Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creative Freelancer Conference

Hello indies,

Please take note that the Creative Freelancer Conference this year will be held in Chicago on June 23 and 24.

Unlike a lot of conferences we've all been to, this one concentrates on the business side of your indie business. It's not filled with lots of "you-can-do-it" encouragements but actually tells you how to do it.

Ilise Benun, the talented head of Marketing Mentor and author of The Creative Professional's Guide to Money, along with HOW magazine offer this two day conference for creative indies.

Ilise starts off the conference with a session on the future of freelancing and explains how you can respond to the changing needs of the marketplace.
There's much more on why indies need a business plan, how to balance work and home life, money management for people who don't get weekly salaries, how to choose a target market, using social media for success, and how to learn from mistakes of your fellow indies -- and your own mistakes.

The conference is $525. However!!!  but you can save $30 if you sign up by April 1 -- uh-oh, that's tomorrow -- and you can get a $50 discount if you input in the discount code box during the online registration.

Check it out here Creative Freelancer Conference.

-- June

Sunday, March 6, 2011

29 Interesting Articles

Indies --

The following was sent to me by a fellow indie. It has some good info.

-- June

Hi June, I just posted an article on my site entitled “29 Financial Articles Every Freelancer Must Read” ( ). I thought the article was potentially something that would interest your site’s audience

Kimberly Lee

Friday, March 4, 2011

One day does not an indie make.

June --

I'm in Burlington, KY and I was last a director of operations at the Creation Museum (Answers in Genesis) but have been laid off for two years. I THINK I've been an indie for 1 day.

A former co-worker (lecturer/author) just left the same organization that laid me off (I was there 11 yrs)and started his own ministry. He has asked me to do some part-time admin support for him from home using his laptop and cell phone. Does that make me an Indie?

Burlington, KY

Hi Ted,

No, you're not an indie if you work for only one day. That's considered incidental income because you are not engaged in a business nor motivated by profit. You must include the income as "other income" on page 1 of your 1040 tax return.
If, however, you mean that this is the first day of working on a regular basis, albeit part-time, for a former co-worker it sounds to me as if you are an employee, not self-employed.
Take a look here Employee vs. Self-employed for more info.

-- June

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Designer needs a saner way to organize taxes for her preparer.

June --

I do any sort of 'design' job someone ask for. Initially schooled in graphic design (pre-computer) then fell into Photostyling. That led to jobs that required architectural drawing know how, and took that to do home remodels and interior design. Have taught myself computer graphics and do some of that now too. Been doing this all for 35 years...only 15 of those as someone else's employee. Sole Proprietor status now for 13 years.

I am on your contact list and devour your newsletters. Needing a saner way to organize my taxes for my preparer. Why does this seem so overwhelming??

Thank you for the deduction list in advance. Hoping this helps. One thing I would love is a checklist or 'method' that I could use as I begin 'the big receipt sort'. I know there are computer software/programs and am willing to commit to one if I knew what was best for someone like me.

Thank you!
Lou Ann
WayAppleton, WI

Hi Lou Ann,

Way, way back when computers took up almost your entire desk top everyone was gung-ho to do their bookkeping on computer. They thought it meant an instant solution to the pile of receipts stashed in the shoe boxes. Well, doesn't work that way. A computer program doesn't work if there isn't a manual system first.

My manual method is The Most Simple System. Clients have been using it for decades. It works regardless of amount of income. It's simple. It misses no deductions, It does not require a computer. Your tax preparer will love the results. It will take her less time to do your return so her fees may be less.

I've put the entire system into a 75 page PDF that includes worksheets for your 2010 tax return. It's The Confident Indie: Five Easy Steps. Check it out.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Etsy seller asks: Bought in 2009 can I deduct in 2010? Yes.

Hi June!

I am just starting out with an online crafts store through etsy.

Your website is very helpful--answering questions I had and didn't know that I had! I got your list of deductible business expenses, and I think I probably know the answer to this, but wanted to check: Can I deduct the purchase of my computer from 2009 as a business expense?

I have just begun my business in January 2011. Does it have to be an expense purchased within 2011 to claim on my 2012 taxes?

Many thanks,
Colorado Springs, CO

Dear Michelle,

The years in your question are a bit confusing so just to be clear: What happens between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010 are all part of your 2010 tax return. Even though that return is not completed until 2011 it is your tax return for 2010.

Yes, you can deduct something you bought in 2009 on your 2010 tax return. Here's how it works:

Let's say you started a new business on January 1, 2010 and needed a computer. You bought a used MAC from the guy next store. Paid him $3000. He had paid $5000 for it new a couple of years ago. You get to deduct the $3000 computer purchase.

The same holds for equipment, supplies, a library, etc. you already have prior to going into business. Think of it as buying something used from yourself for your business.

So if in 2009 you bought a computer for $2000 and on January 1, 2010, when you became an indie, you could have sold that computer to a willing buyer for $1400, then you have a $1400 computer that you "bought" for your business and you get to deduct that purchase.

This is called converting from personal use to business use. I cover it in my book Self-employed Tax Solutions where Caitlin Caterer goes from cooking for her family to starting an indie business and even before going into business already has much of what she needs .

I wish you success in your new venture!

PS: Is that the answer you expected?