What SBA Loans Can Help Virtual Professionals in April 2020

What SBA Loans Can Help Virtual Professionals in April 2020

Do the SBA Disaster Loan programs apply to me as a Virtual Professional?  As a Freelancer?  As an independent contractor?   Yes!  

Here’s a quick lesson on the programs as of April 10, 2020 but more importantly…. financial learning and business structure you NEED to know as a business owner.   Watch this and learn some of the seemingly scary stuff about LLCs and S-Corps and Payroll and Loans and Cashflow.

 

 

SBA WEBSITE:   sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

WHO IS THIS FOR?

SMALL BUSINESSES:

Are you a small business (LLC, s-corp, 501c3) with less than 500 employees?  

—->  You qualify for PPP or EIDL $10K Advance or EIDL  (but you cannot apply for ALL of them)

CONTRACTORS:

Are you a solopreneur who pays receives 1099s from clients for tax purposes?

—->  You can apply for PPP on your own.  (It’s fuzzy whether or not your clients can claim contractor $ as payroll)

What is PPP (Paycheck Protection Program)?

  • A forgiveable loan (i.e. like a grant) for up to 2.5 times monthly payroll
    • Also applies to rent, utilities and some other details
  • You must use the money towards those items – they will “verify” in some way after the fact
    • i.e. you need to show a financial statement that shows you paid payroll during this 8 week period
  • If you don’t use it for that purpose but it rolls into a 10 year, 3-ish% loan, no payments until 6 months from now
  • Must apply thru a bank!  (details below)

What is EIDL?

  •  Emergency Disaster Relief Loan
  • Application process is only online thru the SBA website
  • There is an EIDL Loan Advance that is super simple, $10k, and forgiveable whether or not you get the EIDL loan
  • The EIDL loan is for up to $2 million for businesses payable at a low interest over 10 years
    • You can receive a bigger EIDL loan potentially than a PPP which is why you want to consider doing this depending on your business situation

 

What do I recommend you do strategically as a Virtual Professional?

If you are a debt free business (s-corp, LLC, etc):

  • Apply for PPP AND the EIDL Advance.
    • it’s not clear if you will get both but likely there is a number they will cap you at.
    • Use the funds as intended for payroll (You will be asked to report how you used it)  Then do smart things with your cash reserves such as invest ahead for new programs, expansion

If you have business debt:

  • Apply for PPP and even the EIDL Advance.
    • Use the funds as intended for payroll (you will be asked to report how you used it and will pay interest if not used for payroll)
    • If there is extra, use it to pay off high interest debt. The PPP money if not used for payroll (and other approved expenses) is no payment for 6 months then rolls into a very low interest (i.e. 3%ish) 10 year loan.  Very inexpensive money that helps keep your business afloat!
  • **OR** if your business is operating with multiple full time employees and in the multiple 6 figures —> talk to your business advisors about the full EIDL option (and apply for the $10k advance right away)

HOW TO APPLY:

  • (watch the video)
  • EIDL Advance is fast and easy only thru the SBA.gov website
  • PPP requires working thru a bank.  
    • I suggest a local bank where you have a personal relationship.  (big banks are struggling to process the apps)
    • Applications started April 3 and already over $120billion of the $350bill+ has been applied for.  
    • Application details took me about 2 hours to prepare this information for my bank:
      • Completed Application (Attached)
      • Payroll Expense Verification Documents to include:
      • o   IRS Form 940 and 941
      • o   Payroll Summary Report with corresponding bank statement
      • o   If a payroll summary report is not available, employee pay stubs as of 02-15-2020(or corresponding period) with corresponding bank statement and breakdown of payroll benefits (vacation, allowance for dismissal, group healthcare benefits, retirement benefits, etc
      • o   1099s (if independent contractor)
      • Trailing twelve-month P&L

 

BUSINESS STRATEGY LESSONS FOR NOW AND FUTURE PLANNING:

  1. PAY YOURSELF OFFICIAL INCOME!   If you have not been paying yourself an official income you do not qualify for these.  Ouch!
    • Do not fall into the trap of writing off everything as a business expense to try and avoid taxes. There are some really smart ways to do that once you are above a payroll threshold that’s appropriate for your business
    • If you do not pay yourself payroll….. you may not qualify for a car loan, mortgage re-fi etc.  This is fine if you are married but …. life changes quickly, especially when we face crisis like this.  
      • LESSON:  Pay yourself payroll and build up your credit score so you can be individually financially strong

         

  2. Have a relationship with a good local personal banker(s)
    • I suggest both a large bank and a local credit union.   It seems old fashioned but personal relationships can make a difference in your loan approval rate.

       

  3. Be in a position to have good credit to acquire loans.  
    • This is *very* cheap money that can help you keep your business afloat and grow it.  Good credit scores are important.
      • Think twice before skipping your mortgage payment during this crisis.  Pay everything you can on time.

         

  4. Keep your books officially up to date – Your future self will thank you!
    • If your books aren’t up to date, it can be very stressful to try to pull this together quickly.  (i’ve been there in the past!)
    • A good accountant will have your Quickbooks cleaned up and all you need to do is pull the report (mine even sent it to me ready to go!)
      • Hot tip for Virtual Professional Bookkeepers!
      • If you want to learn to be a Virtual Bookkeeper or improve your game in that space checkout LoriMercerCTO.com/bookkeepers
  5. Have good cashflow + business savings for 3+ months
    • Just like we are taught to have a personal savings, our business should have this as well.  
    • Just think….. if I had $##,#### money in my business account right now, how different would I feel?

NEXT STEPS:

Do you qualify?

Get on it!  This process is going to be slow and tedious as banks adapt.   As one of my co-working advisors said “It’s like the wild wild west for a money grab out there”

Do you need guidance on starting or growing your Virtual Professional income?

Go to GoVirtualProfessional.com for the most up to date resources during this rapidly changing market!

Virtual Work Mentoring

Ways to Help April 2020

ACCESS THE FILES SHARED IN THIS VIDEO

Virtual Work From Home As the ONLY Income

Virtual Work From Home As the ONLY Income

 

I left you hanging in the last post.…….. 

I’m heading into 2019 as a single mom on a single income…..and that is my Virtual Professional business.

What?  Yes it’s a bit nerve wracking on one hand.  But soooooo empowering on the other.

(Here’s where I get vulnerable.  Really vulnerable.)

For all of 2017 and 2018  I operated my business in the midst of major life turmoil.  Lost my father to cancer.  Separated from my husband.  Walking my daughter through significant treatment for anorexia.  And graduating my oldest and moving him across the country for college.

Here’s the good news (for me and for everyone out there running a VA / Virtual Professional business.)

I made it.  And so can you.

I didn’t just make it, I once again hit six figures.

(in revenue, not profit, not salary…..there was a lot that I outsourced just to keep myself physically well and mentally healing.)

It wasn’t until the kids went back to school in August that I was able to put my focus 100% back into my business.  And in 4 short months, I was back to my “normal” levels of Virtual Professional revenue.

My divorce was final on Dec. 26th and I entered 2019 100% financially responsible for myself and my 4 kids.

There is no fall back income.  No space to take a season off.   

All benefits of working from home that had been agreed upon in our marriage and were so helpful for the care of our 4 kids, are now gone and it’s all me.

What would you do differently in your business if your family was 100% relying on your income?

That’s quite a question.  And while I’ve always been a serious business builder, there are some things I’ve approached differently as a result of this change.

Cash flow is more important.  Delayed client payments can really throw a wrench into things.   Having more cash reserves also helps us work from a place of strength instead of a place of desperation and worry.

Selecting clients who respect your boundaries and time constraints is also essential.  While there are some days I can work later and longer, there are days that it’s all on me to get the kids somewhere and I can’t have emergency client work cropping up at those times.  (Hint:  clients 3 time zones away can have the best intentions but in all practicality, just isn’t right.)

Thinking about the longer term picture has also allowed me to select clients and projects that lead towards longer term, more sustainable business.

These are more “advanced” topics in the virtual professional space for sure.  Even if you are just getting started, I like to be transparent with what’s ahead.

I am still 100% a believer in this client-services business model.

I still see more work available than there are VA’s to take on.

It’s still the business model I am pursuing even as a single mom.

Share with me…..what’s the biggest thing holding you back from starting or growing your VA / Virtual Professional business?

(It could be the topic of my next email!)

If you’re ready to rock-n-roll, my best fast track trainings from 2018 are available in this training bundle at a special price only thru Tuesday.   It’s the lowest priced training package I’ve ever offered.

Because…….Our email list has been LIT UP since the holidays.  Hundreds of new people signing up since then.   It’s clearly time for a change.

These are the videos you want to watch if you are just beginning your VA business…… or if you are stalled and discouraged and want to reset with a fresh mentality (and be inspired knowing it can be done even if you are the sole breadwinner.)

Here’s to the women that are taking this Virtual Professional mountain with me!

3 best tips for what the Virtual Professional market will look like in 2019

3 best tips for what the Virtual Professional market will look like in 2019

The fastest way to build your own business is STILL services.   If you look closely at the the behind the scenes footage of even the biggest online businesses,  you’ll notice they bring a large percentage of their income from 1-on-1 coaching / mentoring or services.

Because the business model is so simple.

“What do you charge to do ______?”
“I charge $____/ hour.  Here’s my paypal link. I can start Thursday and it will be ready in 10 days.”

To get started, you answer these 3 questions…..

What service do I offer?
What should I charge?
Where do I find these clients?

As you approach a new year, I want to share my 3 best tips for what the Virtual Professional market will look like in 2019.

Follow these suggestions and your freelance / client-services work will flourish this year.

1.  Professionalism matters more and more
In November, I interviewed for a contract client that specifically sought out someone with a corporate background.

Their experience so far in working with other online freelancers was lacking of depth in knowledge, lacking in professionalism (just show up on time and communicate people!) and full of empty promises.

For this client, someone with a corporate background at least had a proven track record of experience and accountability. Now, if you don’t have a corporate background, don’t panic.  

The key here is to see what they were looking for:
– Show up on time.
– Do what you said you would do.

– Keep it professional.

Yes a lot of us are juggling kids but don’t waste time on a client call venting about why you were running late due to the slow dentist appointment.  

Your #1 job is to get work done for them, no matter how you juggle it.

2. Efficiency Expectations Continue to Escalate
And for good reason.  The content marketing machine is well oiled and the best brands are churning out top notch material across multiple platforms daily.

If you are in the space of working with content of any kind – blogs, articles, video, podcasts, social media – you have to be efficient.

One criteria I rate now when working with a new VA is how quickly they turn over work and how many “touches” with me did it take.

Example:  I assign something on Tuesday.  Want it by Friday. Have they opened it, reviewed it and asked short efficient questions within a day or so of the assignment?   Have they completed the work without reaching out to me multiple times for links, questions, decisions?

Working faster is GOOD for your business.

The more you get done, the more you can bill and the more space it opens up for work coming your way.

So GET AFTER IT!!

3.  In Person Connections are More Important Than Ever
It’s true I’ve grown many, many connections online over the years.  But the relationships that propelled my business the furthest, were also in person connections.

  • You meet online but then attend a conference or local meet up together.
  • You meet online but then join a mastermind together and connect over zoom weekly for 10 weeks.
  • You meet locally and bring their business into the online space.

So stop hiding behind your computer, typed messages or another instagram post announcing you have space for clients. Get on the phone.  Set up a Zoom video meeting.  And decide which conferences you’re going to attend in person this year.

So what does my 2019 Virtual Professional Business look like?

Single. Income.

That’s right.  More on that in part 2 of this email.

I did not exactly retire my husband but in 2019 I am caring for myself and 4 kids on only my Virtual Professional income.

🙌😬👊👩🏻‍💻🏃🏻‍♀️🎉

There are not even enough emojis to do this justice. I’ll share these new developments and how to scale 1-on-1 services (without becoming a worn out, exhausted content engine) in part 2.

Until then, level up the professional in your virtual business!

PS – There’s a secret flash sale on my best trainings from 2018.  Click here to grab it. Only for those who read far enough to grab it.   You’re the ones who are going to crush it in your VA / Virtual Professional business this year!  

Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Freedom In Your Work Schedule

Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Freedom In Your Work Schedule

{Virtual Work Opportunities for the week of July 3rd….scroll down…. but we’d love for you to read our advice on how to land these great opportunities first!}

What comfortable pattern is keeping you in work you don’t belong in? What’s holding you from quitting a day job or changing up your side gig to make it more profitable?

My motto this year is there is FREEDOM in TRUTH. If we can’t be truthful with ourselves and the situations we are in, we won’t break free.

Did your side gig only earn you $172 last month even though you worked on it 20 hours a week? (Math is always truthful)

Would you rather suffer thru the commute and a bad boss than take the risk of having to find your own clients?

Both of those are very real and accurate truths that many of you face.  Seek the truth and find your freedom!

Find Freedom in this week’s HOT Virtual Work Opportunities

{These virtual work opportunities are pulled from various sources around the web each week.  Some are free listings and some require a membership to sites such as FlexJobs or HireMyMomIf you want the best clients, long-term business and the highest rates, we suggest using these sites over free Facebook groups.  To learn how to refine your search for the highest dollar virtual work opportunities, try our fast class.}

Tech-Oriented “VA” for Health & Wellness Entrepreneur

Up & coming Holistic Nurse Entrepreneur business is seeking a collaborative spirit, honorable intentions and an excellent work ethic, Virtual Assistant.

They are asking for a VA but there are some web-specific tech requests in this job description. So there are 2 ways to look at this….. if you’re a web person who doesn’t mind additional VA work, go for it! If you’re a VA missing the tech experience, a sub that works out to your favorite tech genius.

Admin Assistant for Busy Entrepreneur

This entrepreneur has likely been through a rough share of VA’s and even mentions bad experiences in the past. This post is written in a way that personal characteristics are more important than skill level.
Be Professional! This means be reliable, punctual, resourceful, have empathy and appreciation.
Skills can be taught and developed.

Digital Content Manager

Professional plus flexibility here.
A strategic marketing firm is looking for a passionate, driven, self-starter to join our expanding team. This role will work with a range of clients, managing the end-to-end blog and podcast production.
Responsibilities include on-boarding new clients, and assisting with current clients managing.
  1. Knowledge of email marketing platforms (such as MailChimp)
  2. Knowledge of CMS platforms such as WordPress, Hubspot etc.
  3. Knowledge of social media scheduling tools (specifically Buffer)

Virtual Part-Time Client Services Accountant

Jump into an established virtual bookkeeping business.
This company is looking to outsource for Part-Time Client Services Accountant. Our use of experienced accounting professionals, virtual infrastructure, and a systematized business process results in a compelling and comprehensive solution for growing businesses.
The ideal candidate will have the ability to work with multiple clients, learn about their businesses and optimizing their accounting workflow.
Collaboration with the clients’ team and provide them with support and data to help make their business a success is a priority.
Implement cutting-edge technology tools to provide each client with the best possible accounting solutions, business processes, and workflows.

Legitimate Work-From-Home Opportunities

Mom working from home with kids at table

The Work-From-Home Jobs Moms Want

Looking to make an extra $1000, or $10k even, at a work-from-home job?

Are you a stay at home mom tired of pinching pennies?

Are you stuck in the day job and spending most of your paycheck on childcare and most of your time in the commute?

Do you need more flexibility for your family?

On this week’s episode of the How She Quits Show we’ll take a realistic look at ways you can make legitimate money and still work from home.

We’re not talking direct sales or cash back apps. These are real jobs and businesses that you can work from home allowing you to maintain the flexibility you need as a mom.

How She Quits – Episode 18: 

Episode 18, Legitimate Work-From-Home Opportunities, Show Notes:

  • 6:54 The 3 types of Work-from-Home Opportunities in a nutshell
  • 13:40 Definition & examples of Freelance ‘Virtual Work’
  • 18:10 Opportunity Mapper – Match your ideal level of business with the best work opportunities for you.
    Get my Master List of Recommended Work-from-Home Opportunities Here
  • 23:00 What about blogging?
  • 25:00 What is a Virtual Assistant? – What do you do? Who do you work for?
  • 30:35 Money Map Exercise for the beginning Virtual Professional
  • 31:52 Virtual Professional Freelancer Path – Next steps you should take

How Do I Get Started Working From Home?

The path to work-from-home independence can take different forms depending on your season of life or goals you’re trying to meet. If you’re feeling confused about the choices and what to find out what may be a good fit for you, Take this Quiz

Sign up HERE to get my Master List of Recommended, Legit, Flexible, Meaningful and Mom-Friendly Work-from-Home Opportunities and weekly updates with the best job postings my team can find.

Working as a Freelance Virtual Professional is the fastest way to income, with the most opportunity as the market (and high speed internet) grows to accept remote workers and defining your specialty will allow you to climb the industry maturity curve faster and better than generalist Virtual Assistant’s.

I created the Virtual Professaional Starter Kit as a shortcut to everything you need to start your Freelance Virtual Professional business from scratch. From the skills clients are looking for to what you need in a contract, this combo can springboard you into successfully having the flexibility of working from home. 

Testimonial Image and Quote about Lori mentoring program
When You Lose Sleep Over Freelance Frustrations, Do This

When You Lose Sleep Over Freelance Frustrations, Do This

{Virtual Work Opportunities for the week of June 11th….scroll down…. but we’d love for you to read our advice on how to land these great opportunities first!}

I was laying in bed last night past midnight.  Not asleep.  This is so rare for me.  I’m a hard sleeper.  But, I treated myself to a Sunday afternoon nap and therefore…. the mind was still raring to go.

Here’s the dark side of freelance work that isn’t talked about enough.

Recently I’ve spent good time with prospects on strategy / get to know you calls only to not get the contract.  They seemed all in and even gave me the start date but then, crickets.

I’ve also had clients really draaaaaaaaagggg out work, getting contracts started, etc.  So contracts I thought would end in May, are still open in June.  (and I was nice about it and let them….because, well, that’s good business sometimes.)  That means….May revenue wasn’t what I expected it to be.

Frustrating right?  But that’s the reality of freelance work and it happens to all of us (but isn’t a reason to NOT do it ok?  Your day job could drop you in a hot second with no severance pay as well.)

So at midnight I jumped onto Upwork to reply to a couple messages from prospects who sought me out and asked me to interview for their projects (nice, huh?  the right stuff in your profile and that happens!)

Just a few minutes browsing on Upwork and FlexJobs and my fears were gone.

In fact, I had to force myself to sleep and wait until morning to get up and reach out to those prospects.  The work is out there.   Are you finding flaky clients and prospects in one niche?  Try another.

Secret Insider Tip:

I’ll go on a limb and say most people running those really fun looking online businesses are really struggling to be profitable themselves and can’t get organized enough to even task a team.  I know this because often I’m in that uber-busy place where I want to give my VAs more work but literally can’t find the time in the day to prep it.  So if your vision is working with all these cool mompreneur biz chix boss mom types, perhaps expanding a bit and finding more stable work will let your business establish better first?  Shared with love.  From one overwhelmed freelancer to another.

Check out our favorite opportunities this week.  Where we try to avoid slow, flaky prospects and point you to the best opportunities out there.

This week we found lots of stuff for experienced virtual pro’s at good rates!


Join the How She Quits Collective


SIMPLE ONLINE BUSINESS for busy moms

Advice + Training + Networking for your VA, Professional Services or Online Course, Membership or Coaching Businesss

Week of June 11th

{These virtual work opportunities are pulled from various sources around the web each week.  Some are free listings and some require a membership to sites such as FlexJobs or HireMyMomIf you want the best clients, long term business and the highest rates, we suggest using these sites over free Facebook groups.  To learn how to refine your search for the highest dollar virtual work opportunities, try our fast class.}

Part-Time Personal/VA

Have experience? This E-commerce + Local Design Remodel Biz is seeking a digitally savvy personal assistant/VA with experience in social media and email marketing. (Do you understand growth hacking? – BONUS!)

Copywriter Project with Details Ready for You

Ready-made project for a copywriter: Entrepreneur with multiple online products in real estate is seeking a copywriter to provide the copy for email campaigns. Scripts from webinars and sales copy can be used top in into an email sequence.

Favorite Online Expert Needs Your Video Editing Talents

Hot! Hot! Hot! One of the top talents in online marketing needs your fancy video editing skills. Rachel Miller over at Moolah Marketing has this position posted on HireMyMom. Experience in Adobe Premier, Audition and Filmora is preferred.

Part-Time Client Care + Team Support VA

This is the kind of detailed job description that shows you the kind of professional you’re going to work with – but in that exciting online marketing space! Only 5 – 7 hours/week to start but the right person will surely grow here. Client care and website and funnel and email updates (with all the alphabet soup of online marketing tools thrown in). I was also impressed with the realistic initial salary request.

Part-Time, Remote Digital Copywriter

Want stable copywriting work? This Digital Marketing Agency is seeking a part-time, remote digital copywriter. Responsibilities include writing, editing blogs, social media updates for clients in various industries, write monthly social calendars, email newsletters and promo content.