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Financial Makeover Winner (Angela Allen)

September 14, 2009

Check out the one of the winners, Angela Allen, of the financial makeover contest follow her on her journey as we start her makeover



Shannon Nash will be speaking on the Raising Capital with Effective Finance Strategies panel

September 3, 2009

Looking to grow your business? Then don’t miss the first-ever GrowSmartBiz Conference!

Join us for a premier one-day event featuring renowned small business leaders and well-known industry experts, including keynote speaker Chris Anderson.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs should attend to learn how to overcome challenges that all small businesses face. Attendees will hear from an outstanding group of panelists for concrete takeaways including:

— Proven strategies for business growth despite the current economy
— Executable, cost-effective ways to market and promote their businesses
— Knowledge of what banks believe is the key to securing small business financing
— Actionable ideas for integrating and leveraging social media into existing marketing and communications efforts

As a panelist on the Raising Capital with Effective Finance Strategies at the upcoming GrowSmartBiz conference, I am pleased to invite you to save $150 on attending what should be a great event. The conference will feature in Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson as the keynote speaker.

So if you’re a founder, CEO, owner or other executive interested in growth (who isn’t!), innovation and marketing, just click below or on the box to register and save. Remember to use the code OFFER100 to get the discount.

Click here to register –

Netflix Find Your Voice

July 1, 2009

Please check out this trailer for my client’s award winning film Pariah (including Sundance Selection 2008)! Its one of the 10 national semifinalists in the Netflix Find Your Voice Competition which is a collaboration between Netflix and Film Independent. So proud of them! Please Vote!

It is really simple to support PARIAH:

1) visit (or click on the link)

2) watch the trailer for PARIAH.

3) vote as many stars as you think it’s worth (5 is the highest you can give).

4) pass on the word to your friends!!!

Thanks!!!!!!!! for more on the film, visit

Note – Only 1 vote per person as multiple votes will be voided.

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Pulpit Freedom Sunday

June 11, 2009

religious board guideSince 1954, Congress amended section 501(c)(3) to include a provision that prohibits charities from “intervening” in political campaigns.  Specifically, a Section 501(c)(3) organization must “not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.  Note, this does not include voter education of candidate forums, where the charity “equitably distributes”  information regarding the issues and candidates without evidence of bias towards any particular issue or candidate. For more on these rules go to chapter 4 of my Tax Exempt Toolkit (free publication).

Perhaps there has been no stronger testing of this limits of this provision then by Churches and various Religious Organizations.  It’s no secret that many people get their information and view points from sermons and speeches given by the ministers, priests, pastors, bishops, reverends, etc.  Thus, many believe that this prohibition restricts free speech.  This is exactly what prompted the Alliance Defense Fund (a legal alliance which is also a 501(c)(3)) to create Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

During Pulpit Freedom Sunday, pastors are asked to comment on political candidates.  Specifically pastors are asked to “… advise their congregation what Scripture says about today’s issues and apply those issues to the candidates vying for your vote..”

The first of such Pulpit Freedom Sunday was held on Sunday, September 28, 2008.  According to one report, some 33 pastors in 22 states took part in making candidate recommendations.  The fall-out is still ongoing.  News outlets from coast to coast reported on various pastors that delivered endorsements/recommendations of candidates during their sermons.

The IRS is currently investigating these pastors, but it is important to note that they have never disciplined a pastor who has violated this prohibition.  We will continue to follow the IRS responses to this.  I suspect that there will be some future sanctions/penalties levied against pastors violating these rules, which could lead to the ultimate show down on this issue – The Supreme Court.

To add more salt onto the wound, the Alliance Defense Fund has decided to do this again.  There will be a Pulpit Freedom Sunday, September 27,  2009.

Do you agree with the ADF that pastors/churches should be able to voice their opinions on political candidates?  Will your pastor/minister participate in this?  Let me know your thoughts.

Winners Financial Makeover Contest

June 10, 2009


And the winner is….DRUM Roll……..

I would like to thank everyone for entering the Financial Makeover competition through twitter, this blog, facebook and via email. There were truly some serious stories of people needing real help and guidance. We hope to do similar competitions in the future to help even more people.

Now to the winners of this contest. I would like to Congratulate the following:

1. Latoya (single mom of two)
2. Tricia (newly married no children)
3. Kim (married with kids)
4. Angela (married with kids)
* Note these was a tie so 4 people were actually chosen).

Stay tuned for future entries with individual profiles of these people/families and progress on their financial makeovers.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Small Business Guide

June 9, 2009

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about starting a new business.  Given the state of he economy, it seems that many people are looking into taking charge of their own destiny.

My Side Business Guide is a wonderful resource to answer your questions from setting up your business to operating it.  Here’s a excerpt.  It’s the best $10 investment you can make in getting your business off on the right foot.

Small Business Guide

Small Business Guide

NMG Side Business Guide Excerpt

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 22.9 million small businesses. Many of these small businesses are started by people who also have “day jobs”– from the at-home catering business, to making a living on eBay, to getting rich as a real estate investor.

Whatever the case may be, for most people one of the key ways to building their net worth will be to start and run a side business. This NMG Guide will use the term “side business” to address the overwhelming number of people who slowly begin businesses while they are still otherwise gainfully employed with a “day job.” Of course, much of what is discussed can also be applied to those who in fact have taken the plunge and are running their side businesses full-time, á la a“small business.” Either way, whether you are starting a side business or going full time with a small business, the rules are the same. This guide will give you all the information you need on basic business types that should be considered when opening your business, or what you need to know about changing your existing business type to a new one. Many important decisions begin long before the first dollar is collected for your services or products, and months or years before you declare to the world that you’re open for business.

Perhaps no decision is as crucial in the initial planning stages than what type of business entity is
appropriate and most beneficial for your business. Choosing the appropriate type of business entity for your business has legal, operational, accounting, and tax implications. The decision should be made based on both legal and financial considerations, viewed from a long-term perspective. Over the years, we’ve gotten questions, like:

  • Should I incorporate?
  • What is an LLC?
  • How do I become an S Corporation?
  • Do I have to become anything at all to be a business owner?
  • Do I have to do anything formal to have a partnership?
  • With so many choices, what should I do?

Although, the choice will depend completely on your facts and circumstances, here are a few observations to consider: The basic C Corporation is the time-honored business entity. The LLC, or limited liability company, is the “new kid on the block” and is fast becoming the popular business type for many new businesses. The Sole Proprietorship is the easiest type for one person to start, while a regular partnership is the easiest type for two or more people to start.

N M G  Guide Overview

This NMG Guide will give you an overview of these business entities. Each chapter will give you
information on:

  • Governing Documents and Filings
  • Key Players
  • Liability Issues
  • Tax Issues
  • Types of Businesses Using That Form

In choosing your business entity, remember “simplicity” is key. You should keep your business entity as simple as possible, until and unless facts and circumstances warrant more complexity.  You may also want to conduct an annual “check-up” of your business that includes ensuring your business structure is appropriate for your operations. Although there may be tax costs involved with switching entities, there are also situations where it may make sound business sense to switch.  So, please check your business type with your tax/legal advisor on a regular basis.


No matter what business type you choose, keep in mind that you may also use a DBA as a way to give your company a new or distinct name. A DBA (also called Doing Business As or Fictitious Business Name) is often used by people to give their business a professional sounding name, even though they have not officially formalized or incorporated their business (i.e., they are operating as a sole proprietorship). For example, Linda decides to start a catering business but doesn’t have the resources to incorporate. She decides instead to file a DBA for her business, Sweet Sensation Catering, and this is the name she uses to promote her business. To most people in the public, her business name suggests that she is incorporated, even though all she has is a DBA. Gone are the days where people notice the fact that “Inc.” or “LLC” is missing from the end of her business name. DBA’s are also used by people who have, in fact, formalized their business (i.e., a corporation, partnership or limited liability company) to brand their company with a name other than their formal legal name. For example, Chandler King formed King Enterprise Inc. as a corporation for all her business activities; which include a line of gift cards, an on-line magazine and a catering company. She decided that her business name was not descriptive enough for her catering company. So she got a DBA, Kingdom Catering, to use for that side of her business. Note: In this example, the corporation, King Enterprises Inc. applies and gets the DBA.

Keep in mind, a DBA is just a name. It’s not a separate legal entity. Even though you can get a separate Employer Identification Number from the IRS for a DBA and open a business bank account, your DBA provides you with no liability protection. So, if you operate as a sole proprietorship, a DBA does not mean your business is now a corporation (or a partnership or limited liability company for that matter); even though it may sound like one to your friends, family or clients. Put another way, a DBA is a way for you to promote your business name. Finally, DBA’s are typically simple to obtain in most states. You can get the required forms from your local or county business office. Also in some places, such as in California, you must publish your new DBA in the local paper for a several weeks (i.e., a printed announcement of your company name). The costs for all of this will vary from state to state, but will generally be less than a couple hundred dollars.

Bottom Line: Any type of business can use a DBA, but it’s most commonly used by sole proprietors. It’s like the poor man’s method to having a business, without the costs of incorporating.

Employer Identification Number

Every business will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This number i used for a variety of things, including, needing this number to open a bank account for your business. You can get an EIN by filing Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. The IRS also has an online tool that will allow you to complete this form and receive the EIN in a matter of minutes. Visit

This NMG Guide will go over the basics of various business forms. Keep in mind, a sole proprietor may use his or her social security number instead of an EIN, but many sole proprietors prefer to get an EIN to represent their business activities. The bank will typically require that all other business types use an EIN when setting up a business account. Also, regardless of what
business form you choose, you may need an EIN if you will have employees, because you will then be required to make tax deposits, and file employment tax returns and reports.

Bottom Line: The EIN is easy to obtain and makes sense for anyone with a business to get one.

Follow Friday June 5th edition

June 5, 2009

Hi all – It’s follow Friday again! Check out these Twitter Follow Friday Blogs that I love! Please show them some love too:

1. BrokeSocialte



The Broke socialite, as this blog author so eloquently calls herself, has a wonderful guide to a fabulous lifestyle for less. Talk about having beer budget with champagne taste. This fashion savvy blogger has found a way to be fashionably chic in a very inexpensive way. She gives the reader a well organized “how to guide” to finding wonderful bargain basement steals. She includes different tips from budgeting for a fabulous vacation to home decor to even food and beverage. Truly a must see site.

2. Tech & Sensibility

Tech & Sensibility

Tech & Sensibility

Sonya Donaldson is a very smart and sensible technology writer and editor. She has been in the business for more than 12 years and in the journalist industry for more than 18. Her blogs are separated by four categories business, education, pop culture/ media, and technology. Its almost like you’re talking to one of your fellow girlfriends with a techno-savvy-sagger. I’m loving this site.

3. Work at Home Mom the Revolution

Work at Home Mom the Revolution

Work at Home Mom the Revolution

Great site for mothers who want to work at home, yet unsure of what job to do. This blogger finds available telecommuting jobs available for the wanna be WAHM.

4. The Women’s Success Network

The Women's Success Network

The Women's Success Network

Not a blog, but a website for the women’s success conference. Hosted by Life & Style coach Dr. Stacia Pierce. Now the 2009 conference already happened. Just by looking at the different events I’m sure it was a blast. There will be another one in 2010 from May 27 – 29th. Check it out. 🙂