This post contains affiliate links.
When I first started brokeGIRLrich three and a half years ago, it took me about 4 months to make any money. And man oh man, was I excited about that 0.01 commission from Google AdSense – not that it paid out that month since the minimum was $100 to receive a payment and that actually took me about a year and a half to achieve, but still, that was probably the most excited I’ve gotten over a penny in my life.
Since then, brokeGIRLrich has grown a little more.
- 2014 – $346.54
- 2015 – $4541.93
- 2016 - $8114.67
All from a $400 initial investment and about 5-10 hours a week of work.
Now, in 2014, my really impressive accounting system of filing everything in my inbox under a folder marked receipts worked.
In 2015, my system was strained, but still held up.
By the time I did my 2016 taxes, I realized my system doesn’t really work anymore for that volume of money and I knew that since I planned to invest in more deductible expenses for my blog this year, that would strain my system even more.
Fortunately, there are some really affordable and easy to use options out there for accounting if you’re a small business owner. For instance, Xero has a great system that tracks invoices, payroll, expenses and pays bill. There are plenty of other features too. Xero also has a few price points that scale well depending on how big your small business is.
- Custom invoices.
- Online payments that get you paid faster.
- A mobile app that lets you snap pictures of receipts to file your expenses instantly, from wherever you are.
- Super simplifies sending and receiving quotes, and turns quotes right into invoices.
- Cloud accounting – accessible on the go, anywhere, anytime.
- Customizable report templates for the endless research that goes into any freelance business.
- It works with PayPal (and I don’t know about you, but the vast majority of my blogging income filters through there).
Totally worth checking out if you’re trying to figure out small business accounting – and they have a 30 day free trial.
Come tax time, I’ve been pleased to find that even after I started getting piles on 1099s, Turbo Tax still works for me. Unfortunately, I have to upgrade to the small business fee, but it’s still the easiest way to get my taxes done and I love how it really minimizes the headaches.
Turbo Tax asks me super clear and easy to follow questions that make my crazy combination of W-2s and 1099s less of a hassle. They also make itemizing deductions against the 1099s easy and maximize all the deductions I qualify overall. Knock on wood, I’ve never had any issues using Turbo Tax for my taxes.
A big part of blogging is social media marketing and let me just tell you, I’m pretty terrible at it. I’m actually so bad at it that it was a driving factor that led me to finally invest in a blogging course.
That being said, for the last two years, I’ve used the free version of Hootsuite and found that it’s awesome for planning my social media in advance. I can send out Tweets, Facebook and Google+ messages when the post goes live and I can stagger several additional posts for the future.
If your needs are bigger than that, Hootsuite also has paid plans that let you connect additional social media accounts and view analytics for them.
Buffer is another similar tool with a lot of great features and it lets you integrate Pinterest, which is pretty awesome.
Finally, my newest favorite thing is any freelancing employer who pays via Venmo – because unlike PayPal, they don’t take a fee. The money also goes into your bank account even quicker than most PayPal transfers.
I can’t even go into how much easier Venmo makes my life on the personal side (I can’t imagine touring without it), but on the business side, it creates a record of transactions.
These tools are great for any freelance business – I know we just went over how I use them for brokeGIRLrich, but any business benefits. I know with my uptick in 1099 work as a stage manager, most of these are applicable to that business too, especially the accounting and tax tools.