3 tax tidbits to remember if you’re running your own thing

Every dream has its reality. As in, real dreams take work. A lot of it. The bridge between big-sky dreaming, and living your dreams, is paved with a ton of elbow grease. But that’s not what you see on Instagram. It’s not what you see in perfectly worded blog posts. And it’s not really what people talk about on panels.

But we talk about it behind closed doors. And by we I mean me and my girl gang of women who are running businesses, building businesses, working remote, working freelance…working our butts off. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have a week about everything from health care, to marketing systems, to my old favorite line, “Oh god, let me talk to my accountant.”

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Because taxes aren’t awesome. But they’re also not awful. Especially when you have the right systems and people in place. I’m not a systems girl. So, when I find something that works I stick to it. And this time of year, so many of my conversations with my women near and far seem to circle around taxes. So with a little help from my friends at QuickBooks Self-Employed, I thought I’d share with you a few tips from my phone conversations with my girls about how to make this wild tax time a little less wild (because I’ve been a QuickBooks user since day one of running my business).

First, do a little research. I have friends that geek out on knowing and finding deductions. This is real. I once had an entire conversation on a beach in Mexico about write-offs with one of my besties who at the time was new to running her own business. To get the most money back, you have to know what you don’t know – like deductions specific to your line of work. And it all adds up, big time! For example, things like your home office, your travel mileage, business trip expenses and your retirement can all count as deductions. Luckily, tools like QuickBooks Self-Employed give you full transparency into what these expenses are and helps you understand how you can write them off.

Second, look at it often. Much like your bank accounts, your email accounts and your social accounts, it’s way easier to manage it all when you’re looking at it frequently. My QuickBooks tab is one of those – it’s always open, so I can see immediately what my quarterly tax bill is going to look like and what transactions are coming and going. What makes life easier is having all of my financial accounts hooked right into QuickBooks Self-Employed, which not only tracks expenses but automatically categorizes them and shows you your “real” income all year round.

Third, stay organized. I hate clutter, receipts and not knowing where things are. Organization on the tax front makes the entire process easier, especially if you have money coming in from different places and leaving from all different kinds of accounts. Through the QuickBooks Self- Employed app, I can categorize everything with a simple swipe and even capture images of my receipts while I’m on-the-go. Meaning business expenses and personal expenses go right where they’re supposed to.

Whenever you’re thinking about expanding on a dream and turning it into something, I find that the little things (like taxes, or health insurance or marketing tools) can feel like HUGE undertakings that keep you from moving the work forward. But you’ve just got to talk to the people who’ve done it and understand what their tricks are.

(like the ones above) and you’ll realize this tax thing isn’t that bad. And none of it is impossible. Quite the opposite, it can be easy and seamless if you know the best tool to use that will make your life easier. Plus, dealing with taxes is just a reflection of the fact we get to do work we love! And there’s nothing to complain about with that.

This post was created in partnership with Quickbooks Self-Employed. So many of us are figuring out this dream together…I wanted to let you know what helps me!

This article originally appeared on Maxie McCoy.

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