Thursday, 20 AUG 2015 :: Notes on several topics

  • Christmas begins in AUGUST! 
I subscribe to American Express's OPEN forum emails and the one I read today included an article about preparing for Christmas sales now.  (the link is in my Crafts Explored blog post for today)  I was going for a September start, and will be planning for Christmas all year as time goes I can understand the early focus. 

Small businesses need a little bit of time to prepare for the holidays, right?  :-)  Not really.  The smaller you are, I think, the more you have to plan for the whole year.  Of course, I am aware large companies have to pay a lot of employees with their profits, and if there are no profits, the employees have to go.  I guess we ALL have to plan our holiday selling strategies... sales, coupons, advertising, marketing, social media efforts, free advertising, and any other efforts you might make toward increasing your sales.

I understand, from last year's studying on the subject, that you have to submit possible product suggestions for holiday columns to individual writers during the summer... that is how far ahead you have to be on that topic!

Today I read some articles about
  • Turning your hobbies into businesses/income
One was at and the other was a FORBES article link from the fiverr article. I had some problems finding the links to the article, but they tested out OK, so I hope they work for whoever reads this post.

This is what Etsy does for creative craftspeople who are searching for a sales outlet.
It is what fiverr does for other skilled people who want to expand their reach.
It is the goal of everyone looking for extra income.

Doing what you love in order to provide what you need to live, that is employment heaven.  :-)

I found a saying in an ad somewhere (a long time ago) and I taped it to my checkbook.  I says a job you love is never work....  good comparison.

  • I was also looking into a secured credit card.
I am trying to find a way into traditional credit (I don't know why... it just seems like I should own one credit card in my lifetime, which is near its end.  :-)  So I keep trying to get a secured credit card.

Today I discovered all the fees.

Not good.

The first fee is the annual payment... $29 a year on my info sheet.

If you pay your charges in full before the deadline, there is no interest payment... BUT the due dates seem to vary from 24 to 30 days... no first of the month or same day each month.  I see why there is so much to complain about.  I am wondering if the due date is calculated for each individual purchase. If I buy something on the first of the month, is that payment due by the 23rd???

It may sound funny to all you credit monsters for me to be wondering this, but I haven't had a credit card before... I have no idea how it works.  I only know what I have read in the papers or heard on the news.  :-)  I guess I should include the internet in that equation.  No one says credit cards are great, they say they are a survival necessity, required suffering.

For the card I was looking at, the annual interest rate is 18.99% for normal transactions, and for cash advances it is 23.99%...  ALL the interest rates vary according to the Prime Rate...  and, the minimum interest is $2.  So, what it is saying is that for every $100 I borrow/use, I pay $20-$25 a year for the least, that is what I think it is saying. 

If you are late making a payment, they will charge you $38.  With an irregular payment due date, that can become an expensive detail.  And, if there is some reason your payment gets returned (?), you will be charged up to $35 for that trespass. 

I read one suggestion along my path of discovery that  said it was a good idea to just send in the payment as soon as you can.  I can see how that would avoid any problems for the cardholder.

For this card, you can't attach the payments to any existing account you may have at the bank.  No automatic payment option to make sure there are no late payments or returned payments that can be corrected.

There is no going over the amount you have secured for the card overdraft options.  I think this is fair... you don't have a good financial history, and can't get credit through the normal channels.  That makes the annual fee less objectionable, too. 

Looking at the high fees for cash advances, I don't know why anyone would do that... I hope I never do.  If I have it as my emergency fund, it may become a solution, but I think it would have to be a last resort.

A lot of small business adventures are started with credit cards.  It isn't something that was available to me.  A secured card was the only possibility, but I was never able to save enough money to get one. 

For me, it was a way I could buy a computer, a smartphone, a better camera... 

At one point, $500 would have been enough.  Now I would need a lot more. You can't buy a smartphone for $500... or a decent laptop... or a great camera for uploading things to the internet.  And the software you need is a LOT more than that.  I think I will need at least a $1000 limit, but would be better off with $5000.  I wonder what the monthly payments are on a $5000 credit debt.

  • Becoming a Working Together Member
I am very close to getting PayPal purchasing links on the website for becoming a member.

Monthly payment options are important to me. I wanted to have an office set up for processing them, but haven't been able to get that far.  Online payments are an important part of the outreach for WT products and services.  Auto-payments would be a great solution.

I need to figure out what I can do in my situation... how to best process payments and deliver the merchandise that comes with each purchase. 

Updating my pricing is the first step... costs have changed since I did that the last time.  I don't have a financial back-up.  Fees will have to cover expenses... and I am not sure how much online activity requires.  I have read that it can equal a big part of a business budget.

I want to create a better description of what fees will cover, too.

This is all in the process of being done.