My blogging days began on blogspot in 2005 as a way to keep track of recipes, share my daily life with those I know and remember the funny things my kids said when they were small. In 2007, it moved to WordPress and I launched the Menu Mailer when I came down with celiac and realized there were no good gluten and dairy-free recipes to speak of that were full of flavor and life.
I built the Menu Mailer and this blog to levels that would support our family through unemployment when my engineer hubby was laid off during the crash of 2009. He eventually found a new job and we settled into routine again. Then I joined It Works six months later, took off with that business and ran both for a while. I built my It Works business into a six-figure enterprise and brought my husband home from engineering permanently.
Together, we then launched two businesses new which are his focus. Combined, we have five businesses. Three that he runs, and I do both this blog and my It Works business.
That’s a whole lot of 1099 income. And with that comes a lot of tax headache. It also means I have to take the bull by the horns and do all of the social media, promoting and everything else needed for my businesses without someone reminding me or task-mastering me.
I really have to keep my stuff together or that means a wheel falls off somewhere. There are a number of tools that have made my life much easier. If you run any type of a home-based business, these might be good options for you to help you stay organized, keep your business running smoothly and keep you from pulling your hair out come tax time.
Keep It Together, Man!
Bullet journaling helps me keep it together. Next Tuesday, I will be doing a vlog post all about how I bullet journal and use it to organize both my business, our homeschool and our home. I also use it to help me keep my goals at the forefront, and make sure I get my self-care done.
I can’t emphasize enough how my bullet journal has changed my life. It has upped my productivity and lowered my stress. It has allowed me to plan and track things in a way that a normal calendar or planner can not.
Keeping a Bujo can be inexpensive. I know you fill find some groups online that use stickers, a few hundred pens, washi tape and the like. It doesn’t have to be that way. I use an inexpensive journal, a regular pen and a few colored pencils from my kid’s elementary school days.
My kids also bujo to help them stay on track with their days. With one starting high school in the fall, we want to establish good study habits and time management early on.
Be looking for that post next Tuesday! In the meantime, check our my Bujo posts on Pinterest!
Taking the Social Out of 1am Posts
If you have a social media presence, you understand that people live in different time zones, and that your audience might not necessarily be online at the same times you’re able to be.
I try to go to bed before 11pm every night, but many moms routinely stay up until 1am or later on the East Coast, which is only 11pm on the West Coast. If you aren’t posting when your audience is online, you’re losing out.
Native posts using the provided tools absolutely gets the more viewership on all platforms because those tools give you bonus points in the algorithm that decides what gets seen. However, Buffer allows me to schedule posts to go out during high volume viewing times when I can’t be online. Whether it’s due to a conflict in the schedule, a sick child or needing some sleep, my posts can still go up. Having less viewership on a post is better than no post and no viewership at all.
It works on both the desktop and as an app for your cell phone and ipad. Buffer will schedule posts for Twitter, Pintrest, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook profile/pages/groups that will post automatically at the time you desire. It will also schedule Instagram for a push notification from your phone, which you then use to post live. Instagram’s terms of service currently do not allow for any autoposting services, only native posting in real time is allowed.
Their Chrome extension rocks my world and makes sure that I always have fresh, new content on my Pinterest all the time. It takes literally 5 seconds to schedule a pin to post while you’re surfing the web.
Tax Headache Removal Service
Every Monday morning, hubby and I start the week with a business meeting. We take all business receipts from the previous week and put them into the pre-paid envelope for Shoeboxed and mail them off. For receipts that came into email, we forward them to a special email address. When Shoeboxed receives them, they scan them, have a computer pull off the vendor name, payment type, date and amount, and puts them onto a website where all receipts can be categorized, which it does for you automatically once it learns you business habits and needs. Easy peasy.
Come tax time, everything is already there. I only have to wait for my 1099s and pull my mileage report from MileIQ (more about that below). Shoeboxed allows you to give your accountant access to your account, so he can do his thang.
This is seriously worth the pricetag. They will bundle and mail the receipts back to you if you wish, or you can request that Shoeboxed shred the receipts. $15 a month for up to 50 documents is more than enough for most small business owners and it will take a load of frustration and stress off of you.
Coming and Going at a Reduced Price
Mileage is the other big pain come tax time. You either have to keep a paper log in your car and woe be unto you if you forget to write something down, or sit down with Google Maps and attempt to reconstruct the whole thing once tax season rolls around. Either way, things get forgotten, it eats up a ton of time and you get aggravated AND you lose valuable tax deductions!
MileIQ uses the GPS tracker on your phone to track all of your comings and goings. Every Monday when we have that business meeting we mentioned above, we both sit down and open up MileIQ. It shows you every time you left the house and allows you to categorize every drive as either business or personal, and you can even mark drives are charity or medical. So no miles get lost come tax time.
MileIQ will then email you a monthly report or a yearly report, your choice, of all of your mileage. Hand it to your accountant and you’re done. Super easy and far less stressful than spending 20 hours with google maps, a stack of receipts and your calendar.
Fighting Fires with a Timer
One of the biggest keys in being able to accomplish a lot is to prevent forest fires. Prevent the things that come up and suck your time and energy away from your money making activities, the things that you need to be doing.
In order to accomplish this, I engage in time blocking and I allot myself a certain amount of time each day for working on areas that can become fires. That prevents problems.
If you have a big or overwhelming project or a fire spring up, instead of dropping everything to work on it non-stop, it’s better to block several hours, work as hard as you can during that time, and leave more work on it until the next day. That way, you don’t wind up in crisis mode- fire after fire and you can never get on top of it all.
Using this method to prevent fires is amazing. It can allow you to eat the elephant one bite at a time. I’ll talk more about this when I do my Bujo journal, as I use my journal to track and prevent fires.
I hope these are a help to you. Running your own business can simultaneously be the most amazing, uplifting and maddening experience! Still, I adore working a home-based business, and I wouldn’t do it any other way.