorado. Determining what property is part of an estate and subject to probate as defined by the inheritance law is really an exercise in determining what property is not included. Property that will not be included in an estate and subject to the probate process includes:
  • Assets held in a trust
  • Property jointly owned with someone else that has a right of survivorship
  • Life insurance with a designated beneficiary that is not the estate
Estates with a Will

The inheritance laws of Colorado distinguish between a person who has died with a last will and testament and one who has not. Simply, when a person dies with a will, the manner in which property is inherited is generally set forth within the confines of that legal instrument. In other words, the last wishes of a person who has died are honored to the extent permitted by law.

When a person passes on with a will, that instrument designates what is known as an executor. An executor is a person designated to oversee the affairs of the estate, including ensuring the distribution of assets or property to the heirs as set forth in the will.

Estates without a Will


In a fair amount of cases in Colorado, a person dies without having written a will or established a trust. Thus, the assets of such an estate are distributed to people as prescribed by Colorado law. The Colorado Probate Code specifically delineates who and how property is to be distributed to family members when an individual dies without a will. This legally is called intestate succession.

In this type of situation, the probate court appoints a personal representative to oversee the affairs of the estate when no will was prepared. An administrator undertakes the same types of tasks as does an executor.

Types of Probate Processes


Colorado has essentially adopted the Uniform Probate Code. This is a legal code that is in use in many states across the country. Pursuant to the Uniform Probate Code, there are three different types of probate processes that are utilized in the event of a person’s death. These are:
  • Affidavit
  • Informal
  • Formal
The affidavit process is utilized when a person passes away, with or without a will, and has left assets behind with a value of $50,000 or less. There must also be no real estate.

Through the affidavit process, the property is identified, collected, and distributed to individuals designated in a will or pursuant to the Colorado intestate succession laws. When this is accomplished, an affidavit is filed with the probate court.

If an estate is valued at more than $50,000 or is less than that amount but involves real estate, either an informal or formal probate process must be pursued in court. A petition for probate is filed with the court. The presiding judge will undertake an initial review of the estate and make a determination as to whether or not it qualifies for the informal probate process.

If an estate qualifies for informal probate, the executor or personal representative is able to address the affairs of the estate with little involvement from the probate court. In many cases, the executor or personal representative will only need to file a document with the court when the affairs of the estate have been addressed advising the court of the conclusion.

On the other hand, if a judge determines a formal probate process must be utilized, the court will be more involved in the process of addressing the affairs of the estate. For example, the court will approve the sale of real estate before such a transaction can be undertaken.

In the aftermath of the death of a family member, consulting with a qualified attorney is advisable when it comes to ascertaining what will and will not be necessary in regard to Colorado probate, estate, and inheritance laws. The first step is seeking an initial consultation with a Colorado probate and estate lawyer, for which there typically is no cost.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

5 Common Mistakes Made by Freelancer Newbies


An ever increasing number of people are turning to freelancing with each passing year. If you are embarking on professional life as a freelancer, you likely have established some solid objectives. What you may not have closely focused on are mistakes that are made by new freelancers with some regularity. Indeed, there are five common mistakes routinely made by freelancer newbies.

Treat Income Like Profit

One of the most common mistakes by new freelancers is treating income like profit. A new freelancer likely had a job before embarking on freelancing. That may be your situation as well. As a result, you are used to receiving a regular paycheck at specific times.

As a freelancer, you are responsible for taxes and a myriad over overhead or operation expenses. You must make sure that you set aside money each month to cover these expenses in advance of allocating money to yourself as your "pay." If you don't engage in this practice, you can end up with a freelancing business in debt, and ultimately financially dysfunctional.

Although the amount of money set aside for expenses depends on the type of freelancing business you launch. With that said, a good estimate is to put aside about 30 percent of your income each month for taxes and other expenses.

If you utilize a payment service like PayPal to receive payments from your clients, you might want to consider using it to coordinate your own "pay." For example, you might want to consider paying yourself a salary or wage twice a month via your payment service account. In other words, you can pay yourself twice a month via PayPal or a similar service.

Let Clients Set Price

Another major mistake that a new freelancer oftentimes is make is letting clients set the prices or fees for services. Although it is true that deciding what to charge in the way of fees can be challenging at the outset, you cannot let your clients take advantage of your status as a new freelancer.

In your own like, you do not go to service providers and name the price for their professional services. In the same way, your own clients should not be in the position to set your fees. You are a professional service provider and need to be treated as such.

As part your efforts in advance of launching your freelance business, establish a fee schedule. Over time, you will be able to determine how and when your initial fees need to be adjusted, one way or another. In addition, you can reach out to other freelancers who provide services in your area. They likely will be willing to assist you in determining your fees for services.

Delegate Routine Tasks

Many new freelancers fail to delegate routine tasks that do not require their professional expertise. For example, tasks like bookkeeping and accounting can be delegated to a professional. You do not need to waste your valuable time engaged in tasks that can be undertaken by someone else.

Other types of tasks that can be delegated in many cases include invoicing, taxes, and managing social media. (Social media can be vital to a freelancer. However, you run the risk of squandering an unnecessary amount of time on social media.)

Spread Yourself Too Thin

Yet another common mistake associated with a new freelancer is becoming spread too thin. By this it is meant that you offer too broad an array of services. Your initial inclination in starting a freelance endeavor is that you will be better served by offering your clients a wide spectrum of services.

You enhance your prospects for freelancing success by focusing your services. Develop a specific niche of a particular service, or a few services, through which you ultimately can be recognized as an expert.

Say Yes to Everything

On a related note, another mistake a new freelancer makes is to accept every offer or request for assistance received. Not all proposed jobs, gigs, or projects are the same. You must be selective about the projects you select. You must learn to say "no." Saying no and setting boundaries are vital to freelancing success in the short and long term.

Make sure that projects you select from prospective clients are a good fit as far as your interests and abilities are concerned. You will also want to select projects that you will have a better chance of enjoying. Nothing is worse than being a new freelancer faced with projects you do not like to undertake.


Monday, June 4, 2018

Enhance Your Home's Value with Solar Panels


There are a variety of benefits to be derived from installing solar panels at your residence. These include lowering energy costs and lessening the environmental impact your residence has on the surrounding world.

If you elect to install solar panels at your home, you are likely to enjoy another significant benefit. Solar panels will nearly always increase the market value of your residence.

Research by United States Department of Energy

The United States Department of Energy has overseen a recent research study that examines how sustainable features increase the value of a home. These sustainable features include rooftop solar panels. The end result of this study is that appraisers need to include solar panels into an overall calculation of home value.

The research study was conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. The study examined sales data from approximately 23,000 homes in eight states. The study covered a time period from 2002 to 2013. Of the residences included in the study, about 4,000 of the homes had solar photovoltaic systems. Of these systems, all of them owned as opposed to being leased through some sort of solar energy enterprise.

Specific Research Study Findings

The researchers learned that home buyers were willing to pay a premium for a residence that came complete with a solar energy system. The average premium as about $15,000 for a residence that has an average-size solar photovoltaic system. An average system is defined as 3.6 kilowatts, or 3,600 watts. This breaks down to a price increase on the value of a home of about $4 for every watt of energy generated through a solar system.

This particular study involved more sales of homes with solar systems than did previous research. This study is considered to be particularly "robust" in regard to the number of homes involved in it.

Increase in the Number of Home Solar Systems

Over the course of the past 10 years, the number of residences in which solar panels have been installed has been on the increase. This is significantly a result of the fact that the costs associated with residential solar systems has been dropping. Currently, over 500,000 U.S. residences have solar systems in place.

Real Estate Professionals and Home Solar Systems

Despite the results of this research study, and related data, real estate professionals have been somewhat behind the curb in appreciating how solar systems increase the inherent value of a residence. This includes agents, brokers, appraisers, and lenders.

Fannie Mae and Residential Solar Energy Systems

Fannie Mae, a major player in the home mortgage market, has been relatively proactive when it comes to the impact solar energy systems have on residential property. Fannie Mae issued guidelines specifying how an appraiser needs to analyze a solar system in light of the prevailing real estate market.

The Fannie Mae guidelines are described as having "critical verbiage: designed to provide specific guidance regarding addressing the impact solar panels have on the overall value of residential real estate.

Leased Residential Solar Energy Systems

As referenced previously, this particular study addressed only residential solar energy systems that are owned by the homeowner. The study excluded leased systems from the mix.

The recommendation from this initial research is that further research on the impact of leased systems needs to be conducted. The thought is that even a leased system that is not owned outright by a homeowner does contribute in some manner to the market value of a home.

There are a number of factors to bear in mind when it comes to a leased system. First, some of these systems are designed with the ultimate objective of transferring ownership to the homeowner at the end of a specific lease term. Second, in other scenarios, the lease continues indefinitely with the exiting homeowner. The issue in both situations (when the lease is active) is does the property interest transfer to a new homeowner. There are differences in this regard among different agreements.

Residential Solar System Trends

Most industry analysts predict that an ever increasing number of residences in the United States will feature rooftop solar panels and associated solar energy systems. One of the primary reasons this trend is expected to continue into the future is because the coasts associated with these systems is expected to continue to drop.

A second reason why these systems are expected to become even more prevalent arises from the fact that more and more homeowners are becoming interested in "green homes." Installing a solar energy system represents one of the surest ways that a homeowner can have a more positive impact on the environment.

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Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading steel tubing suppliers of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipe, tubes, fittings and flanges

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

4 Essential Personal Branding Tips

The importance of branding cannot be understated. If you are a professional, if you are an entrepreneur or otherwise in business for yourself, you need to develop your own personal brand. Once you create a personal brand, you need to develop strategies to maintain it and enhance it as time goes on. Appreciating what is involved in personal branding, there are four essential tips that you need to bear in mind.

What is a Personal Brand?

A personal brand is a mechanism through which people remember you. A personal brand is more than a logo, trademark, or some other type of designed embellishment. Rather, a personal brand is the sum total of how you personally present yourself in a business or professional setting. Your business, or one with which you are associated, has its own brand. You personal brand builds you and your business. Despite this duality, your personal brand always focuses on your as an individual.

Stand Out

When considering your personal brand, you need to keep your eyes and mind focused on coming up with concepts that make you stand out. By indicating that you need to come up with a brand concept that permits you to stand out, you don't want the final result to be branding that is garish or overpowering. Thus, when working on your personal branding ideas, when you think of stand out, consider that to mean stand apart.
No matter the underlying motivation or necessity for a personal brand, the fact is that a prime reason for pursuing this type of branding is to obtain an edge over the competition, both for yourself and your business. Thus, while you can consider what other individuals similarly situated to you are doing in regard to personal branding, you must not mimic the concepts pursued by others. Indeed, in doing comparison research, you need to make note of what not to do in light of what others are doing.  
On a related note, when it comes to developing a personal brand that stands out, you are not only attempting to distinguish yourself among competitors. Rather, your personal brand is also intended to aid you in standing out among people within your business as well (assuming that you are not the owner).

Convey Your Story

Another essential element associated with personal branding is the need to convey your story, not the story of your business or professional endeavors. Your business, your professional endeavors represent only part, but certainly not all, of who you are.
Conveying your story has two parts. First, your brand needs to compelling that it captures the interest of others and makes them want to hear and read about your. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, your story needs to be so compelling that it motivates others to share it. In many ways that represents ultimate success in personal branding when other people begin not merely "singing your praises," but begin to relay the sum and substance of your story to others.

Utilize a Core Concept

When you are developing your personal brand, you cannot be diffuse and scattered in that process. You need to recognize a core concept that best recognizes what you want to be at the heart of your personal brand.
For example, if you are an attorney that is developing a personal brand, examples of meaningful core concepts might include honesty, tenacity, fighter, and other traits possessed by a lawyer and of value to a client.

Substance Over Style -- Always

Finally, when developing your own personal brand, you must always put substance over style. For example, the first step you take in developing your personal brand should not be designing a logo. In many cases, an individual embarking on developing a personal brand comes up with a logo as the first step in the process.
The reason this is not typically a proper first step in developing a personal brand is that a logo presented at the outset would lack meaning. A logo at this juncture literally would be style over substance, rather than the other way around.
Once you establish essential substance around your self and brand, you can then embark on creating a meaningful logo. Moreover, once a logo is backed up by substance, it can be used as a means of enhancing your brand. You can even incorporate your logo on items used to present and promote your brand, including items like custom USB flash drives or other items that you can convey to others as tools to remember and recognize you and your personal brand.