Lessons In Building a Business: Tax Time

taxtimesFollowing my first year of self-employment and consulting, filing my 2014 taxes introduced a new set of challenges (and work) that I hadn’t anticipated. Perhaps it was silly of me not to have educated myself beforehand, but hey, this is a learning process, right?

In an effort to help others who journey into the world of entrepreneurship or self-employment, I’d like to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned (and mistakes I’ve made):

  • Make quarterly estimated tax payments. This might be obvious for most, but after being ill-advised by an accountant, I opted to make one big payment at tax time. Although I had been putting away an ample percentage of my earnings, I faced a penalty for not paying throughout the year. That mistake won’t happen again.
  • Keep records. It might seem brutal and at times exhausting, but it’s crucial for a small business owner to track expenses throughout the year (and save receipts).
  • Open a business credit card. To make record-keeping easier, there’s no better way to track business expenses and write offs than with a dedicated credit card. Credit card providers like American Express break down your expenses by category (transportation, entertainment, etc.) and help alleviate the stress of managing your costs.
  • Work with a smart CPA. This probably goes without saying, but find a CPA who can help guide you at tax time and ensure you’re making the best decisions for your business.

For more fun tax reading, here are some handy links for tips on write offs:

My PRactice, My Story

I had my first baby, Dylan, in August 2013. In addition to all the crazy emotions and big life changes that the first three months of parenting introduced, having a child led me to reevaluate many aspects of life including my career and my priorities.

As the end of my maternity leave approached, I realized my role as a Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at a leading international security vendor was no longer the right fit for meIMG_0660.

While there were many great experiences in that position–working with the senior leadership, collaborating with colleagues across the world and traveling to amazing destinations that included F1 and Moscow–at the end of the day my priorities shifted. I wanted more flexibility, less commute, more autonomy.

After taking a month off and rolling in the new year with a fresh perspective, I tried my hand at a small consulting role with a Boston-based startup. The rest is history — well history in the making I suppose!

In just a matter of months, my client roster matured and the opportunities to work with growing brands all over the country came popping up in my inbox. Creating my own consulting practice seemed like the logical next chapter in this new career journey.

That’s my story in about 200 words, but I’d love to tell you more over coffee or maybe a glass of wine. You can find me here.