Exciting news: we have just gotten super-official with this blogger business! I went to pay our taxes last month, entered every detail into the tax software program and selected to pay as an independent contractor. A little box popped up saying something to the effect of, “Oh no you did-nnnnt! This income qualifies as an official blogger business, meaning that you owe the government even more money than ever!”
Apparently, when you consult with various companies and manage to turn a profit for a couple years in a row, the IRS recognizes you as a business and makes you pay more taxes. Oh joy. It was a long time coming, but this was a bit of a wake-up call that we needed to get on top of this blogger business, get serious and get things streamlined so we can spend less time worrying about details like this and more time living our lives.
How to Manage a Blogger Business
Step 1: First things first: separate your blogger business from your personal life. It is such a headache to have your business money all intertwined with that stuff you ordered over at Jack in the Box the other day. Get a business account so you can easily manage your profits and losses.
We actually made an appointment online to go speak with a bank representative at Wells Fargo and open a new business account. They had desks to sit and hash this all out conveniently in our neighborhood grocery store! It was nice to talk to an expert one-on-one, and we were able to open free checking and savings accounts with monthly direct transfer. The guy was so friendly and helpful, and totally didn't hold it against me that I had gotten approximately zero hours of sleep the night before. I was worried about being intimidated with big business mumbo jumbo, but he made it easy.
We're also getting a business credit card so we can keep track of those big expenses (laptop, anyone?) and actually be rewarded for them. And to make sure the personal end of our lives doesn't totally fall apart, we used Wells Fargo's handy retirement planner to make sure we were squirreling away enough money every month to have fun later on.
Step 2: Streamline your processes.
Say hello to our new assistant, Teresa. Hi, Teresa! We realized that life was getting so busy with the blog, we needed help. We hired our pal Teresa from Making it All Work to help out part-time from her home in Florida. We whipped up a huge spreadsheet of tasks for her to do every day, such as sharing our content out over all our main social media sites. It was such a good decision and has taken a huge weight off so that we can now focus on creating quality content instead of all the little tasks that come along with that.
But Teresa had to be paid. Go figure. Enter our trusty Wells Fargo account again! We're able to use Business Bill Pay to automatically pay our business bills every month (goodbye, time wasted with the cell phone company) and send checks out to consultants like Teresa.
Step 3: Finally, make it official. When you can afford it, meet with a tax person. It really is important to incorporate (basically making your blogger business an official entity separate from youself) so that your personal assets are protected if you get sued. It's also helpful to fill out a DBA form (“doing business as”) with the government so that you can accept payments under your fictitious blog name. Wells Fargo will need to see proof of this form when you open an account with them so that they can cash checks made out to a name other than the one on your drivers license. I feel more professional having companies make checks out to “Someday I'll Learn” as a business rather than to Nate or I individually, and this further protects our personal lives since we write under pseudonyms and don't like associating our real last name with the website.
How do you keep your business finances separate from personal? And if you're a blogger, do you have any other awesome blogger business tips?