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Samantha King – Fempire Builders

Samantha King is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Barrie, Ontario, serving female entrepreneurs across Canada as the Founder & CEO of Fempire Builders. Samantha’s core purpose is to support the growing number of women entering the world of entrepreneurship by creating a community of women who empower and support each other through mastermind groups, education and mentorship as we all build the lives of our dreams while creating the work/life balance we crave. We’re thrilled to share Samantha’s Success Story!

mompreneur Samantha King of Fempire Builders

About Fempire Builders
Many women that I meet have great ideas; they know what they want, but they are unsure how to go about achieving it. Entrepreneurship can be lonely and isolating, especially when you are trying to navigate through challenges alone…particularly for women with many responsibilities in their personal lives in addition to the responsibilities of nurturing their new business.

I created Fempire Builders because I have walked through many of the challenges women face, personally and professionally. I want to support the rising number of women entering entrepreneurship through a community that inspires them to design the life they desire, personally and professionally, to fulfill and sustain them.

Fempire Builders believes in education to support each woman’s plan/dream, and encourages her to take action. We are an online training centre that acts as a hub for both personal and professional growth. Our focus is on giving female entrepreneurs the tools they need to create businesses that make money while helping them clear out the blocks that have been holding them back.

Diving into my own success facilitating both online and in-person learning experiences and my teaching background, I am thrilled to be bringing our Course Makers Membership for women in business who want to create courses and workshops to our active community. By empowering our members to create their courses and hosting them on our training centre for them, we are able to meet the diverse needs of female entrepreneurs in varied industries across Canada.

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
This is never an easy question to answer. I know why I do what I do as a business, sure. But this question has a bigger meaning than that to me. At the end of the day, I am doing what I am doing because I want my daughter to grow up in a different world than I did. One with more women running their own successful companies. One where women come together to help and collaborate as one instead of ripping each other apart. One where women are empowered to live the lives they dream of – on all levels.

mompreneur Samantha King of Fempire Builders

 

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I have always wanted to be my own boss, so to speak. Time freedom and being in charge of my own destiny were the BIG drivers initially. But it wasn’t until my then 4 year-old daughter, Penny, was diagnosed with autism, after 2.5 years of going through the motions leading up to that diagnosis, that I finally took the leap into entrepreneurship. Fempire Builders really came out of my need for something different. A need for more flexibility along with more of what I wanted, after receiving Penny’s diagnosis combined with a bad bout with post-partum depression. I wasn’t going to spend my timing doing things if they didn’t make my heart sing. That just wasn’t me anymore. I couldn’t bare it.

Furthermore, I was now officially a special needs Mama, and what would be required for Penny’s care would make me effectively unemployable to most employers – a fate many special needs parents face. When my maternity leave ended in May 2016, I took my 8+ years experience in teaching, telesales, corporate sales and marketing, and client service management in the small business world and started my business and now here I am.

mompreneur Samantha King of Fempire BuildersWhat’s the best part about owning your own business?
Owning my own business is harder than I thought it would be. Over the years, I have worked hard to find a balance between working and wearing all of the other hats I don each day. It requires time, trial and error and just as much personal growth as it does professional development, BUT, through all that, I have time with my kids, the flexibility to experience the life I want, and I get to help and contribute to a WHY of my choosing.

That time with my kids is spent homeschooling them (for the last 3 years), which has been huge for our family. Not only do we have more meaningful experiences now that we are all home together, but we get to define our family values together and work as a group to make them a reality every single day.

Describe people and/or experiences that have been instrumental to you along your journey to entrepreneurship – what impact did they have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
I think that when the student is ready, the teacher appears — and I have had many appear over my years of entrepreneurship. The two people who have been instrumental in my business up until now have actually not been the mentors and mastermind members that I have had the privilege to work and collaborate with over the years. I am more than my business, and, while my mentors have supported me in my business to make it what it is today, my husband and my now, 9-year-old daughter, Penny have been the ones without which all this would not have happened. My husband has believed in me and supported me every step of the way. He has committed to my business growth and is an integral part of how I wear all the hats I wear. Penny is my personal assistant in training and cheerleader extraordinaire. She is always ready to support and help out wherever she can – whether that’s helping with her 4 year-old brother, making runs to the printer for me or just keeping me on task and reminding me of the all things (not just business but personal too) that need to be done when things get busy.

mompreneur Samantha King of Fempire BuildersWhat values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?
I believe firmly that we are stronger together and that we can learn something from everyone we meet if we have an open heart. Those are the core values that drive Fempire Builders. We are a community of women who lift each other up. We support each other and share each other with those we know. We are just as invested in the businesses and lives of those around us as we are our own. And, through our Course Maker Membership, we are not only recognizing the expertise of our community, but helping them turn that expertise into a course that we will host and help market for them on our training centre.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
I am most proud of the community I have led for the past 4 years. To be able to support and watch these fempire builders grow, show up for themselves and for each other, and live the lives of their dreams has been huge for me. These women are helping me see my dream; a world with more women running their own successful companies. A world where women come together to help, do business together and collaborate as one instead of ripping each other apart.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
We are excited to launch our Course Maker Membership for women that want to create new opportunities for revenue or boost their business with an online course, but aren’t sure how to go about putting one together. With education, support and opportunities for one-on-one help from me, our Course Makers will have the tools and resources they need to become successful course creators and start developing a course that allows them to make revenue without trading time for money.

mompreneur Samantha King of Fempire Builders


Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
As you start your journey into entrepreneurship, there will be tons of information out there and examples of other women on the same path as you. Resist the urge to compare your journey to what their journey seems to look like. You’re not going the same way as them. You’re going on a journey that only you can decide on and what you decide is the only thing that matters. Success is yours to define.

 

An earlier version of Samantha’s Success Story was previously published in October, 2017.

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Heba Ahmed Malki – domilya GROUP

Heba Ahmed Malki is an Elite+ Member from Milton, Ontario, and has been part of our community since 2011. Both her and her husband Rachid run their home renovations company domilya GROUP together, and Heba is also a consultant with Sendout Cards! We’re thrilled to be sharing her Success Story!

Mompreneur Heba Ahmed Malki of Domilya Group and Sendout Cards


What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
From a very young age, I understood the importance of working independently. My father, a businessman, always instilled in me the value of honesty and uprightness; my mother, meanwhile, the value of respect and service to others. With much enthusiasm and dedication, I partnered up with my husband to create domilya GROUP. Ambition, discipline and purpose allows me to balance both: my two successful businesses and taking care of my family.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Owning domilya GROUP and being part of the SendOutCards family has been extremely satisfying. As a family we have choices and we get to make the decisions. Owning our own businesses, allows us to shape out our dreams. We get to help people and have the option of a more flexible lifestyle. It has open up the possibility of increasing our income and best of all, it has changed our daily routines. We start our days with a smile every day and look forward to transforming our clients’ dreams into reality.

Heba and Rachid Malki

Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
We come from a strong support structure with our families. We are blessed to have their unconditional support. We are very blessed to be surrounded by a large family and group of friends who live nearby and are very excited and supportive of our success.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Yes, I have to make sacrifices all the time. Success is not easy and it always comes at a price. Sacrificing free time, sleep, your evenings and weekend, will inevitably be a part of the process but in the long run, they’ll pay dividends.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Nothing but hang out with my kids and hubby. My days off are perfect days spent with family. They give me the balance and motivation I need. Last long weekend, for example, we laid out in the backyard all day, we had a water balloon fight and had a blast! Moments with my family are incomparable opportunities to experience special moments, build memories and appreciate what we have in life.

Heba Malki family

Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
domilya GROUP and my SendOutCards business have a continued commitment to behave ethically and contribute to the region’s development by making donations and sponsoring events whenever possible. Lending a helping hand to the community is part of our vision, a way of doing things all year long. The company has sponsored and supported several charities including, the Halton Women’s Shelter, the Oakville Hospital, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Kids Help Phone, INCITE: A Single Moms Support Group, Food4Kids, Circle of Women, Milton District Hospital Foundation and the United Way of Milton.

Heba Malki family

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
Wow! This is a difficult one. Being a multi-preneur, I have many women that inspire me. My mom is the first and most important one and even though she does not own a business, she is a go getter, she seizes the moment, she is my best friend!

What does the future look like for you and your business?
We continue on our current path of growth. Healthy increases are expected to continue in the near future. With a clear vision of expansion and leadership in the renovation sector, domilya GROUP has come to occupy a leading position in this business. We want to be recognized and awarded as the best renovation company in the region. Our professionalism, ethical principles and values come together to keep offering our customers with the most impressive renovation service. We foresee opening our own showroom and grow to have 15 to 20 employees.

SendOutCards keeps growing as well. Paired with helping millions of people act on their promptings, SendOutCards’ mission is to provide a vehicle for financial success. My job is to keep educating people about the advantages of using SendOutCards, not only as a relationship marketing tool to grow a business (for which domilya GROUP is the perfect example), but also as an income opportunity.

domilya group renovations - mompreneur heba malki

Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?

Educate yourself. Find a mentor. Build a support network. Join online communities that connect you with other mom entrepreneurs. They will become your lifeline for advice, resources and friendship.

Do your research, single out a specialty and most importantly, protect your work and family.

 


 

A version of Heba’s Success Story was previously published in November, 2015; updated on September 27, 2018.

 

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Deciding When to Update Your Website

Written by Joe Forrest, on behalf of the GoDaddy Team

When is the last time you updated your website? Has it been a few years? If so, you’re probably missing out on a lot of business opportunities. The web changes fast, and you must pivot with it to succeed. Here are six questions you can ask yourself to determine if it’s time to update your website.

1. Are you socially active?

If you’re not promoting your business through Facebook, you’re losing out on a potential audience of around 2 billion people. There are many popular social networking sites out there that could be increasing your revenue if you take advantage of them. Social media marketing is so huge that it has created a huge cottage industry within the IT business world. Navigating the landscape can be daunting but to ignore it means you’re ignoring sales.

So if you’re actively promoting your business — and consequently its website — on Facebook or any other social platform, you’ll need to make sure your site design is up to snuff. Increasing awareness is a must, but if you’re not retaining any traffic after your social media pushes, it might be time to take a look at your website.

2. How’s your SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is how you get to the top of the charts, as they say. If you’re not using Google Analytics, for example, then you are way behind the power curve. You need to take the time to brush up on the subject. There are many professional services and products out there to help with this, so choose wisely. As always, you should educate yourself on what is really necessary, so you can make a plan of action to implement a good SEO strategy in order to get the full effect.

3. Is your site mobile-ready?

Most websites today are viewed on a mobile device. If you look at your website on an iPhone or Android and you can barely read the text (or if it just looks plain dated), then it’s time to update. You need to have a responsive website if you want to pull in new customers.

Even if you hired someone to build your first site and you’re unsure of web design, there are solutions available in the form of website builders. GoDaddy Website Builder, for example, makes it easy to build a professional website in less than an hour. With professional layouts and designs, you can easily find one that fits your industry. Bonus? It’s automatically built to be mobile-friendly. You can even design from your phone if you’d like!

4. How old is your content?

Your website’s design is amazingly important. If you haven’t even touched your website in the past six months, then you could be losing out on a lot of traffic — or worse, the potential for lining your pockets with cash. Your website is your public brand, and you want it to be welcoming with a clean and effective design.

A fresh update every now and then is a good thing. You’ll want to keep the design familiar enough to old customers while also integrating features that appeal to emerging audiences.

5. How’s your security?

It’s a common misconception that an SSL is needed only if you’re taking credit card information on your site. Google has been pushing a safer internet initiative for years now. In fact, if you have any sort of form on your site, such as a newsletter or login function, then utilizing an SSL certificate is a must to avoid being put on the naughty list.

In addition to SSLs, you should also factor in general website security. If you’ve never thought to add a layer of protection to your site in the form of a scanner to protect against malware, then you definitely need to include that in your update. If you’re not doing anything to protect yourself, then you’re gambling with your business, as 60 percent of all businesses that suffer from a cyber-attack go under in about six months. Check out GoDaddy’s Website Security, powered by Sucuri. They’ll even help you out if you already have malware present.

6. When is the last time your website had a facelift?

Have you ever noticed that major brands are constantly reinventing their image to stay relevant? If you designed your website in FrontPage and haven’t changed it since then, you need an update pronto.

As I mentioned before, website builders like GoDaddy Website Builder make it exceptionally easy to get a brand-spanking new design on your website — without the major costs associated with a professional web design. You can keep your original color schemes and photos, or you can browse the professional images and layouts to give your site a fresh feel.

QUICK RECAP

If you’re invested in your business, you should also be investing in your website. As with anything important, it’s valuable to educate yourself and formulate a plan. Then, pivot as needed to accommodate any changes. Using the power of the world wide web — and an updated website — can take your from being a small business owner to a major player.


tips from Joe Forrest via GoDaddy

 

Joe Forrest is a Hosting Support Specialist by night, creative writer/IT consultant by day. He is the founder of joeforrest.com, a blog dedicated to helping develop writers in both craft and internet marketing presence. His passion is to help the independent-minded, creative individual succeed and prosper with simple solutions in a complicated, high-tech world. You can follow him on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

 

 


Featured image via shutterstock.com

 

 

 

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5 Tips to Increase Your Security Online & Protect Confidential Information

Written by Hugo Organista

The internet has become a breeding ground for cyber criminals looking to prey on those who don’t exercise proper cyber protection habits. Stories of identity theft seem to be increasingly common today as mass hacking becomes more popular. The lack of security leaves an open door for someone with bad intentions to take advantage of your confidential information.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a security expert to keep your information private and secure on the web. There are simple, yet effective habits everyone can develop to stay significantly safer and more secure on the internet. Whether it’s keeping your website secure or using a VPN to encrypt your activity, these five security tips can you help stay ahead of a security breach.

1. Use multiple passwords and change them every 90 days

protecting your online information - GoDaddy tips

The most effective way to keep passwords secure starts with the user. Hackers know that most users on the internet use the same passwords for most websites, and they often keep using the same password for years before changing them.

To prevent this, users should practice using a different password for every website and ensure that they are changed every 90 days. This will isolate an exploit to only the website where the password has been compromised and minimize impact to the affected user.

The following criteria are suggested when creating a strong password:

  •      Use 12 to 14 characters
  •      Use lowercase and uppercase alphabetic characters
  •      Use at least one number and one symbol

Not sure you can remember your newly created, strong password? There are password managers for that.

2. Use a secure password manager to keep everything in one place

Gone are the days of storing passwords on a spreadsheet or a notebook. Today, a password manager makes things a lot easier by keeping all your credentials in one safe, encrypted place.

Password managers also allow you to access your credentials from anywhere, and some password managers even have a mobile app you can download for instant access. Most popular password managers also include a secure password generator that will automatically create strong, random passwords for you.

Check out these great password managers you can use: Continue reading 5 Tips to Increase Your Security Online & Protect Confidential Information

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Are you Ready for a Tax Audit?

Written by Linda Spencer

Are you at risk? The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) continues to audit the following key areas, as these areas seem to be the ones of greatest error or non-compliance by small and medium sized businesses:

Denied expenses – CRA denies unsupported and non-deductible expenses. It is important to have proper and adequate documentation to support the expenditures.

Taxable benefits
– CRA scrutinizes automobile benefits and other expenses such as travel expenses and phone and internet usage to ensure taxable benefits are attributed properly to employees.

Shareholder benefits
– CRA continues to seek out personal expenses paid for and deducted by the business that should be denied or taxed to the shareholder. Taxpayers should carefully document the business purpose of all expenses and have practices in place to closely monitor shareholder accounts and credit cards to avoid these reassessments. Continue reading Are you Ready for a Tax Audit?

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Looking for a Business Loan? Tips to Choose the Right Lender…

From the expert team at Evolocity

There are different lending options available to small businesses in Canada, but which one is the right one for you and your business?

The Scenario:
You’re an entrepreneur and you want to obtain financing to grow your small business. Maybe it’s to make some much needed renovations, or deal with unexpected expenses, or simply to get you through a slow season. Whatever the reason, there are a number of options available to you. But, before applying for any type of financing you should be able to answer most – if not all – of the following questions:

  • What do you need the money for?
  • How much money do you need?
  • How long will it take to pay back?
  • How is your business doing financially?
  • How much collateral do you have, if any?
  • When do you need the money?
  • What kind of business do you own?

These will help determine what kind of funding you should pursue.

The major types of funding available for small businesses are:

Each type of funding varies by lender, based on qualifications, restrictions, interest rates, amounts, and turnaround time.

Government-Backed Financing
The small business financing program offered by the Government of Canada is a good option for businesses with gross annual revenues of $10 million or less. This type of loan helps small businesses that need funding for a specific reason like opening a new location, making renovations, or leasing new equipment or vehicles. The business will still have to apply for the loan through a chartered bank but it’s usually easier for small businesses to obtain a loan through this program because the government shares the risk with the bank. The downside to this type of funding is the number restrictions imposed on how the funds can be used. The turnaround time for the loan may also take longer than a direct loan from a bank or alternative lender. If your business needs quick funding, this option may not be the best choice for you. To apply for the government-backed business loan, you will be required to present a detailed business plan and a complete financial overview to a participating chartered bank. Continue reading Looking for a Business Loan? Tips to Choose the Right Lender…

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Three Email Headers to Increase Email Open Rates

By Stacey Hartman

new message image - how to increase email open rates using email headers

When you’re working toward gathering and maintaining subscribers for your email marketing, it’s easy to lose sight of the email headers in the shuffle. However, crafting an effective subject line is crucial when you’re considering the open rate for your email messages (open rates would refer to how many recipients open your messages). Afterall, what good is an amazing message if your readers aren’t even opening your email?

Let’s take a look at some options and ideas for effective headers that will get your emails noticed.

Make it personal

Adding your reader’s name to the subject line helps to increase the email open rate. It shows familiarity and can foster a sense of connection. A study by Experian Marketing Services found that personalizing the subject line of an email increased the open rate by almost 30 percent.

The primary example for this would be including a client’s name in the subject line or header text of your email, but you don’t have to limit yourself to only their name. Use casual verbiage in your subject line, share a personal story about yourself or your business, or choose words that imply friendship.

Pro tip: Be careful, though, to not overuse personalization. Overdoing it can have a negative impact on your open rates. Continue reading Three Email Headers to Increase Email Open Rates

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Empower Your Financial Wellness

Written by Linda Spencer.

financial wellness

It’s a fact – money is THE #1 cause of stress in North America today.  That stress places strains on our bodies, our relationships and our emotional and mental wellbeing.  Stress costs billions of dollars in health care and lost productivity each year.  There are programs, pills, tips and tricks to manage the symptoms of stress, but what is there really that gets the heart of the cause of that stress – in this case, MONEY?

Why is it that Money is such a stress factor?  With statistics like over 60% of the population not having good basic financial knowledge and 85% of business failures being caused by lack of financial know-how and organization, I think poor financial literacy, along with instilled beliefs that money is limited or not available to us, has created this high money stress that we experience today.

As parents, consumers and business owners, it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves with the tools, knowledge, strategies and MINDSETS to take control over our financial destiny. As educators and parents, it is our responsibility to give our youth the knowledge, tools and mindsets they need to not only support themselves, but to thrive in a world that is still governed mostly by a lack mentality (which we CAN change). And I see it as my job to pass on the financial knowledge and know-how I’ve acquired in order to reduce this money stress, and empower people to create the life they truly desire, to have greater ease and joy in their lives.

Here are 3 of my top tips for reducing money stress:

Continue reading Empower Your Financial Wellness

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5 Myths to Debunk That Will Help you go Back to Work and Still Breastfeed

Expert advice from the team at The Womb (World of My Baby)

breastfeeding myths to debunk for women and mompreneurs going back to work

It would be so nice if we could continue to stay home with our little ones, but for most of us, going back to work is a reality. For many mothers in Canada, we are lucky to have one year of maternity leave before returning to work. But some need to go back sooner, and for those who do get the full year, they would like to continue their breastfeeding relationship. Many ask, “Do I need to wean just because I’m going back to work?”

The answer is no. It is hard enough to be separated from your baby, so being able to breastfeed when you are together benefits both of you emotionally and physically.

Here are my top 5 myths about breastfeeding and going back to work after the one-year maternity leave.

1. I need to stop breastfeeding when I go back to work.
Absolutely not! Yes, it may be a bit challenging at first to juggle getting back into the swing of things with working and continuing to breastfeed, but it is just an adjustment. Going back to work is an adjustment in itself anyway. The benefit of continuing to breastfeed, is that you can still renew that closeness and one-on-one time with your baby when you are home – which makes the adjustment of going back to work easier for both of you.

A side bonus is that many children who will go to a daycare setting when mom returns back to work, will come in contact with new and unexpected viruses and germs. When you breastfeed, you pass on valuable antibodies to your baby through your breastmilk. So, although it is inevitable that your little one may get sick, they will most likely recover sooner or not get as ill if you continue to breastfeed.

2. I will need to pump when you go back to work.
Many women have a love-hate relationship with their pump and many haven’t pumped for months. They often wonder “When will I find time in my day to pump? Where will I pump and where will I store the milk?” Of course, this is always an option and you can speak with your employer about setting up a room for you to pump and for you to store your milk (it’s their legal obligation to do so) but you don’t need to pump. Many mothers will simply hand express a bit while away if they feel too full and just breastfeed when they are with baby. Sure, the first few days when you go back to work may be tough and you may be a bit uncomfortable and leak a little. No problem, bring an extra shirt just in case, learn how to hand express and by the end of the week your body will adjust and you will be fine! Continue reading 5 Myths to Debunk That Will Help you go Back to Work and Still Breastfeed

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10 Ways to Reduce your Tax Risk as an Entrepreneur

Written by Linda Spencer

“The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax”
~ Albert Einstein

tax risk for entrepreneurs

As a 20 year veteran of practicing Canadian corporate and personal tax, I have to agree – tax is complicated!  The basic principles are simple, but the interpretation and application of the ever-changing complex laws are not.  As one of my mentors in tax pointed out years ago – one could specialize in an area of tax for a lifetime and still not completely understand all the rules.

My intent here is to highlight the top 10 income tax risks faced by entrepreneurs (specifically from a Canadian tax perspective, but similar issues apply in other countries), to create awareness so that you may seek the appropriate guidance and advice from a qualified tax professional to ensure that you are appropriately managing those risks.

  1. Meet Deadlines
    Missing tax filing deadlines can be a costly mistake. In Canada, late-filing your income tax return when you owe will land you a 5% late-filing penalty (plus 1% per month filed late), along with late payment interest which is compounded daily. The penalties are doubled for repeat offenders. Be sure you are aware of your filing and payment deadlines. Personal income tax returns are due April 30 (June 15th for individuals with self-employment income, but your taxes are payable by April 30th). Corporate income tax returns are due 6 months after fiscal year-end, with balance of taxes due 2 months after year-end (3 months if you are a small business corporation).
  1. Document EVERYTHING!
    Lack of documentation remains the largest tax audit issue in Canada. Poor record keeping and lack of documentation can lead to missed and denied deductions, inefficient tax audits and costly tax assessments. For some small businesses, this could lead to business failure.
  1. Report All of Your Income
    Recently, I asked a friend about her business… she said she didn’t make enough to report it. Of course, I cautioned of the potential risks she was incurring as a result – YIKES! Tax authorities have made cracking down on unreported income a top priority. The underground economy in Canada is estimated to be about $42billion or 2.3% of GDP. At an income tax rate of 25%, that’s about $10billion of lost tax revenues. While the high rate of income tax along with a 13% sales tax rate in Ontario make cash transactions and “under-the-table” payments an attractive option, it should be noted that unreported income not only carries stiff penalties (up to 50% of the understatement of tax, as well as criminal charges for tax evasion), but can severely impact your reputation and your business.

Continue reading 10 Ways to Reduce your Tax Risk as an Entrepreneur