I had such a great response to my “This IS My Real Job” series that I thought I would continue to share my experience of blogging for a living. I’m by no means an expert yet, but I think there’s a lot to say about the learning process and I’m just happy if this helps even one of you guys out there!
Today I want to focus on how I’m organizing the back end of our my blogging business. I actually have a SUPER fun new business in the making, and once it’s ready you guys will be the first to know, but til then I’m really working to hone my self-employed skills with Heather’s Dish. We are going through the process of buying a home here in Arkansas and last week had to spend a long night organizing all of the pay stubs, receipts, direct deposits and PayPal account information to give to the bank. Up until now I’ve kept all of my information in great big envelopes with zero organization, which is great to know that I HAVE it but really hard to find motivation to organize.
HOWEVER. With tax season coming up and the fact that last year was my first full year of only having my income from blogging it became very apparent VERY quickly that I need to find a better way to get all my income information together.
I’m a hybrid when it comes to ways I like to organize my information; I love the ease and accessibility of online systems, but when it comes down to it I’m kind of obsessed with all things paper. I have a Google doc that I share with Nate to track my income and upcoming projects, but in the end this binder is going to be the meat of tracking anything I bring in.
I’m all about action steps – I’m going to share more about that tomorrow – so I want to share in list format what I’ve got in my folder as of today. The great thing is that this process is an ever-changing one, so there’s always room for improvement. These are the basics though, and I already feel so much better about how my business will run based on these alone.
- BUY A PRETTY BINDER + SUPPLIES. This is SO not a have-to, but I find that if I have a pretty and fun way to get my life together then I’m much more likely to stick to it. I went to Target and got this pretty little number (it’s a 1.5-inch binder), two sets (so 10 total) of tabs, and two 3-ring velcro-closure pouches. Made putting it together fun!
- THINK THROUGH WHAT’S IMPORTANT. What are you buying these supplies for? Are you needing to track income and expenditures? Or are you wanting to track inspiration? What are the things that apply to your business? I made a list of everything before I bought the dividers, and made sure that I had a few extras for anything that might crop up in the future.
- TO-DO. This is my running list of things I need to do. I also have 2 separate planners that I use for this as well (overkill? Whatever – it works!), but checking it off of a physical list really helps me to push forward. This is blog-specific and mainly has to do with the business side/technical side and nothing to do with recipes or grocery lists.
- PROFIT + LOSS (P + L). This is the big thing that we realized I should be doing consistently at the end of every month. Calculating all of the profits and losses monthly makes it easier to see success or a need for improvement. It also helps me hone in on what needs to be changed, and gives us an idea of what to plan for in coming years.
- CONTRACTS. Pretty self-explanatory, but I have a lot of freelance contracts and want to keep physical copies with all the rest of my business stuff.
- INSPIRATION. Kind of like a personal and physical Pinterest board, but just for me. This has a lot to do with design and color and food styling, and is focused at helping my business evolve.
- SPONSORED. A running list of sponsored posts just to keep my brain from exploding 🙂 Also helps with creating updated media kits and promotional materials!
- ASSETS (not pictured). This is a running list of assets that I use for my business – computer, software, camera, lenses, kitchen appliances, etc. Helps with the end of year profit + loss, and lets me know what I actually have and actually use.
- MILEAGE (not pictured). Mileage for work-specific things (conferences, trips to the store, networking events, etc) is one thing that I need to track more often and don’t. It’s not anything that’s going to make a crazy huge difference in my P + L , but still want to make sure I get into the habit of tracking even the small things.
- RECEIPTS + CHECK STUBS. Can I be honest and say that I was the most excited about these 3-ring pouches where I could store all of my check stubs and receipts? I just love things with pockets, and getting rid of the worn old envelopes was a big relief. They’re reusable for years to come, and they do a great job of helping me keep all the paper in one spot!
Getting the back end of my business more organized is fantastic for so many reasons, but the main one has to be that it helps clear my mind to be more creative. When the paperwork and the receipts and all the clutter is taken care of, then my mind is free to think outside the box. So here’s to a year of being set up for success!
Any questions you’d like me to answer about the business of blogging? I will certainly do my best to give honest and actionable answers!