In the Starter Studio on Tuesday, we had an informative session done by Mercedes Infante of Cross, Fernandez, and Riley, a local but huge accounting and consulting firm. Mercedes advises small businesses (think $6 million and under) and guided us through the top reasons she sees businesses fail.
Coming from a teaching and blogging background, accounting and business matters are not my strength, but I still found some applicable advice to share with you.
1. Not considering scalability.
Some business try to grow too quickly, or on the flip side are not ready for unexpected growth. Both are applicable to bloggers. Trying to do too much at once can definitely burn you out. Take small steps and work to grow your blog slowly but steadily. And on the off chance that your blog goes viral, be prepared for the onslaught of readers, commenters, and sponsors that will want to work with you. Sure, this sounds like a good thing, but the loss of anonymity has done in more than a few bloggers.
2. Not putting agreements in writing.
If you are working with a writing partner, then definitely take time to write down your business agreement, especially before things do take off. And this goes doubly for working with sponsors. Make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you, and if you are receiving financial compensation, be sure to know if the company is going to hit you with a W-9 to where you are taxed on it or not. (This can be an unwelcome surprise that maybe you weren’t planning on!)
3. Bad advice from people.
I’m finding out here in the Starter Studio that just about everybody has advice for me. Even with the best way to structure my business, I’ve had people tell me to form a non-profit, an S-corporation, an LLC, as well as an LLC Type S. Which one should I do? Who has the right advice for me? Mercedes’ key take away on this point is just because something worked well for another, doesn’t mean it’s right for me. Everybody’s situation is unique, and this includes blogging.
4. Trying to do it all on your own.
Ask for help. Seriously. There’s no way you can know everything; in fact, I am learning how little I actually know and how important it is to reach out and ask for help. This is why I’m writing these blog posts, so maybe I am helping other bloggers who can use this info.
5. Licenses and registrations.
Make sure you have all of your legal items in a row. Do you need to “service mark” your name? Do you have your domains and privacy certificates set up for automatic renewal?
6. Understand you employer responsibilities.
If you blog and make any money, you are self-employed and this comes with a whole set of tax responsibilities. Make sure you take steps to understand what you can and can’t deduct, what you have to report and what you don’t. What about health insurance?
8. Not choosing the right location.
Okay, this one pertains mostly to brick and mortar stores, but can apply to bloggers as well. Have you chosen the right niche? What makes you stand out in that niche? And once you get profitable enough and consider possibly incorporating, should you do it here in Florida or would Delaware be better for you?
9. No legal protection.
So, even if you decide not incorporate, you still have to be careful as a blogger. We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of bloggers who’ve been sued for copyright infringement or slander. In fact, make this blog post your next stop to see how dangerous the law can be for bloggers.
10. Ran out of money.
Whether you are blogging for a profession or just a hobby, the bills can add up! From hosting fees to different online services and theme designs – not to mention that shiny new SLR you just bought – there is a financial aspect to be considered.
So, if you’ve been in the business of blogging for a while or just starting out, be sure to keep these 10 reasons in mind.
And a last bit of advice from Mercedes: “Never give up – there will be failures – use positive self-talk and network! You never know who will know who and who you will run into later and who can help you out.
Note: FLBlogCon has been selected to participate in the second round of the Starter Studio, an accelerator for tech start ups. For the next three months, I will be sharing the things I learn with you. Here are my previous posts:
Let’s Get It Started!
25 Things I’ve Learned in Business
Boomerang Your Blog
Finding a Blog Mentor
15 Lessons from Success and Failure