Hello NAPO peeps,

If you are attending the national NAPO Conference in May 2014 in Phoenix, consider coming a day early and attending my pre-conference session: “Strategic Business Expansion: Smart Options to Grow Your Business” on Wednesday, May 28th from 1-5 before the Expo kicks off.

Here is a sneak peek video… Would love to see you there!

Below is a description of what I will be covering…

“Strategic Business Expansion: Smart Business Growth!”
Many organizers run businesses that are a one-trick pony, trading hours for dollars, and working really hard without a major income to show for it. For organizers ready to expand offerings, help many people at the same time, and leverage their content, there is a better way! This pre-conference session will help you strategically expand your business and think bigger.

  • This interactive workshop will cover topics such as using independent contractors or hiring employees, expanding to another state, offering virtual services and digital content, licensing portions of your business, and joint venturing with other businesses.
  • Learn how to expand, pitfalls to watch out for, and steps to take.
  • Walk away with a plan for implementing the options that are the best match for your business!

See the conference details here.

LMGU2

Successfully Self-Employed Semester
Self-Study Course

A 10-Module On-Demand Program for Newer/Emerging Entrepreneurs or Those That Want to Get Back to Basics!

buy now

Want to start a business but are overwhelmed
with all that it entails?

Have a new business but don’t know how to fully get it off
the ground and running like a well oiled machine?

Been in business a few years but realize that you need help
with foundational basics like operations, branding,
marketing, and pricing?

Lisa_Montanaro1

​​You are in luck! Welcome to the Successfully Self Employed Semester Self-Study Course!

The Successfully Self Employed Semester is a self-paced 10-module training program to help newer/emerging entrepreneurs with foundational business skills to build your confidence, structure, operations and effectiveness as a business owner. It’s perfect for newer business owners, anyone that is serious about starting a new business, or someone that’s been in business for years but needs to go back to basics.

Topics include: business identity and branding, legal structure and issues, marketing, networking and public relations, sales, pricing and money issues, and operations. It’s a powerful program offered at a fraction of the cost of doing private business coaching.

​​Why should you choose “Successfully Self-Employed” as your go-to business training program?

  • The training is offered as an on-demand self-study course, so no matter where you live or when you are available, this program is flexible and accessible to you!
  • Unlike live business training opportunities, there will be no additional costs for travel or hotels.
  • Your education extends over 10 modules allowing you time to learn, engage the materials, implement, test out your knowledge, and make your learning last far beyond the end of the semester.

IMG_0192​This program will provide you with the knowledge, confidence, and preparation necessary to be able to succeed as an entrepreneur. SSES is a 10-module virtual training program designed to focus on your business growth and success.




The Successfully Self-Employed Semester is perfect for you if:

  • You’ve got a new (or soon to be launched) business.
  • You need help identifying and choosing what business model is best for you, and what your business identity or brand is.
  • You’re interested in shortening the learning curve on complex legal and financial issues, and price your business offerings in a way that makes your business profitable.
  • You want to create a marketing plan that you can launch and be excited about.
  • You want to know how to better market your business online and offline.
  • You’re serious about creating a successful business and are ready to do the work to make that a reality!


What’s Included in the Successfully Self Employed Semester

    • 10 Modules – In these content-packed modules (MP3 audio recordings of the live version of this program), you will learn the skills, tools and knowledge base required to succeed as an entrepreneur.
    • Course materials – Including worksheets, templates, articles, outlines, exercises, checklists, and other supportive materials to help facilitate the learning process and drive home what you are learning.

Curriculum

Module 1: Introduction
  • ​Overview of course
  • ​Background of “Professor” as an entrepreneur
  • ​Review housekeeping items
Module 2: Business Ownership
  • The Advantages and Disadvantages of Self Employment
  • Common Causes of Business Failure
  • The Entrepreneurial Curse
  • The Three Hats of a Small Business Owner
Module 3: Business Identity & Branding
  • The Brand Called You
  • Identifying your target market and ideal client
  • Identifying your USP (unique selling proposition)
  • Choosing business name, slogan, tag line, etc.
  • Personal vs. Corporate Brand
Module 4: All Things Legal
  • Learn about the different legal entities for a business
  • Considerations of the structure of a business as it relates to liability, employees, size, industry standards, insurance, taxes, etc.
  • Agreements to protect your business
Module 5: Show Me the Money
  • Pricing/Fee Structure
  • How to set your fees to ensure profitability
  • Hourly based vs project/flat rate fees
  • How to create packages
  • Share fees with public, or hold back until prospect calls?
  • How to cross-sell and upsell clients to other business offerings
Module 6: Integrative Marketing and Communications
  • Learn how to create an internet presence for your business, and how to use the internet to market your business to the world
  • Traditional and online marketing strategies designed to market and grow your business
  • Create a marketing plan
  • Using social media, blogs and article marketing to establish credibility and expertise
Module 7: Networking & Public Relations
  • Learn how to partner with other businesses to grow your referral network and become power partners to serve target markets
  • Crafting a clever and creative elevator pitch
  • Learn how to create a press kit, and write an effective press release
  • Using reporter list serves
Module 8: The Sales Process
  • Dealing with Prospects/Overcoming Objections/Closing the Deal
  • Effective telephone and in-person consultations (how to avoid giving away the kitchen sink)
  • Dealing with and following-up with prospects
  • Overcoming typical sales objections
  • How to close the sales cycle
Module 9: Blueprinting Your Business: Business Operations
  • Developing policies and procedures
  • Creating an Operations Manual
  • Outsourcing and delegating
  • Team members: Independent contractors vs. Employees
Module 10: Course Wrap Up
  • ​Putting all of the pieces together
  • Taking action
  • Staying accountable
  • Parting thoughts




Special Bonuses

PLUS, immediate access to (this is already waiting for you once you register!):

bonus

Lisa’s audio program, “Lessons Learned: 5 Lessons I Wish I Had Known When Building My Business
bonus

Lisa’s audio program, “Decision Making as a Means to Living a Satisfying Life & Enjoying a Successful Business

 Just $399buy now

Private Coaching Upgrade available upon check out.

If you have any questions, email

upgradeWant More One-on-One Access? Check out the Optional Upgrade: “Triple-Play” Individual Sessions with your Professor. If you need more targeted help, or want me to review your business ideas and materials, you have the option of upgrading and adding on a 3-session bundle at the special rate of only $499 (a $100 savings as a single Individual Session with me is regularly $200-3 sessions would regularly cost $600). LMGU is only offering this special upgrade offer in conjunction with this program – you will not be able to book this in any other way. This option is only available to you for up to 3 months after you purchase the SSES Home Study program.



A personal note from Lisa

​My goal is that you walk away from the Successfully Self Employed Semester Self-Study Course having gained knowledge AND application/implementation. I think you’ll agree that’s a terrific and important investment of your time and business capital. I stand behind the value that you will receive in this course. I know without a doubt that this is a small financial investment that you will recoup in future business sales and success – and the time it will save you from learning this on your own or through trial and error. Offering this program in a self-paced on-demand format is what allows me to keep the price at this level.

You might be wondering what makes me qualified to teach you this program.

If you know anything about my approach to business strategy, it is most definitely NOT a fill-in-the-blank, blueprint approach. It IS about building a business that is custom designed for you and your ideal clients.

I’ve built my business online and offline for 12 years (following a 9+ year successful, but eventually unsatisfying, career in law). I happen to think the combination of online and offline is very important in a business training program like this. Why? Because if you learn from someone that has only ever had an online business, he or she may not be in the best “been-there-done-that” position to advise you on offline business success. Many of my clients have what you would call a traditional business (i.e., not just virtual or online!). And many online businesses started by servicing in-person clients, whether they are a service based business or sell a tangible product.

I deliberately built my business with a hybrid consulting and coaching model, virtual and traditional, because I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that technology provides entrepreneurs today to live anywhere in the world that I choose, but also wanted to be with people face-to-face and connect in the flesh when we could. I’ve designed my business to be flexible – I can choose what consulting projects and speaking engagements I take on (which typically involve travel, or at least, leaving my home office), and I can schedule the rest.

​The point is – my business model may not be your best business model. So instead of telling you there is only one model, or giving you a blueprint to follow, my approach is to show you the many options available, and facilitate the process that allows you to make the decision that is the best fit for your life and business goals. This is how I work with my private clients, and this is what you’ll experience when you do the “Successfully Self-Employed Semester Self-Study Course.”

What clients say they value most about working with me is my depth of knowledge, applied in a straight forward manner that delivers thoughtful and practical advice, and breaks down complex or confusing business topics into an easy to understand format.

Lisa is multi-talented but what I really like about her is her approachability. Lisa knows how to answer the tough questions while making sure you truly understand the answers.” ~ Angela Ploetz of A Red Bench

This is why I call myself a Success Coach and Business Strategist. I am not your typical Business Coach or Business Consultant. It is my mission to make sure that anyone that wants to be a business owner knows what that really means, whether it is the right path for them, and how to do it successfully.

I once heard an expert say “No ship sinks on my watch” and that’s exactly how I feel about you and your business success!

Warmly ~

Lisa-signature






IMG_0141“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or you will be taught how to fly.” ~ Patrick Overton

Let LMGU help teach you how to fly!



Testimonials

“Wow! Where do I begin when it comes to sharing about the bottom line impact that the Successfully Self Employed Semester offered by LMG University has had on my business, goals and perspective?! Some of the value I received in participating in this 12 week program was knowing that I’m going to save a ton of time and money implementing what I learned, versus stumbling around on my own trying to figure it out. During SSES, we thoroughly discussed the crucial topics needed to be a successful business owner. Due to Lisa’s exceptional expertise, as well as the camaraderie and team spirit of the participants, I accomplished several goals and tasks promptly and efficiently while learning how to increase my sales, legally protect, and automate my business. Belonging to a group of entrepreneurs who come with their unique backgrounds and experiences complimented by Lisa’s invaluable knowledge and business savvy, we were able to walk through personal and professional fears, and gain broader perspectives around what may be going on behind the scenes. We addressed some of the deeper issues holding us and our businesses back. What a gift to receive on-the-spot input, ideas and constructive feedback regarding my elevator speech, marketing materials, legal business status, and so much more. If you’re looking for a program that will show you how to maximize results and profits over the long haul, I highly recommend Lisa Montanaro’s Successfully Self Employed Semester.” ~ Natasha Rickert, www.EnergytoOrganize.com

“Lisa, I so enjoy the women’s entrepreneur mastermind group sessions that you facilitate. You share with us very practical and useful information that we can apply to our businesses and our personal lives. You provide the right balance between sharing and allowing us to reflect, ask questions, and comment. Also, thank you for being transparent, and sharing your successes and challenges that you have encountered in your business. This is both refreshing and gives us encouragement. Lastly, the handouts are great! Thank you for sharing some of the tools you use in your business. Not everyone would do this! I’m eagerly looking forward to the next sessions!” ~ Migdalia, Educational Consultant and Coach, Westchester County, NY

Christine-Sinclair“What a fantastic ​Women’s Enterprise Development Center Mastermind Class last night! I always get so much from your classes, but this last class blew my socks off. Everyone was changed last night. We all stayed after you left and talked about what happened for quite a while afterwards. I’m so sorry to see the classes coming to a close. Thanks so much for everything.” ~ Christine Sinclair

MaryStephaniePasqualetto“I have Lisa now as a mentor and coach for a women entrepreneur mastermind program that I am doing . . . And it is truly the best experience I have ever had.” ~ Mary Stephanie Pasqualetto

MichelleOSullivan“Taking the “DECIDE to be Organized” 6-week group coaching program with Lisa Montanaro was a business and personal decision that has been so motivating and empowering! It has changed me in so many positive ways. I am also a Professional Organizer and help others all the time with their organizing dilemmas. I took the DECIDE program to help myself, and learn from Lisa both personally and professionally. Over the six weeks, I had a sense of direction and was able to focus more on the areas that needed help, as I felt accountable. The weekly calls were a time to share and get feedback from the other participants, and for Lisa to share her knowledge and expertise. Lisa was so understanding and encouraging, and had a way of inspiring each of us to be better. I learned so much from this program and would recommend it to anyone who knows they want to make changes, and just needs some help to get there!” ~ Michelle O’Sullivan, Saving Spaces, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Are you interested in becoming a professional organizer? Are you an organizer who strives to take your business to the next level? Do you need assistance with business planning, marketing, and other issues that entrepreneurs struggle with?

A large percentage of my client base over years has been, and continues to be, professional organizers. I provide coaching to those who aspire to become professional organizers, and for organizers at every level.  I LOVE coaching, consulting and training my peer organizing colleagues throughout the US and beyond. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds, and has become more “professional” than ever before. It is an exciting time to run an organizing business.

As an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer (CPO), a Golden Circle member of NAPO, the moderator of the Ask the Organizer Panel for three years at the annual conference, and a frequent speaker at NAPO annual, regional and chapter events, I am blessed to be a leader in the organizing industry.  I know what it takes to be a successful professional organizer, and to be a thriving entrepreneur.  I still run an organizing business and use team members that are independent contractors to service my hands-on clients.  I am open about my journey as a business owner and professional organizer, and share my lessons learned freely with my professional organizer colleagues, many of whom are my clients.

As a professional organizer, decade-long successful business owner, trainer of entrepreneurs, and former practicing attorney, I am uniquely qualified to offer high-level business coaching and consulting to professional organizers.


Cena_Black-200x300“I’m proud to say that Lisa is someone I consider to be a role model and mentor in the professional organizing/productivity consulting industry. She has been instrumental in my business decision making and growth. Her background in law and running her own solo-preneur business is incredibly valuable. She is extremely intelligent, very experienced in all areas that organizers/productivity consultants need to attend to, and she is an incredibly conscientious and generous listener.

When I was new to the industry, I felt a conflict and hesitation in paying for someone to answer my questions – but I have grown to shift my paradigm. The guidance of a mentor and professional saves an incredible amount of time and energy in the long run. After hiring several coaches for myself – I can only say that I wish I had invested sooner into a coach/mentor relationship. Lisa’s guidance is treasured and I have no reservations recommending her and paying her for her expertise. It will be some of the best investment dollars you can spend on yourself and your business!”~ Cena Block, The Mom-preneur Clarity Catalyst, Owner of Sane Spaces, NAPO-NNJ Chapter President 2011-2012

Read more testimonials here

Here are some examples of the type of coaching/consulting I provide for organizers:

Business Topics

  • Business start-up and planning
  • Structuring your business
  • Goal setting
  • Drafting agreements or proposals
  • Package or project pricing and dealing with price negotiations
  • Marketing, networking & branding
  • Establishing a strong online presence
  • Leveraging your content and expertise by developing multiple streams of income
  • Classifying employees or independent contractors
  • Business processes/systems
  • Creating an Operations Manual
  • Protecting your business financially and legally
  • Setting up a Board of Advisors
  • Assisting with choice of professional advisors
  • Preparing your business for sale

Organizing Topics

  • Residential Organizing
  • Small Business Organizing
  • Corporate Organizing
  • Record Retention/Paper Organizing
  • Studying for the CPO Examination
  • Difficult client situations/ethical dilemmas

“Lisa, I am so grateful for your business coaching.  Your background, experience and skills are very powerful and have been so beneficial for me and my business.

Your flexibility allowed for a flow where you followed me as I mapped out the projects that I wanted us to work on, as well as lead me through the process.  Due to your diverse background, you have an amazing ability to wear many hats as we worked to streamline decisions on the various situations discussed.

You are able to be Business Coach, Attorney, Mentor, Cheerleader…and more. You wear all your hats so well! Thank You.”~ Jane Carroo CPO® CRTS®, www.cluttercoach.com

Ready to build an organizing business that serves you on your terms? Great! Let’s get started!

Take Action

If you want to just dive in and rent my brain for a Strategy Session, then click here to purchase online. Coaching & Training of Professional Organizers is generally done in the form of one-on-one coaching via phone or Skype (or in person if we are close enough geographically).

Coaching slots are available on a first come, first serve basis. When I receive your payment, I will email you a pre-session questionnaire (Coaching Profile) so that I can become more familiar with what you want to work on and we can jump right in.

If you think you may want longer term support, let’s set up a to chat first and see if a VIP Intensive or Platinum Level Coaching Program may be a better fit.

I can’t wait to get my hands on you and your business! We are going to kick some butt (in a good way, I promise).

Business Consulting & Coaching

“When setting out on a journey,
do not seek advice from someone who has never left home.”

~ Rumi

Do you…

… sometimes feel like there is a magic formula to being a successful entrepreneur and you weren’t given it?
… often fall into the Comparison Trap and think every other entrepreneur has what it takes except you?
…chase bright shiny objects but don’t actually implement the success principles necessary to excel as an entrepreneur?

If so, you need support, guidance, and expertise. You need some Kick-Butt Business Coaching!  This isn’t just any old business coaching — it’s the kind that gets results.

As an entrepreneur, you may often find yourself feeling alone or isolated – unsure of who to turn to for advice on your confidential business questions and plans, feeling out-of-sync with friends and family members who have a J-O-B, and nervous about sharing too much with a colleague or competitor. You crave someone that can guide and support you, actually give you answers when you’re well has run dry, and co-create a business that is truly customized to you and your needs!

Business Coaching & Consulting is what you need to support, inspire, and challenge you to create the business you dream about.

What if you could hear the truth from a successful entrepreneur about the mistakes she made along the way and what she learned from them? Wouldn’t it be nice to peek in as someone tears the roof off her business and let’s you see inside?

Well, you can!!

Drawing upon my background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, I offer business coaching and consulting services to entrepreneurs and small business owners.  Serving as a business strategist, I assist clients in making informed business decisions.  Part consultant, part coach — I ask probing questions helping you to dig deep, but also give expert advice, guiding you to the answers you seek.

Think of me as a combination of Chief Operations Officer, Executive Director and Vice President of Marketing all-in-one!

Instead of working with a life coach to help you clarify your purpose, a business advisor to work on the foundations and set up, a marketing consultant to define your message and target market, and a productivity consultant to help you create and streamline systems, you’ll have an all-in-one business strategist and advisor in one cost effective and streamlined package. And I’m a savvy marketer and writer that can cleverly word smith language, so you’ll get the benefit of picking my creative brain as well.

Through a combination of analysis and intense discussion with you, I’ll explore every aspect of your business. We will dissect your business, and then put it back together again. Your business will be better, stronger and a more authentic version of you.

Here’s a list of some common business issues that we can work on:

  • Define what success in business means to you
  • Focus on your passion and unique areas of brilliance
  • Business start up and planning
  • Structuring your business and choosing a business model
  • Drafting agreements or proposals
  • Creating packages or project pricing
  • Charging what you’re worth and dealing with price negotiations
  • Marketing, networking & branding
  • Establishing a strong online presence
  • Get clear on your Unique Selling Proposition
  • Define your Ideal Client and Target Market
  • Create Multiple Streams of Income
  • Leverage your expertise by creating repurposed products and programs
  • Outsourcing/Delegating
  • Classifying employees or independent contractors on your team
  • Business processes/systems
  • Creating an Operations Manual
  • Protecting your business financially and legally
  • Difficult client situations/ethical dilemmas
  • Setting up a Board of Advisors
  • Assisting with choice of professional advisors
  • Preparing your business for sale

The key is to help you focus on what you need in order to build your business, make the money you deserve, and enjoy your work!

“Unbelievable!!! That’s how I would sum up my first business coaching session with Lisa… To be honest, I was really skeptical going in as I had worked with a few coaches in the past and those experiences just left me feeling like I had wasted my money. I was having a hard time figuring out exactly what I wanted my business to become and Lisa literally pulled it out of me like magic! I feel excited about my business for the first time in a long time.  Lisa understood me and my business in a way no one has before.  Her dynamic personality and enthusiasm combined with passion for her clients is a winning combination. Worth every penny!!!!! ” ~ Carly Poppalardo, www.RealOrganizedVA.com

Take Action

If you are ready to dive in and rent my brain for a Strategy Session, then click here to purchase online. Business Coaching is generally done in the form of one-on-one coaching via phone or Skype (or in person if we are close enough geographically).

Coaching slots are available on a first come, first serve basis. When I receive your payment, I will email you a pre-session questionnaire (Coaching Profile) so that I can become more familiar with what you want to work on and we can jump right in.

If you think you may want longer term support, let’s set up a to chat first and see if a VIP Intensive or Platinum Level Coaching Program may be a better fit.

So, your business is growing and you are ready to outsource or delegate some of the work in your business. However, you are confused about how to classify a new team member: employee or independent contractor? The following is an overview of classification of workers to help guide this important business decision. As with any aspect of your business that is of a legal or tax nature, you should consider seeking the formal advice of an accountant and/or attorney to assist you.

Hopefully, this overview will provide you with enough basic information to ask relevant questions of your business advisors.

Classification of Workers

  • Classification of a person as an independent contractor or employee is important for tax purposes.
  • For an independent contractor, you must file IRS Form 1099-MISC to report payments of $600 or more.
  • If you classify an employee as an independent contractor and you have no reasonable basis for doing so, you may be held liable for employment taxes for that worker, which typically include income taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment.
  • If you want the IRS to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, you can file Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee

  • As a general rule, an individual is an independent contractor if the person for whom the services are performed has the right to control or direct only the result of the work, and not what will be done, how it will be done, or the method of accomplishing the result.
  • An individual is an employee if he or she performs services for an employer and the employer can control what will be done and how it will be done.

Categories of Control

  • The IRS examines the relationship between the business and the worker by reviewing 3 categories:  Behavioral Control, Financial Control  and Type of Relationship
  • These 3 areas form a list of 20 factors that the IRS uses to determine the distinction. IRS Revenue Ruling 87-41 outlines the 20 factors in detail.
  • Generally speaking, independent contractors retain control over their schedule and number of hours worked, jobs accepted, and performance of their job.
  • Employees usually work a schedule required by the employer and their performance is directly supervised.
  • IRS Publication 1779, Independent Contractor or Employee, is another valuable resource that discusses the differences between the two classifications

1. Behavioral Control

Behavioral control covers whether the business has a right to direct or control how the work is done through instructions, training, or other means.
  • When and where to do the work.
  • What tools or equipment to use.
  • What workers to hire or to assist with the work.
  • Where to purchase supplies and services.
  • What work must be performed by a specified individual.
  • What order or sequence to follow.
  • Whether worker is trained to perform services in particular manner.
Training is an area where some small businesses come close to creating an employment relationship with independent contractors by requiring detailed training, including “shadowing” of the business owner/service provider, and requirement that services be provided in a certain manner.
Requiring an independent contractor to have taken certain classes is not the equivalent of providing training, but merely requires a qualification level and skill set required for work. It may be a safer route to take when hiring subcontractors.
Also, training in company policies is not necessarily the same as training in how to do the actual services.

2. Financial Control

Financial control considerations are as follows:
  • The extent to which the worker has unreimbursed expenses.
  • The extent of the worker’s investment in the facilities used in performing services.
  • The extent to which the worker makes his or her services available to the relevant market.
  • How the business pays the worker.
  • The extent to which the worker can realize a profit or incur a loss.

3. Type of Relationship

The IRS examines the relationship between the parties:
  • Written contracts describing the relationship the parties intend to create.
  • The extent to which the worker is available to perform services for other, similar businesses.
  • Whether the business provides the worker with employee-type benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation or sick pay.
  • The permanency of the relationship.
  • The extent to which services performed by the worker are a key aspect of the regular business of the company.
For more detailed information visit www.IRS.gov and refer to IRS Publication 15-A, Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide or IRS Publication 1779, Independent Contractor or Employee.

Terms of an Independent Contractor Agreement

The following are typical clauses found in an agreement between a retaining business and an independent contractor:
  • Define independent contractor status
  • Scope of work (duties & required responsibilities)
  • A non-solicitation and/or non-compete clause
  • Non-disclosure clause
  • Copyright/work-for-hire
  • Consent to use of trademark
  • Payment terms (compensation & out-of-pocket expenses)
  • Term of project or relationship/termination
  • Obligation to carry general liability insurance
  • May also include a governing law provision, indemnification clause, conflict of interest clause, non-hire provision, and request for taxpayer ID number for 1099.
Non-compete agreements are reviewed by the courts for reasonableness based on several factors, including the nature of the business, the nature of the worker’s duties, the geographic territory encompassed by the non-compete, and the length of time chosen. They are often hard to enforce.
Non-solicitation agreement can protect against stealing of clients and/or employees.
For an employee, you can draft a basic employment letter outlining date of hire, salary and benefits package, probationary period, pay raise eligibility, etc. Employees are generally “at will” unless otherwise designated, meaning they can be discharged due to any legitimate, non-discriminatory basis.
The employer chooses which benefits to offer (sick leave, vacation, etc.); benefits are usually not required (check state and local laws and regulations). Benefits are mostly based on industry standards and employee expectations, and are used to entice employees.
As with any major business decision, do your homework — speak with expert advisors, (accountant, attorney, business coach, etc.), and speak with colleagues that have experience in retaining workers in order to find out which classification makes the most sense for your business. Good luck!

Copyright © 2010 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2009. Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and operate productive and profitable businesses. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for success-minded individuals, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com. Lisa is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press. Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .

I’m hearing a lot these days about business reinvention. And it certainly seems like a great idea. But I think that a complete business overhaul is not only unjustified much of the time, but can be a risky move.

So instead, I’d like to propose the idea of a business “remodel”, which is more along the lines of a home remodel. When you remodel your home, you generally keep the existing structure and foundation. The changes are distinct for sure, but do not involve knocking down your entire home. Rather, the remodel may involve adding an addition, repainting a room, finishing a basement, etc.

Likewise, you can remodel your business in distinct and powerful ways that cause a huge shift in your delivery of services, income stream, target market, or visibility as an expert. But a business remodel needs to be justified, strategic, and executed in such a way that the remodel doesn’t cause too much turmoil in your business. When you remodel a home, for example, it needs to be done in a way that causes the least disruption to your living environment. Yes, you are willing to suffer some inconvenience in the short run knowing you will wind up with a beautiful newly remodeled home. But you wouldn’t plan a remodel that forces you to live in absolute chaos unless you can move out during the construction and find another place to live. Easier said than done!

With your business, you can’t necessarily find a new business “home” while conducting a business remodel because you still need cash flow. Sure, there are exceptions for those business owners that saved a ton of money to fund a remodel, but even in that case, it would mean dropping out of the business for a temporary period, which is not going to leave you top of mind with your target market.

So what is the best way to approach a business remodel and what might it include? Here are some tips and guidance.

  • Take Stock – Approach your business remodel in a strategic manner by taking stock of where you are in your business at present, and where you’d like the business to be in the future. Assess what you love about your business, what is working, and what brings you and your clients success and results. Also, pay serious attention to what is no longer working, what you have outgrown, and what your clients don’t seem to need or want anymore. Only when you have done this business assessment will you be in the right frame of mind to determine what shape your business remodel will take.
  • Blueprint the Remodel – Just like you would with a home remodel, you need to draft a blueprint for your business remodel. Add what the remodel will include, how long you expect it take, what players need to be involved, how much money you need to finance the remodel, etc. Consider getting assistance from a trusted advisor during this stage. Approach the blueprint like you would a business plan so that it can serve as the framework for the remodel during the weeks/months/years of the remodel.
  • Add On – One way to remodel your business that is safe and smart is to actually add onto it. This can be in the form of an additional income stream like a new service offering, product, or program. It can also be achieved by partnering with another business owner to engage in a joint venture together. It can take the form of offering or joining an affiliate program. The list is as long as your imagination, and what is the best fit for your business.
  • Take Away – A business remodel can also include taking something away from your business that you know is not working, is draining your energy or your bank account, is not a big seller, or you just plain don’t love offering anymore. In business, we often keep saying yes and piling up things. But a smart business remodel can be about saying no and streamlining or micro-focusing on what truly works, and brings you and your clients great results.
  • Thing Big, but Start Small – Once you get the idea of a business remodel in your head, it is hard not to get excited and maybe a little carried away. It is great to be excited and have passion around your business remodel. In fact, go ahead and think big! But then come back down to reality, and start small. Take the remodel one step at a time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew or your remodel will crash and burn.
  • Mind Your Existing Business – Another common problem with a business remodel is that while you are in the process of remodeling, you neglect your overall business. Make sure that you are still “minding the store” while remodeling. It is easy to get caught up in the remodel, as it is very exciting and usually evidence of where your future lies. But unless you have unlimited funds and a celebrity status, your clients most likely still want to buy from the business you have now. If you absolutely want to be free of the business you have now, then realize that you are not just remodeling, you are reinventing your business! And that is a horse of a different color. If that is what is truly happening, then you will be following a different path. You may need to close shop altogether, sell your business, completely revamp or rebrand it, or get employees or independent contractors to run it for you.
  • Roll Out Your Remodel– At some point, your remodel will either be complete, or at least far enough along, that you want to officially roll it out and shout it from the rooftops. But consider that you may want to go public with your remodel even sooner than that. Getting people involved in your remodel can be a great strategic decision. In fact, you can engage your clients in the remodel by asking them to assist in some way. For example, let’s say the remodel is to add a service offering. You can survey your clients (and warm prospects) well in advance to see what service offering is missing from your business that they desperately want and need. There are many other ways to get others involved in your remodel, but make sure you do so wisely so you don’t scare your clients into mistakenly thinking that you may be jumping ship or abandoning them.
  • Enjoy the Remodel Results – If you approach your remodel wisely and execute it strategically, you will be able to enjoy the results — and so will your clients!

Copyright © 2011 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2008. Lisa Montanaro, “The Solutions Expert,” is Principal of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC, a professional services firm created in 2002 that offers professional organizing, business and life coaching, and motivational speaking to individuals and organizations. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for the general public, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for professional organizers and entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com.  Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through LMOS, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how LMOS can improve your home or work environment, or help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .

I’m hearing a lot these days about business reinvention. And it certainly seems like a great idea. But I think that a complete business overhaul is not only unjustified much of the time, but can be a risky move.

So instead, I’d like to propose the idea of a business “remodel”, which is more along the lines of a home remodel. When you remodel your home, you generally keep the existing structure and foundation. The changes are distinct for sure, but do not involve knocking down your entire home. Rather, the remodel may involve adding an addition, repainting a room, finishing a basement, etc.

Likewise, you can remodel your business in distinct and powerful ways that cause a huge shift in your delivery of services, income stream, target market, or visibility as an expert. But a business remodel needs to be justified, strategic, and executed in such a way that the remodel doesn’t cause too much turmoil in your business. When you remodel a home, for example, it needs to be done in a way that causes the least disruption to your living environment. Yes, you are willing to suffer some inconvenience in the short run knowing you will wind up with a beautiful newly remodeled home. But you wouldn’t plan a remodel that forces you to live in absolute chaos unless you can move out during the construction and find another place to live. Easier said than done!

With your business, you can’t necessarily find a new business “home” while conducting a business remodel because you still need cash flow. Sure, there are exceptions for those business owners that saved a ton of money to fund a remodel, but even in that case, it would mean dropping out of the business for a temporary period, which is not going to leave you top of mind with your target market.

So what is the best way to approach a business remodel and what might it include? Here are some tips and guidance.

  • Take Stock – Approach your business remodel in a strategic manner by taking stock of where you are in your business at present, and where you’d like the business to be in the future. Assess what you love about your business, what is working, and what brings you and your clients success and results. Also, pay serious attention to what is no longer working, what you have outgrown, and what your clients don’t seem to need or want anymore. Only when you have done this business assessment will you be in the right frame of mind to determine what shape your business remodel will take.
  • Blueprint the Remodel – Just like you would with a home remodel, you need to draft a blueprint for your business remodel. Add what the remodel will include, how long you expect it take, what players need to be involved, how much money you need to finance the remodel, etc. Consider getting assistance from a trusted advisor during this stage. Approach the blueprint like you would a business plan so that it can serve as the framework for the remodel during the weeks/months/years of the remodel.
  • Add On – One way to remodel your business that is safe and smart is to actually add onto it. This can be in the form of an additional income stream like a new service offering, product, or program. It can also be achieved by partnering with another business owner to engage in a joint venture together. It can take the form of offering or joining an affiliate program. The list is as long as your imagination, and what is the best fit for your business.
  • Take Away – A business remodel can also include taking something away from your business that you know is not working, is draining your energy or your bank account, is not a big seller, or you just plain don’t love offering anymore. In business, we often keep saying yes and piling up things. But a smart business remodel can be about saying no and streamlining or micro-focusing on what truly works, and brings you and your clients great results.
  • Thing Big, but Start Small – Once you get the idea of a business remodel in your head, it is hard not to get excited and maybe a little carried away. It is great to be excited and have passion around your business remodel. In fact, go ahead and think big! But then come back down to reality, and start small. Take the remodel one step at a time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew or your remodel will crash and burn.
  • Mind Your Existing Business – Another common problem with a business remodel is that while you are in the process of remodeling, you neglect your overall business. Make sure that you are still “minding the store” while remodeling. It is easy to get caught up in the remodel, as it is very exciting and usually evidence of where your future lies. But unless you have unlimited funds and a celebrity status, your clients most likely still want to buy from the business you have now. If you absolutely want to be free of the business you have now, then realize that you are not just remodeling, you are reinventing your business! And that is a horse of a different color. If that is what is truly happening, then you will be following a different path. You may need to close shop altogether, sell your business, completely revamp or rebrand it, or get employees or independent contractors to run it for you.
  • Roll Out Your Remodel– At some point, your remodel will either be complete, or at least far enough along, that you want to officially roll it out and shout it from the rooftops. But consider that you may want to go public with your remodel even sooner than that. Getting people involved in your remodel can be a great strategic decision. In fact, you can engage your clients in the remodel by asking them to assist in some way. For example, let’s say the remodel is to add a service offering. You can survey your clients (and warm prospects) well in advance to see what service offering is missing from your business that they desperately want and need. There are many other ways to get others involved in your remodel, but make sure you do so wisely so you don’t scare your clients into mistakenly thinking that you may be jumping ship or abandoning them.
  • Enjoy the Remodel Results – If you approach your remodel wisely and execute it strategically, you will be able to enjoy the results — and so will your clients!

I’m excited to share that I’ve been selected to present “Don’t Be Afraid of the Big Bad Law: Using the Law to Protect You & Your Organizing Business” at the 2012 NAPO Conference in Baltimore, MD on March 23rd & 24th. I’ve been presenting at the NAPO Conference since 2008 and it’s an honor to be able to share my expertise from my past career as an attorney to assist my colleagues.

If you’re an organizer, join me!  In my presentation, I’ll be discussing the different business entities, client agreements and what you should include in them, all about copyright and trademarks and the differences between independent contractors and employees. This will be an empowering session for you in building your business.

Here’s a video to fill you in more. http://tinyurl.com/3s55m35

So, your business is growing and you are ready to outsource or delegate some of the work.  However, you are confused about how to classify a new team member: employee or independent contractor? The following is an overview of classification of workers to help guide this important business decision.  As with any aspect of your business that is of a legal or tax nature, you should consider seeking the formal advice of an accountant and/or attorney to assist you.  Hopefully, this overview will provide you with enough basic information to ask relevant questions of your business advisors.

Classification of Workers

  • Classification of a person as an independent contractor or employee is important for tax purposes.
  • For an independent contractor, you must file IRS Form 1099-MISC to report payments of $600 or more.
  • If you classify an employee as an independent contractor and you have no reasonable basis for doing so, you may be held liable for employment taxes for that worker, which typically include income taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment.
  • If you want the IRS to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, you can file Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee

  • As a general rule, an individual is an independent contractor if the person for whom the services are performed has the right to control or direct only the result of the work, and not what will be done, how it will be done, or the method of accomplishing the result.
  • An individual is an employee if he or she performs services for an employer and the employer can control what will be done and how it will be done.

Categories of Control

The IRS examines the relationship between the business and the worker by reviewing 3 categories:

  1. Behavioral Control
  2. Financial Control
  3. Type of Relationship
  • These 3 areas form a list of 20 factors that the IRS uses to determine the distinction.  IRS Revenue Ruling 87-41 outlines the 20 factors in detail.
  • Generally speaking, independent contractors retain control over their schedule and number of hours worked, jobs accepted, and performance of their job.
  • Employees usually work a schedule required by the employer and their performance is directly supervised.
  • IRS Publication 1779, Independent Contractor or Employee, is another valuable resource that discusses the differences between the two classifications.
  1. Behavioral Control

Behavioral control covers whether the business has a right to direct or control how the work is done through instructions, training, or other means.

  • When and where to do the work.
  • What tools or equipment to use.
  • What workers to hire or to assist with the work.
  • Where to purchase supplies and services.
  • What work must be performed by a specified individual.
  • What order or sequence to follow.
  • Whether worker is trained to perform services in particular manner.

Training is an area where some small businesses come close to creating an employment relationship with independent contractors by requiring detailed training, including “shadowing” of the business owner/service provider, and requirement that services be provided in a certain manner. 

Requiring an independent contractor to have taken certain classes is not the equivalent of providing training, but merely requires a qualification level and skill set required for work.  It may be a safer route to take when hiring subcontractors.  Also, training in company policies is not necessarily the same as training in how to do the actual services.

2.     Financial Control

Financial control considerations are as follows:

  • The extent to which the worker has unreimbursed expenses.
  • The extent of the worker’s investment in the facilities used in performing services.
  • The extent to which the worker makes his or her services available to the relevant market.
  • How the business pays the worker.
  • The extent to which the worker can realize a profit or incur a loss.

3.     Type of Relationship

The IRS examines the relationship between the parties:

  • Written contracts describing the relationship the parties intend to create.
  • The extent to which the worker is available to perform services for other, similar businesses.
  • Whether the business provides the worker with employee-type benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation or sick pay.
  • The permanency of the relationship.
  • The extent to which services performed by the worker are a key aspect of the regular business of the company.

For more detailed information visit www.IRS.gov and refer to IRS Publication 15-A, Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide or IRS Publication 1779, Independent Contractor or Employee. 

Terms of an Independent Contractor Agreement

The following are typical clauses found in an agreement between a retaining business and an independent contractor:

  • Define independent contractor status
  • Scope of work (duties & required responsibilities)
  • A non-solicitation and/or non-compete clause
  • Non-disclosure clause
  • Copyright/work-for-hire
  • Consent to use of trademark
  • Payment terms (compensation & out-of-pocket expenses)
  • Term of project or relationship/termination
  • Obligation to carry general liability insurance
  • May also include a governing law provision, indemnification clause, conflict of interest clause, non-hire provision, and request for taxpayer ID number for 1099. 
  • Non-compete agreements are reviewed by the courts for reasonableness based on several factors, including the nature of the business, the nature of the worker’s duties, the geographic territory encompassed by the non-compete, and the length of time chosen.  They are often hard to enforce. 
  • Non-solicitation agreements can protect against stealing of clients and/or employees. 

For an employee, you can draft a basic employment letter outlining date of hire, salary and benefits package, probationary period, pay raise eligibility, etc.  Employees are generally “at will” unless otherwise designated, meaning they can be discharged due to any legitimate, non-discriminatory basis. 

The employer chooses which benefits to offer (sick leave, vacation, etc.); benefits are usually not required (check state and local laws and regulations).  Benefits are mostly based on industry standards and employee expectations, and are used to entice employees.

As with any major business decision, do your homework — speak with expert advisors, (accountant, attorney, business coach, etc.), and speak with colleagues that have experience in retaining workers in  order to find out which classification makes the most sense for your business. 

Good luck!

© 2010 Lisa Montanaro. Information provided in this article is intended as a general overview and is not to be construed as the rendering of individual legal or tax advice.