When it comes to blogging, we can all get on board with the fun parts like writing content, engaging with readers, and taking pictures. Unfortunately, having a successful blog also comes with other responsibilities like managing your blog finances. It’s one of the parts of blogging I’ve always found to be most stressful, and I know I’m not alone there. Regardless, it’s something we have to deal with, and with something as important as finances, it’s essential to do it right the first time, and that means using the right tools. In this post, I’m talking all about how I manage my blog finances and what tools I love.
This post is sponsored by TurboTax. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.
Before I jump into how I currently manage my blog finances, let me give you a little background on my blog! I started my blog, originally named Very Erin, in September 2014 out of a desperate need for a creative outlet. I was doing a lot of writing in my full-time job, but it left little room for creativity or personal expression. It started as a very broad personal and lifestyle blog, and slowly narrowed down to what it is today. When I started blogging, I didn’t realize you really could make money and waited about a year before I began to monetize my blog.
After making money from my blog the last few months of 2015 and getting ready to file taxes, I realized I had been completely disorganized. My blog income had gone into the same account as our income from our full-time jobs, and I hadn’t tracked it in any way. It was a huge pain to go through our bank records and my emails to find all the income and expenses from the year.
It’s safe to say I learned my lesson that year and went into 2016 with a solid plan for how I was going to manage my blog finances. You live and you learn, right? Here are the steps I took in 2016 to get organized:
1) I created a separate bank account. After the hassle of rummaging through our bank records to separate my blog income from the rest of our finances, I knew this had to be step 1. It has made organizing my blog finances infinitely simpler. If you’re making money from your blog, I would get this taken care of right away.
2) I found an accounting program that works for me. There are quite a few different accounting options out there, both free and paid. The one I heard mentioned most regularly, and for good reason, is QuickBooks. It makes it super easy to track income and expenses, it helps you file your quarterly taxes if necessary, and connects with TurboTax to make filing your taxes way easier. I love that you can quickly snap a picture and upload receipts so when I’m out and about picking up blogging supplies, I can upload the receipt before I lose it. You can also use the app to track mileage if that’s something you use for your biz.
Pro Tip: You get a subscription for QuickBooks Self-Employed when you file your taxes with TurboTax Self-Employed!
3) I got to know my finances really well. Instead of doing like I did in 2015 and waiting until the end of the year to it together for my blog finances, I regularly check in with them now. I make a point of knowing how much I have in my account and when I expect to be paid from certain companies. I also diligently maintain my receipts and set financial goals for myself.
4) I found the right tax software. Taxes were a heck of a lot less complicated when I didn’t have a blog, so it wasn’t as essential that I find the perfect tax software. Now I want to make sure everything is going smoothly. I did a lot of research before filing my 2015 taxes to find the right option for someone who is employed full-time, but also a sole entrepreneur on the side. Everything I found pointed me to TurboTax Self-Employed. I’ve used TurboTax for several years now, and I know hands down this is what I’ll continue to use in the future.
One thing that will keep me going back in the future is the TurboTax Expense Finder. As some who blogs on the side, I’m certainly not a tax expert. The Expense Finder finds deductible expenses that side-hustlers like myself may not know they can claim. It makes me feel confident that I’m getting the best deal on my taxes. Tracking those expenses can be a huge help when tax time comes around. TurboTax’s Self-Employed Expense Estimator can estimate how much you can save based on your expenses.
Another big selling point is TurboTax SmartLook, which allows you to connect live to actual CPAs to ask them questions and get personalized answers, as opposed to the generic answers you’ll find in a FAQ form. Plus, there’s no extra charge for this service!
I know that blog finances and taxes can be stressful. I get it! But TurboTax Self-Employed can seriously make it so much easier. If you’re dreading filing your taxes this year with your added blog income, I think this is the answer for you. It eased my mind a lot of the first year I discovered it, and I feel super confident it can do the same for you.
How do you handle your blog finances? What are your favorite tools?
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