Friday, December 10, 2010

Blogging and Taxes

I've put together a list of resources.  Check with your tax advisor if you have any questions.  Please note I am not a professional accountant and I am not giving tax advice.

If you are a sole proprietor, you'll need to fill out a Schedule C with your taxes.

Remember to include ALL compensation - including products you were given in order to write a review (if you kept that product).  If you were given a carpet cleaner from Bissell, tickets to a Yankee game which you attended, and a pound of Ghiradelli chocolate you'll need to claim it!  But if you didn't keep it - you picked up the tickets but held a giveaway for them on your blog, for example, and the tickets merely passed through in the course of your business, you do not need to claim it as compensation.  If you accepted the tickets, couldn't use them, and gave them to your sister, though - you have to claim it.  (See, this is why you need to check with your accountant if you have questions!)

Common deductions might include: cost of hardware and software used exclusively for blogging, promoting online, etc.; hosting; domain name; design/graphics; postage and shipping if you mail items to readers from promotions and giveaways; postage if you send your readers notes, cards, etc. via snail mail; cost of conferences, webinars, ebooks, or regular books if used for training.  So, if you bought an ebook on SEO, CSS for Dummies from Barnes and Noble, and went to BlogHer, those are deductible expenses.

If you've incorporated this year, the legal costs are deductible.  If you are required to have a license or permit by your city, county, or state, the cost is deductible too.  PayPal fees may be deductible.

Be careful- don't claim so many deductions that your blog business is unprofitable more than one year in a row!

From Blog to Business - what you need to know to stop treating your blog like a hobby.

Is it a hobby or a business?  How the IRS classifies it.

John Chow on Blog Earnings and Income Tax

IRS guide to Business Expenses

101 Deductions from the incomparable Wisebread.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

December Meeting at Dot's

The December meeting of Houston Blogging Chicks will be at:

Dot's Coffee Shop
7006 I-45 South (I-45 and 610 loop, at Gulfgate)
Houston, TX 77087
(713) 644-7669

Click for map

Thursday, Dec. 2
7-9 pm

Our topic will be bloggers and taxes, and we'll be discussing what kind of records you need to keep in the next year.  If you have any burning questions, leave it in the comments or start a discussion on BlogFrog!

I was not able to get a CPA to speak, but we will have a bookkeeper (me).  If you are qualified to speak or would like to moderate the discussion, please let me know!

Meeting Agenda:
7:00  Meet and greet
7:15 Formal introductions, surveys.  Practice your "elevator speech"!
7:30 Roundtable, free discussion - How does your family, spouse, children see your blogging, and finding balance.
8:00 Bloggers, paperwork, and taxes - getting ready for the new year
8:45 Free discussion.  Share what's on your mind or heart

Leave a comment to RSVP or send a tweet!  We have a hashtag - #houstonbloggers

Thursday, November 11, 2010

December Meeting!

Save the date!

The next Houston Blogging Chicks meeting will be Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 at 7 - 9 pm
Location to be announced.


7:00  Meet and greet
7:15 Formal introductions, surveys
7:30 Roundtable - How does your family, spouse, children see your blogging, and finding balance.
8:00 Bloggers, paperwork, and taxes - getting ready for the new year
8:45 Free discussion.  Share what's on your mind or heart

I had a great time with the free flowing informal discussion at the November meeting.  I'm so glad I'm getting to know you all!  Many thanks to Michelle Price, Bobbie Byrd, Vickie Powers, and Kristin Holt for sharing their opinions and expertise.

Don't forget we have a Twitter hashtag #houstonbloggers, and a Houston Blogging Chicks Twitter list.

Also please connect with each other through BlogFrog on the right sidebar.  Shared joys are increased, shared sorrows decreased.  Let's support each other in the discussion forums.  Anyone can start a topic.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogging Ethics

The next meeting of Houston Blogging Chicks will be Thursday, Nov. 11 at 7 pm, Panera Bread at FM 1960 and Eldridge (just a tiny bit NE of 290 and FM 1960)

We'll be talking about blogging with integrity, ethical dilemmas, disclosures, and more.  This is our second meeting and we won't have a speaker, but we will have a round table where everyone can share their experience and expertise (and of course get to know each other!)

Some links that might be of interest to you:

Actual text of FTC regulations (81 pages, try not to fall asleep)

What it means for you (just disclose your relationships, even if it's just products, not money, changing hands.)

Blog With Integrity (take the pledge, post the badge!)

Copyright Myths (educate yourself so you don't accidentally steal from someone)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

November 2010 Meeting!

The next meeting of Houston Blogging Chicks will be in the N/NW area

12220 Fm 1960 Rd, Houston, TX 77065-4805(281) 469-5623 
Thursday November 11
7-9 pm

If your blog supports a charity, please bring info to share!

Meeting topic will be blogging with integrity, disclosure, and best practices for transparency in sponsored posts and giveaways.

If you are able to speak authoritatively on the subject, please let me know.  We will have a brief overview of the topic, then open it up for a roundtable Q and A.

Also, before the meeting, why not set some goals for your blog?

  • Why are you blogging? 
  • How do you want to see your blog grow? 
  • Do you want to earn an income from your blog, and if so, do you want a little extra, a part time income, or a full time income? 
  • Maybe you don't want to monetize, but you want to be an influencer, practice your writing skills, or create a thriving community. 

Determine what you want. You can share with the group at the next meeting for accountability, encouragement, and support or just keep your goals private. 

If you don't know where you're going, you won't know how to get there!

Don't forget, this group is open to all women bloggers in the area so please forward the link and pass along the invitation!

Monday, October 4, 2010

About Houston Blogging Chicks

What is the purpose of Houston Blogging Chicks?  To foster personal relationships and provide a safe place to ask questions and share knowledge and experience.  

What will Houston Blogging Chicks do?

  • Provide Support
    • Talk with like minded women who share your online frustrations.
    • Meet real people trying to balance blog and family.
    • Have a group of friends who will understand and lift you up when you are down from negative comments, a campaign that bombed, or other things that non-bloggers just don’t get.

  • Foster Personal Relationships
    • Get to know each other through face to face interaction as well as Twitter parties, BlogFrog discussions, and digital chatting.
    • Create a trusted circle who “gets” what you do

  • Share Knowledge Education, and Experiences
    • Share knowledge and experiences with each other.
    • Pass on great tips, ideas, and recommendations.
    • Discuss a theme/topic at each meeting, like a mini-conference class.
    • Provide a forum for round table discussions, where everyone gets to speak and share.

  • Network
    • Meet other bloggers
    • Pass along leads, tips, and contacts
    • Bounce ideas off each other
    • Team up for events, carnivals, guest posting

  • What this group is not:
    • A spot simply to market products or services to other bloggers or to fill out your email list
    • A captive audience for something you are trying to sell
    • A place to brag about your stats without adding to the discussion

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blog Frog and Nov/Dec meeting information

We had a great first meeting and I have some great ideas for future topics.

For the November meeting we're going to tackle the big question in everyone's mind with an overview of blog monetization.  UPDATE the meeting topic has changed.  This meeting will focus on the pros and pitfalls of sponsored and review posts.  If you are an expert and would like to speak/moderate the debate, please let me know!  Meeting will be Thursday, November 11 7-9pm and location TBA - subscribe so you don't miss the announcement.

December's meeting will continue with the money theme, this time about how to keep tax records, handling finances, a discussion of PayPal and its features (and alternatives), and how to get your blog house in order for the new tax year.  Make sure you are getting all your deductions!  I'd love to have an accountant speak.  If you have experience or know of someone who can come give a short session on tax deductions, please get in touch!

As we discussed, I've added BlogFrog to this site.  It's a forum, based on this blog.  ANY of you can start a topic and reply at will - it's our own little community.

Don't forget that we have a Twitter hashtag - #houstonbloggers and I also made a list for Houston Blogging Chicks.  If you follow my list, you'll follow all the Blogging Chicks that have Twitter accounts.  You can see my lists on my Twitter homepage.

This group is passing by word of mouth (or, word of Twitter?)  Please feel free to pass along the link and invite any local women bloggers you know.

As always, my email is open so please let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Houston Blogging Chicks FIRST Meet and Greet!

Lisa Stauber of Mama Says and Nicki Woo of The Home Guru have started a social media club for Houston area women, and we want you to be a part of it!

Houston Blogging Chicks

Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010    7-9pm

La Madeleine's

5015 Westheimer Rd.

Houston, TX 77056

(713) 993-0287

All women bloggers in the Houston/Harris County/Fort Bend area welcome - if you can make the meetings and you have a blog, come on down!  We'd love to meet you.

Inaugural meeting will be a social event, for chatting, networking, and meeting other area bloggers in person.  Future meetings will feature round table discussions on topics to help us grow and manage our blogs.

Bring your business cards!

At this time, networking is limited to passing out cards and contact information so that we can focus on building personal relationships.  Please do not bring any sponsored "swag", items for review or items for sale.

La Madeleine's offers coffee, pastries, and cafe-style food, if you wish to eat dinner or enjoy a snack or cup of tea during the meeting.  Take a look at the menu but don't forget they have a full pastry case, too!

See you there!  Leave a comment, send an email, or tweet Lisa @milehimama to RSVP.