I don’t often do posts that are about my private life, but every time I come over to this blog to post something I’d like to post, I end up drawing a blank. The Sunday posts are easy because they’re from a book I already wrote. But it’s harder when I have to create something new and original. I’d love to do some more creative posts, but after struggling to do so for a month, I figure it’s time to just state what’s really on my mind and see if that helps break the dam that’s been holding me back.
So here we go… 😀
Getting Organized with My Writing Goals
The first thing that’s been going on is that I’ve been looking for ways to be more productive with the use of my time. I heard about Rich Habits by Tom Corley on the Dave Ramsey radio show while I was driving. Intrigued, I bought the book and really enjoyed it. Basically, it helps you figure out what your big goals are and breaks down daily and monthly steps you can take to get there.
It’s not easy to keep to the list. There are times when I want to say, “What can staying up one more hour hurt?” (One of my goals is to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Ideally, I’ll get 8.5 to 9.) Another is, “Only 1 hour of TV a day.” (And yes, I’ve fudged a little on this one but not too bad since I prefer writing to watching TV.) So while Rich Habits seems to be a financial book when you first look at it, I’m finding it more of a way to get more in shape in all areas of my life (sleep, exercise, diet, working smarter instead of harder, etc).
Going further down the self-improvement trail
After reading and applying Rich Habits, I then decided to get Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Why? Because I do need to get a better handle on managing money. It’s not how much I’m making that’s a problem. It’s what I’m doing with it that’s the issue. As they say, the first step to change is to admit you have a problem. I wish I could say I have been managing money really well, but the truth is, I haven’t. And quite frankly, I’m sick of ending up in the same position at the end of every year wondering why I’m in the same hole I was in the year before.
But I was about halfway through the book when I read something along the lines of, “If you have a business and aren’t covered under an LLC, S-Corporation or C-Corporation, then you’re a sitting duck waiting for disaster.” Those are not the exact words, but it was the gist of it.
This part of the rabbit trail led me to my next book recommendation which was the book, Start Your Own Corporation by Garrett Sutton. So I started reading up on the stuff Garrett Sutton has been saying.
Which led me to register a business entity today
After being a self-published author since 2002 (I didn’t start writing romances until late 2007), I finally decided it was time to take the advice of two very wise and smart authors (Rose Gordon and Stephannie Beman) and form an actual business entity that is separate from my personal life.
Today, I have officially formed an LLC with an S-Corportion election. (All this means is that I have formed a business that is separated from me, and I think that sounds a little confusing by the way I stated it but I don’t know how else to explain it.) I decided to have an attorney familiar with business law do this for me because I want to make sure I get all the stuff taken care of. I don’t know about anyone else, but the whole thing intimidates me and I like having a team of people who know what they’re doing to help me out along the way. I still need to read Garrett Sutton’s book on actually running a corporation.
Then due to the wisdom of another author (Melanie Nilles), I am seeing an certified public accountant who is familiar with small businesses. My income varies widely. You can never tell from one month to another what the pay is going to be like. Some of you reading this who are running your own businesses might find the same fluctuation. With the accountant, I’ll finally be able to specify exactly how much I need to pay in taxes each quarter, which is something I need to help to get better control over the chaos that has been my financial life up to now.
If you ever wondered what I do when I’m not writing…this is pretty much it. LOL I’m still a far way from being where I want to be with everything, but at least I’m on the way. And I don’t know if any of the links I posted will help anyone but they’re there in case they do.
I’m trying to. Sometimes I feel like I make progress and at other times I get so overwhelmed, I feel like I have to go to sleep. LOL
Very helpful post, Ruth. Do give glimpses like this of your daily life. We, readers, want to know your personal side too. 🙂
LOL To me, this seems like such a boring post. 😀 But I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
How about funny incidents with your handsome four? 🙂
Rose Gordon does that so well with her kids. Whenever I try to do it, I end up sounding boring so I delete the post before it goes live. 😀 I went to a conference last Thursday through Saturday and got some good ideas on what to do on this blog. I hope to try something new this week.
I know that feeling. How can she describe her own awkward moments in such a hilarious way, I still can’t figure out. Your nervousness before the presentation is just like a picture of my own life. We are so similar, Ruth. 🙂 But I’m happy that you are taking part as a group. Even I should do that sometimes.
She has a gift. It’s definitely a talent to do it well. 😀
When I first participated in group discussions, my heart was racing and I thought I was going to be sick. LOL It took a lot out of me, and I think it was like that for a couple years. If you venture out to do that, be assured that I know how difficult it is. Some people make it seem so easy.
Thanks for sharing, Ruth. When I went to RNC in Vegas this past summer, one of the classes I took was about the business end of being a self-employed author. One of the suggestions he made was to at least get a federal ID number so you can use that instead of using your social security number for payment from Amazon, etc. As far as becoming a corporation, he didn’t think that was as big an issue. The reason is most people do that to protect their personal assets if they can’t pay the bills. An author doesn’t usually invest a LOT of money (like thousands of dollars), so that’s not usually an issue. However, it’s always a possibility (although not likely) that you’ll be sued for something. That would protect your personal assets. I’ve considered it, but didn’t see a big need for it yet. But the federal ID number could be important since identity theft can often start with securing a person’s SS number. Things to ponder!
I agree with Stephannie. Not every author needs an LLC. I wouldn’t in your case. I’d wait until I was making at least $20,000. Regarding identity theft, you could go with Zander Insurance and get protected that way. They will actually call up the credit cards and other places where the fraud took place on your behalf. I heard there’s also something like Life Lock (?), but I went with Zander because Dave Ramsey promotes them. LOL
Awesome! Knowing your situation, you’ll like the benefits of the LLC, Ruth, even if it is more busy work. 😀 While not every author needs to have an LLC, the peace of mind can be nice to have.
I like some of the perks already, though I am nervous about transferring everything from Amazon, B&N, and SW to the new bank account and updating the publisher information. I worry there will be a snag somewhere in the process which could be a pain to resolve.
I didn’t have any problems with Smashwords or Amazon. Barnes & Noble will be the only on that doesn’t allow you to update some of the information, like individual to corporation or the EIN. They do allow you to update the bank info. LOL You’ll have to create a new account for it, which I just realized, and really sucks. It’s also good that you are doing this at the end of the years because otherwise you have to split your taxes. I set up mine in around the August and had to do the sole proprietorship taxes from Jan-September and LLC taxes from September-December. It was a pain. 😦 Setting it up in November means it will probably be ready at the end of December or first of January, depending how fast the paperwork goes through and is approved.
I’m hoping it’ll be at the end of the year enough so I can start fresh on January 1. It would make things easier. Not only would it be easier for tax time, but something about starting a new year helps me to mentally adjust to the idea. I appreciate the heads up on B&N. What I should do this month is get all my epub files and covers organized so they’re all ready to go.
You are on the right path and doing this to get everything ready for the new year is a good way to start. Have a great day. God bless.
I’m glad I’m doing this now. Last night I read the best time to find an accountant is in October through December because once the tax season rolls around, they get really busy and it’s harder to get in to see them. The book recommended scouting out accountants early to make sure you’re comfortable with the one you’ll end up working with. Fortunately, I found a really good one based off that attorney’s recommendation.
Congratulations! Gaining control over the chaos in any area of your life feels good; and our families benefit from it in so many ways…mostly a calmer, happier mom.-Shelley
I think the hardest part was sitting down and getting everything written out so I knew exactly what to do. I have to break larger projects up into small ones and do a little each day or week so I don’t get overwhelmed. 😀 I’ve started mapping out blocks of time when I usually do something so I can get an idea of when to fit in each thing, and I do make sure to schedule family time in there, something I neglected to do before. I can’t say I got the system perfected yet, but it’s a lot better than it used to be. The biggest plus has been getting a full night’s sleep. 😀
You made some brave but intelligent steps, I do hope they point you in a profitable direction. Certainly, more organised and in control by the sounds of it. I’m still very much at the beginning of my author/publisher journey and make almost zero cash to worry about. But if (no damn it, when!) I make something worth worrying about (oh the bliss of that stressor!) I’ll be doing the same. X
Thanks. I feel like I’m stumbling through a lot of it. Thankfully, I have the books to read and an accountant who is very gracious about answering my questions. I’ve started keeping a notebook so when I have questions and ask him, I’ll jot it down so if I forget, I can go back to it. I wish I was more organized than I currently am, but I think it’s going to take a few months before I’m comfortable with it. I’m excited though.
I hope you’ll have the stressor soon. My biggest piece of advice is to do have quarterly voucher payments specifically for the amount you made vs. your expenses during the year. I estimated based on last year’s income and it turned out to be a huge mistake because I’m scrambling around to save every dollar I get. I’m not sure if I’ll have enough in cash for tax time or if I’ll have to take out a loan to cover up what I can’t pay. If I had gone to the accountant to figure out my exact payments, I would have stayed on track better and be much better off right now.