Join an Online Community to Get Ahead in Business

If you want to join an online community rather than build your own, it’s important to look at several communities to ensure that you spend your money and/or time wisely before getting too involved. It’s pretty easy to tell quickly if a community is one you want to stay involved in if you know what to look for.

* Uses Real Names – You don’t really want to waste time in a community where everyone is anonymous. You want to make real connections with real people with whom you can conduct business. When you are dealing with a lot of anonymous people that isn’t going to happen; instead you could end up scammed.

* Has Active Discussions – The owner of the group should be working hard to ensure that discussions stay active and productive. If no one has started a new discussion in the last week other than to spam the group, it’s probably not a very good community.

* Offers Plenty of Content – You want to be part of a community that offers informative content to the audience that is helpful to their business. If the content and information that is available is old and outdated, it might not be a community that you want to waste time on.

* Has a Podcast – A really good addition to any online community is a podcast where the host interviews members and also experts in the niche. This keeps everything new and fresh for the members and keeps them coming back.

* Community of Customers – The best community you can join is a community full of potential clients for you. For example if you’re an author’s VA you might want to join a community of authors.

* Community of Colleagues – Alternatively, you might want to learn more about your niche by joining a community full of your actual competition. It can be very enlightening to learn from others who are doing what you are doing.

* Notice Who Is Commenting – When a discussion starts, who is starting it and who is commenting on it? You may notice that the same people are always involved in the discussions. That is okay as long as the comments are well formed, intelligent, and there aren’t a lot of disagreements without someone checking the discussion.

* How Many Blatant Ads Appear? – Some measure of promotion is okay because it’s their community that they started likely to promote themselves, but you want the promotions to be well thought out and not the only thing the community is about.

* Do They Offer Live Events? – Webinars, teleseminars, Twitter parties, and even in-person live events speak to a well-organized and established online community that will continue to grow and thrive.

Choosing an online community to become a regular part of is an important thing to consider, because it takes a lot of time and effort to create value from the experience. You don’t want to spend your time in the wrong place. To join a community of Christian women who mean business and intend to be successful, join The Lydia Circle.

Work Diligently for the Lord – Proverbs 12:24

Here’s something good for you today: “The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” (Prov. 12:24, Peterson)

This idea really speaks to the type of attitude a Christian business woman should have.   Being diligent means to stay the course that Christ has given you to follow, no matter what you encounter and at least until He gives you a new direction to take.  In planning your day, dedicate all of it to the Lord and keep your eyes on the prize that He has promised to you.

I know a lot of people who choose not to be diligent in their work.  Their attitudes are very different than the people who love to work, even when they are tired or not seeing immediate results from their efforts. The non-diligent are easily discouraged and need a lot of motivation from other people to keep going.  They often complain about their work and talk about being elsewhere.  If these people are trying to be entrepreneurs, they find it difficult to get going and succeed.  Being in business on your own takes a lot of diligence and without it, success will be hard to achieve.

On the other side, the diligent people get a real sense of peace from working hard. That peace brings the freedom that doing work with the Lord in mind promises.   Instead of seeing the negative, there is only the positive about what happens in the workday.   Customers get served with a smile.  Even tough times provide lessons that only make work easier on the next try.

Think about you attitude as you work.  Are you being diligent in all that you do?  Are you feeling the freedom that comes through working with that joy in your heart?  Have a great work day my sisters.

Get support to work diligently in your business by joining NACWIB.  For only an annual fee or low monthly investment, get access to a business planning workshop, a workshop on setting your business up on the Internet, WordPress videos and much more.  Each month, new support materials are added to help you have success in your business.  Click HERE to join NACWIB today.

What Christian Business Women Need to Know about Payroll Management

If you are a Christian woman in business and have employees in your business (as opposed to independent contractors), knowing about payroll management is one of the most important parts of doing business.  Even though this is a basic components of business accounting,  it can be surprisingly complex.  There are a lot of different parts of the accounting process to keep track of in business.  If you have an accountant or manage your own payroll,  here are seven things you should keep in mind about managing your payroll.

Tracking Hours

If you’re paying your employees by the hour, payroll management begins with having a good system for tracking time worked by each employee.  Have a reliable system to accurately log in hours.  If you are working with a virtual employee, have that person provide you with her hours tracking sheet each month showing what has bene accomplish during the payment time period. This is essential for accurate payroll management

Taxes and Withholding

As an employer,  you are responsible for withholding the appropriate amount of taxes from your employee checks.  That includes but isn’t limited to a 6.2% social security withholding, a 1.45% withholding for Medicare, income tax withholding and more.  You also need to put in your employer tax matches, including the same amount in Medicare and social security, as well as unemployment taxes and know when to submit the paperwork and money to the government.

Benefits and Deductions

Employee benefits like dental plans and health insurance plans often come with a premium payment that the employee needs to pay.  Your company will usually pick up part of the tab and you would have the employee put in a certain amount also.  The necessary premium portion from the employee will need to be deducted from their paycheck in the form of deductions.

Tracking Payment Due Dates

Another somewhat confusing aspect of payroll management is tracking when you need to pay various dues, taxes and fees.  Different government organizations need to be paid at different times.  Furthermore, the date of your company’s fiscal year end can shift these dates around.  You need to develop a system for tracking when you need to pay what if you are doing your own payments.  Record these payment dates on your calendar as being late on paying your fees can result in penalties.

How to Actually Pay Employees

How to get money to your employee is another important payroll management component.  Options for doing this include setting up direct deposits, printing and mailing checks, or even having the employee pick the check up in person.  You also need to print pay stubs which detail your employees’ compensation, withholdings and deductions.  These are important for your employees’ records.  They’re also essential records in case a dispute ever arises.

Tax Forms

You need to make sure you get tax forms from your employees every year. These forms need to be completely filled out by all employees and postmarked by January 31st. These forms include 1099s for contractors and W-2s for employees.

Maintaining Your Accounting Records

The amount of hours worked and the salary pay owed must be balanced against the amount of money actually paid out. Balancing should be done both quarterly and annually. Balancing your books helps avoid accounting mistakes and oversight.

As you can tell, managing employee payroll can be quite a complex endeavor. Having someone experienced in house or having a trustworthy accounting firm work with you can make the whole payroll process much easier. The most complicated part is getting started. Once your payroll systems are in place, keeping things running is relatively simple.  Even if you have an outside professional do your payroll records as a responsible women in business, it is good to have at least a basic understanding of how this process works.

Learn more about operating a successful business when you join NACWIB.  There’s one low monthly fee or one annual investment.  Find out more by Clicking HERE.  Join NACWIB today.

Be Perfect – Is That Possible for the Woman of Faith?

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48(NASB). 

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about, I have to be perfect too.  This week was a tough one business wise and personally.  Maybe because of celebrating another birthday for my son which made me realize how time is ticking on for me.  Maybe it’s trying to find the perfect way to revise NACWIB to be more responsive to the needs of the members.  Maybe it’s just being tired from all the traveling I’ve done over the past two weeks. 

Whatever it is I asked the Lord to give me some direction. So He told me through prayer “Be perfect.”  You’d think a busy, trying to be professional Christian woman would get a break.  But God is a God of perfection. Therefore He doesn’t pull punches by giving us a day off from doing the right thing in every aspect of our lives.  And as women of faith we should all be thankful for that.

Here’s the deal.  In striving to revive the National Association of Christian Women in Business (NACWIB) it started to get a bit tough.  What do people really want?  What do I provide to be a real service to the members?  I was tossing and turning at night trying to figure this all out.  Then the problem became obvious.  I had gotten away from the focus I keep telling members to keep; keep the focus on God first and only. 

For some reason trying to go in a new direction with the Association made me feel unsure.  I tried to write posts to encourage you to keep moving forward in your business and I got stuck.  I wanted to tell you not to give up and I felt like a fake.  It felt too hard; I wanted to give up.  The easy thing to do would have been to keep writing as if nothing was wrong, like I had it all together.  Don’t I have to appear like I have it all together and tell the members how easy it is to keep going and never have a bad day?  The easy thing would have been to fake it till I made it.  But there’s a real problem with that when it comes to NACWIB. 

The questions I should have been keeping in the forefront included, what does God want for this organization? How would the Lord be glorified through the messages sent to the mailing list subscribers?  What would He do to benefit the membership at this particular time?  These were the type of questions that would begin the right shift for NACWIB – and for my life.  

I made a commitment long ago to create this Association to serve the Lord and be a blessing to you.  Therefore, I get stopped in my tracks when I’m not open and honest.  Sometimes, I really hate that.  I don’t feel “powerful” or like I’m in control the way I feel I’m supposed to be.  Instead of feeling like a powerful, empowered leader, I start to feel weak. But in that, I finally figure out how to gain real strength. 

In my weakness I remembered to call on the Lord to give me the topics to write about or to know the direction to move in.  I asked Him to show me how to do the work.  As I started pouring out my heart to Him last night He gave me the verse “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. 

I don’t know about you but this verse has always given me a double reaction.  First of all, I want to do the right thing before the Lord.  Secondly, I feel I’ll never be able to rise up to the task of being perfect according to what I thought this verse required.  So I tried to shake off the truth that this verse was given to me for this time. 

As you know, when God gives you something it’s going to stick for a long time.  Ignore it long enough and eventually the intensity start to fade a bit.  You might even be able to chase the thought to the back of your mind periodically.  But it will never go away for good.  I learned this a long time ago so I know to start praying about this instead of trying to fight it.  There are times when women of faith are required to face the hard commands if we like it or not and usually especially when we like it or not.  However, this is actually something God makes doable.

The Bible verse “be perfect” means to be complete, to reach a level of maturity in spiritual integrity that lets us exist in the world in a way that is a reflection of God.  God tells us to be set apart so we can be like Him.  Being exactly like God of course is impossible.  To reach the fullness of perfection will never happen as a human being.  Even the most powerful of the Biblical saints had their moments of frailty and outright sin.  Knowing that could actually provide a moment of relief.  But still a woman of faith can assess the grace to escape every temptation to overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

Today, finding and accessing that grace is a real task.  More than ever the opportunity to fall off the wagon in the pursuit of perfection is more possible than ever.  Temptations include the normal daily interactions between people, accessibility to social media outlets, negative television programming, excuses to be angry, old problems that are unforgiven,  things that are confusing and lead to wrong choices, and on and on and on.  Doubts creep in, worry stops by to spend the night, sin happens.  You feel stuck, unworthy, like a fake, and get flooded with a lack of confidence. 

But that doesn’t take away the responsibility from Christian business women to be perfect.  Believe me, I wish it did.  Some days I’m just like any other normal business woman.  Sometimes I just want to slack off or forget about pushing forward in making this Association better.  I want to sit back and just hope people find the website, sign up, and become a member without putting in the effort to show them why it’s important or how joining will make their life better.  But that’s falling short of trying to reach a higher level of spiritual integrity as a Christian woman and a woman of spiritual integrity.  

Like every woman of faith my choice needs to be to decide to embrace that demand as a blessing.  I will be perfect.  I will pursue the integrity of doing business not only as something for other people but as a blessing to the Lord.  By making Him the focus of my everyday thoughts and activities I continue to seek being perfect.  I pray that you will be blessed as a result.