TotalStart

Lifestyle Business & Passive Income Talk With A Side Of Travel And Gadgets

Date archives January 2015

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Step 13 – Easy Credit Card Processing For First Timers

You’re building a business at an incredible time, it has never been easier than right now to get your own business up and running.   Back when I first setup credit card processing 15 years ago  it was a giant pain in the ass, now you’re going to be up and running almost immediately.  Just  few years ago if you wanted to process cards you first had to go setup a gateway system like Authorize.net then you had to get a Merchant account through a bank, then after going through a ton of approval you had to link the two up, and then get a developer to program it into your shopping cart.   This method still has its place especially if you want more control over your billing, negotiating fees, rotating merchant accounts, etc, but right now for what you’re going to need is something mind-blowingly simple.

The company Stripe has simplified down credit card processing to about as easy as it gets.   Their fees are really reasonable, especially for the ease of use for people new to setting up their own business.  You’re looking at only 2.9% + 30 cents per successful charge, with a 2 day deposit window.   Plus you’re able to tap into a bunch of awesome features and easily able to do live swipes of cards if you ever want to do offline transactions.   Once you really get cranking you can also negotiate down your Stripe fees at around the $80k/month mark.

Go ahead and create your Stripe account, you’ll need to provide some bank info and other stuff to activate the account.  Make sure you leave your account in test mode for right now until we’re ready to start running transactions through.

How To: Product Business

Step 12 – How To Setup Up Social Media Pages For Your Business

Social media is huge these days and it’s not going anywhere, so you’re definitely going to want to tap into the power of it at some point.   Right now is not the time though to start messing around with Facebook or Twitter, however, it makes sense to just sign up and reserve these pages for right now.    This way you’re locking in your account names while you can, and to prevent someone else from snatching them up before you can.

It doesn’t cost anything to set these up, so you might and well grab what you can, even if you don’t plan on using it right now.   Here’s the list of social media accounts you should probably go ahead and register.

– Facebook (Log into your Facebook account, on the left hand side there will be a link that says “Create Page”, follow those steps to setup your company page on Facebook)
– Twitter (Easy To Setup At Twitter.com)
– YouTube (done through your Google Account)
– Instagram
– Pinterest

These are usually the go to ones I like to snag.   If you’re lucky enough to use your company name, then you’re good to go.   However for most of us the majority of Twitter/Instagram handles will be taken.   In those situations you can always try to grab something close, for example if my company is Widgets.com and @widgets is taken you could do @widgetsdotcom, or @officialwidgets.   Or if your company has a unique name like WOWSERZ but you focus on one product, like say textbooks, you could go for a keyword rich handle like @buytextbooks, @cheaptextbooks, or something along those lines.   This isn’t the end all of your business, don’t be that discouraged if the name you want is taken, just be creative and grab something that’s close or in the industry you’re in.

Now this is the important part, DON’T DO ANYTHING WITH THESE PAGES RIGHT NOW!  This is a point where so many people get distracted and waste time, we’ll get back to these in a little bit, but we have bigger fish to fry.  Just setup the accounts & verify them and then throw the logins / passwords into your password locker for now.   Don’t make the mistake of getting into the time suck of social media just yet.

How To: Product Business

Step 11 – How To Setup An Email Account

Now that you have your web hosting picked out and your domain is up and running, it’s time to setup an email account.   Actually while you’re in there your best bet is to setup a few email accounts so you have them just in case.   Now would also be a good time to install some kind of password locker on your computer where you can start storing logins and passwords for everything.   As we go on you’re going to be signing up for a number of different services so you definitely want to get into the habit now of storing your passwords and information in one easy to use place.   Check the quick links box at the bottom and I’ll put some links in there to my favorite password storing tools.

So to setup your email is going to vary a little bit based on where you are hosting your site.  Generally speaking you should have access to some kind of management tool like cPanel, which is one of the most popular out there.  Log into your hosting account and see what they offer, also check their FAQs for how to setup email addresses in their system.

Most of you will have cPanel, so lets just walk through how to do it.   Go ahead and log into your cPanel on your hosting account and then just look for the “Email Accounts” link, it should be an icon of a little envelope.

Once you click that it’ll take you to a straighforward form where you can add a new account.  I usually like to then create a sales@ and support@ but it’s really up to you, also you might want to create a personal one for yourself like david@ which you can use for your own emails.  Use the password generator to make sure you have a secure password on each one.  Also I usually check off the unlimited box instead of setting a quota since in case we start sending large files we don’t want to get stuck hitting that at some point in the future.

So now you’re all set , to access these accounts you’ll need a mail client like Thunderbird or Outlook.   Your hosting company will provide you the mailserver info you need when you’re setting up those accounts.

Money

Never Get A Credit Card Late Fee Again

Just a quick word of caution, credit cards are the devil, I recommend only using them if you pay them off in full each month.  If you’re not in the position to do that then don’t get sucked into the world of credit card debt.  I learned my lesson in the past and it’s not a fun thing to go through.  The credit card companies have a way  of traping you into a never ending cycle of debt and fees.

However if you’re in a position where you can clear your balance each month then it really opens you up to some great perks.   I’m pretty partial to my Chase Ink and Amex cards and like to build up a chunk of points on both.  With Amex if you’re patient you can wait for a good bonus deal and maximize your points when transferring to one of their partners.   I’ve used my points for all sorts of flights and other travel related things.   There are a ton of forums out there dedicated to maximizing your points, so make sure you read up if you want to get the most bang for your point.

Ok so now that being said, here’s the one quick thing you can do to make sure you never get hit with a CC late fee again.

Just go into your banks online Bill Pay and set up automatic monthly billing for each of your credit cards for the minimum payment amount.  Since there’s no penalties for paying multiple times during the month, this ensures that for some reason it slips your mind to pay on time, your card will still get that initial payment in.

Don’t forget if you do get hit with a fee, don’t just immediately pay it.  Call your bank or credit card company and try to get the fee waived.   If you have a history of no prior late fees a lot of companies will do a courtesy removal of your first late fee.   Don’t be afraid to ask, the worst thing they’ll say is no.

So jump into your banks online panel and say goodbye to cc late fees in 2015 and beyond!

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