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Interview with Judith McQuown author of INC. YOURSELF

JudithMcQuownStarting and running a small business isn’t easy. But, it’s easier when you have someone to guide you along the way.

Recently, I had the opportunity to read the recently revised 11th edition of INC. YOURSELF: How to Profit by Setting Up Your Own Corporation by Judith H. McQuown. It’s packed with information, conveyed in easy- to-read, and understand, layman’s terms.

Held back by the glass ceiling, in 1977 McQuown started her own business and wrote the original INC. YOURSELF. More than 700,000 copies later INC. YOURSELF is the longest-selling business book in the history of trade publishing. And 37 years after the first publication, McQuown is still helping business owners reach their goals.

INC. YOURSELF is not your typical business book. McQuown’s clear, no nonsense style makes even topics like tax-sheltered pension and profit sharing plans easy-to-understand. There’s even a chapter especially for women and minorities on how to take advantage of minority-supplier contracts and business incubators. Here’s what McQuown said when I the opportunity to pick her brain.

Going by the title, INC. YOURSELF sounds like it might be written for startups, but there seems to be quite a bit of information for the seasoned small business owner as well. Who is your target audience?

According to the 2010 census, there are 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S.  I wrote INC. YOURSELF for a wide audience: not only startup entrepreneurs, but also professionals considering part or all of their practice, downsized executives, women angered by the limitations of the corporate “glass ceiling,” as I was when I set up my corporation, moms who prefer to work from home, retirees who are setting up a new business and want to protect their assets, and all the curious readers who ask: “Can I profit from doing this?”

What are the three most important changes in this new edition?

The 11th edition of INC. YOURSELF has many changes.  The three most important are:

  • Lowered federal personal-income tax rates which may call for changes in splits between owner-employee salary and money retained by his/her corporation.
  • The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Obamacare”) does not affect the one-person corporation.  These entrepreneurs can take advantage of a medical-care reimbursement plan in which their corporation pays their medical bills directly.
  •  More than ever, federal, state, and sometimes even county and city programs are available for new entrepreneurs – especially women, minorities, and veterans.  Women- and minority-owned businesses are now the two fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy.  And minority women-owned businesses are the fastest-growth category.  Nearly 10.1 million firms are owned by women, employing over 13 million workers and generating sales approaching $1.9 trillion.

What are the three most important things that entrepreneurs should consider before starting a business?

The three most important things to consider are:

  • Do you love this new venture enough to work a 100-hour week?  Have you done this?
  • Do you have enough “seed money”?  In that case, an informal business plan may be sufficient.
  • If you need to borrow money for your startup, you will need a formal, realistic business plan.

What is the biggest mistake that small business owners make in their first year?

Underestimating the time needed for a project ̶ and therefore the price.

Also, delivering the project late – no excuses, please.  In fact, the best way to achieve REPEAT business is to contact your client a day or two before delivery date, say you’re delivering early, and ask for another project “to take it off your client’s desk.”

In some ways, INC. YOURSELF is like a business owner’s bible. What do you want reader’s to take away from your book?

INC. YOURSELF is intended to be a “business owner’s bible.”  It offers well-organized chapters, many with quizzes, charts, checklists, sample tax returns, and state-by-state rules.  I hope that readers will return to INC. YOURSELF time and again, whenever they need to find answers.

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.


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