side-hustle

  • How to Start a Blog in 2021: A Step By Step Guide

    How to Start a Blog in 2020

     

    Blogging is something I’ve become super passionate over the last few years, and something I would totally recommend to anyone else! If blogging is something you’re interested in, then you’ll love this comprehensive guide for how to start a blog in 2021!

    Writing has been a super passion of mine for literally as long as I can remember. As a kid, I loved writing both in and out of school, whether it was homework, journaling, or writing my own short stories. I kept it up in college, studying journalism and writing for the school newspaper. Heck, I even enjoyed writing research papers (super weird, I know).

    After college, I was really lucky to end up in a job where I get to do a lot of writing. However the writing I do at work doesn’t leave a lot of room for creative expression, and I could feel myself getting restless because of it. That’s why, in 2014, I decided to start a blog that could be my creative outlet, and eventually turned into an awesome side hustle where I’m able to make a bit of extra income.

    Whether you’re starting a blog just as a creative hobby or because you’re hoping to grow it into a side business, this post is for you! This guide for how to start a blog in 2021 will go into the technical aspects of setting up your blog, as well as helping you to figure out what you want to blog about and how to get started with the creative side of blogging.

     

    How to Start a Blog in 2021

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

     

    Step 1: Deciding What to Blog About

     

    While it isn’t necessary to decide what you’re going to blog about before choosing a domain name and setting up your blog, I think it can be super helpful. Though your blog’s focus will probably shift over time, at least to an extent, knowing what you’ll be blogging about ahead of time can make it easier to choose a blog name.

    However, unless you’re choosing a specific niche for your blog, I wouldn’t recommend getting too specific with your blog name, because you may need to change it later if your blog’s focus changes. That’s one of the reasons my blog name is relatively vague – I don’t want to box myself in too much!

    If you’re struggling to figure out what you want to blog about, take some time and think about what you’re really passionate about. What do you love to talk about? What do you know a lot about and can pass that knowledge onto others?

    If you have a whole lot of ideas for what you’d like to blog about, start off writing about all of them! Over time you’ll figure out what you most enjoy writing about, as well as what your audience most enjoys reading about – and that’s your sweet spot!

     

    Step 2: Purchasing a Domain Name

     

    Next up, it’s time to choose a domain name! You can click here to purchase your domain whenever you’re ready!

    Choosing a domain name for your blog can be super challenging. Finding the right name for your blog is probably going to take a lot of brainstorming and, unfortunately, a lot of the great ideas you have are probably already taken.

    Here are just a few guidelines to help you. First of all, do a brain dump and just write down anything that comes to mind. I found my current domain name by doing a brain dump, and then using the thesaurus to find synonyms of each word until I found some that sounded really good together!

    Second, make your domain name easy for others to type in. This means making it short, memorable, and easy to spell. I recommend going with a .com if possible as well because that’s what most people naturally search for.

    When in doubt, you might consider just naming your blog after your own name. I see lots of bloggers in all different niches just use their first and last name as their blog and domain name.

    Finally, remember that it can be changed later. It’s certainly easier if you get it right the first time, but I changed my blog name after two and a half years of blogging and was able to easily switch everything over without losing any traffic or social media followers.

    Once you have some ideas, head over to SiteGround and start checking to see what’s available! You may find the occasional domain name that is for some reason super expensive, but most of them are going to be pretty reasonably priced for under $15 per year.

    Note: SiteGround is the company I recommend for blog hosting so also purchasing your domain name there helps streamline the process a bit. Click here to purchase your domain name with SiteGround

     

    Tip: Secure Your Social Media Handles

     

    Before purchasing a domain name, I recommend checking to see if the corresponding social media handles are available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Though it’s not absolutely necessary to have the same name on every platform, it will be a lot easier for people to find you if your social media pages match your blog name.

    When I was rebranding my blog last year and brainstorming new name ideas, I checked every single one on social media first and crossed out the ones where I wouldn’t be able to get matching names across platforms. And once you’ve checked social media and purchased your domain name, I recommend securing those social media usernames right away!

    You can use a free tool like Namecheckr to check the availability of your name on every platform at once.

     

    Step 3: Choosing and Installing a Platform

     

    Once you’ve purchased your domain name, it’s time to get started setting up your blog! First things first, it’s time to choose a platform. There several options, including free platforms (Blogger) and paid platforms (WordPress and Squarespace). I highly recommend choosing one of the paid platforms. They aren’t that expensive, and it’s the only way to truly own your blog content.

    Since I use and recommend WordPress, this tutorial will be for those setting up a blog on WordPress using SiteGround hosting.

    First things first, head over to SiteGround and click “Sign Up”. This is where you’ll choose your hosting plan. If you’re setting up a brand new blog, I recommend going with the cheapest plan available. You can always upgrade later, but this plan will be a good starting place, and it’s a bargain at only $3.95/month!

    Seriously, that’s less than $50 per year!

     

     

    Finish signing up. Go through the signup form, filling in every space. Most of this is pretty self-explanatory, such as contact and payment information. When you get to the bottom, they’ll present you with additional services available. These are totally up to you, but I do recommend purchasing the domain security.

     

     

    Now that you’re all signed up with SiteGround, it’s time to install WordPress! In your SiteGround dashboard, you’re going to want to head to the “My Accounts” tab and click that red button that says “Go to cPanel”.

     

     

    Head down to “WordPress Tools” and select “WordPress Installer”, which is the first button in the box.

     

     

    This is what you’ll see next. Click the blue box that says “Install”.

     

     

    Fill out the form that comes up on the screen. This is where you’ll have an opportunity to name your site, fill in a site description, and choose a username and password. You can also choose to install a theme here if you already have one, but we’ll wait on that part for now.

    Once WordPress is fully installed, all that’s left to do is log in! Head over to your admin page (yourdomain . com / wp-admin). When you see the following screen, just log in and you’re all set!

     

     

    Tip: Why SiteGround?

     

    SiteGround is the hosting provider I recommend to all bloggers, both new and old. When I first started blogging, I was using a different hosting company (one you’ve probably seen promoted by other bloggers). It was a struggle for two years. My site was going down fairly often and the customer service was hardly ever any help.

    On the recommendation of quite a few other bloggers, I switched to SiteGround and haven’t regretted it once. My site hasn’t gone down a single time, and I literally cannot say enough good things about the customer service!

    Plus they offer SO many services that you otherwise would end up paying for separately, such as daily backups for your blog, free moves from http to https, and WAY more.

    The best part is that despite being (in my opinion) the best hosting provider, the pricing still cannot be beaten! You can start your blog for just $3.95/month with SiteGround, which is an amazing deal!

     

    Step 4: Installing a Theme

     

    Your work is far from over once you install WordPress, but there’s just one more technical piece we’re going to go through today – installing your theme! There are lots and lots of free WordPress themes available, but I really think purchasing a premium theme is worth it when it comes to making your blog as easy to use and aesthetically pleasing as possible.

    On my blog, I used the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. I’ve used quite a few different themes over the years. The reason I ultimately chose Divi is how customizable and easy to use it is. Everything is drag and drop, meaning even someone who doesn’t understand code (like me) can totally customize their site however they want it.

    That’s why I think it is hands-down the BEST theme for beginners!

    Elegant Themes has TONS of tutorials on their website to set up your own blog with the Divi Theme. I’m planning to do a post at a later time sharing how I use it to create my site!

    Remember as you’re searching that most things in a theme such as fonts, logos, and colors will be customizable. The best bet is to focus on the overall structure and features of the theme when making your decision.

    Once you’ve downloaded your theme, find the “Appearance” button on the left side of your WordPress dashboard and select “Themes”. This is where you’ll be able to upload your new theme.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Everything I shared above is a lot of technical information that’s probably going to seem overwhelming if you’re brand new to blogging. But don’t worry! Take as much time as you need to get everything set up before you start creating content. 

    Plus if you ever have questions or technical issues, SiteGround‘s customer service is AMAZING and they can help you get over any roadblocks you might run into.

    Plus, you can ALWAYS reach out to me with any questions and I am happy to answer as best I can!

    I hope this information was all super helpful to you and provided you with the starting blocks to get your blog up and running and figure out where to focus your blog. Now that you’ve got your blog all set up, make sure to head over to my super-detailed guide on growing your blog this year!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    How to Start a Blog in 2018 - Want to start a blog? This the comprehensive guide for how to start a blog in 2018 is just what you need to help you with the technical aspects of starting your blog! | Blogging, Business, Side Hustle

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  • Why You Should Start a Side Hustle (And 9 Side Hustle Ideas)

    Why You Should Start a Side Hustle (Plus 9 Side Hustle Ideas)

     

    When I first started blogging, I definitely didn’t have the intention of making money from it (I had no idea you could make money blogging). But it didn’t take me long to realize that it’s totally possible to turn a blog (or another hobby) into a side hustle you can actually make an income from! In this post, I’m talking about why YOU should start a side hustle, and I’m also sharing a few awesome side hustle ideas!

     

    Why You Should Start a Side Hustle

     

    You Can Diversify Your Income

     

    When I first started blogging, I gave no thought to the idea that I might be able to monetize my blog. In fact, I didn’t even know you could make money blogging! But it didn’t take me long to realize that there are a lot of people online making a great income from their blog or online business. I don’t make a full-time income from my blog by far, but it’s nice to have a bit of extra income in addition to my full-time job.

    I love my full-time job and blogging on the side, but a lot of people are side hustling with the intention of turning it into a full-time job. Starting your business on the side before quitting your job is a great way to allow you to grow slowly and stay financially stable until you’re making enough money to make the leap.

    Regardless of whether you want to turn your side hustle into a full-time job, having an extra source of income is great! Whether you’re paying off debt, saving for a trip, or just trying to build up your savings account, the extra income always helps!

     

    You’ll Have a Creative Outlet

     

    When I first started blogging, this is exactly why I did it. I have always loved writing and while I was doing a lot of writing in my full-time job, it didn’t leave a lot of room for creativity. The content I share on my site has changed significantly from the beginning, but I still love that it’s my own space where I can write about whatever I want.

    I will say, blogging is no longer quite as much of a stress relief as it was when I first started. In the beginning, it was just a hobby and was great for stress relief and just a way to focus on something fun. Since I’ve started making an income from my blog, there are obviously additional stressors put on it. Nevertheless, I still get a lot of joy from it and love having it as a creative outlet.

     

    You Can Make a Career Change

     

    If you’re interested in switching career fields but don’t necessarily have the resume to get a job in the new field, starting a side hustle is a great way to do that! I’ve only worked in one field since graduating college, and by starting a blog I was able to gain experience in areas I would never have otherwise, and that experience would be super helpful if I wanted to change career fields to something more relevant to blogging.

    If you have a specific career field in mind that you’re hoping to switch into, think of the relevant skills you’re going to need and what kind of side hustle would allow you to hone those skills.

     

    You’ll Learn New Skills

     

    Even if you aren’t out to jump into a new career, you can still learn some awesome new skills from a side hustle! Before I started my blog, I had no idea of the skills and the hard work that went into running a successful blog and online business.

    When I started blogging, I decided I wanted to learn as much as I could about blogging, social media, SEO, etc., and really dove into educating myself. I’ve learned so many skills over the last few years that I would never have had the chance to learn otherwise!

    Even if you aren’t planning on taking your side hustle full-time or switching into a new career field, these skills can be super useful in growing your side hustle and in other areas of your life and career as well. I’ve definitely found some of the skills I’ve learned to be super useful in my current full-time job, even though it’s a completely different industry!

     

    You’ll Meet New People

     

    This one has come as a huge surprise to me, but definitely a pleasant one! When I first started my blog, it didn’t occur to me that I might be able to meet new people. I simply started it to have a creative outlet. However, I quickly learned that there are a ton of people online doing the same thing I am, and there are so many ways to connect with them!

    One of my favorite ways to connect with other bloggers and side hustlers has been through Facebook groups. There are tons of Facebook groups specifically for people to ask questions (lots of technical questions about setting up and running a blog, as well as questions on growing your audience).

    There are also groups solely for connecting with other online business owners. I have met some awesome people in these groups, and blogging definitely wouldn’t be the same without that online community of people who are going through all of the same struggles I am.

     

    You’ll Be Pushed Out of Your Comfort Zone

     

    I’ve always been a fairly shy person and to be completely honest, my comfort zone has always been pretty small, and I definitely feel like that has caused me to miss out on some experiences over the years.

    Since starting a blog, I’ve put myself out there in a way that I would never have otherwise, and have had the opportunity to interact with people who I wouldn’t have otherwise.

    If you’re someone who has a small comfort zone as I did for most of my life, a side hustle might be an awesome opportunity for you to challenge yourself and come out of your shell a bit!

     

    Side Hustle Ideas

     

    1. Start a Blog – This is definitely #1 for me! I started my blog in 2014 and have loved it ever since. It’s a great way to make some extra money while also doing something super fun (if writing happens to be super fun for you). The best part is there are so many different ways to make money from a blog!
    2. Open an Online Shop – Are you really crafty at something? Start selling your goods online! You can set up a shop on a site like Etsy, or set up your own site altogether.
    3. Become a Freelancer – Whatever your skill is, freelance it! There are tons of sites these days that connect freelancers with work opportunities.
    4. Sell Digital Products – It’s super easy to create and sell digital products these days. There are tons of options from online courses to eBooks to printables.
    5. Teach a Skill – If you have an awesome skill, chances are someone else is willing to pay you to teach it to them. Whether you play a musical instrument or are an awesome chef, I guarantee there’s a way to make money teaching someone else your skill.
    6. Become a Dog Walker/Sitter – If you love animals, this can be a fun way to make a bit of extra money while also doing something super fun!
    7. Drive for Uber/Lyft – I know quite a few people who have become an Uber driver in addition to their full-time job.
    8. Take Online Surveys – Online surveys won’t make you a ton of money, but a little extra here and there!
    9. Get a Part-Time Job – If you want to make a bit of extra money but aren’t interested in doing anything entrepreneurial, look for a part-time job at a nearby business.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    These are definitely some great reasons to start a side hustle, and the side hustle ideas I shared above are a great start if you’re looking to start one! I would LOVE for you to leave me a comment and let me know if you have a side hustle, and leave a link so we can check it out!

     

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  • How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time

    How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time

     

    When I started this blog back in 2014, I really had no plans to start a business while working full-time. It was meant to be a creative outlet and a way to build relationships online with those with similar interests and passions.

    Things have morphed a lot since then. Not only was I able to successfully grow my blog, but I also used it to launch a successful freelance writing business.

    For most of the time I’ve been blogging, I had a full-time job. Yes, starting a business while working a full-time job is a lot of work. A ton of work. But it’s a task that more and more people are taking on as they try to increase their income through side-hustles.

    If you’re interested in starting a business while working a full-time job, then this post is for you!

     

    How To Start A Business While Working Full-Time

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into

     

    You should know ahead of time that the task you’re getting ready to take on is not an easy one. Starting a business under any circumstances is stressful and a huge time investment, but starting a side business alongside a full-time job means all the stress without having nearly as much time to devote to it.

    If you’re serious about your decision to start a side business, know that there are going to be sacrifices. It will likely mean passing up nights out with friends, time spent on other hobbies, and time you may have spent doing something more relaxing such as reading or binge-watching your favorite shows.

    While I caution you to take these things into account before you start a side business, I also wouldn’t consider these reasons not to. In the years since I started this blog, I’ve absolutely found those sacrifices to be worth it!

     

    Do Your Research Ahead of Time

     

    When I first started this blog, I was woefully unprepared for the task of running a business. That totally worked in my case, because it was purely a hobby for a long time, and I didn’t make my first dollar until I had already been at it for a year! But if you’re starting this journey with the intention of starting a real business, you’ll want to do a bit more research upfront.

    Take some time to consider what kind of business you’re starting, what services you’ll offer, and who your target audience will be. This will make it so much easier to start creating, whether it be a service, a product, or online content. It will also make it easier to make a marketing plan because you’ll know exactly who you’re marketing to, where they hang out online, and what it is they need from you.

    Running a business alongside a full-time job also takes a lot of planning. If you just wing it every time you sit down to work, or you don’t know what you should be working on, then you aren’t going to make much progress with your business.

    Everyone has a different system for planning that works best for them. Here’s how I plan my business ahead of time:

    • At the beginning of the year, I consider my business goals for the year and decide what projects and areas I really want to focus on.
    • Using Asana, I break those projects down into a timeline and write out every action item I’m going to need to accomplish.
    • Every week, I sit down and plan my entire week in advance. I use my Asana projects and task list to write out my daily to-do list/schedule for each day in my planner.

    Certainly, things come up that weren’t on my to-do list, or certain projects get dropped throughout the year. Plans change somewhat.

    That being said, it’s still super important to make a plan so you know everything on your to-do list is truly helping you to reach your goals.

     

    Invest in Your Business

     

    One of the great things about building an online business is that the start-up costs are quite low. I spent no money at all when I first started my blog, other than the cost of my own domain. Since then, even as my business has grown, I’ve still been able to keep costs low.

    The type of business you’re starting will certainly impact the investment needed up front, but I recommend limiting those costs as much as possible. You might also consider cutting costs in other areas of your life so you have more money available to put toward your business before you start bringing in an income there.

    Your costs upfront will likely include a domain and hosting service. You also might consider an email marketing platform and social media marketing tools. If you’re creating a physical product, you’ll have even more start-up costs associated.

     

    Set Goals and Hold Yourself Accountable

     

    I have found goal-setting to be hugely beneficial when it comes to growing my blog and business. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of writing new blog posts and promoting them on social media, and sometimes you can lose sight of the big picture and other projects you might like to take on.

    I like to find balance by having a few big goals that I’m working toward along with my normal blogging routine. Most notably, those big goals have included opening my Etsy shop and writing and launching my eBook.

    It can be so easy when your business is a side-hustle to set goals for yourself and then find that you never actually get around to accomplishing them. Find ways to hold yourself accountable to your goals such as writing them down, setting deadlines, and sharing them with others.

     

    Manage Your Time Wisely

     

    There’s no doubt about it, you’re going to have to get crafty with your time management if you’re going to start a side hustle. If you’re working full-time, that means 40 hours every week that you won’t be spending growing your business.

    Your evenings and weekends will suddenly be worth their weight in gold for your business. I like to make the most of that time by making sure I’ve outlined ahead of time what tasks I need to get done. You can also try to take advantage of early mornings and lunch hours (if that’s an option for you) to sneak in a little extra work.

    Everyone eventually figures out a system that works best for them, and it’s different for every business owner. I typically spend a couple of evenings each week working on blog work, as well as one full day on the weekend if I can manage it (on weekends where I’ve got a lot going on personally I’ll just make up for that lost work by putting in more hours during the workday evenings).

     

    Have a Content Strategy

     

    When I first started blogging (and for probably the first 2-3 years of my blog) I had no content strategy whatsoever.

    I would write blog posts that I thought were interesting with absolutely no thought as to how they would fit into my overall blog strategy.

    I also created lead magnets for my email list without any sort of strategy. I once created a lead magnet around a topic I wrote about only a few times, and that I wasn’t really interested in continuing to write about or monetize.

    And then 2,000 people signed up for the lead magnet. And I had 2,000 people on my email list (that I had to pay for) who had no interest in what I actually talk about on my blog.

    That experience definitely showed me how important a content strategy really is. Any time you write a blog post or email, create a lead magnet or throw up a social media post, know WHY you’re doing it.

    Have a goal for every piece of content. Is your blog post meant to grow your email list by sharing a relevant lead magnet? Is it meant to sell your product or even an affiliate product? Is it meant to build trust with your audience?

    Since implementing a content strategy for my blog, I’ve noticed that my audience is way more engaged and actually care about me and the things I’m posting!

     

    Batch Your Work

     

    Since blogging is not my full-time job, I don’t always have a consistent time to work on it. One week I might have a full 30-40 hours to devote to my blog, and the next week it might be more like 10.

    The best way I’ve found to deal with this inconsistency is by batching my work. If I have a day where I have a full eight hours to work on my business, I don’t just write my next blog post. I write my next four blog posts.

    I also schedule my social media posts for the entire month at once. It just takes me a few hours, and then I know I won’t have to worry about social media posts for the rest of the month.

    The other benefit of batching your work is that you’re saving yourself a lot of transition time. For example, I like to schedule Pinterest images for all of my upcoming blog posts at once. I’ve already got my design program open. I’m already focused on that project.

    If you have a consistent blogging schedule and always have to same chunks of time to devote to blogging, you could assign certain tasks to certain days.

    For example, you might have one day where you write all your blog posts for the following week, one day where you design the graphics, one day where you write and schedule the social media posts, etc.

     

    Get Off Balance

     

    One of my favorite bloggers and life coach Natalie Bacon teaches that if you want to reach a big goal, you need to get off balance in your life.

    We read so much these days about creating balance in your life and the importance of creating work-life balance.

    But if your blog is really a top priority for you, then you just can’t give it the same weight as everything else in your life. You need to prioritize your time so that your biggest priorities are getting the most time!

    Making your blog a priority is going to mean cutting back on other parts of your life. It means fewer nights out with friends and fewer days binge-watching your favorite shows.

    It might mean being okay with your house being mostly clean instead of super clean so you can devote more hours to your blog.

    Personally, I love reading. I used to spend hours reading every week. And don’t get me wrong, I still love reading. And I still make time to read. But I don’t devote the amount of time to it that I used to.

    I would rather spend more time on my blog and have that hard work pay off sooner.

    It’s up to you to decide how you’re going to prioritize your life. But just know that if you’re balancing your blog equal to everything else in your life, you aren’t going to see the fast growth you hope for.

     

    Network, Network, Network

     

    As I mentioned before, more and more people are choosing to become entrepreneurs while also holding a full-time job. This means you’re in good company and there are tons of like-minded individuals online doing what you’re doing!

    Forming relationships with other online bloggers and business owners has been truly invaluable to growing my own business. First of all, it has helped me to grow my business by allowing me to find individuals who are interested in what I’m talking about on my blog. It has also allowed me to make online friends whom I can lean on and who understand the pressures and stressors that go into this world of online business.

    Just a quick search on Facebook will allow you to find countless Facebook groups of like-minded entrepreneurs! You can also connect by reaching out directly on Instagram, Twitter, or another social media page.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    If you have a side business, you know that building a successful business with a full-time job is not easy.

    It takes time. It takes an insane amount of hard work. And it just might take a bit of your sanity (kidding…sort of).

    One of the biggest challenges people seem to run into when they’re building their blog is really balancing their blog with a job that takes up 40+ hours of their week.

    I know the lessons I shared in this blog post can help you get on the right track.

     

     

    How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time - Thinking of starting a side-hustle? That’s AWESOME! Here are some tips to start a business while working full-time. - Blogging | Side Hustle

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  • Tax Tips for Bloggers & How I Manage My Blog Finances

    Tax Tips For Bloggers & How I Manage My Blog Finances

     

    When I first started blogging, I had NO idea that taxes would be an issue. But that’s because I didn’t know you could make money from blogging! I started my blog as something creative to do in the evenings after my full-time job and learned pretty quickly that some people were making some real money from this whole blogging thing.

    It wasn’t until a year after I started my blog that I started making a few dollars here and there. And then when tax season came around, I realized I was going to have to figure out pretty quickly what to do about my blogging finances!

    I hadn’t set up a separate bank account for my blog and hadn’t been tracking my expenses and income, so it was a huge pain going back and figuring all of that out.

    Things got even more complicated when my income increased enough so that I was earning a full-time income from my business.

    Now I have systems set up in my business that makes dealing with finances and taxes as a blogger SO much easier. You can save yourself the pain of going through what I did by following these tax tips for bloggers!

     

    Tax Tips For Bloggers & How I Manage My Blog Finances

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

     

    Set Up a Separate Bank Account

     

    First things first, if you’ve decided to start making money from your blog or any other online business, set up a separate bank account ASAP.

    When you are making money from your blog, you have to track every single dollar of income you get. And since you report and pay taxes on your income, you’ll also get to deduct your expenses (meaning you need to track those too). The best way to do this is by keeping your blogging income separate. If you have your blogging income going to your personal bank account, you’re sifting through WAY more transactions to figure out which were and were not blog related.

    Aside from making it easier to track, it also helps with budgeting. I like investing in myself and my business with tools and education. However, I want to make sure the amount I’m investing in the business isn’t excessive compared to the amount I’m bringing in. Having a bank account with JUST my blogging income shows me exactly how much I’ve made from my blog so I can get a look at the big-picture of my business finances.

    It also helps when it comes to paying quarterly taxes. QuickBooks (the tool I use to manage my blog finances) keeps track of how much I’m likely to be paying in estimated quarterly taxes. I keep an eye on that number and make sure I ALWAYS have enough set aside to cover that number.

    Then, when I have money left after the amount I need for quarterly taxes and the amount I plan to reinvest in the business, I can transfer that money into my personal bank account.

     

    Track All Income and Expenses

     

    Track every dollar you make from or spend on your blog. That way when it comes time to file taxes, you’re ready to go. As I mentioned above, setting up a separate bank account makes it way easier to do this. So does using an accounting tool like QuickBooks.

    As you’re tracking your expenses, make sure you save all of your receipts so you can deduct them on your taxes. Without receipts to prove your expenses, you might run into trouble with the IRS down the road.

    And when it comes to income, the money you make isn’t the only thing you count as income. If you get free products from companies in exchange for a review, that counts as income and you need to claim the price of the product. The same goes for affiliate credits you might get.

     

    Report ALL of Your Income

     

    The bottom line is that you need to report every dollar you make from your blog. I read articles or Facebook posts occasionally where someone says you don’t have to pay income unless you make a certain amount of money, or you only have to report income you have a 1099 form for. That’s just false.

    The IRS wants to know about and tax every dollar that you’re bringing in. Yes, you may get 1099 forms from some companies you work for. But that is NOT the only income you have to report.

    The pain of having to pay taxes on your blog income is a lot less than the pain of the fine you could be facing down the road if you don’t report your income.

     

    Know What You Can Deduct

     

    Having to report and pay income on your blogging income is a bummer, but the good news is that your blogging expenses are tax-deductible! The general rule is that you can deduct any expenses that are considered reasonable and necessary for your profession.

    You can find a really good list of common tax deductions for bloggers here.

     

    Learn About Quarterly Taxes

    Do you know how at your full-time job there is money taken out of every paycheck for taxes? Yeah, that’s because the IRS wants you to be paying taxes on your money as you’re earning it. Meaning if you’re making money from your blog, they don’t want you to wait until the following April to be making good on that tax bill.

    That is where quarterly taxes come in. Every quarter (on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15) you will pay your quarterly taxes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an accounting tool for your business, because this tool will estimate your quarterly taxes for you and coordinate the payment (my go-to accounting tool is QuickBooks).

    Don’t start freaking out now – this rule probably doesn’t apply to you if you’re a beginner. Generally, you won’t have to do this if you didn’t have a tax liability the following year OR if you don’t owe more than $1,000 in taxes for your blog. If you’re concerned about it though, I would definitely talk to an accountant.

     

    Find the Right Tools to Help You

     

    Finances and taxes can be complicated. There’s a reason we pay accountants so much money to do this for us. And if you’re new to the whole blogging thing, this probably all seems pretty overwhelming to you. The best advice I can offer you is to find tools that help you to implement these tax and finance tips. Here are my favorites:

    1. QuickBooks: This is the tool I use to do my business accounting. I’ve tried a couple of other tools, and this one is hands down my favorite so far. It connects to my business bank account and PayPal account to track all of my income and expenses. It also tracks my estimated quarterly income. Finally, it connects with TurboTax (the tool I use to file my taxes) so I can just import ALL of my blog income and expenses for the year.
    2. TurboTax: As I mentioned, this is the tool I use to file my taxes. It makes it SO easy to file. You just follow the prompts and answer the questions as it prepares your taxes for you. As a bonus, TurboTax and QuickBooks are owned by the same company, meaning they work together pretty seamlessly. When it’s time to pay my quarterly taxes, I can do that through TurboTax with the help of QuickBooks. And at the end of the year when it’s time to file my taxes, I just import all of my financial information from QuickBooks.

     

    Note: There’s another benefit to the partnership between QuickBooks and TurboTax. Every year that you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your taxes, you get a free year of QuickBooks Self-Employed!

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Learning to deal with taxes and finances is definitely one of the most daunting parts of blogging. Even after four years of doing this, I still get nervous that I’ve made a mistake! Just do your research and when in doubt, talk to an accountant. And if you already hire an accountant to do your taxes, then they’ll be able to help you through all of this!

     

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