LIGHT

 

I wrote briefly on the core values of Clarity Finances in my last blog post and wanted to expand on those values a little more in this post. Awhile back I sat down and actually thought about the core values of my business and myself and wrote them down. I’m trying to make Clarity Finances more of an Evolved Enterprise and to do that I must identify my core values. The following core values represent a culture that I want present at Clarity Finances. I also want to work with people of a similar mindset.

 

Love

In my core values love is about connection. This a connection with others, not just clients but those in my community. To be able to connect with others you need to keep an open heart and an open mind. Another way of showing love is by giving forward and giving back like I talked about in my last post. Giving does not just mean donating time or money, in this sense it can also mean giving people your full attention. In this day and age of distraction it is important to give people your full attention. This shows people that you value them and their time. It is important that I love my clients. I want them to love working with me. No one needs more stress, especially financial stress.

 

Integrity

To me, integrity means doing what you say you’re going to do and keeping commitments. Having accountability is a large part of integrity to me too. I work in an industry that wouldn’t exist without integrity and the truth- bookkeeping. There is truth in numbers and the books from your business should speak the truth about your money.

 

God

How can I explain who God is to me? I believe that he has created me for a purpose and that he guides my decisions based off my purpose. He is always with me. I am happy to have a loving God that wants to best for all of us. At its core, I see my purpose as to love others and to share this love and the love of God.

 

Health

Health to me is physical, mental and spiritual. I do my best to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep at night. Exercise can either be at the gym or out in nature. When I’m taking a hike in nature I feel in a bit of a meditative state. This is the best form of meditation for me as I find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time. Health can tie in to love; if we love ourselves we can love others. We all have our guilty pleasures but we need to pay attention to our bodies.

 

Transcend

I want to try to keep outdoing myself. I want to keep improving and learning more. I ask myself questions like: How can I help more people? How can I make things better for my clients? How can I work smarter? By constantly seeking to improve myself I feel like I am always adding value to my business.

 

 

Giving Back and Giving Forward

When I think of what an Evolved Enterprise is and how Clarity Finances can become more of an Evolved Enterprise, I think of leveraging my business for good. This ‘leveraging business for good’ stuff though does not encapsulate the totality of an Evolved Enterprise.

In the last post I used the Example of Tom’s Shoes as an example of a business that could be considered an Evolved Enterprise. You may have purchased a pair of shoes from Tom’s before and if you think about why you bought them it very well may have to do with the company making it known that they give back through their business.

In fact, many studies show that consumers are more inclined to buy products from companies that also do good. This article from Psychology Today states that the ‘narrative’ behind a company can influence purchasing habits from customers. As stated in the article, when humans are met with things that can bring about emotions they can be pushed towards an action. A company doing good does not just bring in customers, but it can cause consumers to be more willing to spend more on a product from a company that does good. In the text, Silver cites research by Nielsen that shows “fifty percent of global consumers (in 58 countries) are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that make a difference.”

I keep using the term giving back throughout these posts and will continue to do so, but I want you to understand that it is not just about giving back; we must also give forward. Now, what does that mean? When we as businesspeople make things better for ourselves we have the ability to make things better for others by…giving back. Giving forward could be considered making things better for ourselves. This is not done out of selfishness, businesses need to succeed before they can start giving, to themselves or others. But the process of helping ourselves makes us able to help others and by helping others we help ourselves. Basically, if we make things better for ourselves, we can then make things better for others.

Image credit: Yanik Silver Evolved Enterprise

This thought process is shown in an image that Yanik Silver designed. The core is about you, the businessperson. You need to know yourself first before you’ll know how your business can reflect that. The cause is your why. For example, I want to support Good Works because it can transform someone’s life. I want to support things that will last, things that are sustainable. The section of culture reminds me of the work I did with the book Traction in establishing your core values. Any business can have a culture, no matter what the size. The community circle represents your clients. The creation section represents what you make and how the impact of what you want to change is “baked in” to your product.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series where I’ll talk more about the core values of Clarity Finances.

 

 

 

 

Inspiration

Inspiration can call at any time. For Yanik Silver, inspiration called him at 3 a.m. Inspiration comes to me often times when I am vacuuming or taking walks in nature. At the end of the post you’ll find out what idea struck Yanik in the wee hours of the morning. But first, a brief background on Yanik’s background in the world of business.

Yanik Silver is the child of immigrants who came to the US with nearly nothing. Starting with nothing can create a drive in people and Yanik Silver likely got his drive through knowing that the only way up is through his own actions. From an early age Yanik was working alongside his father. He wound up working in sales with great success and then moved onto publishing and onto other business ventures that would form him into the successful businessman he is today. But in the eyes of people like Yanik Silver and myself, success in business is not simply about the bottom line.

Like Silver, I am constantly looking to educate myself and to keep improving as a businessperson. You’re following along with me in the latest form of my self-education in reading Evolved Enterprise and applying the principles in this book to my business, Clarity Finances. I don’t want to be just a better businessperson, but a better person overall. I want my business to thrive but I am drawn to the teachings of those like Yanik Silver because he shows how to leverage the success of one’s business into making the world a better place.

Leveraging a business’ success to make the world a better place does sound like a lofty goal, I’ll admit it. But how the leveraging is done is what makes the difference. Evolved Enterprise shows that a business does not leverage itself for the greater good by simply writing checks to charities.

A business that comes to mind when I think of an example of an Evolved Enterprise is Tom’s Shoes, which if you are not familiar with has a ‘One for One’ business model that for every pair of shoes sold in the retail market they will donate a pair of shoes to children of need around the world. The business model of Tom’s Shoes also gives back through hookworm prevention, maternal health, clean water and more.

Now what was Silver’s idea that came to him at 3 in the morning? This was back in 1999 and he had a hunch that doing something involved with the Internet could be lucrative. Already an expert in sales and publishing, Silver wrote sales letters that businesses could use for a variety of uses. He bought his domain name and before he knew it the sales were pouring in. The rest, as they say, is history.

On paper, Clarity Finances is a bookkeeping and QuickBooks business, but through Evolved Enterprise I’m finding its soul, which is to provide the upmost accuracy in bookkeeping while trying to make the world a better place through the leveraging of Clarity Finances’ success.

Have you ever been struck by inspiration in the wee hours of the morning? Would you want a copy of Evolved Enterprise? Please share you thoughts with me on this blog post, Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

Becoming an Evolved Enterprise

The next few blog posts from Clarity Finances will be a review series on the book Evolved Enterprise by Yanik Silver. While doing a sort of review of the book, I’ll go over how the principles taught in Evolved Enterprise are applied to what I do at Clarity Finances and how you too can use these same principles. Now why am I doing this series?

I am passionate about giving. I also believe entrepreneurs, giving entrepreneurs, are key to healing the planet. One of the amazing things about giving strategically through our businesses is the increase that can occur to all parties; the businesses can become more profitable and more people are helped. These types of stories can inspire others to join, which is how I stumbled upon the book Evolved Enterprise. It truly spoke to me, a businessperson who wants to do well for my business and through that success, pass it on and give back to others.

Throughout the course of my blog posts I’ll tell you my personal story of how I use the teachings in Evolved Enterprise at Clarity Finances. Evolved Enterprise is such a valuable resource so I highly recommend you get a copy of the book yourself. If you are a current client of Clarity Finances and the book sounds like something you may like, let me know and I will get you a copy. I plan on buying a few more copies myself to give out to those that are interested. If you do want to purchase your own copy of the book, follow this link.

If you are not familiar with the methods of Evolved Enterprise or the book’s author Yanik Silver, don’t worry. We’ll be learning together over the course of these blog posts. Yanik is an author, entrepreneur and an overall inspiring gentleman. He is the founder of Maverick 1000, “a private, invite-only global network of top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.” If the name Yanik Silver doesn’t ring a bell may be Sir Richard Branson, Tony Hawk or Russell Simmons sound familiar. These are just a few of the top people in the world of business with whom Silver collaborates.

As Silver has built up his own group of like-minded business people, I am hoping to do something similar here albeit on a small scale. Feedback and communication will be a key part of this series so send me an email with your thoughts, comment on the blog posts and look for a groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that I plan to create to connect others as I share my thoughts.

 

More on Podfest18 & Podcasting

In my last blog post, I talked about how I was attending Podfest and in this blog post I’ll do a little follow up on my time. In addition to this being an informative session on all things podcast related, the networking was awesome–but more on that in a couple paragraphs.

I appreciated the insight into something in which I am not too familiar, podcasts. My main takeaway from the event is that one should start a podcast out of love for the topic–not to get rich. That said—we learned a lot about ways to monetize a podcast.

When starting a podcast focus on the material and sound quality. When recording, keep in mind that listeners care about the sound quality. We may not all have access to a professional recording studio or equipment, so don’t let not having the best equipment stop you; if you can work with what is available to you and have solid content you’re off to a good start.

Another key point was to speak as though you are talking to one person because it is likely that the listener is experiencing a podcast with headphones or in a car rather than as a group. Write down a description of who you believe you are speaking to in your podcast and speak to that person.

As I stated in the previous post, I have appeared on a couple of podcasts in the past and was fortunate enough to be a guest on a podcast while at Podfest. Brewin’ Up Business is a podcast hosted by Rob Kellog that focuses on informing and connecting like-minded businesspeople. The episode that I appear on was recorded at Podfest but most of his shows are recorded at various breweries in the Tampa area such as Tampa Bay Brewing, Rock Brothers and Coppertail. Each episode has a theme like an episode featuring local attorneys or a featured business in the Tampa area. That being said, I’d love to be a guest again on the show and network over some local beers.

While my appearance on the Brewin’ Up Business podcast at Podfest was relatively short, I got to speak on one of my true passions that I also incorporate into my business model, giving. We spoke about the impact of giving, ways to give and why it’s good for businesses and businesspeople to set an example through giving. Check out more episodes of Brewin’ Up Business here.

The shared office space I recently moved into at CoCreativ has a recording studio, so I hope to produce a podcast of my own in the near future. If you have any ideas on what we could discuss in relation to small business, giving or would like to potentially be a guest on the show, send me an email or give me a call.

I guess podcasting runs in my family since my son AJ currently hosts and produces his own podcast called Suburban Hood Rats. If you’re looking for a new podcast to listen to or want to experience firsthand what it takes to making your own podcast give it a listen here. Viewer discretion advised.

 

Julie

Podfest 2018

I went to Orlando for the Podfest Multimedia Expo from February 8-10th. Podcasts seem to be all the rage today and while I do not have a podcast for Clarity Finances, I have appeared as a guest on a couple of podcasts and listen to a few podcasts for my own personal enjoyment.

My first guest appearance on a podcast really was spur of the moment. I was at a class with Shawn Yesner and he was talking about his podcast Crushing Debt and he asked me if I’d like to be on his show. Since Clarity Finances and Profit First are all about crushing debt, I said I’d do it. The building that we were attending the class had recording equipment so we just recorded right there, simple as that. Although my appearance is short, I still had fun. If you’d like to listen to the episode, I appear on episode 90.

The second time that I was on a podcast was scheduled in advance so I had a little more time to prepare. Sam Belyea does his podcasts at the Foot Reflexology Institute and he does a Zoom and Facebook Live video for his students while recording the podcast at the same time. This was a longer conversation than my previous appearance on a podcast and we talked about bookkeeping tips for start-ups and the Profit First Method. We also talked about some ways to keep an eye on your finances without doing the bookkeeping yourself. And lastly, we talked about a common interest of ours, giving. I am not really used to being on camera, but once I was able to ignore the cameras, it was just a conversation between Sam and I.

If I am fortunate enough to be invited as a guest on another podcast I’d like to talk more on some practices that promote financial healing and why entrepreneurs should be givers.

I did just sign up for shared office space at CoCreativ that has a recording center where podcasts could be done so may be you’ll be seeing an official Clarity Finances podcast in the near future.

 

Julie

 

 

Being SMART in 2018

 

How are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Every year, people use the New Year to start fresh. Common areas of focus include our health and finances. Gyms get flooded with new members who will gradually fade as the year progresses. We make pledges to work an extra shift or stay a little later to work on projects and not get overwhelmed at work.

I have no problem with making New Year’s resolutions, although I avoid making them myself, but I think it’s a matter of setting attainable goals. For example, if your resolution is to join the gym and get healthy that is respectable but not always attainable. To truly get the benefits of exercise and going to the gym, one must be consistent and going to the gym has to become part of your normal routine.

Those people that you see in the gym that look like they just stepped out of a fitness magazine didn’t get their bodies to an admirable state by accident; they’re committed. If you never exercise or have never joined a gym, adding this to your routine can be quite difficult and can result in paying for something you won’t use. Maybe your best route would be to try exercising at home and seeing if you can stick to a routine and then take it to the next level by joining a gym and if you can afford it, hiring a personal trainer who will make sure you stick to your goals.

On the side of sticking to financial resolutions, it’s similar to setting attainable physical goals; pick something realistic. Don’t do something like setting a goal to double your savings if you know that isn’t possible with your income and budget. Setting a budget is actually a good start to attaining financial goals. Once you know what you are working with, you can set your goals.

Again, don’t go too big with your goals or you’ll quickly lose focus. Financial goals can be monitored and tracked through our bank statements and pay stubs. One doesn’t have to be an accountant or bookkeeper to make a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to monitor your finances. And just like hiring a personal trainer, if you can afford it, hire a professional bookkeeper to look over your numbers and help guide you along the way to reaching your financial goals.

An easy mnemonic device to use when it comes to goal setting is SMART; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-oriented. Some people work better with visual aids so if you’re one of those people, make a vision boards or write down your goals and hang them where they’re visible for some additional motivation.

 

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

Julie

New Year, New Taxes

I hope you all had a happy and safe New Year’s Eve celebration. As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, my move to Florida has overall been a great thing in my life, but while I was having fun adapting to warm weather all year round, we are having our own cold snap—not the deep freeze of up north but in the 30’s at night. The top of Florida has even seen a flurry or two. I am told this should be over in a week or two though.

If you saw my last blog post it was short and sweet, simply containing a short message of well wishes and a picture that I took while out and about of a palm tree with Christmas light on it. That picture can sum up my times in Florida thus far; things are slightly different down here (like being warm during the winter months), yet quite similar to where I grew up (like the availability of Wawa convenience stores).

Now that we are in 2018 I thought I’d write on something that will have an impact on all of us, tax reform. No matter where you stand on this overhaul of our tax system, I’ll do my best to translate what at times can be confusing to most people: taxes.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The new tax plan takes effect on January 1, 2018, which most importantly means that it does NOT affect the taxes that you will be filing in April 2018. New tax brackets were established and they are listed below in the image. These new brackets will expire in 2025.

 

 

What most people want to know about this tax overhaul can be boiled down to one question: does it save me money? The answer to that question depends on which new bracket you find yourself in but can be answered with a “yes.” According to The Tax Policy Center for example, if you earn $65,000 a year you’ll save around $930 in 2018. If you make $500,000 a year, you will save around $13,480 in 2018.

If you’re curious about how much you’ll save under the new tax bill, use this tool from the Tax Policy Center. This tool is a just an estimate but can give people a better idea of how the TCJA impacts them specifically.

For businesses and business owners, this bill could be considered a win. The corporate tax rate will drop from 35 percent to 21 percent, which is seen by some as a way to boost the US economy and thus workers’ wallets.

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

“For unto you is born this day, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

These palm trees covered with Christmas lights can symbolize more than just Christmas in a warmer climate. I took this picture while out and about in my new home state of Florida. Growing up in the Northeast, Christmas without snow sometimes didn’t feel like Christmas. At this point in my life, I have reached the conclusion that it isn’t the weather or dare I say it, not even the presents that makes Christmas special. For me what makes Christmas special is the celebration of the birth of Christ. It is through Him that I do all things and through Him that I am wishing all of my family, friends and clients a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year’s!

Time to Give Thanks

While I find it beneficial to be grateful for what I have throughout the year, this is the time of year when we all seem to focus on the things for which we are thankful.

I’d like to share some of the things I am thankful for here in my blog.

This past Sunday we were told not to forget the Giver, so let me start by acknowledging that God is my provision and it is to Him that I am thankful!

I am thankful to my clients for trusting me to manage their bookkeeping and for allowing me to introduce them to Profit First!

To show that the little things count too, I am thankful for the large Dunkin Donuts coffee that I just ordered with the free beverage coupon I received a few days ago.

I am thankful to be living here in Tampa where it tends to be sunny most days. After living here for the past year, I now truly realize why it is called the Sunshine State. I love that I can enjoy the beach year-round!  And a special thanks to Tim, my boyfriend, for making it so easy to choose Tampa over other warm, sunny, by-the-beach and near-a-major-airport places. I can’t mention being thankfulness and Florida without mentioning being thankful for my health and safety after Hurricane Irma hit in September. After the storm, things were really put into perspective for me, as others were far worse off than myself and I have God to thank for watching over me and trust in Him to care for and watch over those whose lives were impacted on a bigger scale than myself by Hurricane Irma.

I am thankful for all the awesome people I have met in the past year and a half here in Tampa.  I love my church, Relevant Church in Ybor City.  I love my BNI (Business Network International) Chapter; it’s full of encouraging, giving business owners. Another wonderful perk of BNI in the Tampa Bay region is access to Asentiv’s referral marketing training.  I am so thankful for my Referrals for Life group and for Tiffanie Kellogg! Tiffanie does such a great job cutting through my hazy explanations of what I do and to whom I want to serve, turning it into clear, concise language that speaks to those who need my services. Every interaction one has can be considered a networking opportunity and I look forward to making more connections in the future and growing my network.

As much as I love living in Florida now, I am thankful to still be able to serve clients in Pennsylvania and for choosing to be part of PowerMatch.  Sara Rosenberg does such a great job connecting me with people up North who can in turn connect me with more people who need help with tracking their finances. I am thankful to have a business that can work with anyone around the world who has access to the Internet.

I am thankful that I attended Unleash the Power Within by Tony Robbins earlier this month and got to walk on fire!

I am thankful to have the opportunity to be the VP of Fem City Tampa and help President Amanda Vining grow our Tampa Bay chapter as a space for women to encourage each other in our businesses as well as develop deep friendships.

I am very thankful to have discovered Yanik Silver, author of Evolved Enterprise and Giovanni Marsico of Archangel.  The work that these two are doing is exactly what I want to do—heal the world through entrepreneurs! I am also thankful that I am finding social entrepreneurs and groups that support them as they learn and grow right here in Tampa.

Finally, I am forever grateful for my sons, Tom and AJ. This is for many reasons, but most importantly because I know that God gave them to me to love so that I would better believe and accept the love that God has for me.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Julie