Guides

In-depth insights, information, and how-tos on key concepts and processes.
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Should New Freelancers Provide Free Services?
Should New Freelancers Provide Free Services?
Should freelancers provide free services? Your initial reaction to this question is most likely a resounding ‘N-O!’ Under most circumstances, you’re right; you shouldn’t work for free. That’s what volunteering or charity work is for. However, this...
What is Business Banking?
What is Business Banking?
Building your business entails managing your finances, including cash flow, invoicing, payroll, expenses, and more. It all ties back to business banking, which can be confusing when you’re trying to learn the lingo and compare the options. In this...
Freelancer Bank Account: What You Need to Know
Freelancer Bank Account: What You Need to Know
Whether you’re freelancing full time or dabbling with side gigs alongside your day job, it’s time to take your freelancing seriously and set up a freelancer bank account. More than one-third of the U.S. workforce is now freelancing in some form...
How-to’s of Market Research
How-to’s of Market Research
You may have a good sense of your identity, but what about your company’s? How does it talk? What does it stand for? Who does it resonate with and provide value to? Matt Thieleman, founder of Golden Bristle, explored the power of finding your company...
Rethink Business Banking for the Digital Age
Rethink Business Banking for the Digital Age
It’s official: the business banking model of yesterday needs a refresh, for banks and business owners alike. Even before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, the onus was on financial institutions to embrace digital business banking. Ernst & Young...
The most popular payment processing companies for small businesses
The most popular payment processing companies for small businesses
We live in a complicated world, and even the simple process of exchanging money for goods or services isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. We are becoming a cashless society, and most transactions are made with credit and debit cards, or digital...
How to Open a Business Bank Account
How to Open a Business Bank Account
Why open a business bank account? How does a business bank account help me manage cash flow? How does a small business bank account help with record-keeping? How can a business bank account protect me from personal liability? What are...
How to Manage Cash Flow Gaps
How to Manage Cash Flow Gaps
During my first full year of freelancing, I lost three of my main clients within a week. In turn, my monthly earnings sank from $6,000 to about $2,000. As I was earning a mere fraction of what I needed to get by, I panicked. I wasn’t earning enough...
How hiring other freelancers made me a better freelancer
How hiring other freelancers made me a better freelancer
During my second year as a freelancer, I was slammed with work. To lessen my load, I decided I’d hire someone who could help me proofread and research a batch of articles. I thought that finding a freelancer to fit the bill would be a cinch. After...
What every entrepreneur needs to know about self-employment tax
What every entrepreneur needs to know about self-employment tax
When you’re starting a business, you’re likely to encounter a whole host of new tax concepts. One of them is self-employment tax. Read on to learn exactly what this tax is, who needs to pay it, and how it’s calculated. What is self-employment tax...
Building a rejuvenation practice that works
Building a rejuvenation practice that works
If your to-do list is always too long, your workday is always too short, and you’re always looking for that one productivity hack that will let you do it all … you might find that the answer is doing less. Meet Tracey Lovejoy, coach and founder...
How to Create a Purpose-Driven Business Culture
How to Create a Purpose-Driven Business Culture
If you pay attention to news, surveys, and articles about entrepreneurship, you might have noticed an increasing number of stories about the success of purpose-driven companies. Companies with a clear and defined mission often have an edge on the...
What Kind of Company Should I Form?
What Kind of Company Should I Form?
There are several business types and structures to choose from. Each has its own list of pros and cons, including complexity of formation, liability protection, and tax implications. Here’s a quick overview of the common business types. Of course...
Guide to Being a Solopreneur
Guide to Being a Solopreneur
Let’s start by breaking some popular myths about being a solo entrepreneur. No, you're not going to fail just because you’re a solo founder; yes, you can get investors and raise capital; yes, millions of very successful businesses are run by solopreneurs...
Next Steps After Making a Business Website
Next Steps After Making a Business Website
Congratulations, you’ve just finished building your new website. It’s beautiful, and I bet you’re excited. Now, how do you get people to visit it? There are lots of resources about driving traffic to your website with ads and social media. This...
What to Know About Quarterly Business Taxes
What to Know About Quarterly Business Taxes
If you work for an employer, you likely think about paying your taxes once a year. When you start earning money for yourself, however, everything changes. Although tax returns are only due once a year, the IRS wants you to pay your taxes on a much...
Basic records for your small business
Basic records for your small business
We all know that it’s important to keep business records, but it’s not always clear what that entails. In fact, the SBA dedicated an entire education module to record-keeping as part of their Financial Education Curriculum series for small businesses...
4 reasons to open a business bank account
4 reasons to open a business bank account
It’s easy to overlook the value of a business bank account, especially if you’re an entrepreneur who’s just starting out. While it might not be mandatory for your business, and the prospect of opening one can seem overwhelming, a dedicated bank account...
Small Business Tax Guide for New Owners
Small Business Tax Guide for New Owners
Taxes. Few would call them fun or easy, but they’re an especially daunting subject for new entrepreneurs. Most folks get the hang of doing their own individual taxes quickly and easily since they’re relatively simple and it’s easy to get advice...
When your business should use crowfunding to grow
When your business should use crowfunding to grow
One of the most difficult issues that any small business owner faces is how, when, and where to find funding to help their business grow. Even if you have a successful startup, you may not have the capital needed to take advantage of rising demand...
Social media support for entrepreneurs
Social media support for entrepreneurs
As a business owner, social media and customer service are probably both top of mind. Study after study has shown that good customer service will allow you to get and retain customers, while sub-par customer service will drive people away quickly....
Should I get a small business loan?
Should I get a small business loan?
In a recent study, 33% of small business owners said that one of their top challenges is getting enough working capital. If you’re one of the thousands of entrepreneurs in this group, you’ve probably thought about getting a business loan. There...
How to hire your first employee
How to hire your first employee
Hiring the first employee for your small business can be an overwhelming endeavor. There are lots of stressful moments: from dealing with the administrative requirements, to budgeting for the considerable expense, to accepting the fact that you’re...
Planning for retirement when you’re self-employed
Planning for retirement when you’re self-employed
Retirement planning can feel overwhelming for just about anyone — but it’s especially intimidating for freelancers and small business owners. Between the many possible options and the complex rules, finding the right retirement plan is no easy feat...
Moving money with ACH
Moving money with ACH
Have you ever heard of ACH transfers? If not, you’re in good company — the term is a pretty unintuitive bit of banking jargon. At Azlo, we believe ACH transfers are a great tool for entrepreneurs, so we’re here to help you learn about them and then...
How to raise money for your new business
How to raise money for your new business
You’ve heard of legends who went from basement to boardroom. You may even have family or friends who started a business with nothing and are now running their own empire. One thing these inspiring stories often gloss over is the challenges that...
How to report and pay taxes as a freelancer
How to report and pay taxes as a freelancer
The number of Americans freelancing is growing rapidly. According to the 2018 Freelancing in America report, the number of freelancers in the U.S. is now 57.3 million. That means 36% of the workforce has freelanced at some point in the past year...
How to choose the best business loan
How to choose the best business loan
Okay, let’s set the stage: you have a growing business and you’re looking for working capital. After careful consideration and deliberation, you’ve decided that a business loan is the right choice for you and your business. Now, the question is...
How to accept payments for your small business
How to accept payments for your small business
At Azlo, we’re always thinking about an entrepreneur’s unique banking and financial needs. In addition to business banking (we have you covered there), every entrepreneur needs a way to get paid quickly, reliably, and securely — without being charged...
How much does it cost to start a business?
How much does it cost to start a business?
So, you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with a killer business idea and plenty of hustle. You know you’ve got the skills and the ambition to succeed. You might even have found the right business partner. All you need is some startup cash. But … how...
How do I form a business?
How do I form a business?
You’ve come up with a brilliant business idea. You’ve researched the market, estimated your profits, made a website, and even secured your social media handles. Now, you just need to figure out how to manage your business finances. So you run to...
Finding your target market
Finding your target market
Today, small businesses can realistically market to anyone, anywhere in the world. At the same time, customers can choose to patronize any one of the literal millions of businesses that sell online. As consumers, we’re overwhelmed by the options...
Crowdfunding your business
Crowdfunding your business
What’s crowdfunding? Benefits of crowdfunding for businesses Is crowdfunding the right fit for your business? Additional considerations and steps for equity-based crowdfunding How to run a successful crowdfunding campaign What’s crowdfunding...
Bookkeeping basics and FAQ with Jessica Fox
Bookkeeping basics and FAQ with Jessica Fox
Jessica Fox, the founder of Florida Virtual Bookkeeper, recently joined us to present a webinar on bookkeeping basics for entrepreneurs. If you’d like to watch the webinar, you can find the full recording here. If you only have a few minutes, though...
How to come up with a business idea
How to come up with a business idea
If you’re reading this, you probably want to start a business but you’re not yet exactly sure what that business should do. Maybe you have ideas, but you’re not quite confident in them. Maybe you have a problem you want to solve, but you’re not...
Choosing the right accounting software for your business
Choosing the right accounting software for your business
All too often, I talk with clients who say “I do my books once a year, in a panic, when I have to do my taxes.” And every time I hear this, my heart breaks a little. Not only is this a stressful way to live and do business, but it also means these...
How to start bookkeeping for your small business
How to start bookkeeping for your small business
When you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, there’s a long and admittedly overwhelming number of things to do and learn. Bookkeeping is one of the items on that list, and it’s a task that many new entrepreneurs dread or defer for a variety...
An entrepreneur’s guide to negotiating your rates
An entrepreneur’s guide to negotiating your rates
Whether you are a freelancer or small business, entrepreneurs must master the art of negotiation in order to scale. Negotiating rates, prices, and deliverables is at the heart of profitability, especially for new businesses, yet many entrepreneurs...
4 ways to fund your business without getting a loan
4 ways to fund your business without getting a loan
Obtaining funding for your small business is often stressful, time-consuming, and occasionally risky. Unless you’re the owner of a Silicon Valley unicorn startup, you’re most likely bootstrapping your venture with personal savings or seeking a business...
Selling at craft fairs, maker shops, and pop-up stores
Selling at craft fairs, maker shops, and pop-up stores
The shop small movement is going strong. According to data released in late November 2018, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $17.8 billion (a record high) at independent retailers and restaurants. This upward trend has been gaining momentum since...
5 steps to plan for a successful year
5 steps to plan for a successful year
1. Assess the past year At the end of the year, business owners are closing out their books, preparing their year-end financials, and getting ready for tax season. This is also a great time to review your goals for the past year, assess your growth...