I have had a dream for a very long time to be able to help others in all the ways I can. Some of you may not know this but I am an Interfaith Minister, an Animal Rescuer, and I was for a very long time a small business owner.
Sadly my ex husband had issues with paying his taxes ie: He never paid them. The pitfalls of being married to an idiot is that the IRS comes calling and they take everything. Everything I worked for my whole life was gone and that knocked the wind out of my sails for a very long time. Even today 18 yrs later it effects pretty much every facet of my life.
I have been searching for a way to help myself get back into business but I wanted a business with a “Purpose” not just a daily grind of trying to get ahead, something that I can leave the world that can help others.
I finally figured it out and this is what I came up with:
Paying it Forward
I have wanted to start a business that would help others and have lots of folks who say they would be interested in joining me but they flake so it’s time to start it on my own.
I am focusing on Janitorial for several reasons:
1) You don’t need a degree.
2) It is a service that will always be needed.
3) The hours make it easy for most folks to still go to school, get to appts, and other activities.
My “business model” if you will is this:
A) I contract out with a salesman who has experience bidding on buildings, he or she will recieve 10% of every building they manage to get for a 12 month period.
B) I get contractors who are licensed, bonded and insured to clean those buildings and if they follow through, do a good job, and there are no issues they will “own” that account after 18 months.
Getting Bonds, licenses and insurance can be expensive, and so can getting cleaning equipment but we would like to help people get all of that. They will receive 50% of each building contract and 5% will go into a savings account so that as they save that money we can maybe buy equipment in bulk or as we find it cheaper so hopefully by the end of the 18 months they will have everything they need.
The savings fund will be the property of Paying it Forward to help others ~ Hence the name paying it forward.
So if we get a 5000.00 building this is how it breaks down
1) Salesman 500.00 per month (@ 10% for 12 months)
2) Savings 250.00 per month (@5% for 18 months)
3) Paying it Forward 1750.00 per month @35% for 18 months)
4) Contractor: 2500.00 per month @50% for the first 12 months then 3000.00 @ 60%for the final 6 months
We will help them with community resources to learn how to write a business plan of their own so they can go to the Small Business Administration and possibly secure loans and grants. We will teach them how to do their own business taxes. We will teach them how to budget their money. We can help them get vehicle repairs. In some cases we can get the licensing and bonding they need to get started. We will help facilitate them in any way we can to help them become a successful small business owner.
Before you donate money or if you don’t have any to donate maybe consider volunteering to teach a skill to someone that would be helpful, that would be vitally important to our success.
Business Licenses 75.00 to 150.00 per year (depending on city or county) Includes Washington Master Business License
Bonding/Insurance: 200.00 to 1000.00 per yr
Supplies 400.00 pr month
Misc: 300.00 per month
Vehicle: 3000.00 to 10,000.00 we would encourage new business owners to get a used vehicle from a trusted source, and to get one with the least amount of payments.
We are hoping to add other skills and trades as we get a firm foundation built around us. Painters, HVAC, Contrustion, Drywall, Landscaping, Building Maintenance etc…
Might I suggest that if you have the money you start the same kind of business? If you are unsure of how to start I will help you as much as I am able. What matters is that people are being given the opportunity to become successful. You might not get rich doing it but you will be able to sleep better at night!
I have also been sharing this with anyone and everyone I can think of, not to get the funding but because I want others to try to do the same thing, other people with a teachable skillset can help others succeed, not just make an empty buck at the end of the day.
That being said we have to look at the “ugly” side of any type of crowdfunding or fundraising.
I have a 501(c)3, and had a state non-profit (I have to renew it) for my Animal Rescue, and we have always been very transparent with any of our donors.
A lot of these campaigns are not tax deductible and some are even scams.
If you want to donate anything to anyone ask for proof of what they are doing with the funds via receipts or even bank statements. Anyone who is operating above board will not only give these to you, but already have them ready. I have received donations for my newspaper here and I have a folder of every dime spent with hard copies of receipts available for my donors to review, not because I “have to” but because that is the right thing to do.
So who do you trust? Well that has to be something that you have to investigate. For years I have advocated giving to the Red Cross and then come to find out they are misusing 100’s of thousands of contribution dollars.
I know this sounds retarded since I am running an online campaign drive but I wouldn’t suggest that you donate to online out of area or out of state campaigns. Look to your local charities, go in to their offices, ask to see their financials, ask other community members, or those using the services they are supposed to be providing. Ask questions and expect answers. If they don’t provide the info immediately or seem to have a plethera of excuses turn around and leave with your money.
Donating locally also helps your own community in ways that can be seen or measured, if you donate to a local family shelter, you can drive by that place on your way to work and see a mom or even a dad at the bus stop with kids in tow and know that in some small way you have helped that parent and those children have a better life. That is instant gratification, not just an image on a TV screen from far away.
People also seem to think that money is the be all to end all for “helping” and that is absolutely not true.
Do you have a lawnmower and a weed whacker and an elderly neighbor who’s yard is overgrown? There ya go!
Do you have a house in your neighborhood that looks run down and have 20 gallons of paint sitting in your garage or do you have painting equipment and know how to use it? The paint recycling place on Broadway gives away paint.
Do you have 20 pairs of shoes, and 10 times the normal amount of clothes that anyone needs? Blankets or sleeping bags galore? Household items that are threatening to overtake you and tie you up in a very small corner of your home? An extra car, computer or TV? All of these things can be donated to local shelters to help others or be auctioned off to make more money for them to help others.
It can also be as simple as this: Do you have an hour or more to donate to a charity or a shelter? Do you have a skillset you can use to help others, or even teach others so they can help themselves? Do you have a neighbor who is disabled or elderly who may just need a good ear to listen to or help with household chores? Is there a single mother or father or just a young family who seems overwhelmed, ask them how they are doing find out what they need, it may be as simple as having a block party to relieve them of cooking one night and being able to interact with other adults so they don’t walk around perpetually covered in teething biscuits and Desitin.
I know this isn’t safe but I do it: If I see someone broken down on the side of a dark road I pull over or make whoever I’m with pull behind them and flash the headlights and put on the emergency lights to help them.
I also pull over for strangers stuck along the road on my long desolate trips back and forth to Eastern Washington. Last kid I picked up was about a 280lb cornfed boy from the midwest on college break who ran out of gas, I put 2 doxies, a chihuahua, and a pug with a bad eye on his lap after about 10 minutes of trying to fit him in the car and away we went to the gas station and then back to his car and I guarantee he will never tell his momma that he accepted a ride with some crazy old dog lady with 14 dogs in the car including a pug with his eyeball popped out in a car that has never smelled right. (we got it from a guy who bought it for his old dying incontinent dog so he could travel with him where ever he went ~ that’s devotion). I also guarantee you if his momma would’ve seen the stretch of pitch black road that went on for 23 miles her baby was stuck in she would’ve been grateful I stopped for him. After a 48 mile detour I drove behind him to make sure he got to a gas station then turned around and headed straight to our vet’s office.
I’m not telling you to put your lives in danger, I always protect myself but the point I’m trying to make is there are lots of ways to help others that won’t even inconvenience you in anyway. Money isn’t the answer for everything, it’s nice to have and you at least need some but you don’t have to be rich to help others. Most poor people already know this.
I have been sharing this “Business Model” with everyone I can think of, even if I don’t succeed in my plans here there has got to be one other person who looks at this, maybe someone retired that says AHA! I can do this! There ya go again. I might just start a trend. If anyone reading this wants to have a copy of my business model or needs help starting a business like this you get a hold of me right away and I will help you get everything set up and started.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Snohomish County Reporter