Virtual Assistant Tip Series: 3 Major Organizational Steps When Starting a Business (Alabama style)

We are upon a season of business ownership and entrepreneurship.  Everyone wants to start a business, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Mostly we don’t do a very good job doing the research necessary to ensure we are following the proper steps to get started. I had to get down in the nitty gritty and find out some information.  My sister Hiranda Brock of Dream Makerz Outreach and I really had to do the ground work and find out by God’s grace what we needed to do!  At this point I have done it enough for others that I know the basic startup tasks that need to occur if you are going to start a business, at least in Alabama where we live.  So here is what you can do.  Now let me say this.  Don’t be in a rush to do all this.  Make sure you do all of your own research and make sure you are making the right decisions for yourself.  I am simply here to help you get your ducks in a row so you don’t waste a whole lot of time finding information like I did.

So there is the option of sole proprietorship, which means you can do business as yourself and not do any of these things that I am talking about.  It is not recommended long term, but if you don’t have your finances together and you don’t have a solid plan, you need to develop a plan and just do something!  You need to, however, keep really good records and track your expenses on your business.  The liability is on you when you are a sole proprietor if something happens so you  must be careful, cautious and…..oh you know ORGANIZED!

  1. Name Reservation

    person writing on white book

    Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

In Alabama there is a website solely dedicated to ensure business owners have what is needed in regards to business establishment.  You need to save this website in a safe place where you can easily get to it. http://sos.alabama.gov/ 

I create folders in my Favorites section of my computer to hold important websites, this should be at the top of your list.

A name reservation allows you to search and reserve your business name, which kind of puts it on hold so no one else can get it OR you find out someone already has the name you have been working so hard to promote and you have to make some adjustments!

LISTEN TO ME! CHECK HERE FIRST! I don’t know what other states call it but you need to check and make sure someone doesn’t already have the name first before you get all extra excited!  It also won’t hurt for you to do a Google search to see if other people other than in Alabama because I am not a brand person, but I do know it will be awfully hard to promote and brand your business if someone in Colorado already has a pretty big following in a different name spelling.

Hey! SAVE MONEY!  The name reservation is $28 dollars in Alabama.  You must pay with card online, it will ask you if you want to move to the next step or not

Also you need to do your research to find out what level of business you need to classify your business in, which is a whole other discussion.  Just know you need to decide if your business is an LLC, Corporation, S-Corp, etc.  I am not going to break all of that down here, but you need to decide that BEFORE you reserve the name because otherwise you are going to have to pay $10 to get it changed and that is money you need in your pocket!

This is where your organization skills need to come in full effect!  You  need to PRINT and SAVE a copy of your name reservation.  You only have a couple of days to access this document so save it as SOON as you pay for it! Create a folder in your Google Drive, One Drive and/or Dropbox, label it “Startup Paperwork” or something like that!  Trust me on this!  You need this in your life! Also print you a copy, this is option, you can see where I talk about the difference between digital and paper filing including the pros and cons.  I keep a paper copy because of the next step.

2. Articles of Formation or Incorporation

Your name reservation will give you a FULL YEAR to get your stuff together and that is a complete blessing!  You need to be saving money!  Once you retrieve your name reservation, you then move on to Articles of Formation.  The best way I can explain this next step is letting the state know you 1. serious about this thing and 2. they can start taxing you!

If you are going to move on to this next step, you need to get your ducks in a row!  You need to read carefully every single portion of this form and ensure you fill everything correctly.  You will need $163 (In 2018, in case this blog post is up in 2025 and things are different Ha!) $100 goes to the probate judge and $63 goes to the Secretary of State.  The

women s in gray turtleneck sweater pointing white contract paper

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

preference is you type it and print it out, but they have accepted my handwritten ones before.  You need to get these amount in a separate cashier’s check or money order. I recommend you keep ALL of your Name Reservation and Articles paperwork together because you will need to send a copy of your Name Reservation.

ONce you send this off, then you are clear to go ahead and get you an EIN (your business social security number).  Once again, I will repeat friends, SAVE ALL OF THIS IN ONE FOLDER.  You will thank me later!  I have found individuals who could not find their paperwork and its because they didn’t listen to me!  I don’t care how long you are in business, keep your documents in a safe place where you know where to find them!

once you mail your form and your money off, within the next couple of weeks you should receive your forms in the mail which will basically be your application with a sticker on it indicating it was processes.  You may need to be pay more money to retrieve an actual document indicating the formation, but most likely that form will be accepted.

3. Bank Account

This is where it all comes together because everything I just discussed is going to be needed when you walk into a bank and open a business account!  EVERYTHING!  I have yet to hear a bank say different! money pink coins pig They want to know you have all your ducks in a row and there is nothing more professional and bad ‘you know what’ than walking into the bank with all of your documents ready to go!  And let me go ahead and put this in there too, make sure you are working on some things financially.  Opening a business does not automatically grow your personal bank account.  Shoot, starting a business doesn’t automatically grow your business bank account.  I am not an accountant or money person, but after three years in business, I realize that I have very poor money habits and I have started engaging in reading books and listening to videos by Tony Robbins and Dave Ramsey three years behind..  Do yourself a favor and educate yourself and get your finances in order!

Until NEXT TIME!!!

connect21

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Advertisements

The Importance of Backing Up Important Documents: Learning from my Mistakes

photo of columbus clouds

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Doomsday.

The day my external drive stopped working COMPLETELY!  I feel like digital files is probably the worst for me because NOTHING works our for me digitally.  My external drive has actually saved my butt multiple times especially when my laptop, which I have only had for a year and a half decided to have a mid life crisis and stopped working properly.  The external drive came in so clutch by allowing me to save all of my files to it to free up space on my laptop.  I was hesitant though and worried that something might eventually happen to it, so it took me a really really long time to transfer all of my files over to the external drive and it is for this very reason.  I. CANT. GET. TO. MY. FILES.

green ram card collection

Photo by Fancycrave on Pexels.com

The good news.  Most of my clients files are duplicated in Google Drive or only important to me.

The bad news.

The books (Yes..books) I was working on are on there and that was basically the only place I put them.  The truth is most of my own business documents were all stored on this danggone external drive because of course those are the only files I trusted to go on there.  So now I am stuck, praying, praying Really hard, trying to stay calm and not let it ruffle my feathers that the Lord Jesus will save my precious files, but in the meantime, life must go on.

Sigh.

So listen let’s talk about how important it is to back up your files in the meantime so you can learn from little ol me.

  1. Your most important documents need to be put in multiple locations.  You can go here and find out the pros and cons of digital filing vs paper filing.  The truth is, with your most precious documents, Name reservations, EIN number paperwork, bank information, etc needs to be filed in multiple locations just in case of tragedy.
  2. Check and organize your digital filing systems like Google Drive, One Drive and Dropbox.  These online storage sources are going to be your best friend and are somewhat my lifesaver right now. I do have folders for my clients on these, especially my Google Drive.  I had recently started saving my clients files to their email associated Google Drive mostly because mine was running out of space but its also easier to direct them to their own documents.  Either way I suggest if you are going to hire a personal assistant and/or secretary, you create your own accounts or allow them access so if they ever leave you don’t have to worry about getting your stuff back.
  3. Get you an IT person on your side and put them in your budget.  I had no idea HOW MUCH it would be to save my files from my external drive, hence why I have yet to recover these wonderful lost files because I have been quoted as little as 49.99 to do it myself which is cheap, but I have to figure out how to do it myself and as expensive as a whopping $200 dollars which I quickly turned that down.  This involved shipping the drive to the company and them having to do a diagnostic first! UGH!

Either way I learned my lesson!  There are benefits to backing up the backup!  Digital file storage is definitely now my favorite, but I prefer Google Drive because you get a pretty decent amount of free storage in contrast to Dropbox which takes up a ton of computer space which is the same for One Drive.  At some point you are going to have to put forth some serious dollars (Try $45 for extra Dropbox storage) in order for your files to be safe.  I also like that Google Drive is tied to your phone and to your cloud, which  may only be for Android, but I am not sure.

Moral of the story: Back up your file friends….it’s for your own good! Until next time….

 

connect2

Resting in the Uncomfortable Space: A Diary of Transparent Truth

I DON’T WANT TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR ANYMORE!

At least tonight that is how I feel!  I am over it! I don’t want to write this blog post right now, but since I am feeling this intense emotion right now, I figure there is someone else out there feeling the exact same way!

I am tired.

I have been busting my butt for 2 years now to be constantly overlooked.

I am tired of people positing happy go lucky stuff about their businesses and I am sitting here in the corner pouting.

And then there’s life… that!

LOL That is why I haven’t been doing any videos and blog posting because I am officially debbie downer, party pooper, down and out and feeling sorry for myself.  Everything I am not supposed to be.  Everything all the top guns, preachers and prophets say you shouldn’t be, well doggone it, I  AM THERE!  I don’t want to be spreading my negative energy to the world!  So I got off Facebook for a while, just monitored my business account, shut down to new clients, purged a few that were unproductive and now…..well I am in a rut.  It’s not that I don’t have content, its not that I don’t have people interested in my services, shoot as a matter of fact I started a new venture that is important to my purpose, but the way I feel mentally and physically and spiritually, I am just flat out burnt out!

And I keep racking my brain, like what is wrong with you Ebone? Why can’t you be motivating and encouraging and have all these great things to say?  And I am beating myself up and so I am just praying and seeking God in it and He just keeps telling me, I am the driver of this boat.  You just do what I say.  So when He tells me to write, I write.  When He says Ebone post, I post!  When He tells me to sit down somewhere, I do it.  I am no longer the CEO and Founder of Living Faith Management and Consulting, Chronicles of a New Entrepreneur and Professional Development with EK.  I am now in the backseat waiting for my orders.  It is an uncomfortable place.  I am used to being in control and taking control over EVERYTHING!  It is just a weird place that I am in because I don’t want you all to confuse this place that I am in with unhappiness.  I don’t know how to put it into words, but I am completely content with where I am at this point in this journey.  I know God has a plan, I fully have trust in Him, I KNOW He is going to do what He says He is going to do.  I am simply in unfamiliar territory.  I am in a place that many discuss after the fact.  This is what books are made of…the journey…the hardships…the self discovery.

I have absolutely no idea what the outcome of this place I am in will be. And its okay!  I want to let you know, fellow entrepreneur, that is reading this.  WE…yes YOU AND ME…cause we are going through this together! HAHA WE will remain FAITHFUL in this moment, okay!  We will not give up! We will not let people belittle or downgrade us!  We will post 2 times a week instead of everyday but AT LEAST WE ARE POSTING!  We will conduct business!  We will keep pushing in that 9-5! We will keep praying and fasting and we will confess success and elevation!  We will request the Lord to equip us with every single ounce of knowledge and strength and to active our power in Jesus name and we WILL support one another on this journey.  This place is okay…..trust Him…it will be worth it!

Connect. Create. Inspire.

Chronicles of a New Entrepreneur: Perils of a Multitasker

I am currently looking at three planners on my desk, multiple notebooks, even more notes, some not in notebooks, post its and gadgets.  I feel like I am doing the most.  My multitasking brain is in full blown overload right now (Hence the urge to do a new blog post).  For most, this is productivity.  I look like I am working hard when people walk by and tis true I am a master ninja today, checking things off my to do list so fast, my head is spinning!  I realize, however, that there are some downfalls to my methods and it has me realizing that there are some traps and perils that may face business owners and really any attempts at organizing oneself and I just wanted to stop and talk about it.  These are all from my very experiences so there is no “calling out” anyone today, although, like a good sermon, if I am touching on your spirit, as my pastor, Pastor Kelvin Bryant would say “Tag your it!”

3 Multitasking Traps you Should Avoid

1. Taking Notes in Multiple Places for Different Tasks

I am SO bad at this!  Now please be clear I am not talking about if you are a writer because I know that requires certain processes, but this could apply to you all as well.  My worst habit is conducting meetings or taking phone calls and jotting notes down on random things and then forgetting what I did with them when I need to go back and complete the task!  This is the worst feeling ever, especially when you have to go back to the potential  client or current client and ask them the same doggone question you all talked about a week ago.  TRAGEDY!  The best solution to this is LABELING and FILING!  You must be firm in this for yourselves

2. Not Checking Calendar before Scheduling Appointments

The WORST!  It happens to me all of the time!  Phone call comes in.  Start talking about needs.  Start making plans….Sure I can do that, what day?  Okay cool!

**Fails to look at calendar.**

**Starts planning and then BOOM!**

You see that something is already scheduled that day!  Now my biggest challenge in this dilemma is that I have to maintain several calendars in order to keep track of both myself and my clients, it is necessary, at least in my brain, plus I really like planners, so maybe it isn’t necessary, but ANYWAYS!  The POINT is that I need to consult my schedule at ALL TIMES! Moving on..

3. Overlooking Important Emails

If you have been reading and/or following my blog for a while, you know I PREACH PREACH PREACH about maintaining the organization of your email inbox.  I believe the structure of your inbox is a pivotal factor in the success of your business and the professionalism of your communication.  There is nothing worse than losing emails, confusing emails, sending the wrong emails, not EVER responding to emails.  I am a virtual assistant so I have access to a lot of people’s email accounts and it is a major challenge to manage someone’s inbox and complete tasks when their inbox is all over the place!  I try to clean my inbox out at least once every other week because sometimes I am just doing TOO DOGGONE MUCH!  I cuss myself out sometimes for subscribing for all these unnecessary emails and for waiting too long to empty them out!  I can’t find ANYTHING when I do this and it is a HOT MESS!

So there you have it! Transparency at its best!  My name is Ebone and I have pitfalls and barriers with Doing. The. Most.

Judge me if you want OR you can just take my advice, that would be awesome too!

Until next time!

#Connect #Create #Inspire

Chronicles of a New Entrepreneur update: I Started a Garden!

New #VideoDiary by little ol me! Just some updates on what I have been doing and some reflections on what I learned in 2017! I am pressing forward to what God has in store for me!

 

If you would like to purchase the growth lamp that helped my potatoes out a whole bunch, click below! ( And yes! This is an affiliate link, I am trying to teach myself how to do this, tutorial to come later!)

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=livingfaithmc-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B06XT18DGP&asins=B06XT18DGP&linkId=8afcece6cbf4c80299a8f8f3847b4703&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff

Establishing Boundaries: How I Learned Not to Jump On a Bandwagon

People mean well.

There are so many things in my business I allowed people to influence me into doing things that were awesome and amazing and great advice, but I just wasn’t ready for all of it at one time.

I wasn’t ready to get a full blown website.
I wasn’t ready to invest in a coach, plus that wasn’t the right one for me.
I hadn’t done my research and you know I could have stuck with where I was for a little bit and grown a little more.

I didn’t have to get that P.O. Box.
I honestly couldn’t afford to maintain some of those things and I needed to go at the pace in which God intended for me.
Getting advice, guidance, coaching and mentorship is a smart move in business, on the other hand I learned I couldn’t base every single move off what someone else said. I needed and still do consult with God, request HIS wisdom and do research for where I am in business and make careful decisions.

Sometimes along my journey the decision was to jump, pay for that course, get the info and make changes and adjustments. Sometimes it was…. NO you cannot personally afford to drive to that conference in Georgia, it will put you in the hole, don’t burn bridges, BUT you can’t do that.

Yall…..
Its so hard.
Everyone won’t and doesn’t learn the hard way, but we aren’t supposed to be comparing and lets be honest, many people just aren’t willing to share their journey, simply because its hard as hell. I don’t know many people that will admit every single one of my accounts is in the negative, INCLUDING my business account and I am bringing in steady revenue.

Every single one of your decisions must be strategic. I have learned from so many mistakes as I work my way into my 2nd year in business. I refuse to keep making the same mistakes and following blindly. My decisions don’t come without consultations with God. I am preparing to make some bold moves in business. It’s been on my heart for the past couple of months and the message has been in sermons and my study so I know God is talking to me.

I am not jumping on this without knowing what I am getting into. I am being more strategic and consulting with God on everything and doing my research because the place I am in now has an expriation date. I am on my way UP and so is my business! Take carefeul considerations you guys! Consult with God.

Until next time

Connect. Create. Inspire.

Husband and Wife Entrepreneurship: Perceptions vs Reality

20170422_205939

I know there are many people who were in my life before I met my husband who think I changed when he and I started dating.  I know this because I used to be one of those people who felt this about others, until I met my husband and then I understood it!

When we started dating, I made it clear to him I had no intentions of wasting his time or having him waste mine.  I was dating with intention.  I had spent the prior 3 years, exploring and defining my relationship with God, enjoying and celebrating the end of my 20’s and entering into my 30s and loving on myself.  I hung out with the best of them, exploring the city and trying new things!  I traveled and sought after who God wanted me to be!  I thought I had it all figured out….and then I met JB.  The complete opposite of who I am and completely different than who I thought God wanted me to spend the rest of my life with!  He loved me from the very beginning and I wasn’t certain if that was possible because there were so many factors that I didn’t agree with about him and I kept talking to God and He kept showing me, “you said grant you the desires of your heart, that didn’t mean he was coming in a perfect package.”

So I had to make a decision.  I had to choose to take the time to get to know what God presented before me and decide if I was willing to put in the time and effort to pursue life with this man of God.  I identify him as a man of God because that is who my husband is fully.  See, the perception is by many people that the fact my husband is rough around the edges and isn’t what they perceive as a “Christian” means that he isn’t a man of God.  Well they are so far from the reality if it was sitting in their face.  What God revealed to me very early on is that my husband and I would serve as a special kind of example of what Christ’s love really is and boy what a task it is!

So what this relationship required was my undivided attention and prayer time which absolutely meant some people had to be placed on the sideline.  This included friends this included some of my family, some of his family, church friends, all of it.  But not God.  So if any other Christians out there understand, time with God requires a significant amount of time, we are talking prayer time, fasting, praise and worship, service and leadership.  Those two things together had all of my devotion and time.  There wasn’t a whole lot of time for anyone or anything else and I know it looked bad and some understood and some didn’t.  But that is the difference between perceptions and reality.  What is and what isn’t depending on who is talking.

What does this have to do with entrepreneurship? My husband was an entrepreneur before we met, he just wasn’t channeling it in the right way.  I wasn’t even thinking about being an entrepreneur.  My husband and I started meeting up with my sis Hiranda and her husband because it was important to us to be around other couples.  When we all got together, our entrepreneur minds were developed and now we are all on the journey creating and building empires.  NONE of this would have happened had I not accepted an invitation to go out on a date with my husband for his birthday.  And we just celebrated our 1 year anniversary and God is SO good and I am SO happy.  And that my friends….. IS REALITY! #Connect #Create #Inspire