Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Moving in the Inner Square: Get your own Square!

As you may recall from about a month ago, I take credit cards via a little device called a Square that hooks into my Touch, transmitting via local wi-fi (courtesy of my lovely neighbors at 101 Things to Do.)  At the end of the post, I also disclosed that I'd be soon be distributing Squares to any interested parties.  Well, the time has come!
Ta daaaaaaaaa!
I got this box in the mail today, full of Square-y goodness and awesome.  All you need is an Apple or Android device with a touch screen and a wi-fi or 3G connection.  You just direct your device's browser to this page, download the app onto your device, and activate your account.  The Square plugs right into the audio jack, but you technically don't need it to run a transaction; you can run a card number without it.

Important stuff to know
Square is built primarily for individuals and small businesses.  There is no fee for the equipment (I'll give you one for free) nor is there a monthly rental fee.  All of that is taken care of in the 2.75%+15¢ fee per card-present/swiped transaction.  This is in the range for what I've seen from banks (on top of their equipment rental charges), so I think it's pretty reasonable.  The rate is 3.75%+15¢ if the card is not swiped.  Still pretty reasonable for taking transactions over the phone or if the reader's not working for whatever reason.  Also, because it works with all four major credit companies in America with the same flat rate, it's a great way to accept AmEx, Discover, business and rewards cards without the exorbitant fees they typically incur on a small operations.

There is a $1,000/week limit on transfers to your bank account, so if you do $2000/week, you'll get $1000 every week, and have to wait until the end of the month for the balance of your money.  This can be inconvenient for some, so just be aware of it if you'd fit that category.  For lower volume individuals or businesses, it shouldn't be a problem.

If you have a printer available, you should offer a printed receipt.  If you do not, you can offer customers an e-mail or SMS version of their receipt.  Very green chic, I think.  I've found that the swipe takes a little getting used to, a little bit of finesse to keep steady and go at the right speed, but I feel it's worth the practice to save the extra 1% charge.

I can't think of anything else pressing for you know right now.  The Terms of Service are worth reading/scanning well, as they would be with anything involving your money.

So, in conclusion...
If you would like to accept credit cards for your small business (or as a back up during a power outage or equipment breakdown; Just ask the ladies at Milk & Honey!), or for yourself, I'm your local source for a free Square.  It's great not only for shops but...
  • Massage therapists (of course)
  • Nail technicians
  • Hair stylists
  • Yoga and pilates instructors 
  • Doulas and midwives
  • Babysitters
  • Tutors
  • Movers
  • Food trucks
  • Artists and art galleries
  • Farmer's markets
  • Craft fairs
  • Garage/yard sales
  • Music teachers
  • Painters
  • Landscapers
  • Getting gas or food money from friends
  • Selling stuff on Craigslist
  • and many other things, I'm sure!
I hope this has gotten you interested in trying Square on your Apple or Android device, a credit card reader for the masses.  You'll receive a Square and a little vinyl decal that proclaims your customers' ability to "Pay with Square"!  If you'd like to request one or if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at: jena (at) abundancemassage (dot) com.

(Also, if anyone is a size Medium and wants that shirt, please feel free to take it off my hands...)

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mama sock monkey of awesomeness

I just might make this my profile picture on January 22nd.
©2011 Peggy Costa
My friend, Kat, shared this little gem on Facebook a little bit ago and I couldn't resist passing it on.  It was handmade by her mother-in-law-to-be.  I kind of love it a lot.

After messaging the creatress, I found out it's available for sale on Etsy, and... there's some extra awesomeness.  The monkey gives birth.  I want it so badly.

Props to you, Peggy Costa!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nursing babies suck in a GOOD way; Facebook does NOT


There's been a lot of hubbub in recent years and recent days over Facebook and its apparent beef with images of breastfeeding.  (Congratulations to The Leaky B@@b and Denver Doula for being reinstated!) This beef now extends into the annals of historical images.  Awesome.

Historic Photos & Prints of Breastfeeding is a beautiful collection of albums displaying images from the 19th and 20th centuries, and representations of the charity in Cimon and Pero and Mary nursing Jesus.  Now, less than 24 hours after noted surprise and pleasure at never having had anything deleted, something has been.  Someone turned into a troll.

There isn't much I can say that hasn't been eloquently, vehemently, and repeatedly said by many others in past years and days.  I even caught a Tweet  telling people to stop complaining and just leave Facebook for good.  That's definitely food for thought.  We survived without Facebook or *ew* MySpace for years.  For the most part we communicated with people we cared about and stopped caring about people we didn't communicate with outside of awkward reunions every X-number of years.  We wrote letters that didn't include asinine things like the fact that we got sprayed in the face while brushing our teeth.  We made the social awkwardness of sharing pictures people may or may not have cared about seeing a face-to-face thing, and no one stole our pictures from us.

It would be hypocritical of me to say Facebook's good for nothing and that I don't indulge in the social overexposure brought on by it.  It's good for lots of things and I have no immediate plans for leaving it, myself.  I don't want to leave or boycott it.  What I want is a more family-friendly Facebook.  It has grown far beyond a twenty-something online tool for checking in with classmates and finding out when and where the next party will be held.  Facebook has spawned communities from strangers of all ages and life stages, for good and ill.  Breastfeeding, parenting, education... these things are good and Facebook needs to embrace (or at least allow) them and stop marginalizing those who celebrate one of the most sacred, healthy, and fundamental human interactions.

Facebook, please change your policies and STOP DELETING PICTURES OF BREASTFEEDING.
Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

GIVEAWAY winners!

It's time to announce the winners of my first ever massage giveaway. My thanks to everyone who entered here, on Facebook, Twitter, via e-mail, and even in person!

The winners are...
  • First Prize: Mia!
  • Second Prize: Prana!
  • Third Prize: Sandra!
Thanks for playing, and Happy New Year!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, 2011!

May this year be gentler than the past where we need it, and more blessed when we need it. Change what you want whenever you want. Make it your year.

Happy 2011 from Abundance Massage!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

A Fearless Woman: January

Pretend this was the first thing you saw on New Year's Day. I have a date book called A Fearless Woman. Every month begins with a quote, and I'm going to post them on the first of the month for the rest of the year.

Artwork detail ©Jeannine Roberts Royce
She Rises Beyond All Limits
She has an abiding resilience and resolve
to never hold back, never stand back, never look back.
She reaches great heights.  She shines as she soars. 
-"A Fearless Woman" 2011 date book,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage