A couple of weeks ago when I posted about the TV filming, I got a lot of comments about my office space. I thought you guys might be interested in seeing more (I love looking at office spaces, so maybe I’m just thinking about what I would personally like to see more of!). Plus, I really love being organized–it’s part of how I run an efficient business, so some of you small business owners might be interested, too.
This is my desk. Y has a matching one, right next to mine (but obviously he’s not sitting there most of the time). I think it’s a pretty ugly desk, but it was cheap. It’s made of metal and glass and is from Office Depot. It has attached shelves on the right side, but no drawers. The chair is from Crate and Barrel. Y and bought matching chairs with gift certificates from our wedding. I love most things about the chair, except that it has no back support. Thus, the lumbar support pillow (my mom made me the cover!).
This is my Organizational Wall. I have two “white” boards from Ikea and one magnetic board, also from Ikea. One of the white boards helps me keep track of current projects–when certain projects are due, what stage in the process they’re in, etc. The other one is a weekly To Do list. The titles and days of the week on both of these boards are written in permanent marker, so they don’t wipe off with the dry erase ink.
Underneath the Current Projects board is a place to keep dry erase pens, highlighters, scissors and small office supplies. Also (shockingly) from Ikea. The clipboards are color-coded. Yellow is for current projects, blue is for marketing and pink is for my greeting card line (lots of ideas running around!).
This is my storage area. The big white bookshelf is from Ikea, and so are the black boxes. The black boxes each hold a different greeting card. The colorful boxes with the ribbons are actually stacked envelopes–the ribbons keep them from falling all over the floor.
Now for some close-ups.
I like to stick post-its to my monitor for frequently accessed stuff or quick ideas. I always keep a big yellow notepad on my desk for lists or notes (I really love lists).
The cigar box with the dividers is my idea box. I put ideas for Scrumptious cards or new products on index cards and file them away. Underneath are my quick-access file folders. I have a big filing cabinet, but this is for the stuff that would otherwise be piling up on my desk.
I decorated my office with my drawings. I like a lot of color (obviously), and the illustrations definitely add that! The San Francisco skyline illustration is a thick trifold that I use at bridal shows.
I really love interior decorating. I have a really fun time with it, so I really have a great time organizing my office and getting inspiration for new things to do to it. It changes a lot as I get new ideas–in fact, those new “white” boards replaced some ugly ones I had during the filming. That just goes to show how often things change, huh? :)Comment
Wanna know a secret? I don’t handle stress particularly well. Although I am working on it, I swear.
A few days ago, I was cleaning out my office area and found a box labeled “Sara’s Pile of Stuff.” It was labeled with my label maker, too. I won’t go into the irony of using a label maker to “organize” a completely unorganized box, because that would distract me from my point.
What was my point?
Oh yeah. My point was what was in the box.
In the box were bunches and bunches of articles I’d saved from years ago. I found a few articles I’d saved from the days and weeks following September 11th, which made me cry (at the time, I worked for a non-profit environmental organization, so I was receiving all sorts of hippy mail in my email inbox). I also found a bunch of articles I’d saved from Oprah’s magazine, which I guess I subscribed to in college.
One of the articles was about napping, and it was from the October 2000 issue of O Magazine. I searched for it online and couldn’t find it (it was called “the Nap Cure” by Amy Hertz, if anyone else has better luck).
Anyway. The article basically talks about how healing naps can be, especially when it comes to productivity and stress relief. The author recommends a 20 minute nap (set your timers, people!) whenever you get frustrated. Today, I tried it.
You know what? It TOTALLY WORKED.
This is one of the benefits of working from home.
How do you relieve stress? Or do you?Comment
Yesterday I had an appointment with my local SCORE counselor. Why? Because I had some questions that were actually kind of stupid (as it turned out).
First off, I have to begin by saying that this whole running-my-own-business thing is kind of like wading through muddy water. I have no idea what the heck I’m doing. Not a clue. Everything is learn-as-I-go, even given the fact that I am a World Class Googler. I can’t find the answers to the majority of my questions, and there’s no real guide book for these things. This is even more true when it comes to financial stuff. Let’s just say I’ve never been good with numbers.
For the past year, I’ve been diligently saving all of my receipts and making photo copies of all of the checks I collect. I have no idea why I’m doing this–I only know that I’m supposed to do it. A few months ago, I realized that I really needed to ask someone what the hell to do with all my stuff, and I should probably stop using Quicken for my accounting and move over to Quickbooks (in other news, why on Earth is Quickbooks for Mac so much more expensive than Quickbooks for PC?! Not cool.).
Anyway, so I decided to contact my local Small Business Administration office to see if I could talk to someone about managing a small business. They recommended calling SCORE. My main questions for Tom (my SCORE counselor) were:
- How do I know where to find a good accountant? No one I know uses an accountant I can afford. Also, I am cheap (I didn’t tell him that part).
- Washington Mutual set up two different business checking accounts for me. One is for “Income” and the other is for “Expenses.” They claimed that this would make my taxes easier to file, but it is a royal pain in the ass. See, they told me to make all of my deposits into the “Income” checking account–then transfer money into the Expense account for each withdrawal I make from the Expense account (sorry if this isn’t making any sense). Basically, each time I make a purchase with my Expense account, I have to immediately transfer money to cover it from my Income account. The first time I had an overdraft was because a company charged me more for shipping than they said they would. I thought, “this might not work out so great.” The second time, the transaction went through so quickly that I didn’t have a CHANCE to transfer the money. Is this method really going to make managing my taxes that much easier?! Because it’s a royal pain in my behind right now and it’s cost me $66.
- How do I know how much money to set aside for taxes?
- How do I know when it’s okay to pay myself? That is, how much money is my income?
As it turns out, the answers to these questions were totally common sense and I was making it way harder than it needed to be. First off, Tom told me to call around to different accountants and talk to them on the phone. See how much they charge and if they seem cool. He told me that he could see the benefit of WAMU’s idea, but if it didn’t make sense to me, change it around so it suits my style. Then he told me to get Quickbooks. Apparently if I were properly keeping track of my expenses, it would be easier to figure out how much money is my income and how much I need to set aside.
Here’s what I’ve decided to do:
- Find a good accountant by calling around to various places (I have a list. Turns out I do know people with accountants!). The accountant will be able to tell me which purchases are tax deductable (and what exactly that means), whether I’m managing my accounts correctly, and how much money I can expect to pay in taxes. But first, get my accounts in order.
- Screw WAMU and their weird idea. I changed my accounts. I will now have one main business account and one “reserve” business account. I will put 35% of all my income and all the money I charge to clients in sales tax into this account to prepare for taxes. As Tom said, this will have a learning curve. 35% might be too little, or it might be too much. I’ll have to figure that out as time passes.
- Get Quickbooks. I’m working on that now, and it’s not easy. Here’s a tip: start using Quickbooks in the very beginning of your business. It will save you a lot of hassle down the line!
- Sign up for a class through SCORE on Starting and Managing a Small Business. Hey, it couldn’t hurt!
From everything I’ve read, it’s really highly recommended to have a business plan. I don’t have anything written out. I’ve written a business plan before, and it was a lot of work. I have goals written down–long term, monthly and weekly, but I haven’t done the business plan. Maybe I should just get off my butt and do it.
Who here has their own business or is in the process of starting one? Come out from the shadows and share how you’re managing your finances and whether or not you have a business plan!Comment
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