Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stampin' Tuesdays: On Board Specials

Get on Board With Chipboards!

Promotion Dates: May 1-31, 2008

Promotion Details:
Spend $35 on Stampin' up products at a workshop or online and qualify for 25% discount on any On Board items from the Spring-Summer Collection. There is no limit on how many On Board items you may purchase at the discount rate. All On Board products (pages 178-179) qualify for this promotion. You may view an online catalog at http://colleensmith.stampinup.net and click on the online catalog under Stampin' Up Products.

Call me at 734-3748 if you'd like to place an order or host a demonstration.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Felt Fridays: Celebrate Earth Month

Ah....Story Time Felts....this is one of the coolest companies I've joined. I have a thing for colors. I like nice bright colors and colorful pictures. Story Time Felts delivers these in their brightly colored felt stories and dolls. Each month they have felts sets on sale and an exclusive hostess special that can only be bought if you host a party.

April is Celebrate Earth Month, so the specials include the Rainforest Felt Board Set (with incredibly detailed animals of the Amazon and other rainforests),$24.99 Uncut, $29.99 Precut

The Bug Book (a great quiet book to keep children entertained),$19.99 uncut, $29.99 precutThe Farm and Zoo toggle book (I'll be posting more on toggle books soon!)$17.99 uncut, $19.99 precut

and the Creation set - a simple circle felt set that introduces and teaches the biblical days of creation. $9.99 uncut, $11.99 precutI love that you can choose to buy these uncut or precut. For those who want to save money and don't mind cutting the felts out, uncut is great. I actually find it very relaxing to sit down and cut out a felt set in an evening. I learned that doing a "halo" cut (a slight edge of felt around the characters) actually makes for easier cutting and looks neater too than when trying to cut right along the edges (precut sets usually have a halo cut).

Next week I'll share more on toggle books and how wonderful these are!

STF still does not have their website functioning; it is in the midst of a major overhaul, but rumor has it that this will be up soon! Then I can actually have my own STF website. In the meantime, my upline Karen hosts http://www.funfelt.com and can take orders for all of her downline. Simply put my name in the comment field and she will pass the order on to me to process.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Essential Thursdays with Jordan Essentials

Jordan Essentials, a direct sales company, used to be called Country Bunny Bath and Beauty, or something similar. I fell in love with their lotion bars, with a cute little bunny embossed on the bar, and the compact tin they came in. The lotion bar can be rubbed onto your hands and makes your skin smooth and silky with a wonderful smell. My friend Vivien introduced me to the company. Vivien is a network market junkie. A single mom, who raised 4 children (including twin boys), she is a born saleswoman and is constantly looking out for great products and ideas. You may think I have a lot on my plate with the few businesses listed here, but Vivien has me beat by a mile.

Jordan Essentials has two specials going on this month.
Treat, Spoil & Pamper Your Mom
Mother’s Day is personal and this collection is personalized for your Mom!
The New Black Raspberry Vanilla Shea Butter, Lotion Bar, and Soap Saver all share the message that Mom is special with “Mom” on the label. Your collection also comes with a 9 oz. Shower Gel to fill your Soap Saver, Mini Spritzer and a card so you can add your own special touch. All yours for only $45.00
April 1 - May 16, 2008

The other special is their Autoship program. For $40 per month you can sign up to recieve a $50 package collection that changes every month.
  • Soap Saver: Fun and easy to fill and refill
  • 9 oz. Grapefruit & Lime Shower Gel
  • 9 oz. Black Raspberry Vanilla Shower Gel
  • New combo pack of soy candles in
  • Grapefruit & Lime and Black Raspberry
  • Vanilla
  • Olive Oil Soap in Black Raspberry Vanilla

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Weekly, Daily topics: Stampin' Tuesdays

I came up with a brilliant idea for this blog today so thought I would implement it as soon as possible. With my various business ventures, I wanted to be able to use this blog as a way to promote myself and the great products I am able to sell. So I decided that each day of the week would be reserved to promote one business and their sales, promos, or just my favorite item. Hopefully, this will generate more sales to my actual business websites.

DISCLAIMER: This is in no way a "business" website for any of the companies I am involved in, and I pray that nobody will try to shut this down. This is my personal blog, where I can share my views on any products that I so desire. No sales will go through this website.
(There that should hold off any "issues"...I hope).

So to start off this glorious Tuesday, April 15th, Tax day....(just had to through that in for any that are still fighting that beast), I present to you STAMPIN' UP.

Today is my "official" start as a Stampin' Up demonstrator. At least in my eyes, it's my official start as my kit arrived today! Technically I think my start up date was when they received my appplication, probably April 1st or so. Anyway, I excitedly stood in line today for 20 minutes at the post office, entertaining my 5yo daughter (and the rest of the line up I'm sure) by getting her to read signs for me. Waiting in anticipation for my parcel, the KIT!

I'm just thrilled with it. I think, aside from the stamps, the best thing in the box was a set of magazines with all kinds of layouts and card ideas. And then, oh my, the website! I just found a great template for making a scrapbook in a night! (small album 6X6), but boy does that give me a great idea for a workshop.

I can tell that the next few weeks might have me being a bit "one sided" in my businesses as I get to know this new venture. But just think of how creative I'll be being!

Don't forget to check out my own personal stampin' up website: http://colleensmith.stampinup.net

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stress Free Tax Preparation, Even at the last moment

It’s that time of year, 3 days and counting until one of the most horrid days of the year arrives in the United States. Tax Day. April 15th. For some people it is like an evil demon, hovering in their future ready to pounce on them and send them into shivers of terror. Or they may be one of those who spend hours prepping and organizing and filing on January 1st every year. Or there are those of us in between extremes.

I admit, that for years I faced tax day like it was some day made in hell, sweating and worrying for weeks before and then shamefully hiding my head in the sand for another year after it passed and I had yet to get my act together. But it’s not healthy to live like that, so I had to figure out how to handle this monster.

This year, for the first time I’ve realized that my solution actually worked. Here’s how I tamed the beast.

First of all the most essential tool in dealing with tax issues is to have your financial documents in order. This takes a system and a good computer program in order for this to work. I discovered Quickbooks, by Intuit, over 13 years ago now and have never strayed from its easy to understand interface and flexible category system. .

The second secret is to save all your receipts. I mean EVERYTHING. Even if you are not sure if it’s allowable as a deduction; save it anyway. You can use a shoebox on your desk, a drawer, an envelope, or whatever system works for you. I prefer an “inbox” and all receipts are to be placed there by family members. In my purse I keep a legal sized envelope where I put all my receipts during the week and empty into the inbox at the end of the week.

I’ll admit that I’m not an accountant and my system may not be the preferred method by the accountants of the world, but as a simple business owner, with self taught bookkeeping experience and one college class under my belt, I feel that my method works well. In my Quickbooks program I set up whatever bank accounts I have, and then I set up a “cash” account as if it were a bank account. This is where I enter all the receipts I have that I paid with cash, and all the checks or credit card payments into their appropriate accounts. Then I file all my receipts by categories. Utilities, meals, gas, insurance, etc. If there is a company that I always buy from, I might also set up a file just for receipts from that company. But usually the file system is based on categories that would match an IRS form. Try to avoid miscellaneous files. I would rather have a file labeled “cat food” than to have a miscellaneous file to have to sort through at the end of the year. It is better to over categorize your files than to be too general. Over the course of the year I try to keep up with the files, and organize the receipts by month. So that in your “Water Bill” file you will have all the bills organized by month and you can easily see what was paid when.

When the tax day looms, if you have kept up with your inputting of receipts and their organizing, it will be much easier for you to retrieve the information and lessen the feelings of stress.

Set aside a day at least 3 days before D day. If you are a procrastinator like me that is. Otherwise, give yourself a better time cushion. Make sure to lessen all distractions. Have hubby take kids for the day. Gather your supplies. A good pot of coffee, munchies for strength (nothing sticky as you don’t want to get gunk on your tax forms!), mood music if you so desire, and at least some chocolate is essential too.

Run a profit and loss report with Quickbooks and take the time to double check all the categories. Did you get all the power bills entered? Are there any duplicate entries? Are there any receipts entered into the wrong category? Once you have the minor glitches like that worked out, make sure you have plenty of paper and a good internet connection. Because even if you did pick up tax forms at Rev and Tax you may find yourself needing just one more form.

Children are a wonderful asset so take advantage of them. Make sure you check to see if you are eligible for the Child tax Credits, and the Additional Child Tax Credit (I missed that one year), Earned Income Credit and many others. As a small business owner, my goal has always been to make enough money to live, but not enough money to owe taxes. I love those tax credits that help me fulfill that goal.

Then go to it. And pray lots. It always helps to have a little guidance from above.

Perhaps this information has come a little late for some, but at least you have some ideas for next year.

Happy Tax Day!