Monday, March 29, 2010

An Early Easter Weekend

Wow, what a whirlwind week this has been! The Easter Bunny arrived early because the grandkids are off to Tennessee for Easter Break. Between the dollar store, Pier 1, Kohl's,~~~I was exhausted, overwhelmed and running on empty. Throw a hectic work week into the mix, a Friday night dinner date with my man, hiding 150 eggs (in below 30 temps), putting together a new bike for the youngest grandson, AND assembling 3 Easter baskets.... need I say more!!!!!!! Yes, a confirmed nut case and I claim ownership to my insanity.

Obviously, this hasn't left much time for soaping projects or anything else soaping related (except a morning shower). This week, soaping took a backseat to my grandkids. I care about all my customers, but if I died tomorrow, it's my grandkids, not my customers, who will remember me for this past week. Sorry guys, but it's the truth!

Here are a few photos of the fun the grandkids had when hunting for eggs and opening Easter baskets. It made all the blood, sweat, and tears worth the red-eye. I hope each of you take time to enjoy Easter and spend time with family.

My little bud on his new bike. He took a nap with his helmet on and made us park the bike inside the house while he slept.

The infamous Miss O counting up her eggs and assessing the cash & candy she could claim.

My best buddy, Carson. He found a pair of "really fast" shoes hanging from a tree. How did that Easter Bunny know he needed "really fast" shoes?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Sweet Little Cosmetic Bag from

This is a GoPlanetEarth promo you don't want to miss. Receive this sweet mini PVC vinyl cosmetic bag for FREE (a $6.00 value) when ordering 15 or more Mold Market Molds. If you mention this post, we'll inlcude 2 FREE 1/2 ounce fragrance oil samples inside the bag (limited offer, so don't delay!) All this adds up to over a $9.60 value.

The bag measure 3 1/2 x 6 3/4 x 3 1/2". Perfect travel size. Look for a few of these bags as giveaways at the upcoming Soap Guild conference in Denver. They'll be packed with goodies from GoPlanet.

You can also purchase this bag on our website.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day Bragging Rights

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Pictured above is my youngest grandson, Fischer. He's got the biggest blue eyes ever seen and curly locks that will one day melt the heart of some special woman. He had to try on big brother's Leprechaun outfit.

Here is Miss O and her baby brother showcasing their St. Patty T-shirts. Their Grandpa (my son-in-laws Dad) is a retired fire chief with the Detroit Fire Dept. It's no secret that the fire department guys (no matter where you live) celebrate St. Patty's day in a big way. It just wouldn't be right if the grandkids didn't have the appropriate attire.

And here is my oldest grandson, my buddy that is so dear to my heart. He's all dressed for his school party. Geezz, I never had a St. Patrick's Day party when I was in school. Of course, what are the options since most religious holiday are now banned in schools. Sad, but true.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Melt & Pour Taco Soap Tutorial. Oh what fun!

As promised, here is the taco soap tutorial. I've been testing the taco soap in the shower for the past week. It's full of lather, all the layers stayed in place, and having the added benefit of the sponge was especially convenient.

So You Want to Start a Home Based Business?

This week I received a phone call from a dear friend wanting advice on working from home. My friend lost his job last year due to cutbacks. He was forced to take a "so called" early retirement, even though he was not even close to retirement age. This seems to be the norm these days. People are being let go from positions they've held for years and are looking for ways to regain the lost income.

My friend, knew that my company had elvolved from a home base start and needed some pointers about how to get started in his new vocation. Here are a few of the questions asked and what I shared. Perhaps, you too, are facing a job or career change and considering working from home as an option. If so, I hope you find some of my responses helpful.

What is needed to start a business from home?

First step is to check with your local township and state to see what types of license or permits may be needed. If you are going to be selling product, you may need to obtain a Resale Tax license so that you are not paying sales tax on product you purchase to resell. You will want to determine a name for your business. Most states require that you file for a "DBA" license or permit (doing business under an assumed name). There are fees associated with licenses and permits and the cost will vary from state to state. Your county clerk's office is a good starting point for gleaning valuable insight into what your particular state/county/or township may require.

Will I need to pay quarterly taxes to the IRS from my earning, or can I just pay at the end of tax year?

This is a question for an accountant. When setting up a home based business, I strongly urge you to contact a local accounting firm to assist with financial planning. An accountant can provide insight about whether you will want to be a sole proprietor, a Limited License corporation (LLC), or and INC. I personally opted for a LLC and hired an attorney to draft the necessary paperwork. Again, there are annual license fees involved for both LLC and INC businesses.

What expenses can I deduct with a home-based business?

This will depend on your business type. My friend's new company will provide a service which edits copy and offers "political ghost-writing". There is no inventory involved and home office space is limited to one room of the house. When I started my business, it involved inventory and an office. I needed a place to store the stock I would be shipping as well as a packing area. The dedicated business areas within my home were tax deductibe based on the square footage used. Any square footage you claim is usually depreciated over time and may affect any capital gain you might earn if you sold your home. For this reason, it's important to work with your accountant to determine how a home business could affect your home equity.

Here are a some of the things I was able to deduct when I started my home business. You will want to consult with your accountant and/or legal firm based on your business type:

1) A portion of my waste disposal bill. There was plenty of garbage related to business operations.

2) The land land and cell phones since they were used for business. I opted to have a separate land line installed just for business use.

3) If you have a web site, you can deduct the fees associated with your internet connection. This also includes any fees assessed by your web hosting company.

4) Don't forget to deduct advertising costs. This includes business cards, search engine ads for your web site, newspaper ads, or ads placed in trade publications. Do you plan to give away printed material, product, or samples to advertise your company.You will want to deduct the related expenses.

5) I was able to deduct a portion of my annual heating and utility bill based on the square footage of the home space I claimed as work related.

6) Do you plan to accept credit cards or have a business banking account. All of the fees charged for the use of these accounts is deductible. This includes any Paypal fees that might be assessed and deducted from payments you received for services or goods.

7) If you are mailing or shipping product or printed materials, keep all your receipts. This is also a deductible business expense.

8) Office supplies, packing materials, cleaning supplies (afterall, you do need to clean your work area), mileage and gas relating to work, licenses and permit fees.... all of these are business expenses you don't want to overlook.

9) And don't forget about your business equipment! Your laptop, desktop computer, printers, copier, desk, print cartridges, and fax machine (if used for business) should be listed as business expenses when filing your tax return.

10) Finally, don't forget about business related software purchases, service maintenance for equipment, insurance for your car and any liability or additional home insurance you have to cover business equipment and stock.

I have only covered some of the expenses that may be valid business deductions. If considering working from home, link up with an expert in your local area. The best thing I ever did when starting my company was to find a good accounting firm (and I'm not talking H & R block) and a specialized business attorney. You will also find a wealth of information and assistance at your local bank. My bank assisted with setting up my credit card gateway payments and business checking/savings accounts. You will be surprised at the many free services banks offer new businesses.