My accountancy background is something that I've been very grateful for when it comes to blogging.
What does accountancy have to do with my fashion and lifestyle blog?
Well, when my little blog started gaining more views and followers, a few brands started contacting me to see if I wanted to collaborate on sponsored content.
And because of my experience with accounting for small businesses, I knew that I would need to keep track of any money that I made from blogging and declare it to HMRC, and I was prepared.
Blogging is huge now, and brands are realising the value of micro-bloggers more than ever. So no, you don't have to have a five figure following to make money from your blog.
I know that a lot of bloggers and influencers start earning an income and then realise, months or even years down the line, that a) they need to declare their new income to HMRC and pay tax on it and b) they have no idea how to do this because they haven't kept track of the money they've made and any expenses they can claim back.
You don't have to become an expert accountant, but future you will be thanking current you if you familiarise yourself with basic bookkeeping as early as possible.
If you blog regularly and are interested in earning an income from your blog, it's a good idea to have the following tools to hand:
Income and expenses tracker
A simple spreadsheet is the best tool for tracking the money you make and spend on your blog. Make a habit of adding every payment you receive and every expense you incur (related to your blog, obviously) as soon as it happens to avoid a mad rush of trying to add everything in when you need it.
Did you know that you should always send an invoice to a brand who have commissioned paid content from you? This is because businesses have to keep records for five years. So you'll need your invoice for your income records and the brand who pay you will need the invoice for their expenses records.
A file dedicated to your bookkeeping
As I mentioned earlier, you'll need to keep hold of all of your income and expenses records for the tax man and your own sanity.
It's up to you whether you prefer to keep this on your computer or have a laptop.
My personal system is to keep my records in a folder on my computer. I then have subfolders by year, month and type.
So I have my Blog Records folder, which I also keep my main income and expenses spreadsheet. Inside that, there's a subfolder called 2017, then more subfolders with each month of the year inside, with even more subfolders inside each month's folders, one for income and one for expenses. Inside income I save the invoices I've created and sent to brands for my work, and I save any invoices or receipts for things I've had to buy for my blog (for example, a laptop) in Expenses.
This system may not work for you, but I find it easy to organise and find any documents I need this way.
If you're more of a physical kind of person (no rude jokes, please!), you're best getting a lever arch file and dividing it in a similar way to how I described my folders above.
Really, the key is to be organised and keep on top of your blogging related finances, don't leave it till you need to submit your tax return and spend a week trying to get everything together.
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