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Sunday, October 24, 2010

This is exciting, but hard to start a business - I like it!

Morning, this morning we’re sticking with the track that we work on providing our own happiness. Yesterday we got kind of bummed out. You heard of part of it already basically, we lost the Rich connection, and then on his way home he called and asked if I wanted to go out to a movie with him and Bob and Marcia. I looked up the movie … it was Red. I had to tell him no, I wasn’t interested, but that should keep him from going. He did go after some amount of protest, but it added to a long day.

I’m not sure how it went exactly, but yesterday we figured out that you didn’ have to pay to become your own business in that the Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN) is free. Seemed that everything I did I got grief for from Rich, but sometimes we work from two different minds … this is usually on account of our brains being separated. *Sigh*

We got into then working through Microsoft Accounting 2009 … Lordy it’s a bear if you don’t know general accounting principles. At one point I lost my information. Rich said that I just have to keep a paper ledger … might go with that for a bit, I sure do like that auto math though. Hmm, maybe we should then keep a ledger on Excel. Maybe we’ll do that … hold on.

AHA! We posted already a copy of the spreadsheet that we worked on this morning. That was productive. Rich had suggested that we use Excel for our costs and not worry about the big accounting package. We might do that later, but using Excel allowed us to write the regular commentary kind of stuff along with costs. I was very happy with the result. Most of the entries were made by going back over the saved emails. I’m usually pretty good about collecting the important stuff showing the progress of the project. I sent Rich a copy 

Hmm, it’s about 8:30 A.M. now. Rich just got up about a half hour ago. He’s watching the morning show, but we put on ear phones because we wanted to concentrate on the work here at the computer.

As to last night, we were having problem because of the accounting program as noted, but now we feel real good in having created something for Excel. It took a couple of hours, but I’m very happy with the result. We saved it and then printed it to our Facebook notes (without formatting) and we posted to our blog and sent copies to Rich, Carolyn and Dr. Marvin. I felt good also about shutting that down and getting back to the writing. It is a good marker task.

I know that I can’t write too long this morning because of the editing work ahead. Carolyn made sure to say that we had to get the proof back to her today.

There’s something that has been bothering us though in that we haven’t yet completed the work on the 18 questions asked to Carolyn on the 15th … we’re figuring we are going to give it one more try here and possibly update or at least conclude. Here we go … for about the fourth time Yeeks!

1. If the proof copy is ready to edit.
2. An intro to the marketing plan through Maria
3. If we will be assigning yet costs to the books
4. How many books will be ordered or at what stage we will do the ordering
5. If people will need to wait for a given amount of time between ordering with Friesen and receiving their book
6. What deadlines we are under
7. At what date will Dr. Marvin and Dr. Woollcott's sections need to be in
8. Under which title they the doctor's will be under
9. If there are any thoughts as to having read the Oprah paper - or other questions relating to her
10. Will I receive my own web page, or do you have suggestions toward this.
11. Will I soon get to see the cover
12. How's Natalie doing?
13. What will be the cost of doing the second book (I need to figure out budget)
14. Do I have to wait another long week to talk to you ... it was long!
15. Does your boss ever make comments on the books or book processes? Where is he at?
16. We'll think of more as we go ;)
17. When will some of the items like business cards or posters come in
18. When will we be posted at the Frisen press site (for sale, or upcoming)

Ok, by now the first proof is done and we are still at the 81% marker as to the editing. Need to finish this today. We promised it in Carolyn’s email box first thing Monday. Next, we had our intro to Maria and I think we wrote about that yesterday. We’re feeling pretty good about the meeting in general. We were bombarded though by Rich’s complications as Devil’s advocate and I believe that had a lot to do with the downcast day yesterday. Rich had been playing cards and we worked on the accounting package and then he got home and we never recovered even after having eaten dinner. We watched Solidad’s show on Black in America. The special talked about the church and the financial situation of three parishioners … it was very well done and I got something out of it. Basically, the Pastor’s message was to get out of debt and that was what he was doing with his very big church was preaching the message on how to handle finances. This supported his spiritual message rather than taking away from it. It had become his cause.

After Rich’s movie, he came home with ice cream, and that really helped the mood. Then he kind of snuck over to the couch under the guise that if we gave him a bit of a message we would feel better. We’d barely gotten off the couch until the ice cream walked in. *Sigh* we’re such a pushover. Yup yup … all forgiven. We knew that what was going on emotionally yesterday was more ourselves feeling bad about our own progress and that it really didn’t have anything to do with Rich. Maybe though too looking at it today was that we might have needed a break from the writing. It’s on our mind constantly and this week there was a LOT of it between getting in the Introduction from Dr. Marvin, meeting the marketing person, doing the web site AND editing the proof. Even though it’s the love of our endeavors we still sometimes need a break. Just as Carolyn might point out … better to have a break after we get in the copy. I think this is what publishing people do. They push to keep you on schedule. I like this about Carolyn.

Hmm, Missy is thinking she needs some time. We petted her for a few moments, but we’re not going over to the couch ... we’d definitely lose the next hour because we’d get caught into the show. I’m going to have to be careful today because our right forearm seems to be giving us trouble. Probably from the pounding we gave it yesterday during our periods of frustration. Hmm, good time to slip in now our horoscope. It still seems to be promising good things up ahead. I think the think that had come up that was so difficult and disheartening earlier in the year was work and in particular CARF.

It says, “At some point over the last year or so, you got out of a bad situation. In your mind, you may even feel like you escaped. But you were in control the entire time, even though you probably felt fearful, trapped, and much stressed. Now though you’re free. Yet you still feel nervous that what you left behind somehow poses a potential threat to your present life. It does NOT. In fact, it put you in a position to be in exactly the right place at the right time somewhere down the road. You’re getting close to an opportunity that wouldn’t have been if not for what you endured.”

The bad situation is best explained by CARF, but I think the part that helped was in meeting big deadlines. Maybe more specifically it has to do with my confidence and professionalism as a writer.

We fell asleep lying up against Rich and then walked us to bed about 10:30 P.M. Poor Rich he sure does go through a lot with us. Maybe what I learned from CARF also is the ramifications of avoiding. I know that I will feel better if I just get to the work. Which question next? Cost still depend on last page count on last proof … we’ll wait to see. I’m thinking that we are going to be under Carolyn’s number. We’ll explain to her our logic again, but then go with what she suggests. If it’s just up to me … we’ll keep the cost where the 14 hardcover books come in just at $500 purchased separately.

As to the ordering of books, we covered that pretty intensely with Rich yesterday.

Basically, we talked about the marketing part of going out and getting more business before we could afford it. He was talking about getting 100 books.

Neither of us know how quickly we’ll go through that, but then after we purchase for $900 the first set of hundred books … we’ll make a profit of like $1400, but that will have to get reinvested in getting more books. Let’s say we pay for another 100 soft books and 10 hard books. Hmm, seems like a bit of a quagmire.

Basically, the $1400 keeps reinvesting in more books. But then if we pay out $1400.
Let’s do this again

Ok, good good … I came up with a schedule and then sent it to Rich, Carolyn and Dr. Marvin. It’s a plan for how to do the at home book sales. The following is the summary I sent to Carolyn as a marked publishing goal.

I promise after this we're back to the editing. I'm not sure how hard it is to sell a book, but we're thinking here that we're going to hold book purchases to having an average of 100 soft cover books and 10 hard cover books per every new book in house. The basic reason we see of selling books by hand is to get enough to sell the next set and to pay for the cost of the next book. By July we should have enough to sell 650 books and have written our third book. By end of the year we should have sold 1090 books and have published our fourth book. We are just trying to figure out the numbers. I would take the extra $484 and $1992 (by the end of 2011 profits) and invest in the business as a restocking system by buying an extra set of 50 books for the first four books. From that point on, I would have enough so that every time my stock got down from 150 to 50, I would purchase another set of 100. Basically, the hand book sales are just to pay for more books so we always have books at hand and for the costs of publishing the next book.

The way we see it then ...royalty money directly from Friesen, Amazon, Barnes & Noble or any other bookseller will go toward profit that will be used for paying off my $100,000 debt (school loans, medical and car) ... after that ... we get a house! It seems to work in my mind. Please let me know if there's a fatal flaw in the way I'm thinking of this money? I don't think the hard line will be drawn this clearly, but my idea is to always keep an inventory of 50-150 (average 100) books each soft title and 10 hard title.

This is my goal! By the way we did calculations at $26 for soft cover and $36 for hard cover.

Ok, ok … can’t imagine losing ANY more time. YEEKS! It’s 11 A.M. but these goals are important too, right? Need to be having a plan! Oh Lordy scratch that … we forgot about the 18 questions let’s see if we can finish them by noon. Steady girls! This all though definitely answers the questions about how many we should order and at what times. Hmm, Carolyn says that it’s about 2-3 weeks in waiting for an order of books from Friesen. Obviously people will be able to buy from other locations at a quicker pace, but this gives me my general sense of order.

 
As to the deadlines we are under … the most prominent is to get the first proof edited today, or at least before Carolyn walks through the door tomorrow at 11 A.M. our time. Pswhoo! It’s like having TWO bosses! The deadline that we’re trying to hit with publishing at least to the Friesen site is by November 12-19th. And after that we’d hope closer to a week, but might have to wait for a month before Amazon and others pick it up. And, we should have a date of January 3rd, to be getting in the first edit to Julie and have it back from her by January 17th. Then we should have it first proof ready by 24th and be signing the final proof by Valentine’s Day. By then we should have our taxes, or it will be soon after. Ok, we just sent something to Julie asking her if those 2 weeks will work for her. The message seems to have disappeared, but these notes are here so we’ll wait to see if it shows back up before duplicating.

No worry on the good doctors, because by now they are all in. Still not sure as to if Carolyn has ideas from Oprah, we do know that it got handed over to Julie during our meeting and Julie is going to come up with a marketing plan so maybe that is in there. I’m disappointed in that I’ve not heard anything from the Oprah producers, Sarah Olson or Astraea. Eh, we will see in a while if it is worth getting a hold of them again. I’m sure they are all doing whatever too and to be sure, they are under no obligation from me.

As to the web page, it turned out Friesen didn’t have anything like that, but we have since found our own web page. A little further down the road we will go over with Carolyn the process of making payments and such. Maybe that will come down to us have x amount of books … hmm, still have to get those boxes for the books.

That’s another $100. Maybe it can be a part of Rich’s Christmas present to me 
I think we have hope we have $27 in the bank. I will wait for the mid-November check and then open a bank account with Brookfield. I want to get it started by this year so that we can record the finances for income taxes. I would like the Friesen publishing costs be written off as a business expense. I know it is going to cost more for calculating the taxes, but I want the books straight. Rich wasn’t confident of his accountant and I don’t want to pay

Ok, well not sure what exactly happened, but we ended up doing a lot of something else and then some simple talking to Bob and Rich … Rich treated to pizza for Bob helping him. I just got lucky and got to eat too 

We went over and looked into getting an accountant here in Brookfield. We found one that we liked a lot and sent him an email to get a hold of us. We also sent him a spreadsheet. He’s an accountant, right? His name is Dennis Gorman. We had all kinds of things on our spreadsheet … it’s like now our business plan. There is a page one and a page two … the second page is the 47 authors report. On the first page we titled it the Journey of Quite Frankly Ann Journal

The three pages are our actual journal from 8/13/10 through 10/24/10. Those pages list all the business activities we’ve had since starting including the costs involved. Then I put the first and second series of books and their production times. That sheet also lists the costs for the both series. The next sheet has our business addresses, phones, web sites, etc. Then we put in our IRS Employee Identification Number (EIN) that we registered for on Saturday. We then put on our book purchasing and expense chart. The next item is the back and front colored copy of our cover. The next four pages are the FriesenPress Contract. That’s got tons of money information. I’ve then got one sheet that explains where and how much I’m going to need paying for the boxes and the soft foam that goes around the books to ship. I then put on a copy each of Dr. Marvin’s and Dr. Woollcott’s intro/prefaces. I added also the part on how we split the priority of paying into the business or toward our debt as to earned income. I put down the profit sharing/will policy and where everything goes officially with me both alive and dead. I put down the philosophy of selling the book and where those profits go specifically as to either a reimbursement back into the business or the royalty checks that go to paying the $95,000 in debt (school, medical, and car). Then for good measure we add a picture or our dream house and its floor plans, because that’s the way we roll.

We are back after dinner and a movie and an hour drama. We weren’t in the right space to write or edit, but now it’s about 9:30 P.M. and I thought I should at least finish up for the night … We’ve tried soooo hard to get past these 18 questions. Who would have known they would create this much thought. Where did we leave off?

Let’s see … I think both the 47 autobiography research and the Oprah material probably went over to Maria. I’m not going to worry about that too much more. I got the new web page. We still don’t know how Natalie’s doing, but we did get to see the cover and we thought it was absolutely GORGEOUS!!! Erika did a FANTASTIC JOB!

As to the cost of doing the second book, we figured that out pretty much through the charts, but basically every new book is another Mass Media package so it’s going for another $1500, plus $900-1100 to pay the next round of 100 books, and we still don’t have it figured out how we’re going to pay for the book return insurance.

Fortunately, I did get my chances to talk with Carolyn, but not as often as I prefer. It seems that when we get something that we’re supposed to be doing on our end, we don’t talk so much until I can get something to her. I don’t want to be a disappointment, but this weekend is going to need being accounted for. Basically why didn’t we ever get to the editing? I know we were tired, but it seemed we busied ourselves either to the BUSINESS of owning a company or we were writing the next book. That can’t ever be anything, but a good excuse. Writing is good for writers! I have a staffing tomorrow at 1 P.M. but other than that we will work on preparing those last elusive 75 pages.

I didn’t get too much assurance about Carolyn’s boss. He seems to back up our girls, but I think he’s got everyone working way too hard. They all seem to be busting out about the seems. I think he’s the type to be taking care of the business parts which means hiring, but most likely it will be the girls that teach the new people how to do the work. I’m being conditioned that I might not keep Maria, but Carolyn is saying she’ll stick it out with me. I don’t know if we have a choice in breaking up our four person team, but I’m really going to want and hang on to Carolyn. I think like other authors find, she is very smart, able and easy to work with. I know the boss knows about us as a client, but I have no sense of confidence that he knows much about me other than the package I bought. That’s kind of a disappointment, and we’re going to try not to be doing something really special just to get his attention. Steady as she goes.

As to the posters, postcards, bookmarks, and business cards – my thoughts are here that Carolyn must have stated they come after the final proof is signed off. That would make sense. I hope they come sooner than later as to starting things up, but there’s a lot more editing and work to be doing with Maria on marketing first. Bob asked today where my first book signing is. I’m trying not to be leery just that it IS. Like all else the last question … HURRAH! Seems to be the question of when we’ll be posted to Friesen. I think this as well as the other happens after the sign-off. I’m thinking that it is about a week after the sign-off and we’ll be up past “upcoming” we will be formally on the market and that is supposed to be coming November 12-19th. We feel like we’re repeating the same things just to keep everything in memory.

After we get out a few more literal tasks, we are going to start going over the government’s idea on small businesses. I think that is the marker for the week. It’s more than selling books; it IS an entrepreneur sole propriety business. Wow. We actually are doing pretty well all considering. There’s a little more responsibility on our end, because the girls’ backgrounds are Canadian. Well, there are pluses and minuses to everything. I know Rich is going to be mad that I’m talking about an accountant, but we really don’t want to mess this up.

I want everything set up as it needs to be right away. Where the money is coming from? I really don’t know yet. We’ll have to see what his expenses and pay structure is like. Maybe if we come up with $500 in November, then another $400 in December and that would leave $300 for the accountant. This is late night thoughts, but it will help me sleep. Hmm, sure do hope we’re going to do ok with taxes this year. I need about $800 to make it. I’m just thinking that if we can cover ourselves with the accountant, it will make selling easier and I won’t have to worry about things like I’m thinking now we have to register for an IL business or sales license.

Someone is going to need teach me the rules. This is what Mr. Gorman’s site says that he can do. The thing too is that if we are doing the tax season to start now then maybe we will be able to get something down for the first quarter the business has no money, but it does have plenty of expenses. Hopefully, when the time comes he will also be able to refer us to a good attorney. Among other paperwork that I want done right for the business, he might also whip up a quick will. It seems like Mr. Gorman uses QuickBooks, so he might have someone set it up and I can learn to use it between things. Generally, I need just a few bookkeeping lessons. Lordy how am I going to afford it?

• Tax Planning
• Tax Preparation
• Reviews & Compilations
• Bookkeeping/Write-Up
• Business Entity Selection
• Business Succession Planning
• Estate Planning
• Financial Planning
• Financial Forecasts & Projections
• IRS Representation
• Business Valuations
• Pension & Profit Sharing Plans
• Accounting Software Selection & Implementation
• Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor
• Payroll Services
• Retirement Planning
• Sales Tax Services

Ok, good good. Just ran over the small paragraphs talking about the services. I feel I’m at the right place, and that will be confirmed during our first meeting. I’m hoping he calls right away in the morning, or at least has a staff call for an appointment. I could be there by 3 P.M. tomorrow. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too much longer into the week, hmm?

Nighty night

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