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Recordkeeping for your Business: What do you need to track?

Recordkeeping for your Business: What do you need to track?

As a business professional, keeping accurate records is essential to your success. Doing this allows you to:

  • Monitor the progress of your business
  • Prepare any financial statements
  • Identify the source of receipts
  • Keep track of deductible expenses
  • Prepare your tax returns
  • Support items reported on tax returns

Recordkeeping Systems
Which system works best? The quick answer is “the one that works for you.” Opting for expensive and elaborate recordkeeping software may not be the best choice if you’re just starting your business — and if your business is large and well-established, tossing paperwork into a shoebox will likely cause headaches at tax time.

The system you choose should be one that allows you to easily track your income and expenses and keep your business documents in an orderly fashion and in a safe place.

What to Keep?
Saving these items is a must as you’ll need them to prepare your tax returns (and as support for items reported on tax returns):

  • Paid bills
  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Deposit slips
  • Cancelled checks

What Else?
The links below are to sites that are great sources of recordkeeping information. They’ll help you determine exactly which items you need to keep to ensure your business runs smoothly — and legally!

  • Moneywise Women Get SmartFree monthly educational teleseminars on a range of financial topics.
  • The IRS Which records to keep, how long to keep them and why. Articles, videos, publications and answers to frequently asked questions.
  • SCOREThis nonprofit resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides info on local-area recordkeeping workshops and more.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration Information on how to manage your tax obligations, tax recordkeeping and more.

Getting Your Kids Involved in Your Business

Getting Your Kids Involved in Your Business

Life is crowded, and if you’re a business owner, you’re busy! You may be a parent, a spouse and a business owner.  How do you juggle it all?  And how do you help your children understand that what you are doing is important?

One way is to include your kids in your business.  Show them that what you are doing is worthy of your time, and important to others.  When you include your kids in your work, you demonstrate that they are important to you, and you invite your kids into your day-to-day. This brings huge rewards!

How do you do it?  It’s not as hard as you think.

  • Talk to your child about what you do. Make this a natural part of your day.  Over dinner, ask your son or daughter to tell you about his or her day, and tell him or her about yours.  Use simple terms.  Talk about the good that you do.  Talk about the struggles you have.  Talk about your task at hand.  Children learn so much from you and your example.
  • Show your child what you do. Maybe you work from home and you have an office set up right in your house.  Show your child how you set it up and why.  Show her that there are special programs you use for different tasks you accomplish during your day.  If you work in an office, bring your child to work with you.  Show him the different offices and explain what each employee does and why.  Keep your explanations simple.  Depending on his or her age, the details may go over your child’s head, but he/she will get that all these different people and all of the different software and computers you use get your task completed.  This makes it personal for your child.  It makes your child feel connected with your business.
  • Let your child help you. Every child learns differently.  But most children, most people, learn by doing.  Find some small way that your child can contribute to your business.  Maybe your son can deliver supplies to your employees or come with you when you purchase items for your office.  If your child is older, maybe she can assist as you do some number crunching or word processing work for your company, or help you with some internet research.  These are all great life skills and they also connect your child to your business in a personal way.

Connection is essential to making your business important to your child.  You are busy and your son or daughter is busy.  You already know your child is priority number one.  Now it’s time to show your child that they can be part of another of your priorities.  Make the time to connect them to your business.  You will teach your child life skills that last a lifetime.

How do you help your child feel connected to you and your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Online Resources for Women in Small Business

Online Resources for Women in Small Business

Are you a female small business owner?   Are you looking for a pool of resources that will be able to advance your growing business?  Well, look no further.  There is a wealth of information on the internet that can help you grow your business and do it quickly.  There are plenty of on-line resources that are safe to access and right at your fingertips.

  • MoneyWise Women Get Smart – Sponsored by the Direct Selling Education Foundation, this free teleconference series helps you make smart decisions about money. Held the 2nd Tuesday of each month, you’ll find amazing content delivered by experts to help you make better decisions, and more money! Register here:
  • Women’s Business Centers – Since it was established in response to an executive order in 1979, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership has fostered the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy, especially those who have been historically under-served or excluded. OWBO reaches out to women entrepreneurs through a number of programs that are coordinated through every SBA district office. OWBO’s programs provide business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and marketing opportunities, including federal contracts.
  • – is a resource that has a specific link for women in business   This site is updated regularly and has tabs entitled: Start-up and Funding, Manage and Grow, and News and Legal Issues.  It takes you from the start-up practices you should have in place and maintains support of your business with helpful hints and insights. also offers examples of commentaries on successful women in business.  They are both insightful and inspirational to the entrepreneur.
  • Women Grow Business Blog – The dynamic experience of how women emerge their business is the primary conversation of the Women Grow Business blog. With articles contributed regularly by successful female entrepreneurs, you are sure to find daily insight that will support you as a female business owner. Find it at
  • – is a comprehensive website that offers you a wealth of information and resources for your growing business.  There is information regarding grants and bloggers input as well of business owners just like you.  Articles contain information and frequently asked questions regarding typical success strategies as well as articles regarding typical challenges for the small business owner are also here.
  • NAWBO – The National Association of Women Business Owners is a dues member organization that prides itself on supporting women business owners across the country by providing the most recent information and resources available as well as providing a network of successful women as a support structure for those women starting out. Check out all the valuable resources here:

There is a wealth of information for women in business online.  Whether you are researching on how to get started or trying to find tools to help your business grow, resources are a click away.  Take advantage, and watch your business grow.

What are your favorite online resources for business? Please share them in the comments below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

Business Tips for Staying Motivated for Success

Business Tips for Staying Motivated for Success

It’s summertime! We look forward to the summer to spend time with family and friends. We kick back a little. And unfortunately, when that happens, our business can suffer. But in order to have a strong holiday selling season, you need to be active now, building the contacts that lead to new business.

Here are some tips that can help you stay motivated through the summer months, and throughout the year!

  1. Create a success chart – write down and highlight every success no matter how small or large and hang it next to your calendar.
  2. Just like you frame your diploma or degree – In large bold type frame WHY you do your business and why you want to succeed.
  3. As you chart your successes – visualize, journal and enjoy every intimate sense of your accomplishment.
  4. Acknowledge and be realistic about the challenges your business faces, but also consider all the benefits of every business decision you make.
  5. Do not waste your time worrying – the more positive you are the more opportunities you will discover.
  6. Embrace every mistake or misstep as a learning experience – focus on how you can learn from the experience, what you’ve learned and how you can overcome it.
  7. Create a community of supporters, mentors, business associates and share your experiences with them. Enable them to chart your successes, share your learning experiences and celebrate with them.
As a business owner, you will of course face challenges along the way. That’s why it’s important to be mindful about keeping yourself motivated. By taking some time to keep yourself on track, you’ll enjoy greater success!

Online Advertising and Marketing: A Checklist to Protect your Business and Consumers

Online Advertising and Marketing: A Checklist to Protect your Business and Consumers

These days, it seems like everyone is marketing online. From Facebook Pages, Google Adwords, blogs, and more, there are seemingly unlimited options when it comes to promoting your business online. Yet online marketing provides some challenges as well. Since there is some anonymity built into the internet, ethical considerations become even more important.

Here are some guidelines for business owners to remember when advertising and marketing online. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has provided these guidelines to protect businesses and consumers.

  • Maintain credibility on the Internet. The honest and ethical practices you maintain in your offline business must also be adhered to online. So be sure that your marketing doesn’t mislead, or contain omissions that prevent consumers from making informed choices. Make sure that people know exactly where they’re going when they click on your ad, and help them feel confident that they’re dealing with an ethical business person.
  • All claims must be substantiated, especially concerning health, safety and/or performance. The evidence will depend on the product, the claims and what experts believe necessary. Testimonials and endorsements must reflect typical experiences, unless clearly stated, and cannot be used if the advertiser itself cannot substantiate it. So don’t claim that your product cures a disease if you don’t have a clinical study to back it up. When in doubt, check with your company so you only post what you’re allowed to say.
  • Sellers are responsible and liable for all claims about their products or services. If you’re even slightly unsure whether you should say something, you probably shouldn’t. After all, you could cause serious trouble for your business.
  • Disclaimers and disclosures must be clearly stated. While there are many facets to this, one important one is that government rules require that you disclose your relationship with any company where you’ll profit through a recommendation. This means that if you recommend a product, people must clearly understand that you’ll make money if people follow your recommendation.
  • Advertising directly to children involves special rules. So if you’re sharing your information on a social network where children are allowed, or your products are for children, be sure to check with your company to find out what you can and cannot say legally.

For more information about marketing online legally, visit Here you’ll find lots of resources that help protect you, and your customers!

Our mission at the Direct Selling Education Foundation is to help protect your business and your clients, and provide crucial education for your business success! If you find DSEF a valuable partner for your business, please click here and make a donation. Your support makes all the difference in our ability to support you!

Credit Cards: Understanding Your Rights

Credit Cards: Understanding Your Rights

Credit cards. They can be a real convenience. Yet they can also help unwary consumers drive up debt that is hard to escape. If you are a credit card user, it’s important to use your credit card wisely, and also understand your rights, in order to protect your credit rating and live the lifestyle you choose.

Using Credit Cards Wisely

When choosing a credit card, it’s important to check the interest rate that will be charged. When you do not pay the full amount of your bill within the billing cycle (around 30 days), you are charged a percentage of that amount on top of the amount owed. This can really add up each month, so be sure that you understand how much more you will pay for the same purchase.

For example, if you are purchasing a $1000 item with your credit card, and only pay $10 towards that amount each month, and your card charges 10% interest each month, you will pay $1159 extra in interest, and it will take you 18 years to pay off that item. Is it really worth it? You might be better off just putting money aside each month until you have enough to purchase the item outright.

You can check out your own purchases using a credit card calculator online, such as this one.

Understanding Your Rights

Credit card companies also have obligations when it comes to lending through credit cards. Some things you should know:

  • Your credit card company must inform you, in writing, 45 days before raising your interest rate. They must also tell you how to cancel your card as part of that notification.
  • You must receive your statement at least 21 days before the payment is due.
  • Interest rates cannot be increased during the first 12 months that you have a credit card.
  • Promotional rates must last 6 months.
  • Your bank can increase your interest rate if your payment is more than 30 days late.

These and other rights are included in this PowerPoint that you can download titled “Credit Card Act of 2009 and You.

Know Your Credit Score

Your ability to get a credit card with a low interest rate is determined by your credit score.  It’s important to review your credit report regularly, to ensure that everything on it is accurate. This will help you make better decisions.

How do you protect your credit score? How do you teach your kids to use credit wisely? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Why Supporting the DSEF Matters: Guest Post by Jen Fong

Why Supporting the DSEF Matters: Guest Post by Jen Fong

When I served as president of a direct selling company, my first introduction to the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) was at a DSA Annual Meeting. Doris Christopher, founder of The Pampered Chef, unveiled the Ethics videos they’d just produced, and asked us to support the DSEF. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what the DSEF did, but, heck, Doris Christopher is kind of an icon for me, and I wrote my check.

And I really didn’t think about the DSEF much beyond that. I wrote my check each year at the DSA Annual Meeting after a moving presentation, and that was it.

And then this year, the DSEF approached me about helping with their social media strategy. And I got a chance to participate in some of their events with outside stakeholders, meet the passionate staff, interview some of their partners at colleges, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Women’s Business Centers, and more.

The stories I heard were remarkable. Stories about giving women a chance to make it because they learned about direct selling through DSEF’s partnerships with Women’s Business Centers. About students who never understood direct selling before, but after attending a Girl’s Night Out or Campus Days event realized that they might one day want to own their own business. About women who got free financial information as a result of the programs that the DSEF supported, which helped them make wiser decisions about their money. And it made me even more passionate about telling the DSEF story through social media.

Because you see, the DSEF has quietly, behind the scenes, been serving the public for nearly 40 years. They’ve been advocates for women’s empowerment. They’ve defended the rights of consumers. They’ve helped college students learn about why direct selling is a great entrepreneurial option. And throughout this work, they’ve also produced some remarkable resources that direct sellers can use to build their businesses in an ethical way.

Here are just some of the resources they’ve shared to date:

Pretty remarkable, right? The work they’ve done on behalf of the industry is enormous. And they’re not even CLOSE to done.

So this year, I encourage every direct selling company to be generous in their support of the DSEF. Tell your salesforce to go get the amazing resources they’re sharing through their FacebookTwitter, and YouTube accounts. They need your support to continue showing the world that direct selling is an ethical, legitimate option. They need your support to stand up for consumer protection, ethics education, women’s empowerment, and more.

They make you look good. They help the public understand that you’re NOT a pyramid scheme, but instead a legitimate business opportunity. They provide 3rd party resources that help your salespeople show how ethical you really are.

Companies can support the DSEF. And so can individuals. I encourage you to support the DSEF right now. Click here to donate.

It matters.

Jennifer Fong is a corporate consultant and speaker who teaches direct selling companies and individual direct sellers how to use social media effectively as a business building tool. She is also the author of the blog, Direct Sales and Social Media, which is read by thousands of people in direct sales from around the world.

Take Control of Your Finances: Tips to Become Debt Free

Take Control of Your Finances: Tips to Become Debt Free

Money. It’s something that each of us deals with on a daily basis. Yet a lot of us are not very good at it. Out of control credit card debt and spending, instead of investing and saving, are causing levels of debt that are nearing crisis levels.

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do right now to get yourself out of debt, and take control of your finances. Here are some tips:

  • Keep a spending diary. Every time you spend money, write down what you’re purchasing, and what it’s for.
  • Write a list before shopping, and stick to it. You’re less likely to load up on impulse buys if you have a list.
  • Have a certain amount in your checking account automatically transferred to savings each month. The savings can really add up over time.
  • Work a part-time business on the side, such as direct selling, and put that income towards debt or savings. It’s a great way to help with bills without touching the money from your regular income.
  • Pay your mortgage every two weeks instead of monthly. The extra payments will cut years off your mortgage payments.
  • Start a “clothing co-op” in your neighborhood. Participants pass kids’ (and even adult!) clothes down as the kids grow out of them. Everyone saves money!

Ready to learn more about taking control of your finances? Check out the Moneywise Women Get Smart teleseminar series. Our sponsorship makes these calls free for you. Take advantage, and get smart about your finances!

Ethics in Business: What You Can Do as a Business Owner

Ethics in Business: What You Can Do as a Business Owner

As a business owner, you know how important your reputation is. People do business with you because they know, like, and trust you. As a result, it’s important to be sure your business transactions are conducted with the highest level of ethics. In this interconnected world, even on questionable transaction can come back to haunt you time and time again.

So what can you do to assure your customers that you hold yourself, and your business, to the highest level of ethics? Here are some tips:

  • If you’re a direct seller, join a Direct Selling Association (DSA) member company. ( Organizations that are members of the DSA agree to the DSA Code of Ethics. Explain to customers how shopping with a DSA member company benefits them.
  • Understand how the DSA Code of Ethics works, and what it means for your business. A great place to start is by watching our series of ethics videos. You can view them on our YouTube channel here: (
  • Make sure your customer always understands exactly what he/she is purchasing, how it works, and how much it costs. Always follow up after the sale to ensure that the customer is satisfied. If he/she needs to return something or changes his/her mind about a purchase within 3 business days, make it easy. This helps build a customer for life.
  • Make sure it’s easy to contact you both before AND after the sale, so if a customer needs something they can find you easily. Include your name and phone number on the customer’s receipt, and verbally tell them how to contact you at the end of the transaction. If you’re online, it’s also a good idea to connect with your customer via your social networks, so you’re easy to reach if there’s a need.
  • Keep your word. If you tell a customer he/she can expect something from you, make sure it happens. Ethics and integrity are paramount when you’re a business owner.

Ethics is a key component to any successful business. Not only will you feel great about the work that you’re doing, but customers will prefer to shop with you, because they know they can trust you.

To learn more about ethics in business, and resources we provide to help, visit our website at We’re here to help you do business better! We wish you much success.

Women’s Entrepreneurship in a Down Economy: Tips for Starting Your Own Business

Women’s Entrepreneurship in a Down Economy: Tips for Starting Your Own Business

Ready to Start Your Own Business? Tips for Getting Started

June is National Women’s Confidence Month. Many women find that owning their own business gives them tremendous confidence. It helps you take control of your finances, set and reach goals, and enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing what you set out to do.

This economy has been a tough one for many families. Many people have lost their jobs, and families have been forced to find new ways to earn an income. One way families have done so is through direct selling. It’s a low investment way to start your own business. What’s nice about direct selling is that it can be done around other priorities. So if you’re looking for work, you can do it on the side and still bring in some income. Others start part time, with the intention of going full time once they reach a certain income level.

Have you thought about starting your own business? Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • On Your Own or With Support? Decide if you’ll start a business from scratch (larger investment of time and money), or if you’ll start a business under a company (direct sales or franchise).
  • What Kind of Business? Are you interested in consulting, sales, virtual administrative support…there are many things you can do. Decide what you’re most interested in doing, and where you’ll earn the income you’re looking for.
  • How Much Will I Need to Invest? Be sure you understand the costs involved in starting a business. Do you have the money, and are you able to earn your initial investment back quickly?
  • Do your Research! Research the type of business you want to start. Who has been successful in this business? How much time is required? Will you need to learn any new skills to be successful? Is training provided? How much income can you earn? If possible, talk to others who have run a successful business in the field you wish to work. A women’s business center in your area can be helpful as you conduct this research.
  • Check Out the DSA Website. If you’re thinking about a direct selling opportunity, check out companies that are Direct Selling Association members ( These organizations agree to comply with the DSA code of ethics, which protects you and the consumers you’ll work with. It’s a great idea to choose a DSA company that offers a product line you love.
  • Tap Your Warm Market. Talk to your friends and family about the business you’re thinking about starting. Are any of them potential customers? Would they do business with you? It’s great to get a feel for your “warm market” prior to starting your business, as this can be a great foundation from which to start.
  • Read Any Contracts Carefully. When you start your business, you’ll likely need to sign agreements or other contracts. Be sure you read these carefully, so you know exactly what terms you’re agreeing to. When in doubt, consult with an attorney who specializes in small businesses.

Above all else, be sure you choose a business you’ll enjoy. After all, you’ll most likely be spending a lot of time on your new business. Be sure it’s something you’ll still enjoy a few months and years from now.

Owning your own business can be a fun and profitable experience. It also helps you develop new skills, and the confidence you need to succeed. For additional resources related to running your business ethically, we invite you to check out the resources on our Facebook Page. We wish you luck with your new business!