Allow Your Clients to Schedule Their Own Appointments

Do you ever play phone tag when trying to schedule appointments with your clients? We've got a great solution for you. A couple months ago, we signed up for an online appointment scheduler called TimeTrade. We absolutely love how easy it is for our customers/clients to make appointments with our company. It has saved time for both our company and our customers/clients.

integrates with your existing Outlook or Google calendar. You can create multiple event types with different blocks of time. When a client selects a desired time, your Outlook or Google calendar is automatically filled in with their information.

Try it for yourself for 30-day free trial. The single user price per year is only $49.

Want to see how easy it is to create an activity with TimeTrade, watch this video on YouTube.


Marketing with Facebook

I listened to a great webinar today hosted by Gail Dody with Design Success University presented by Amy Porterfield. The subject was marketing with Facebook. Amy is a very engaging down to earth speaker. Visit her on Facebook and like her page, you're sure to get lots of great marketing tips from her.

She also mentioned that she was one of three authors that wrote the book "Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies." This book discusses everything you ever wanted to know about how to effectively use Facebook as a marketing tool. Check out the book, it has a wealth of information. Amy shared a lot of great tips on the webinar today. Thanks Gail for having the insight to have Amy do a presentation today.


You Won't Believe What Your Mobile Phone Can Do Now!

Have you seen these funny looking squares that resemble a computer chip and wondered what the heck? You've probably noticed them on printed materials you're receiving in the mail. They're showing up everywhere! Or, you might have even noticed them on a few business cards. Keep reading to see how to begin using those funny looking squares today.

First, let me explain how and why these codes are used. They are called QR Codes (Quick Response) and they are able to be read with an app in mobile phones such as iPhone, Android and Blackberry. These unique scanner apps read the QR Code and instantly displays any type of information from the vendor's website, a shopping cart page, or contact details.

You can even generate your own QR Code to add to your marketing materials. We're in the process of adding QR Codes to our business cards, brochures, flyers . . . well you get the picture. You can generate a different QR Code that is specific to each marketing piece. For instance, your brochure QR Code might take a person directly to the homepage of your website. A QR Code on a flyer might take your client to a specific page on your website. A QR Code on your business card could give them your contact details. In this world of technology, it's all about giving our clients the information they want RIGHT NOW!

Below is example of a QR Code online generator that can create a QR Code for your business card by using the Create a meCard option. If you want to create a QR Code to direct someone to your website you would simply click on the drop down menu and select Bookmark a website. There are several QR Code generators available on the web. We selected Qrafter, anyone can visit this website and generate QR Codes for free, however, their current mobile phone app is only for iOS devices which are the iPhone and iPad. I also like Mobiletag and their app is for Andriod, Blackerry and iPhone users. Download an app for your phone today; be prepared to take interesting journeys with your phone.

You can upgrade to the Pro Pack ($2.99) and create QR Codes right from your iPhone.


Paying & Reimbursing Yourself in QuickBooks

Yesterday, Vickie Ayres, The Countess of QuickBooks, hosted our free monthly QuickBooks webinar and discussed the topic of how to pay and reimburse yourself in QuickBooks. She also demonstrated clever ways of making sure everything is tracked in QuickBooks properly. Below is an article from Vickie based on the webinar. The recording of yesterday's webinar will be available for purchase in our shopping cart next week.

Paying and Reimbursing Yourself in QuickBooks
by Vickie Ayres

How to decide to pay and reimburse yourself can be a difficult question, especially when you first open your business. Almost all new businesses have to re-invest most of their profit back into the business. Think about how much it would cost to replace yourself doing the tasks you do. If you hired someone to do your job, what is the going rate in your area? That is the minimum base rate you should choose to pay yourself. Some business owners pay themselves based on a percentage of the job, sometimes that is easier in the beginning when cash flow is tight.

After deciding how much, let's look at how to enter that in your QuickBooks company file. You will want to discuss this with your accountant of course, as everyone's entity and personal situation will vary. If you create payroll for employees, you can make yourself an "Employee" and pay yourself, letting payroll taxes accrue as you go along. This is how I have paid myself for years. Pay as you go and even it all up at the end of the year on your tax returns.

You need two accounts in your Chart of Accounts to show money drawn and money invested. Depending on your entity type there will be different account names for each entity. Essentially, whether it is a Partner Draw or an Owners Draw, the name is different but the concept is the same. Your company has money, it isn't taxed yet, and you want to put it in your pocket. That's OK, it's your money.

Below are three examples of Chart of Accounts's set up as three different entity types, notice how they have similar names for the money drawn and money invested equity accounts?

Owner Draw

Partner Draw


What your accountant and the government care about is that when you take or put money into your company, you record that information correctly. Show how much you take and how much you put in, so the accountant can arrange it all on your tax return at the end of the year and assess the proper payroll and income taxes on it.

If you don't create payroll you can write yourself a "Draw" check, remember to use the equity account in your Chart of Accounts that is for draws, don't get hung up on the difference in names in the different types of entities. Here is an example of a check written to the owner of the company for $1000.00 as a salary.

The other thing you need to account for is business expenses that you make with personal funds or credit cards. Very, very important to keep track of these. You can do them as you go but most people let them pile up in a file and reimburse these expenses periodically. This money that you "invest" in your company is money you can take out of your company with no payroll or income taxes assessed; it is money the government has already taxed. Let's look at two ways to get that expense posted in QuickBooks and/or pay yourself back.

If you want to pay yourself back just write yourself, a check and use the appropriate expense account. If you used your personal credit card to buy some paper at Office Max, below is a check showing how to pay yourself back.

Now here is the really cool trick, how to enter the expense and NOT pay yourself back right now. We are going to create a "Zero Sum Transaction in a Clearing Account." Won't you look smart at your next tax appointment throwing that fancy phrase out on the desk? It's very easy!
  • Create a new bank account called "Clearing Account" (List > Chart of Accounts > right-click, select "New" > Type, Bank > Save & Close.
  • Now create a check and make sure you choose the "Clearing Account this time, the example below shows the same copy paper expense, but it makes an expense number for Office Supplies and an Investment entry for the amount invested.
  • Notice there are two entries on the expense tab. The second entry uses the Owner's Capital: Investments account and the exact same amount in negative format was entered.

You can stack numerous transactions on the same check here. Simply list all of the transactions with explanations and make just one entry with the negative number for the investment, like this...

If you use QuickBooks in your design business you need Minutes Matter QuickBooks & Quoting! Included with your purchase is a free one-on-one set up with Vickie, The Countess of QuickBooks, to make sure you're off to the perfect start with our QuickBooks & Quoting.


Use your phone to accept a credit card payment from your client

ezine: gopayment

Hi ~Contact.FirstName~,

Do you accept credit card payments from your clients? If not, now might be a great time to seriously consider it, if you have an iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry phone. I have read about Intuit's GoPayment device with interest for sometime, but decided I didn't want to pay for the reader or additional monthly fee.

Recently, I was on the phone with Intuit and the person mentioned GoPayment and how Intuit had made big changes in regards to GoPayment. They are now offering a TOTALLY FREE reader to everyone with a low swipe rate of 1.6%. The GoPayment App to install on your device is also free. All business owners that accept credit cards know if you can actually swipe the client's credit card the discount rate is much lower. All the sudden, I began to sit up and listen with great interest. He went on to say since I was already using Intuit's merchant services for the Desktop version of QuickBooks they would simply add GoPayment to my existing account with NO additional monthly charge. Immediately, I was sold. Of course, I confirmed this offer didn't have any hidden charges and I quizzed him over all the terms and conditions. There is no contract, you can cancel at anytime and it is extremely easy to sign up as new merchant with Intuit. I think he told me the monthly fee is $11.99 per month.

I received my FREE reader this week. Dandelion Interiors is ready to accept charges using our iPhones or iPad. Did I mention Jerry and I love our iPhones? Jerry and I both tested the reader on our phones and indeed it works as advertised. You can even void a charge right from your phone. Absolutely, love it! Isn't technology amazing?

ezine: gopayment1


Join Webinars from your iPad

ezine: GTM2

I had to share some exciting news from Citrix with all of you that have an iPad or that are thinking about getting an iPad. I attended a webinar yesterday via my iPad ~ WOW! All I did was click on the webinar link in my email and I instantly began to connect. I wasn't even prompted to enter my name and email, my iPad did that automatically. The audio and video worked perfectly with no lag time. Love the ability to zoom by tapping and pinching. I connected to the webinar via our office WiFi; using a 3G connection will use too much of your 3G plan. Just one more reason to think about getting an iPad.

Citrix (GoToMeeting) announced this week that you can now join webinars on your iPad. Download the free app from the Apple App Store and join meetings on your iPad in seconds. This exciting addition to GoToMeeting, built specifically for the iPad, makes online meetings more accessible than ever. Use your iPad to attend online meetings on the go - at a café, in a hotel, wherever you happen to be.

ezine: GTM

Using GoToMeeting on an iPad, you can:
  • Attend online meetings wherever you are - at no charge.
  • Join meetings in seconds by tapping a link in an email or enter the meeting ID in GTM App
  • View presentations, mockups and reports - whatever the presenter shares on-screen.
  • Connect to audio through your iPad or over the phone.
  • Pinch to zoom meeting content.
  • Switch between portrait and landscape.
  • Increase the viewer size with a double tap of the finger.
Using GoToMeeting on an iPad, you can't:
  • Ask questions (Citrix is working on adding this functionality)
  • Raise your hand
NOTE: To enjoy webinars without internet interruption, I recommend you join a webinar only when using a WiFi connection.

ezine: GTM3

I recently purchased an stand for my iPad. A stand is a perfect solution when I need hands-free viewing for webinars or when I'm cooking. Did I mention I love allrecipes.com?


Do you feel the need for speed?

Have you ever checked your internet speed? Occasionally, everyone should check their internet speed to confirm they're actually getting the speed they're paying for. There are several speed tests that will clock your download & upload speed. The download speed will be the most important test, since 95% of the time you're surfing the internet, viewing videos or downloading files and images. You would only use the upload speed when you're uploading a file to a forum or sending an email with an attachment.

Do you feel the need for speed? Check out your internet speed by clicking on one of the links below. Check your speed multiple times as your speed will vary based on the time of day.

Below are the speed test results from a few of the Minutes Matter team:

  • Minutes Matter Office ~ Comcast Business Class Internet 22Mbps ($99 per month) our download speed ranges between 16 - 24 Mbps. (see screenshot above)
  • Anna, Studio's Tech Support ~ Comcast personal ($52 per month) her download speed ranges between 9 - 12 Mbps.
  • Vickie, QuickBooks Tech Support ~ Hughes Network (she lives in a rural area and paid one upfront fee) her download speed ranges between 5.79 - 5.82 Mbps.
  • Merlyn, Studio's Coach ~ Comcast personal ($55 per month) her download speed ranges between 15 - 32 Mbps. (Merlyn, you're kicking with that 32 Mbps)
Do you have to wait several seconds for a website to load or 15 - 30 minutes to download a software program like Studio? If so, you're experiencing a slower internet connection. The normal time to download our Studio software should be 2 - 7 minutes. More than likely your IP (internet provider) offers multiple speed levels of course a higher price tag comes with the higher speed. Contact your IP and find out if you're actually receiving the speed you're paying for. If you're paying for the lowest speed you might consider increasing your speed to the next level. In this day and time none of us like to wait. We all want instant results. Today, so much of our design research is done on the internet; business owners need a fast connection to reduce wait times. DSL connections are typically a little slower than cable speeds. Mobile Broadbands or Aircards are slower than DSL with speeds ranging from 1 - 3 Mbps. Hardwiring your computer to your router will increase your internet speed. The further away your laptop is from your router the slower the connection. When possible, try to download large files and watch videos when you're hardwired.