One of the more difficult and time-consuming tasks of creating a Web 2.0 application involves picking a name. In order to save you time and unnecessary meetings, To-Done will provide a name for you.
Based on hours of research and extensive user testing, I have perfected the Web 2.0 naming scheme.
Business structures such as a limited liability company (LLC) , Limited Partnership (LP), S Corporation and C Corporation are legitimate, legal structures. When you form one of these entities, you also reap certain benefits in terms of tax savings, limiting liability, protecting assets, etc. However, in order to enjoy these benefits, you need to meet the specific requirements set forth by the federal government and states in order to preserve that business structure. Too often, business owners form one of these entities, file their articles of incorporation/bylaws and begin operating their business. Unfortunately, many tend to forget to keep up with holding regular director and shareholder meetings, keeping complete corporate minutes and filing the appropriate annual reports with the state.
Besides the fact that these are important requirements for owning one of these business structure, failure to maintain these standards could potentially lead to several problems. Problems that will require business owners to either pay out or loose money. For instance, the IRS likes to scrutinize business structures, especially when it comes to qualifying deductions. If you find yourself being audited, do you know one of the first things they are going to ask for? You guessed it, copies of your minutes and corp./LLC documents. They want to ensure that you have indeed been operating as a corporation or LLC and have been holding meetings and recording minutes diligently to prove it. If you respond, “I don’t have them,” or “They’re not quite up to date,” chances are pretty good that you are going to loose deductions. Why? Because without those records, you can’t say you have a legitimate business structure in place. You MUST operate your business like a business and follow the correct business formalities. If you don’t, the structure can’t benefit you.
Another potential problem should you fail to hold meetings and keep adequate records comes into play should a court action ever be brought against you and your company. Having a strong ongoing record of your business activities ensures that you have operated your business with the highest integrity and have documented all relevant key activities. It lends legitimacy and credibility to your business dealings and informs the court that you are in compliance with the law’s requirements as they relate to your business structure.
Finally, failure to meet the requirements of a business structure may potential lead to a situation where your shareholders, officers, and directors find themselves held personally responsible for the acts of the business. This is commonly referred to piercing the corporate veil and opens everyone up to personal liability.
Meeting the ongoing requirements necessary to operate a corporation, limited liability or partnership is an absolute must. Holding shareholder and director meetings to elect officers, keeping detailed records of all relevant meetings and business activities, and filing all annual state documents may take time out of your day, but better that than money out of your pocket and possible dissolution of your business structure.
How important is it to have a great idea for starting a new business? I think that the idea is not really important at all. I often hear from people around me about what great ideas I have for business. It might seem like it when looking at one of my existing businesses that it was great idea, but it wasn’t at the start.
I started many of my businesses by accident. When I look back on how I came up with the ideas I can say there was no major thought process behind any of my business venture. I didn’t even have any substantial experience in those businesses when I started.
I knew I would be moving to Nevada and I tried to think of what I could do there. I knew Nevada was a very popular state for incorporation because of the very friendly business climate. So I figured it might be worthwhile to try an incorporation service. I also started another business in real estate, but I will talk about that later. Let’s go back to the incorporation business.
First, I went to Google trying to find other companies offering an incorporation service. I was trying to figure out how they worked, what was their pricing, if a person needed a lawyer to incorporate a business or if I could do it myself, what were the state fees, what forms must be used, etc.
The next step was to start it. This is the most important step in any venture. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen around me, most people never do this step! I decided to offer just one service: Nevada corporation. I didn’t want to start by offering all kinds of company structures and additional services. Honestly, it was too much information at that time so I wanted to keep it as simple as possible so I could handle it. So one service was complicated enough at the time.
After that I decided to create a website. I forgot to tell you that I was really cheap (“didn’t have too much money to spend”) so I designed the site myself. I am not a webmaster or graphic designer. I know very basic HTML so I could do basic table designs or forms which people could fill out and send to my email. That was all that I needed for making my first website. You can see it here in the Internet Archive:
At the start I even used free web hosting. Later, when I received my first order I paid the cheapest hosting company I could find at $25 per year. That didn’t work well so I upgraded to $50 per year when the money started flowing in. The most important lesson was that I tried to do it the simplest way possible. Do you see some genius idea behind this business? Being realistic, these were very amateur web pages done by an amateur who tried to start something.
This beginning led to a business which is processing over 500 orders every month and is one of the top five incorporators in the state of Nevada with sales of two million dollars per year. I added step by step small improvements over time. Today, we have a very unique business with great ideas our competition doesn’t have. But most of the suggestions came from our customers or from what I learned along the way in terms of what needed to be improved.
So if someone tells me that they want to start a new business and the only thing they are missing is a great idea, I just have to say that it is nonsense. No great ideas are necessary. I think the most important thing is to find a way how to start very simply and improve on that way. Instead of writing business plans or doing market research just do what I did. Find a way how to start very simply and don’t invest too much money. You are not risking almost anything just a little bit of your time, but the reward can be great.
Back in elementary school I was in a class in which we did a study on dreams. Not just meanings of dreams and facts and the like, but actually ways to remember them. Not only was it pretty sweet to be able to wake up and remember a lot of the stuff you just dreamed, but it was cool to go back months later and check out the dream journal we kept and right then, vividly remember the dreams I had months before.
Hopefully something I’ll be able to do here on a monthly basis is post an “assignment” of sorts. An activity for you to do that will, in some way, provide a better understanding of yourself or your surroundings.
So this months assignment is to remember your dreams.
“How the flip flop do I do that Josh?” Ah, good question. Yes, there really is a methodology to this and yes, if done correctly, it will work.
When you lay down to go to sleep say out loud “Remember your dreams.” repeatedly. Say it atleast 10-20 times. The key here is “out loud.” Doing this trains your brain/memory to do just that…remember your dreams. All dreams are in some way affected by day-to-day thoughts/activities/etc and audibly saying “Remember your dreams.” puts the action into your brain.
After audibly saying “Remember your dreams.”, say it to yourself another 10-20 times. The same reason as Step 1 applies to this.
Make sure you have a notepad right beside your bed and the second you wake up, roll over and start writing. Write as many details about your dreams as you can.
There is no step 4.
That’s all there is to it. Yes, you might feel like an idiot saying “Remember your dreams” out loud, but that’s a HUGE key to this working. It might take a few nights for things to get moving with this and for you to vividly remember your dreams, but after getting in a habit of it you’ll train your brain to do it automatically.
Our dreams are some of the most creative things our brains throw together and being able to remember them can be extremely rewarding.
Good luck and sweet dreams!
Many people forget how routine their lives are. While this is especially true for those, like me, who have a regular 9-5 job, freelancers often get into their own routines, even while being less constrained by hours and location.
Doing the same thing over, day after day, contributes to creative blocks. Some might work through these blocks temporarily (by visiting sites such as this one), but it neglects the root cause of what got them into the block in the first place: routine.
So a couple of weeks ago I posed the question asking when (or if) you showered. The response was absolutely stellar with over 130 responses. So huge thanks for that.
Here are the results:
54% of you shower in the morning
24% of you shower in both the morning and evening
22% of you shower only in the evening
Now for my answer.
I shower twice a day. I shower at night immediately before I go to bed and in the morning soon after I wake up. Why? It ultimately goes back to getting a good nights rest.
I didn’t start showering in the evening until I wrote the first post about this, but I’ve been doing it since then and can’t believe I hadn’t started sooner.
It perviously took me 30 minutes to an hour to go to sleep every single night for as long as I can remember. Since showering at night, I’m out of it within a matter of minutes.
Like others who shower at night, I find it helps totally relax me. I turn the water on as hot as I can bear it and just stand there for about 10 minutes. I’ll then do a fairly quick bathe and from there go directly to bed. It usually helps to get your hair as dry as you can with a towel, but a little dampness will help you feel refreshed when you lie down.
So my suggestion? Shower at night right before you go to bed and shower again when you wake up. Try if for atleast one week. If you don’t get to sleep faster and sleep better…you can kick me in the shins.
by Jeffrey W. Cox
It is hard, but it is possible to be close to 100% effective in all areas of your life. Being 100% (let’s call it 95% — no one is perfect, so they say) effective can be done by focusing on one area at a time – usually by concentrating on one “project” at a time. In addition, you do it by only concentrating on one task at a time on each project. Finally, the whole time you have to work hard at staying motivated – a challenge in itself.
h3. It Is Hard
In today’s world of fast personal computers, stable operating systems, and fast information delivery (Blogs, The Web, E-mails, IM), people feel like and are forced to attempt to multi-task just like those fast personal computers. Last year, Bill Gates wrote the following in his Executive E-Mail column:
A recent study showed that 56 percent of workers are overwhelmed by multiple simultaneous projects and interrupted too often; one-third say that multi-tasking and distractions are keeping them from stepping back to process and reflect on the work they’re doing. In the United Kingdom, it’s estimated that stress accounts for nearly one-third of absenteeism and sick leave.
That stress factor shows that multitasking like that is not how our brains work, or should be asked to work. (Side note: I am not a psychology major, nor have I studied such. This is strictly a personal opinion I am expressing.)
h3. But It Can Be Done
Awhile back, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine. He said “It is so <insert your own expletive here> hard to be 100%effective in all areas of my life at once. It is easy to get one or two areas working well at any given time, but not ALL at the same time.” I reminded him that one of our favorite motivational speakers, Joel Weldon, coaches us to “just keep improving everyday.” Also, I was about to write “Do you want us to rip your proverbial engine open and install a cam to make all the cylinders fire in 100% perfect timing?” when I realized that maybe that is the “improving” we can work on – getting our “timing” right. You do not have to be 100% perfect in all areas of your life at that one particular moment. You just need to focus on, as David Allen says, the "next action," or in other words the very next step, and only the next step, you can take on the project. Then, when that next action is completed, fire “cylinder number 2” and move on to the next action (or switch to another project if it has a higher priority). Using this focused mentality will let you stay 100% (well, again, let’s say 95%) effective in all areas of your life, but, it takes motivation.
h3. Staying Motivated
You have to stay motivated to be effective. It is hard; we all know that. Sometimes all of your work is overwhelming. Sometimes it is all just very boring. However, you have to just suck it up and stay on track. One way to do this is to remind yourself why you are staying motivated.
Tom Peters provided a good example of this in his blog awhile back:
This may be day 45 and mile 76,000 for me, but for the Client it is D-Day for an Important Event (often their year’s #1 event, for God’s sake); hence my exhaustion and accompanying short temper must be thrust aside … and downright cheeriness and spirited engagement must become the invariant orders of the day. Besides, such cheeriness, even if feigned, cheers me up first and foremost!
Another quote I personally use is one from Will Smith in the movie Hitch“Wake up every day, as if it was on purpose!” Saying this to myself after clicking “Ok” to the alarm from my Palm usually is the difference between getting up and snoozing five more times!
h3. “You Can Do It!”
Like that goofy guy on the Geico Car Insurance commercials says, “You can do it!!” (Who is that guy anyway?) It is hard, but, effectiveness is achievable – even though it feels out of reach as you pop open that To Do list and stare at an average of 150 items. It just takes constant work and some self-motivation. In the end, however, the feeling of being that effective is oh so worth it.
h3. About Jeffrey W. Cox
Jeffrey Cox is an entrepreneur who lives in Phoenix Arizona, his adopted home state. He has been a recognized and successful IT consultant for over 20 years. Last year, he made a shift to focus on his passion, personal productivity and organization, by starting Foresight. Foresight is a company with a mission to help people get their To Do lists done by being more successful with their lists, projects and goals. You can sign up today for his insightful newsletter as well as stay informed about Foresight’s forth-coming product launch – an add-in for Microsoft Outlook that will truly let you focus on getting the right things done.