Today, I’m posting the last part of my talk on managing your writing business. It’s a subject most don’t like talking about, but one we all have to manage and take into consideration.
a. Budget for your Business. It’s important to sit down and figure out the amount you believe is necessary to grow and maintain your business. This is one of the areas, if not the key element for most, that will break a writing business from the start and create stress not just in your business but in your personal life as well. It’s important to take your family’s needs into considerate when creating your budget.
The best advice on budgeting for business was given to me by my husband. Truthfully, it stung a little at first but once I was able to think on it at the business, and not emotional level, it made perfect sense and took away stress from spending money on my business.
The advice given: Only spend the amount you wouldn’t mind losing/not earning back. Don’t spend more than you are comfortable with not having for other expenses in your life. Make business/writing expense part of your household budget. Don’t treat what you spend as an investment that will give you a return. There is a chance you won’t make back what you spend (depending on the amount) and spending money needed in other areas with the hope you’ll earn it back will only create a lot of stress and hardship.
b. Income – If you place your books on consignments with bookstores or other venues, make sure to check in with them. Every quarter, month, or week (this will depend on when you get reports and how often you’d like to check) evaluate how the book(s) are doing. What can you do to increase income?
1. increase marketing
2. other sources of writing income (articles, freelance, etc.)
3. if writing in more than one genre, is it better to concentrate on one over the other
c. Expenses –
Take a look at what’s been spent during the month/week. Are you within budget? Over budget? If over budget, what can be cut from the upcoming months in your writing expenses to bring you back under budget? Or, if no places to cut what will need to be cut from other budget items in your household? Or how can you make up the shortfall with other income opportunities?
Keep all business receipts. I have file folders for my income and expenses. If you’re not sure if an expense is deductible, contact a tax professional. I know I’m not giving much advice in this area besides file your taxes and if you have any questions consult a tax professional. I know enough to get mine done (and have a professional I can contact with questions) and enough to know I shouldn’t be giving detailed advice on this subject.
And this concludes my mini-series on managing your business. I do have one final thing I’d like to say…
CLOSING NOTE: Another important part of the writing business (and possibly every business) is to forgive yourself. There will be choices you’ll cringe at later, or time you wished you spent better. Let it go. If you haven’t accomplished all you wanted (or needed) to do, let it go. Start fresh. Don’t spend time brow-beating yourself about what wasn’t done, that time is better spent beating up on your characters.
What works today won’t work tomorrow as life constantly changes on us. Learn to adapt. Learn to forgive yourself. And remember to take time out to have fun and recharge.