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Gusto Makes Paying Payroll & Contractors Magical

I have used Gusto* twice now to run my payroll in my business ventures and, in the 8 clicks or so that it took to pay my contractors and employees today, I thought I should write about it. Partly because, for some strange reason, I avoided using them during my current venture even though I loved them before. Looking back, I put myself through a lot of pain this go-round. Don’t do that to yourself. #learnFromMyMistakes

Managing payroll and compliance with Gusto makes my small business or solopreneur venture even more awesome. Key benefit for me? Paying contractors any amount with direct deposit with no extra fees or transaction charges. ? ⬇️ Finally, I can stop using Venmo!

Gusto definetly goes on my list of how to run a business smarter, not harder. Three years (and $20k in tax issues later), cough up the comparative pocket change to do this right.

The OLD WAY of paying contractors for me included trying to find their venmo account, ignore how many times they bought tacos last week (really?) negotiate on if they wanted payment from Cash App instead or maybe paypal… and then haggle over who paid the transaction fees. This worked “great” until I had enough business I bumped up against my venmo transaction limits, and my people will attest that the waiting around for payments SUCKED. I had two contractors getting paid by venmo, one on Cash app, a bunch I had to hoodwink into reactivating their PayPal accounts (and I coughed down the fees most of the time). P.S None of this included the accounting gymnastics I got to do monthly when I had to parse out which payments went to whom and for what work

The cost of using Gusto to pay yourself + 9 employees is the equivalent of 58cents an hour. If your billing rate can’t choke that down, I seriously recommend you find a regular job ?.

If you are going out (or already out) on your own or taking on a side hustle, or partnering with some colleagues at a joint-venture, it’s alluring to run everything on your own and go lean, but after three years of trying and making mistakes at this, I am learning to automate the things computers can do so I can do the things I do best — which is recruit and lead and support my team.

Things Gusto does very well (the top three were enough for me to stop kicking myself and sign up)

  • Manages payroll for W-2 employees seamlessly.
  • Send payments to 1099 Contractors direct deposit, and for no extra fees.
  • Run as many payroll or expense reimbursement runs per month as you like, for no extra fees.
  • Ability for your employees to get “instant” paychecks if they like or are short on cash (no cost to you).
  • Ridiculously quick and friendly support.
  • Awesome, simple user interface.
  • Access to benefits and other nifty features such as charitable contributions, 401k, 529 accounts, life insurance and more.
  • Helps you process 1099s and W-2 statements at the end of the year.
  • Know before you submit payroll exactly how much will come from your accounts and when.
  • Automatically handles state and federal tax requirements, sending the right tax amounts to the right withholding accounts so you can rest easy knowing the tax man cometh, but not with a scythe. They even got my account numbers for me. I did zero paperwork.
  • Onboard and offboard employees, even sending offer letters!
  • Sync magically with all accounting packages.
  • Causes your accountants to regularly break out into song.

Plus, they’re giving you $100 Amazon gift card to try it just for signing up at my recommendation (after you run payroll). I mean, I would recommend it anyway, but, if they’re going to front you a hundred bucks, that’s 2.5 months worth of their fee if you (yourself or others) are a W-2 employee. That’s 4 months free if you have no W-2 employees and 4 contractors (16 months free if you have just one contractor).

Full disclosure, I also get $100 if you try this. I’d recommend it anyway, so, if you feel strange about that just go to yourself and sign up, or ask your accountant to refer you if you want to keep the cash “in the family”, so to speak.

Either way, I ran payroll and paid my contractors and ticked off a bunch of tired old tax-compliance boxes using Gusto this morning in way less time than it took to write this.

Or, keep doing payroll the hard way.

Gusto is part of my accounting stack for small businesses, which includes:

Tell ’em I sent ya ?

*This is a referral link. If you go here and buy stuff, I may or may not get a small something in return. It might be money or a gift-card or a discount on my service. It’s usually not much. And, I am a paying customer of all these services, so its really just soda money in the end. I am not living off this, lol. If this makes you feel strange, feel free to run over to that website all by yourself or ask someone else to refer you. No problem. But if you feel like my advice helped you, clicking this link is one way to say thanks. I mean, that or five pound box of $50 bills would work, too… but clicking the link is easier. #justsayin

My Favorite Things

Kindle Paperwhite

It goes without saying that, for me, the Kindle Paperwhite has been a truly excellent product. Made by Amazon, the Paperwhite fits a niche within the Kindle e-reader family that I think is truly great.

According to wikipedia, the Kindle e-reader started as a project by Amazon’s 126 lab back in 2007. Today, the king of all e-readers, the kindle boasts the ability to read more than 6 million kindle ebooks as well as any number of compatible file formats such as PDF and other files.

For a limited time only (as of this writing) it also looks like you can trade in an old kindle device and get 20% off a new one. Nice.

Why the Paperwhite?

The Paperwhite, specifically, fills a niche I love in the reading space. Some of the “features” I enjoy include:

  • Looks nice. I am not a snob, but I like my devices to look well made and feel well-constructed as well.
  • NO notifications! I can finally read interrupted!
  • The gentle screen lighting works for night reading (even in bed), on airplane flights, and even in bright sunlight.
  • Audiobook listening with whispersync! with any bluetooth headphones (I pair my airpods) or your car stereo to listen to your books when your eyes are busy.
  • The weight is perfect. It feels lighter than a book, about the same as a phone, but balanced perfectly for one hand to use.
  • It’s waterproof, too. Just feels better when reading poolside.

The Case

I also enjoy the blue case from INFiLAND, which uses magnets to stay closed, and automatically wakes/sleeps the device on open/close. There’s several colors/options to choose from as well and they feel really great in the hand.

Tips and Hints

Pro-tip: The whispersync feature connects any kindle devices, including your phone, tablet or computer, but the real killer-app comes in when you link an audible audiobook with whispersync to your kindle books. Then you can swap between reading and listening with the flick of a button.

Add the Audible Narration to Kindle books

Pro-pro tip: If you own the kindle book already (or just bought it), often you can get the audiobook for a discount! Nice. For example, if you bought the timely Just Mercy book on Kindle today, the combined discount between the book’s selling price and the discount for adding the Audible Narration for the Just Mercy Book is about the same as buying the book at full price. NICE!

? Don’t tell amazon that this actually drops the price of the audiobook to less than one monthly credit for being an audible subscriber. Shhh.

Check It Out!

Check out the Kindle Paperwhite (Waterproof) on Amazon’s Kindle Page. Great father’s day gift for your favorite guy who can’t catch a break to read a favorite book, or who might need a slight nudge to relax or learn something new ?.

Robert Merrill

Disclaimers & Links

I am not a professional product reviewer, but I have been blogging about pro-tips, hacks, tricks, apps and other things I love since 2004 (Remember Blogspot!?).

These are some of my favorite things, and I like sharing them. Often, I will share a referral link or, affiliate link and if you purchase something after clicking the link, I might generate a little cash from it. This isn’t a trick, but if they will give you $5 for trying a product and give me $5 for taking the time to mention it, I’m in.

As always, none of the things I share are “secret”. The links I share do not add cost to products you might buy, but the companies selling them might send along a few bucks my way which I will use to pad the vacation jar. If you don’t like this idea, then feel free to rip open and find direct links on your own for these at any time.

Should you ever want to simply thank me for advising you on something you liked, or just buy me lunch, my Square Cash app link is $rahhb (get $5 for signing up, lol) or Venmo me @rahhb.

My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

Call me sentimental, but I like sharing my favorite things. Apps, tools, processes, books, whatever I like. I will share them in this category