Your Small Business Checking Account

SoftBaugh has released a new small business tips article, this time about opening a business checking account. While admittedly simplistic, this article lays an important foundation for future articles. It also encourages even sole proprietorships to open a separate business account to make tax time easier, and easier to anticipate. Here at Starving the Monkeys, we are big fans of anything that increases your family’s self-sufficiency. A successful small business (at whatever level) will go a long way toward enabling everything else you want for your family, and increase your personal freedom and choices.

Homeschool CLEP: 8 College Chemistry Credit Hours at Age 14

Today, our fourteen-year-old homeschooled daughter passed the Chemistry CLEP with a score of 57/80, which is good for up to eight college credit hours at many universities. As with the previous Biology CLEP, this win is made even nicer by the fact that some of those credit hours include lab segments. As you know, lab courses can represent an inordinate amount of time, effort and schedule juggling. For those lab courses which are off the primary degree track, this additional time and effort can detract from the major focus.

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Leech City Update, 9 Mar 2017

We’ve been busy over at Leech City with local content articles that, individually, weren’t worth posting for the national reader. However, enough material has accumulated since the Godbee interrogation which can help with the planning and conduct of your own local civil affairs programs that a guided update is in order. In the past months, we’ve started quite a few concept threads while waiting for a couple of key events to pop. These unfinished conceptual threads include the use of a combined civil affairs program, the “Welcome to Leith” mockumentary, and controlling the local narrative through your own media. While we plan on looping back to those threads eventually (the 2017 “year of pursuit” has been very busy and productive thus far), we can at least hit the highlights on topics which affect a wider civil affairs audience.

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The Idle Manager Myth

The latest article in SoftBaugh’s small business series is about the stereotypical coffee cup manager who seems to do nothing, but somehow things in the office or the shop hum along nicely. Often, that manager’s leadership style is why things are humming along nicely. Mastering delegation and removing obstacles are important leadership skills, whether as a manager at BigCo, or a small business owner.

Make Mistakes Quickly

SoftBaugh has released a new small business article about the value of mistakes. Nobody likes mistakes, but we all make them, and a lot more often than we like to admit. The more you do, the more you will accomplish, but you will also make more mistakes along the way. The key is to extract value from them, and catch them as soon as possible. This mindset helps you create processes that avoid those mistakes in the future.

Double Conversion UPS Update

Old School Tech has released an update in the double-conversion UPS series. The latest article describes detailed test results with two different loads, one load more than twice the nominal rating of the batteries, and the other much less than the nominal rating. What emerges from this latest article is a rule of thumb to adjust expectations for available battery array energy by 2% for each 10% increase from the nominal load. For example: double the load, decrease the energy rating by 20%. This is a useful rule for self-sufficiency enthusiasts to use when planning their own battery arrays. As a reminder, a double-conversion UPS can keep critical loads running for many hours in a power outage, giving you time to drive the AC charger from a generator, or to deploy a solar array and its charger instead. Even better, the double conversion UPS concept can swallow bad power from marginal generators, within reason, increasing the options for backup power. Rather than seeing bad power from the generator, picky loads such as freezers and refrigerators consistently see the cleaner power from the inverter.

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Trump Week In Review, 3 Mar 2017

Six weeks in, and the major highlight is Tuesday’s “State of the Trump” address. It was good to see Obamacare addressed as an important issue; back on week one we discussed how that is a major killer of small businesses. We would like to see a broad repeal. However, allowing free market choice (actual choice, not pick-your-poison), allowing pre-tax payment via any means, and breaking down state barriers will do. The President addressed all of these features, which signals that he is in tune with Obamacare’s most destructive features. Regular readers may recall that small business owners are in a custom-fit sinkhole with regard to pre-tax payment. Sure, there are Health Savings Account (HSA) options out there already, but those appear to have been specifically designed to exclude micro-businesses, the seeds from which the middle class, and thus the economy as a whole, grows. Those seeds are you.

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Your Open Source Office

The open source revolution is a game-changer in the business world, and also is of significant interest to self-sufficiency enthusiasts. SoftBaugh has released an article on open-source software to establish a baseline for future, more technical articles for small businesses. For self-sufficiency purposes, the (proprietary yet heavily vendor-subsidized) Raspberry Pi single-board computer is an important resource for open source projects, as is the Python programming language, which itself is purely open source. Getting comfortable with open source office tools, then Linux, Python and the Raspberry Pi, will help open the door to more interesting Raspberry Pi projects. A wide variety of self-sufficiency tools can be built around these, such as the field phone Morse decoder project, as only one of many examples.

Incorporation Tax and Filing Myths

Yesterday, SoftBaugh posted a new article on its blog, “Should I Incorporate?” That article generated some lively feedback, much of which was based on misunderstandings about the nature of business taxes and filing requirements. Today, a new SoftBaugh blog article, Incorporation Tax And Filing Myths, addresses those concerns, and pokes holes in the demand-creation strategy by many CPAs who attempt to scare or confuse people into using their services. In a world where individuals are increasingly using TurboTax and the like for their personal returns, and BigCo has its own auditors on staff, CPAs find themselves fighting over a dwindling small business account pie, and will pull out any trick in the book to keep that business. Unfortunately, some of those scare tactics become self-perpetuating, where people repeat the nightmares to each other until they become real.

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Should I Incorporate?

SoftBaugh has released a new small business article on whether or not to incorporate. Regular Starving the Monkeys readers (book and classic site) will already recognize that the answer is “yes”. In this article, the various business forms are discussed in detail, and a tiny crack left open for the LLC in limited circumstances (pun intended). Future SoftBaugh articles will continue to help small business owners navigate a variety of issues.