Publish? Rubbish!

To set up an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) in New York, you must be published.  Why is this necessary? You are a business, not a professor or a doctoral candidate. Why should each early stage company pay $2,000 to publish that it exists in a tombstone ad in an obscure newspaper? It almost seems like this a way to keep struggling print newspapers a  steady trickle  of income.
The LLC publication requirement puts New York at a disadvantage to Silicon Valley and Route 128 in attracting new tech companies to form in New York.  Not only tech companies but any entrepreneur-from cupcake bakeries to fashion designers. The LLC publication requirement robs New York of jobs in one of the largest sectors of the economy, companies that employ five or fewer employees. The LLC publication requirement amounts to a government subsidy to certain publishing companies at the expense of early stage companies.  The LLC publication requirement has no practical reason, when any company that forms in New York can be found on the New York Department of State website. It is time for New York to abolish this obsolete bureaucratic practice and support our burgeoning entrepreneurial community.  Sign the petition here:

Today is an excellent time for this advocacy since March 29 is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day.  According to Fast Company, 70% of United States Commerce comes from small businesses.

How To Choose The Right Bank For Your Small Business

 clipped from

Before you start shopping around for a financial institution, consider why you need one in the first place. Are you looking for specialized services, such as investment help or a small business loan? You can search online for local banks that specialize in equipment loans or small business working capital

Consider also how much cash flow will be moving in and out of your business account. Is your “business” even a business yet? You will be required to have a business name and usually be registered with the state upon opening up a business banking account. San Francisco-based financial advisor Kathryn Amenta suggests using this rule of thumb: “Once someone is spending 20 hours a week on a project and counting on the revenue to make up as much as 50 percent of their personal income, it’s definitely a business for financial and tax purposes,” she says.

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Financial Tune-Up At New York Times Center

Last night I attended a wonderfully informative and free event at the New York Times. Sponsored by Ally Bank and Lufthansa, the Financial Tune-Up discussion was moderated by Ron Lieber  the “Your Money” columnist for the New York Times. The panelists were personal finance rock stars, Jean Chatzky, Ben Popken, and Burt Malkiel.

The idea for Financial Tune-Up  is to take some time and unlock some cash. Here’s the checklist which includes both immediate and long-term benefits, from cashing gift cards to reallocating investments.

Jean Chatzky is an author of several books including Make Money, Not Excuses and financial editor for The Today Show and a contributing editor to More magazine. She said that debt was the number one question she gets asked about. Jean’s best shopping advice is to do a “purchasing pause” before buying something at a store.

Princeton professor Burt Malkiel is the author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street . It’s a book I read while at college, so I was excited to meet him. When it comes to investing, Malkiel advises to diversify your investments and to rebalance annually. Rebalance is to reset the mix of  bonds and stocks in your portfolio.  He also advises to invest in a stock index fund and a bond fund. Both of the instruments should have low expense ratios -rock bottom low.

Ben Popken is the co-managing editor of The Consumerist.  One is his to-dos is to the early termination charge from AT&T removed from his bill when upgraded iPhone.  He also advises to use an “EECB” when having a customer service issue with a company. An EECB  is an “executive email carpet bomb” which is a classic tactic for getting attention to make sure your complaint gets shoved under the nose of someone with decision-making powers.

All three of the panelists agree: Don’t take on any credit card debt.  Spend less than what you earn.

If you have kids, consider opening a 529 account, and do research on Saving For College to review the best one for you.

By the way, the New York Times has a Buck Blog filled with news about how to make the most out of your money.

Ally Bank Is Hosting A Financial Tune Up and Tweetup This Thursday

I just heard about this today on Twitter.  Ally Bank is hosting a Tweetup at Stitch (247 W. 37th St) and a Financial Tune-Up at New York Times (620 Eighth Avenue – 15th Floor)  tomorrow, March 25th.

The Tweetup: Stitch from 5:45pm6:30pm

The Tune-up: 6:30PM-8:30PM

Ally Bank is looking for friends in New York City! We’re sponsoring a personal finance symposium at the New York Times from 6:30-8:30 and would love to meet some enthusiastic Twitterati in the city before. Afterward, you can join us at the Times event with Ron Lieber, NYT “Your Money” Columnist; Jean Chatzky, best-selling author and financial expert; Burt Malkiel, Princeton University professor of economics and Ben Popken, The Consumerist co-managing editor. Sign up for the symposium at Financial Tune Up. Space is limited.


Tax Deductions For Bloggers

Are you a  blogger or freelance writer? Have you filed your taxes yet?  If not, don’t worry.  You can save more by taking these deductions. has a great article detailing the categories of tax deductions.

1. Internet-related Expenses

2. Computer Equipment

3. Communications-related Expenses

4. Office Equipment

5. Supplies and Stationery

6. Advertising, Promotion and Design

7. Travel and Entertainment

8. Professional Association Memberships and Periodicals

9. Office Space and Related Expenses

10. Miscellaneous Other Expenses

Back From SXSW And Ready For More Conferences

I remember back when I read Keith Ferrazi’s book, Never Eat Alone, that conferences are a good way to build relationships.  The sessions may be good information, but the truth is the friends are made during the coffee breaks, the happy hour and lunch.  This is when people actually talk to each other and make deals.

I just got back from SXSW, and I am already collaborating on two projects.

I am going to more conferences this spring and summer.

140Conference-April- NewYork

Finovate-May-San Francisco

MediaBistro Circus-May-New York

Blogging While Brown-June-Washington, DC

BlogHer-August-New York

South By Small Business Web At SXSW

Saturday afternoon, I stopped by the South By Small Business Web party.  The party was host by a great group of companies who all provide software, apps or services for small businesses and start-ups. At last year’s SXSW, I met people from Batch Blue, FreshBooks, Outright and Shoeboxed, so it was nice to see familiar faces and met some new one.

BatchBlue Software
Handset Detection

Update: Adria Richards from Zendesk and Ashley Hunter  from HM Risk Group was also there. Here’s a picture of us with the guys from Outright.