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Avlor said...
How do you manage multiple income streams? (i.e. PayPal and Google checkout). Right now I treat my Paypal account like my checking account and everything is funneled through there. You've hinted at a main account you funnel to and have regular withdrawls from. Have you had issues with the time for Paypal or Google checkout?
Here's the way I have my accounts set up: Once or twice a week I'll transfer money from Paypal to two savings accounts. One is my business expense account and the other is a personal savings account, 1/3 goes to the business account and 2/3 goes to the personal account. Google checkout is set to send any money I make to the business account since it only allows being linked to 1 account.

So if this week I've made $300 that was paid via paypal, $100 goes to the business account and $200 to my personal account. Remember these are savings accounts so they also earn interest (though rates are very low right now).

I have a checking account for business expenses and I transfer money to it once a month. This account is ONLY used for business purchases and that makes my record keeping much easier.

Twice a month I have money automatically transferred from my personal savings account to my personal checking account. I consider this like my paycheck and it's what I use for my personal expenses, I resist the temptation to make extra transfers though as my business grows I give my "paycheck" (the one exception was is the holidays, if your sales tripled like mine did it's okay to give yourself a small bonus). I also have another $50 a month automatically transferred to another savings account that is an emergency fund. The purpose behind this system is to smooth out the variations that any handmade business has in sales and set aside money for business expenses, it's tempting to splurge during good months then you're left with things being very tight during slower months. This also solves the time problem, since everything is scheduled and I know how long the transfers take I know exactly when I'll be getting my money and if I'm uncertain I have online banking set up for all my accounts.

I'm able to keep track of my accounts and see the big picture using which is a free personal finance service that lets you track how much you make and spend in an easy way. This is just for simple tracking, I use spreadsheets for keeping track of expenses and income for taxes and that is a whole other topic for another time.

If you have a question you can email me or leave a comment in the Q&A Request thread.

I'm getting some new business cards printed and uploaded my design to Flickr. Being my short attention span self I started browsing business cards on Flickr and came across these gorgeous bookmarks being used as business cards. I just had to share them on the blog.

My New Business Cards, originally uploaded by dollproject.

Submit your photos for consideration as a Weekly Inspiration by adding them to the Flickr Group.

There's been a lot of discussion lately on Etsy about use of fonts in banners. Simple fact is that you aren't restricted to the default fonts that come with your software so there's no reason to use comic sans. Here are some resources for great creative fonts:

 The saga of the laptop continues. I've got the new one so expect posts to get back to new ones, however the old laptop crashed taking a lot of my files with it and I'm working on recovering them. Learn form my mistake: backup, backup, backup. There was no excuse for my not doing it because I have a 1TB external harddrive.

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    Several months ago I reviewed the book Craft Inc and I really liked it. So I decided to buy the author's Business Planner when it was released. Well I've had it a few weeks now and really love it. I'm not naturally a very organized person so the planner really gets me to focus on what I'm doing.  Once I've filled the planner I can take the various worksheets like revenue projections and do it in just a regular notebook because I'll have learned how to do it. This is best paired with the Craft Inc book but works well on it's own.

    My new laptop arrives today so assuming all goes well I'll be resuming long posts Wednesday by answering a big Q&A question.

    I've ordered the new laptop, should arrive early next week so I can write longer posts again.

    A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to change my shop's banner. This was the banner I had been using:
    I liked this banner a lot but it had a big problem. When I bought my new light tent and camera I decided to redo all my shop photos and changed from using a light blue paper background to a deep blue velvet backdrop and the banner no longer fit.

    I decided to completely redesign my banner so I drew up a new design with octopus tentacles, scanned it, then spent hours tracing and coloring it on my latop (pre-keyboard death). This was the result:
    I wasn't totally happy with it but I decided to give it a  for a couple weeks to see if it would grow on me. Well it didn't and I was REALLY missing the old banner. So I scrapped the new look and revamped the old banner, I replaced all the photos with new ones and made the background colors richer and deeper.
    So the lesson in this isn't that I shouldn't have changed my banner. I absolutely needed to. It's that you shouldn't be afraid to rethink your design choices. I tried a radical change, it didn't work, but it made me take my old design and punch it up to look much better. If you think you need a change, just go for it. You can always change it back if it doesn't work out.

    Still without a new laptop so starting with the shorter questions first.
     Hi there!

    I follow your handmade business blog and saw you post about questions.  I would love it if you could pass on information about the confusing legal stuff regarding starting a handmade business.  Permits, clearances...who knows.  Also taxes this time of year.  Personally I am a freelancer trying to start a creative business and also living abroad...yup, pretty confusing when it comes to legal stuff!

    I'm not a lawyer nor do I have any legal training whatsoever so I'm not very comfortable answering questions like this. However I am a good google researcher and put together this list of websites, most of these are from government agencies or other well known sources so I'm comfortable with the reliability. For regulations in your community or county you need to visit or call the town/city hall if they don't have a website. These are all US resources since that's where I'm based and my area of knowledge, if you are in another country do some looking and you'll probably find your country's equivalent office online or a phone number to call.

    Sorry I haven't put up the long Wenesday post. My laptop keyboard is dying and the enter key went first (why couldn't it have been Caps Lock?). This makes writing blog posts pretty frustrating. My laptop is old and beaten up so I plan to buy a new laptop over the weekend and I'll double up on posts to get the questions I've been sent answered soon. There will be a Weekly Inspiration post tomorrow since that's short and simple.

    First off I want to thank everyone who sent questions. I'll be starting to answer them on Wednesday and if you have any please email me or comment on the question request post.

    Second I now have an official spam policy that you can read here and is also linked in the upper right menu of the blog. There's been a problem with spam comments lately, often get rich quick scams, and I wanted a clear policy so you can see what sort of comments have been getting removed. I encourage you to disagree with me and post your opinions and I'll never delete a comment that does so long as it remains PG rated for any younger readers (I have had parents contact me about their kids starting businesses and reading this blog).

    Third here's a fun creative video that is handmade if not about business: