10 Ways To De-Stress

10 Ways To De-Stress
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Written by Harveer Singh

Life can be quite stressful and I think it is universally known that 2016 was one hell of a year no matter how you look at it. If you do not reduce your anxiety and stress, it can take its toll on your body and mind. Professionals of all fields feel it. Stress is a killer.

It is important to find ways to relax and clear your mind. So in this blog post, I am going to go over some of the tactics I use to de-stress.

Try to keep an open mind, as some of these suggestions may seem silly at first, that is until you actually need them.

 

Alleviate

  1. Work Up a Sweat: Go on long walks, to the gym, ride your bike, do an at-home workout (YouTube has good workout videos), do some stretches. The idea is to sweat out the stress.
  2. Meditation & Breathing: Breath slow and deep, close your eyes, and clear your mind.

How-To: During deep breathing exercises, close your eyes focus on your breath. Breathe in deep through your nose for 3 seconds, hold it for 2-3 seconds and exhale through your mouth slowly and repeat for a full minute. Do this whenever you can, but at least once a day.

There are some apps that go through different breathing exercises. I use the app breathe (clever name) on my iPhone.

  1. Massages: When you are stressed you sometimes tense your muscles and get stiff. This discomfort is going to work against you and stress you out more. You can also get at-home massages with the app Soothe: With the following code, you will receive $30 off your first massage: MHKON
  2. Think Positive: Stop being so negative. The more you think of negative things the more you will experience them. Even when you are feeling the worst, you have to try to think of the positive aspects of your life. Focus on what you are grateful for and picture yourself achieving your goals. Think positive and good things will start happening to you.

Distract

  1. Read a Book/Watch a Movie: Sometimes diving into a new world can get your mind off a stressful situation.
    1. Reading: Read something relevant to your business or something different altogether. Go with what you think will relax you most at the time. For good business book recommendations, check out my blog post Essential Business Reads.
    2. Audio (Audible & Podcasts): Listening to someone else’s voice can help calm you down. As far as podcasts go, there are so many different genres out there. Some of which relate to business, mystery, horror, movies, reviews, etc. My favourite non-business related podcast is the first season of Serial. The best motivational podcast I have heard is School of Greatness.
  2. Make Yourself Feel Closest To Home: Studies have shown that at times of great stress, one feels most safe when closest to “home.” Do things that relate to your youth. Things you liked to do when you were a child. Maybe go back and watch a childhood movie, play with Legos, do a puzzle, build a blanket fort, etc.
  3. Go on a weekend trip: Sometimes you just need to get away from it all. Look at local trips within a few hours driving distance. Book a hotel and just get away from it all.

Hotel Tonight: I use this app a lot. It allows you to book hotels up to a week in advance for pretty cheap! With this code, you will receive $25 off your first booking: HSINGH117

Blade: Go to the Hamptons in a helicopter. If you are a high roller/big baller, you can receive $100 off your first flight with this code: HarveerS71

Lyft & Uber: If you live under a rock and haven’t used lyft or uber before, you can use this code to get $10 off your first ride with Lyft: HARV3 and this code to get $15 off your first ride with Uberharveers7ue

  1. Cleaning & Organising: Sometimes focusing on tedious activities like cleaning and organising can help to distract you. Not to mention that a clean and organised environment can be relaxing.

Take Action

  1. Make Lists & Plan: Make lists. Today’s To Do list, This Week’s To Do List, This Month’s goals. Planning things out can seriously reduce stress. Procrastination is the killer and makes things SO MUCH worse when you are stressed and anxious. The only way to feel better at this point is to plan things out. It will make a complex situation seem simple.
  2. Get to Work: If you are procrastinating, it may just be helpful to get to work. If it is a lot of work that you need to get done that is stressing you out, pushing it off will only make it worse.

 

Alright, let’s enter 2017 relaxed and ready to rumble!

 

Mentioned Apps & Promotional Codes:

Audible: Look up their current promotions. They usually give the first month free.

Blade: Receive $100 off your first flight: HarveerS71

Breathe: This free app will help you meditate and focus on your breathing.

Hotel Tonight: Receive $25 off your first booking: HSINGH117

Lyft: Get $10 off your first ride: HARV3

Soothe: Receive $30 off your first massage: MHKON

Uber: Get $15 off your first ride: harveers7ue

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How to Calculate Your Net Worth

How to Calculate Your Net Worth
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What am I worth!? No, I am not talking philosophically, I am talking mathematically. I figured this would be an interesting post because it is so easy to calculate and it is always good to know how you are doing financially.

An individual’s Net Worth is their current economic position. Basically all of the assets you own minus all of the liabilities on your head. Sounds simple enough right? Let’s jump right in. I’ll make it even simpler by giving you an example with MADE UP numbers.

 

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-1-13-41-pmNote: This is just an example. There may be other line items that I am missing. The idea is to have your assets subtracted by your liabilities.

 

Notice that I did not add Salary. This is because your Net Worth calculates what you already/currently have and not what you may have in the future.

If after calculating you end up with a negative number, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you are worthless (you guys are all invaluable to me)! This usually means you may be young with a significant amount of student loans or perhaps you have a lot of credit card (or other forms of) debt. Over time, as you pay them down your net worth will increase.

You can usually find Net Worth calculators online where you can just fill in the blanks with your numbers.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Until next time…

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The Essence of Entrepreneurship

The Essence of Entrepreneurship

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Fostering Business Solutions, Inc.

By Antonette Hudak

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When you go to a coffee shop, movie theatre, boutique or restaurant. You normally aren’t thinking about what it takes to give you that experience. You arrive, pay, make your memories and might go back.

I just began working at a restaurant part-time. You begin to see what goes on behind the scenes of the establishment. The vision, preparation, and attention to detail that makes a customer want to come back.

There’s a quote that comes to mind, “A great entrepreneur gives people what they want before they ask for it.”

My experience on the first day was feeling welcomed. The restaurant opens at 5:30 pm and everyone is expected to get there by 4:30pm. The employees have a “family” meal together. Everyone talks and sits around a table together.

After the meal concludes, everyone gets together with the chef to try the specials. He explains every ingredient, where it comes from, and what the night’s dishes are. He talks about the sauces, nuts, spices and vegetables. The menu goes according to what’s in season. The chef buys the produce himself, usually from Amish Farmers in the area.  My job as a hostess is to call all the reservations for the next couple of days to confirm their bookings. I am to keep a log of cancellations and seating walk-ins. Each reservation is pre-set with a table, time, name, and how many people will be in the party. It’s also the hostess’s job to walk around and mark the status of each seated table and if they are on their appetizers, entrees, or desert.This is to keep the waiters up to date on what is going on so that they are always in the know.

Sometimes VIPS arrive that need extra attention and complimentary items like a bottle of wine. The mood is set with lighthearted music in the background. The environment is always alive.  Rustic at home feel, white brick walls. The chef inspects every dish because presentation counts before a customer is served.

Thinking of this business and how it all came together makes me realize how much work, vision, and details goes into it. A consumer needs reasons to pick a place.  Why would they have dinner here? Is it how aesthetically pleasing it is, the organic food, incredible service, good music, an opportunity to enjoy oneself or a mixture of them all?

It takes people, training, leadership and lots of planning.

This is what I believe is the essence of entrepreneurship. The essence of attracting a crowd. Attracting a certain clientele that expects a specific experience. It was all planned. However, the planning did not stop at the opening of the restaurant; it continued to grow, like all great businesses. Entrepreneurship takes artistry, creativity and planning. Perfecting your craft. With failure and experience. Continuously discovering with trial and error. Creating a brand the entrepreneur and consumers are passionate about. It doesn’t come overnight. It takes practice, failing, learning, and interchanging roles. Going into it for the right reasons and using practicality. Most importantly, organizing people and taking the time to properly train them.

As an aspiring entrepreneur. What to study can be your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, bar, film or business of interest. The memories and joy they gave you. Pay attention. With that said, in your own business, you can see what you can offer to the world. Service the world. Giving the customer what they want before they ask for it.

About the Author: 

Antonette Hudak is an entrepreneur working in the entertainment and hospitality industries. She is also a writer and actress. Some of her achievements include writing, directing, and acting in the play “How to Love A Drug Addict” which is now being created into a short film, “Failure isn’t something you should fear, it’s something to embrace” Published by Thought Catalog February 2016, and she is a Reservations Manager for the Nolitan Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in New York City.

 

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Calculating the ROI of a Rental Property

Calculating the ROI of a Rental Property
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Along with the management consulting and social media work, I also invest in residential rental properties. It is important to know how to calculate if a property will be profitable and what the return on investment (ROI) will be. The first thing you should know is if you are Value or Cash Flow investing.

Value Investing is when the primary purpose of purchasing a property is to hold it with the hope that the value of the property will increase. Purchasing a property in a high growth area for $100k and selling it a few years later for $500k would be an example of this. With these properties, it is okay to just break even with rental income.

Cash Flow Investing is when the primary purpose of purchasing the property is to make money through rental income. All costs considered, your rental income should be high enough that you can consider it income.

Of course, the ideal case would be that you find a property that falls within both parameters. That can be hard depending on where you are located and how much capital you have.

For the purpose of this post, we will be focusing on Cash Flow Investing.

Now let’s get into calculating if a property is profitable if you are financing the property.

Firstly, let’s go over all of the costs that you have to consider initially and then on an ongoing monthly basis of owning a rental property.

Out of Pocket Cost:

Initially, you would have to consider how much money you have to put down to purchase the property. Usually, it can be anywhere from 5-20% depending on your credit and the type of property. Let’s say you are purchasing a property that is worth $150,000 and have to put down 20% ($30,000). You also have to consider closing costs. For this example, closing costs are $10,000 for calculation purposes. Another cost that you usually have to pay that most people don’t consider is the following year’s property taxes. Say that property taxes for this property are $10,000 per year.

In total, the initial cost of purchasing this property will be $50,000. Meaning you will need this cash on hand right off the bat to purchase this property.

EDIT: I forgot to add Inspection costs. I have seen them range from $500-$2,000 depending on the property size and location. For this blog post, I will keep the math the same, but be aware that it is usually mandatory to have an inspection done.

Ongoing costs:

Now it is time to calculate what your costs will be on a monthly basis. Continuing with the example from above, we will have to finance $120,000. People usually pick between financing over 15 or 30 years. We will finance over 30 years here. For investment properties, the interest rate is around 7% or 8%. We will use 8% to be conservative. You can use many online tools to calculate your monthly mortgage costs. Google search Mortgage calculator.

The monthly mortgage cost alone will be $880.52 per month on the $120,000 over 30 years at an 8% interest rate.

Next, you will have to also factor in the property taxes for the next year into your calculation as well as a Landlord Insurance Policy. Our property taxes for this property is $10,000 and let’s say the insurance policy is $2,000 per year.

The total monthly cost of this property is $1,880.52.

Other hidden costs to consider:

-In some cases, if you put less than 20% down you will be charged what is called PMI. PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance and you will have to add this to the monthly mortgage cost if needed. I have seen it being anywhere between $150-$300 per month.

Common Charges: Some properties charge common charges to maintain the property (cutting the grass, snow removal, pools, etc.). These costs will also need to be considered on a monthly basis. The price of common charges really depends on the type of property and where it is located.

Is it profitable for Cash Flow Investing:

Now its time to do some research on the average rental costs in the area. Look on Zillow and other sites like it to see what the rental prices are for properties on the same block/building and in nearby locations.

If the average rental is $2,400 in the area, this may be a good Cash Flow property.

If it is $1,900 or below, I would not consider it for cash flow.

I usually only choose properties that can generate a monthly return of $600 or more, but it is based on personal preference.

Calculating simple ROI:

For rental properties that you have financed, it is good to calculate your return on investment.

For the purposes of this example, our monthly cash flow from the property is $500 per month (rental income minus ongoing monthly charges). This would result in an annual return of $6,000 ($500 x 12 months) from rental income after all costs.

If the out of pocket cost (initial cost) of purchasing the property is still $50,000, our ROI will be calculated as follows:

$6,000 (annual cash flow) ÷ $50,000 = 12% ROI

This formula can get very complex as some people use an amortization table to also factor in the principal (mortgage) paydown. I would say that a 12% simple ROI is very good. It would take roughly 8 years to break even on your initial investment ($50k/$6k).

I would also suggest reading the book HOLD: How to find, buy and, rent houses for wealth by Steve Chader if you are considering residential real estate investments.

You can also find other great books to read in one of my older posts called Essential Business Reads.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post. More will be coming soon! Until next time…

 

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Why do businesses incorporate in Delaware or Nevada?

Why do businesses incorporate in Delaware or Nevada?
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Most do not know that incorporating your business can have different implications depending on where you do it. You can strategically incorporate in different states to take advantage of various state rules. Delaware and Nevada seem to be everyone’s favorites, but why?

 

Delaware

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It is usually best for large businesses to incorporate here as they are more flexible with them. The state:

  • The business law here is the most flexible in the country, and the Court of Chancery (focusing on the business law) is governed by Judges, not juries. This flexibility can be beneficial in most cases.
  • Delaware does not have state corporate income tax or personal income tax for non-residents.
  • Does not require shareholders, directors and officers to be Delaware residents.
  • Shareholders outside Delaware do not owe the state any taxes.
  • The state DOES, however, have substantial franchise taxes.

These are just a few of the benefits of incorporating in Delaware.

 

Nevada

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Nevada started to compete with Delaware with their strategies.

  • Protects against hostile takeovers.
  • Has no corporate income tax, franchise tax or personal income tax.
  • Does not require shareholders, directors and officers to be Nevada residents.

 

Fees between the two differ and these are only a few of the differences between the two. Always consult your lawyers and/or accountants when incorporating your business.

 

SOURCES:http://www.bizfilings.com/learn/incorporate-delaware-nevada.aspx
https://www.rocketlawyer.com/article/incorporating-in-delaware-or-nevada-whats-the-best-option-for-my-business.rl

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Mobile Screens are now the passion of the American Majority [Infographic]

Mobile Screens are now the passion of the American Majority [Infographic]

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Fostering Business Solutions, Inc.

By Christopher Kogge

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In the 1950’s America’s mobile move was all about connecting the country through Interstate Highways. In the 20-teens, mobile has taken on a whole new meaning with the rise of smartphones. As of 2015, more time is spent looking at smartphone and tablet screens than computer and televisions ones.

This swing is nothing surprising as the trends have been drifting in mobile’s favor for the last five years, which in tech years is more like 20. In other words, it has been a long time coming. What will come to a surprise to some is the opportunity that is currently open for advertisers. As illustrated in the infographic below, the amount of advertising dollars spent on mobile ads is disproportionate to the audience size with a 25 Billion difference.

 

Move2Mobile

 

These findings should be setting off bells and whistles to the leaders of small businesses and startups alike. The lack of advertising spending pumped into the mobile space means lower rates, which means more exposure for less money. If you have not allocated a hefty amount of your ad budget to mobile already, I would suggest doing it now as this opportunity will surely be in existence for but a small moment in time.

The last tip I will leave you with is this, SmartTvs look to be emerging as next screen people will be using more and more in the next 5 to 10 years. If your company isn’t a unicorn and is currently on the shoestring budget, I would keep an eye on the popularity of SmartTvs and look to advertise when they have an upswing of popularity.

 

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Top Tax Deductions For Your Business

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Mo money mo problems.” – Notorious B.I.G.

I think that Biggie Smalls understood the increasing pressures of running his own business. What are the two prime concerns a business owner worries about? The answer – increasing profits and decreasing expenses. This post will help you with the latter. Knowing how to use your business expenses to your tax advantage is essential to saving money. Listed below are some of the tax deductions that business owners (and the self-employed) can take advantage of.

 

Meals & Entertainment (M & E)

Probably the one that most people have heard of is Meals and Entertainment. If you are entertaining a current or potential client, you can deduct 50% of the cost as long as it is directly related to your business. You can also deduct these expenditures if the entertainment takes place before or after a business discussion.

 

 

Auto Expense

If you use your car for work or have a company car you can deduct certain costs to maintain the vehicle on your tax return. There are two ways to take advantage of this deduction:

Actual Expense and Standard Mileage Rate.

The first, Actual Expense method, is self-explanatory. You can deduct all of your actual vehicle-related business expenses, such as gas, repairs & maintenance, etc.

 

The second is the Standard Mileage Rate. With this rate, you can deduct 57.5 cents (2015’s rate) for every mile driven as well as tolls and parking costs related to your business. Many find this cost to be the more beneficial of the two deductions.

 

 

Travel

You can deduct plenty of business travel expenses. Just keep in mind that if you also plan on traveling for pleasure, you can deduct the entire trip only if the trip was primarily for business. Otherwise, you will have to split the costs. Also, if you take your family along, you can only deduct your own expenses.

Related expenses include (but are not limited to): plane fare, costs of operating/renting a car, taxis, uber, lodging, meals, shipping materials, tips, etc.

 

Books, Education, Legal & Professional Fees

Purchasing books that relate to your business may lead to deductions. If you buy books that help you do without legal or tax professionals they are fully deductible.

With legal and professional fees, you may deduct in the year incurred. If you have any future benefit for these fees, wait to deduct the cost in that year.

 

 

Bad Debts (Goods vs. Services)

Not getting paid is frustrating, but luckily you may be able to deduct your loss. If it is a Good that you sold, you can deduct the cost of the good you were not paid for. Unfortunately, if it is a Service provided, you cannot deduct the time you devoted to your client.

 

Office Related Expenses

These expenses include those that keep your office running. You can deduct office supplies, telephone & TV bills, postage & shipping, rent, etc. You can also deduct items used to advertise and promote your business, such as business cards, website costs, and so on.

 

Home Office: This can be a tricky one because you will have to determine the square footage of the office space. By the standard deduction method, you can deduct $5 per sq. ft. (the amount is capped).

 

Software: You can generally deduct required software costs, but they must be depreciated over a 36-month period. There are certain exceptions to these rules that would be best to check with your tax professional.

 

 

Moving Expenses

If you have to move because of a business or job, you can deduct certain moving costs. The new job must be at least 50 miles away from your old home or job to qualify.

 

Misc.

Bank service charges, business gifts, seminars, trade shows, business dues, business related magazines, casualty, and theft loss, etc. I would suggest always keeping track of your business related expenses in an excel sheet (even those you are unsure will result in a deduction). This way when it comes time to file your taxes you can discuss them all with your accountant. Accounting is very tedious and rules are always changing. Make sure to check all deductions with a tax professional to make certain that all regulations are obeyed correctly.

 

I hope this helped you all realize how many expenses you can use to your advantage when running your own business.

 

 

Image Credits: Title: dentons.com, M&E: dailyfinance.com, Auto: Autoexcellence.com, Travel: denverluxurycarservice.com, Office: themuse.com, Moving: meelheimsmoving.com. Knowledge base: nolo.com, Personal Knowledge

 

 

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