Local Business Spotlight: In An Instant, LLC

We are very excited to be starting a Local Business Spotlight series.  We will be featuring local businesses owned by our clients and friends.  Our very first feature is In An Instant, owned by Lauren Fici.  Lauren is an incredibly kind and talented event planner based in Marietta.  Keep reading to learn about her experience starting and growing her business, what inspires her, and what she feels has helped In An Instant become what it is today.

Q: What is the name of your business and when did you get started?

    The name of my business is In An Instant, LLC. My best friend and I came up with this name due to my love of communication and always being so instant in my responses. I officially started my dream company in February of 2017.

Q: Tell us about your business. What products and/or services do you offer?

    I offer event planning services. There are many types of events: weddings, rehearsals, birthday parties, bridal showers, anniversary parties, baby showers, baptism luncheon, fundraisers, grand openings, corporate functions, as well as Instant Getaways. In An Instant, LLC does them all.
    I also do floral arrangements, DJ services, and provide linens and some decor rentals.
    I can plan your party from A-Z or help coordinate the month before. I can caterer to YOUR needs.

PC: Ruzin Cunningham Photos

Q: How did you get the idea or concept for the business?

    I have always known my strong suite is communication and organization. I had been wanting to work in this industry for years. One day, after talking with my husband and best friends, I just decided to say …why not! Lets take a chance! So we started on building a website, which my friend Nicole Cole did -she totally rocked it! Then a logo, my best friend Hilary Salo found my vision and made the logo perfect and then went from there. I thrive on my social media platforms and started to book business!

PC: Hannah Wade Photography
Q: Why did you choose your industry/business?

    I always was the friend to throw all my friends baby showers and bridal showers. I had the organization to come up with timelines and due dates for different items to make sure the event went perfectly. I also worked for Event Services for Valdosta State University for a year. I assisted in Relay for Life and the Chili cookoff. I felt a sense of accomplishment and excitement. I always finished the event being in the best mood. I knew I had found my calling!

Q: What was your mission at the outset?

    My mission statement is: ” Making Dream Reality, In An Instant” — this is true to this day, when I helped plan a wedding for sweet friend of mine in 4 days due to Hurricane Irma destroying her venue at the beach. We relocated and did it in Ballground, GA and it was gorgeous!!!

 

Q: What was the most valuable lesson you learned in your first year of business?

    It is okay to not know everything. That is why there are professional tax laws, accounting, contracts, etc. I made the best decision when I hired Levesque and Associates to do my business taxes and accounting. They are the best!!!!

Q: Which channel(s) do you feel has been the most beneficial to the growth of your business (Social media, web-presence, word-of-mouth, networking, etc)? Why?

    I feel like the most valuable benefit has been word of mouth. I strive for every event I do to at least have 2 or more referrals from it due to my client being 100% satisfied. Also I am a big advocate for networking. I am very involved in the Marietta Business Association and my way of giving back to the community is doing all of their ribbon cuttings and assisting in their social media. Through Marietta Business Association I was named the 2017 Member of the Year! I also have a closed networking group called EARN and out of that group I gained my most loyal client.

Q: What do you feel has been the biggest contributor to the success of your business?

    I feel as though it has been my support team. I have the most supportive husband who constantly helps me think of new ways I can improve. I have friends that constantly refer me and my clients who sing my praises. My sweet parents continue to encourage me and lift me up. I love my new vendor friends and the relationships that we have built so we can refer each other.

PC: Misty Nolan Photography

PC: Picture This! Photography, Florals by: Sean O’Keefe Events
Q: Can you tell us about a client experience that made you think, “This is why I do what I do!”?

    September of 2017 I did a wedding in Italy. I coordinated and assisting in booking the vendors, made a very detailed timeline, added an international phone plan, and met with my client a few times. We did this in 3 months.
    The wedding looked like something out of the movies. It was so romantic and I got the best review of my life. I also made friends with the florist, photographer, and videographer. Not to mention her wedding made it to “Say Yes to the Dress”!! I still think of this wedding and have to pinch myself from time to time!

Q: Do you have a favorite quote, book, or blog that has inspired you as you have grown your business?

    Of course I have always loved Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, and Style Me Pretty! But a quote I would say that gets me going is:
    “People can teach you, motivate you and inspire you. But only you can make up your own mind to go after your goals.” – Eric Eisenberg
Q: What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced while starting and growing your business?

    With starting any business you are presented with new challenges. Work/life balance and time management are two key components that require a steady hand on the wheel. This is something that I am working on every day.

Q: What words of wisdom or advice would you offer to someone starting their own business?

    Have a vision and do not be afraid of failure. Keep pushing and find your tribe! Love what you do and you will truly never work a day in your life. When you get to something you might not know a lot about find a trusted professional and refer back to each other.

Flowers by Lauren Fici
About Lauren Fici
Born and raised in Marietta, Georgia, Lauren has a drive for serving others. She is a graduate of Valdosta State University (Go Blazers!) with a Bachelor’s in Speech Communication. She is happily married to a man she has known since elementary school. Lauren and her husband, Ali, are both very active in their church and serve on the hospitality team.

Lauren has known since she was little that she has a servant’s heart and event planning is her calling. For ten years she coordinated showers, weddings, parties, fundraisers, and corporate events. Whether it was planning showers, or coordinating weddings, or helping plan her grandmother’s 106th birthday party, she has known that planning and coordinating are her strengths. She has hosted numerous events and is a stickler for schedules. She feels that event planning is her natural calling and southern hospitality and organization are her strong suits.

Contact:
In An Instant, LLC
678-910-9093
lefinstant@gmail.com

Estimated Payments – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

Some taxpayers hate making estimated payments.  Some taxpayers avoid it.  Others dread the day they might have to make them.  In reality, though, estimated payments are really not that much different than paycheck withholdings for W-2 employees.  For every paycheck received, Medicare, FICA, State, Federal, etc. is withheld from the employee’s earnings.  That money is sent off to the appropriate organization and a credit is given to the employee for payments made and are called “Withholdings.”  When that employee completes their annual tax return, they will enter the amount withheld.  If total tax due is less than the amount withheld, the balance is returned to the employee in the form of a refund.  If the amount is more, a balance is due.

For those taxpayers making estimated payments, a payment is made quarterly (instead of each pay period) and instead of being withheld from a paycheck it is paid directly from the taxpayer to the Federal and/or State government.  Just like with W-2 employees, when taxes are filed it may be determined that the taxpayer overpaid, and a refund will be issued.  Similarly, if underpayment is discovered than a balance is due.

See?  Estimated payments really aren’t all that bad!  Keep reading to learn more about the Who’s, What’s, When’s, Where’s, Why’s and How’s of estimated payments.

  • Who must make estimated payments?

Those taxpayers who expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for the year and will have less than the expected amount withheld from their paycheck (W-2 employees) should make estimated payments.  Additionally, most self-employed and 1099-receiving taxpayers should also make estimated payments throughout the year.  Note that if you are a W-2 employee who has earnings outside of your regular job (such as investments, inheritance, a side-job, etc) you may still need to pay estimated tax in addition to what is being withheld from your paychecks.

  • What are estimated payments?

Estimated payments are not a prepayment of tax liability, despite what most people think.  Income taxes are technically due as the money is earned/received.  This is known as a pay-as-you-go system.  In other words, taxes are not due April 15th (even though tax returns are) – they’re do periodically throughout the year.  Hence estimated payments are timely payments of the tax you believe you will owe over the entirety of the year.

  • When are estimated payments due?

Estimated payments are made four times throughout the year.  Due dates are as follows:

PeriodDue Date
January 1 – March 31April 15
April 1 – May 31June 15
June 1 – August 31September 15
September 1 – December 31January 15 (of the following year)
 

  • Where do you make estimated payments?

You have many options for making your federal estimated payments – learn more here:

  1. Mailing check or money order to the Internal Revenue Service
  2. By phone
  3. Through IRS.gov by setting up direct pay with your bank account or with a debit/credit card

You may also be required to make estimated payments to the state.  Note that if you live and work in separate states you may be required to make payments in one or both states.  Check with your tax preparer or your state’s Department of Revenue for payment options and instructions.

  • Why should you make estimated payments?

First and foremost, estimated payments prevent the need to pay a large tax bill at the time you file your return.  You can wait until April 15th each year to give the IRS their cut, but which sounds easier: writing 4 checks for $2,500 or 1 check for $10,000?

The second reason is the pay-as-you-go system we mentioned earlier.  Tax isn’t due April 15 – it’s due as it’s earned.  This means that without estimated payments being made, or adequate amounts being withheld from paychecks, you may have to pay penalties even if you pay your tax liability by April 15th each year.  If total tax due after estimated payments and withholdings is less than $1,000 then penalties are typically avoided.

  • How are estimated payments calculated?

If you expect no significant changes in household income and deductible expenses from a previous year, you can divide the total tax liability calculated on your previous tax return by 4 to get your payments for the current year (this may not work for tax year 2017-2018 due to tax law changes).  If you have changed jobs, gotten married (changing your household income and filing status), had children, made investments, etc., then calculating estimated payments will likely be more complicated.  In this situation payments can be calculated by estimating your income for the coming year, calculating the taxable income, calculating the tax on that amount, and dividing that tax liability into 4 equal payments.  It is recommended that you check with your tax preparer to more accurately calculate your expected tax liability.

The IRS generally recommends that taxpayers make their estimated payments in 4 equal payments due on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15.  However, there are exceptions.  For example, maybe you work in an industry that is seasonal and you do not earn income evenly throughout the year.  If that is the case, you may be able to lower or avoid payment penalty by using the annualized installment method.  Learn more at IRS.gov or check with your CPA.

Think you may need to make estimated payments?  We can help!  Get in touch with Levesque & Associates for more information.