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Writer to the Rescue and Packerland Websites at Chamber Breakfast

7 Tips to Make it as a Writer in Today’s Content Marketing World

Writer to the Rescue and Packerland Websites at Chamber Breakfast
Bill and Joan Koehne sponsor the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce Power Networking Breakfast in April 2023.

An interesting email recently popped into my inbox. A minister in the Fox Valley is considering a career change. He wants to be a professional writer and asked me for advice to get started. Before I contacted him, I reflected on my career as a professional writer. I hope this advice helps people in any industry who are considering a career change.

Partner with an established business

As the content writing division of Packerland Websites, I have a steady stream of customers funneled my way. When a business or nonprofit builds a website, the organization often needs text on the webpages. I interview a company rep and write original, brand-specific website content. I also edit newsletters and marketing content for our shared clients. Plus, I assist Packerland Websites with its marketing. In return, the Packerland Websites’ team helps me manage my business and provides technical support. The partnership works well for both Writer to the Rescue and Packerland Websites.

Meet with a business coach

I met with Dave Kaster of Fidelis LLC, Certified Business Advisory Services. Dave helped me create a mission and vision for my writing business. More importantly, he helped me develop a profitable business model and strategies for pricing, invoicing, marketing, etc. Ultimately, I gained the confidence I needed to make a career change.

Network with small business leaders

Some job leads stem from Google searches. “I Googled you” is always fun to hear from new clients! However, a majority of leads come from established relationships. Packerland Websites belongs to six chambers of commerce and business networking organizations. My husband, Bill, owner of Packerland Websites, and I co-sponsor the Greater Green Bay Power Networking Breakfast on the first Tuesday of the month. For years, Bill was active in BNI (Business Network International). Networking isn’t confined to business organizations. My first client hired me because he was familiar with my talent as a newspaper editor.

Write a lot, and read a lot

Natural talent goes a long way, but practice makes perfect, right? I learned to write in elementary school, but that was just the start. I continued to study writing in school, eventually earning college degrees in journalism and social media marketing. Even after 15 years of writing professionally, I’m still learning about new techniques and tools to improve my writing.

Respect your clients

The cost to acquire a new client is estimated to be seven times higher than retaining a current client. Once you attain a client, focus on retaining that client. Provide quality work, on time, and at the agreed-upon price. Answer phone calls and emails promptly. Bring value to the relationship by being attentive to clients’ needs and appreciative of their trust in you.

Find a writing niche

Think about your interests and find ways to capitalize on them. I’m the content facilitator for two Catholic magazines, and I write business management articles for a national trade magazine. A while back, I met a freelance writer who collected dolls and wrote articles for a doll magazine. Write about what you know about, and the writing flows more easily.

Diversify your services

When I launched Writer to the Rescue in 2017, I pitched a variety of services to clients. Then, I modified my services to meet demand. In addition to blogs, website content, newsletters, and news articles, I’ve written grant proposals, whiteboard scripts, and even the text for a wedding invitation.

Considering a career as a writer?

In May 2017, Writer to the Rescue took flight. As the Wonder Writer, I’m saving the world one word at a time. I wonder how many words I’ve written in my career and how many words are yet to be written. To the minister from the Fox Valley, I hope these seven tips help you decide if a career in writing is for you. Godspeed!

Discover the Ultimate Solution for Handling Downpayments: An Estimate

Originally Published by Prosperity Bookkeeping

Woman bookkeeper seated at computer to show way of handling downpayments.

QuickBooks Online makes running a small business so much easier. This industry-leading accounting software automates business-finance tasks and puts financial statements at your fingertips. QuickBooks Online is a real time saver, offering a range of finance and accounting solutions for small businesses. Despite all of its advantages, once in a while, QuickBooks Online throws a wrench in your ability to manage a clean set of books. For example, why does QuickBooks show a negative number when you make a deposit in Accounts Receivable? This is a frustrating feature of QuickBooks Online’s default process for recording upfront payments and downpayments.

QuickBooks Online Accounts Receivable & Aging Summary

Consider this accounting scenario. A customer owes you a $1,000 downpayment for a project that will cost $5,000. The customer pays you the downpayment, and you go through the process of receiving payment and recording it in QuickBooks Online Accounts Receivables. After recording the transaction, QuickBooks creates a $1,000 credit for the customer.
Now, suppose you want to look at what customers owe you money, how much, and how many days their invoices are overdue. You’d click on Reports, then Accounts Receivable Aging Summary. When you view this report, you’ll see that the $1,000 downpayment you recorded displays as a negative balance on Accounts Receivable.

How to Maintain Accurate Days Sales Outstanding

Why is this an issue? Frankly, because it messes with your books when you’re performing complex financial analysis. When you check the financial status of your small business, one of the numbers to consider is Days Sales Outstanding. Just in case you’re new to accounting, Days Sales Outstanding shows how long it takes for you to collect on an invoice. Part of the calculation of DSO involves the whole Accounts Receivable balance. When a customer’s large downpayments is recorded in Accounts Receivables, it throws off the total AR number, Downpayments falsely reduce the amount of the open invoice balance as a negative amount, and QuickBooks subtracts the downpayment.

How to Record Downpayments as Nonposting Transactions

So, here’s a bookkeeping option to consider if you want to record a downpayment and maintain a clean set of books. Instead of just receiving a payment like usual, use a nonposting transaction by creating an estimate. You may wonder how a downpayment becomes an estimate, but bear with me.
Before creating an estimate, make sure that partial billing is available to you on QuickBooks Online. Partial billing isn’t available in every QuickBooks Online version, so you may need to upgrade. You can access the option for partial billing in QuickBooks Online by clicking the gear icon > Account and Settings > Sales > Progress Invoicing > Edit. Toggle the switch to turn on “Create Multiple Partial Invoices from a Single Estimate Feature”, and click Update, Save, and Done.

How to Create a Partial Payment as an Estimate

The process to create and save an estimate is the same as creating an invoice. However, as a nonposting transaction, an estimate will not post to your sales account right away. Click New > Estimate > Customer Name. Once you create and save an estimate, QuickBooks gives you the option to create an invoice. QuickBooks’ prompts allow you to charge a percentage of the total project cost. In our example, you would charge 20% of the total amount due ($5,000) and for a downpayment of $1,000. Alternatively, you can create a custom invoice. Perhaps you want to collect upfront for the product but not the labor. To do so, click Custom Invoice and fill in the product cost. Of course, you can customize the invoice any way you choose – whatever fits your cashflow and customer relationship objectives. QuickBooks creates an invoice that’s linked to the estimate. Then, when the customer pays the invoice, apply the payment to the estimate. Click on Receive Payment, and apply to the invoice.

How to Invoice a Remaining Balance

When the project is completed, it’s time to invoice the customer for the remaining balance. To do so, look up the customer’s account, open the estimate, and bill out the remainder by clicking “Remaining Total of All Lines.” If a project takes a long time to complete, you might decide to invoice the customer in increments, instead of simply invoicing for a downpayment and final payment. An estimate allows you to do that. Additionally, estimate if the scope of work changes, you can add new product or service costs to your original estimate. It’s worth noting that applicable sales tax will be applied to the correct tax period for the additional costs but won’t affect the sales tax of the downpayment. You can adjust an estimate without affecting the transactions in a closed period.

How Creating an Estimate Improves Bookkeeping Accuracy

Collecting upfront payments helps small businesses cover its liabilities and maintain cashflow for day-to-day business operations. By creating an estimate instead of simply applying a downpayment to Accounts Receivable, bookkeepers keep a clean set of books. Small businesses gain accurate and valuable insights into their financial data in order to make smart business decisions.

Talk to a QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Prosperity Bookkeeping is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor that is eager to help small businesses get the most benefit from QuickBooks accounting software. A ProAdvisor provides accurate, up-to-date information about QuickBooks, answers questions, and offers advice. This blog is just one example of the value that a QuickBooks ProAdvisor brings to the table. Visit the Prosperity Bookkeeping YouTube Channel to see Kristie Van Pay, owner of Prosperity Bookkeeping, demonstrate how to handle partial payments. If you have questions about partial payments or other accounting processes, visit the DIY Support page to schedule a QuickBooks ProAdvisor support call.