Indie Author Weekly

096: Handling the business side of being an author

January 26, 2021 Sagan Morrow Episode 97
Indie Author Weekly
096: Handling the business side of being an author
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Indie Author Weekly
096: Handling the business side of being an author
Jan 26, 2021 Episode 97
Sagan Morrow

Have you ever wondered about what goes into setting up the business side of being an author? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to discuss on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!  

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.  

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today we have a listener question from Alicia, who asks: “Can you do a podcast episode on the business side of being an author? Do you have an LLC, or some sort of small business that everything funnels under? Or do you just funnel it under your freelance writing?” 

TUNE IN to this episode to get the inside scoop...   

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode: 

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever wondered about what goes into setting up the business side of being an author? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to discuss on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!  

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.  

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today we have a listener question from Alicia, who asks: “Can you do a podcast episode on the business side of being an author? Do you have an LLC, or some sort of small business that everything funnels under? Or do you just funnel it under your freelance writing?” 

TUNE IN to this episode to get the inside scoop...   

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode: 

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! I’m your host, romantic comedy novelist and productivity strategist Sagan Morrow, and this is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

Now, have you ever wondered about what goes into setting up the business side of being an author? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to discuss on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly.

For our new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes plus book and writing updates delivered directly to your inbox each week at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes—link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today we have a listener question from Alicia, who asks: “Can you do a podcast episode on the business side of being an author? Do you have an LLC, or some sort of small business that everything funnels under? Or do you just funnel it under your freelance writing?”

Great question, Alicia! Thanks so much for reaching out. 

Now, I am not an accountant or a lawyer or anything like that, so what I’m sharing here today is simply my own experience. I strongly recommend that if you are starting any kind of business, that you find a great accountant who can advise you on which type of business is best for your unique situation. Also, keep in mind that legal requirements and such might change from one country to the next. I’m Canadian, so there might be differences based on where you live around the world, as to what type of business is best for you. 

In fact, my understanding is that we don’t really have LLCs in Canada—I believe that our options in Canada for setting up a business are either a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. But again, I’m not an expert on this, so definitely talk to a tax professional to determine the best course of action for your situation.

Okay, with that disclaimer out of the way, here’s what I’ve done in setting up my business: I am a sole proprietor. I chose this type of business based on my accountant’s recommendations. I started my business as a freelancer many years ago, and as my business has grown over time, I’ve put everything under the one umbrella of my business. 

This is helpful because I’ve pivoted a lot over the years! During my time as a business owner, the various services and products I’ve offered have included freelance writing, editing, and social media management; nutrition consulting (after I got my diploma as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist), fiction and non-fiction books, online courses for freelancers, other communications and business consulting, and now my work as a productivity strategist. Sidebar: If you want to learn more about my current offerings featuring productivity resources for multi-passionate creatives, you can visit SaganMorrow.com/school. 

I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be if I had tried to set up a new business for each different type of thing I’ve done. My business name is also my own name, Sagan Morrow, so that’s made it much easier to put everything under the umbrella of a single business, rather than having really specific separate business names. 

By the way! Although my legal business name is the same as my own personal name, I colloquially refer to my business as SaganMorrow.com. I find it easier to do that for differentiating between myself and my business. 

I’ve also found this helpful when I’ve been at networking events in the past, and potential clients have asked me, “What’s your business called? How can I hire you?” It got to the point where it was easier to say, “SaganMorrow.com” rather than to try to explain that my business and personal name are the same. I like that referring to my business as the URL also makes it that much easier for potential clients to remember what the website link is. So that’s a very small shift I’ve made in my business to simplify communications and increase website traffic.

Now, things did get a bit more complicated a few years back when I briefly had a business partnership. We incorporated that business on the recommendation of my accountant, so at that point, I funnelled everything in my business under that corporation. That was before I’d written any fiction books. I can’t remember what my plan was for handling income from my non-fiction book… I was also making such little money from it that I don’t know if it really registered for me as something to deal with. So the books side of things was a non-issue in switching business models.

Luckily, we only had the corporation for a year before deciding to dissolve it, so it was fairly easy for me to transition back into sole proprietorship. I believe that when I was switching to the corporation, my accountant had told me at the time that we could just let my sole proprietorship sit rather than officially closing it down, so I don’t think we even had any issues around reopening it or getting a new business number or anything. 

If there is one thing you spend money on in your business, let it be a great accountant. I would be lost without my accountant! Any time I’ve had questions about the legalities of business, no matter how basic or simple the question is, he’s been super patient and helped me every step along the way. I think I pay $200 or $300 annually for my accountant to do my taxes and answer questions, so it’s worth every penny. And nowadays, I don’t have nearly as many questions to ask him because I’ve been in business for so long, so we pretty much only connect once a year during tax season.

Productivity tip for you, if or when you get an accountant and start your own business: Keep a running document and/or spreadsheet detailing your accountant’s responses to all your questions. You might find yourself forgetting certain things, or needing to refer back to it, so rather than searching your email inbox every time, you can refer back to a handy resource document you’ve already created. If you want more help with getting organized and productive in business, definitely check out my signature program, Productivity Powerhouse, at SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse — link is in the show notes.

Thanks again to Alicia for asking today’s question about structuring the business side of being an author! I hope this answers your question. And please feel free to reach out if you have follow-up questions or would like to request more topics for Indie Author Weekly—you can always reach me on Twitter or Instagram, @Saganlives.

Honestly, one of the best things about setting up an online business nowadays is how common it is. It makes things a lot easier for navigating tax collection and such, and to build your business in such a way that you can serve people around the world. E-bookstores such as Kobo make it relatively straightforward to collect data to give it to your accountant, which is great. I also recommend making it easier on yourself by using a bookkeeping software such as Zoho, and updating it on a regular basis. Managing your business finances in an organized, efficient way is something else that I address in Productivity Powerhouse, by the way—again, you can get access to that immediately at SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse

So in a nutshell, I find it easiest and simplest to funnel the author side of things under the umbrella of my regular business. It’s also helpful to set these things in place if you’re an aspiring author, because it can help you to change your perspective from hobbyist to professional… and that can create a shift in our mindset to take our craft more seriously, so that we prioritize it in our everyday life.

And that, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at SaganMorrow.com/podcast.

Thank you so much for tuning in. Please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support. 

Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.