How To Help Overcome Those Winter Blues

winter blues, motivation, Blue Monday, exercise, health, wellbeingThe third week of January has often been labeled as the most depressing week of the year. The initial verve and optimism that comes with a new year have faded, holiday bills are coming in, and the rainy days seem here to stay.

This week is often known as starting with Blue Monday.

But how factual is Blue Monday? It turns out that Blue Monday is a theory backed by little research. As most of us know the feeling of sadness is often much more complex and can’t be reduced down to a specific day. That said, there are often times when the winter blues kick in and we don’t know what to do!

To help ease your winter blues we recommend treating each Monday like a new beginning and doing these 3 things at the beginning of each week:


1. Reassess your goals and set short-term tangible ones.

Find something small you can check off your list, or something big you can chip away at every week that helps you feel like you are ‘on top of 2018’.

Eg. With tax time fast-approaching, getting your bookkeeping organized and taxes filed should be on the top of your list! Although procrastination may be in your genes, by tackling your bookkeeping bit by bit, you can make things easier on yourself and your tax preparer.

2. Set An Exercise Schedule For The Week

Nothing beats the blues like building up some endorphins! There are many studies that show the positive effects exercise has on your mental health. Jennifer Carter, PhD and counseling and sport psychologist at the Center for Balanced Living in Ohio says that she will often recommend exercise for her psychotherapy clients, particularly for those who are anxious or depressed.

Our team has always found yoga an amazing stress reliever and a great way to improve your overall health. With so many wonderful yoga studios in the city, we recommend finding a great one near your office or home so it’s easier to stay motivated.


3. Meal Plan and Eat Well

During the winter months, it’s so easy to let your healthy eating go out the window. Comfort food is always WAY more appealing than a healthy diet. But according to research posted by the Mental Health Foundation  maintaining a healthy diet is essential if you want to maintain good mental health. In Vancouver where the cloud coverage feels like it will never break be sure to also supliment you diet with Vitamin D.

If Meal Planning isn’t your thing and you are too busy with your business to go grocery shopping or cook then we recommend checking out local food providers such as FreshPrep , Spud, and BeFresh.

While our top three recommendations are rocket science and are commonly known techniques for fighting off the winter blues we hope that this reminder will help you come out of the season in your best. shape. ever.

If you find that your winter blues are lasting for extended periods of time then please reach out to your family doctor or contact the Mental Health Helpline.

Motivational reading list

Here’s to a prosperous 2016!

3c7Happy New Year from the Homeroom team! After the gluttony of the holiday season, January is usually the month to restart, refresh, and revise. It’s a time when resolutions are set and new routines are created.

Besides physical fitness, it’s also a great time to get financially fit, and get those books in order before the tax season. Want to make sure you stick to your financial goals this year? Check out these tips and get started!

  • Get your taxes in order NOW: It’ll be tax season before you know it, so it’s time to get on your taxes if you haven’t already. If you need help filing, or with bookkeeping, don’t hesitate to hit us up.
  • Make realistic and achievable goals: One of the main reasons people don’t stick to their resolutions is that they set unrealistic or too many goals. Rather than attempting to save the world, you’ll find more success making smaller, achievable goals. Then make sure you celebrate your successes.
  • Automate, Automate, Automate: Automate as much as possible, meaning setting up automatic payments and deposits. This will make it harder to put off a payment.
  • Rebalance your investment portfolio: Make sure your investments are still on target and adjust as necessary.
  • Don’t do it alone: Make sure you have a goal buddy. Have someone who will hold you accountable and make sure you stick to your goals.

Just for fun: Here are the most Googled resolutions.

Happy resolving and here’s to a prosperous 2016!

Act now and save big on your taxes!

show-me-the-money-meme-830x400’Tis the season for gingerbread lattes, Christmas markets, chocolates galore, and taxes! Wait a second…but yes! By spending a couple of hours this month on your taxes, there are a few things you can do to maximize your savings and make your life easier come February 2016.

You can start by organizing eligible tax credits—charitable donations, kids’ spots and arts payments, transit passes, education and healthcare expanses. By putting any year-end bonuses into your RRSP before the February 29 deadline, you can avoid the tax.

Other year-end tax-saving tips:

  • Make charitable donations
  • Contribute to an RESP
  • Tax-loss selling
  • Installment payments
  • Kids’ expenses

So as you spread the holiday cheer this season, make sure you’re giving yourself a tax break as well!

On behalf of the Homeroom team, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!!

The Homeroom challenge

Homeroom, 30-day challenge, consistency, bookkeeping, VancouverIt’s the challenge of all challenges. Five employees—and their blood, sweat, and tears—duke it out over 30 days for glory, for fame, and perhaps a trendy new bag.

Some will fight until the end, keeping their eyes on that sweet, sweet prize, while others may pack it in early, unable to go on.

Regardless, we’ll all come out changed—a little wiser from the things we’ve seen, a little stronger, both mentally and physically.

The challenge

Pick one thing to do over the next 30 days (Monday, November 9 to Wednesday, December 9).

  • The Lady in Charge (Teya): Meditate for 10 minutes
  • The Number Cruncher (Allysia): Yoga
  • The Lone Wolf (Kevin): Exercise for an hour
  • Office Gal (Anja): Write at least one page every night
  • Communications Guru (Yvonne): Exercise for 30 minutes

The stakes

Whoever completes this challenge will receive a gift card to a store of their choice!

The reason

To create positive habits and understand the value of consistency in our professional and personal lives.

So cheer us on and watch our progress on Facebook and Twitter over the next few weeks!


New Client Feature: Brott Development Group

Brott Development Group, Benjamin Brott, constructionWe’ve added Brott Development Group to our new client roster this fall! Brott Development is a project management firm that values innovative design. They specialize in residential and commercial construction projects. Owner Ben Brott talked to us about his vision, the construction industry, and what he likes about being a business owner.

When did you open your business?

January 2009

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

I like working on the business — creating and refining operating processes. They make our service better, more accurate, and more engaging, and our clients happier. I also enjoy connecting and collaborating with talented professionals in my industry.

What motivated you to start your own business?

Anyone who has purchased an Apple product in the last decade would agree Apple’s packaging alone is nothing short of elegant. It conveys a thoughtfulness most companies don’t possess. I remember the absolute joy of opening my first Apple device. Before I could even see or touch the product inside, I could tell it was masterfully crafted, just by the box alone. It was a tactile experience that set the tone for how I perceived the product.

My motivation to start my own business was to mirror the experience I have written about above. I want to continually hone the design & build process to better serve clients, and to create and maintain long-lasting relationships with all project stakeholders

What’s your vision for the business?

To put it simply, I want this business to be the Apple, Tesla, or the Dyson of the construction industry — to be known for constantly pushing the innovation envelope. Working to achieve well beyond the status quo through innovation and improving services to ensure clients and stakeholders are satisfied.

What do you like about the construction industry?

Whether it’s a commercial space where we assist business owners build their dream or a home where we help people live the dream, I love to enhance clients’ lives in a significant way.

What advice do you have for prospective business owners?

  1. Work under a mentor a few years before you go out on your own.
  2. Make a business plan. This may be daunting so start with your business goals. Break your list down into three-year objectives, one-year objectives, and three-month objectives.
  3. Spend 20 per cent of your week working on your business even if you’re really busy.
  4. Unless you can guarantee cash flow, do it while you have a day job and build it slowly. When you have a solid base of experience and cash flow, go for it!
  5. Make a list of people to meet — this is as important as a To-Do List.
  6. Relationships are like muscles — the more you work them, the stronger they become.
  7. Find a role model and mentor for work and life.
  8. Be transparent. Be valuable.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?

I play hockey three times a week and often go for a at least one hike per week. Dinner and breakfast with friends and family is almost a daily occurrence.

Who could benefit from your services?

We facilitate the development process from feasibility to design to construction, and finally to finishing strong. We believe in a partnership approach to projects — one that is 100 per cent transparent. We work closely with clients and our stakeholders to make sure their expectations are met every step of the way, and that they enjoy the process from start to finish, and beyond.

Connect with Brott Development Group on Instagram or Pinterest.




Refer a construction client, get a gift card

construction_blog‘Tis the season for construction! That’s right, October is construction and trades month at Homeroom, which means we’re turning our focus on YOU, owner of a construction business. The time is now to get those books organized.

Over the next few weeks, this blog will be filled with helpful tips pertaining to your unique and complicated industry. We’ll discuss the basics such as Cost of Goods Sold, inventory, and how to price your services to ensure you’re covering your bases. We’ll also break down the difference between an employee and contractor, and how to deal with payroll.

But wait, you’re not in the construction business, but know people who are, you say? We want to hear from you too! If you refer a prospective client in the construction or trades industry to us and they book an intake call in October, you get a $10 gift certificate to your favourite coffee spot. All they need to do is say who referred them during their intake call and we’ll get in touch with you.

So stop delaying and start getting organized!




Homeroom Client: Army Of Rokosz

jewelry, Army Of Rokosz, Andrea Rokosz, Vancouver, small business owner, metal arts, bookkeeping, Homeroom

This month’s featured client is Army Of Rokosz Jewelry Design and Metal Art, designed and created by Andrea Rokosz. Andrea uses ancient techniques to make her jewelry that is shaped by her appreciation for the unconventional and ornate. Her small wearable sculptures reflect her love for adventure, folklore, and pop culture, as well as, a respect for nature, history, science and religion.

When did you open your business?

I started Army Of Rokosz as a part-time gig while I was in jewelry school, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I left my part-time job to focus my energy on Army Of Rokosz full-time.

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

There are many facets about being a business owner that I absolutely love. I really enjoy the comradery that naturally exists between small business owners. I don’t have any formal business education so a lot of what I know and do on the business end of things has been learned from asking a ton of questions to people who have done it, or are doing it. In Vancouver, right now, there seems to be a lot of amazing people starting up their own businesses so having a community of like-minded people supporting one another is pretty inspiring.

What motivated you to start your business?

Honestly, I just started making jewelry and the response was so great that I followed along the path I was being shown. I never really thought I would own a business — I don’t know what I thought my end game was when I started making jewelry — but I am totally stoked things have turned out the way they did.

What’s your vision with your jewelry?

I really like to design things that I would want to wear, it’s what lights me up and gets me excited to work on a piece. I started out launching my line Army Of Rokosz — available online and in stores across North America — but now I work one-on-one with clients on custom pieces. There’s something extremely special about getting to know someone and being able to make their vision a reality as well.

What do you like about jewelry making?

I love it all! I feel very fortunate that I get to do what I do every day. When I sit down and think about the actual act of making each piece and the historical lineage of the techniques I use (passed down over thousands of years), it makes me feel like what I do is pretty special and important. I also really love getting to create ceremonial pieces, engagement rings, and wedding bands. The first time I watched a couple exchange wedding bands I had made, I got pretty emotional.

What advice do you have for future business owners?

Ask a lot of questions and hire a bookkeeper.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

For a long time, I didn’t. I work for myself, by myself. So when I first started out and was getting busier, I just defaulted to working all the time — which was crazy. As basic as it sounds, I put myself on a schedule, have set days and times that I work, and take weekends off. I love my time in my studio, so after a couple days off, I’m always geared up to get back to work.

Who would benefit from your services?

I think people reach out to me when they are looking for pieces that tell a story, whether it be a story that I’m telling through my collection, or one they want to tell with a custom piece. Everything I make has a meaning and significance behind it that has a unique way of resonating with people.

Connect with Army Of Rokosz on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Homeroom’s first field trip!

The fearless team braved the rough waters

Homeroom Bookkeeping goes paddle boarding in Deep Cove, North VancouverWe escaped Vancouver’s crazy heat wave last weekend to travel the open waters of North Van for Homeroom’s first company field trip. Unfortunately, just as the sun was rising on the Saturday morning of our long-anticipated paddle boarding adventure, the temperature was dropping and some foreboding rain clouds were working their way across the sky.

But that didn’t stop this team of excited bookkeepers from rocking out in Deep Cove and having a great time — one of us (read: Mike) even decided to take a dip in the water (read: unintentionally).

We then headed over to the hopping Raven Pub to see how those rowdy North Vancouverites party on a Saturday night. It did not disappoint. We had some beers, a massive (and delicious) plate of nachos, and a deconstructed raspberry crumble.

Homeroom bookkeeping goes paddle boarding in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Homeroom bookkeeping goes paddle boarding in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Ready to go!

Homeroom bookkeeping goes paddle boarding in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Homeroom bookkeeping goes paddle boarding in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Intrepid explorers forging new territories

Homeroom bookkeeping goes paddle boarding in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Too cool for school

Homeroom bookkeeping goes paddle boarding in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Anja and Mike’s rivalry reached new heights during a sneak attack on an unsuspecting Mike. The two no longer speak, dividing the office into Team Anja and Team Mike.

Homeroom bookkeeping goes paddle boarding in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

We then ran into Homeroom’s youngest member Jules, hanging at Raven Pub, throwing back beers (read: apple juices).

Homeroom New Client: Green Earth Organics

Banner JPEGEvery month we’re going to be featuring a new Homeroom client, so that you can get to know some of our newest members.

This month’s New Client is Green Earth Organics. Green Earth Organics brings organic food right to your doorstep, making healthy eating convenient. The team at Green Earth brings in the best certified organic fruits and vegetables available, focusing on seasonal and local items. They post the new produce every Thursday at 6 p.m. on their website.

Green Earth’s president, Daniel Henry, talked to Homeroom about the origins of his business, finding that elusive work/life balance, and more.

When did you open your business?

I started Green Earth Organics out of my home in June 1998. With $200 and a credit card, I knocked on my neighbours’ doors to see if there was any interest in an organic grocery delivery service. The following week I had seven deliveries, the next week 19. Now, here I am 17 years later, delivering to hundreds of homes throughout the Lower Mainland.


What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

I enjoy the challenge that being a business owner brings. I also enjoy being able to watch ideas I have for my business come to life.


What motivated you to start your own business?

Before starting GEO, I worked for an environmental group. I have always had an entrepreneurial side to my personality so I wanted to start a business that fed these two aspects of who I am.


How did you come up with the idea for your business?

I heard of a company in England doing something like this. I did a little homework and thought this is something I could get behind and a business that, at the end of the day, I’d be proud of. I’d like to see several Green Earth Organic locations throughout B.C. and possibly across Canada.


Why is promoting healthy eating important to you?

Eating healthy is one of the more important choices we can make in our life to live a long, healthy, and hopefully happy life. There are a lot of things in life that we can’t control, but we can control the food we put into our bodies.


What advice do you have for future business owners?

I think you need to be comfortable with a certain amount of risk. Hopefully you have done your homework and you have a viable business idea which will reduce this risk, but the reality is that it takes a lot of grit and hard work.


How do you achieve a work/life balance?

I spend as much time with my family as I can and I take at least two vacations with them every year. I make a point of having a coffee with my wife every morning before I head off to work and I make sure I spend quality time with my son every day. I also coach my son’s soccer team and play twice a week.


Who could benefit from your services?

Green Earth Organics is great for people who are busy, but want to eat healthy. On average, it only takes about seven minutes for our customers to do all of their shopping from the comforts of their home. That time saved is worth something and could be used to do something other than driving through traffic, finding parking, lining up in stores, and carrying heavy grocery items out to the car.

Connect with Green Earth on Twitter or Facebook.

#TBT to talking procrastination on the CBC

Homeroom was featured on the CBC’s The National last year to talk procrastination and taxes, following a 2014 study stating that procrastination might be genetic. Besides death and taxes being life’s certainties, putting off doing your taxes during tax season is a close third.

We’re throwing back to this interview as a gentle reminder to keep on top of your taxes and bookkeeping throughout the year. Now that the tax season rush is over, it’s a good idea to keep procrastination at bay so that you’re sitting pretty come tax time 2016.

Check out the interview below.