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  • Monday, September 05, 2016 9:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    One of our members has been corresponding with the Arizona Finance Department in an attempt to receive a clear determination as to whether or not a collection agency license is required in AZ. The response was that so long as you are assuming ownership of the judgment(s) without recourse to the original creditor, and collecting the judgment(s) on your own behalf, collection agency licensing is not required.

    Here's a direct link to the document, which our member has graciously permitted me to share with the entire membership: Email from AZ Finance Dept

     

    Christina

    St Marys, GA

  • Sunday, August 28, 2016 11:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Did you know that you can get anything from customer websites to business plans without having to dish out a single penny? These days, with the contribution of so many programmers, techies and just plain generous Internet users, there are more valuable open source tools and applications available to us than ever before.

    By ‘open source’ I’m referring to software applications whose original programming source code has been made freely available to anyone who wants to redistribute or modify the program or application.

    The result is: totally rockin’ software applications that anyone can use for absolutely no cost whatsoever. This is stuff that I used to shell out hundreds of dollars for, and in many cases they function better than those old programs anyway.

    There are literally thousands of these apps online for the taking, but I have wheedled out twelve of them that I think are worthy contributions to anyone trying to keep expenses to a minimum while starting or operating a business.

    1. Open Office
    www.openoffice.org
    Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

    2. SCORE
    www.score.org
    Score is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and helping entrepreneurs with over 13,000 volunteers and 370 offices around the US. SCORE also has a section on its website with free templates and tools. This treasure trove includes business plan forms, financial templates, contract samples/templates and more. You can even ask a question to a local volunteer mentor right through the website.

    3. Dropbox
    www.dropbox.com
    Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, documents and videos anywhere and easily share them. Store and sync files and documents on different devices and computers. No more hunting and searching for stuff on the cell phone, laptop, desktop or tablet. Plop your training materials into Dropbox and now you can access it anywhere. Same goes for important contracts. What a total time saver.

    4. Design a Website: Weebly
    www.weebly.com
    Weebly is an easy-to-use online tool lets you pick a website template from about 150 choices and add photos and text using drag-and-drop tools. You can also add a full e-commerce portal, photo galleries, and slide shows, and register your domain right on Weebly.com. The result? A polished, professional site that’s up and running in a day, if not hours. Cost: Free for a basic site, then starting at $3 a month for a custom URL and advanced features.

    5. Dashlane
    www.dashlane.com
    If you’re like me, you diligently strive to “be safe” and use different passwords on different sites across the internet. However, the downside to this “safe behavior” is that I can never remember any of my darn passwords. I would spend hours each week hitting “Forgot your password?”, waiting for my new password, getting re-authenticated, only to do the whole rigamarole over again the next week. Dashlane to the rescue. With one master password, Dashlane covers you across the internet undefined airline frequent flyer numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, addresses, pin codes. Never forget an online password again. Brilliant.

    6. PaperRater
    www.paperrater.com
    We all know how important it is to put our best foot forward when communicating with existing or potential customers. PaperRater offers a free in-depth online grammar and spelling check. Just cut and paste your letter, email or other communication into the checker and PaperRater allows you to find those pesky mistakes and correct them before sending out important correspondence.

    7. ZOHO
    www.zoho.com
    ZOHO offers free productivity, collaboration and business applications. A centralized collection of tons of free spreadsheets, presentation tools, management software and much, much more.  There is even a new section of apps for your small business needs.  Everything you could possibly need for operating a more productive business.

    8. Wave Accounting
    www.waveapps.com
    Wave Accounting is a completely free app that helps you manage your business finances from any place you can get online. For an entrepreneur or freelancer, it also allows you to separate and track your personal finances, too, so you can handle all of your financial management from one location. You’ll find invoices, expense tracking, reports, and more. It has its limits, of course. It doesn’t track timesheets and some of the other features you’ll find in a paid app, but for those getting started or with a small business, it might be the perfect choice for you.

    9. Jax Works
    www.jaxworks.com
    JaxWorks has hundreds of Excel spreadsheets available on their site for downloading at no cost to you. These free offerings cover a number of financial, accounting and sales functions at all skill levels.  Browse the selections and save any number of these for future reference. The free downloads are available for Windows Excel, Apple Macintosh Excel and Apple iWorks Numbers.

    10. FormNet
    www.entrepreneur.com/formnet
    Use this free business forms download service available on Entrepreneur.com. Save yourself time and expense by using these free business form templates and documents available in Microsoft Word, Excel or Adobe pdf. Categories include accounting, credit and collections, insurance, inventory, human resources, leasing, marketing, management, sales, shipping and starting your own small business. No more creating documents from scratch!

    11. LinkedIn
    www.linkedin.com
    These days I can’t imagine building a business without LinkedIn. I had a LinkedIn profile for years before I realized what an incredibly valuable networking tool it was. It’s free, and if you’re consistent about inviting and networking with new connections, within no time at all you will have access to a truly diverse network of people. I am still surprised by how many people do not have a LinkedIn profile. If you want to be taken seriously in your business, you need to set one up.

    12. Small Business Administration (SBA)
    www.SBA.gov
    The SBA offers several free tools and resources, including online training webinars and videos for everything from how to write a business plan to how to qualify for government contracts. Apply for loans, grants and government contracts.

    So there you have it – enough loot to make you feel like you’ve discovered buried treasure. “But wait…” you may ask, “What about the Mack Daddy of them all – Google?”

    Excellent question. Google still offers one of the best collections of business tools around. A veritable Swiss Army Knife for the digital age Google is a startup’s best friend. Google hooks you up with a toolbox in and of itself between Drive, Documents,
    Spreadsheets, Hangouts, Search, Chat, Calendar and (of course) Gmail. A decade ago, this suite would cost a small business hundreds if not thousands of dollars. As of 12/6/12 it’s no longer free, but it’s still a great value at $5/month, and it rocks.

    You can store, share, and collaborate on documents using Google Drive, a cloud-based system accessible on the Web and a variety of mobile devices, including the iPad, iPhone, and Android phones and tablets. And if you’re still paying for email, you probably shouldn’t be on the internet, but if you have a business, your email address needs to end with @YOURDOMAIN.com. Using Gmail, Yahoo, or other services can look unprofessional and hurt your credibility. Google Apps solves all of that.

    Those are my top picks, but if you spend a little time poking around I’m sure you’ll come up with some other free gems.

    Kind Regards,

    Christina Smiley

  • Tuesday, August 06, 2013 9:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Article by: Patrick Lunsford, insideARM

    A bill introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives would exempt debt collection attorneys from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) “when taking certain actions.” The bill’s supporters say that it is a technical fix that does not erode the consumer protections of the FDCPA.

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:

    http://www.insidearm.com/daily/collection-laws-regulations/collection-laws-and-regulations/house-bill-offers-technical-fix-to-fdcpa-for-collection-attorneys/

  • Tuesday, July 16, 2013 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thoughts are funny things… We’ve all had days where it feels like everything is just going wrong. We think, “Why me?” and, “What did I do to deserve this?” or, “Good grief! What else could possibly happen?” And the more we let ourselves feel like a victim, the faster things seem to spiral out of control. We tend to spend all our energy focusing on the negative. But think about this: wouldn’t it serve us better to wade through all that garbage and find just one nugget of good to focus on?

     

    When we focus on the positive things in our lives, we will ultimately attract and invite more positive influence. I’ve experienced this first-hand.

    True story: When I was a struggling young mother of three small children, I came to a point in my life where my income wasn’t enough to pay my bills. It seemed like the harder I worked, the less time I had to focus on things that really mattered – like my family and friends – but most particularly I had no time to figure out how to make things better. I was spiraling the drain – both financially and spiritually.

     

    It was a vicious cycle. Less money, more bills, more stress, work more hours, have less time to spend doing the things that make us happy… and the misery just went on and on. At the time my husband and I were running a carpet store. When we lost the store I thought my world was over. Little did I know that it was just the beginning of this crazy wonderful journey I’m still on today – because that’s exactly when I started my judgment recovery business.  

    The funny thing is, looking back now I can see how impossible it would have been to start the new business if I was still wrapped up in the carpet store. It practically hit me over the head! Had I still been so completely obsessed chasing my tail on the hamster wheel, I’d never have taken the time to seriously consider something else.

     

    Instead of mourning the loss of the store and feeling like I failed, I became excited about starting something new.  Instead of giving in to fear and panic, I embraced the potential for new possibilities. Once I did that it seemed like everything miraculously started falling in place. I had recognized that when one door closes, three more open. All I had to do was walk through.

    I’m sure everyone has a story they can relate this to. Maybe you lost your job, or your hours got cut back? Perhaps your retirement income didn’t turn out to be the golden goose egg you thought it would be. It could be that your life or career was derailed by other unanticipated circumstances out of your control… The silver lining in any of those discouraging events is that now you’ll have time to explore other possibilities where before you didn’t have time for a spare breath.

     

    Some things happen at just the right time. They seem bad, but really they can be doorways to something better. Something you would never have considered unless you were forced by some other circumstance to look for other answers. Sometimes those answers literally just land on your head.

    Even with the busiest of schedules, anyone can find time to set aside to focus on making things better, if they really want to. We find time to exercise, watch TV, shop and spend time on Facebook… Why not invest a little of that time toward finding a way to make a positive change in your life? Skip a television show – there’s an hour. Spend a little mental energy on how you can create change in your life when you’re walking the dog; running the errands; watching the kids at baseball practice.

     

    What’s stopping YOU?

     

    Kind Regards,

    Christina

     

    Sierra Judgment Recovery

  • Tuesday, July 02, 2013 10:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As a self-confessed opportunity junkie, I’ve spent countless hours daydreaming about new business ideas. Most of the time an idea only takes hold long enough for me to think how wonderful it would be if I could (“insert random idea of the day”)… Sometimes though, an idea actually gets some glue and I’ll spend even more time envisioning how to turn the dream into reality. I’m sure we’ve all done that, but actually navigating an idea from your imagination to the real world can be a daunting task to even consider.

    I heard an old rock ‘n roll song the other day that inspired me to write about this topic. It was one of those songs that I sing along to, without really thinking about the words. The Eagles said it so eloquently: “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains – and we never even know we have the key.” Personally, the “key” for me was to get off my butt, stop daydreaming and GET MOVING.

    Here are some suggestions to help you get your own head out of the clouds.

    Read More

  • Monday, July 01, 2013 10:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Another tax deadline has come and gone. Most traditionally employed hard-working folks have given up more than half of their hard-earned wages for taxes, and then they get to survive on what’s left. Taxes may be a source of stress and anxiety for many, but it shouldn’t be for home business owners. Home-based business owners now qualify for more tax deductions than any other category of taxpayer in America.

    In any home business you have many, many more tax advantages than you would if you were simply working for someone else. Even if you decide to keep your current job and start a home business part-time, you’d still be able to deduct business expenses.

    These advantages really snowball when you consider how you can improve the bottom line profit of your home business by declaring all of the deductions you’re entitled to. So let’s look at some of the deductions you can take with a small home business.

    Read More

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