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Entrepreneurship Archive - TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

12 Companies Pushing FinTech Forward

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There is no doubt that #FinTech is a buzzing industry right now—it’s a hot topic and for good reason. The general consensus is that the next big innovations will be in one of the largest and most dated industries—the financial sector. From big banks to old systems, finance is due for a disruption, and there are a myriad of companies hoping to do just that.

The most popular names associated with financial technology are those putting payments in the hands of consumers: applications that simplify sending funds to friends or make purchasing items easier. However, FinTech is comprised of so much more than the ability to text your roommate some cash.

There are internal and external components to the payments infrastructure, and technology powering every layer in between, to improve fraud mitigation, data analytics, or even the speed of payments.

Whether a product or service, the players in #FinTech are numerous and diverse. Below we dive into a few that we feel are making positive impacts.

Betterment

This fast-growing company serves as a virtual financial advisor. Currently the largest automated investing service, Betterment is geared toward helping build wealth and financial growth without the hassle and costs of an outside party. Betterment makes finance management more accessible to those who would otherwise feel uncomfortable operating with a financial advisor.

BioCatch

BioCatch is a software for banks to help detect and manage fraud, a crucial component of any fintech service today considering the  increasing costs and frequency of sophisticated data breaches. To help reduce false positives on charges, BioCatch tracks a consumer’s device and website usage.

ChartIQ

In a world of massive data sets, complicated calculations and spreadsheets, ChartIQ helps capital markets customize their charting and data visualizations into an elegant and responsive design.

CityFalcon

Keeping a pulse on your investments and the financial news is critical, but with all the sources floating around it’s hard to tell which are relevant to you and which to leave for the birds. City Falcon wants to arm smaller scale investors with the information that is most critical to an individual’s specific financial situation, combining the sharing habits of financial influencers, news outlets, and “the crowd.”

CrediFi

To combat a lack of transparency in finance and data, CrediFi provides comprehensive property data and real-estate loan information to help you evaluate new deals based on your criteria. CrediFi gives you access to the entire picture, from tenant details to deep data analytics on real-estate loans and properties. Bonus, it’s visual and easy to engage with.

Currency Cloud

As the economy becomes increasingly global, it’s important for financial businesses to have a straightforward means of exchanging funds internationally. Here is where Currency Cloud delivers, by simplifying payments and exchanges internationally for banks, remittance, and brokers.

Kabbage

Kabbage, now the “#1 online provider of SMB loans”, powers small business growth by providing easy-to-access working capital. As frequently as each business day, small businesses can request a loan quickly. For example, if you’re a restaurant suddenly needing a new stove, Kabbage fronts the cost.

Lending Club

A very popular and heavily discussed new FinTech company, Lending Club is a marketplace connecting lenders and investors. For either personal or business loans, people can access low-cost financing from others. Its aim is to make credit more affordable and rewarding.

Onfido

As marketplaces continue to evolve and find more specific nichés, so too do the regulations guiding their finance. One regulation that remains steadfast is the need to check and clear users on a platform. Onfido manages this intelligent background check process with its technology stack, thus allowing for quick and seamless onboarding.

PeerIQ

There are a variety of peer-to-peer lending platforms, but sometimes you need more than gut-instinct to guide you in the right direction. PeerIQ is there to help, providing tools to manage and analyze risk in the P2P lending space.

Prosper

Similar to Lending Club, Prosper is one of the first peer-to-peer lending platforms. What sets it apart is the difference in scale and size of investment opportunities, with users being allowed to start with as little as $25. To inform investor decisions, Prosper provides credit scores, ratings, and histories associated with potential investment.

Robinhood

Free to use, Robinhood is an app that makes it possible for anyone to act as a broker and make investments. As the name suggests, Robinhood aims to bring equality and democratization to the financial markets.

In finance, there’s no doubt there is room for improvement—and the next big disruptors are delivering. From lending platforms to fraud detection tools, the developments coming around the corner could be groundbreaking.

With services like FiSync and our open API, Dwolla is also delivering on changing the feel of FinTech. If you’re curious about the benefits of real-time payments and enhanced fraud management and want top-shelf support, explore the solution.

Learn more here

Lessons learned with Community Sourced Capital’s Co-founder, Rachel Maxwell

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A few months back, we featured Community Sourced Capital and their use of MassPay to pay out businesses on their platform. We were so intrigued by what this company was doing and the motivation behind it all that we followed up with the co-founder and CEO to get further insight into the power of community support for small businesses.

After becoming an empty nester, Rachel Maxwell set sights on founding a startup. In this post, she gives us a peek into her journey and perspective as an entrepreneur empowering small businesses.

“I went to business school. And then I did something even stranger; I become the founder and CEO of a startup!”

Maxwell started down this path after three years in business school, where she graduated with: an MBA in Sustainable Business, a team and a powerful dream.

“I wanted to help people align their money with their values. I wanted to give people a relationship with money that carried blessed energy. And I wanted to make a responsible and profitable business doing it.”

With this vision and a team to drive it, Community Sourced Capital launched their lending platform to help small businesses access capital in the form of zero-interest loans crowdsourced from members the community.

How does CSC empower the small business?

Unfortunately, most small businesses cannot access the funding they need to succeed.

New lenders have emerged to serve this need, but many of them charge equivalent interest rates of 20 to 50 percent or more. These rates can compromise the stability of the businesses providing stability to our communities. Community Sourced Capital exists so that businesses can access affordable capital from their community.

If a business isn’t ready to access a community loan, the team at CSC connects them to a network of partners who can help fund them.

What are the growing pains and pleasures you’ve experienced as the founder?

CSC was founded in 2012 and we made our first loans in 2013. Now, CSC’s biggest challenge is keeping capital moving to small businesses as fast as they need it.

The demand for capital is there and although awareness for CSC’s platform and brand is growing, we’re up against a thriving market of predatory lenders who have much bigger marketing budgets than we do. We’re trying to do a lot of good in a system that’s taking advantage of small business owners that need cash fast.

For us, it’s breaking through the noise with a message and a product that are focused around helping small business thrive, not just survive.

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What advice would you give to those SMBs looking get going?

Bring intention, integrity and passion to your work every day and people will see that—your employees, your customers, your investors, your suppliers…everyone will have an easier time meeting you in this positive space and will want to be a part of your success.

Why would you encourage fresh entrepreneurs to become engaged in their community?

As a small business owner, more often than not, other local small businesses are your greatest allies. They understand the challenges you are going through and probably have a litany of suggestions for tools, tips and tricks to accomplish the business end of your business.

Are there any other financial bits of advice you’d lend to SMBs?

Start with a CDFI or credit union for funding—they are in place to help strengthen communities and they offer healthy and affordable capital.

Do your research because commercial lending is largely unregulated. If a financing offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

ALWAYS understand the interest rate or equivalent APR of the financing you are getting. If someone refuses to provide these, be weary of their practices.

Leverage resources like the Small Business Association to help you get answers to your business related questions and get advice from other local small business owners.

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Starting a business is no easy feat, and Community Sourced Capital built a solution to address that. But they are one of the many tools and resources out there to help get started…

What are your favorite resources for entrepreneurs or business owners? Share below.

A call for submissions, BBVA Open Talent 2015

 

BBVA Open Talent

Calling any and all fintech startups—BBVA wants to help you transform financial technology together with BBVA Open Talent 2015.

In the seventh year of the competition, BBVA Open Talent is looking for early-stage startups to explore and innovate in the banking and finance sector, and they’re looking for more than your basic tip calculator.

Does your startup support data intelligence? How about improving security or risk analysis? If your next big idea relates, this competition can be an opportunity like none-other.

BBVA Open Talent

Why apply?

BBVA Open Talent takes twenty finalists per region and provides them an opportunity to present to reputable judges, an audience of 250 fintech fanatics, VCs, and other startups the day before Finovate Fall. And while you’re responsible for the costs associated with this portion of the contest, BBVA will provide things like pitch coaching sessions and hands-on workshops. All finalists will spend the day before the competition interacting with key global BBVA executives and decision makers. Even if you don’t walk away a winner, you’ll walk away having gained new experience and insight that can’t be found elsewhere.

Judges then award two winners from each region (6 total) cash prizes and a two-week immersion course where they will spend time with BBVA executives and industry professionals in both London and Mexico.

BBVA inspiration

During the immersion course, winners will spend a week in Mexico gaining first hand experience with the LATAM market and international scaling. This is paired with a week spent in London, spending more time with venture capitalists, embracing the local startup ecosystem.  It’s access to powerful thought leaders like none other.

Rules for qualification:

  • You must be a startup created after April 1, 2011
  • Your startup is focused on or framed around fintech
  • The product or project is operative (at least able to demo or in beta)
  • You don’t exceed the funding and revenue qualifications

Scarlett Sieber BBVA

 

We had the opportunity to pick the brain of an BBVA Open Talent alum turned BBVA team member, Scarlett Sieber:

“My startup had applied for a lot of competitions and were finalists in a few, but no other group took as much personal interest in their finalists as BBVA. I had the opportunity to have dinner with key BBVA Executives and other global industry professionals that I would have never met otherwise.”

While BBVA may center much of their operations on banking, as a whole there’s a clear passion for developing smarter technology impacting finance. And that’s exactly what this call for talent is about—finding new, young, hungry startups ready to transform the world of finance and banking.

BBVA believes in being a true partner, and that means joining their partner companies as early in the life-cycle as possible. BBVA Open Talent 2015 is your opportunity to get in on that partnership, so BBVA can be there to guide you and your team through the challenging, sometimes confusing twists and turns of entering the Fintech industry.

Apply now, and join BBVA Open Talent 2015. Entries must be received by July 13, 2015.

Get Pumped for EntreFEST 2015 + A Sneak Peek of Ben’s Presentation

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Get pumped. EntreFEST 2015 is coming in hot.

In the next few days about 500 people will gather in Iowa City to explore listen, engage and learn. Attendees of EntreFEST will dig into hands-on entrepreneurial education sessions, networking opportunities, and listen to some rockstar speakers.

Dwolla has and always will be a big advocate for Midwest entrepreneurship, and EntreFEST is one of those powerful events supercharging this movement. Events like Rise of the Rest and EntreFEST bring innovation and excitement to Iowa’s businesses and communities, sparking new ideas and connecting those in the Heartland.

EntreFEST attendees access a variety of training opportunities and events with four areas of focus—Champions Track, Owners Track, Founders Track and Innovators Track—each track, lending support to guidance and growth.

Not sure how to channel your passion? Join a session that helps turn ideas into sustainable businesses.

Want to be better at your pitch? Try out an improv session to hone your delivery and presence.

Craving some guidance? Set up a one-on-one mentoring session with industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs.

Not often do you get such valuable resources and connection in one place.

Presenting thoughts on leadership, creativity, marketing and change is this year’s headliner Seth Godin, bestselling author of some of our favorite businesses and marketing books (ie. Linchpin). Also joining is John Pappajohn, Iowa business icon and founder of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers.

Things I’ve learned to be inarguably true…

We’re most excited about the presenter kicking off EntreFEST—our very own, Ben Milne. His talk is titled Things I’ve learned to be inarguably true… and he’s given us a small taste of what to expect. Take a look below and think on it.

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If you can’t make it to EntreFEST, but you want to follow along with Ben’s presentation join him on Twitter at @bpmilne.

 

Spring Cleaning for your Small Business Finances

Spring Cleaning Finances

Break out the dusters and fling open the curtains, it’s time for some spring cleaning. Even more important than addressing your mess of a closet is cleaning up your small business finances—and getting started today will set you up for success tomorrow.

Getting started

Before you even begin working on your SMB’s financial situation, get your mind right. This type of spring cleaning is more than an investment of time and energy, it’s an investment in your future. The more proactive you are in managing your financial situation now, the easier it will be for your business to reach success down the road.

Adapt the old business plan

Now that you’re focused on the importance of a financial spring cleaning, get to work on your business plan. When a small business first opens shop, it’s hard to imagine what it could look like 4 or 5 years down the road. However, measuring growth and progress against the original plan is always relevant—don’t let it sit neglected.

Each year, break out the plan and adapt it so it meshes with the changes of your business. Has your audience developed differently than you’d expected? Did you employ a new marketing strategy? Is growth at the same pace of expectations?

Adapting your original plan to answer new questions is a good reflective practice to better understand where you’ve come and where you plan to go.

Reevaluate and set goals

Now that you’ve spent some time understanding how your business has adapted, reference those changes to establish new business goals. While you may have set out with one plan and a set of expectations for your business, rarely do things go as planned and that’s okay—as long as you remain open to learning from mistakes and adjusting your goals.

Spend some time thinking about how things have gone differently and how you hope they continue. Are your aspirations the same as they once were? And are you investing the right amount of time and money into reaching those aspirations? Setting clear goals will help you understand how to optimize your business practices.

Warm up with a smaller spring cleaning task

Security is a hot-button issue right now. Credit cards are trying to improve their systems, fraud is a problem for many, and hackers have the ability to access your information with a few strokes of the keyboard.

A critical part of improving your financial situation lies in improving the security that surrounds it. That can be done relatively easily—change your passwords. If you’re like many, your passwords are less-than-stellar and frequently repeated. This vulnerability can become a potential threat.

Take five minutes to reset and create strong passwords. Shoot for 12 characters, include capitalizations, and if you’re really struggling, use a password generator for help. It may seem minor, but the extra time you spend memorizing some new phrases well outweighs the risk of having information stolen.

Review important financial documents

It’s crucial to review your  financial statements and documents each year to ensure your business is on the right track. The items could include your profit and loss statements, a current balance sheet, cash-flow statements, and your tax returns for the past couple of years. When looking over these items, check for fluctuations in product and service costs, billing errors or duplicate charges, and opportunities to improve your bottom line.

Review these documents critically and check them against your business plan and goals.

Read more: Get your SMB Finances on Track with these 5 questions.

Review your expenses closely

How much are you paying for utilities? What’s your phone bill costing you each month?  Take the time to contact your various service providers and make sure that you’re taking advantage of the most they have to offer, for the lowest cost available.

In line with reviewing your expenses comes scheduling employee reviews. Is your team being optimized in a way that best leverages their talents? Taking the time to understand what you and your employees expect from each other can lead to a more transparent and happier work environment, eliminating unnecessary turnover and uncovering untapped potential.

Once the financial situation is looking tidy…

Clean your office, literally. Purge old notebooks, organize files, and wipe out the drawers in your desk—because, honestly, when was the last time you did that?

If you need more guidance on getting your small business’s finances on track, Dwolla can help. Check out our solutions for business or explore integrations built by the Dwolla community.

Startup Crush: Mobile Shopping Made Fun with Depop

Working at Dwolla provides many perks, such as seeing old friends launch startups and discovering new companies creating beautiful products, simple services, or better processes. We can’t help it—we have startup crushes.

Mobile App Depop

 

Combine one part Etsy, one part Facebook, and two parts Instagram—you’ve got today’s Startup Crush, Depop, the little shop in your pocket.

This mobile app allows you to buy and sell your own items straight from your phone. Simply snap a photo, set a price, share it on your social networks, and with just a few taps of the finger, you’re up and selling. Your own virtual storefront is now open for business.

Through the app, you’re able to chat, follow, like, comment, share, search—similar to any social network—and then turn a profit. If you find yourself interested in a product, but the price isn’t quite right, you can even haggle in a private discussion.

This app is exciting because it combines the ease and visual appeal of our favorite social networks like Instagram with the functionality of selling services like Craigslist and eBay.

To add to the user experience, you’re encouraged to follow like-minded shoppers and friends who offer their opinion and guidance on what you should buy, whether that’s through comments or likes. It’s like always having your best shopping buddy there telling you, “You should go with the blue jacket, not the green.”

Mobile App Depop Demo

In 2011, Simon Beckerman founded this “virtual flea market” in London, with the goal of building a completely mobile marketplace—connecting friends in a way that was mobile, fun, and social.

Those three guiding pillars are exactly what’s helped the app achieve success, and Depop is now making its entrance into the U.S. With a fresh $8M of funding in their back pocket and reddit’s former GM, Erik Martin, at the helm, we’re excited to see the expansion of this innovative marketplace.

 

Our Favorite Podcasts for Small Business

Whether you’re looking for the inspiration to start a new entrepreneurial project or you’re a seasoned small business owner, there’s always something new to learn. For those business-savvy, on-the-go people, adding a few quality podcasts to a car trip or your morning commute could provide new insights to help your small business thrive.

While there is no shortage of quality listening material, it’s sometimes hard to figure out what to push play on and what to skip. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite podcasts to help the small business owner and entrepreneurial spirit come out in all of us.

Think one should be added to the list? Share it with us in the comments below!

Marketplace
Hosted By Kai Ryssdal
Twitter: @Marketplace

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You’ve likely come across Marketplace while scanning your radio stations. It’s the perfect podcast to stay up-to-date on the latest business news and advice, and nearly everyone knows it with 11 million weekly listeners. Marketplace provides relevant and accessible information relating to financial markets, economics and personal finance—perfect to keep your business profits on track and inline.

 

Entrepreneur on Fire
Hosted by John Lee Dumas
Twitter: @johnleedumas

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Awarded Best of iTunes’ in 2013, Entrepreneur on Fire is listed to for its energy and honesty. You can find a new episode posted daily, offering up a variety of expert insights on topics ranging from earning potential to goal setting. This podcast’s mission: to inspire and guide you, with the wisdom garnered from entrepreneurs who have achieved success.

 

Duct Tape Marketing
Hosted by John Jantsch
Twitter: @ducttape

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Key to any SMB or entrepreneurial venture is top notch marketing and planning, which is exactly what you get with the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Duct Tape’s John Jantsch produces his cast a few times a month, mixing advice from books and marketing experts to provide task-oriented, attainable techniques for your business to grow.

 

The Work Talk Show
Hosted by DJ Waldow and Nick Westergaard
Twitter: @djwaldow and @NickWestergaard

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Need to get more work done? These are your guys. This weekly podcast features two marketing pros and their guests in a talk show style session. Areas of discussion cover work habits, virtual team management, balance, and more. You’ll learn from entrepreneurs who thrive from thinking outside the box.

 

Entrepreneurs Journey
Hosted by Yaro Starak
Twitter: @yarostarak

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If you’ve ever wanted to get an internet business started, Yaro Starak wants to help. In his series of podcasts, Starak provides specific steps in order to help you become successful and “live the laptop lifestyle”. Topics include anything from how to take online payments to the personal success story of an adult acne blogger.

 

Business Insanity Talk Radio
Hosted by Barry Moltz
Twitter: @barrymoltz

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Barry’s show focuses on managing the hectic life and schedule that comes with opening your own business. From success to failure, he has experienced it all, and wants to share his knowledge with you. His goal is to get your business “unstuck”; with over 300 episodes, every topic of concern has been touched on.

350 Third
Hosted by Scott Barstow and Anders Brownworth
Twitter: @Anders94 and @ScottBarstow

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If you’re strapped for time and want a bite-sized podcast to add to the routine, check out 350 Third. Posted every other week, running about 20-30 minutes long, Scott Barstow and Anders Brownworth consider the impact of internet on business. Even if your store isn’t web-based, you’ll likely be online most everyday; stay on the forefront of technology with these early adopters.

 

5 Steps to a More Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Steps to Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is one of my favorite internet-born ideas. With it, dreams that may have fallen flat with traditional funding have been carried to fruition. From the famous potato salad campaign by Zach ‘Danger’ Brown, to the rebirth of Reading Rainbow, crowdfunding has brought passion projects to life.

A guy who raises $55,000 to mix some potatoes and mayonnaise together can get an entrepreneurial spirit wondering, “What can I do to get in on the crowdfunding revolution?” I know I’ve considered building a castle made of Reeses Eggs  a few more times than I care to admit.

Before digging too deep into your potentially revolutionary idea or campaign, take a few steps back to fully prepare. In order for your dream to be realized, get organized first.

Step 1: Map a plan before you launch publicly

Several months before you kick off your crowdfunding campaign, pull a plan together. To be successful, start with some research.

Most kickstarter platforms leave campaigns up and visible after they’ve ended, so use those as case studies. Look at ideas similar to your own and try to understand what they did to be successful or what led them to failure.

Based on your research, make a timeline and budget. There are many articles out there offering advice on timing and campaign length, some suggest 60 days while others narrow it to 30.

The overarching theme is that you need to give yourself enough time to reach an audience, so 10 or 20 days is cutting it too close. However, allowing for too much time causes your campaign to lack a sense of urgency. Find the sweet-spot for your campaign that motivates backers to support you, but provides enough time to reach an audience.

Also, like any good business plan, have a budget; give those who are investing in you a sense of where the money will be going. It doesn’t have to be detailed down to the very last penny, but boost your backer’s confidence by sharing your financial plan..

Step 2: Pick the right platform

Most people quickly go to recognizable brands like Kickstarter or Indiegogo for their  crowdfunding, but what they don’t recognize are the fees associated with such platforms. Be diligent in your search for the perfect platform, and investigate other options.

Kickstarter collects 5% of total funds raised + a payment processing fee of around 3% + $0.20 per pledge. Those fees can add up quick.

Instead, look into platforms for specific industries like nonprofits or filmmaking projects. Our personal favorite is Greenwood. With Greenwood, you’re charged less than 1% for your backers contributions.

With lower fees, more money can be devoted to your project.

Step 3: Do your marketing before, not during

Most crowdfunding projects are destined to succeed or fail at minute zero, when they launch. That means that your pre-launch marketing should be on point, engaging, and creative. Get the word out ahead of time, rather than just in time.

Read More: Crowdfunding for Indie Filmmakers

To get the buzz building, start with your network and reach out to those people you already know. Your friends and family members will care most about your success, so get them in on the project early (and often). Encourage them to spread the news and excitement.

In order to get those in your network invested, tell an engaging and passionate story they’ll be excited to share. The best crowdfunding campaigns come with a strong pitch and solid video using both emotion and logic. Remember, you’re asking for someone’s time and attention on the internet, there’s a lot of competition.

Step 4: You’ve launched, you better know your audience

Your story can be incredibly compelling, with a rock-solid rationale and business sense to back it up, but you can’t sell milk to someone who is lactose intolerant.

What I mean by that is you’re not going to win everyone over, and you shouldn’t try to. Focus your marketing and social media on the people who will be most responsive, reach out to the right groups and show them the love.

Another way to gain more backers is to focus on notable investors or opinion leaders. An easy way to get more attention is to let someone else get the attention for you, those people have clout and can boost your project’s credibility.

Step 5: Reward with more than just an email

Any good crowdfunding campaign must thank those who’ve committed their money to the cause. An email is great, but you can do more.

Think about a reward; it doesn’t have to be physical, just be creative. If someone only donates $1 or $2 give them a free video, tip, or photo. If you can afford it, maybe even reduce the price for all donors. Show them that their investment in you is appreciated by more than a line of text.

Offering quality rewards can even get you more backers—focus on what’s in it for THEM, just as you’ve focused on how important this project is to YOU.

If someone is willing to drop $100 on your campaign, give them a reward they’ll brag about. Get creative with it, be unique, and ultimately, you’ll be more successful.

4 Financial Tips for Freelancers

Freelance

Some may think of freelancing as an easy job—you’re just going to do what you love every day, and be your own boss. However, as any seasoned freelancer knows, there are many business elements to manage in order to make it a profitable and successful full-time job.

One of the most important skills you’ll have to develop is learning how to manage your money. Below we’ve outlined a few items to take into consideration when planning your freelance venture.

Track ALL of your expenses

A very basic rule of finance is to keep the books in check; getting paid and making payments should be tracked and monitored diligently. However, this isn’t always easy when you’re operating solo. While it’s not the most exciting task, it’s important to set aside time each day in order to avoid letting it slip your mind or fall to the bottom of the to-do list.

Tracking expenses is critical to ensure that you’re earning more than you’re spending; be sure to track any and every business and personal expense (did you buy a latte before working today?). This will give you control over your financial profile and make you stay the master of your money.

While there are popular platforms available to help track financial accounts (Mint.com) and invoicing (Xero), there are also tools to help you manage all of your paper receipts and bills. One tool, with it’s clever name, Shoeboxed, allows you to scan, digitize and organize receipts or bills. Make the most out of these tools so tracking becomes more manageable.

Expand your client base

Sometimes there’s a slump in business and you need to expand your client base. One thing to try is offering up your writing service for free. Going pro bono once or twice is a great way to get your foot in the door with a new client.

To get going, find a few publications you’re passionate about and write a handful of very polished articles.

If you’re looking for another way to gain clients and boost revenue, get active on sites like oDesk and Elance. oDesk allows freelancers to build out profiles and browse through thousands of job postings. Search by category or skill set, and then apply right there on the site.

oDesk Bonus: If you get interviewed or hired, you can track your hours and project status on oDesk.

Be diligent with the boring stuff

As a freelancer, you enjoy the freedom of managing your own income, you get to set your own rates, and determine the workload. However, that’s no excuse to not to have rock-solid business practices.

Be sure you build a budget. It’s not exciting and it’s not flashy, but it’s a must have. For more on budgeting as a freelancer, check out this article from Forbes.

Beyond the budget, there are other must-dos to keep your freelancing finances on track. Even though working for yourself offers a new level of freedom, income taxes are still part of the process. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers freelance-specific advice on how to calculate estimated tax payments here.

Along those lines, you’re going to need to fill out some paperwork. As a freelancer, you’re responsible for completing W-9 forms for new clients and reviewing 1099 forms from those high-paying clients. Just remember, maintaining absolute diligence will put your financial plan on the path to success.

Tune up your business skills

To make the most of every penny, tune up on your business know-how. This includes being effective in negotiations, contracts, and payments collections.

First, hone in on your negotiating skills. Being a freelancer gives you the opportunity to set your own prices and expectations; don’t let your opportunity for profit fall short. Some tips on stepping up your negotiating game: Don’t take the first offer without question and don’t take less than you genuinely expect. Setting standards like these are bad practice; you want to show that you believe in the value of your own work.

Also, be sure to get a contract in place, and discuss terms upfront. Being transparent is also good practice in freelancing. The mobile app Shake is a tool that can help you with your basic contracts or agreements quickly and easily.

Finally, be savvy on how you collect payments. Choose a processor that puts the most money in your pocket. As a freelancer, you can’t afford high interchange fees. Be diligent and do research on the best way for you to get paid.

While freelancing offers a certain level of freedom, there are still financial practices to adhere to. Be diligent in tracking expenses or maintaining a steady client base, and you’ll be closer to financial success.

5 Ways to Get a Jump Start on 2015 with Fiverr

For many of us, the start of a new year brings a renewed sense of hope and excitement—that this will be the year you’ll write that book, master a new language, or launch your own business. We make lists of goals and resolutions, hoping to accomplish something great or make a life-changing habit stick within the next 12 months.

While we’re currently only one week into the new year, if you’re like me you may be finding it more difficult than you’d imagined to take on your ambitious goals of 2015. Perhaps you just don’t know where to start tackling a large task, or you don’t feel as knowledgeable as you’d like before undertaking something like creating your own website. What you may not know is that the support you need to accomplish your new year’s goals can be easily found online, with platforms like Fiverr.

Fiverr is the world’s leading marketplace for services, making it easy for you to connect with individuals that can help you get a jump start on your goals, or give you the support that you need to stay on track. With tasks starting at just $5, finding the help that you need doesn’t have to break the bank. Because there are so many services that Fiverr vendors provide, we pulled together five to get you started.

To help with your 2015 budget:

12 month budget spreadsheet for $5

accounting work

For the aspiring musician:

How to play any song on the guitar for $5

Guitar Macro 1

For the entrepreneur launching their own business:

Get 3 awesome and professional design logo design concepts for $5

pencils

Freshening up your business cards for 2015:

Have a new business card designed for $5

sample business card

For the innovator looking to crowdfund their inventive idea:

Get the top 20 tips for crowdfunding success for $5

crowdfund

What’s more? All Fiverr vendors based in the United States accept Dwolla, and we think that’s pretty cool. For more ideas on how Fiverr can help you build out your business or non-profit, be sure to read up on our past blog posts: Fiverr for small businesses and Fiverr for nonprofits.

©2017 TransSwipe

 


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