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  • Ensuring The Healthcare System Works For All
    day fine per employee on small businesses that offer traditional Health Reimbursement Accounts HRAs a devastating blow to the small business community ADVERTISEMENT As an unintended consequence of the ACA HRAs were outlawed for the majority of the small business community with 49 or less employees who did not fall under the employer mandate and did not meet the law s Essential Health Benefit requirements This eliminated the use of this traditional often utilized healthcare tool for millions of small businesses including the self employed and micro businesses Creating an unequal healthcare system only small businesses with 50 or more employees that met that ACA s rules could continue to also offer HRAs There was an immediate outcry by millions of small businesses across the country arguing that this discriminatory policy directly targeted the heart and soul of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship The new IRS policy which took effect July 1 strikes at the core of the original intent of our nation s new law a law designed to expand healthcare options and opportunities for all Americans not eliminate and limit vital healthcare resources for an essential segment of the American population HRAs have historically been a very powerful and effective tool for the small business community to do right by their employees by helping them pay for crucial healthcare needs Under these arrangements small employers who did not offer a group plan could offer some form of financial assistance to their employees for qualified healthcare expenses such as co pays prescription drugs and deductibles Part time and seasonal employees have often relied on HRAs for vital healthcare support Furthermore HRAs are a fair and impartial you must offer the same amount to each employee who has an HRA account This could not be anymore critical for the millions of sole proprietors and small business owners that fall outside the employer mandate Despite being a part of the largest small business sector they are treated as individuals and must obtain coverage on the individual exchange Without the threshold of 50 employees to be considered for the small business exchange they do not meet all of the law s requirements For instance the baker or the graphic designer who cannot afford a full group plan but still want to help their employees with some financial assistance for healthcare needs with HRAs could now face the threat of IRS penalties that some estimate could cost small business owners over 30 000 per year That s why in February of this year when the Treasury Department announced a delay in the enforcement of this rule many small business owners breathed a sigh of relief Scores of small businesses cheered they would not be unfairly penalized for simply offering an important healthcare resource to their employees This delay allowed for the legislative process to begin addressing this situation A group of legislators in both the House and Senate have begun work on a bipartisan solution to fix this glitch in the implementation of the

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase%27s-blog/self-made/2015/07/28/ensuring-the-healthcare-system-works-for-all (2016-02-14)
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  • Are Business Credit Cards Right For Freelancers?
    when used responsibly can help you make purchases and organize your spending all while getting some perks on the side Most issuers offer credit cards for small businesses and freelancers in addition to their regular cards and there are 3 important things you need to know about them Rewards and Benefits for Business Purchases There are several advantages that business credit cards provide to their cardholders and the right card for you will be one that fits into your habitual spending If you re setting up a home office for example the Chase Ink Plus card provides 5 points for every dollar you spend at office supply stores as well as on cell phone landline Internet and cable TV services You ll also get 2 points per dollar for hotel accommodations and gas so you can use this card on the road too Then there are also cards without categories like the Capital One Spark Cash for Business which provides an easy 2 cash back on every purchase you make Overall business credit cards generally have higher credit limits than regular consumer cards allowing for large business expenses Business cards also come with a host of other benefits and services designed to give you peace of mind like travel accident insurance purchase protections extended warranties receipt and purchase tracking and dispute resolution services Who Is Liable For Business Credit Card Purchases The short answer is you are liable not your business When you apply for most business cards you ll need to sign what is called a Personal Guarantee This means that you are personally responsible for the debt even though your business and employees may be involved in the usage of the card If your account goes delinquent you can be targeted by collection companies just like with a regular consumer credit card How Business Credit Cards Affect Your Credit There is an important difference between business and regular consumer credit cards when it comes to your credit reports In most cases business credit cards will not be listed on your credit report and they will not affect your credit score This is because credit card issuers don t usually report the usage to the credit bureaus However there is an exception if you commit some negative actions with the card such as making late payments or going over the credit limit that activity will be listed on your credit report bringing your credit score down The quick rule is as long as everything is fine you won t see the good effects on your credit report but if something goes wrong you will suffer the negative consequences So business credit cards come with a number of benefits for the average freelancer but there are also some important factors to be aware of You can reap the full rewards of business cards when you understand how they work and commit to using them responsibly For more information on using business credit cards and other cards visit Credit Card Insider

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase%27s-blog/self-made/2015/07/21/are-business-credit-cards-right-for-freelancers- (2016-02-14)
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  • 6 Apps to Get your Ecommerce Enabled Business off the Ground With the Right Apps
    work alone an owner s talents and energies should be concentrated on the things that count The best apps are the ones that use automation to free up an entrepreneur s already limited time Here are six apps that help business owners manage their money their merchandise their marketing and more Get Landing Pages that Pay with Gospaces com Gospaces com is designed for anyone who makes money online from authors to artists to developers to entrepreneurs Gospace enables online sellers to quickly and easily set up landing pages that are integrated with payments The first 50 you earn every month are free and any profits after that cost 9 per month plus 3 percent transaction fee Gospaces makes it easy to set up landing pages whether you re selling physical products downloads or subscriptions Make Accounting Bookkeeping and Invoicing Easy and Free with Wave Mint might be the most popular or at least the best known of the free web based personal and business accounting apps But other software developers have expanded on the format most notably Wave The crisp intuitive dashboard gives entrepreneurs a snapshot of their bills their receipts their invoices their payroll and more and it does it for free Ship Track Record and Move Merchandise with ShipStation ShipStation is for anyone who sells physical merchandise online The service integrates with top carriers such as UPS FedEx USPS and DHL Eliminate shipping mistakes by tailoring the service to your specific shipping needs and automating scheduling and record keeping Unleash Your Inner Spy with TrackMaven Success in business is all about industry information TrackMaven gives entrepreneurs a window into the worlds of their competitors Identify marketing opportunities optimize content distribution and track real time progress by gathering data on your competition s strategies successes and failures TrackMaven uses competitive analysis to empower entrepreneurs Never Miss a Call or Teleconference with MobileDay The evolution of VoIP has given even the smallest businesses access to enterprise level telephone networks Take it a step further with MobileDay MobileDay enables sole proprietors with limited communication budgets to dial into any call from their mobile phone For extra confidence and dependability each dial in sequence is tested and validated by a real live human being Keep Collaboration Simple with Trello Whether it s with a researcher you hired for a marketing analysis or a freelance designer working on your logo unified collaboration makes any business easier to run There are several free collaboration apps that are excellent and reliable but Trello is the most visually appealing Users create bright crisp boards which contain lists and cards that contain information about a project or task This gives every member of the team a snapshot of an entire project at a quick glance Drag and drop functionality makes editing natural and fluid especially on mobile The best apps empower you by automating a task you re currently handling yourself This requires the app to be flexible and scalable one size fits all boilerplate applications

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase%27s-blog/self-made/2015/07/13/6-apps-to-get-your-ecommerce-enabled-business-off-the-ground-with-the-right-apps (2016-02-14)
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  • The Independent Contractor in the New Freelance Economy
    In a recent poll by SherpaShare 63 percent of on demand entrepreneurs indicated that they considered themselves independent contractors There has been much debate over the classification or worker status of these new entrepreneurs and this survey helps guide us in what those in this new business demographic believe Source Graph created by NASE These freelance economy entrepreneurs also find themselves members of a much larger small business demographic the self employed As self employed Americans they are part of a small business community of nearly 27 million non employer and micro businesses who together generate over a billion dollars annually according to the U S Census The self employed demographic has seen incredible growth over the last few years In 2011 self employed businesses grew by 55 165 new businesses and 25 657 new micro businesses classified as those business with nine or less employees In the last decade self employed businesses has sustained an average growth rate of 2 86 percent more than any other small business demographic In this new economy anyone can operate his or her own small business by becoming an independent contractor with a larger umbrella corporate business operation like Uber NoWait Etsy or AirBnB But with any new business venture come a host of new opportunities rights and responsibilities These include wage and hour laws tax obligations liabilities for accidents and pension and nondiscrimination rules For instance these entrepreneurs may receive paychecks without any federal and or state government tax withholdings that require them to pay quarterly taxes on their earnings Despite being self employed they may still be required to pay a host of taxes including income self employment Social Security and potentially Medicare tax As the freelance economy continues to expand it could benefit from a political environment that is not only regulating it but also is supportive by giving these small businesses the tools and resources they need to succeed expand and grow Policymakers are starting to take notice not only on the regulatory front but also through fairer and simpler tax reform efforts to make it easier for the independent contractor In an op ed in Roll Call last year our message to Congress was that we need a comprehensive approach to tax reform with the following aims in mind Amending the definition of employee to include an owner of a sole proprietorship to take advantage of additional benefits Simplifying the definition of a independent contractor to clarify a workers status And streamlining the deduction process such as creating a standard schedule C Z by expanding as many deductions as possible for business expenses I am happy to report that Congress is making progress on clarifying the relationship between business owner and independent contractor U S Rep Erik Paulsen R MN has recently re introduced legislation that creates a two part test that establishes a formal definition of who is an independent contractor The two criteria to determine status would be the individual either has investment in equipment or

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase%27s-blog/self-made/2015/06/24/the-independent-contractor-in-the-new-freelance-economy (2016-02-14)
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  • Four Simple Ways To Save Money
    employed in the US with no additional employees or payroll expenses other than their owner Solo entrepreneurs may struggle with their income from time to time but there are many ways to get the biggest bang from your self earned buck Here are some simple ways to keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket get your fair share from Uncle Sam and save valuable time as both boss and employee Sooner rather than later Tax deductible fees like bank and PayPal charges and other business expenses occur on a regular basis Instead of waiting until year end or the approaching tax season to document these amounts put them into a spreadsheet or other accounting system immediately as they happen This way you won t be scrambling around at the last minute attempting to locate all this necessary information when April 15th draws near Take all eligible deductions Speaking of taxes be sure that you are itemizing your return and taking all the eligible tax deductions that are due to you as a self employed entrepreneur Consult the list of many IRS deductions that are available to you here or speak to an accountant if you are unsure Be careful to note special eligibility requirements if you want to survive a possible tax audit For example if you are claiming a spare room in your house as an office it cannot have a bed in that space since it could double as a guest room and disqualify it as a deduction Use the Cloud Most of us have felt the panic that ensues when we see the dreaded blue screen of death on our computer monitor knowing that we may have lost valuable data on a corrupted hard drive To avoid this terror store as much information as possible on free cloud based services like Google Drive Not only will it be safe you can access your important information from anywhere there is an internet connection available and an appropriate device Take advantage of free services Free is almost always good for example if you could get business cards at no charge wouldn t you take advantage of saving money on this important business investment and expense There are many helpful business tools available for small businesses on the internet here are just a few that come with few strings attached for their services Payments While free payment processing services come with transaction and acceptance fees they are often competitive with traditional banking charges and with options like Square the reader comes in the mail free of charge Accounting Why pay an accountant when you can enter your financial information on the free Wave app or Freshbooks cloud solution Available almost anywhere there s an internet connection you can input your financials whether you re on the go or at home Legal FindLaw com offers a comprehensive listing of many free legal services available for small business on the internet Being practical spending time and money wisely are

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase%27s-blog/self-made/2015/04/22/four-simple-ways-to-save-money (2016-02-14)
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  • Prospecting Isn't an Event; It's a Campaign!
    her new process looks like Identify Once she identifies a prospect she adds him or her to her CRM system along with all the relevant information she can find Outreach 1 She attempts to call the prospect In the likely event that she doesn t reach the prospect she leaves a message saying that she is going to send over a letter with best practice case studies that highlight how she could add value to the prospect s organization She reiterates this information in an email Send Letter 1 She sends a letter containing best practice case studies Follow up on Letter She now attempts to contact the prospect at different times of the day over the course of a week or two without leaving a voicemail Announce Package She leaves a voicemail and email explaining that the prospect will be receiving a package with some ideas for a new program Send Package She sends a big package with more high value ideas to help the prospect Follow Up on Package Send Letter 2 Follow Up on Letter And so on She uses this same campaign for each new prospect Yes it is more labor intensive than the haphazard approach but it slowly builds a connection with the prospect even in the very likely event that she can t get through Of course if she does connect with the prospect she simply references the last letter or package sent and then goes into her call script Here are a few key techniques from Laura s process that can translate into a successful prospecting campaign for any salesperson 1 Create multiple steps Plan out ahead of time what your campaign will look like and what you will send to the prospect at each step Make sure that everything you send over is of actual value to the prospect Brochures don t cut it Instead create 3 5 different pieces to send the prospect which can each serve as a legitimate reason to connect Even in the event that you don t hear back after step 2 you are still slowly making yourself known to the prospect which makes him that much more likely to take your call the next time 2 Call and email in between steps Since you ve sent something of value to the prospect you now want to follow up to learn what matters most to her The goal of any campaign is to simply get through to the prospect By having a consistent process you simply follow directions and let the campaign do the real work As soon as you actually reach the prospect you start the selling process 3 Warm them up with personal touches People still open mail especially when it s personal so don t just send boilerplate letters and packages to prospects Make them personal with handwritten notes and individualized gestures One step in your campaign could be to send a letter with a business article that may be highly relevant to the

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase%27s-blog/self-made/2015/01/16/prospecting-isn%27t-an-event-it%27s-a-campaign! (2016-02-14)
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  • The NASE Blog - Current Issues and Topics - For Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs
    true Most of us are now focused on the New Year with high expectations and new commitments for success And in many cases that includes those high minded New Year s resolutions that probably include losing a few pounds or maybe just striving to get in shape Committing to better health is a great way to start the year whether that includes a better diet a daily walk or short jog or maybe even just one less dessert each week The key is to just pick Happy New Year You Get To Pay More Taxes Tuesday December 17 2013 Posted by Katie Vlietstra Individuals and families will see a little less in their paychecks starting January 1 2014 wage earners and self employed individuals who make more than 200 000 individual and 250 000 couple will be assessed an additional 9 Medicare surtax on top of the existing 1 45 Medicare payroll tax as well as a 3 8 Medicare tax on unearned income investment dividends rental income interest and capital gains on property Individual and families falling below the 200 000 will experience new restrictions on medical expense deductions and flexible spending accounts including penalties for spending money on non qualified medical expenses simple human Facebook Adds Star Ratings to Business Pages Thursday December 05 2013 Guest Blog by Ben Seidel As you may have noticed Facebook rolled out their star rating system onto business pages last month In reality the star rating system has been in place on Facebook s mobile app for places for quite some time However November is when they officially rolled it out for business pages on the standard browser version of Facebook The Good and Bad The placement of the star ratings on the Facebook page could not be more visible If you have ratings the page will aggregate this data into the 5 star rating graphic and display it directly NASE Calls on Congress to Act Monday November 04 2013 Earlier this week the NASE submitted a statement for the record to the House Ways and Means Committee in response to the committee s hearing on the status of the ACA enrollment In the NASE statement we expressed our concerns that leading up to the October 1st launch the administration was not providing sufficient details and answers regarding the Exchange Marketplace With the lackluster launch we are now asking congress to eliminate the open enrollment deadlines for the 2014 calendar year and to delay the individual mandate penalty for one tax filing year By pushing back the deadline congress would give you the The Government Shutdown Reopening Tuesday October 22 2013 As many of you already know starting at the beginning of the month the Government shut down for 16 days Standard Poor estimates that the shutdown cost the U S economy 24 billion during that span While many government employees were directly affected they were not the only ones Many small businesses felt the effects of the shutdown in every corner

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase%27s-blog/page/3 (2016-02-14)
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  • The NASE Blog - Current Issues and Topics - For Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs
    created to two page brief that highlights the Affordable Care Act and its impact on America s smallest Businesses It is a great tool that breaks down the complicated legislation and makes it easier to understand Click here for the Affordable Care Act in Brief PDF file NASE SBE Council and Fundable Launch 10K Crowdfunding Project RYouFundable Tuesday July 02 2013 Last week the National Association for the Self Employed NASE the nation s leading resource for the self employed and micro businesses and the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council SBE Council an advocacy and research organization for entrepreneurs partnered with Fundable a crowdfunding platform partner focused exclusively on startup companies to launch a contest helping startups and existing business fundraise to start or grow their company Crowdfunding a new proven and sound fundraising phenomenon that is coming on strong it s a collective effort of individuals and entities that pool their money through a variety of ways usually through the Internet to support a Safeguarding Computers From Power Surges and Outages Guest Post Friday June 14 2013 Posted by Ben Seidel Imagine that you re using your computer to finalize a document or send out an agenda with critical last minute details and the power goes out due to a storm especially if you live in the Midwest like me Your computer instantly shuts down and you are left wondering So when was the last time I hit that save button What many do not realize is that you are not only facing lost files but your computer can also be harmed Irregular power surges voltage drops brown outs and outages can all cause irrevocable damage the National Small Business Week is Right Around the Corner Wednesday June 12 2013 Posted by Javan Porter If President Obama is the coach of the team for creating new jobs his quarterback is small business The coach may lay out the game plan but small businesses play the game Small businesses have created two thirds of new jobs in America The President as the coach understands the importance of such a strong quarterback and has issued a proclamation announcing this year s National Small Business Week for June 17th to 21st Get more information about National Small Business Week here National Small Business Week consists of conferences throughout the country highlighting the achievement and HRAs A Way to Give Back Wednesday June 12 2013 Posted by Javan Porter As a micro business owner you must make difficult decisions that carry ramifications that reach far beyond your office walls Although the high health insurance costs that your employees face may worry you an opportunity for you as the business owner to offer assistance is through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement HRA An HRA allows an avenue for an employer to contribute towards an employee s health insurance costs The employer can simply add the contribution amount they decide on directly to the employee s paycheck HRA plans have no participation requirements so businesses of any

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase%27s-blog/page/4 (2016-02-14)
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