NASE Blogs

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
By Marc Wayshak (NASE Guest Blog post) An interview with HubSpot’s founder, Brian Halligan as he shows us how to market in the digital age.  As the first inside salesperson for PTC, a Needham, Mass.-based software company, Brian Halligan got his start cold calling until his “fingers bled,” he quipped during a recent interview with me. Later, when a venture capitalist enlisted him to bring the PTC playbook to a host of portfolio companies, he realized that old industry standbys needed a drastic overhaul if marketers hoped to cut it in an increasingly social-centered world. So in 2006, he and Dharmesh ...
Monday, September 29, 2014
By Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC (NASE Guest Blog Post) breathingspace.com You do your best as a self-employed professional, but some days you are simply swamped by too much competing for your attention. When a flood of items compete for your attention, each item can loom larger in importance than it actually is. Here is a classification system to help you maintain perspective: Classifying Communication Bits: The lowest level of input, bits are single packets of information indicating yes or no, on or off.  In combination, bits add up to data.  Data: The raw numbers in chart form, equations, lists, and ...
Monday, August 18, 2014
My best guess is that you may not even believe me in this week’s blog post, but here it is.  I was on a plane from Los Angeles to Dallas today after a very long week.  I was actually answering an NASE TaxTalk question about S Corporations right on line with the help of American Airlines’ in-flight internet connection.  (Love technology, btw) The lady sitting next to me was a graphics designer and owner of her own small business and noticed the NASE logo on the screen of my laptop.  We talked about her business and about taxes and about ...
Monday, August 11, 2014
I love small business owners.  I know this sounds kind of sappy, and as the President of the National Association for the Self Employed I probably notice this kind of thing more than most, but it really makes me proud when I see that entrepreneurial spirit.  I was out this past weekend and saw a local high school band having a car wash.  I pulled in and let them do their best.  But that wasn’t the sappy part.  There were three kids, maybe 8 years old, who had set up lemonade and iced tea stand.  Right there in the heat! ...
Monday, August 04, 2014
Posted by Keith Hall It’s August, which I guess means that we are in the dog days of summer; lots of hot weather but also lots of swimming pools and cold glasses of lemonade.  The good news for me is that despite the season there are still lots of questions from NASE members that we get to answer every day.  One NASE member posted a question regarding income earned during a speaking engagement overseas, actually in London, England.  Her question made me realize all over again just how pervasive the influence of small business continues to be.  Way to go ...
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Posted by Katie Vlietstra-- By now, we've all heard about the challenges and the ups-and-downs of the new health care law. From cancelled plans to delayed programs and technical glitches in online applications, the Affordable Care Act has had its share of problems. However, in the end, the Affordable Care Act -- or ACA -- has turned out to help millions of Americans young and old. Far from perfect, the Department of Health and Human Services declared success with over eight million people enrolled, and over 30 percent being young Americans aged 18-34. The reality of the new law is that if ...
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Posted by Katie Vlietstra-- It could be your local cupcake shop, neighborhood deli or even your friendly accountant -- all local entrepreneurs fueling not only their local economies, but our national economy as well. One of the things they all have in common is that they are part of a growing movement in America called the small business community. With every dollar you invest in a local, small business, the true entrepreneurial spirit of America continues to thrive. According to the Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about ...
Friday, April 18, 2014
Posted by Katie Vlietstra-- The Small Business Administration (SBA) is our nation's direct link between the administration and America's small business community. The agency provides benefits such as advocacy and support, loans and access to capital and entrepreneurial development to ensure the small business community continues to move our economy forward. Our nation's smallest businesses -- the self-employed and micro-businesses -- represent the heart and soul of America's middle class. We are your neighborhood accountants, dentists, popcorn trucks and bookstores. We also embody the true entrepreneurial spirit of America where starting and operating your own business offers a sense of pride and accomplishment. Yet, ...
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Posted by Katie Vlietstra-- Nearly one year after Karen Mills announced her resignation as head of the Small Business Administration, President Obama announced the nomination of Maria Contreras-Sweet to lead the organization pending Senate confirmation. Maria Contreras-Sweet, herself previously a small business owner, comes to the position with significant private and public sector experience that will no doubt be significantly important to her as she works to quickly move on key areas of concerns for the small business community, including the continued implementation and impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses, access to capital, and continued regulatory burdens ...
Friday, January 10, 2014
Another holiday season has come and gone and hopefully all of your best wishes came true.  Most of us are now focused on the New Year with high expectations and new commitments for success.  And in many cases that includes those high minded New Year’s resolutions that probably include losing a few pounds or maybe just striving to get in shape.  Committing to better health is a great way to start the year whether that includes a better diet, a daily walk or short jog, or maybe even just one less dessert each week.  The key is to just pick ...
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Posted by Katie Vlietstra Individuals and families will see a little less in their paychecks starting January 1, 2014- wage earners and self-employed individuals who make more than $200,000 (individual) and $250,000 (couple) will be assessed an additional .9% Medicare surtax on top of the existing 1.45% Medicare payroll tax as well as a 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income (investment dividends, rental income, interest and capital gains on property). Individual and families falling below the $200,000 will experience new restrictions on medical expense deductions and flexible spending accounts, including penalties for spending money on non-qualified medical expenses (simple human ...
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Guest Blog by Ben Seidel As you may have noticed, Facebook rolled out their star rating system onto business pages last month. In reality, the star rating system has been in place on Facebook's mobile app for places for quite some time. However, November is when they officially rolled it out for business pages on the standard browser version of Facebook. The Good and Bad The placement of the star ratings on the Facebook page could not be more visible. If you have ratings, the page will aggregate this data into the 5 star rating graphic and display it directly ...
Monday, November 04, 2013
Earlier this week, the NASE submitted a statement for the record to the House Ways and Means Committee in response to the committee’s hearing on the status of the ACA enrollment.  In the NASE statement, we expressed our concerns that leading up to the October 1st launch, the administration was not providing sufficient details and answers regarding the Exchange Marketplace.  With the lackluster launch, we are now asking congress to eliminate the open enrollment deadlines for the 2014 calendar year and to delay the individual mandate penalty for one tax-filing year. By pushing back the deadline, congress would give you, the ...
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
As many of you already know, starting at the beginning of the month, the Government shut down for 16 days.  Standard & Poor estimates that the shutdown cost the U.S. economy $24 billion during that span.  While many government employees were directly affected, they were not the only ones.  Many small businesses felt the effects of the shutdown in every corner of the country. Of the many government contractors, many are self-employed and felt the full force of the shutdown as there contracts (paychecks) were frozen.  Additionally, those self-employed small businesses that were in the process of getting an SBA ...
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Last week, we released an infographic to increase awareness about the upcoming changes to Health Care and how it relates to the twenty three million self-employed in this country.  Next week, on October 1st, national and state health care Exchanges will begin open enrollment.  Currently, the federal government has provided limited details and incomplete information which makes it difficult to plan and make decisions regarding your health care in the future. We provided this press release to spread the information that we have compiled and to help get you the tools you need to make decisions.  Be sure you check ...
Monday, September 23, 2013
Earlier this year, we here at the NASE announced a partnership with the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and Fundable to launch a crowdfunding contest.  The contest was a great success for many small businesses and the winner that emerged was The Cookie Bar from Las Vegas, Nevada. To win the contest, participants had to be the first one to reach their goal.  The Cookie Bar set a goal to raise $10,000 and at the time of writing this, they have raised over $11,000. Not only will they receive the money they raised but for winning the contest, the ...
Monday, July 15, 2013
(Posted By: Javan Porter) The SBA’s Office of Advocacy annually publishes a report that tracks lending to small businesses. The report shows how small businesses are financed, or in the worst case, denied the financing they need. This could be the banking industry’s worst nightmare. Small businesses are too important to the economy to be heckled by lenders. This analysis provides the critical answers on how much they are heckled and why. The 2012 report revealed that small business loans are declining as business loans in general are increasing. This is a testament of the current lending environment and a ...
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Joe Pielago of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. received the NASE Future Entrepreneur award in 2009. After four years at the University of San Francisco, he recently graduated with a BS in Business Administration. Read on to join us in catching up with Joe. NASE: Four years goes by quickly! Tell us about your college experience. Joe: My time at USF has been spent in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, and in the best city ever. As a student I held multiple jobs including coaching a club swim team, bartending, lifeguarding, as well as marketing internships, brand building, and of course ...
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Posted by Javan Porter  The Obama administration took some muscle out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by pushing the Employer Mandate implementation to 2015. The administration has started marketing efforts, but this mandate must be a hard sell. The policy calls for any business that employs over 50 full time workers (30 hours per week) to provide insurance for their employees. The conundrum that is the ACA implementation has caused companies and the general public to panic. This panic has caused the Obama administration to believe that it will further suppress the growth of a sluggish economy. Valerie Jarrett, ...
Monday, July 08, 2013
The NASE has created to two page brief that highlights the Affordable Care Act and its impact on America's smallest Businesses.  It is a great tool that breaks down the complicated legislation and makes it easier to understand. Click here for the Affordable Care Act in Brief PDF file
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Last week, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), the nation’s leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), an advocacy and research organization for entrepreneurs, partnered with Fundable, a crowdfunding platform partner focused exclusively on startup companies, to launch a contest helping startups and existing business fundraise to start or grow their company.   Crowdfunding a new, proven (and sound) fundraising phenomenon that is coming on strong: it’s a collective effort of individuals and entities that pool their money through a variety of ways, usually through the Internet, to support a ...
Friday, June 14, 2013
Posted by Ben Seidel - Imagine that you're using your computer to finalize a document or send out an agenda with critical last minute details, and the power goes out due to a storm (especially if you live in the Midwest, like me). Your computer instantly shuts down, and you are left wondering, "So, when was the last time I hit that save button?" What many do not realize is that you are not only facing lost files, but your computer can also be harmed. Irregular power surges, voltage drops (brown outs), and outages can all cause irrevocable damage the ...
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Posted by Javan Porter - If President Obama is the coach of the team for creating new jobs, his quarterback is small business. The coach may lay out the game plan but small businesses play the game. Small businesses have created two-thirds of new jobs in America. The President as the coach understands the importance of such a strong quarterback and has issued a proclamation announcing this year’s National Small Business Week for June 17th to 21st. Get more information about National Small Business Week here. National Small Business Week consists of conferences throughout the country highlighting the achievement and ...
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Posted by Javan Porter - As a micro-business owner, you must make difficult decisions that carry ramifications that reach far beyond your office walls. Although the high health insurance costs that your employees face may worry you, an opportunity for you as the business owner to offer assistance is through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). An HRA allows an avenue for an employer to contribute towards an employee’s health insurance costs. The employer can simply add the contribution amount they decide on directly to the employee’s paycheck. HRA plans have no participation requirements, so businesses of any size can create ...
Monday, May 13, 2013
Posted by Molly Nelson - Wondering how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may impact your business, or how to achieve health business growth? Two webinars happening this week might have the answers you need. "Small Businesses Beware: Why You Can't Afford to Ignore the Affordable Care Act" Hosted by ADP and HR.com Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 11 a.m. to noon ET Register for the webinar on the Affordable Care Act.  "Death by Growth: Are You at Risk?" Small Biz Club Success Saturday webinar Saturday, May 18, 2013, 11 a.m. ET Register for the webinar on business growth. 
Friday, May 10, 2013
The Small Business Administration recently announced that they are amending regulations to allow greater access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses.  This signals the commitment by the SBA to continue to advocate and support woman business owners.  Previously, Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses had a limit to the contracts they could receive.  With the rule change, the contracts can be at any dollar amount.  This will not only help federal agencies reach their goal of five percent of contracts going towards WOSB but more importantly, get the funding in the hands of these entrepreneurs.  ...
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Posted by Katie Vlietstra-  On April 30th, the Department of Health and Human Services released the new, simplified exchange health care application for both individuals and families.  The simplified application process will allow for the individual or head of household applying for health insurance to verify possibly eligibility in other federally administered health care programs, including the Health Insurance Marketplace (exchanges), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and access to tax credits to pay for premiums.  Applications to secure health insurance in the marketplace will be accepted starting on October 1, 2013, but we recommend spending some time and ...
Thursday, April 25, 2013
A buzz has been created recently as reports that the U.S. Treasury’s funding of the Small Business Lending Fund grew by over $1.5 billion between the third and fourth quarter last year.  This is exciting as getting funding to local banks and community development loan funds and in the hands of America’s smallest business is a great way to stabilize and grow the U.S. economy. Getting money to the self-employed will lead to more jobs and stronger communities. Our very own President & CEO Kristie Arslan also weighed in saying “Seeing the growth in small-business lending is a promising signal ...
Monday, April 15, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE Tax Expert) - Well, it's here. April 15th and the tax return is due today. My guess is that a bunch of us have not completed all of the detail that we had hoped to and now we're not sure what to do. First, don't panic! If you need more time to complete your tax return, the IRS will automatically grant you an additional six months to file the return by simply asking them. If you need more time, simply complete IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File US Individual Income ...
Friday, April 12, 2013
If you’re waiting till the final hour (or weekend) to prepare your tax return, make sure you have read through the Internal Revenue Service’s Top Six Tax Tips for the Self-Employed.  For a highlight of the article, read on below, and for more details and links to important Self-Employed forms that you will likely need, be sure to click on the link above and visit the IRS website. 1. Self-employment income can include pay that you receive for part-time work you do out of your home. This could include income you earn in addition to your regular job. 2. Self-employed ...
Monday, April 08, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE Tax Expert) - What if I told you that the IRS would subsidize your retirement savings plan? My guess is that you wouldn't believe me, but it's true. If you haven't filed your tax return yet, make sure you consider your options for contributing to a qualified retirement plan such as a traditional IRA or a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plan. The contributions that you make before you file your return are deductible even though it is already three-and-a-half months after the end of the year. This is the one true tax planning tool left for all ...
Monday, April 01, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE Tax Expert) - We knew it would happen. April is here and many of us still haven't finished our tax return. There are still a couple of weeks to go, so don't feel too rushed, but it's time to get busy. As you plow through all of the paper and numbers and receipts, let me plant one thing in the back of your mind to keep you focused. The number one reason that this return might spark that dreaded letter from the IRS asking for more detail, or worse, for more money, is math errors.  ...
Monday, March 25, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE Tax Expert) - Telling you not to be tempted by the fudge is probably a silly way to start a blog post about taxes. Silly for the most part because, of course, you will be tempted by the fudge, because it's fudge. (Duh!) But I'm not talking about the chocolate kind, I'm talking about that temptation to take a shortcut in completing your federal income tax return.  Whether you are getting your paperwork together for the accountant or getting ready to sit down with TurboTax, you are probably feeling the temptation to just guess. To ...
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
In honor of Women’s History Month, the NASE would like to showcase some contributions women have made to the business community and provide some resources for women looking to impact their community or the next generation of women entrepreneurs. Whether you plan to start your own business and contribute to the local economy, or have expertise that you would like to lend to an organization that supports women in business, this blog post is for you. Women-owned businesses are a powerful force in the economy: • There are over 7 million U.S. women who run their own businesses • Women ...
Monday, March 18, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE Tax Expert) - There are many places on a small-business owner’s tax return that mistakes can be made. Miscalculations, code section misinterpretations, eligibility oversights, and even the most simple of math mistakes can cause headaches, stomach aches, and even lead to an IRS inquiry. But which mistake is the most devastating? Which mistake do I hate to see more than any other? I hate the mistake that never even makes it to the tax return because the small-business owner forgot to include it, and that is a missed deduction. Any deduction that is eligible, allowable, and ...
Monday, March 11, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE Tax Expert) - No, I don’t mean the kind that the cat chases, but if you have a mouse you have resources. After years and years of being self-employed and working with the self-employed, I know how easy it is to feel stuck and alone with the issues you are facing with your small business. It’s late Saturday night, and the kids are finally in bed, yet you still have a thousand things to do in your small business. Those are the times that it seems so lonely. But if you have an Internet connection, you ...
Thursday, March 07, 2013
The Small Business Administration (SBA) and VISA have partnered up in a contest that is giving away $30,000 in cash prizes.  If your small business exports goods or services around the world, tell your story to the SBA and have a chance at winning up to a $10,000 first-place prize. The rules are simple, you have to be defined as a small business per SBA standards, sell goods or services internationally and have used a federal government program to aide your business.  If you qualify, get your video camera ready and shoot a video on why you deserve to win. ...
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE Tax Expert) - Well, I don’t know for sure about birds or which bird gets which worm, but I do know that it’s never too early to start thinking about your tax return. Most likely you have already received your own little mountain of tax related paperwork including W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, K-1s, brokerage statements, bank statements, HSA statements…and on and on and on.  If you are expecting a refund, the quicker you can get all of those forms filed, the quicker you will get your check back from the IRS. Even if you expect to owe ...
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Posted by Katie Vlietstra-- Last night, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, outlining an ambitious second term agenda including: immigration reform, climate change, changes to current gun laws, and hope in tackling comprehensive tax reform. However in a startling move, President Obama only mentioned the small business community twice.  In his first comment directed at small businesses, the President openly supported efforts for bi-partisan, comprehensive tax reform, saying, “The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms, and more time expanding and hiring; a tax code that ensures ...
Thursday, February 07, 2013
As we know, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was no small piece of legislation and it is going to impact our lives in a large way.  As with many new and large changes to the law, we here at the NASE know it can be confusing and tricky as you try and figure out what is best for your family and your business.  Luckily, the Small Business Administration knows that also and has created a new online tool to help with the process of finding the best health care options for you. Additionally, the site provides a good overview of the ...
Monday, February 04, 2013
Posted by Molly Nelson - Here's some exciting news this week about some help for small businesses by way of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Small Business Administration. In an attempt to help the federal government reach its small-business procurement goals, the DVA plans to award a five year, $5 billion services contract to three small-business prime contractors. These small businesses will have a maximum of 150 employees, and at least one will be owned by a disabled veteran.  Additionally, the SBA recently announced the launch of the Early Stage Innovation Funds Initiative. The SBA plans to commit up ...
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Posted by Molly Nelson - The beginning of the year is as good a time as any to take stock of your customer service efforts and consider what you're doing right and what you could improve upon.  Check out these articles for some ideas: 5 Phrases Guaranteed to Boost Your Customer Service (OPEN Forum) 20 Tricks of the Trade to Develop Superior Customer Service (Small Business Trends) Want to Win the Competition for Customers? (SelfInformed) Have questions about customer service? Ask the Experts at NASE.org!
Friday, January 18, 2013
Posted by Gene Fairbrother (NASE Lead Small Business Advisor) - In today’s age of "Internet mania" it is hard to envision any business that doesn't need a presence on the Internet as a marketing tool. The problem for many small-business owners is the thinking that just because they have a website, Facebook page, or LinkedIn presence that customers will be knocking down their doors. An all too common scenario that the NASE consultants get is a member calling telling us that they have been on the Internet for several months but they are not getting any response or sales. A few questions ...
Friday, January 18, 2013
With the 2012 presidential election on the books and President Obama’s second inauguration just days away, the federal government is in full swing to continue the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of the controversies surrounding it, the ACA is here to stay, so we may as well fully understand what’s to come. The links below provide an in-depth look into the execution of the implementation schedule of the ACA through 2018. Affordable Care Act Implementation: 2013 Timeline Kaiser Family Foundation’s Healthcare Implementation Timeline This year is shaping up to be one of the busiest for the Obama administration ...
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) - My wife and I ventured out in the snow to watch Lincoln this weekend and really enjoyed the movie.  If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, don’t wait another week.  It is awesome.  I left the movie saying, “That is what makes our country great.  Leadership!  And getting things done!”   With the fiscal cliff debate, the debt ceiling, Congressional bickering and indecision, it is easy to long for a better time.  But today, my optimism has been restored.  Well, restored at least as far as my Home Office.  ...
Monday, January 14, 2013
Posted by Molly Nelson - "I don't know. What do you think?" Are these the seven most important words in business? Bill Marriott, founder of Marriott hotels, believed that they were. While leadership is often about what you do, it is sometimes also about what you say.  Read more from Inc. about things that extraordinary people say.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Earlier this month, the government came together and Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) which President Obama then signed into law. While the effort failed to extend cuts to the payroll tax (the rate had been reduced from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for 2011 and 2012, but will now go back up to 6.2 percent) it did provide some extensions that should prove to be beneficial to the self-employed. The Small Business Administration released an article that highlighted some of the key extensions in the bill, and we encourage you to read through it. As ...
Friday, January 04, 2013
Posted by Katie Vlietstra-While Congress avoided hitting many self-employed Americans with higher income tax rates, those individuals making less than $400,000 and couples making less than $450,000 will see their income tax rates remain the same, all Americans will see their paychecks a little lighter in 2013 due to expiring tax holidays and two new health reform law-related taxes.  While addressing the individual rate captured most of the attention, Congress did address other expiring tax issues in their last minute deal, two of interest to the self-employed: the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and the Estate Tax.  In a bold move, ...
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Posted by Molly Nelson - Hackers are starting to look at small businesses as easy prey for online attacks. Make sure your business and business website is protected: Small Business Trends has advice on cyber liability insurance, and  OPEN Forum has some advice from the small-business owner victim of hackers.