That Kat Radio – Podcast 4 – January 27, 2015: Jason Miles, Ryan & Mia Snowley, Tom Coe – Self-Publishing

In this episode, Kat spoke with Jason Miles, Ryan and Mia Snowley and Tom Coe.

thatkat

 

Jason Miles started publishing ebooks online in 2009 and retired from the 9-5 world in 2013. He was formerly the Senior Vice President of Advancement (Marketing and fund-raising) at Northwest University, and still teaches both Online Marketing & Traditional Marketing as an Adjunct Professor. With over 350,000 ebooks downloaded directly from their website since they began, he and his wife have spent years developing proven self-publishing strategies. He is also a bestselling traditionally published author with McGraw Hill Professional. Pinterest Power, Instagram Power, and Youtube Marketing Power are available in bookstores nationwide. He has self-published #1 bestsellers on Amazon in the Web-Marketing, Ecommerce, and Entrepreneurship categories. Jason regularly partners with premiere online groups and sites including The American Marketing Association, IBM, Social Media Examiner, Profnet, Marketingprofs, and similar industry leaders.

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. What is your history in e-Commerce & self-publishing?
  2. Do you think publishing a book is something every seller should consider?
  3. What can publishing a book do for my sales?
  4. Can self-publishing be another income stream I can count on?

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. I’m not an author – HELP how do I get started?
  2. How do I choose a subject?
  3. Do I need a professional editor, publisher, how do I find those people?
  4. Is this going to be expensive?
  5. Tell me about the KDP platform please? Or should I sell from my own website?
  6. How do I get a co-author or endorsements from an internet ‘name’?
  7. Please tell us about your course, ‘Proven Self Publishing.’ www.ThatKatWrites.com
  8. How much does it cost and are there any discounts available?

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And then, Kat spoke with Ryan and Mia Snowley.

Ryan and Mia Snowley are a husband and wife Amazon and eBay selling team.  Prior to selling on amazon they were Pastors at a Christian church in Washington state. Following there season in Washington they decided to move closer to family in Florida. They have three kids all under the age of 4 and live in southwest Florida. They love going to the beach and spending family time together which the business of selling online to allows them to do this on a regular basis.

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Why did you write Garage Sale Addict?
  2. Who is it written for?
  3. What was it like to write your first book?
  4. Why should people consider garage sales as a place to source?
  5. Do you see other books in your future?
  6. Where can the listeners connect with you online and where can they purchase a copy of your book?

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And finally, Kat spoke with Tom Coe.

When Tom left Bosch Power Tools after 33+ years he transitioned from the corporate life to the Entrepreneurial world. For the past 8 years he have  been involved selling on EBay and Amazon.com. It has been a learning experience for him that has paid off almost from the beginning.

Recently after some encouragement from friends and associates Tom wrote a book for “Beginners” to the world of online selling. It is a basic book to get someone with very little or NO experience up and running a profitable home based business in 30 days.

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Why did you write Quick Start For Selling on Amazon?
  2. Who is it written for?
  3. What was it like to write your first book?
  4. Has writing your book had an impact on your selling business?
  5. Do you see other books in your future?
  6. Where can the listeners connect with you online and where can they purchase a copy of your book?

Links from the show:

https://twitter.com/mrjasonmiles

http://www.amazon.com/Jason-G.-Miles/e/B008C8LCRC

http://ThatKatWrites.com

 

 You can follow Kat on TWITTERFacebookGoogle+ and Instagram.  Read the blog on  ThatKat.com.

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join her Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.

3 Common EBay Mistakes You May Be Making

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As an eBay seller, you recognize that things sometimes can go wrong. When things get hectic such as around the holidays, it can be especially stressful. Unfortunately, that’s when things are the most likely to go wrong. Here’s three common eBay mistakes that you may be making.

The devils in the details
From shipping the wrong item to leaving out a crucial detail in a listing, almost every seller has a story about a listing or a shipment that’s gone wrong. As an example, during a particularly stressful time in my life, I once listed a coin incorrectly by stating it was proof when it was only uncirculated. It didn’t end there, however. Once the buyer sent it back, I listed it again as uncirculated. This time I got the listing right, but then mailed the buyer the wrong coin once the auction was over. Lesson learned. I now carefully check to make sure each item is what it says in the listing and then check over things again before I ship the package out.

Thankfully, these mistakes can usually be minimized by slowing down and paying attention. Check and recheck your orders and read over listings before they go live.

Underpricing your inventory
You may make a lot of friends and sale a lot of items with low prices, but are you really making any money? While most sellers know to calculate all those eBay fees so they can arrive at their true profit, they sometimes forget about all the time they are spending on the listing. That takes away from your profits too. If it takes you an hour to life two $4.00 items, you basically are making $8.00 an hour. Not only does that put you around making minimum wage, but after you take away those fees you might find you’re making even less.

Play with your price point and try starting at a higher price. You may sell less items initially, but ultimately make a higher profit overall.

Bad Photography
One of the biggest challenges in listing items on eBay is taking good product photos. A lot of times sellers just point and shoot, then settle for less than quality photos. While a good camera can make all the difference, even a smartphone can take a pretty awesome photo these days. So, really it’s all about practice, practice, practice. Play with different lighting to discover which type looks best for your photos. While a white background is often preferred now-a-days for online selling, you might find in some cases that using another solid color for the backgrounds is all that is needed to make your item really standout.

How to not irritate an Amazon FBA Seller

Advice

When I visit some of my Facebook groups for online sellers, I find that most of the sellers who are asking questions are polite and seem sincerely thankful when someone responds to them.

Unfortunately, the etiquette for asking questions when visiting a seller group online isn’t always clear or in some cases the “rules” are ignored. So, today let’s look at the best way to ask for this type of advice.

Look to see if someone has already answered the question before you post. New sellers always ask the same questions. How much profit should I get when I sell something? Where do I find products (we’ll get to that one in a minute) to sell? How do the fees work?

Before you ask the same question, which you will immediately know that you did because someone will get snarky and tell you or point you to the file section where the information is already sitting there waiting for you, scan down a bit and make sure the question wasn’t already asked. Also look up at the top or over to the left (depending on whether you are on Facebook or a Yahoo group, etc.) and see if there are files to look through.

Do your own product research. We all run across items that we don’t know what they are or whether they are worth listing. In those cases, it is perfectly acceptable to ask if anyone knows what it is. Before you do, however, do at least make a half-hearted attempt to figure it out for yourself.

Google what you think the item is, or if you’re looking for possible value, check on Amazon or eBay for the most current prices. While sellers will somewhat overlook this if you’re new, if you seem to be trying to get them to do all the research for you — they will quickly catch on to your game.

A little thank you goes a long way. If someone goes to a lot of trouble to help you identify something or research prices, etc., the least you can do is thank them for the help. It never ceases to amaze me how many people will ask for help and then when you provide it, they never come back to tell you how much they appreciate it.

A good rule of thumb is to always thank the person if they give you an answer, even if it’s not the correct answer you’re looking for. If not, I and a lot of other people will just pass your future questions right on by.

Find your own items. Another mistake that newbies make is to ask sellers where they find their products. While most sellers will give you a generic answer, pushing for the exact place that the seller purchases their items will not only irritate the seller, but in some cases make them mad.

Think of it like giving away trade secrets. If you find a super hot product that is flying off the shelves, do you want to tell everyone else where you found it? Although some sellers are a little too guarded about their inventory, if you simply ask where the best place is to get started (and then thank them for the help), they will usually point you at least in a general direction.

That Kat Radio – Podcast 3 – January 20, 2015: Mark Faggiano – TaxJar

In this episode, Kat spoke with Mark Faggiano.

thatkat

 

Mark Faggiano is the founder and CEO of TaxJar.  TaxJar is a service that automates sales tax compliance for multi-channel eCommerce sellers. Mark’s passion is solving complex problems for small businesses. He is on a mission to make sales tax simple for online sellers.  He previously co-founded and led FileLater to become the web’s leading tax extension service for both businesses and individual taxpayers before being acquired in 2010.

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. What exactly is Sales Tax?
  2. Do all eCommerce Sellers need to collect Sales Tax?
  3. Why is it so complicated for FBA sellers?

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. What do you say to those who tell you that they won’t collect sales tax and are not afraid of the consequences?
  2. What’s so unusual about the month of January for FBA Sellers?
  3. How do the states decide when you have to file

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. What is the Marketplace Fairness Act?
  2. Is it still alive?
  3. What are the chances online sellers will eventually have to collect sales tax?
  4. Where does eBay stand and what are they doing?
  5. Where does Amazon stand and what are they doing?
  6. What can we as online sellers do?

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

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  1. What is TaxJar?
  2. Is Taxjar for all eCommerce sellers or just FBA sellers?
  3. How does Taxjar help us?
  4. How much does Taxjar cost and are there any discounts?
  5. How do we learn more about Taxjar and find out if it is for us?

Links from the show:

http://www.bubblefast.com

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join her Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.

That Kat Radio – Podcast 2- January 13, 2015: Tim Chapman – “Home Runs”

In this episode, Kat spoke with Tim Chapman.

thatkat

 

Tim Chapman has been a full time eBay seller of 13 years with username Mr.customerservice. He buys and sells almost anything as long as it is not offensive. and he LOVES to hunt for treasures. Tim talks about where he finds his inventory, finding home runs and the difference between those and bread & butter Items. This month Tim’s Home Runs included: Portable Spectrum Analyzer, Classic Ham Transceiver, Digital SLR Camera, Stainless Chateau Oneidacraft Flatware piece, 8 pcs Golf Set, 1st Edition Gun Book, Camcorder Transfer Player, Microcassette Recorder, Left Knee Hinged Brace, Rear Mtb Wheel hub Mountain bike, Vintage Disneyland main gate entry ticket and Canon camera lens.

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. How you got started on eBay.
  2. How eBay has changed over the years and how you have adapted.
  3. The Recent news aboutebay:
    • Global Shipping Program update with security in 34 countries.
    • Requirements to put in measurements for  GSP.
    • New “out of stock” option for listings.
    • Free pictures on Vehicle listings
    • Discounts for Store owners (Sprint, LegalZoom, eBay Wholesale)
    • Printing labels from mobile devices.

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Tim talked about his home runs:

  1. What is this? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Agilent-8593E-Portable-Spectrum-Analyzer-9khz-22Ghz-W-041-option-Fully-Tested-/311227275682?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item48769759a2
  2. Where do you find these things? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yaesu-FT-101E-AM-CW-SSB-Classic-Ham-transceiver-UNTESTED-Estate-sale-item-/201258486529?pt=US_Ham_Radio_Transceivers&hash=item2edbf0cb01
  3. How do you ship these? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Callaway-XJ-Junior-series-8-Pcs-golf-set-ages-9-12-RH-driver-Odyssey-putter-/311236638580?pt=Golf_Clubs&hash=item4877263774

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Tim talked about his home runs:

  1. How do you identify first editions? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Winchester-Lever-Legacy-by-Clyde-Williamson-signed-1st-Edition-Gun-Book-/201249848091?pt=US_Fiction_Books&hash=item2edb6cfb1b
  2. Are all these sellable? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-DCR-TRV320-Digital-8-Hi8-Video8-Camcorder-Transfer-Player-W-Charger-TRV320-/311227276095?pt=Camcorders_Professional_Video_Cameras&hash=item4876975b3f
  3. Nice find – love old/new stock – let’s talk about these? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Old-Stock-Panasonic-RN-305-PK-Microcassette-Recorder-VAS-W-Tapes-nice-/311227275633?pt=Voice_Recorders&hash=item4876975971

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Tim talked about his home runs:

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  1. Do you part out a lot of bikes? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/DT-Swiss-X430-26-Rear-Mtb-wheel-W-Shimano-hub-Mountain-Bike-Specialized-DTSwiss-/311241355950?pt=US_Wheels_Wheelsets&hash=item48776e32ae
  2. This was cool.  What is its story? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1966-Disneyland-main-gate-entry-ticket-un-used-Disney-nice-/311240583453?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item487762691d
  3. Another camera lens, do yo find these often? – http://www.ebay.com/itm/CANON-50mm-F-1-4-camera-lens-Japan-made-FD-mount-SCC-Nice-/201249829614?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item2edb6cb2ee

Links from the show:

http://www.HomeRunSecrets.com

https://twitter.com/timdchapman

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/tim-chapman/a/a32/18b

http://www.bubblefast.com

You can follow Kat on TWITTERFacebookGoogle+ and Instagram. Read the blog on  ThatKat.com.

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join her Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.

4th Quarter Blues: Is EBay Circling the Drain?

eBay

EBay reported its 4th quarter earnings this week on Wednesday and the news wasn’t good. Nope, it wasn’t good at all. According to Fortune, While eBay’s revenue number was up ($4.9 billion over $4.5 billion from last year), they also posted a loss of $41 million and note that this was after they had an increase of $2.9 billion in profits in 2013.

The most dismal part of the report, however, was that eBay is now going to layoff some 2400 workers. That’s approximately 7-percent of its workforce. This all comes ahead of the PayPal spinoff, which actually has been a huge part of eBay’s profits and reportedly generated about $2.2 billion in revenue. In addition to all of this, John Donahoe has also announced that there will be further splits for the company as now eBay Enterprise is going up on the proverbial chopping block too.

Interestingly, the plan now for eBay is to take a step back and take another look at eBay’s 2009 strategy, which was to focus on buyers who were shopping for lower prices and good deals on the website. (which ironically is what eBay sellers have been wanting the company to do all along…just saying.)

The big question, of course, is where does this leave the eBay seller? It’s really hard to say. The Internet rumors have it that the big breakup of eBay is making them ripe for the picking by Alibaba which is currently China’s biggest online commerce company, and soon to be the biggest e-commerce marketplace in the world. The rumor probably isn’t much of a stretch either, since the profits that eBay has been making are leaving with PayPal when the big split occurs. This means eBay is going to have to do something really fast if they want to bring in some working capital.

Regardless of which way the wind blows on this, it really all goes back to what you need to do now as an eBay seller. If you still have all of your eggs in eBay’s basket –- wake-up because it’s past time to start diversifying. Set up your own website, give Amazon a try, look into some other marketplace options that are out there. If you study it, you’ll see all the signs are there. It’s just a matter of time before things start to play out and whichever way it goes you should probably expect rough seas ahead.

How to turn your old clothes into cold-hard cash

Beginning to work on Modavia Fashion directory graphic layout.

Is your closet overflowing and yet you have nothing to wear? If so, it might be time to turn those gently worn clothing items into some cold-hard cash. While listing on Amazon and Ebay are probably still the best two ways to bring in the most cash, it may surprise you to learn that there are now several mobile apps that allow you to sell your clothing items right from your smartphone.

Here are two that have caught my attention, although in the spirit of a full disclaimer, I have not yet tried selling on either of these sites…yet.

Poshmark

As the name might suggest, Poshmark is what you might call a “virtual” boutique. Brand names sold on the App are upscale with names, such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Jeffrey Campbell. They list themselves as a “fun and easy way to buy and sell fashion.” While I have read in a few reviews that you have to be careful buying through the website due to scammers and people not shipping items, when it comes to the selling side of things, Poshmark seems to make it incredibly easy.

After downloading the App on your iPhone or Android device, you simply take a photo of whatever the clothing item is that you are wanting to sell and then use their unique filter system to create a photo that has a magazine-like look to it. They call this a “Covershot.” You can then promote your item by attending a virtual Posh Party based on themes like handbags or cocktail dresses. They also use the “share and follow” system which is somewhat similar to eBay’s Collections.

Perhaps the thing I like best about Poshmark is that they take the hassle out of shipping. Once your item sells, they send you a pre-addressed and stamped package. All you have to do is put the item you sold in it and run it to the post office (or have the post office come to you!).

The only downside I’ve seen to this App is that Poshmark wants 20-percent from each sale. This does cover the postage and the return shipping (if needed), however, so if you just want the clothing gone, this might be a good way to do it and make some cash.

Twice

If Twice were a bird, it would be a bird of a different color, since the premise behind the App is a lot more like Ebay Valet than EBay itself. As you may recall, Ebay started a program a while back where you can send your items to them and then they determine a value and make you an offer. If you accept the offer, you get paid. If you don’t…well, with Twice it will cost you $5.00 in shipping to get your items sent back.

There are some good things and some bad things about Twice. Let’s get the bad part out of the way first. The amount they offer is low. I mean really low, as in about an 80-percent markdown from what the original retail price was. Twice also doesn’t accept some name brands, so no Old Navy or Forever 21.

The good news is that there are a lot of brand names they do take, including certain labels from Kohl’s and even Land’s End (one of my favorite places!). They also allow you to either print a shipping label through them or they will send you a box to ship your items in. Once they receive the items, you will generally hear from them with an offer in about three days. While I don’t necessarily recommend this App for trying to make a lot of money, it may be a good place to get rid of some of those items that have disappeared into the back of your closet, but are quite suited for bigger profits on eBay or Amazon.

Have you used Twice, Poshmark or another App to sell your old clothes for cold-hard cash? Leave a comment below.

Improve your business and improve your life

black & white Glasses & Book - exhausting read

If you’re like a lot of online sellers, you sometimes have trouble thinking of yourself as a small business owner. After all, a lot of friends and maybe even your family members don’t even think of what you do as having a real job.

Is it perhaps our fault that others don’t take us seriously? Afterall, it’s often hard to get out of that hobby mindset and into one of being a small business owner, even though that’s exactly what online sellers are. If you’re struggling with this way of thinking, never fear. Here are some steps that will not only improve your business, but also improve your life.

Invest in learning something new each month.

As your online business’s chief employee, you are central to the success of your business. If you procrastinate, you slow down your business’s progress. If you don’t provide excellent customer service, your business receives negative feedback. Most importantly, however, if you don’t continue to improve both personally and professionally, your business will remain average (if you remain in business at all). I don’t know about you, but that’s not what dreams are suppose to be made of.

So how do we overcome being average? By investing time to develop our skills. This could be by reading a book on business or taking a course on online selling. Many established sellers now even have tutorials on YouTube that sellers can watch that will not only help take your business to the next level, but also provide sellers with tips on social media and email marketing.

Track and understand your business’s finances

I confess, I always start with good intentions about tracking my business finances and by mid-March, I’m back to relying on PayPal to tell me how I’m doing each month. (If there is money in the account – must be doing okay…if there is no money in the account…Oh, oh!)

Seriously though, if you don’t have some kind of bookkeeping in place, you’ll never know how your online business is really doing. Invest in a bookkeeping program to help you keep up with everything and then make a point to balance your checkbook each week and reconcile your accounts every month.

Create a work-life balance

I’ve been a small business owner for over 15 years and if there is anything I have learned it’s that all work and no play makes Kate a very grumpy girl. It may not always be possible, but most weeks you should strive to have a consistent schedule and when it’s time to close up shop, shut down that computer and get away from the desk.

I’ve also found that getting away from the computer and taking some “me-time” at lunch helps to re-energize me for the rest of the day. Read a book, go for a walk or escape by watching a television show. Whatever you choose to do, just make it a work-free zone for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

The Reform Small Business Really Needs: A Memo To The New Congress [Part 2 Of 2]

By Cliff Ennico

Here are more legislative reforms the new Congress should consider to promote entrepreneurship and business development in America:

Allow Tax Credits for Job-Changing Education. One of the stranger dichotomies in tax law has to docliff with your ability to deduct continuing education classes. Under current law, you can deduct classes that improve your ability to practice your profession or perform your job, but classes designed to help you change jobs or switch careers are not deductible . . . at all.

In a world where millions of Baby Boom geezers have been left out to dry by the job market, having been trained in skills that are no longer necessary or marketable because of technological advances, this dichotomy no longer makes sense, and should be abolished. Continuing education at all stages of life – regardless of its purpose – should always be deductible.

If a sixty year old wants to learn computer coding in order to stay relevant in his industry, paying thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to a “coding academy”, why the Devil should he not be able to deduct that expense?

Better yet – make the cost of such classes a credit, reducing the student’s taxes dollar for dollar.

Create a Simplified Sales Tax System for Interstate Sales. Our system of sales taxes in America harks back to the days when virtually all sales were local. You went to a store, bought something, and paid cash at the register. There were no “mail order” companies, and certainly no online merchants.

Under current law, interstate sales – where the buyer and seller live in different states – are not subject to sales taxes. Anywhere. The buyer is supposed to pay a “use tax” on items bought for personal consumption from out of state vendors, but guess what? Nobody pays it, and the states don’t enforce it.

Since virtually all Internet sales are interstate or international, this means that states lose billions of dollars in sales tax revenue, and “brick and mortar” merchants are placed at an unfair advantage (because they have to pay taxes on all sales made at their registers, without exception).

A lot of people are unhappy about that, and frankly, Internet sales should be subject to some sort of tax, so that states are not compelled to make up for lost sales tax revenue by raising people’s property or income taxes.

Unfortunately, Congress’ proposed solutions to this problem to date (such as the recently-failed Marketplace Fairness Act) would have required vendors to collect sales taxes based on the rules in effect where their buyers are located. While many large Internet merchants (such as Amazon.com) probably could survive in such a sales tax environment, asking hundreds of thousands of Mom-and-Pop Internet vendors to keep track of the more than 7,500 sales tax jurisdictions in the United States alone would put them out of business, and stifle the fast-growing peer-to-peer e-commerce marketplace that has made eBay, etsy.com and Amazon possible.

A much better solution, and much fairer to small businesses, would be to require Internet vendors to pay sales taxes on their transactions based on the sales tax rates, exemptions and other rules that apply where the VENDOR is located. That way small businesses would have to keep track of only one set of rules, and answer to only one regulator – one they are already (hopefully) familiar with.

Such a rule would also force state and local governments to compete for Internet merchant business by offering lower tax rates, more generous exemptions, and so forth.

Allow Early-Stage Companies to Raise Capital on the Internet. It is simply too difficult for startup companies to raise capital in the United States. Most founding entrepreneurs do not have personal relationships with the wealthy individuals and professional “accredited” investors who are currently the only people allowed to invest legally in startups. It is time to allow these companies to raise capital – legally – from strangers through Internet crowdfunding.

In October 2013 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed regulations – as required under the federal Jumpstart Our Business Startups (J.O.B.S.) Act of 2012 – that would allow startup companies to offer their stock, bonds and other securities to investors through crowdfunding websites (such as IndieGoGo.com and seedinvest.com) that register as “portals” with the SEC. Comments on the proposed regulations were extremely light, but as this column is being written (January 2015) the SEC has not taken action to approve the final regulations.

The SEC should make it a top priority for 2015 to finalize these regulations and make “equity crowdfunding” a reality in the United States. It will take at least a year for crowdfunding websites to register as “portals” and set up their operations, and for startup entrepreneurs to become familiar with the crowdfunding process and produce disclosure documents that comply with the new regulations. Each month that passes dooms many startup companies to cash-flow collapse and ignominious failure. Let’s get this done.

Cliff Ennico, a leading expert on small business law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books.