Debunking Myths About Running a Business

5Being an entrepreneur and running a successful business can be tough, and there are definitely hurdles to cross. According to statistics, 95 percent of all businesses fail in the first five years. For every successful entrepreneur, several are held back. Some try and fail, giving up before they should. Some don’t even start because of myths and misinformation. To assist them, here are some myths about starting a company, and the truth behind them.

Myth: No more personal life.

Truth: It will be challenging to juggle the responsibilities of running one’s own business and spending time with family, but at the end of the day, business owners can be much more flexible with personal life than any corporate employee can ever be. Time management and planning skills are essential to get things done so entrepreneurs can enjoy time spent with friends and family.

Myth: Sneakiness and shrewdness are keys to a successful enterprise.

Truth: In order to be a successful entrepreneur one needs to build honest, solid relationships with both clients and suppliers. Ruthless pricing may secure a few good deals but business owners won’t build profitable and lasting relationships. The goal should be to figure out how to make the most money while still keeping customers and suppliers happy.

Myth: More time off and less work.

Truth: A corporate job may force employees to put in long work hours and deal with a frustrating commute. Running one’s own company is appealing because it promises the opportunity to slow down and make one’s own hours. While this picture may be somewhat true, there is no denying the fact that being self-employed is very hard work. Most small businesses don’t show profit until well into the third year. If it were easy, everyone would do it. What makes the difference is that a business owner is doing something he or she is passionate about, so the long hours won’t seem like such hard work after all.


Proposed 2013 Tax Changes in Congress

agatheringofexpertsSome major tax changes have been proposed in 2013, and they may affect taxpayers across the country. For individuals who want to make sure that their financial futures are secure, it is important to stay aware of these changes so that proper measures are taken.

The most significant proposed change relates to top dividend tax rates. It has been suggested that top dividend tax rates increase from 15 percent to 44 percent, a significant increase. This proposed increase is because of the impending expiration of Bush tax cuts.

On capital gains, the current top tax rate is 15 percent. Those who fall within the 10-15 percent income bracket are not required to pay. The income cap may rise to 20 percent.

If Congress does not vote to extend certain tax cuts, dividends could possibly return to being taxed as income. Individuals who are in a higher income bracket will bear the brunt of the impact, with tax increases on dividend income that could total up to 39.6 percent.

It is also possible that investors may experience a significant increase with other investment incomes. The proposed increase bumps up the tax rate from 35 percent up to 44 percent. Other investment income includes a wide range of assets—among them trade income, dividends, interests and property net gains.

If an individual inherits a property from a relative who has passed away, that property is still subject to an estate tax. The new owner can be exempt from the estate tax if the value of the home is less than $5 million. Under the proposed tax laws, the exemption amount would drop to $1 million.

One more proposed adjustment in 2013 is a Medicare contribution tax, which is currently at 3.8 percent. This tax will be issued on a specified amount of unearned income. This change would mostly affect individuals who hold investment income in excess of a certain amount.

Seeking out a trusted financial adviser is an essential step before filing taxes. A financial adviser is able to work with clients and their tax professionals to review any tax cuts and exemptions that apply to their estates.


Experienced Caver Wesley Upchurch Offers Tips for Newbies to Caving

Wesley Upchurch

Wesley Upchurch

Caving is as much about exploration as it is physical activity, explains Wesley Upchurch. Many up-and-coming potholers, however, fail to prepare for the dangers associated with entering Mother Earth.

The Supplies

According to Wesley Upchurch, there are three absolute pieces of equipment that are vital to any cave exploration: light, headgear, comfortable shoes. Most sporting gear and hardware stores sell elastic-banded headlamps and hardhats. These do not have to be expensive but Wesley Upchurch emphasizes that they should be durable to provide adequate protection and guidance underground. Ideally, cavers should wear boots with good traction and ankle support.

Many cavers choose to carry a small backpack, bottled water, and snacks. Wesley Upchurch also suggests well-fitting leather gloves and knee and elbow pads. On extended journeys, Wesley Upchurch notes that extra batteries, a first aid kit, and matches are essential. For cavers who are in it for the beauty, a camera that performs well in low light situations is a no-brainer. A change of clothes should be packed and waiting after the trip, notes Wesley Upchurch.


Caving is dangerous, warns Wesley Upchurch. A cave is an immovable part of Earth and should be respected. Wesley Upchurch suggests caving in groups of four to six people. This keeps things moving at a reasonable pace and also allows for plenty of bodies to go for help in case of an emergency.

Many caves have narrow passageways that are difficult to pass. According to Wesley Upchurch, it is not uncommon to get stuck in a tight crawlspace. He suggests maintaining control over breathing while someone else goes for help. It’s a good idea to let the smallest person in the group enter an unfamiliar passage first; the next-to-smallest should go last in case a larger member gets stuck.

Wesley Upchurch advises beginners and experienced explorers alike to ensure that other people are aware of their plans. Make sure these individuals are aware of the expected return time and the number to the local fire department or cave rescue team. Do not expect cell phones or other wireless devices to work. These should be left outside of the cave to avoid them getting lost, says Wesley Upchurch.


While caving is an absolutely enjoyable activity it does come with a long line of possible safety threats. Cavers should pay attention to every step, even in caves they have visited before, notes Wesley Upchurch. Loose rocks and slippery terrain may not be the same each visit. Caves are usually muddy and can pose fall risks. Wounds should be avoided if possible and covered immediately as caves may contain fungi and bacteria.

Wesley Upchurch also notes that animals such as bats, insects, and snakes all thrive on dark and damp spaces.

North America is full of some of the most beautiful caves in the world. Wesley Upchurch notes that commercial caves should be explored prior to embarking on a wild cave adventure to get a feel for the natural terrain.

Based in Columbia, Missouri, Wesley Upchurch is a businessman with a flair for the extreme. He enjoys adrenaline sports and having a good time. He cites caving is one of his favorite pastimes along with riding extreme roller coasters.

Financial Q&A: Asset Management Growth

Q: Why is asset management important?

A: Asset management growth continues to be an essential goal for any business or company. An industry will experience strong results and an improvement on previous years when asset management growth is achieved. It also shows that a company has selected the correct approach, one that promotes compatibility across all departments.

The times of manual work are over. Asset management continues to gain importance as industry moves through the new millennium. The successful administration of assets will include numerous complex and diverse databases, and businesses must rely on timely and accurate information.

Q: What constitutes effective asset management?

A: Asset management is one of the most important strategies used in any industry. The corporate world today leans heavily on data maintenance and technological systems. To ensure that a business is running smoothly, both software and hardware assets should be managed properly. A thorough evaluation of financial statements, the marketing and sales plan, guest satisfaction data and the budget will likely be required. Asset management firms can give strategic advice on tax planning and acquisition services, as well as offering alternatives for the future.

Q: How does asset management affect a company?

A: Overall, asset management makes way for the proper organization of facilities, transportation, production and digital assets. Maintenance, procurement, budgeting and depreciation calculation of fixed assets should be evaluated, too. The value on these fixed assets must be maximized, with a goal toward minimizing all projected costs. A number of organizational modules are now available that assist different industries with managing aspects of day-to-day operations such as assets, materials, human resources and software.

Operational management systems provide necessary tools for improvement on these assets, decreasing the cost of ownership while developing their return. Additionally, the systems offer assistance with tasks such as license compliance and encourage heightened security for internal operations. This factor is especially important for companies with several branches in different locations. Now, management has a better, more efficient way to track both intangible and physical assets.


Pretty Pedicures to Pair with’s Hottest Spring Shoes

The onset of warm weather not only gives us an excuse to wear sandals and open toe shoes, but it also gives us a great reason to go get a pedicure. While the pampering is a treat, the best part is selecting a polish color to coordinate with our favorite shoes. From neons to pastels, we’ve selected some of our top shades for pairing with our must-have spring styles.

Topanga is a colorful, printed wedge. Made of supple materials with a zip-up back, captures the global traveler trend to a t with this ikat inspired look.  Available in turquoise or orange, the turquoise would pair well with a pedicure in one of the shoe’s cool accent colors: deep plum or shimmering peach. The orange style would be complemented by a pedicure in dazzling sea blue.’s Copacabana is a sleek, classic heeled sandal. With a trendy neutral ankle strap and pastel hues of coral or mint, has reinterpreted a traditional look for spring. The mint shade would look smashing with a bubble gum pink or mauve pedicure, and the coral color would be a perfect match for fuchsia or hot pink toes.

Istanbul is an exotic, global shoe. Inspired by the city, this rich yet casual beaded sandal features a velvety textured fabric, a crisscross design and double ankle straps. Available in purple and black, both colorways feature metallic beading in periwinkle, pink and gold. Either shade of this shoe would go well with a butter yellow or shiny gunmetal colored pedicure.’s Cancun is a resort wedge that will leave you feeling like you’re on vacation south of the border. Featuring a stylish t-strap with stacked buckles at the ankle, this beauty is available in black or cognac, and both include a summery tropical geometric weave on the wedge. This summer shoe would look fabulous with a pedicure in pastel pink, neutral nude, or a light olive.

Berne is a sporty peep-toe sandal from  This shaped platform with a tall stiletto heel boasts a modern cutout design and bold neon highlights. Pair this edgy style with a neon pink pedicure to pick up the accent color of the shoe. is the web’s top subscription-based fashion site, offering members the opportunity to have fashionable styles of shoes, handbags, denim and other accessories handpicked for them by in-the-know style experts.