Friday, March 20, 2009

A new blog for the very, very small business

Check out my new project - The Itty Bitty Business at This grew out of a collection of articles I started writing when I was propositioned by a magazine-type site to write some articles for them, and when they stopped responding to my emails I just kept on writing more articles. It's got a bunch of articles up already so far (and if you see one that says something about a link that's not there, or something otherwise doesn't look right, let me know :). There's a lot of stuff about what to think about when starting a small business, how to grow a small business, articles on resources that one might find useful, and a bunch of random stuff, all geared towards people who are the only employee in their own business, or are otherwise really, really small-time. I really enjoy writing this stuff because I know that my fellow tiny-business owners have situations that aren't really addressed by the kind of books you can get at Barnes and Noble, but that the majority of businesses start out this way, so there should be a place for people like us. Let me know what you think or if there are other topics you would like to see!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Victory is mine!

So waaay back in October, I did a one-day stint at a scholarship fair. I was supposed to be paid about $100 for a nine-hour day. Hilarity ensued trying to get me this check - I wrote about this briefly in January - but I think now that the woman who was paying me was basically just lying as much as she needed to so I would leave her alone. I finally got a check, by driving there and picking it up from an empty office, but it bounced. I tried to resolve this with her but of course she did not follow through. So I sent the check (or rather, a scan of the image the bank sent me in the mail) off to an NSF processing company.

Today, I got a check in the mail for my $109.50. I rejoiced with a happy yay. (Plus I know she got a fat fee - that's how the company makes their money, by charging the person the legal maximum fee.) Me and the check prevailed in the end. (By waiting until she deposited more money.)

I got two other small checks in the mail from CashDuck activities, so I'm feeling good. Not awesome, cause I've still got to build my savings back up from squat to diddly, at the least, but every bit helps.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

And just when I thought I was getting somewhere...

So yesterday was payday for me. I get paid every two weeks. I have a bunch of automatic debits set up so that everybody gets paid and the money just whooshes out to where it's supposed to be, usually ahead of time. So yesterday I log on in the morning to check my bank account, because I like seeing the big fat deposit, and what do I see but a deposit that is about half of what it should be. I freak. Then I figure, well, I got a reimbursement check for some copying that I put on my credit card, maybe they treated it as an advance. It doesn't quite add up but it's pretty close, so I race in to work to see the HR lady, thinking that if they catch it they can issue me a new check. I talk to her and say, I'm not sure what's going on, but maybe it's because of the reimbursement check. She says, write me an email with all the details so I can send it to payroll and they can check it out.

Apparently, what happened is that my manager requested that my salary come from the Operations budget instead of the Marketing budget. This means that instead of being paid current (ie the week I get paid, it's for that week and the previous one) I'm being paid one week in arrears (ie the week I get paid, it's for the two weeks before that.) So that means that this paycheck, I only got one week because they've already paid me for the previous week.

I am PISSED BEYOND BELIEF. I did not get ANY warning about this, and the only way I'll recoup this money is that when I leave the company, whenever that is, I'll get an extra week's paycheck. Big fucking whoop. That'll do me a lot of good.

I am so mad that I am actually annoyed at myself for seeing any positive in this. The positive things would be 1) since I logged in in the morning before most of my automatic debits proces, since Chase usually processes around noon, I was able to bump most of them to my next pay date and thus prevented overdraft, 2) I hadn't deposited the reimbursement check yet and the bill for the credit card I used isn't even available yet, so I'm putting the money in the bank now to make sure I don't overdraft anything, and 3) since I've been saving as much as I can, I have enough money in savings to transfer in and can make all the payments I need to.

But I'm still really pissed that the only reason I'm not in dire straits is because I planned ahead and was diligent - if I went crying to the HR woman that I wouldn't be able to make rent, they'd probably advance me part of my next paycheck. Not that that would solve the problem permanently, but they'd have more sympathy for me than if I said, this is going to make me take money out of my savings account!

Mostly though I am pissed because I was finally going to have enough money in savings that I felt secure. I have $300 in absolute-emergency money in a savings account attached to my regular checking account, so I can get it at an ATM, but I wanted to have at least $1000 somewhere else, in case the car had a major repair, another pet got sick, etc. Now I have about $250 in non-emergency savings. Which sucks. Boyfriend repeatedly asked if I needed money (because he knows about all the debt, and also that I pay the utilities) and I said no, but if anything even minorly catastrophic happens, I will. Which makes me feel dumb, because I should have had more in savings than this - I've been working full time since December, and have been doing mystery shopping and what not. But with a gas bill routinely $250-300, and a few very minor catastrophes, I haven't been able to put away as much as I wanted to.

Yesterday Boyfriend and I were talking about the new business that we're working on (he will be the lead programmer for the site) and I said well, once this makes money, I can go back to spoiling you. And he said, maybe this time around, just give me money. Which really would have been a good plan for both of us when CashDuck was doing very well - I did save a lot, but most of it was in retirement accounts, and it definitely would have been a lot better for both of us just to save it instead of eating out as much as we did. Hopefully if this does well, I'll be much wiser with it this time.