Using the Paypal invoice feature for your small business needs

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Whether your are a new blogger or an experienced blogger, a small business owner or freelancer you may have been asked if “you accept Paypal.” You may have also been asked to submit an invoice via PayPal or by some clients to accept credit cards. All of these things can be done, making PayPal an efficient way of keeping track of payments and expenses as well as what is outstanding or unpaid, and providing a quick way to send a reminder. I find PayPal (other than the fees) to be one of my favorite methods of handling my small business finances.

+ The information provided is based on the belief that you currently have a PayPal account. If you don’t have one, it can be easily created by visiting Paypal.com. If additional assistance is needed when setting up your account or using it for business be sure to talk to the helpful customer support system.

creating a paypal invoice

Log into your account and select the Send and Request option.

creating a paypal invoice

Select Create Invoice.

paypal invoice feature

 

Select the type of invoice you need to submit. I usually use the default function because my invoices usually are a flat rate sum but I like being able to detail what it is. You can also use the amount function if you are charging a rate only. Select hours if you charge by the hour (example 4 hours at $55 an hour).  The invoice number and date are automatic, however you may want to change the invoice number if you have for example submitted other invoices using an alternate method.

If you need to you can create your own template, however the three provided do offer most the itemization that they need.

Optional items: You can upload your logo and use your logo on your invoice. Other optional items include changing the due date, reference number, currency or due date. Additional options include attaching files like reports.

Include the email address to the person you need to bill. Once you have included their address it can be saved and used  repeatedly by starting to type the name. You can also send to multiple parties. For example I’ve had some clients where I send it to the accountant for payment, but also to the marketing department so that she would know it had been submitted and be aware of where it was in the process.

paypal invoicing

I like to end my invoices in the notes section with “Thank you for your business,” or other note of appreciation. I leave other correspondence for email messages. Terms and conditions can be stated, for example my contractor included a note about the warranty on the parts and labor for the repairs made in my house and attached the files of the items used and hours worked.

PREVIEW: It’s important to preview and review your invoices before sending. The wrong number can cause difficulties with your client. You can also save them to be sent at a later date should you get called away from the office.

SEND: Click send and you will receive an email message to the email account associated with your Paypal account confirming your invoice has been issued. An email will be sent to the client to pay and they may use their debit or credit card or their PayPal funds available in their account.

It’s that easy. I like that I can also go through the unpaid invoices quickly and easily with the sorting function or I can look at the full list of all paid and unpaid. Use the “REMIND” button to remind clients that they invoice remains unpaid when it has not been paid by the time agreed upon.

Remember PayPal just charge a fee but then again most of these types of services as well as even some banks do. Consult your accountant to determine if it is a tax deductible expense.

This is just the basics of using the PayPal invoice feature, be sure to contact their customer service department for additional information as well as assistance should you have any problems.

 

 

 

 

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Working at home and getting by with a little help from my friends and family

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By: Eric

Often I find myself in the position where I have to put the emphasis on work, when working at home and dealing with friends and family.  But even more often, I find that “I get by with a little help from my friends” and family.

“I’ll watch the girls.”   I love hearing these words, as friends every so often have surprised me with the gift of some extra time to work as a friend or family member takes the children for a few hours.  One friend and I will trade. One week I’ll watch her children while she works, during another she watches mine.  For other friends maybe they are going to the movies or maybe the girls can just go to a friends house for a couple hours of play, but whatever the occasion,  those four magic words are music to the WAHM’s (dad and parents’) ears!

Friends and family are a treasure trove of ideas. Whether I need an idea for an article, social networking or making the best use of my time, friends and family members provide me with the treasure of their experience, questions and comments that help me keep the block from happening to this writer.

Read all about it!  I often get email messages regarding topics for my column, articles or blog.   No, these emails aren’t coming from supervisors, clients or “bosses” but from friends who thought I may enjoy this topic or that to explore for my next writing project.   Sometimes it is a news article, sometime’s it is just a question about parenting, crafts, education, travel or saving money.  Whatever the reason, it gives me a chance to see what others are interested and help them “read all about it.”

Subscribe and share.  It never fails to amaze me when I see a new email subscriber on my columns that I know, or a Facebook share or Twitter tweet, mention or retweet of a piece of content that I have published.  Subscribing and sharing my content helps to promote it, and me as well as helps me make more money for my family.  I was very surprised to see my dad’s name and email listed among my subscribers and was told by my mother that he reads everything I publish.  Really? Everything?   That means a great deal to a writer.

Leave a comment.   There is no denying that for many WAHMs or parents we feel a little isolated.   Is anyone really paying attention to what we do? Are they actually reading my posts on Facebook to let them know about my latest accomplishment or challenge?  You can’t help but wonder if there is anyone out there actually noticing your work, no matter what it is.   A comment, text, or Facebook post can go a long way towards brightening this WAHMs day!

Get me out and about.   I admit, I could probably stay home and be a workaholic, very easily.   So it’s nice to know that there are some friends that are determined to make sure I get out and about and that every momemt isn’t consumed with work.   It doesn’t matter if it’s just not taking no for an answer to a request to meet for lunch to planning a trip to a movie or museum with the kids on a day when I can play.

Supporting your friends and family that work from home doesn’t have to be work at home for you.  It is actually the little things that you do that can add up to success, for your WAHM friend or family member.  Whether it’s a great big thank you for watching the kids, to mentioning that one thing that created a spark of inspiration it is important to give credit where credit is due.   Make sure that your support system goes both ways, or it may just go away.

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The not so friendly aspect of friends and family when you work at home

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Picography / Pixabay

Picography / Pixabay

I am at the bus stop waiting for my daughter to get home from school when my neighbor turns to me and says, “Hey, since you don’t work, could you take my mom to the Social Security office tomorrow?  She has a bunch of stuff that needs taken care of and there is no one to drive her.”

The phone rings.  Looking at the time, I tell myself, “Don’t answer it. You know you shouldn’t.”  But I do and it’s a friend who opens with, “Since you are home and I’m at work could you go pick up Matt from school?  He’s throwing up and I need to work today but need someone to watch him.”

“Hi honey, it is mom.   I’ve been trying to call you, could you please answer the phone?” is the text I receive. Thinking it something important, since my parents are older, I call back immediately.  “What’s wrong?”  “Oh nothing, I just wanted to see how you and the kids are.”  Forty-five minutes later we hang up.

Do you work from home as a freelancer or have your own business and find your friends and family contacting you like some of my friends and family do?   I think we all do.  Sure, there are many advantages to being a work at home mom/parent/dad (WAHM) but there are often several disadvantages too, and one of those disadvantages is the misconception that because I work at home, that I don’t really work.

How can we get friends and family to understand that the emphasis is on WORKING, at home?   Here are a few tips that I use to help people understand.

Don’t make excuses.   Our first instinct when we are asked to do something we can’t do because we have to work is to make up an excuse.  Tell them the truth.  Let them know you have a deadline, payroll, assignments or a client meeting to attend to.  By making excuses for your inability to help them, you are perpetuating the myth that working at home is not really working at home.

Assign times.    I assign specific work hours to my schedule, which means I don’t answer the phone or my personal email account while working those hours.  The television isn’t on and while I may stop by my Facebook pages or give a little tweet, it’s honestly usually work related.   We all know you can’t turn everything off, especially with children in school so I do keep my cell phone next to me and Caller ID is a wondrous thing.   I truly only answer the phone if I’m taking a break, it’s the school or my parents.  Yes, I always answer when my parents call.

Be proud of what you do.   How often do you hear a group of people talking at the school, a playdate, or party and they say, “Oh, I’m an account manager.”    Many WAHM’s and Dads often say, “Oh I work at home.”   Okay, yes, you work at home but tell them what you do!  I write.  That’s what I do.  I write articles, print work, web content and columns.  I have my own blogs.  Why not share what you do proudly?  If you aren’t proud of what you do, how can anyone else be too?

It is difficult to draw the line sometimes.  You want to help your friends and family.  You want to be available to your children.  After all for many of us that was one of the main reasons we started a business from home. We wanted flexibility and time at home. But your time is just as valuable as everyone else’s.    If they couldn’t take time off or take a phone call at work, then they shouldn’t expect you to be able to either.  Sometimes a gentle reminder, like “I’m working” can go a long way when you are asked, “What are you doing tomorrow?”  Remember, it’s business, it’s nothing personal.

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Free Kindle books for bloggers, business, writers and WAHM

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Looking for books on working at home, starting your successful business, writing, publishing, getting and keeping jobs and social media?  Today I found several free Kindle books to help you with each of those topics.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which are used to support my site, business and family. However, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.  

Now, I haven’t read any of these books yet, I’m sharing them with you as fast as I find them.  They stand out to me because of the topics, reviews they may already have and well of course because they are FREE, at least for the time being.

However, if you are reading this post and they are no longer available for free on the Kindle that is not unusual! You know how quickly prices and available can change on Amazon, so grab them while you can.

    

Key word here – START! Even with experience and know how HAVING a successful blot takes time.

How To Write A Novel: How To Write A Blockbuster Novel That Will Sell-How To Make Money Writing And Finance Your Work (How To Write A Novel, How To Write … To Write Short Stories, Creative Writing,)

    

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5 Finance factors to consider before deciding to work at home

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Image By Flickr Creative Commons: Dustin Moore

The decision to stay home or return to work after having children is one hot topic. Not only do people talk about it a great deal, but there are also some very strong feelings offered up to both men and women as they consider becoming a stay-at-home parent. In our case, it was sort of an easy answer to the question of staying home. A nice salary from a university position, didn’t offset the cost of two young children needing daycare, which would cost approximately $2500 a month in child care and made our decision somewhat easy. But there are also many other factors to consider before parents make a final decision about staying home. The most important one may have to do with money. Here are a few finance factors to consider before you write your two week notice.

Beware of your budget. Childcare is not the only expense to consider. You may also need to make some tough decisions about your lifestyle choices, vacations or even dining out. Do you have some payments like the mortgage that simply couldn’t be met if one parent or the other stays home? If so, you may need to consider downsizing or cutting back on your other expenses, if you do decide to stay home.

Check the credit. While couples can add their non-working spouse to a credit card, usually this means that the stay at home parent won’t be building up their own credit. That can cause long term financial problems in the event of a death or divorce.

Insure your insurance. Is the prospective stay at home parent the one with health insurance coverage? If so will the same level of coverage be available for a similar premium, from your company? Will there be additional copays or deductibles? You will also need to consider where in the year that these insurance changes, such as taking on a new policy or changing an existing one will happen. In some cases you must wait for a determining factor or an enrollment date.

Return on retirement. You know that 2-5% contribution that your company has been depositing for you in your IRA account? While it may not seem like much, but at least it was something going into your retirement fund. As a result, staying at home can mean that your retirement money may not grow old with you, unless you can find a way to continue to make some contributions.

Respect responsibilities. With one parent staying home there may be some thought that now all the household decisions and work like cooking and cleaning is done exclusively by the stay at home parent. Where once before you may have had a housekeeper, use a dry cleaner or have someone to care for your pool or lawn, your decision to stay home may mean that those expenses need to be cut from the budget. You may have to start doing these chores. However, staying home is a job too, and it is just as hard if not harder some days that going out into the workforce. Make sure that you and your spouse discuss how the chores, cooking, cleaning and transporting the kids after work hours will be handled and find a way that works for you.

The decision to stay home isn’t one that can be decided easily. There is a great deal to consider and discuss with your significant other or spouse. Money is one of the main topics of disagreement in many relationships so it’s important to consider the impact that your stay at home decision will make, not only on your finances but on your relationships too.

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Staying home sick with the kids

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Here I am trying to balance a work day with a child home from school sick day.  I’m not the only one.   At 7 a.m my phone rang and a friend wanted to know if I would be around in case of emergency as her son was home sick with the babysitter.  As cold and flu season approaches many parents may be faced with the dilemma of what to do when the children are sick for school or daycare.  There are options and alternatives to missing work while taking care of your family.

 

 

Working while you wait.   When my oldest was young I would have no choice but to take off work and stay home with him to wait for him to get better.  But now with all the technology available to parents we can actually work quite a bit while we are home waiting for them to get better.   Use your email, smartphone, fax machine, laptop or iPad to their fullest and get as much done as you can while caring for your child.   Consider putting the documents you need most frequently on a flash drive or see if you can set up access from home to your office or companies server.  Your employer will appreciate the extra effort and you will have a lot less work waiting for you when you return.

Go for the grandparents.   Oh, how I miss those days.   My parents used to live just 20 minutes away and if they weren’t working and the illness was just bad enough to stay home from school but not bad enough that that grandma or grandpa would worry about getting sick too then it was time for grandma (usually) to be in charge.  After all she worked in a hospital emergency room, if she can handle that she can fight off just about any cold or flu that my kids may bring home.

Related content: Six Creative Childcare and Babysitting Options

Trade time.  Do you get personal or sick days?  Does your spouse?  Trade your time personal time or sick days in for time with your sick child and if possible trade off illnesses with your partner or spouse. One time you take time off, the next he or she does.  Sure, sometimes a sick child wants mom or dad, but usually they don’t really mind which one is caring for them as long as they have their parent.

Make it up.   Talk to your employer about possibly coming in over the weekend or during an evening once your spouse gets home.  If you are at all like me, I can get twice as much work done during those “down times” in the office as I can when there are people coming in and out and phones ringing.  It is also difficult for a supervisor to be upset about the lost day or days when you are offering to make them up.

Make a backup plan.  There are several different backup plans you can put into place.   Some cities have “sick child” daycare options, for those little illnesses, when they are too sick to go to school but not quite sick enough for you to be at home.   There are also a number of different service providers both on-line and off, likes Care.com or Sittercity that can help you with finding in home care for your children.   Maybe a friend or stay at home mom could help in a pinch.  But remember that if they can’t it’s not because they don’t want to, it is usually because they have scheduled to keep to too or children home that they don’t want to get sick.  When choosing a backup plan make sure they know all the facts and make sure you do your homework to ensure that your sitter is qualified to care for your sick child.

Related content: Avoiding drop-off daycare drama

It doesn’t have to be a bad sign when you wake up to a sick child or getting that phone call and see the schools’ telephone number on your caller ID.  Maybe it is really a call to take a day and just slow down.  But if it is not, you do have options.   Take advantage of them, or take advantage of the chance to have a day at home with your children.

 

Related content: How to take the work out of parenting: Children and chores

What do you do when your child needs a “sick day?”

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