Start Your Business Today: 1.888.223.0311|

Have you Maxed Out Your Tax Deductions?

US tax form 1042, foreign person's US source income subject to Witholding

While you have still got several weeks before the end of the year — and therefore the end of the tax year — now is a good time to think about your tax deductions and make sure that you maximize your business expenses  to benefit when you file your taxes Every expense you invest in your business can be an expense that helps you reduce your taxable income. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you max out your tax deductions before the end of 2015.

What is Tax Deductible?

If you’re new to filing small business taxes, you not might not be sure what expenses qualify as deductible ones on your tax return.

Essentially anything that you use to grow your business, including advertising, office equipment, software, and payroll, are considered business expenses that you need to list on your taxes come April.

Don’t overlook your home office if you work from home. The IRS allows deductions based on a calculation that takes the size of your home office into account, as well as your rent or mortgage.

In this post, you can learn about some other commonly overlooked tax deductions. Continue reading “Have you Maxed Out Your Tax Deductions?” »

By |October 5th, 2015|Business Finance, Taxes|0 Comments

Nellie in the News – October 2, 2015

Around the web this month, Nellie Akalp has been talking about what state to incorporate in, business licenses, and how to find a good mentor. Enjoy this roundup of posts and interviews!

nellie in the news

Interviews & Press Mentions

Continue reading “Nellie in the News – October 2, 2015” »

By |October 2nd, 2015|Nellie in the News|0 Comments

What is Bootstrapping?

Hand writing Bootstrapping with marker, business conceptWhen you start a business, it’s inevitable that you’ll need funding: funding for equipment, inventory, payroll, and oh yea, you might want to pay yourself as well! While you’ve got many options to consider for how you’ll get that funding, bootstrapping is one that might move to the top of your list.

What It Is

Bootstrapping simply refers to funding your startup on your own. The saying “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” means to help yourself without assistance from anyone else. The same applies to your startup. By not relying on a bank loan or investors to fund your company, you are essentially pulling your business up by its own bootstraps.

Why to Consider It

When you take out a small business loan, you owe monthly payments, and are beholden to that loan until it is paid off. If you bring on investors to enhance your finances, you give up a piece of equity in your company in exchange. Often, they’ll want to give input on how you run your business. If you pay for business expenses with credit cards or a second mortgage, you’re also financially responsible for that debt. Continue reading “What is Bootstrapping?” »

By |October 1st, 2015|Business Finance, Startups|0 Comments

Bone Up on Podcasting

podcast word in metal typeAs you learn how to run a business, it’s always a good idea to add variety to your content marketing strategy. Podcasting, or an episodic series of digital audio broadcasts, is another way of distributing content to your audience. People may argue the specifics of what makes a podcast a podcast, but the only thing that is not disputed is that the audience for podcasts grows each month. Meanwhile the experts argue about whether the medium is in “the middle of a long boom or a short bubble,” but everyone agrees that podcasting is an emerging way to nurture an audience.

While the term initially referred to “pod” devices (remember those?), now all you need is an Internet-connected computer with some sort of speaker or a smartphone to quickly and easily download and listen to podcasts. The draw is that you can listen to conversations and dialogues on a wide variety of topics, involving passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated storytellers and thinkers whenever you have the time.

In this installment of our twelve month series focused on improving and developing your content marketing skills, we’ll investigate the ins and outs of podcasting as a marketing tool and how you can explore this emerging space for interesting content.


  1. Investigate podcasts that focus on your industry.

You have your work cut out for you this month. If you’ve never listened to a podcast and feel like you’re bumping around in the dark, you should be able to use a simple query in a search engine to find your way to a curated list. Some smartphones offer a “Podcast” app that you can use to find suitably themed podcasts. Focus on casting a fairly wide net which helps you find a broad variety of voices and perspectives. Continue reading “Bone Up on Podcasting” »

By |September 30th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Young Entrepreneurs: 10 Tips For Business-Savvy College Students

If you’re a young entrepreneur who dreams of starting a business after graduation, congrats. Becoming an entrepreneur is a wonderful goal for someone your age. To get you off on the right foot, here is my Starting a Business Checklist for you:

1. Learn What You Can Now

You’re lucky that you’re in college, because you’re in the perfect environment to learn. No matter what your major is, consider taking classes that will make you savvier as an entrepreneur. These might include courses on:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Industry-specific knowledge, like hospitality or education

2. Pay Attention on Social Media

Even if you’ve got nothing to contribute to the social conversation going on about small business, it’s another great training resource. Sign up for Twitter. Join business groups on LinkedIn. Follow hashtags on your industry. Pay attention to what thought leaders are talking about and read the content they share.

Before long, you’ll be ready to jump in with your own thoughts. You don’t have to wait until you have a business to be active on social media. Now is as good a time as any. Continue reading “Young Entrepreneurs: 10 Tips For Business-Savvy College Students” »

By |September 28th, 2015|Starting a Business|0 Comments

5 Ways to Lower Your Risk When Starting a Business

It’s important to understand when starting a business: there is no 100% guaranteed way to eliminate the risk that entrepreneurship brings. You can’t be sure your customers will pay you on time. Your employees can quit without notice. Your vendors might deliver damaged products. All of these, among other risks, make it difficult for you to know what’s going to happen tomorrow, much less next year.

And while you can’t completely get rid of that risk, there are at least a few measures you can take to lower it.

Trademark a Business Name

You want your business to be the only one with its name. But without the proper precautions, it’s simply vulnerable. That’s why it’s a good idea to trademark a business name to legally protect it from being used by anyone else.

Keep Money in Reserve

Don’t wait until you have a cash crunch to make a plan on how to keep cash flowing. Sometimes clients don’t pay you on time, and you don’t want that to disrupt your ability to pay your own bills. Set aside a portion of every payment you receive in a savings account that will be available should you have a costly emergency and need to access funds quickly. Continue reading “5 Ways to Lower Your Risk When Starting a Business” »

By |September 24th, 2015|Starting a Business|0 Comments

10 Tips to Making Startup Funding Work for You

Whether you plan to create a crowdfunding campaign, pitch venture capitalists or investors, take out a small business loan, or use your own savings, there are strategies to succeeding in your efforts. Here we have 10 tips guaranteed to make your startup funding a success.

If You Seek Funding from Investors…

  1. Know What Investors Want

If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank, you know a lot of startup founders come unprepared for what the Sharks want to know. It should be common sense that you have the numbers the investors will want, but still so many walk away empty-handed, even if they have killer ideas. Make sure you know your company’s valuation, past sales, and any major contracts you’ve secured before pitching an investor.

  1. Have the Right Business Structure

Creating an S Corp is the best way to ensure your startup is attractive to VCs. They don’t want their own personal assets at risk, which is why they prefer to invest in S Corps.

  1. Know Your Audience

If you don’t know who you’re selling to, how can you sell investors on the idea? Come armed with market research so you can identify your ideal customer down to that freckle on her nose. Continue reading “10 Tips to Making Startup Funding Work for You” »

By |September 23rd, 2015|Business Finance, Startups|0 Comments

5 Tips to Successfully Running a Business with Your Partner

Woman works in bed at night while her partner is sleepingWhether you work with your wife or husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, friend, or family member, you’ve really got to set it up for success. When you’re close to the person you work with day in and day out, personal emotions can sometimes cloud your business relationship.

But I’m here to tell you: it really is possible to work with someone you love. I’ve been working side by side with my husband Phil through two businesses, and we’ve managed to not only make it work but really enjoy partnering. Here’s how.

1. Don’t Be Shy About Being Businesslike

It can feel unnatural to ask your significant other to sign a business contract, but remember: at work, you’re wearing your entrepreneur hat, not your wife/girlfriend/friend/daughter hat. You can’t be shy about getting down to business. It’s not personal; it’s business, and you need to ensure that everything is done the way it would be if your partner were a complete stranger.

2. Identify One Another’s Strengths

I love writing content to help teach business owners how to incorporate a business. Phil is great at coming up with new products, like our cool DBA Name Search. We each have areas that we thrive in, and we try to draw lines around those duties so we don’t overlap or step on each other’s toes. He respects my ability to make decisions in my realm, as I do him. Continue reading “5 Tips to Successfully Running a Business with Your Partner” »

By |September 21st, 2015|Business Operations|0 Comments

Nellie in the News – September 18, 2015

This week, Nellie Akalp is talking about establishing yourself as a thought leader, how to get people to return your calls, and what freelancers need to know about liability. Enjoy!

nellie in the news

Interviews & Press Mentions

  • Mentor Me Podcast – Incorporating a Business: What’s the Right Time?
  • Breaking Down your Business Podcast – Top 5 Ways to Get People to Return Your Phone Calls w/ Nellie Akalp
  • Motivating Other Moms Podcast – The Legal Side with Nellie Akalp

Continue reading “Nellie in the News – September 18, 2015” »

By |September 18th, 2015|Nellie in the News|0 Comments

Starting a Consulting Business

Portrait of mature insurance agent giving advise her new client while sitting at office in front of computer. Businesswoman making financial plan.

If you’ve got extensive knowledge in an industry, starting a consulting business could be a great way to leverage your knowledge. By applying what you’ve learned to others’ problems, you can help them succeed.

Examples of Consulting Businesses

There are many types of consultants, both serving consumers and serving businesses. Here are a few examples:

B2C (serving consumers)

  • Interior design
  • Wedding
  • Pet behavior


B2B (serving other businesses)

  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Financial
  • General business

Continue reading “Starting a Consulting Business” »

By |September 17th, 2015|Starting a Business|0 Comments