Category Archives: Blogging as a Business

The Business of Blogging: It’s Not All Sunshine & Roses

Let me start off by saying that I love blogging. While it has it’s challenges, it is also very rewarding. Having a blog has pushed me out of my comfort zone, opened doors, helped me learn about myself, introduced me to new people and given me some really cool opportunities. However, all of the good did not come without a lot of hard work and overcoming challenges. blogging-SMB 




A common misconception is that blogging is all fun and no work. Ask any blogger and they will tell you that is far from the truth. Blogging requires a lot of hard work and sometimes you don’t get a lot of return. The thing is, any job that you truly love can look like fun and zero work, because the person is very passionate and loves what they do. Us bloggers tend to be like that. We all love blogging, so we make it look like tons of fun. While blogging can be a lot of fun, it’s not all sunshine and roses.

this shirt was at Nordstrom, it's now sold out.
shirt from Nordstrom, it’s now sold out.

There is an array of challenges that a blogger can run into. First of all, writing a blog post doesn’t take 5 minutes. It requires planning, writing, images and pictures to name a few things. Second, all blogs are online, so if internet and technology isn’t cooperating, then you must figure out why. This last week I have had so many technical problems with WordPress (the online software I use to run this blog). It wasn’t letting me upload pictures or blog posts. I thought I had it fixed, but then it stopped working again. 

I’m pretty technologically savvy, but this was over my head. I had to contact WordPress and my web host to see what the heck was going on. On one hand, it was nice that it wasn’t “my problem” but at the same time, it was a very time consuming issue that I didn’t want to be dealing with. I couldn’t get work done that I wanted to get done and I couldn’t share anything that I had been working on. 

So why post this? There are a few reasons.
One, I wanted to let you in on some of the things we deal with as a bloggers. When I was at the Jujubeet grand opening last week, I was chatting with some other Seattle bloggers about just this topic. Blogging is fun but it is a lot of work!
Two, I suppose I felt I needed to explain why I had been silent all week. I know I don’t owe an explanation to anyone, but you guys are like family, so I wanted to share. 

Thankfully all the tech issues have been resolved & we are up and running again!! I will be sharing posts over the weekend as there are a LOT of exciting things going on and coming up. Not only for me but also that you can benefit from! Thank you for being a part of this community! XOXO — Sarahblog-keepcalm

Top 10 Takeaways – Blogfest 2015

Today I’m joining TiffanyDebbieNatalie and Truitt Family Foods in sharing my Top 10 Takeaways from BlogFest 2015. After a crammed 4 days of sweat and learning, I came home with so much info and knowledge. I recapped some other aspects of the conference previously in my posts about how Blogfest/IDEA World helped me get inspired, connect with others and transform myself and my business. Below are my top 10 takeaways that are a mix of business/blog and fitness tips, so there’s a little something for everyone. 🙂

1) Fitness is more than sweat

If you are in the fitness industry, you may already understand this. Fitness goes so much deeper than sweating and looking good aesthetically. Most of us may start for that reason, but if you stick with it, it turns into so much more. It develops character, it makes you stronger mentally, it teaches you important lessons, it reduces stress, it helps you run a business better. Most of all, it is a wonderful unifier that brings so many people together. Fitness has changed my life and I love it for so many reasons. At Blogfest not only was I reminded of that, I was also surrounded by a lot of other people who also love fitness for reasons more than sweat. 

one of the reasons why I love fitness
one of the reasons why I love fitness

2) Social media posts = quality over quantity

Don’t post on social media just to post on social media, make sure there is a purpose behind it. Post quality pictures & make sure there is a message with what you are posting. You could be posting a daily check in – that’s great because that has purpose. It could be an inspirational quote or some sort of tutorial/recipe/how-to. Whatever it is, make sure it has purpose and people get something from it, it’s better to post nothing or post less than to post mindless updates just to have a presence. 
Kasey, aka Powercakes, also mentioned that Instagram is like for friends. Haha! How freaking true is that? I have so many #fitfriends from Insta!

3) Blog friends are the best friends

I  mean really… they are! For example, look at my BFF Katie, we met thru blogging and coming to Blogfest last year! Meeting people and making new friendships is definitely one of the highlights of the conference.  Because of this I feel that attending a conference, like Blogfest, once a year is super important because you get to met people that you may end up collaborating with later on, or they could turn out to be one of your greatest friends. 

Katie and I in Mexico

4) Write more evergreen posts

What does evergreen mean? It’s a blog/business term that refers to the life of content. Evergreen posts/content will be relevant for quite some time, if not indefinitely. For example, you could write a post about an awesome weekend and list everything you do (life-casting) OR you could share ‘5 Must Try Summer Activities’ and share details/ pics of your weekend through out that post.
As a blogger or any sort of content creator, you want content that is gonna work for you over time. A week from now, this last weekend isn’t gonna matter to anyone anymore, so you couldn’t share or reuse that post which means more work for you. 🙁 Think “less ‘life-casting’ and more evergreen” a.k.a. “how can I make this relevant and give tips/takeaways to my readers?” 

5) SEO – it’s annoying but important

I’m just being honest when I say it is annoying. I haven’t met anyone that thinks SEO (search engine optimization) is fun. It’s not THAT bad, but its complicated enough to be something most of us with websites or blogs don’t want to deal with or worry about, myself included. Well, guess what? The positive impact of SEO  has so much potential, we should deal with it. 
Because it effects how you show up in the search engine results, it can majorly impact how many people can find the content you are working so hard to create! I have made the pledge to dive into SEO and share with you what I learn along the way. For now, at the very least, you should install the FREE WordPress plug-in “Yoast SEO”. blog3

6) Blogging trends change very quickly

This seems to be true for anything based online, and it is especially true for blogs. Just between last year and this year the difference between trends and what is working well and types of monetization is cray! You can no longer evaluate the success of a blog on page views alone, there are many other factors that go into it. Engagement, how many subscribers you have, etc. Be ready to change up your blogging and social media strategies because the best practices are constantly evolving. 

7) Be You! 

This seems obvious, but it was mentioned multiple times during Blogfest and it is totally worth mentioning here. It can be tempting, especially online, to try to present things in a way that makes you look really good. But guess what? No one is perfect! People can see right through that kinda stuff. 
People don’t want someone who is fake or perfect, they just want you to be you. That being said, you aren’t gonna be everyone’s cup of tea and that is okay! We will never be able to make everyone happy, so instead of focusing on that, focus on being authentic and true to you. As Natalie Jill said “the moment I stopped pretending [to be someone I am not] is the moment I started living”. Share your story & be real, it’s much more attractive than fake.

8) Eat the right amount of protein at the right time

Yep, it’s true. I could write a whole post on this, and I probably will, but for now I will keep it short. 
Protein is important because it is what our muscles are made of. We need protein for muscle synthesis (building muscle). Protein is very important, but the amount we eat at a time is important too. 20-30g of protein is the maximum amount of protein our body can use at once for muscle synthesis. So if you eat 40g of protein in one meal, 10g of that protein doesn’t make a difference because your body can’t absorb the extra. 


9) Let’s make fitness accessible 

When Gabby Reece spoke, she said “people who love to go hard [hard core exercise] already know how to get it done, it’s the women juggling everything that need help”.
There are the fitness freaks who always want a harder workout or a more intense version of the exercise, and there is a time and place for that, but what about the people who just need to fit in exercise? This was echoed in another session I was in later in the weekend. The thing is, anyone can make an exercise harder or more intense, but not everyone can bring it back to the basics or show modifications for those that need them. When you have advanced in fitness, adding intensity is great, but when you are new or trying to get back in the game, it can be really intimidating. 
I am going to make a point to be better about this in my workout videos and whatever I mention on here. 7

10) I want to make more videos

This isn’t a specific take away from a presentation, it is just something that I realized while I was at Blogfest. I was on Periscope a few times (FOLLOW ME! @sweetblondefit) and made a few other videos while I was there, and I love it! It can be time consuming, but I feel like I can connect well with people via video. I have fun with it so I want to post more videos here on my blog.  In a presentation at Blogfest it was mentioned that we should focus on what we LOVE doing, so I will give more attention to video 🙂

This post is part of the #betruBlogFest link up hosted by these 3 wonderful ladies. Be sure to check out the link up to see the rest of the posts and other blogger’s takeaways. betrublogfest-link-up

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m gonna be trying to stay cool – it’s gonna be a scorcher. I will see you all back on Monday to tell you about my very first hot yoga experience and share some tips for newbies! 

Stay Sweet! 

Connect. – Blogfest 2015

Today I would to introduce you to 10 fellow bloggers I connected with at Blogfest this year. They are all super fit, fun, loving, inspiring and hard working women. I am so thankful to have met each of them.

connect at blogfest 2015
all of us after an early morning workout at blogfest!

Not only is Blogfest super fun and full of all my favorite things (sweat, learning and friends) it’s also an awesome way to meet new people. Sometimes the people aren’t new, it’s just the first time you have met them IRL (in real life)! Some of these women I connected with on social media and we had been ‘friends’ for some time, and then at Blogfest we were finally able to connect!

connect blogfest 2015
all of us before a presentation (can you find me?! hehe)

We are only together in Blogfest sessions for 2 out of the 4 days of the conference, and while it feels like a lot of time, I always find myself wishing it was longer. I got to connect with A LOT of people, but there were still plenty I didn’t meet (do you see how many people are in this room?!) Regardless, the people I did meet and connect with are amazing; let me introduce you to a few:


I found Deanna on Instagram and we were kinda insta-buddies, so when I met her at Blogfest, it felt like we were already friends! Deanna, like myself, runs her own business and has big dreams and goals. She also makes amazing workout videos. I didn’t get to actually chat with her until the end of the second day, but I am so happy we connected. I really look forward to chatting more and exchanging biz tips/tricks with her in the future! IMG_0110


I met Tiffany for the first time last year at Blogfest. We connected over Ink n Burn workout pants. (it’s always the clothes for me haha) However, I didn’t stay in touch with her much after the conference was over. When I saw her at Blogfest again this year, it was like seeing an old friend!

Tiffany doing giveaways at the run she organized the first morning of blogfest!

We totally connected on another level AND super cool update, we both bit the bullet and signed up for NASM personal training certification. More on that later… 

Anyway, Tiffany isn’t far from me, she is just down in Portland. She is a runner as well as a running coach and loves all things Lorna Jane. (can you see what we have in common) I am excited to blaze the trail of personal training with her and thankful I got to connect with her more this year. IMG_0104Here we are getting our booties kicked with Flexline, a cool new workout. More on that in a later post, I’m pretty pumped about it. 


Like I shared in my last post about Blogfest, Jaime is one of the founders of Sweat Pink. She, along with Alyse, are the brains behind Blogfest and the people who make it happen. Boy am I thankful for them! (they also know how to have fun! see below. hehe)IMG_0135Last year I didn’t know who Jaime was really, I just knew she seemed to be in charge. Then when I got home from Blogfest, I became a Sweat Pink Ambassador and I quickly figured out who she is. This year I got to know her a bit more at Blogfest and she is such an inspiring woman not only with her yoga poses and trail runs, but also because of her entrepreneurism. She is down in Portland too! Does anyone else foresee a meet-up in the future?!


Like me, Jill was a Blogfest veteran. She was there last year, but we didn’t get to meet. I knew who she was because of social media, and this year on the first day, we ended up sitting next to each other! She is the kindest lady, I felt like I could have talked with her all weekend. She is all about inspiring & empowering others to be the best version of themselves. I great tips from her about the NASM certification as she is getting ready to take the test very soon. Good luck Jill! IMG_0132  Jill is on the far left in this picture. I could have swore we got a selfie together, but I couldn’t find it 🙁 and BTW – she shares great recipes on her blog!!


She is the yoga queen! Her blog is called ‘The world is my yoga mat’ and IT’S THE TRUTH! This girl is so inspiring with her yoga poses. Just check out her Instagram, it’s amazing. She totally inspires me to try and get upside down more often.IMG_0087Liz is super sweet, she is also a blogger and she works for Sweat Pink. Oh and guess what?! She is in Portland too!!! I’m telling you guys, it’s about to get real sweaty in PDX with a meet up 🙂

Jessica Joy

I met Jessica the first day of Blogfest. She was sitting in the same row as I was and we just sorta started chatting. She is a super fit mom of two and the coolest gal! It seems like her and I have similar style tastes. For example, we both like the color magenta and gold.  Check out her blog, it’s beautiful! She also shares amazing workout videos and has a very fun personality.  AND, she is in Oregon too! I am seriously so thankful to be finding more PNW #fitfam! IMG_0082


I met Kasey last year at a bootcamp she did as part of Blogfest. I didn’t really know who Kasey was at the time. Katie invited me to the bootcamp and we definitely got our sweat on. I also met my amazing fit friend Melissa at Kasey’s bootcamp last year. Crazy right?! Anyway, long story short, I saw Kasey again this year at Blogfest and got to know her more.  She has an amazing story, she is a strong woman and super inspiring. She also loves green smoothies and superfoods like I do. She impacts many peoples lives and I am thankful to have her as a friend. Check out Kasey’s blogfest recap.IMG_0092


Let me tell you, it doesn’t get much more real than Tasha aka Hip Healthy Chick. This girl is inspiring. She inspired me from afar via social media, and she kept inspiring at Blogfest. She is so kind and genuine, and she lives her life with SO much passion. I wish you guys could have seen her workout, she brought so much energy. I loved it! She was a lighting round speaker (it’s an event that is part of Blogfest) and I will never forget what she said, “the minute I decided to stop pretending, everything changed”. This resonated with me because I used to put TOO much value on what other people think. That’s not who I am anymore, but it’s always good to be reminded. Be you, don’t pretend to be someone you are not. IMG_0111


I saw Kayla at the early morning run the first day of Blogfest. I thought I kinda recognized her and it was because she was a Blogfest veteran too! However last year we didn’t really get to connect like this year. She blogs over at Blondes Have More Run. (Seriously, how creative is that name?!) She is a runner, personal trainer and fellow blondie. She puts together awesome bootcamp workouts that she shares on her blog as well as running tips.  Maybe we can team up for a future workout Wednesday? We’ll see 😀IMG_0109Also pictured here is Jenn! Really looking forward to connecting more with her post Blogfest 🙂


She runs the beautiful blog, Running with the Sunrise. Beth and I connected over social media before the conference and I was so excited to meet her! She told me at Blogfest that the reason she wanted to come was because of reading my recap last year. Thanks for sharing that with me Beth! She is such a sweetheart and it was so nice to finally meet her. (and, how gorgeous is her dress?!) She just started teaching Barre classes, does yoga and also runs. Check out her Blogfest recap too!  IMG_0105




Last, but not least, we have Carleeh! She is from Seattle too, so we have some fit friend dates planned up here in the PNW. IMG_0101She was my roommate this year and it was great getting to know her. She is super passionate about fitness and helping to inspire and empower women. She very genuine and loving, and really wants to help others. We are planning to team up on a few giveaways, etc so watch out for that in the future! IMG_0098

It was awesome being reunited with the super awesome girls I met last year, Kylie (top pic) and Nicole (bottom) and being in a room full of people who love fitness and selfies as much as I do. Image

Blogging, the internet and fitness has allowed me to meet and connect with SO MANY amazing people. I am so grateful for the new friendships and connections made this year and for those made in the past (one of which is now one of my closest friends, Katie). 

One of the greatest parts about Blogfest is all the people that you meet. That is why I will do everything I can to make it to a conference like this once a year. I’m excited to see where all these new beginnings lead, and I hope you enjoy getting to know some of my fit blogger friends 😀 

I’ll see you all back on Monday for an ahhhhhmazing recipe. Seriously, I’m kinda obsessed with it! It’s gluten free and it has the word ‘protein’ & ‘cake’ in it, so you know it’s gonna be good. Make sure to check back Monday or subscribe so you don’t miss it!!!

Stay Sweet!!



#Blogfest this week + meet my blogfest buddy!

This week I have a short week because I am heading down to LA to go to Blogfest! I went last year and had a total blast. Not only did I learn a ton about how to be a better blogger, I also learned tons about health & fitness since this is part of the IDEA world conference, the biggest fitness conference of the whole year. 

There is ALWAYS tons of awesome stuff going on. Since we are bloggers, we tend to go crazy on social media… SO, if you want to see all the action as it is happening, follow me!! 

OR add me on  SNAPCHAT   

I am so excited to be going again this year. I can’t wait to see the Sweat Pink girls and all my friends from last year. Unfortunately Katie isn’t able to go this year and I will miss her terribly.  Conferences like this not only help me improve my blog and business, but they also allow me to meet new people, so it is important to me to make it to at least one conference like this a year. 

Quick PRO TIP – if you are going, be sure to check out the expo planner. I wish I knew about this last year!! The expo is HUGE and can be overwhelming. This planner allows you to view a list of exhibitors in the expo and select which ones you want to visit. You don’t want to miss out on speaking with a brand because you couldn’t find the booth. Sometimes brands will have expo specials too so it’s a great time to get deals on fitness products. Check out the planner HERE.

at blogfest last year

The countdown is on!! I leave in two days and I have a lot of work to get done before I leave to meet some deadlines. However, on the packing side things are looking good! That is awesome considering that’s what I usually procrastinate on the most. 

with THE Lorna Jane last year!

Blogfest is going to be bigger than last year!! There are going to be a lot of returning people and lots of new attendees too. We will see once I get there. Speaking of new attendees, let me introduce you to my blogfest buddy, Jen!!! Check her out: 

  1. Who are you? Tell us in a brief paragraph who you are / what city you live in / what you blog about? 
    My name is Jennifer Miyagishima & I’ve been blogging for about two years. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, most commonly referred to as “The Valley.” My blog, Real Mom of SFV is a reflection of my life in Los Angeles by way of the San Fernando Valley. I write about food, fitness, motherhood, pop culture. I also have a section called “Real Moms of the SFV” that highlights local San Fernando Valley businesswomen. I like to share with readers the things that I am passionate about.My name is Jennifer Miyagishima & I’ve been blogging for about two years. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, most commonly referred to as “The Valley.” My blog, Real Mom of SFV is a reflection of my life in Los Angeles by way of the San Fernando Valley. I write about food, fitness, motherhood, pop culture. I also have a section called “Real Moms of the SFV” that highlights local San Fernando Valley businesswomen. I like to share with readers the things that I am passionate about.
    Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 12.32.10 PM
  2. What are you hoping to get out of BlogFest 2015?
     I can’t wait to try out the Fitness Icon Workout — HIGHX™ by Gabrielle Reece!I’m also excited to listen to the presentation by Jessica Matthews on The Future of Blogging. Overall I just want to soak in all of that blogging knowledge from the experts, take part in some fun exercise sessions & most importantly network with my fellow bloggers!
  3. What is your favorite blog you follow and why? 
    MomsLA is my favorite blog. They cover such a wide range of topics for moms who live in Los Angeles. Also when I first started my blog, I reached out Sarah (co-founder of MomsLA) for advice. Her encouragement inspired me to start Real Mom of SFV.


  4. Who is the most inspirational person in your life and why? 
    My grandmother! She is 91 years “young,” lives in Hawaii & is very active in her community. I think it’s her generosity of spirit that keeps her motivated & happy. 
  5. What type of workout could you not live without? 
    I’m addicted to the spin class at Beatbike LA & I also love TRX!
  6. If you could go back to school, what area of study would you focus on?
     Honestly I can’t imagine going back to school! At one time I did think about getting my MBA, but that was a long time ago. If I could take some classes, it would be in advertising (I blame it on Mad Men, lol!) However what I love about attending blogger conferences is that I can always learn something new from veteran bloggers. As a newbie, these conferences energize & inspire me! 

Jen seems like my kinda girl: stylish, down to earth and she loves spin classes and TRX! We could totally be workout buddies. Be sure to check out her blog HERE if you haven’t already.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to my blog so you will be sure to see the recaps when I post them next week. 

Stay Sweet!!

How Your Blog or Small Business Can Affect Your Tax Return

Do you have a small business or a side business? Did you get paid to write “sponsored” blog posts? Do you want to make money from blogging? Are you an affiliate for brands that you love? Are you involved in a direct selling company (i.e.: Mary Kay, DoTerra Oils, JamBerry, etc)?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, keep reading!
If these don’t apply to you, keep reading too! You will learn about some of the advantages having business provides on your tax return!! It’s a common misconception that if you have a business, you will pay more taxes. It all depends on how you have the business structured, but MOST people who are in business for themselves pay the same amount of tax as everyone else, if not LESS taxes. The taxes when you have a business are paid at different times, so it often feels like more. The benefits are numerous and I am going to point them out to you today. 

As I shared earlier this year, my full time job is managing several large tax office (read my blog post HERE) and I  have been doing personal tax returns for the last 5 years. I get many questions about this topic, and taxes can be confusing and sometimes scary. This blog post could really be a whole series, but I am going to try to condense down as much as I can in this post to give you the basics. 

So, have you already filed your taxes this year? Most of you probably have considering it is April. I haven’t. People always assume that I get my taxes done early since my day job is to help people file their returns. WRONG! I am such a last minute filer because I am so busy helping other people when it comes time to do mine I procrastinate. haha! 

Many people think going into business for yourself is scary because of the financial aspect. In all reality, it is scary, but there are many benefits that come with it too, one of which can be some savings on your tax return. Whether your business is your livelihood or just what you do to make some extra fun money, it affects your tax return. Many people end up paying more in tax every year because they are either unaware of the deductions they are allowed, or they are too afraid to take the deductions because they fear an audit. Here are some of the most common questions about how blogs and small businesses affect tax returns and why having a business can benefit you! 

Disclaimer: This blog post is not meant to encourage people to haphazardly make tax deductions for their business or create a “business” out of something that is not a business at all. 

How yourBlog_business 

p.s. While I normally blog about fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, I occasionally visit topics like this as well. If you are interested in more tax tips and information enter your email below! (I don’t send spam, I promise!) 

Does my income need to be reported?

You may have never considered reporting the income you receive from your blog or your side business because it was a minimal amount. The IRS law states that you must report any self employment income that is over $400. They mean gross income, not just profit. So if you got paid $100 to write 6 different sponsored blog posts, then your blog income get reported on your tax return. You can write off any necessary expenses against that income which I will address a little later. It is your responsibility to keep track of income from your business. You should have a log or a bank account showing the deposits that you have from the business. For example, with personal training clients, I have invoices showing the date I trained them and how much they paid me. If you are in direct selling or doing contract work, many companies will send you a 1099-MISC form showing how much money they paid out to you if you make over a certain amount with them. 

How do I report it?

The answer to this question depends on how your business is classified. Most people are sole-proprietors. That means that you are NOT a corporation or an LLC. I am writing this blog post for sole proprietors, so if you are incorporated and file a separate business return, some of what I am addressing in this post is not for you. 
Sole proprietor self-employment income is reported on a Schedule C which is part of your individual return on your 1040. You start by reporting your gross revenue, then reporting expenses, and you end up with a net profit or a net loss. 

What expenses can I write off?

This list could be so long! It really depends on what your business is. The short answer is anything necessary and essential to the business is a business expense. Keep it real here. This is where people tend to blow things out of proportion. For example, you cannot write off your groceries. (Yes, people have asked me that) 
Let’s use the example of a blog or an online business. Obviously your internet connection is essential to your business, so you can write off what you pay for internet every month as an expense. If you purchase a new computer, you can write that off too as a business asset – that means you have to spread the expense out over several years.  If you use your cell phone in your business, you can write off your portion of the cell phone bill every month. 
Any supplies that you use for the business can be written off, so if you are in direct selling and you buy product to give to people as samples to try before they buy, that would be an expense.
If you use an area of your home SPECIFICALLY for the business, you can write off a portion of what you pay every month, rent, mortgage, utilities etc. The key here is has to be an area of your home only used for business  – so your living room or your kitchen would not count. It would be a space in your home (such as an office) that is not used for personal use, only business use. 
The list can go on and on.  As tax season is coming to a close and I will soon have more time,  will write more posts specific to this in the near future. In the mean time, check out “additional resources” at the bottom of this post for more about business expenses!

It looks like I’m not making any money on paper! Why?

This is where people get hung up sometimes. They think, why should I report my business if I am not making any money. There are a few reasons. First of all, it is the law: if you make over $400 you must report it. Second of all, your business is generating real income, but what often makes it look a negative is all the expenses, many of which you would be paying whether you were in business or not!!
In the example of the online business I gave earlier. In your list of expenses you have internet, cell phone, domain hosting, email provider and CRM subscription expenses along with a few other things. The internet and cell phone is something that you would be paying for whether you had a business or not – those are things that people cannot live without these days. Because you have a business, you can write those off as an expense. If you use a portion of your home exclusively for business then you can write that off too, and if you didn’t have a business you could not do that. Of course there are things like the domain hosting and email service provider that you would not be paying for if you didn’t have your business, but my point here is it allows you to take every day expenses as a tax write off that you could not do it you did not have a business.  REMEMBER: this is not a license to take anything and everything as a business expense. It must be necessary to your business and you must be able to adequately justify each expense.

How does this help me?

As I said above, having a business is advantageous as it allows you to offset business income with expenses, many of which you would be paying anyway. Your business income is not taxed before you get it, so any income you have from the business is essentially “pre-tax money”. Self employment tax is paid with your tax return, and only on the amount of your profit. So all business expenses that are paid with business income are essentially paid with pre-tax money. This is cool considering the average tax rate is 25%, so that is a 25% savings right off the top! 
Now, if you have more expenses than you do income and this generates a business loss, this can also be advantageous in that it reduces the amount of tax your paying on other income. For example, if you have a regular job (not self-employment) and make $30,000 and you also have a side business, but the side business had a loss of $5,000. 

$30,000 – $5,000 = $25,000

Because of the loss in the business, your income is reduced by $5,000 and therefore reduces your taxable income and you pay less income tax. This means you can get a bigger refund or reduce the amount of tax that you owe. 
REMEMBER: This blog post is not meant to encourage people to haphazardly make tax deductions for their business or create a “business” out of something that is not a business at all just to reduce their tax bill. If you have questions about how this works, feel free to reach out to me OR contact your accountant/tax professional. 

Business VS Hobby

As I mentioned earlier, per the IRS, you must report any and all self employment income over $400. However, the IRS also says that if you consistently have a loss 3-5 years in a row, this may be a hobby and not an actual business.
What is the difference?  If the IRS determines that your business is really a hobby, you will still have to claim the income, and can only write off expenses up to the amount of income, not over it.
The way the IRS classifies a business as a hobby is if the business has not turned a profit (claimed a loss) multiple years in a row, then they audit you and ask you to prove that you are really in this to make a profit.  
So, what does this mean for you? Well, it means that you should keep good records of your expenses. Only claim expenses are truly for your business and necessary for you to carry on the business, don’t get extravagant. If you are doing everything you can and still have more expenses than income multiple years in a row, you can continue to claim a loss and risk the chance of an audit. If all your expenses are legit and you have records of them and why they were necessary, you should pass with flying colors! I have seen people file legitimate business losses for more than 5 years and they have not gotten audited. It just depends on the IRS. Believe it or not, the IRS is pretty good at knowing if someone is pretending to run a business or not. Don’t create losses on your tax return just to save money on taxes. It’s not worth it! 
Bottom line: Don’t let this scare you. Just let it be a reminder to keep things legitimate and justified. If you have questions, consult your accountant or tax professional. They can help you know what expenses are deductible and which ones aren’t in your specific situation. 

Records and Risk of Audit

Be sure to keep records! These should be the receipts from the purchases. The best way to track is to have a separate bank account or credit card and only use that to pay for business expenses and deposit business income there. That way, if you somehow misplace a receipt, you have other documentation of the expense. Depending on the size of your business and how much input/output you have, I highly recommend getting and using QuickBooks. If you keep up with this on a monthly basis it is much easier to track expenses over the course of a year. It also has a notes field so you can document what the expense was for and why it was necessary. 
If you claim a mileage deduction in your business, then you should keep a mileage log that you update when you get in your car and when you get to your destination. There are also apps that help track this. Just search “mileage log” in the Apple Store of Play Store. 

If you are worried about an audit, the best way to be prepared is to document every expense carefully. If you were to be audited you would have to provide proof, so records are very important. You should keep these records for at least 5 years, or even longer if you are able. The IRS audits at random, but they also look for “red flags” like tons of mileage write offs on a business that doesn’t require much driving. Keep things legit and documented and you shouldn’t have a problem. 

 A few final thoughts :

1) If you are last minute like me, or maybe just been avoiding it, never fear! I have good news! There is still a few days left to file. You have till April 15th to file your taxes “on time”. If there is no way that you will have your stuff together by then, you are out-of-town, or just really busy, you can still file after April 15th. If you are unable to file before the deadline, it is recommended that you file an extension, Form 4868 (paper form – HERE) before the 15th just in case. 

2) If you have already filed, but read something here and you realize something was left off your return, you missed some business expenses or you think something was done incorrectly, never fear!! There is a fix for that! It is  called a 1040X. You can prepare the 1040X yourself, but I recommend having a tax professional do it as they can get a little complicated if you don’t understand the form.


 What You Can Deduct – a great post about expenses from

Tax Tips for Bloggers – from Turbo Tax 

Tax Tips for Sole Proprietors – from Turbo Tax

Hobby VS Business – another perspective from

Business Use of Home – IRS publication 

Publications for the Self Employed – DIRECTLY from IRS!

I hope this was helpful to you. Comment below with what you thought about the post and with any questions!!

Stay Sweet!!