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Sensationalism is everywhere and it's hard to know what's real, anymore. The economy is tanking, the marketing noise is deafening, and you just don't know what tomorrow will hold. This site is dedicated to a no-hype retelling of what's working for me in real estate, business, and life. Welcome.

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Emily is available for speaking appearances and flat-rate consulting on the topics of personal finance and real estate. Please fill in the Contact Form for more information.

Archive for April, 2009

Apr
15

Do You Know How To Twitter?

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I know I’m shamefully late to the party, but I am finally up and running with Twitter.com

You can follow me at http://twitter.com/ecressey.

I’ve actually been on twitter for a while now, but I didn’t really “get” it or use it before.

Now, I’ve installed tweetdeck.com which integrates twitter with facebook and leaves me logged in all the time… and I’ve seen what other people tweet about, so I think I’m finally starting to get it.

If you are interested in twitter, but haven’t figured it out yet. There is a great free twitter tutorial here.

The basics are easy, just create an account, post some short messages and start following people you know.

You can start with me… twitter.com/ecressey.

Have a great day!

Emily

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Apr
04

Tax Time – Do you understand your tax return?

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Whoa – I was amazed to see that my husband and I were getting a giant tax refund this year.  Good as it feels to get that nice check from the government, mathematically it doesn’t make a lot of sense to try to get a lot of money back.  You’ve just loaned that money, interest free to the government for a year.

This year, though, that rate of return definitely beats out the performance of my portfolio in the stock market… wonder if I should think of it as diversification?

Part of the reason our refund was so big is that we had a baby this year and my husband didn’t adjust his withholding at work.  Also, we have a number of real estate investments in our portfolio, and we have the ability to write off the “depreciation” on these because I am a full time real estate professional.  That’s a special tax status that lets you have unlimited depreciation loss, rather than capping the loss at $25,000 each year.

The more involved in real estate and business you get, the more opportunities you have to save money on your taxes.  However, you’ll also be getting more and more complicated tax returns to fill out.

I discovered a few years ago that I could not efficiently and accurately complete my own tax returns and I started using a CPA which was a great decision for me.  They do it much faster and cheaper than I could do it myself.  That’s another form of leverage, freeing up my time to focus on revenue generating activities.

If you’ve started using a tax preparation software or other tax professional to prepare your taxes, it’s still important to review your return.  It would have been easy for me to skip to the bottom line, see I wasn’t going to have to write a check for my taxes, and sign and mail my returns after my accountant sent them back to me.

 

Instead, I decided to sit down and review them and I found several items I had questions about.  Whether you find errors and inaccuracies, or just notice items that show you’re saving money or have the opportunity to pay less tax, it’s important to know what you’re doing with your finances, and your annual tax filing is a good time to sit down and review things when the numbers are all in one place.

Look at how much you’re spending on taxes, medical insurance, interest on your home mortgage, and your retirement savings.  These are some of our biggest expenses and it’s good to know where the money’s going.

Financial reviews more often are even better, but at tax time, they are a must!

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Apr
03

Saving Time With Online Businesses – Using The Power of Leverage

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Today I am working on systematizing my online businesses and getting some leverage behind me.

The websites I’m currently using to make money include:

  • TheRealWealthBlog.com which focuses on commercial real estate investing for beginners
  • I also have my dog website, which is nicely optimized for adsense income and selling an ebook on how to knit dog sweaters.
  • Currently, I am also working the pre-launch of a small business marketing site, and getting some great content up there.  This site will focus on online and offline marketing for small business owners like real estate agents, accountants, attorneys, MLM representatives, etc.
  • Fourth, I am testing a new affiliate marketing model called “bum” marketing, which doesn’t demand a website because your online presence is composed of multiple articles and affiliate links posted on authority sites, such as squidoo.com and usfreeads.com.  I am starting to have some initial results with my first test campaign.  It is always the most time consuming to learn and implement a new process the first time through.  I will report on the outcome in the future, if it is successful.  You can see a sample of one of my “sales pages” here: Frontline Pet Meds.

Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have “endless” time to be a lone-ranger do-it-yourselfer.  It makes sense to outsource certain things like creating short articles to post on social networking sites like ezinearticles.com and digg.com, etc.  When you can have articles made for $5 each, it’s really a no-brainer.  I am also using an article posting service to help me generate backlinks to my pages that will help me generate higher search engine rankings.

That frees up more of my time for stuff like taking care of my 10-month old baby and coordinating the development of my website special offers, affiliate partners and products, traffic-generation strategies, and my real estate investing activities.

So, that’s your behind-the-scenes peak for today.  What are you working on?  Any tips you can share that have helped you become more productive or profitable?

Categories : Starting A Business
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About Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate investor and licensed real estate agent living in Seattle, Washington. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa with an Economics degree from UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Tarheels!) her focus has been on building business for cash flow and investing in real estate for wealth. If you have questions about real estate investing, personal finance, or would like some flat-rate, affordable advice on one of these topics. Please fill in the Contact form.