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Business Challenge: Get the Help You Need

Tell me if this is you …

  1. You love doing creative work.
  2. You often try to do things yourself.
  3. And, you tend to put off non-creative, complex tasks.

If so, then you’re a perfect candidate for this month’s challenge!

This month, we’re going to focus on something key to moving your web-writing business forward:

Getting the help you need.

Not asking for help with things like your business structure and your taxes can rob you of your peace of mind…

Not to mention slow down your progress toward building a strong and thriving business.

Joining this month’s challenge will inspire you to take action in problem areas of your business. We’ll consider four different aspects of your business, where asking for help might make a big difference — the legal structure, prepping for taxes, the administrative side of things, and professional coaching.

You can choose the track you need the most… or try out multiple tracks to get even more done.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Track 1:  Get Legal Help

In this track, we’re going to get your burning legal questions answered.

Questions like what kind of structure is best for your business… what kind of local regulations affect your business… or whether you need a business license.

I asked Tim Geiger, an AWAI member, freelance copywriter, and attorney himself, for advice on how to go about answering your legal questions, and he gave me some great tips.

(Please note, Tim is not currently assisting or representing private clients.)

Research Your Options

The first step Tim suggests is to do some research on your own to educate yourself about legal options and any laws specific to your area.

Tim says, “Before you meet with any attorneys, have an idea if you want to start out as a sole proprietor or set up as a legal entity like an LLC. Yes, it’s the attorney’s job to advise you, but have an idea of your preference based on the liability and flexibility you want in your business.”

In other words, do some background research, so you can get more out of your meetings!

To get familiar with the options, do some Googling on legal structures for freelance businesses. There are many trusted sites where you can learn more, such as the Small Business Association website.

Look for an Attorney

When I asked Tim where people should look for attorneys, his advice was to join a networking group.

“Rather than just combing through search results on Google,” Tim says, “join a local small-business networking group. Most networking groups include attorneys and accountants.”

If you’re in a rush, you can, of course, ask your contacts for recommendations, or do some searching online. But, keep in mind that choosing an attorney you’ve already met can make sure it’s a good fit for the long term.

Do Some Prep Work

Before you have your initial meeting, Tim recommends one final step.

“Have a grasp on your current finances and insurance levels. If you have a current Will or Trust, have it with you,” he says.

If you have this info handy, great! If not, you may want to take stock of your current financial situation and even reflect on your estate plan, since this will help you make the most of your booked time.

Either way, don’t let it stop you from moving forward. You don’t need to have everything perfect before you meet with a professional — after all, they’re there to help you!

Track 2:  Get Tax Help

Do you do your taxes yourself? And, do you suspect a tax professional could do it a lot better?

This month, we’re going to focus on getting the tax help you need.

To help us with this task, I picked the brain of Melissa at A CPA Writes. Melissa is a CPA and copywriter, so she’s the perfect person to give us some tips.

Melissa says anyone who’s relying only on freelance income rather than a 9-to-5 salary should have a good accountant.

“There are so many tax variables a business owner needs to consider,” she says, “including estimated tax payments and entity selection. While the DIY tax-prep software can help keep you compliant, it’s not great at helping you maximize your tax savings.”

Makes sense, right? Let’s dive into more of her tips below.

Ask for Referrals

If you’re looking for a personal accountant to do your taxes and give you advice year after year, Melissa recommends tapping into your network.

“We know referrals are huge,” Melissa says, “so start by asking for referrals from other freelancers.”

As we discussed in our legal track, working with someone you know, or someone a trusted connection recommends, can help you feel confident in your working relationship.

Melissa notes that you can consider having a virtual relationship with your accountant.

“Thanks to the pandemic, most accountants today operate in the cloud and virtually,” she says. “So, you don’t have to limit yourself to someone local.”

What to Look For

Melissa also recommends making sure any accountant you’re considering is truly qualified.

“In our current regulatory environment,” she says, “there is no requirement that a person who markets themself as an accountant has any education or training in accounting or tax. In those cases, it’s buyer beware.”

To avoid unpleasant surprises, she says, “look for someone credentialed as a CPA or EA (Enrolled Agent).”

Book That Appointment

The final task of this track is to book an appointment with an accountant.

In your meeting, have your questions handy, and enjoy the process of taking your business to the next level.

You’ll have more peace of mind and will feel much more confident in your business’s finances as a result.

Track 3:  Get Admin Help

In this track, we’re going to make sure you have the administrative tools you need to keep moving and growing in your business.

After all, no one wants to be held back by messy files or confusing software!

By the end of the month, you’ll be trying out at least one new tool to make your life easier.

Reflect on Where You Are

It’s important to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of your current business administration. What’s working? What’s a pain in the neck?

Consider things like your invoicing system, any time-tracking tools you use, and how you can better onboard new clients.

Research Solutions

These days, there’s an online tool for just about everything. And, while some of them are paid tools, they can often be worth it.

To get started on your research, read this round-up of most-loved organizational tools from other freelancers.

Try Out Your Solution

Once you have a few tools you’d like to try out, sign up for free trials of software or apps you’re interested in.

Stick with each one for the full length of the trial or even longer, and take note of how it’s helping you. If it’s having a positive impact on your business, adapt it permanently. But, if it’s not a good fit, keep looking.

By finding tools you like that help you manage the details of your business, you’ll be freeing your mind and time for more creative work and bigger projects.

Track 4:  Get Coaching Help

In our last track, we’re looking at the benefits of business coaching.

Business coaches can make an enormous difference in your success over time…

Copywriters like Marcella Allison have said that simple guidance from her mentors have earned her hundreds of thousands of additional dollars over her career!

By getting the coaching you need, you set yourself up for much higher profits over the long term, compared to going it alone.

Evaluate Where You Are

Before you find a coach, it’s helpful to know where you are in your business and which areas are most in need of coaching.

Do you need accountability to complete the training you’re starting? Confidence to go after better clients? Help with your negotiation skills?

Getting clarity on your biggest coaching needs will give you direction on where to look and what your priorities are.

Consider the Level You Need

Just about everybody can benefit from coaching when they’re starting or growing their business… it’s just a question of what level.

Coaching can come in the form of peer-to-peer mentoring, where you team up with others to share insights and keep each other accountable.

It can also come from being a part of a community like Wealthy Web Writer, where you get access to industry updates and tips from experts like Heather Robson.

Or, it can come in the form of one-to-one mentoring, as in AWAI’s Circle of Success program.

Consider which level of coaching is the best fit for you. You can definitely have multiple levels of coaching at once!

Commit to Getting Coached

For additional ideas and recommendations, ask your freelance network what kind of coaching and accountability systems they use. If you don’t have a peer-to-peer group, reach out to others and see if you can start one.

If you’re thinking about finding a professional coach, make this the month to finally do it.

What you may pay for a good business coach will more than pay off, if you apply what you’re learning and keep moving forward.

What Help Will You Look for This Month?

So, tell us what you think…

What kind of business help will you look for this month?

Tell us in the comments below!

By taking this month to prioritize getting what you need, you’ll come out so much stronger, more capable, and more confident in your business.

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Rebekah Mays

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