Category Archives for "Freelancing"

Tax Filing Tips for Gig Economy Workers

By Randall Orser | Freelancing , Personal Income Tax

Gig work is very appealing to those who don't like the idea of a long commute and 9-5 in an office cubicle.  Gig or freelance work gives workers the freedom to work on their own schedule without being tied to a specific employer and many do gig work to earn extra income in addition to their full time employment.  Covid-19 has changed the way that people work, many have lost their jobs and have had to become part of the gig economy as delivery drivers and in other jobs. 

Becoming self employed comes with additional tax issues to those full time employed workers have to contend with, and it is important that gig workers understand these issues so that they do not create problems with the CRA.  Here are three things it is important that gig economy workers need to know:

Educate Yourself - you need as much tax advice as you can get.  Adding additional income to your regular employment income could put you into a completely different tax bracket increasing your income tax bill and possibly impacting the various credits that your family might be receiving.  It is therefore important that you are aware of your tax planning options and if you are not sure you should consult an expert in financial planning or accounting.

Understand your Employment Status - are you earning extra income as a part-time employee or are you self-employed?  If you are an employee the tax rules are much simpler, you will receive a T4 from  your employers and will usually have tax deducted.  However you need to remember that your employers will only deduct tax on the amount earned with them so when both incomes are combined you may owe additional tax to that being withheld.  You will have any overpayments on CPP or EI contributions refunded.  

Income from Self-employment earnings - the rules for income earned from self-employment are more complicated as you are in fact operating a part-time business or rental operation.  It is a total misconception that money earned for driving for Uber or renting a room on Airbnb is tax free.  Many people think that the sideline income reduces their personal expenses and is not taxable, but any time you take in money in return for providing a service it is usually taxable.

However on the plus side expenses and deductions can reduce your tax bill.  However you have to be careful that the expenses that you claim are reasonable compared to the income you are earning.  For example if you are claiming car expenses as a ride-share driver you have to pro-rate them based on the ride share mileage compared to your total mileage. To make things more complicated, if you earn more than $30,000 from your side gig then you may need to charge GST and pay quarterly GST tax instalments.

For people new to working part-time in the gig economy it is very important that they understand the tax implications as it might be new to them.  Again if you are not sure how to complete your tax return and what expenses you can claim you need to consult a professional to avoid making any disastrous mistakes. 

From an article by Sophie Nicholls Jones

What Your Tax Accountant Needs to Prepare Your Income Tax Return

By Randall Orser | Business Income Taxes , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Investments , Personal Income Tax , Small Business

A reminder for our business clients

When it comes to income tax preparation, there are do-it-yourselfers and there are those who have their income tax prepared by professionals.

For many businesses, having a professional such as a tax accountant prepare their income tax returns is the most sensible option. We don’t all have time to become income tax experts and income tax mistakes can be costly. So why not hire an expert to get the job done right and cut down on tax time anxiety?

To do the job right, though, your tax accountant or other income tax preparer will need to have all the right tax records at hand – preferably organized. Use this checklist to get your records together for your tax accountant.

Business Records Your Accountant Needs

· Revenue and business expenses for the year

· Business use of auto

· Auto operating expenses

· Vehicle driving log with business kilometres driven

· Asset additions

· Business use-of-home details

Your tax accountant will also need any tax records such as:

· Last year’s Notice of Assessment

· Amounts paid by installments

· A copy of your income tax return filed last year (if you’re a new client)

Other records your tax accountant will need will depend on whether you’re asking him or her to prepare a T2 (corporate) or T1 (personal) income tax return.

If the latter, your tax accountant will need all the relevant information slips and tax-related documents. Here are some of the most common:

· T4 slips (if you have employment/business income)

· T4A commissions & self-employed

· T5013 Partnership Income

· T3 Income from Trusts

· T5 Investment Income

· RRSP contribution slips

· Charitable donations

· Medical and dental receipts

· Child care information

Save Money on Your Tax Accountant’s Fee

Accountants generally charge by the hour, so the harder you make their job, the more it will cost you.

Summarize and tally records wherever possible. Cheques, invoices, business expenses - all should be categorized and totalled. Sort all your information slips by type. Having your tax accountant do the organizing and tallying is the expensive way to go.

If you have several businesses, remember that you will have to have separate revenue and business expenses figures for each business, as business income should be listed by individual business on the T1 form.

Be as organized as you possibly can. For example, clip groups of receipts together by type and put a post-it-note stating what the category is on the top. The less your accountant needs to figure out, the less time she’ll be spending on your file.

And remember, having a tax professional prepare your income tax return(s) isn’t costing you as much as you think when you see the bill – it’s a legitimate business expense.

Four Things Not to Do While Working at Home During the Pandemic

By Randall Orser | Business , Cloud-computing , Employees , Freelancing

Many people and businesses were already considering working from home prior to the pandemic, but once social distancing became a reality it accelerated the movement from office to home working.  This has been a massive and sudden transition for everyone involved and it has brought about a new way of working for many of us.

While many thought that they would easily embrace working from home, many also found that it has a set of challenges to overcome.  So whether you are enjoying this new way of working or you are struggling here are a few things that you could do to make your working at home experience more positive and productive.

  1. Don't be Overwhelmed by Small Details  -  Don't be stressed by the sounds around you such as traffic, children and pets which can make your working conditions less than ideal. Other people are also dealing with these distractions, so when you make video or phone calls make light of your less than ideal working conditions to relieve your own anxiety.
  2.  Don't wear pyjamas all day and don't take video or phone calls while still in bed or in the washroom. As much as possible remain professional in your interactions with clients and peers. Get into the work mindset, dress appropriately and allow yourself the usual breaks that you would take if you were in the office.  Try and keep your work routine as normal as possible.
  3. Don't go silent, make sure you keep lines of communication open with other work colleagues and team members.  Set up regular check in times and video meetings this will provide you with regular updates and keep you feeling like you are still an important part of the team.
  4. Don't work in uncomfortable conditions.  It is easy to set yourself up with your laptop in bed or on uncomfortable chairs at the dining table but this will result in aches and pains which will distract you from the tasks that you are trying to complete.  Even if it is only a desk and chair in the corner of your bedroom, set yourself up with a comfortable and ergonomic workspace.

From Dr Laura Hambly on Global News

How to Minimize Taxes on Your Small Business

By Randall Orser | Freelancing , Home Based Business , Personal Income Tax , Small Business

If you own an unincorporated small business then the you must prepare an income statement each year showing all the income and expenses of the business and the resulting net profit or loss is then transferred to your tax return and taxed along with your income from all other sources.  

As a small business owner,  you are entitled to deduct the ongoing costs of doing business, as long as the expenses are reasonable and your motive for being in business is to make a profit.  You must have a good record keeping system such as Quickbooks Essentials  otherwise there is a good chance that you will forget about expenses that you have incurred and lose some receipts for expenses that you could claim.   Some of the most common deductible expenses include advertising, promotions, rent, salaries, legal and accounting fees and auto expenses.

Deductions Available to your Small Business

  • Advertising including flyers, brochures and other promotional activities.  You can deduct 50% of the cost of entertainment and business lunches as long as they are used to promote your business to current or prospective clients.
  • Office Rent is deductible, however if you own your business premises or work out of your home you cannot deduct the rental value of these premises.  However you can deduct any related expenses such as mortgage interest, property taxes and insurance.  If part of the premises is used for personal purposes then these expenses must be pro-rated.
  • Salaries and Wages are deductible in full as are the employer paid premiums for the Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, Worker's Compensation as well as sickness, accident, disability or income insurance plans. If your spouse or child works for you their wages are also fully deductible as long as the payments are reasonable and the same as you would pay someone else to do the same work.  As the owner,  your wages are not deductible and should not be included on your income statement.
  • Fees for Outside Professional Services such as bookkeeping, accounting, consulting and tax preparation are deductible.  Legal fees are also deductible as long as they are not incurred to buy capital property, instead they have to be added to the capital cost of the property.
  • Business Taxes annual business licenses are deductible.  Fines and penalties for infractions of public laws are generally not deductible.
  • Automobile Expenses related to earning business income are tax deductible.  If you use your vehicle only partly for business then the expenses must be pro-rated between business and personal use based on the amount of kilometres driven for each.  Expenses include gas, oil, repairs, insurance and maintenance.  For more information log into the CRA website.
  • Capital Expenditures which are expenses relating to the acquisition or improvement of a property used by the business may not be deducted in the year acquired.  Tax law requires that their entire costs be claimed slowly over a period of years through a mechanism called capital cost allowances which allows a certain percentage of the costs to be claimed each year.   The rules of capital cost allowances are quite complicated so it is a good idea to hire a professional accountant or bookkeeper to make sure that you are claiming correctly.  For more information see the CRA website Capital Cost Allowances.  

When your business enjoys a profit you must share part of that with the CRA in the form of income tax.  However when your business shows a loss then the CRA shares in that loss as you are usually allowed to deduct the loss against other income thereby lowering the taxes you would normally pay.  However, you must meet the CRA "reasonable expectation of profit test" as the CRA will only share your loss if there is a reasonable expectation of profit in future years, otherwise your losses will be disallowed as simple personal losses.   

Women vs Men as Entrepreneurs – Some Statistics

By Randall Orser | Business Income Taxes , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Small Business

Small business statistics Canada showed that in 2018 there were 1,079,000 self-employed women in Canada, accounting for 37% of all self-employed people.  Almost 60% of those were in unincorporated businesses with no employees.  There were 1,781,600 self-employed men and a much smaller percentage of these (37%) were unincorporated and had no employees.

The number of Canadian women entrepreneurs keeps growing and an interesting collection of statistics shows some of the differences between men and women who run their own businesses.  

  1. On average women business owners are younger and have fewer years of management or ownership experience when compared with male business owners.
  2. Women mostly choose to start and run small business in the retail and service sectors and they are more likely to be solo entrepreneurs.
  3. Women do not make as much money as men entrepreneurs but the gap is closing, they generally make 58% less than men operating their own businesses.

From the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Canada Report on Women's Entrepreneurship:

  1. In Canada nearly 85% of women surveyed said they were interested in starting a business.  Most are highly educated with college diplomas or university degrees. 
  2. 13.3% of women were involved with newer businesses and 10% in established businesses (operating for more than 3.5 years).  For men the figures showed 20.3% and 7.1%.
  3. Canadian women rank 1st for involvement in newer businesses, ahead of the UK, USA and other innovation-based economies.  They were 6th for established businesses.
  4. 54% of new female businesses were in the services sector followed by business services at 28.2%.
  5. Female business owners are less likely to engage in overseas trade than male owners.  For businesses with 25% or more customers outside Canada 31.7% were run by women compared to 37% by men.
  6. For businesses engaged in innovation 35.9% were owned by women, 44% by men.
  7. The gap in expectations for job creation is now not as wide as it was in previous years and will be roughly the same for the next five years.  However the expectations for job growth is higher for male owned companies 35.6% compared to 21.4% for female owned companies.

Reasons why women start their own businesses: (Paul Lima

  1. A flexible work schedule is a great motivator but more so for women, 63% compared to 51% for men.
  2. 36% of men who start businesses do so to get wealthy compared to only 23% of women.
  3. Entrepreneurs who are driven to start a business doing something that they love is 69% for women and 64% for men.
  4. Women are less likely than men to start a business because they want to be their own boss, and are more likely to employ a spouse or child in their business.
  5. An almost equal number of male and female entrepreneurs listed their three main challenges to starting a business as finding clients, keeping a steady workload and working long hours.
Meeting a New Client in your Home Business

Four Steps to Finding New Clients for your Home Business

By Randall Orser | Freelancing , Home Based Business , Small Business

Thinking about starting a home business?  Probably the hardest task for a new business is getting those first few clients or customers.  One of the problems is that most home business owners are not savvy in marketing and hate the idea of doing “sales calls,” therefore many struggle to get enough clients.  Generating business and clients takes a lot of time, but the process can be speeded up by learning how to prospect and guide customers towards a sale or becoming a regular client.  It is reality that many prospects do not say yes on first contact with you, so you need to develop a plan to stay in touch with them until they are ready to buy.  Here are four useful strategies to use:

1.  Make sure that you zero in on your target market:  Make sure that you identify who might want what you are offering and are able to pay for it, anyone else is a waste of your time and money.  It is not enough to send your message out into the world and hope that it will stick.  Defining your most likely client by a number of criteria applicable to your business, makes it easier to find them and to send messages to entice them to check out your product

2.  Build a potential customer and client list: Just as you need a guest list for a party, you need a client list in order to have a business.  

  • Start by making a list of personal contacts for quick and easy sales, then ask these people to recommend you to their friends and contacts. 
  • Call back to your existing customers for resales, it is easier to sell to an existing happy customer than to find new ones.
  • Offer referral incentives to current customers
  • Search out potential customers on the internet and use social media such as Linked in. Participate in Trade Shows or Craft Fairs, these events are good for networking with other businesses that might fit your market.  You can also generate new customers by exhibiting your work.  Even if you don’t make a sale you will probably be able to build your contact list.
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce and network with other businesses in your area.  Join groups involving your target market and attend workshops that might help you to build your business.
  • Purchase a lead list, however this can be expensive and usually achieves low results, but if you are in a bind this is an option.  If you do a Google search for mailing lists, you will find lots of companies to reach out to.

3.  Make personal contact with your prospective client:

  • Cold calling scares most people but it the best way to contact clients to ask them what they need and tell them what you can do for them.  Prepare yourself by writing an easy flowing conversational script to introduce your product or reason for calling.  Remember telling is not selling so don’t do all the talking. Ask questions and present the benefits of your product so that the focus of the call is on the customer.   End your call with a call to action, such as asking them to commit to a trial period, or get an email or physical address so that you can send them more information.  If they say they are not interested ask if they know anyone who might be and get a referral.
  • Email: while not as effective as a direct conversation it is less scary and a good way to introduce yourself.  Do not send just a “buy” email, instead offer something of value.  Give an explanation of who you are and provide a coupon or other incentive.  Make sure that you include an unsubscribe option in accordance with anti-spam laws.
  • In-person: Make an appointment to meet a prospect on your list or walk into their business.  You can often meet prospects while you are out and about in places such as grocery stores or coffee shops.  You should always tailor your presentation to how you can meet their needs and have sales material on hand such as brochures or samples.  End your meeting with a call to action or promise to follow-up.
  • Traditional Mail:  Similar to email snail mail is not the most effective way to get sales but it is a great way to increase awareness of your business.  Create a postcard, brochure or letter and send it yourself or hire a fulfillment house to do it for you if you have a large volume.   Don’t forget that a personally placed stamp makes the item look less like junk mail.

4.  Follow-up then follow-up again:  When you meet with prospective customers, you will probably hear NO a lot. Sometimes it is a firm no, but it could be a no, for now.  80% of sales are not made on the first contact or the second or even the third contact, it may take more that to make the sale.  It is important to set up a non-annoying system of follow-up, such as an email list or an agreement to call back in a period of time. 

You must keep track of all your communications and there are many free CRM databases available on line that you can use.  Create calendar reminders to follow-up on your phone.  It is important to build a relationship with your prospective clients which will hopefully lead to a sale.  

From an article by Mindy Lilyquist

What is the Gig Economy?

By Randall Orser | Freelancing

The gig economy has been defined as “A way of working that is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately.” 

Essentially the gig economy involves working in a free market system as a freelancer, temporary contractor or doing standalone one-off jobs (or gigs) as opposed to having traditional full-time employment. It can also be a way for anyone to make extra cash in addition to their regular job.  In 2018 the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. reported that 55 million people were gig workers more than 35% of the U.S. workforce and this number is expected to rise to 43% by 2020.  According to Statistics Canada 2.18 million people were temporary workers in September 2017, including freelancers and contract workers.  One of Canada’s biggest temp agencies reported that 20-30% of their workforce were temporary workers and 1 in 4 were freelancers.

Who Works in the Gig Economy?

Millennials like to work in the gig economy because it promises a greater work-life balance.  For boomers and retirees are it brings in extra income without a major time commitment.  Freelancers are often connected to work by websites and apps such as Handy, Linkedin and Task Rabbit.  

The gig workforce includes highly skilled specialists and consultants from every industry but there are other jobs that will enable workers to make money fast without having specific skills.  These include tutoring and teaching, ridesharing (Uber), delivery (Skip the Dishes) and renting out assets that you own (Airbnb).

Benefits of the Gig Economy

  • Employers benefit from the gig economy by cost savings.  They can access a rich pool of talent and only have to hire people to do one specific task or when they are needed, instead of hiring full time employees that they have to train and provide with benefits.  
  • Workers can choose their own hours and projects and can earn income from multiple sources.  In a BMO survey 60% said that they voluntarily became self-employed, 49% said that they wanted a new challenge or change, 31% said that they wanted a way to supplement their regular income, and 13% said that they had been downsized by their employer.   

Challenges of the Gig Economy

  • The financial downside is the biggest challenge as workers have no benefits and don't get paid when they are sick.  Many in the BMO survey reported that they did not earn enough.  Boomers were more concerned about not having benefits while millennials were concerned about accumulating debt.
  • Canadian Employment Law has not caught up to this new way of working so gig workers have a precarious status and are generally excluded from the protections and benefits that come with traditional work such as CPP and EI.  Workers can enrol in these programs but they have to pay both the employer and employee portions.  As they do not have a traditional paycheck their CPP is calculated when they file their income tax which can mean a hefty bill.

Criticisms of the Gig Economy

  • It can make it harder for workers to find full-time employment and develop their careers.
  • For some the flexibility of work can be detrimental to their work-life balance, sleep patterns and daily activities as they always have to be ready to work when gigs arise.
  • As the security of a full-time lifelong job becomes a thing of the past workers rather than employers are taking on the risks of market ups and downs and changing trends.
  • Traditional business relationships between employer-employee, vendors and clients are eroded along with the benefits of trust and familiarity.  There is no investment in a relationship which will only last the life of a gig.

The Top Mistakes New Freelancers Make

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Small Business

Once you have made the decision to leave the rat race and set yourself up as a freelancer, there are some things that you must consider before you begin, if you want to be successful. Although there is nothing wrong with giving it up and going back to your office cubicle and 9-5 routine, if you make these mistakes then you might be going back sooner than you think.

  1. Not Having Enough in Your Savings Account  - Experts say that you should have between three and six months of expenses saved as well as your start-up costs.  This can seem like a lot of money.  There are ways that you can raise money, but two things you should not do is withdraw from your RRSP or put everything on your credit card.  If money is tight you should start freelancing while keeping your full-time job.
  2. Not Defining your Goals – Once you decide to go out on your own you need to set your goals.  The first one is to decide what you want to get out of going freelance.  Is it about having a flexible schedule, and the ability to decide on the clients that you want to work with?  Is it about just making enough money to pay your bills or do you want to make more than you did as an employee? Once you set your goals you need to check them at regular intervals to make sure you are achieving them or to revise them.  
  3. Not Having a Business Plan- You need a business plan to use as a guideline for your future.  Your plan needs to include basic information about your business such as the contact information, what you do and what you are hoping to achieve. In the future. You need to describe the products or services you are offering including pricing. Information as how you will market your business is important as is an estimate of your operating expenses and what you will need for future growth.
  4. Jumping in too Soon – It is a good idea to start your freelancing career while still working full time.  You will be able to try out a different jobs and clients and see who you are happiest working with.  It enables you to make mistakes and still have an income and also to build your savings so that you are ready when the time comes to jump.  It also allows you the time to set up your office to suit yourself and have the equipment that you will need to do the work.
  5. Not Having a Contract – Having a verbal contract can be enough but a written one is usually better.  A contract will not always help you to get paid, but it will define expectations on both sides and make sure that there are no surprises when the job is finished.
  6. Not Having a System to Organize your Paperwork and Money– You don’t always need to hire a bookkeeper or accountant, but as your business grows this might be a good idea.  You can use an app such as Quickbooks to make tracking your income, expenses and taxes much easier.
  7. Taking on the Wrong Clients – Good clients are those who give you regular jobs that you can and want to do, and work with you to get the best results.  They are also easy to communicate with and pay your invoices on time. Inevitably you will end up with a client who does not meet those criteria and you spend more time than you should on them for less money.  You need to be able to decide when you have had enough and that they are no longer worth it, as well as how to recognize the signs to avoid this type of client in the future.
  8. Not Setting Realistic Rates for your Work  – There is no fixed formula for setting rates for your freelancing work.  Prices depend on the industry, geographic area, your skillset and expertise and the work you are doing.  You need to decide if you are going to bill hourly or by the project, which can change with each job.  You also need to decide what is your rock bottom dollar amount and keep this in mind when charging clients.  You may start out at a lower price as you are building your clientele and experience, but you must know how low is too low so that you don’t take jobs that don’t pay enough leaving you financially overextended and stressed.  As you gain more experience you should look at your rates and revise them if necessary. 
  9. Not Having the Required Self Discipline– You might start freelancing assuming that the best thing about it will be the flexibility of your work hours.  In reality, you will need to available for your clients during regular office hours which can be difficult if you prefer to sleep late.  Even though clients cannot demand that you are available specific hours they still need you to be available to answer their questions or they will move on to someone more accommodating.  On the other hand, you need to establish what hours you will be available to your clients, such as 8am to 6pm.  Make it clear that unless you say so, calls from them at 10pm or on weekends and holidays will not be welcome. 

Starting out as a freelancer can be difficult but you should not get discouraged if you make a mistake.  You will soon discover whether working freelance is a fit for you. 

Five Ways That you can Work from Home

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business

A survey by Benefits Canada concluded that in 2017 47% of Canadians worked remotely or at home for at least part of the work week.  39% of these surveyed said that they mostly worked from home and 11% said they worked exclusively from home.  These numbers are bound to rise as more and more people want to avoid the daily commute and find ways to work at home.

There are many ways that you can work either fully or partly from home – here are five examples that offer the chance to avoid the commute, but they all have some pros and cons.


This is a home-based job where you work for an employer rather than in your own business. The advantages include receiving employee benefits and not having to worry about irregular income and little to no start-up costs.  The disadvantages can include lack of flexibility in hours of work, possible lower pay compared to on-site jobs. 

To get a work-at-home job you still have to demonstrate in your resume that you have the necessary skills and experience to do the job.  Your present employer may be open to telecommuting if you give them a good work-at-home proposal otherwise look for companies who are hiring work-from-home workers.  Jobs suitable for telecommuting include bookkeeping, writing and virtual office support.

Contract Work

Contract and freelance work are pretty much the same thing with only a few slight differences. Many of the jobs you see advertised hire workers as contractors instead of employees.  Contract jobs can be full or part-time, with regular hours and a steady income the same as a regular job.  However, contractors are considered to be independent from the company and are responsible for paying their own taxes.   

Pros of contract work include being able to negotiate fees, greater flexibility in hours and location of work.  The cons include the hours of work may be less than you would like, companies can easily let you go, you have to pay your own taxes, you rarely get benefits.


Freelancing is similar to contact work in that you are hired by a company to provide a service.  However, when you work freelance you normally have more control of the work that you take, how you do it, and how much you are paid.  Freelances often work under their own company name as a sole proprietor but they can become a limited liability company if they wish to. Freelancers market their services on social media, by networking, or on job sites.  Common freelance jobs include writing, marketing, accounting, web design and graphic design.  

Pros of freelancing include greater flexibility in your schedule, greater control over the work that you do, and the ability to set your own fees and rates.  The cons are the irregularity of work and the difficulties of finding clients, paying your own taxes and no employee benefits.

Starting your own Business

Many people are scared off of starting their own business believing it to be difficult and complicated, but with the right help and advice, it can be easier than you think.  Businesses are usually product based where you sell a tangible product, or service based such as home cleaning or graphic design.   

The pros of starting your own business include the flexibility in your working hours and pricing, the ability to turn something that you love into a business, and for service-based businesses easy and affordable to start.  The cons may be that your income is irregular as it takes time to get started, you may have start-up costs, you may have to work longer hours during your start-up, and you will have to pay for your own benefits.

Buying a Home Business

You can buy an existing business from an owner, buy a franchise, or buy a direct sales business.  The pros of buying an existing business or a franchise are that you are not starting from scratch, the business already has clients or people are familiar with the franchise, so it is easier to get customers.  For direct sales you need to pick a product that you believe in so that prospective customers are influenced by your enthusiasm.  In all cases marketing plans and materials are usually provided for you. 

The cons of buying a home based business are that it can be expensive to start out, there might be limitations on how and where you can market to build your business and it can be difficult to build a successful reputation when competing against competition in the same industry.

Tried and True Ways to get your Small Business Organized

By Randall Orser | Freelancing , Home Based Business

Summer vacation is over, kids are back at school, isn’t this a good time to reorganize your office?  Reorganizing your office doesn’t just mean tidying up your clutter and dusting your filing cabinets, it involves creating new systems and procedures for your small business which can make you more productive and profitable.

Taking Control of Papers and Documents

Is that pile of paperwork getting out of hand? Then it is time to set up a filing system and/or a digital archiving system. Start by going through the papers that you have laying around.  Make a keep pile and a discard pile.  Shred or recycle all the items in the discard pile.  Here is a guide from Susan Ward to help you create and organize your paperwork process.      

Thinking about going paperless? Here are some of the pros and cons. 

You can scan all your receipts and documents into your computer, use on-line invoicing and payment services and use the cloud for data backup and archiving.  

Using the Right Productivity Tools

We all use apps and tools, but some are more useful than others.  It’s a good idea to at least once a year decide if these apps and tools are still meeting your needs.  Productivity tools can be useful to your small business.  Productivity is a personal process so you should take time to decide what your needs actually are before incorporating a new tool into your process.   Here are the main areas where you might consider using productivity tools.   

  • Contact Management – keeping track of customers and remembering useful contacts is crucial to your business.  There are various customer relationship management (CRM) systems available, or just make sure your existing Contacts list is up to date.
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping - Organize and streamline the way you invoice, take payments and manage your cash flow with tools like Quickbooks Online.
  • Travel and expense tracking – use apps like Expedia and TripAdvisor to make your travel plans easier and while travelling an app like Expensify to track your expenses and do reporting when you return.
  • Email management – if you use Gmail or Outlook you have access to a number of extensions to organize your inbox.
  • Project Management – A good project management app will help you track tasks, share files and collaborate with your team all in one place and can be one of the best tools that you can have to organize your work.

Getting Your Computer Organized

If you do the bulk of your work on your computer you will know that it does not take long for your desktop to become cluttered with icons, your downloads folder to be full of files that you do not recognize and you have a hard time finding anything.  This is both bad for your productivity but also will slow down the performance of your computer.  So, what can you do to clean things up?

  • Clean up your desktop, get rid of the icons that you no longer use.
  • Set up a digital filing system – create a system that makes sense to you and where you can find your documents when you need them.
  • Makes sure your computer is set up to automatically install updates, or if you have to do it manually make sure do it at least twice a month, as updates can include security patches.
  • Review your current versions of the software that you are using to see if you need to update.
  • Scan your computer for viruses and performance issues to keep it running smoothly.
  • Verify the integrity of your data back-up, if you are not backing up you should be.  You can use a cloud-based back up service or use an external hard drive but either way you should set it to conduct continuous automatic backups so that you don’t have to worry about doing anything manually.
  • Getting on top of your email – although it is an efficient communication tool, your inbox can quickly get out of control causing you stress if you don’t take steps to streamline it.   Here is an article that will help you to do that.                                   
  •  From an article by Alyssa Gregory  

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