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Fear and Figures

Free mixed numbers texture for layers
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

There are lots of great sources of information and help out there on marketing and branding and building websites and blogging. But, not too many are digging into the nitty gritty of … (ominous pause) …The Numbers.

Why? Because there’s a dark aura of fear and anxiety surrounding accounting and money matters.

The Number Whisperer

There’s a perception that being a number whisperer is the result of specialized training in remote camps in the dark and foreboding countryside and that veterans of the experience are given to talking in strange tongues (with acronyms like EBITDA, ROI and NPV) intelligible only to their cohorts.

Don’t Fear the Figures

Spot on branding, top notch marketing and a killer website are flamboyant super spies right now but don’t underestimate the stealthy undercover agents of solid business management and accounting. They’ve got your back and the hottest strategies in the web-o-sphere won’t go far if you can’t make any sense of your results.

Take charge of your numbers (unless you’re an Arithmophobe) and wring the useful information out of them. If your figures are starting to whisper among themselves and scowl in your direction, let me help. I’ll whisper them into shape and have them happily doing as you wish.

How are your numbers behaving and what do you think about it? Let me know in a note or the comments, your experience is important to me.

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The Two Essential Skills You Need to Start Your Business

Creative Commons License photo credit: Legozilla

I’ve worked with many people over the years who started out unsure of themselves in their new business. “But, I don’t know anything about accounting,” they would practically wail in my office. My answer was usually something that boiled down to “So what?”

That’s right, knowing about accounting (or how to fix a copy machine or the airspeed of an unladen swallow) has nothing to do with your ultimate success as a business owner.

I believe there are two things that do matter – a lot.


You have to know the thing you’re in business for. If you make one-of-a-kind art jewelry, you must know how to design and craft your wares; if you paint decorative murals, you should know how to layout and paint the scene; if you create heirloom stitchery, you have to know how to thread and use a needle. In other words, you have to know your business, be an expert even. Makes sense, right?


Don’t panic – you don’t have to be uber organized to the point where your shoes are labeled and the pantry has an alphabetized directory. You do need to be organized enough that you can find important papers like last year’s tax return with a reasonable search. Reasonable includes having looked in two file folders and a box under the bed before it turns up. The point is that you keep what you need and can find it even if there’s room for improvement in your system.

Two things – just two, that’s all it takes to be qualified to start your new business. Everything else you can learn or pay someone else to do (sort of like paying a plumber instead of fixing your own pipes). So, I now pronounce you fully qualified to be a business owner.

Realize your strength is in your unique expertise and don’t feel that you have to know all about everything else. You don’t know a SEP from a SIMPLE or what that button with the fireworks icon on the copy machine does?  So what? You know what you need, now get going!

How does this make you feel? Tell me, in the comments or a note, what great stuff you know.

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When is Paper an Immoveable Object?

level 36 bureaucrat
Creative Commons License photo credit: me and the sysop

When it keeps you from your goals. So many people I work with are waiting – on hold. They say “I’ll be ready to go when my business cards are finished,” or “I’ve got to get my brochures ready before I can start.” The paper, or lack of it, is paralyzing.

Let’s face it, starting a business can be scary and anything we find that delays the big moment of saying “I’m in business” keeps us comfortable. The comfort is extended but so is the paralysis.

Stuff You Don’t Need to Start Your Business

  • Business Cards
  • Flyers
  • Marketing Material

Yes, it’s nice to have these tangible notices of being a legitimate business owner but the real validation is in your own belief. When you say it, it’s true. The more you say it, the more you believe it and so will everyone else.

What paper are you looking for? Let me know in a note or a comment and let’s see how to get around that obstacle.

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Welcome to The Artful Business!

Are you ready to share your creative light with the world? Want a successful online business but don’t know where or how to start? Let me help you get your business going fast.

Why me? Because I’ve got the experience and judgment to guide you forward. I specialize in no-nonsense business advice; direct but compassionate and always with your best interests first.