Join Us for a Cornhole Tournament Benefitting The Special Olympics

Along with the Triangle YP Civitan Club, we’re hosting a Cornhole Tournament to benefit The Special Olympics this Sunday, September 28, from 1p.m. to 6p.m. We’d love for you to join us!

Along with the Triangle YP Civitan Club, Shoeboxed is hosting a Cornhole Tournament to benefit The Special Olympics this Sunday, September 28, from 1p.m. to 6p.m. at our office at 112 Broadway St. Durham, NC. We’d love for you to join us!

The entry fee for a team of two is $50, and that also includes two t-shirts and two raffle tickets.You can sign up here. We’ll have awesome prizes (first place will get $250!), local beer, and one of Durham’s favorite food trucks, American Meltdown, will be here in case you get hungry.

This event will raise money for Special Olympics NC through the Over the Edge fundraiser. For every $1,000 we raise, we will send a Triangle YP member repelling down the Wells Fargo building in downtown Raleigh. All money raised at the event through sponsors, individual fundraising and participants will go towards the cause.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up your team now and learn more about the event here

5 Essential Gadgets for Clearing Up Cord and Cable Clutter

A pile of dusty cables on your desk can be distracting (and dirty!). Here are some gadgets to help you find a solution for your cord and cable clutter.

When I decided to abandon my cushy office job and join the world of the self-employed, the first thing I needed to do was set up my home office. What many people forget about a home office is that it’s in your home, so it needs to look attractive. Where piles of dusty cables behind your desk in an office building don’t concern you much, they’re far more of a bother in your home environment.

IMG_0287When I set about coming up with a simple solution for managing my home office cord and cable clutter I had three main goals:

1. Accessibility
With no IT department hanging around in the basement to help me when my network cable came unplugged, I needed quick and easy access to all my cables, plugs and paraphernalia.

2. Minimalism
‘Wireless, wireless, wireless’ was my mantra. Less wires equals less clutter.

3. Aesthetically Pleasing
As you can see from the picture, my desk is in a very central location in my house, between the living room and the kitchen, so it needed to look as attractive as possible.

After a lot of trial and error I came up with this system for controlling cable clutter using these 5 simple gadgets.

IMG_02851. Surge Protector
This vital piece of equipment performs double duty, protecting your gadgets from electrical surges and keeping all your cables neatly organized. I opted for a Belkin 8-Outlet Surge Protector. The 6 foot cord and detachable cord-management clip, combined with the option to wall mount it, means I can keep the cables neatly tucked away and up off the floor.

I mounted it centrally under the desk and labeled each cable with a handwritten bread tie (an idea I stole from ThePhotographersLife via Pinterest). If you want to get a bit fancier, or don’t eat bread, you can find a vast array of ready-made cable labels at office supply stores for around $6.

2 & 3. Wireless Gadgets
I have a wireless keyboard and touch pad and a wireless printer. It is amazing how much cable clutter this reduces — easily a third of my cables are no longer an issue. And when wireless charging for phones and tablets is finally ready for primetime I’ll be first in line, cutting out another third of my cable clutter. I dream of the day where the only cable on my desk is that elegant Apple iMac power cord.

IMG_01484. Keep the Cables on the Table
Until that wireless charging revolution becomes a reality however, I will rely on this ingenious little gadget by Quirky. Cordies quite literally does what it says on the packet, keeping my charging cables on the table and within in easy reach, i.e. not constantly dropping behind the desk.

5. iPhone Dock

This was a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it as it does double duty as a stand and a charger for my iPhone, which is easily my most used accessory. I purchased a short lighting cable to connect the dock to the back of my computer so that I don’t have to deal with hiding an unwieldy charging cable. A good tip if you have lots of devices you charge on your desk regularly is to charge directly from your computer, rather than taking up precious space on your surge protector.

IMG_0284As you can see, the combination of the Cordies and the iPhone Dock, combined with Apple’s ingenious cord holding design, keeps the cable clutter at the back of my computer pretty streamlined:

Conclusion
I truly believe a cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind, and even if you have a pile of paper and cables off to the side of your desk, you’ll be surprised at how much having a clean, clutter-free surface to work on will boost your productivity.

Jennifer Tuohy is a writer who works from her home office. She writes for The Home Depot about the challenges of being self-employed and provides technology solutions to make things run more smoothly. To find a selection of cable management products, visit homedepot.com.

5 Reasons to Check in with Your CPA Year-Round

Working with a CPA can save you money and protect you from getting an IRS audit. Here’s why you should work with a CPA all year long, not just in April.

A CPA isn’t someone you should see just once a year. You should take just as much care selecting and building a relationship with your CPA as you do your doctor. While your physician is your main partner in your physical health, your CPA is your primary other half for your financial health (preferably in tandem with a financial advisor). It doesn’t matter if you “just” file a 1040EZ each year or you pride yourself in keeping up with the latest IRS tax changes, because it’s a CPA’s full-time job to know the ins and outs of taxes, which means they know more than you.

Simply put, working with a CPA can save you money and protect you from getting an IRS audit. While the fees for a CPA may look steep up front, many of them won’t nickel and dime you. In fact, there are many CPAs who will only charge you for the time required to actually file your taxes, which means you can shoot them the random tax question any time of year without being charged for it. They’re like your personal inside source to Uncle Sam.

Here are the big reasons why you should secure a CPA throughout the seasons and not just in April:

1. They’ll keep you on top of things

Need a reminder to file your quarterly taxes or on the fence about buying a house this year? Your CPA is that bug in your ear that keeps you in the best tax-related financial health. They’ll keep you informed of any changes, recommend moves to maximize this tax year, and make sure you don’t slip up if you’ve arranged for IRS payments.

2. They’ll save you money

No matter how much or how little you pay in taxes, without a reputable CPA by your side, you’re overpaying. Millions of unclaimed tax dollars sit abandoned each year. Whether it’s writing off postage or forgetting to deduct that eco-friendly applianceyou bought, your CPA will pore over every last purchase to make sure you’re never overcharging yourself. The IRS will take what you give them, if not more, so don’t willingly donate to Uncle Sam.

3. They know all the legal loopholes

A “loophole” doesn’t have the best connotation, but as long as it’s legal, why shouldn’t you get the most benefits? Taxes aren’t easy (no matter what the commercials say), and you can’t rely on a part-time bookkeeper at a pop-up shop in April to know all the ins and outs. You wouldn’t go to a part-time dentist who spent 10 months out of the year waiting tables to take care of your teeth, would you?

4. They help you plan

Not sure if you should start your own foundation or pay into an existing one? Confused on where the best place to open your business is if you live near a border? Asking your CPA any and all money and business related questions throughout the year helps you make the best decisions for you. Sometimes as seemingly minor as opening up shop in Portland instead of Vancouver can cost you thousands since Washington has no state tax and Oregon has some of the highest in the country.

Remember: Your CPA is on your side and has zero interest in getting involved in an IRS audit with you. They’re your advocate, and you can happily pass off the dirty work to them. Just be open and honest with your CPA, and you’ll likely avoid an audit while enjoying more of your hard earned cash. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Larry AltonLarry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.