When you’re a freelancer, you’re also running a small business. Being self-employed inevitably makes tax season complicated. That’s why many freelancers have chosen to establish their own businesses legally.
There are three types of business structures most freelancers register under: sole proprietor, LLC and S corp. There are advantages and disadvantages to all, such as better tax breaks or filing a separate tax return. Each situation allows you to deduct for business costs, such as internet or travel.
Why create a legal business?
Although many professionals who freelance on the side simply report their earnings as “miscellaneous income” via the Schedule C (1040) form on their personal tax return, full-time self-employed individuals may find it beneficial to create a legal business entity.
Lauren Saccone, freelance writer and social media consultant, recently established an LLC called Pitchbow at the end of 2016. After freelancing part-time for nearly a decade, she has been a full-time freelancer based in New Jersey for the past two years.
Saccone’s tipping point was filing her taxes for 2015.
Entrepreneurial confidence in the economy could spur new investments
“In 2017, increased confidence among small business owners regarding the economy and their overall performance could lead to trends in business investment. Both the economy and stock market have shown signs of strength during the final weeks of 2016, and this helps increase business owner optimism.” – Carla Freberg, Director of Sales, Vendor Services Group, Balboa Capital
Niche companies will find success
“Business success wil come from further focusing on smaller, very specific audiences. Going extremely deep with customized messages and specialized platforms to a highly receptive and loyal audience will replace wide approach “shot gun” marketing. [We’ll see] more soft or no ask/call to action marketing focused on community building, experiences and lifestyle over product specific messaging.” – Kyle Golding, chief strategic idealist at The Golding Group
Finance and investment
Crowdfunding will play a key role in financing small business
“Crowdfunding will continue to be an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs. Crowdfunding platforms allow entrepreneure to easily validate and
Although getting a startup up and running is an immensely challenging task, taking it to the next level can be even more difficult.
A study recently published in Business Horizons found that the transition period between the startup and scaling phases can be a demanding time for entrepreneurs and one that must be navigated successfully in order for a business to grow.
Joseph Picken, the study’s author and founder of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas, said past research has identified the most common reasons for failure or CEO replacement, but nobody has told the entrepreneur what to do to succeed.
“During transition, the founder and team must impose essential structures and discipline, and lay the foundation for a scalable business,” Picken said in a statement. “The failure to do so will result either in the failure of the venture or the replacement of the founder by a more experienced CEO.”
The study shows that in the startup phase, new ventures are best served by having a
Traveling is a rewarding experience. Between food, drinks and sights, there are a multitude of memories and experiences not to be forgotten.
Often, planning your trip and getting to the destination is the hardest part. These 7 businesses aim to make traveling less stressful and more enjoyable.
Snapshots are the best part of vacation; it gives you the opportunity to relive your favorite moments. Flytographer takes that concept and helps you plan a trip. According to the company’s website, you can “meet with one of [the company’s] local photographers around the world, have a stroll together and bring home the best souvenir possible — memories.” Simply search for a photographer you like in the location you’re traveling to and book a photo shoot via the company’s website after you’ve finalized your trip details. When it’s time for your shoot, your photographer will guide you around and take candid photos (though he or she will also take posed portraits, if you prefer).
Love the water but not sure how to properly rent a boat while away?GetMyBoat provides a peer-to-peer marketplace giving boat owners the power
Being a vegan means a whole lot more than eating a meat- and dairy-free diet — it’s a lifestyle committed to not using any animal products. This means that strict, dedicated vegans don’t wear materials like leather and suede or use any products that have been tested on animals or harmed animals in the production process in any way. And it’s not always easy to find products you love that fit the vegan lifestyle.
Fortunately for all you vegans out there (and for food allergy sufferers and environmentalists, too!), there are more and more stores and brands dedicated to this animal- and eco-friendly lifestyle, so you can meet all your needs with ease.From food and cosmetics to clothes and accessories, here are 7 businesses every vegan needs to know.
Just because you’re vegan, doesn’t mean you need to skip dessert. While most sweets, from baked goods to candies, are loaded with not-so-vegan-friendly ingredients like butter, milk, eggs and honey (though not all vegans cut out honey), Allison’s Gourmet is home to tons of delicious vegan takes on your favorite confections, like fudge, peanut brittle, chocolates, caramels, cookies, brownies and more — all of
Want to become a better coach or athlete? There are several sports-related businesses out there that can help you do just that and more.
From virtual reality sports platforms and game footage analysis to family-friendly youth sports programs, these six businesses put a whole new spin on sports, helping coaches, athletes and families do what they love.
Whether you’re an athlete or just a huge sports fan, you can turn your skills and passion into a business — just take some inspiration from these companies that are totally changing the game.
EON Sports VR
EON Sports VR is a virtual reality platform that help athletes get better at their sport. The platform simulates different game situations to help players improve their decision-making skills — EON Sports VR boasts an improvement rate of up to 60 percent for players who use the platform. The company offers 3D-playbook and playbook-simulator products for coaches, simulators for athletes, and plans to launch a virtual-reality baseball platform, which you can preview on the EON Sports VR’s website. The company currently offers a simulator, called SIDEKIQ, which is compatible with a headset or projector, and plans to launch
The music industry is experiencing a renaissance with an influx of startups that give artists more control over their careers. Once thought to be a dying scene, the music business is reviving itself by changing, everything from how it’s made and consumed, to how musicians are compensated for their work.
“The music model changed. The revenue streams have changed. The business has to be fluid, and adaptive,” said Geoff Rickly, lead singer of the bands Thursday, No Devotion and United Nations. “Small companies are leading the way when it comes to adaptive behavior. I feel directly affected by every new idea whether it works or not.”
These five startups are rearranging the way the music industry operates.
Brace Yourself PR
This independent firm, based in the UK with a New York location, approaches representation as an artist approaches making music, said founder of Brace Yourself PR, Ivano Maggiulli. “Every artist we represent is vital to our business model, to our name as an agency.”
“Smaller firms are hungry and really have no choice but to innovate,” Maggiulli told Business News Daily. “We get ideas from clients and labels
Being an art professional certainly comes with its stigmas — just ask the people who believe in the “starving artist” cliché.
Though friends and family may try to talk professional artists out of their passions (and professions), creative businesses can thrive. Startups like these keep art alive in people’s homes, phones and everyday lives. These seven art-focused businesses are putting a unique spin on their industry, and might even encourage you to better appreciate art.
Want to bring art into your home or office without hanging the pieces on the walls? Artkick allows you to display high-quality art and photography on your TV or computer monitor, with free access to photos from museums, NASA, the Library of Congress, Photos.com and Hubble. You can even import your own photos from Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr and more. You control what photos are displayed via the Artkick mobile app on your smartphone or tablet. Think of it as art projected like you would project video with Roku and Google Chromecast devices.
Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein met and became friends while traveling through Argentina. Firestein drew a design
The legal cannabis industry is rapidly expanding, so much so that some researchers expect cannabis will be legal — either medicinally or recreationally — in every state by 2021. Market analysts for cannabis industry research organization GreenWave Advisors anticipate that in four years 22 states will have medicinal programs and 29 states (plus D.C.) will fully legalize cannabis, leading to a projected $30 billion in sales revenue nationwide.
GreenWave Advisors’ projection is in line with the estimates of other research organizations watching the fledgling industry closely. According to cannabis-dedicated finance organization The Arcview Group, the legal cannabis industry could be valued at $21.8 billion by 2020. Yet another estimate, released by investment bank Cowen and Company, anticipates that the industry will reach $50 billion in sales by 2026.
And the legal cannabis industry is certainly showing signs of accelerated growth. On election day, voters in eight states approved new legal cannabis initiatives. Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota all supported new medical marijuana initiatives, while voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada all moved to legalize recreational adult use.
While the cannabis industry is experiencing explosive growth, many in the industry
Parents know how hard it can be to keep children entertained and healthy. Especially in the digital days of internet surfing and video games, it can be hard to get kids to step outside and experience the world.
The good news is from cooking classes to science expeditions, there are plenty of businesses out there that cater to children of all interests. These companies not only give children and young adults something fun to do after school, but also help them learn valuable skills, develop their creativity, or improve their fitness. What’s better than having fun and growing at the same time?
These eight successful businesses were made just for kids.
Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena
Rebounderz helps kids soar! If you’re children are the acrobatic type, then look no further. With locations throughout the U.S. and franchising opportunities, Rebounderz is spreading to serve kids (and adult children too) everywhere. Not only does the indoor trampoline park offer an opportunity for fun, but it also helps promote fitness in children, not to mention get their energy out before bedtime. Currently, the franchise maintains locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan,
“Street food” has been around for a long time, but these days, tiny food carts, stands and trucks are more popular — and more gourmet — than ever. The culinary entrepreneurs who run them know you don’t need a huge sit-down restaurant to give customers a delicious dining experience.
These 10 food trucks from around the country are serving up so much more than just mobile meals — aspiring business owners can learn a lot from their creativity and innovation, too.
Bacon can do more than just top off breakfast platters and sandwiches, and that’s exactly what San Francisco-based food truck Bacon Bacon is out to prove. The truck offers a dozen different bacon-centered dishes and several sides, including a bacon bouquet. There are even some interesting dessert options: candied bacon chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate-covered bacon. In fact, the only thing on Bacon Bacon’s menu that doesn’t include bacon is their french fries — and even then, you can order the truck’s special “Porky Fries,” an upgrade on the basic potato dish, which includes pork shoulder, pork belly, bacon and peppers.
Del Popolo is a mobile pizzeria
Whether it’s a birthday, holiday or other special occasion, there are many times throughout the year that people need to purchase gifts. But finding the perfect one isn’t always easy, and sometimes, you just don’t want to give the same old predictable present.
Fortunately for gift givers, plenty of startups offer unique and exciting ways to show someone you care. From mobile gift cards to video gift messages, these 7 businesses are putting a new spin on the art of gift giving.
If you’re mailing a gift to someone far away, you might wish you could be there in person to give your recipient a thoughtful, face-to-face greeting along with his or her present. Vift, a video messaging service, allows you to record or upload a video for your recipient that arrives digitally the moment that the physical package arrives. All you need is the person’s contact information (email or mobile phone number) and the package tracking information, and your Vift message will arrive within 60 seconds of the carrier’s delivery confirmation notice. Alternatively, you can schedule your message for a specific date and time. Giving your recipient the ability to hear and
There are many good reasons to pursue government contracts — not least among them is growing your business with a client that spends more than $440 billion a year on goods and services.
Businesses can do several things to position themselves for success in the government-contracting world, said Lourdes Martin-Rosa, adviser in government contracting for American Express OPEN.
“The Small Business Administration (SBA) is mandating procurement forecasts for government agencies, giving small businesses the opportunity to see how much money is going to be spent by division, by quarter, [as well as] who the contracting officer may be and if the contracts are going to be set aside for any particular certification,” Martin-Rosa told Business News Daily.
Your company can also get a leg up on the competition by obtaining a small business set-aside certification. These set-aside categories include woman-owned, disadvantaged-owned, service-disabled-veteran–owned and HUBZone small business. “Set aside” means that the contract needs to go a small business that has one of those certifications, preventing large businesses from submitting proposals or bids on the solicitation. In some cases, there is a “sole-source award,” and the contract is
Right now, aspiring entrepreneurs all across the country are planning their paths to business ownership. It’s a journey that requires a lot of hard work, and many people end up failing. But if your company survives, the rewards of entrepreneurship are well worth the obstacles you’ll face on the road to success.
If you think you’re ready to start your first business, here’s a step-by-step overview of what you need to do to make it happen.
1. Brainstorm ideas
2. Build a business plan
3. Assess your finances
4. Determine your legal business structure
5. Register with the government and IRS
6. Select your technology
7. Purchase an insurance policy
8. Choose your partners
9. Build your team
10. Brand yourself and advertise
11. Grow your business
Every new business starts with an idea. Maybe there’s something you’re really knowledgeable and passionate about, or perhaps you think you’ve found a way to fill a gap in the marketplace. Wherever your interests lie, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s a way to turn it into a business.
Once you’ve narrowed your list of ideas down
When employers talk about their “compensation packages,” they don’t mean just salary. Typically, this package includes an employee’s pay, plus a number of other perks like health insurance, retirement plans and paid time off.
But a truly impactful employee benefits program goes well beyond medical coverage, said Alex Shubat, CEO at work-life balance platform Espresa. It’s a tool you can use to engage and retain your workforce.
“I believe that benefits are all about employee recruitment and retention, which comes from people feeling valued,” Shubat told Business News Daily. “They want to know that their employers care about their well-being and respect their time.”
Most employers seem to agree with this perspective: In research by Thomsons Online Benefits, nearly 90 percent of employers said their top benefits objectives are attracting talent and improving engagement. However, many of the employers (70 percent) said they struggled to deliver and communicate their benefits packages effectively.
“Global employers spend a significant amount on benefits, on average 31 percent of employee salary, but there’s a real risk that they won’t see the full return on this investment,” Chris Bruce, co-founder and managing director of
The first step to creating your small business is choosing the right name. The name should represent your industry, field or expertise while being catchy, memorable, and relevant to your customers or clientele. However, there are a few simple steps to consider before registering an official name for your future business.
Although you might already be infatuated with the name of your small business, you must ensure someone else hasn’t already claimed it. This helps you verify your company’s name is unique. Otherwise, it could violate trademark law by being too similar to the name of an existing business, in your state or any other, and whose operations are in close relation to your product or service.
Conducting a thorough due diligence check before registering the business entity or buying the domain name will help you avoid future costs in marketing, rebranding and even a possible lawsuit.
Before conducting even the simplest of searches, brainstorm a short list (preferably of five to ten) of possible business names. If you’re stuck, use different words and phrases to say your business name. Get creative! Play around
For any e-commerce retailers, shipping is one of the biggest and most pressing business concerns. Modern consumers are accustomed to instant gratification when they shop on their computer or mobile device, and they expect the companies they patronize to send out their orders just as quickly. This puts a lot of pressure on companies to streamline their order fulfillment and delivery processes — while still keeping costs low for customers.
“When it comes to customer loyalty, shipping speeds and costs are more important than ever,” said Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Commerce, a provider of e-commerce and subscription commerce solutions. “Most shoppers still choose ‘free’ over ‘fast,’ but with a growing number of retail outlets — Amazon, eBay, and others — now combining those options, retailers of all sizes have to find ways to cater to every customer’s interests.”
Whether you’re just starting your business and don’t know where to begin with shipping, or you just want to make your shipping operations more efficient, here are the most important things retail businesses need to know about the process.
Factors that affect shipping
There’s a lot that happens between the time an item leaves your warehouse
According to the Small Business Administration, half of businesses fail in the first five years, while more than 20 percent fail in the first year. Those are some pretty startling statistics, but they don’t have to be discouraging. While there’s plenty of room for failure, there’s even more for success.
In order to succeed, however, your startup needs a strong foundation on which to build. Below are five of the most important components a new business needs, and how to gain each one.
1. A strong peer-support network
For new entrepreneurs, a network of peers and mentors is of greater importance than product and finances.
“If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I’ve met over a lifetime, I’d say it is the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts,” wrote Harvey Mackay in “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” (Currency Doubleday, 1997).
Will Foussier, CEO and founder of Ace-up, said a strong network is key because it connects you with a talent pool, potential talent, industry experts and people who can provide legal advice.
“My advice for new entrepreneurs would be
The United States government spends over $4 trillion per year with large and small businesses. While the government places extra emphasis on awarding its contracts to small businesses in general (about a quarter of all contracts), there are also set-aside contracts for small businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans, including military personnel with disabilities.
Paul Karch, president of SelltoGovernment.com, which helps small businesses earn government contracts, said that the application process is a lengthy one, so now is the time for small businesses to start laying a foundation. If you’re launching a small business or want to start landing government contracts as an existing small business owner, read on to learn how you can take advantage of these special opportunities.
How to begin getting government contracts
There are several steps that small businesses should take in order to land a government contract.
The first step is to identify what you want to sell, using the codes of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Those codes are listed on the North American Industry Classification Systems Association’s website. The codes classify the economic sector, industry and country of a
Figuring out how to do this correctly is hard enough, but there are several tools available to make this arduous task a little bit easier for would-be entrepreneurs. Instead of starting from scratch, here are a collection of business plan templates, software, apps and services to help you start a business the right way with a professional business plan.
Business plan templates
Business plan templates show you exactly what a business plan is supposed to look like and what goes in each section. You can find them as downloadable sample business plans that you can copy and modify to fit your business, or as fill-in-the-blank or question-and-answer forms. There are also different types of business plans: simple business plans that cover the essentials, comprehensive ones that cover every aspect of a business, and those designed for a specific purpose, such as to raise funding or find business partners. Here are some business plan templates worth considering.
The $100 Startup One-Page Business Plan. One-page business plans take the fuss out creating a business plan by getting down to the basics of what your business is about and how you intend to meet