Strengths + Skills + Character + Opportunities = Career Success
Create opportunities for career success. Start with strengths that come to you naturally and easily, then learn skills that compliment your strengths, and build character to create opportunities for career success. As you learn more about yourself you will find skills you want to master and opportunities that fit your values. Are you more of an intuitive communicator who creates from your heart or an analytical innovator who designs from your head?
Valuing your strengths - the natural abilities you were born with - will drive you to develop skills you want to use for your business or job. Your skills are demonstrated in your product, analysis, data, and abilities but your heart will draw your audience to interact with you.
Your career success starts with you. Are you writing your business plan, setting up your portfolio, or looking for a job? You need to be able to clearly express your strengths. You know you are working in your strengths when time goes by so quickly you don't know what happened. You are in the zone. The neurons in your brain are firing and your face lights up when you talk about what you are doing. Not sure about your strengths?
Talk to a friend about something you did or are working on that you really enjoy doing. Notice your friend's expression. Are they listening and interested in what you are saying? Ask your friend if you look enthusiastic or passionate about what you are describing. If your friend doesn't appear really interested in your project, you may need to rethink your project or find your passion in doing it. You might even network and find someone with a similar interest to stir up your passion.
When you write about your strengths on social media, do people respond? Your LinkedIn profile should include your strengths, values, and something your are passionate about. Social media is a tool to reach a wider audience and monitor the reaction to your work. When you share your product or service with a customer, prospective partner, or employer you will need to show your excitement to generate their enthusiasm. Value yourself and your work. Start sharing today!
Want to know more about how to show your strengths, skills and character?
It's been a busy month accounting for books on this year's taxes as well as preparing for next year. Keeping records and preparing taxes is fairly simple for my coaching practice since I was selling a service with no inventory.
Last year I published my first book, Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success to add value to my coaching practice. Well before April 15th rolled around I wished I had hired a tax accountant or bookkeeper. We got in the habit of doing the taxes ourselves using Turbo Tax and didn't realize the difference it made when we added inventory the need for Cost of Goods Sold--not as simple as it appeared.
I had the idea I could just expense the books I purchased and add my book sales to income. Apparently this is a common misconception that oversimplifies the process.
According to the IRS, the following items need to be taken into consideration when computing COGS:
Last year I used the free inventory program InFlow for PC. It was simple to set up and generated useful reports for sales, sales tax, and books used. It has been years since I worked in bookkeeping, and I realized I hadn't kept the detailed records that would have been helpful.
This year I found AccountingEdge Pro for Mac in an inexpensive Apple Bundle and decided to give it a try. It takes longer to set up since it uses double entry accounting. It has a lot of online support articles and videos which were helpful, so after setting up my business, I realized I made some errors in the setup. I decided to change the original company setup to a test company, and then start a new company set up with a another company name. There doesn't appear to be a limit to the number of customers you can add as there was with InFlow and it has a Cost of Goods Sold account. I believe things will go much smoother when April comes around next year.
Improvements I made this year:
We all have the intention of keeping good records throughout the year and having them organized and accessible for taxes. But when you develop a new product it initially sells quickly, and it is easy to be excited and overwhelmed with initial success. When deciding what products you want to sell, consider your bookkeeping and taxes.
After selling some books, I was ready to increase my clients and move on to the next book. I didn't want to spend more time on record keeping and mailing than was necessary, but in my enthusiasm I mailed books to different locations, sold them at special prices, and didn't invest the time needed to understand the implications. Understanding the implications of different methods of selling a product will help in making decisions and keeping up accurate records.
An eBook you sell on your website doesn't require inventory and the bookkeeping that goes with it, but if you sell a PDF yourself it can easily be shared with people who didn't purchase it.
Selling your book through an online company like Amazon or Barnes & Noble simplifies your bookkeeping. They send you a 1099-Misc form for royalties (which are recorded separately on your tax form) at the beginning of the year for filing your taxes. You don't need to pay for and manage mailing, taxes in different locations, inventory, and cost of goods sold. Shipping to different locations requires the most record keeping.
Often the best way for a coach to sell their books is by word of mouth, presentations, classes, and workshops--basically selling your product yourself out of the trunk of your car. You may even want to carry a book with you so that when someone wants to buy it, you have one handy. Just remember to record all of the books you sell. It is also easier if you sell all of your books for the same price. Most customers like an even amount to pay--especially if paying cash--so I include the tax in the price and round it off to a dollar amount.
It's been a great experience selling books, and it has helped my coaching business, but I will do a much better job accounting for books this year whether I hire an accountant for taxes or we do them ourselves.
Share tips and ideas you have found for organizing and record keeping for your business products.
Cost of Goods Sold and the Tax Gap (FS-2006-23, July 2006). http://www.irs.gov/uac/Cost-of-Goods-Sold-and-the-Tax-Gap. Accessed 4-19-2014.
Consult an accountant or appropriate professional for tax information. The intention of this article is to share personal experience and is not in any way tax advice.
Certified Life Coach
Coaching for Career, Writing & Creative Problem-Solving
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