Cloud accounting: good for business

I hope I don’t need to explain why it’s important to do your business accounting. (How the heck can you make strategic business decisions without knowing what’s going on under the hood?!)

But if you’ve never tried using cloud accounting software, aka accounting software that lives online vs on your computer, you’re in for a treat. I recently made the video above describing all the ways that cloud accounting makes your business life That Much Easier. Check it out if you need more inspiration to make the switch!

Yes, a specific cloud accounting software company pays my bills. Yes, they charge a subscription fee. Yes, I 100% believe it’s worth it (and I wouldn’t be working there if I didn’t believe in what the company is doing). Yes, there are alternatives, both paid and free, but buyer beware; sign up for the free trials, kick the tires, talk to your biz friends and advisors to find out which software they use and what they think of it. But by all means, free yourself (and your business financials) from your desktop!

Death and Taxes

Focus on Five – a system for practicing a more balanced, contented life

You’ve probably seen at least one version of this advice floating around the internet:

3hobbies

“Three Hobbies” has always bothered me, for two reasons.

The first is that for those of us running our own businesses, the distinction between a hobby and a business is super important. If you want to write off your business expenses on your tax return, for instance, you’d better make sure the tax authorities don’t deem your business a hobby! (I’m not going to cover this in any more detail here, but do check out the link above for more details on the critical difference between a hobby and a business.)

The second issue is that “Three Hobbies” is INCOMPLETE, almost to the point of irresponsibility, when it comes to business owners. We know how common burnout, anxiety, and depression are among entrepreneurs. While running businesses, we might also be exercising and creating obsessively… all while totally disconnected from other human beings, or a sense of connection to what is driving all this activity in the first place.

And so I’m trying on a slightly different system for cultivating — as in, actually practicing — a balanced life. Continue reading “Focus on Five – a system for practicing a more balanced, contented life”

Getting over the fear of failure (I crashed my bike)

I made this video ages ago for work and even though we decided not to publish it, it’s still one of my faves 🙂 especially as it’s all about the inevitability of crashing, which I hope can paradoxically motivate all of us to get over our fear of failure.

Thanks to my colleagues Cat and Nadim and Kylie for the motion graphics savvy — turns out it’s not easy to, say, “draw” a red circle into a video, much less one that moves! — and to Luda for moral support always, including encouraging me to share this one ❤

#DeleteFacebook: How to permanently delete your Facebook account (while saving as much of it as you can for posterity)

I spent an absurd amount of time over the 4-day Easter weekend bumbling my way through the process of permanently deleting my Facebook account while saving as much of it as I could for posterity. This second part was important to me, and it’s really not as straightforward as it could be – as far as I can tell there are 6 things you need to do BEFORE requesting that Facebook permanently delete your account to ensure that your data is as protected as it can be, and to make sure you still have access to as much as you can reasonably collect from Facebook before saying goodbye.

I consulted a bunch of different How To articles and videos, went down several dead ends, screwed up (and had to cancel/restart the deletion process) multiple times, etc etc just to get to a place where I genuinely believe I did as much as I was willing to do without running some random script.

To add to the body of knowledge around this topic I decided to write up everything I’ve figured out so far. I sincerely hope this will save you some time and stress! I may be geeky but I’m no Facebook expert, so please please please let me know if I’ve misunderstood or misrepresented anything so I can update this article accordingly.

Good luck! This was a pain in the ass, but if I could do it, so you can you 🙂

Step 1: Download a copy of your Facebook data (and be amazed / disappointed with what you get)

You can read Facebook’s own instructions on how to do this here (Settings > Download a copy of your Facebook data). I’m suggesting you do this before Steps 2 and 3 so that you’ll have a record of all the Apps etc that used to be connected in case this list becomes useful at some point in the future…

So you have an idea what to expect when you download a copy of your Facebook data, here are some of the things that I noticed: Continue reading “#DeleteFacebook: How to permanently delete your Facebook account (while saving as much of it as you can for posterity)”

Presentations of self

As soon as I posted my last video it occurred to me: what I said was sort of true, but not nearly a COMPLETE representation of my experience of identity growing up. I thought about deleting the whole thing, but then I realized it was actually quite interesting to think about why it bothered me so much to leave an “incomplete” presentation of myself up on YouTube.

So many questions around how we present ourselves to others, and why!

Is it even possible to fully represent ourselves, in all our complexity, to anyone? How would we do it? Would it be worth the effort?

“I don’t know if I have the guts to put myself on the line for things that I completely recognize I might be wrong about.”

I’ve been thinking a ton lately about how to put myself “out there” more. Start a vlog, for real this time (the one I was going to launch at work has been put on the back burner… again)? Write another (gasp) book?

And also wondering if it’s possible to promote whatever I’m putting out there in a way that doesn’t seem arrogant, or like I think I have the answers, or risks my flying too close to the sun and melting my wings hubris lightning bolts vultures etc etc… AND also keeps me accountable to a higher purpose, rather than sucking me into the corrupt, or even just “fashionable,” version of power that so often seems to take over when people start gaining momentum.

(I really, really want to dig into life coaching as an example of this, particularly in light of this Quartz Obsession piece, but I’m trying to focus on the positive here!)

As I seek role models who have built platforms for their quirky selves and/or ideas in ways that don’t make me cringe, I have grown more and more a fan of Hank Green. Latest case in point: the description for this video (you’ll have to click through to the video’s YouTube page in order to read it).

Wow, EVEN HANK grapples with how to handle (and I’m assuming, not become similar to):

…people who figure out how to capture [a certain type of] energy [that you should read his description to learn more about] for their own gain and do not consider the responsibility that their power brings, or think that they are righteous when they are in fact leaning into culturally destructive ideas.

And: how can we balance the desire to offer some sort of insight into the things we observe without becoming an asshole, and even more complicated, how can we become ever more compassionate toward the full range of humanity without getting attacked for not hating on the people or things “everyone” loves to hate: Continue reading ““I don’t know if I have the guts to put myself on the line for things that I completely recognize I might be wrong about.””

Trasitions and Transformations

I am infinitely grateful for the three years I spent on the staff of RSF Social Finance, a financial services organization that seeks to revolutionize how people relate to money. Leaving that job was one of the most difficult decision I ever made! But I was literally bursting with the book I was ready to write, so leave I did, shedding many tears in the months leading up to and following my departure.

While at RSF, I had the honor of leading the development of their Food System Transformation Fund (although it had a different name then, the Food & Agriculture PRI Fund I think?), a new loan fund supporting high-impact food businesses, funded by foundation investments. You can read more about the impulse behind that fund in Don Shaffer’s reflections on the eve of his departure after 10 years as the President and CEO of this truly unique and inspiring organization.

Whenever I’ve been called to help an organization or business or another human being launch something new, whether it’s a loan fund or a product line or an entire business, Continue reading “Trasitions and Transformations”

Whose job is it to motivate millennials?

Millions upon millions of people have watched Simon Sinek’s video, Millennials in the Workplace. And quite a few have already written up their responses. Here’s mine.

TL;DR version: if in fact you have the benefit of being choosy about which company to work for, it’s your job to first figure out what your purpose is, and then find a company that’s in alignment. As a manager, it’s your job to connect your employees’ day-to-day experience with the company’s larger purpose, and to tell them either that they’re doing a good job, or what it would take to get there. Better still, give them the metrics and tools to figure that out for themselves.

***

My boss posted this to Facebook saying it was the most spot-on thing he’d seen regarding millennials, so I hit play:

I found Simon’s personality so hard to stomach that I could barely get the whole way through. His tone here is just so darn authoritative, condescending, and void of humility. Truly gifted leaders, in my experience, often project the opposite, and actually exhibit curiosity about and genuine empathy with the subjects of their attention.

Millennials always “want a trophy,” even if they’re doing a terrible job, he claims. Sorry, just not resonating.

The aggressively snarky tone of this response, This Millennial Rant Deserves A Trophy For Being Most Wrong, also irks me, but author Mike Hill does get to quite a few well-articulated critiques of Simon’s viral hit, with an astute analysis of why the media so loves to keep promoting it with click-baity language. I appreciate his use of statistics, including those related to unemployment (in the US, millennials comprise 40% of the unemployed) and the effects of the macroeconomic environment that millennials (and everyone else) find themselves in. And he cites sources to those numbers that inform his beef with Simon’s vague generalizations.

Better yet, he digs in about Continue reading “Whose job is it to motivate millennials?”

The Women’s March, Sheryl Sandberg’s silence, and Leaning the F*** Away

Someone at work recently posted the article Lean Out: the deafening post-November silence of Sheryl Sandberg on our internal social network, posing the question, “Do you do what you think is right, or do you do what is right by your company?”

Here are some excerpts of the article to get you up to speed, or scroll down to jump ahead to my response (hint: it’s about privilege).

Sandberg must be well positioned to be a leader in this precise moment of feminist consciousness, right?

Uh, wrong.

Since November, I’ve heard one phrase uttered over and over by senior women in the Valley: “Why isn’t Sheryl saying anything about this?” To be specific, it started right around November 9, when Hillary Clinton conceded the Presidency to Donald Trump.

sherylsandbergShe defended Peter Thiel staying on Facebook’s board. She defended her boss’s dismissal of the idea that fake news impacted the election. She– not Zuckerberg– went to that meeting and sat behind the Trump water. And most surprising of all: Sheryl Sandberg had absolutely nothing public to say about last weekend’s women’s march, the largest feminist event in our lifetimes. The largest American protest. The time we actually saw footage on every major network and newspaper of what she has been saying for years women need to do: Linking arms and standing together.

and Continue reading “The Women’s March, Sheryl Sandberg’s silence, and Leaning the F*** Away”