Why? What gets me out of bed.

I am a deadline driven kind of person.

Without a workout goal I languish in excuses for not going to the gym or going for a jog.

Without a clear deadline for a project, I easily prioritize away from what needs to be done for what I feel like working on.

My big why for starting the business that I have started was to live a great lifestyle and do some income arbitrage.  I felt that if I could live in Spain, and take care of a few big bookkeeping clients remotely, then I could make way more money than I was making in my day job in Spain, I could work with the clients I enjoyed working with, and I work way less hours than I was working at my day job.

The results would be a happier Chad, a happier family, a deeper connection with my father the partner in the business, and an enhanced feeling of contributing to the economy and the people who I inherently connect with.

At present I am in the throws of growing pains.  I am on the verge of tears because it is Sunday afternoon and instead of spending the weekend with my family I have been working.  My children are grumpy and my poor wife is bearing the brunt of their frustration.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1

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Finding My Focus

Challenges come big and small, but quite often the small challenges if ignored over time can turn into big problems.  A few of my challenges are:

  1. Procrastination: prioritizing away from unpleasant but important tasks.
  2. Focus: keeping my eye on my lead domino and continually attacking it.
  3. Time Management: I am a classic mess who is always a little behind the ball.

“This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1 [insert URL for this blog post, which is http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/10DBC-Day-1]”

 

Security in the Cloud

There are a host of new business solutions in the cloud that solve problems faced by small businesses today.  However, there is concern that the information which is being stored there is not secure.  That could be true if you don’t do your due diligence but using cloud solutions doesn’t have to be dangerous.  In fact storing information in the cloud could be even more secure than on your desktop computer.

Almost all companies that are in the business of storing information on a computer that can be accessed via the internet have data integrity and security as top priorities.  This is the case because just one major event of losing, or compromising information could ruin their reputation, and livelihood.  That being said there are some critical questions to ask a future provider such as:

Is the data encrypted in transit and when it is at rest on the server?

Is the date encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)?

Who can see your information?

What safe guards are in place to prevent it from being copied and sent to a third party?

What happens if some of your data is lost or corrupted?

Will the information be easy to migrate to another provider?

What happens when a staff person leaves or changes roles?

Despite the risks there are also advantages of having the information saved online.  In the event that a desktop computer or laptop stops working, is lost, or stolen you wouldn’t lose your data.

In addition, you can personally take some actions to make sure that your data is not compromised.  One of the most common ways that data is compromised is through spam.  The best rule of thumb for clicking on links in emails or online is that if it sounds to good to be true it probably is.  Any suspicious links should not be clicked on, and any suspicious emails should be deleted.

The IRS doesn’t contact anyone via email.  So any email asking you to verify your social security number is a scam.  One of the longest running and successful scams involves a Nigerian prince who claims that he wants to give you a boat load of money if you just cooperate a little bit by providing some of your personal information.  Delete these types of messages as fast as possible.

Encrypt data before sending in over the internet.  This can be done with standalone software or with a file transfer program that encrypts files, uploads them to a secure server and then the person who receives them downloads them securely.

It is also important to use good passwords.  A string of a few random words that are easy for you to remember is much harder to break than a shorter string with more random characters.  You definitely don’t want to use personally significant words like family names and birthdays.  The best practice is to use different passwords for all of the different online services that one is using.  If you implement this strategy a new problem is created, there are too many passwords to remember.  The best solution to this is using a secure password vault.

If the proper precautions are taken and you are proactive about it, storing information in the cloud can help you save money, be more productive, and have more secure data.  It is a great concept and where the future of business is heading!

 

 

Persistence and secrets to success

We are all faced with challenges in our daily lives, and many of them seem insurmountable to us in the moment.  However, there are many stories of individuals who have overcome their obstacles through dogged persistence. I wanted to share a few anecdotes of individuals who have gone to extraordinary lengths to make their dreams come true.

Colonel Sanders:

After a lifetime of working a variety of jobs and businesses he started trying to sell his chicken recipe to other restaurants.  At the age of 65 with only a $100 pension, he began traveling the nation looking for buyers.  It took him over 1000 sales calls to get his first yes!  Now over 60 years later, KFC has grown into an international success, but if the Colonel had given up on try 998 then there wouldn’t have been any KFC.

Here are a few links further telling the story: planetmotivation.com, about.com

While the Colonel Sanders story is interesting and inspirational, I find that practical tips on how to implement new habits into our lives is very helpful.

Thomas Edison:

The wizard of Menlo Park, as Mr. Edison is sometimes referred to, is a very well known inventor, and showed remarkable persistence when pursuing an idea.  He made over 1000 attempts to make a light bulb before producing a commercially viable design.  He purported 3 actions to take to improve your probability of success.

#1 – You must fail systematically

By continually failing you are eliminating the ways not to do something correctly, and logically the more options you eliminate the closer you are to finding the one that works.

#2 – Rid your self of lazy thinker-itis

In order to continually implement possible solutions, you have to constantly think of new ideas to test.

#3 – Use proactive thinking techniques

Brainstorming and Mindstorming are techniques that many have implemented to accomplish this task.

Further exploration: Dr. Proactive, The wizard of Menlo Park

The Accounting Cycle Blog

As accountants we have to assume that your business will exist forever and ever into the infinite future, that is unless you tell us that something else might happen in the mean time.  We truly hope that is true, but our government is not so patient.  Since infinity is a long time for Uncle Sam to wait to get his taxes he asks us to send them in on a regular basis (Actually he did use to be a lot more patient but I’ll write more about that later).  The consequence is that this infinite amount of time has been broken down into smaller bits called periods.

In every one of those little periods, we perform this little song and dance with the numbers of your business which correctly, succinctly and exactly summarizes the economic events that transpired, and it is called the accounting cycle. Thus the name of this blog.

Aside from knowing how much to pay Uncle Sam these little summaries, which are called financial statements can be very useful for business owners to understand what is going on with their business.

My mission is help business owners better understand what all the numbers mean to them so that they can be more successful with their day to day operations in the short term and be able to build wealth in the long term.

Why cycling?  Well I am very passionate about cycling as well, and a post or two about that might pop up too.