Record Keeping for Small Business 101: Benefits and How to Do It Right 53

Record Keeping for Small Business 101: Benefits and How to Do It Right

Record keeping for small business is something you can’t skip if you’re serious about running a company.

As stated by the IRS, keeping records for your business is something all business owners must do.

Benefits of Keeping Records for Your Business

With good records, you’ll be able to monitor your progress. You will easily prepare your financial statements and tax returns. The sources of income would be easily identified and analyzed.

Last but not least, you will keep an eye on property and deductible expenses.

Not to forget the fact that it’s key to separate business and personal expenses, and detailed records help you do that. Then it’s a no-brainer when visiting banks or dealing with creditors.

Record keeping, if executed well and frequently, can guarantee the growth of your business.

That’s because you’ll always know what’s coming in, where you can optimize things, which items sell and what new marketing strategies and sales techniques to implement.

If you need more reasons on why record keeping for small business matters, here are some other cases:

  • When you’re audited;
  • In case of a lawsuit (with thorough records you can protect yourself from these, and also win them);
  • To stay financially stable and be prepared for unexpected expenses;
  • Have positive relationships with clients.

How Long to Keep Records?

Now that’s a question many business owners still don’t know an answer to.

While it all depends on the importance of the document, the type of business you’re doing, and the country where you’re running the business, the safest tip is to keep records for 7 years.

That’s what accounts, lawyers and bookkeepers suggest too.

However, the IRS shares more specific information on this issue.

What Business Records to Keep Exactly?

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Here are the most important elements for record keeping for small business:

Basic Records

There are legal requirements to be met. So here’s the minimum of documents you should always have at hand:

  • All business transactions;
  • Cash receipts and cash payments;
  • Contracts;
  • Loans;
  • Licenses and permits;
  • Proof of purchases;
  • Invoices;
  • Employee records;
  • Payroll;
  • Bank accounts;
  • Business assets;
  • Quarterly tax filling;
  • Annual tax returns;
  • Company health and safety documents;
  • Travel log.

Other Records to Keep

The more things you keep a record of in your business, the better.

  • Business communication.

All emails and any other form of communication concerning the business.

Here’s how to manage email records.

  • Client files.

These include all the work you’ve done together, payments made and due, the type of agreement you have.

Have such files, organize them well, keep a copy of them, and update them frequently.

By doing this, whenever a client has questions, has forgotten something or wants to make changes to your relationship, you’ll simply use the records to remind them of what you’ve agreed upon.

  • Employee resumes and job applications.
  • Purchase orders.
  • Record of meetings and decisions taken.

How to Do Record Keeping for Small Business Right

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Now, here are some tips on how to store the types of records we talked about.

1. Use a record keeping system.

A record keeping system captures and manages records. You have access to it over the years and the documents in it are organized well.

That’s also a way to keep your business records protected.

Your record keeping system must be easy to use, customizable and efficient. With the right one, you can improve business performance and even use it as the main source of information for all that’s going on in your business.

Check out the ISO 9001 Forms Collection.

2. Electronic and manual record keeping.

With an accounting software program, you’re storing your data electronically, and that’s safe enough these days.

But if you want to do record keeping for small business much more reliable and never worry whether you’ll experience technical issues, then use paper-based tools too.

That’s quite simple. And while a bit old-fashioned, for some business owners it’s still the preferred method when they are just starting a business.

We’re talking about having folders and storing them in cabinets. Here’s how to classify and name them.

While all transactions are tracked virtually today, a computer-based system is usually mandatory for your business.

To take even more precautions though, make use of a cloud-based system that’s separate from where your accounting software program is storing all your files.

Alternatively, you can backup your files on an external or portable hard drive. Or even put it on a USB flash drive.

3. Turn record keeping into a habit.

If you want to do business right and safely, you need to track everything, check it often, and update it daily or weekly.

So this behavior must become a habit. Even if that’s something you delegate, or are convinced your software does the job well, you still need to keep an eye on how your records are stored.

Now that you know why record keeping for small business is crucial and how it can boost your performance, what changes can you make to the way you’re currently keeping records?

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How I Make Money from My Freelance Writing Services (And How You Can Do The Same) 12

How I Make Money from My Freelance Writing Services (And How Can You Do The Same)

I’ve been offering my freelance writing services professionally nearly 7 years now. And what started as a one-time project every now and then, has now turned into the online business that allows me to keep working remotely and operate globally, although I’m based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Forget about the competition, the broad niche you’re trying to enter and that it takes time to build a name for yourself. We live in the digital era and thanks to all its opportunities you can make a living as a freelance writer if you decide to.

Let me share the things that helped me make money from my freelance writing services. Maybe they can help you raise your prices, get started as a freelancer, or write and publish your first post today.

I started from the bottom.

I believe those following their passion, who are interested in becoming lifestyle designers and finding meaning in their days, should start from nothing.

Even if you have your family to support you, or connections in the field, or are given opportunities already, leave that behind and go ahead and build something on your own.

That’s important because the years you’ll dedicate to learning skills, making mistakes, getting to know your field and finding what works best are priceless. No business degree, internship, parent, easier career choice, or even initial capital, can do that for you.

The only millionaires I respect, for example, are the self-made ones. That’s because I’m all about self-improvement and it means following your own path. But first, defining and creating it.

If you decide you want to be a writer and to make money from that online, you need to invest years to get better at this and be able to call it your craft. You need a new mindset that will help you understand what your clients want and give them exactly that. And you need to be truly invested in doing it right as it’s all about providing value with your content, not making a few bucks.

You’ll build habits, find focus, work from home, ditch distractions, make sacrifices, and eventually start earning a bit. But you’ll be doing what you love. Then, there will be more doubts and challenges to overcome. Again, you’ll stay consistent if you’ve decided to make a living from your freelance writing services and achieve something bigger.

I make sure I cover topics I’m passionate about.

I believe anyone should be doing work they are passionate about. While the way you do it may vary, its main topic should be something you truly care about.

For me, that’s self-improvement, spiritual development and business growth. I have always been reading about this, and so it made sense to also start writing about them on my blog.

Such passion never goes away.

You take it with you whenever you write something, be it for a client, for a social media post, an email, or your own book.

Find your passions in life and make sure you incorporate them into your writing.

I build my portfolio every single day thanks to my blog.

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Building your portfolio is a never-ending process. Leave conventional wisdom aside and think of the way people do business online today.

It’s not about a polished resume or a ton of experience working for other people anymore. I don’t have that. In fact, English is my second language and I have no degree in Journalism or anything. What I have though, is more than 1000 articles on my blog (which eventually turned into an authoritative platform), each of which is written to provide value, to help those who find it through social media or search engines, to give advice and share my thoughts on the issues of life that I care about the most.

Such portfolio can only get better. The more things you publish under your name, including guest posts, then more you’ll have to share with your clients.

The way I do it when promoting my freelance writing services now is this: When I’m about to pitch someone who seems to be a good fit, I give them samples of relevant articles. That means I always make sure he wants me to write about topics that I’ve covered before. So I simply get 2-10 links, share them with the client and tell them this:

If you like any of these, I can provide the same quality for the work I’ll do for you.

Simple as that. And I do keep my promise. Also, there are no wrong expectations here as I will do for them what I’ve done before for my own projects.

If you’re wondering how to become a writer and offer your freelance writing services, start a blog today, write about whatever it is you’re interested in and share it with the world.

I make it a win-win situation.

There are many parties involved when you do work for a client. First, there’s you. Then, there’s the client. But there’s also the reader this content will eventually get to.

Whether you’re writing something for a company or an individual, you’re helping them grow their business, improve their online presence, build a following, sell their products or services, or educate their audience. Whatever it is, your content matters. Keep in mind everyone your writing is going to affect and let that inspire you to be a better freelancer.

I enjoy the process.

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Because I started my freelance career in order to have an enjoyable lifestyle, not the other way around, I do make sure I take a step back every now and then and evaluate the situation.

I’m a lifestyle designer. That’s why I started working online, doing what I love, left my home country and relocated to Amsterdam, Netherlands, but still operate globally and work from home.

I need that freedom and independence in order to be doing my best work, to keep my focus and to have peace of mind. Without them, I won’t be able to make my clients happy.

That’s why you should enjoy the process as a freelance writer. Even the unpleasant moments. It’s a journey with ups and downs. But no one had it easy.

I stopped underselling my freelance writing services.

I wasn’t charging much in the beginning and that’s okay. I believe every freelance writer makes this mistake when they start out. It’s because of the competition, wanting to please every client, being scared you’ll never make more money out of this, not being confident enough in your writing, etc.

The only way to overcome this barrier is to do more of the work only you can do. As your reputation grows and you see you have enough clients, you’ll start saying ‘no’ to low prices and will learn to ask for what you deserve.

I diversified my income.

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Freelance writing goes together with a lot of insecurity. From not getting paid on time (or at all), to not finding new clients, not meeting a deadline, not scaling, or else. If you don’t do something about it, this will cost you your precious focus and creative energy. And as a writer, you need these with you all the time.

So, I made sure to diversify my income. In my case, it was thanks to my blog, growing it and monetizing it by offering sponsored posts.

For you, it will be different. I sell my books on Amazon too, do affiliate marketing and many other things on the side. But these aren’t a significant part of my monthly income.

I make half of my money by selling my freelance writing services. Which means that even if I don’t necessarily find enough clients soon, or something else happens, I’d still make it until I get back on my feet.

Find your other income stream that will help you stop worrying too much and focus on doing what you do best.

I’m picky with my clients.

Saying ‘yes’ to every project that comes your way means you’re desperate to make some money, don’t have priorities and are trying to please everyone. I made big changes to my approach when I started being serious about selling my freelance writing services.

For a start, I ditched the clients who didn’t pay on time. From then on, I set the right expectations from the very first chat we had and discussed all the details such as payment, deadline, whether they would require me to make changes to the articles, etc. All these matter and after doing it for years, you start noticing recurring issues. But when you talk about each one prior to working together, it’s all good.

I’m absolutely okay with rejecting clients or projects that seem big or tempting in some way. It’s because I know exactly who I want to be working with and can feel whether we’d be a good fit from the first few emails we exchange.

That’s been a game-changer for my work and freelance writing business. Some amazing individuals reach out to me personally because they liked the story I share on the About page of my site and decided to work together. Or because they saw my name on another platform, liked my work and now want something similar for their blog.

From clients like that, I get positive feedback, an enjoyable working experience, no pressure, honest communication, regular payments, good mood, and referrals. These are the people I can do a good job for. And while it’s not always easy to find them, it’s worth the wait.

These are the things I did to be able to make a full time living from my freelance writing services. It took me years and a lot of mistakes, but you can do it differently. Stop being afraid to ask for more. Go build your portfolio, learn everything you can about the topic you’re covering. Be confident when you pitch potential clients and see how big opportunities are coming your way.

If you have a question about this, or if you’re interested in hiring me to help you out with content creation for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out.