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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Bitcoin worth more than gold

The crypto currency known for its anonymity and decentralised nature reached an all-time high on Friday afternoon, making it more valuable than gold in Australia.

The currency has been surprisingly steady this year, remaining above the arbitrary $US1000 mark ($1297) for its longest ever stretch, according to researcher CoinDesk.

Industry heads point to the nearing deadline of a decision by Securities Exchange Commission in the US to introduce the first of three bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF).

“There is a lot of excitement that the Winklevoss twins’ ETF is coming close to approval,” says Asher Tan, CEO at bitcoin exchange and platform CoinJar. “But there are more regulatory hurdles to get through.”

Approval of the fund would mean easier access for traders, potentially unleashing a flood of trade.

“The market is signalling for more wholesale and institutional investment,” Mr Tan continues. “Wallets and exchanges are better understood, and the availability of services makes it a lot more attractive to new investors. The ecosystem has matured.”

However, he warns that volatility is inevitable with the price rising so quickly.

“Regulation is looking positive in most countries,” says Rupert Hackett, general manager of bitcoin.com.au exchange, citing Japan, the Philippines and China all showing positive signs of accepting the new technology.

“It’s a big shift. Once bitcoin is regulated, it means it is safe, legitimate, and should be considered as a potential investment.”

He also conservatively sees bitcoin reaching a price of $US2000 by the end of the year.

“This is all Trump and the ripple effects of Trump,” Mark Bunger, an analyst at Lux Research, told Bloomberg.

What’s the Best Legal Structure for Your Freelance Business?

Although many professionals who freelance on the side simply report their earnings as “miscellaneous income” via the Schedule C (1040) form on their personal tax return, full-time self-employed individuals may find it beneficial to create a legal business entity.

Lauren Saccone, freelance writer and social media consultant, recently established an LLC called Pitchbow at the end of 2016. After freelancing part-time for nearly a decade, she has been a full-time freelancer based in New Jersey for the past two years.

Saccone’s tipping point was filing her taxes for 2015.

“I didn’t know anything about filing as a freelancer,” she said. “I had to figure it all out myself at the last minute, and it was an informative experience, but (it was) stressful.”

Sole proprietorship is one of the most straightforward types of business classifications. It’s also the most common and simplest, because it doesn’t require formal action. If you’re already a freelance writer, like myself, you’re already a sole proprietor of your own business. This makes it easy to prepare for tax season.

There are a few important drawbacks freelancers should be aware of. According to the Small Business Administration, there is an unlimited amount of personal liability. If a company wants to take legal action against your work, they can legally take action against you specifically. You’re also held personally responsible for business-related debts and financial burdens.

Since Saccone offers social media services and isn’t exclusively writing for publications, the LLC structure was the best choice for her. LegalZoom, an online legal service for business owners, helped her find the best fit and guided her through all the difficult paperwork.

Another reason she chose LLC was legal safety, which sole proprietorship specifically doesn’t provide.

“If I wrote something someone didn’t like, they would previously go after me personally, but now, it’d be through my business,” Saccone said. “It provides a security net.

For instance, late payments are always a nightmare for freelancers. Under an established name and company, Saccone feels more confident chasing down payments than she did before. Pitchbow provides her an added blanket of agency.

Saccone previously considered sole proprietorship, but the category wasn’t inclusive of her overall services. An LLC encompasses her business’s wide range of services.

“One day, I’ll be pitching stories, another I’m writing Instagram posts, and the next I’m working on content marketing,” Saccone said.

What about S corporations? Freelancers Union reports that an S corp helps you dodge paying both personal and corporate taxes. S corps have much stricter guidelines for taxes, though, because owners are paid based on salary and receive dividends from any additional profits the business may earn. Rather than filing a personal tax return, you must file a specific business return.

S corps also require business owners to pay their partners fairly. The Small Business Administration points out shareholders must receive adequate compensation. Otherwise, the IRS can flag you for unfair salary distribution.

If all this seems daunting to you, just remember that your freelance business can still be legitimate without the legal structure, especially if you’re just starting out.

An introduction to coaching

An introduction to coaching

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Coaching is a useful tool in today’s challenging world of business and commerce. Companies are downsizing, merging and restructuring and there is far more job transition than before. Sometimes managers are no longer equipped to do their work because their jobs have changed so much. They were originally trained to do one job but that training cannot be applied to the job they are doing today. Coaching is also one of the most powerful tools that a leader has in order to improve the performance of his team.

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Coaching is a partnership between an individual or a team and a coach. For the purpose of this article we will refer to an individual but the concepts are exactly the same for a team. First of all the individual identifies his objectives. Then, through the process of being coached, he focuses on the skills he needs to develop to achieve those objectives. In professional coaching the individual begins by leading the conversation and the coach listens and observes. Gradually, as the coach begins to understand the individual’s goals, he will make observations and ask appropriate questions. His task is to guide the individual towards making more effective decisions and eventually achieving his objectives. Coaching looks at where the individual is now and where he wants to get to.

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Between the initial interview and an individual achieving the goals he identified, there is a process in which the two parties meet for regular coaching sessions. The length of time each session lasts will be established at the start of the partnership. Between sessions an individual might be expected to complete specific tasks. A coach might also provide literature for the individual to study in preparation for the following session. Most coaches employ an “appreciative approach” whereby the individual identifies what is right, what is working, what is wanted and what is needed to get there. An appreciative approach focuses more on the positive rather than problems.

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An individual who enters into a coaching partnership will usually adopt new perspectives and be able to better appreciate opportunities for self-development. Confidence will usually grow and the individual will think more clearly and be more confident in his roles. In terms of business, coaching often leads to an increase in productivity and more personal satisfaction. All of this leads to a growth in self-esteem.

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In a coaching partnership the coach first needs to listen carefully in order to fully understand the individual’s situation. He needs to support and encourage forward-planning and decision-making. A coach also needs to help an individual recognise his own potential and the opportunities that are on offer. A good coach will guide an individual to fresh perspectives. Finally, the coach must respect the confidentiality of his partner.

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Coaching can bring out the best in workers, highlighting what they can achieve if they are given the right support. Both individuals and teams can enjoy an increased level of motivation after receiving the right coaching. When individuals are keen to make progress in their jobs, they usually enjoy being coached and find the experience extremely useful.

How to Change a Management

A change for the better?

In the world of business, change is inevitable.  Nobody would seriously argue with that, especially at a time when IT developments are sweeping through all areas of work and changing how things are done and who does them.  But when change does come, not everybody agrees on what it means.  How you view change depends on  in the organisation, and managers and employees usually have very different perspectives.

If you’re , your focus is on results, and you’ll see the change as the best way to realise them.  They are more aware of the business’ overall goals, the financial state of the company and its position with regard to competitors and market share.

When  consider introducing change, they ask questions such as, ‘How quickly can it be implemented?’, ‘How will it benefit the company?’, ‘What investment is required?’, ‘How cost effective is the change?’ and ‘How will it affect our customers?’  Since they are usually the advocates of change, managers tend to be more enthusiastic about it.

If you’re , however, your focus is more on the immediate task of getting the job done.  They seldom have time to consider how their work fits into the overall scheme of things; they don’t share the broader perspective of the company directors.  Because they are often skilled and experienced in their work, or because they are placed on the frontline dealing with customers on a daily basis, they look at change from a personal perspective.

The questions ask are, ‘How will this effect the quality of my work?’, ‘How much time will it take for me to adapt?’, ‘What’s wrong with the way we’ve always done things?’ and, ultimately, ‘What’s in it for me?’  Since employees are the ones who have to put the change into action, they are usually less enthusiastic about it.

With such different  about change within the organisation, it’s not surprising that innovation often fails.  Planned changes need to be carefully thought out and managed.  If not, morale will suffer as people feel that they are being forced to change against their will.   There will surely be resistance, and some highly valued members of staff may even decide it’s time to leave.

All of this can eventually have a negative affect on productivity and efficiency.  Management will have to admit defeat and drop the change, or risk losing  to the competition…and then another great idea bites the dust.