Does the nitty-gritty of financial management for your venture seem like an uphill battle? This episode with small business financial consultant and coach, Andy Smiles, will equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to set your independent business up for success, so you can focus on doing what you love!
We kick things off by getting up close and personal with Collective, an all-in-one financial platform tailored for the self-employed. It's not just about crunching numbers and balancing books, it’s about understanding the emotional relationship we have with money. Andy shares her own insight into how Collective has played a pivotal role in her journey, and how it can do the same for you.
We also shed light on different business structures, notably the differences between sole proprietorships, LLCs, and S Corps – because, let's face it, these are more than just fancy business jargon. Together, we decode the pros, cons, and tax implications, and Andy even drops some golden nuggets on when to elect to be taxed as an S Corp.
In the final part of our journey, we turn our focus to business expenses, particularly those that tend to slip under the radar. Andy underscores the importance of investing in yourself as a business expense, challenging existing notions around this concept. Lastly, we turn the spotlight on self-care and its vital role in managing a business. So, join us for an episode that delivers equal parts financial wisdom and self-care advice, and leave feeling more confident about managing your business and money. Remember, knowledge is power – and we're here to make sure you're well-armed.
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Welcome everybody to another episode of the Modern Independent. As always, I am here as your host, yann Almasy, the head of community here at Indie Collective, and today I am super hyped to have one of our most attended workshop presenters here with me, andy Smiles, who is a small business financial consultant and coach who teaches business owners how to take control of their finances so they can step into their personal power, and he is also the director of content at Collective, one of our partners here at Indie Collective. She'll be learning about throughout this entire episode, so stay tuned for what Collective actually does and how they can help you. She has helped hundreds of self-employed folks organize and understand their business finances, while also uncovering their emotional relationship with their money. She has also certified professional coach and earned her coaching credential through the leadership that works coaching for transformation program accredited by the International Coaching Federation. When she's not nerding out about numbers, andy is walking her Muppet Rescue Dog with her wife, devouring novels and volunteering for causes that she believes in. Andy, welcome to the Modern Independent.Speaker 2:
Hi, thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.Speaker 1:
So I always love starting off just by diving into what makes us passionate about what we do and how we kind of became passionate about the things that we love. So, before we dive into what Collective is and how it started, I'd love to know how you develop the passion for finance and then also this relationship between somebody's emotions, the way that they are leaning into their business and the relationship with money.Speaker 2:
Yeah, absolutely so. As you mentioned in my intro, I was a small business financial consulting coach. I owned my own business for 11 years and during that time I worked primarily with solopreneurs in the financial space, coaching them, talking with them about their money. And what was very interesting to me when I started doing consulting was that a lot of people came in originally with, hey, I want to know how to do my bookkeeping or I want to understand taxes more. But when we would start talking, what I would discover is that it was a lot more about the emotional side of money for them than the tactical side, and I've always said that the two go hand in hand. You do need the tactical as well. You need the knowledge, need the information. I know we're going to get way more deep into that today, but you also need the emotional side. You need to understand your emotional relationship with money and dig that a little bit more. And one of my core beliefs has always been that all of us have the capacity to be good with money when given the right tools and knowledge. And I saw this firsthand because I would start working with somebody who's self-employed, who'd come to our first session crying because they're like. I can't even imagine that I would get to the point where I could look at a report with my numbers and by the end they would be messaging me like six months later saying I love doing my bookkeeping and QuickBooks. So this core belief obviously extends past self-employed folks. Right, I think everyone has that capacity to be good with money. But I think and this is really like where the passion piece comes in for self-employed people in particular, it's really hard because so much of your business is you, there's so much enmeshment between your business and the personal you, and so what that means is that your money stuff surfaces a lot when you run your own business and that's the stuff that can really hold you back. You know there becomes an emotional burden. That happens when you're carrying that money baggage and those negative beliefs about yourself. So a lot of my work has always been centered around this idea of what if we talked about both the emotional and the tactical, and what if we really began to explore our emotional relationship with money and bring that into our business life and our business selves, and how will that transform our business? And what I believe and what I've seen is that when we are addressing both pieces of that relationship with our money, the tactical and the emotional, that we begin to show up to our business more authentically and more confidently and make decisions that are really coming from a grounded place rather than a reactive place, because you're having a reaction that's really deeply rooted in some of your emotional money baggage.Speaker 1:
I love that. It's reminding me of a lot of conversations that I've had so prior to joining Indie Collective and prior to starting Apex Communications Network, which is the organization that I originally founded to go through Indie Collective with obviously not for the purpose of going through Indie Collective, but that's my agency. I was an RN and I spent a lot of time working inside of the site space as well, and I remember having conversations with people around how important it is to get clarity on not just what the symptoms of making a decision are, but what the root causes that's causing the nervousness, the anxiousness, all of these things that we look at is oh, this is just me, I have this relationship, this is just how I am with this topic, and it doesn't have to be that you can peel those things. Those are just symptoms of something deeper, and so I love especially the way you ended it right there with you know why can't it be both? I always, I always, love telling perspective Indie Collective members. Some of the best things that our presenters do is they ask you know, what if? What if it could be both? What if it could be a balance of the emotional and the tactical right and layer those together and mesh those, which actually leads me kind of into the next place, because I think that Collective actually does a fantastic job of doing those things and I, you know, for purposes of everybody obviously. I'm, you know, very familiar with what Collective is and does and a lot of our members use the platform and have a lot of success with it. We get constant positive reviews. But for somebody that might be listening, that that is a solo founder or somebody that is in that space, that has never heard of the platform before, what is this all in one platform for the founders?Speaker 2:
Yeah. So Collective is a financial platform that is designed specifically for solopreneurs or, as we lovingly call them, businesses of one, and really the purpose of the platform is to support these business owners with the not so glamorous tasks of running their business. So that's things like the company formation side, the bookkeeping, accounting and taxes really the tax and financial side of running your business and in particular, at Collective we specialize in a certain type of tax election called the S corp, which can help self-employed people save money on their taxes. It's a great option for higher earners, but it is also very complex and when you be introduced that type of complexity into your business as a self-employed person, there can be a lot of additional tasks that you have to take on. So at Collective, our goal is to take all of that additional task and work related to the financial side of running your business off your plate and really free up businesses of one to put their best energy into their business. We just talked a lot about the emotional side of running a business, and these things are not only draining from, like, a time perspective right, it takes time away from working with clients and making money but they're also draining from an emotional and mental perspective, and when you have that drain, less of your best self goes into your business.Speaker 1:
I 100% agree with that. We talk all the time about the power of understanding your zone of genius and really leaning into that zone of genius and as soon as you identify that something is not within that zone of genius or your passion, either figuring out a way to minimize your involvement in that, delegate it to somebody that it is their passion or their zone of expertise in order to free up space. Because I think a lot of people would be really surprised, myself included, when I first kind of started thinking about moving things in this space. You know, bookkeeping, the financial portion, tax, elections, things of that nature how much I like to. I call it like background bandwidth right, our brain is a computer. How much background bandwidth just the tasks on a regular basis that come with that take up inside of your head. And I've heard over and over again from indie collective members that have elected to use the collective platform that they get to a place two months, three months after and they're like well, I have extra hours in my life of free space and now I'm using that for business development or I'm using it for relationships and networking, or I developed a new workshop and you know, you don't know what you're missing out on productivity wise until you undergo that process, and I think that what your workshop inside of the curriculum and what collective as a whole does it makes it really easy to understand a lot of pretty complex things, because the way that you're able to explain them just hits home.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and I would say that this is also an antidote to some of what we were talking about earlier about not feeling like you're good with money. I've met a lot of people who don't feel like they're good enough at this type of stuff to really run a business, and it keeps them from owning the fact that they are like running a full on business and really going all in. And there is this antidote of outsourcing it, because when you outsource, you're still taking care of yourself and you're still taking care of your business. It's very easy to feel like you need to DIY everything in your business and do it all yourself as a solo right. You're newer, but outsourcing is a form of care for your business and it's a form of, I would say, really owning that you're committed to the business because you're willing to give up some tasks so you can focus on growing this beyond where you are currently.Speaker 1:
Agreed, Agreed. So now I'm curious. We kind of got why is Andy passionate about finances and the emotional relationship between money, and we kind of understand what Collective does. So where did those two things meet? Where did your passion for what you do meet what Collective does? And you kind of stepped into this space where you're now one of their greatest advocates as the director of content.Speaker 2:
Yeah. So I think one of the things that makes Collective really unique in this space technology and services for self-employed folks is that our co-founders were all self-employed at one point and they've all felt the pain of self-employment. So what has happened is you bring together a group of people who are really passionate about the self-employed community, really believe in the self-employed economy and also understand the pain of being self-employed. So Collective really started originally with a deep respect for all of those factors and a desire to contribute something to bolster the success of the self-employed community. So, in terms of how I got involved, I was already working in that space and they reached out to me for some consulting services and, I'll be completely honest, I thought it was kind of odd and wasn't fully. I wasn't fully sold on the idea and the reason for that was because I felt very protective about self-employed finances. Felt protective about it in the sense of do I want to help a company? I didn't know enough about them at that point and are they really here to solve problems for the self-employed community or are they here to profit? Because I didn't want to be involved with something that wasn't about truly working towards bettering the self-employed community. So it was kind of funny the first time I met with the co-founders and these were very early days and we sat down and started talking and I was very guarded and they were also guarded because they were having the same, I guess, level of scrutiny towards me as I was to them. I was looking at them are you really committed to this community? And they were looking at me like, are you really committed to bringing the real voice of this community into our work together? And it was a little awkward at first because you have two guarded groups trying to suss each other out. But essentially what I realized and where my background and collective came together, was that we both shared a common passion, a common goal, a common respect for the self-employed community, and I think it was. You know, both as me and the co-founders, we all deeply, truly love this community and believe in this community and that's why I began working with them, because I recognized that and I recognized that they wanted as much in me as I wanted it in them.Speaker 1:
I love that. I can't think of them more appropriate approach to stepping into that space Because, like you said, you come into a conversation like that where two people are guarded, they're trying to suss each other out, you figure out what the intentions are and everything like that. But I'm sure that their reaction to your I'll say I don't even call it guardedness right, like your healthy respect for needing to understand what their intentions were, is a really key indicator to somebody that is actually passionate about the space or knows what they're looking for inside of the space, not just trying to jump on whatever startup train is looking to move the fastest inside of an industry. And I feel that every time you present I know that our members feel that every time that you present to us, because you have been there you understand what the pain points are and you're able to convey things in a way that I know personally. When I first went through it, I went to nursing school, right, like I had no idea what I was getting into when I first started the company and so we made our first six figures as an agency and I was like, okay, what do I do with my hands? I'm like this is real. Now it's happening. Holy crap, I don't know what to do. I was not trained for this. I can figure out how to titrate medications in an ICU like no other, but when it comes to finances and understanding things, I had no background right. So I was coming into my first indie collective cohort with no even ability to even come up with a metaphor to help understand things, and I remember the first time attending your session, the way that you were able to piece things together. I'm just like, oh okay, that makes a lot of sense. Which kind of leads me to where I wanna kind of take the conversation next, which is kind of building for people, like a series of questions and some things that we talk about inside of that, so they can kind of get an idea of an education on some of these topics. And I guess the first place that I would want to dive into is what are the typically like the types of businesses of one that you run into? What are they doing, what industries are they in, what are they involved with? And then we can kind of dive into what is the typical structure that you encounter when those people initially come to collective in the first place.Speaker 2:
Yeah, so at collective we work with a wide range of businesses of one, but the ones that we see the most are coaches and consultants, sales and marketing professionals, creative professionals like photographers, videographers, designers. We also have a good group of software engineers and web developers, and then also content creators, because content creation is that's a wouldn't even say a budding industry. It's a thriving industry now, and we also work with real estate agents in certain states, which it's a long list, but it also shows the power of the self-employed movement, of how many different types of professions exist in this movement.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and one thing that just strikes me is you lay all of those out and it kind of takes me back to what you were saying earlier on inside of the introductions, each one of those positions, each one of those roles. When you are a business of one inside of any of those spaces coach, consultant, marketing professional, brand strategist, web developer I mean you are putting so much of you on the line with your business as a marketing and branding professional inside of that space. I know, when I'm preparing a deck and a customer pays me to come in and say here's my dream, here's what I'm working with funding-wise, here's where I wanna go. I am going to pay you to come up with a strategy to figure out how to put all of this together and give me the timeline where I wanna execute. It's a lot of my personal, my research, my personal interpretation of data. It's me, and so putting that out on the line is intense. It's an intense experience the first couple of times you do it and I think you have a healthy respect for it as you continue to do it over time and having the ability to like focus all of your emotional energy on that portion without having to worry about how is the backend of all of this actually going to function properly, so that I'm not shooting myself in the foot is huge inside of those spaces, because you are so emotionally invested as that business of one, especially in those verticals that you just laid out.Speaker 2:
Yeah, exactly, and I think, like one of the, being self-employed is really scary. It's a scary risk to take because it's all on you, but the flip side to that is the limitless potential of being self-employed. There's no ceiling of how much you can earn. You can go and take your business anywhere. Right, and that's the really exciting part. And going back to what you're saying, when you have a platform or tools that allow you to really invest in that limitless potential side of self-employment and not the drudgery of, like, bookkeeping and filing paperwork, it gives you more of that freedom, that liberation, that sense of oh, I could do anything and take this anywhere. You have more time to sink into that 100%.Speaker 1:
So if those are the main verticals, I know what I consistently hear inside of Indie Collective. I call them office hours. I actually think about renaming them because I don't technically like what office hours is, but these half hour coaching sessions that I host with are cohort members throughout the year A lot of times. There are two main categories of business structure that I hear of. It will get to S-Corp at some way, but the two main ones that I hear about early on are sole proprietorships and LLCs. So for those that are maybe thinking about starting the business and they haven't quite gotten there yet or they have one of those structures, what is kind of the compare and contrast or the pro con between those two structures? And then we can maybe expand that and we could start to dive into S-Corp after we set these foundations.Speaker 2:
Yeah. So the first thing to know about a sole proprietorship is that it's not something that you choose to become. You by default, when you have self-employment earnings, become a sole proprietor. So if anyone's listening today and they're thinking, wait, what am I? I'm not quite sure I'm hearing these terms for the first time. If you were earning money as a self-employed person, you are a sole proprietor. So that is one of the main differences between a sole proprietorship and an LLC, because an LLC does require that you file paperwork and basically register your business as a separate entity with the state. The other key difference between a sole proprietorship and an LLC is that when you are a sole proprietor, under the eyes of the law, you and your business are considered one. That means that all of your business assets and all of your personal assets are Considered one in the same. And we're talking about the eyes of the law, because this can get a little bit confusing If you're somebody who's like no, I have all my business assets in a different bank account, so it's separate, right? Yes, the money is separated, but we're talking about the way it's considered and viewed legally. So when you are a sole proprietorship, there is no legal separation between your business and your personal assets, which means that there is some risk to your personal assets if your business is sued. Now an LLC is something that we call a legal structure or a legal entity and, as I mentioned before, in order to become an LLC or form an LLC, you need to go to your state and Formally organize or register your business as a separate entity from yourself, and the benefit of doing this is that when you have an LLC, it creates liability protection between your business assets and your personal assets. So we're once as a sole proprietor, everything is considered one. As an LLC, there is separation that exists, which means that in most cases, if your business is sued, your personal assets are going to be protected from lawsuits or creditors. Now there is a key call out here that I want to mention, because this is something that is confusing to people. One of the things that does not change between a sole proprietorship and an LLC is the tax structure. By default, an LLC is taxed the same way as a sole proprietorship, and this is very confusing to folks. I've heard a lot of people say oh, I formed an LLC, my taxes are going to be different. Your tax structure will not change. The only thing that changes when you are an LLC is that you have tax flexibility, which means you can ask to be taxed differently than the way that you are taxed by default. A sole proprietor can't do that, so you do get a little bit of Get more options as an LLC, but there is no automatic difference between your sole proprietor and an LLC taxation.Speaker 1:
Right, yeah, it's, it's all in the options that you choose and you have to, you know, kind of elect those on your own. That's one thing that I learned kind of the hard way early on, you know, because Unfortunately I didn't have a collective when I was first, you know, launching apex and and if I hadn't met Sam, yet I hadn't met any collective, hadn't met this platform whatsoever, and so I didn't realize that there was no automatic transfer. And you know, learning things about Pass through income directly to the owner and other things of that nature can be a little bit harrowing when your first kind of getting stuff launched into that space. So I mean, I think that all of that information is Super, super helpful. And if you're listening to this and you're you're thinking, man, you know, I Maybe need to reevaluate some things, or I assumed some things and this is kind of bringing me a little bit of light to the conversation. You can straight just go to collectivecom. That is the the URL, and there is an FAQ section there. That is amazing. They have so many, you know, questions and answers and things of that nature that you can continue to dive into on that space as well. I Am curious now. So so the next layer up right and and you kind of said this in the beginning that collective specializes in this escort election and Well, hopefully, and hopefully I'm phrasing that right is that it is an election, right. So what is what is an S corp? And how is that different Then, an LLC, is it? You know what is that phrase election actually mean? And I'll just, you know, step back, because this is definitely not my zone of genius. I will surrender that to you.Speaker 2:
Yeah. So, as I just mentioned, an LLC is what we call a legal structure and an S corp is a tax structure. So that's a key difference there. The other thing to know is that an S corp is you have to ask to be taxed as an S corp, so it doesn't happen automatically. So we just talked about the LLC versus sole proprietorship, and one of the things we mentioned is that you get tax flexibility, that is, the option to ask the IRS to change the way you're taxed. So we always say the words oh, it's an S corp, I'm an escort, I want to become an escort, but really, if we were being Technical about it, it is, my LLC is taxed as an escort. So when it comes to LLCs and S corps or other legal structures because LLCs are not the only structure that's allowed to be taxed as an escort we just tend to specialize in them because they're the most appropriate for most of the types of business owners we work with. But what we're really talking about here is not an either or situation. It is an LLC or escort. It is LLC taxed as a sole proprietorship or LLC taxed as an escort. So it's important to keep in mind, especially for those of you who are listening, who would like to Consider becoming an escort, that you don't give up your LLC. Your LLC and I always say your LLC is the foundation of your business structure. If you're thinking about building a house, a tax house, anytime you build a house you have to have a foundation. The LLC is that foundation and then the tax house that you build on top of that Is the escort. So you must have the foundation first in order to have the escort or to build the escort tax house on top of it.Speaker 1:
I love that and that was one of those main realizations for me speaking of, you know, the first time that I attended one of the sessions is that the LLC and the S corp are part of the same pairing. Right, they are paired together. It is two separate things. The LLC protects you in some ways and the S corp is an election of how you are taxed within that structure, and that was something that just it was so fundamentally cool to actually understand that here is this divider. The LLC helps me separate my personal and my business assets so that, if something were to happen, I'm not getting sued and losing my home, right Like my personal assets are now separated from my business. Oh, okay, cool. There's this other layer that now I can actually have even more flexibility in the ways that I choose to pay myself and things of that nature. That is this election on top of the LLC. So, with that in mind, what are some of the main, the main benefits of that S corp tax election? Or how do you go about navigating, educating a business owner on? Okay, you are saying that you want to become an S corp. When is that actually the right time? Because I know in the marketing space. There's plenty of times where customers come and they ask us. They're like I need this. And it's like, well, you may actually need this before you need this, or why do you believe that you need that? So what are some of those common things when people come and they say, well, I heard that an S corp is the way to go. Why is that the way to go? What type of flexibility does it give you? And, yeah, what are some of those main benefits of taking your LLC in that direction?Speaker 2:
Yeah. So the main benefit of an S corp is that, depending on how much money you're earning in profit, it can mitigate your taxes, your self employed tax bill, which, as anyone who's self employed knows, can be very painful. And the way that that works is that typically, when you are taxed as a sole proprietor remember an LLC a single member LLC by default is taxed the same way as well. You pay two types of taxes on your business profits. Your business profits pass through to your personal tax return and then you pay income tax and self employment tax on those profits. So let's say that you earn $100,000 in profit in your business. That's going to pass through to your personal tax return and then you're paying both of those taxes together on that pass through profit. Self employment tax is 15.3%. It's paying into your social security and Medicare, so it does help you a bit, like we. Self employment tax isn't, you know, inherently bad, but it can be expensive. So with an S corp tax structure, what happens is that you, the owner of the business, you become an employee of the business. So when you have an S corp, the S corp entity, the business entity, is employing you, the owner, and as the owner, you are required to be paid what's called a reasonable compensation. In other words, you're going to get a salary from your business and what's cool about the salary is one it's tax deductible expense of the business. So you get to write off your own salary. And two, only your salary in the S corp tax structure are subject to social security and Medicare taxes. So that 15.3% so just to remind everybody, sole proprietor taxation, all the profits you got to pay those social security and Medicare taxes on S corp taxation, just the owner salary that you pay yourself is subject to those profits. Then for subject to those taxes, subject to the social security and the Medicare taxes, the S corp profits still pass through to you and your owner tax return, but you are only paying income tax on those profits plus the W2 wages that you receive. So the TLDR of it all is that you have less money that is subject to social security and Medicare taxes. You just end up paying less tax because there's less money that is required to be taxed with that 15.3%. And that is why people like S corps, because after a certain income level it can save you quite a bit of money on your taxes if it's a good fit for you and your business. So in the terms of you know because probably people listening right now that are like this sounds great, I want to do this like no self employment tax on my self employment tax on my profits, like I'm in. So who is this really good for? The guideline we use here at Collective is anyone who is earning $60,000 in annual self-employment profit. So remember, profit is revenue, the money that you earn from selling your goods and service, minus expenses. So that's what profit is. So it's not all just the money you make pre-expense. We want to focus on the profit. If you are earning more than $60,000 in self-employment profits per year, you do want to start considering the S-Corp election and digging a little bit deeper into if it's right for you. So the next question people ask is why is it $60,000? S-corp's are inherently more complex. I mentioned this a bit earlier. They have more complex accounting and bookkeeping requirements. They have more complex tax requirements. You also now have to be doing payroll, which is a whole new area of your business if you're not doing that. So there are times that the S-Corp tax savings don't outweigh the additional cost either financial or time cost to you that you're going to incur. So what we have found here at Collective because we specialize in S-Corp is that at the $60,000 mark, that is where those tax savings become significant enough that the additional complexity, the additional cost, is outweighed by the tax savings. Another thing you want to keep in mind about the S-Corp tax election is are you committed to your business for the long call? Because if you are thinking about being self-employed for like six months and then you're going to go find a W-2, it's not worth making the investment in this tax election Because, remember, there's all this new complexity you're going to need to set up. So it's best for folks who are really committed to self-employment for the foreseeable future.Speaker 1:
I love the frisology that you're using there and really I mean, I just I love a lot of your frisology across, all the different ways that you kind of tie these complex financial topics together. And if you're listening to this, I can promise you that this is really just the tip of the iceberg of some things that we dive into inside of the cohort, and you have Andy for Q&A after the session and stuff like that. This is a really powerful workshop every single year and if I'm capable of digesting these, I can promise that you will also be. As I said, I had zero experience in this prior to coming into these spaces. But calling it an investment, right, you are investing in a structure that is going to serve you in the foreseeable future, especially once you reach that certain level. And so one of the other areas I know that we kind of we mentioned that it's 60,000 in profit, right, and there's that difference between revenue the overall revenue of the business and the profit that you have after expenses and things of that nature to kind of drift away from the S-Corp structure just a little bit and more into just general business practices and things of that nature. As far as expenses go, I feel like when you are in that LLC headspace. I remember having conversations with my accountant where it's just like expenses as much as you can, here's some expenses, here's some expenses. We need to get this down and there was always this constant battle of like can we really do this or what is this? What are some of these places? So, as far as some expenses go inside of your business, are there any ones that just right off of the top of the head, that, and it may even seem extremely rudimentary because of your experience in the field, but for people that are listening, what are some of those most common expenses that people might look into or be awakened to as far as like, oh, I could be expensing that through my business?Speaker 2:
Yeah. So I think the ones that are common. There's the sort of typical ones like advertising. I think those are the easy ones to wrap your head around. You're like, yes, advertising, yes, bank fees. Maybe I charge people credit card the merchant processing fees. Those are the really standard ones. The ones that tend to get missed are the ones that are a little bit harder to wrap your head around. So, for example, education expenses Are you taking workshops to better your business? Right, like, arguably, the indie collective membership if that is a professional.Speaker 1:
I was just about to say that I have not thought about that at all.Speaker 2:
Because that has a business impact and the way the IRS defines business expenses and tax deductions is necessary and ordinary expense. And necessary does not mean it has to be necessary, as in without this expense I cannot run my business. Necessary means it needs to be beneficial to the business and tied to your business activities, of course, like you do need to have it tied back to what you do. So people often miss educational expenses. That's a big one that people don't realize they can write off. And then another one that people often miss are the ones that are split between personal and business. For example, if you don't have a dedicated cell phone for your business and you're using your personal cell phone for your business, you can write off a percentage of that, the percentage that goes towards your business, same with your home internet. So those are the ones that people don't tend to think about as much. That usually are like. The shockers of it all and I will say one more that people often are scared to write off is business travel. You know, if someone's traveling down to a conference or, let's say, in a collective did like a live event with panels and things like that, that again has a business impact. It has a beneficial and business impact. The cost of the event, the travel, the lodging, you know if you ended up running a car, all of those would be business expenses. But I find that people tend to be kind of scared and skittish around travel expenses as well.Speaker 1:
Yeah, I love that. I mean A. This isn't going to be a video based show, but if you, if you all, could have seen my face when I had that the light bulb moment just now, that Indie Collective is a right offable right offable, that's definitely a word. Now, expense, it makes complete sense, right, like taking it back full circle to the beginning of the conversation as a business of one, as a solo producer. You know, founder, whatever you want to call yourself an independent, they're so intimately tied to each other. And I think so often and we talk about this in the designing your life section of the cohort, there at the very beginning that we so many times overlook what's good for our business versus what's good for us. And one of the things that we always bring up is you know, you really want to build a business around what we call the three L's. Right, you're not just making a living, but also having that living create the space for you to have the lifestyle that you are looking to have and create the time for you to spend in developing the loving relationships in your life. And because that, you know, it overlaps so much when you think of business development, when you are a business of one. That means that when you do self care, you're doing business development. When you do education, you're doing business development. All of these things that you do to take care of you, to educate yourself, to network, to further your space are all tied back to your business as a business of one. So I absolutely love that and you know, if you're listening 100%, take that in and say I am my business, investing in me is worth it. And now you know it is a right off the ball expense. I love that, so I am. I we're getting close to wrapping up our time here and there's two different things that I always love to do at the end of these podcasts, and one is just, you know, allowing you the freedom in the space that if there's anything that you would want to pass on to a new business owner, somebody that's just kind of starting out and say you know, if there's one or two things that I would absolutely love for you to hear, these are them right. And then the other space is I always like to provide resources and I'm also fascinated with the things that people look at and I always ask are you a reader, a watcher or a listener? And depending on which of those three you tend to engage with most. Could you recommend a great book, and it doesn't have to be, you know, self-help or business related, it's just you know it could. Could you recommend a book, a podcast or a YouTube channel that you thoroughly enjoy and believe that people would find interesting?Speaker 2:
Oh, put me on the spot there. So I'll start with the key takeaways, because I have to think about the second question. You know, the key takeaway is really what we began with, which, if you are a business owner no matter how long you've been in business, you know I really want everybody to embody the idea that they can be good with money. And that can mean a lot of different things. If you're DIYing it right now and you think, oh my gosh, I'm doing everything wrong, you know trusting yourself a little bit more. If you're to the point where you are ready to outsource and you're scared about what that might mean for your business, you know allowing yourself to do that and looking at that as a form of financial self-care for your business as well. But in whatever spectrum you're at right now, just giving yourself a little bit more belief and a little bit more trust that you really can do it. And I have seen it like firsthand seen it. So this is why I'm saying that I know that you can do it.Speaker 1:
I love that. I will echo that as well. And I just was looking at my. I keep like a tracking sheet of all of the interviews and the different coaching sessions and things that I've had to engage in as the head of community, and I just recently went over 100 coaching sessions individual 30 minute coaching sessions with Indie, collective, cohort numbers and I would say 100% double click on that. If there's one thing that I think consistently shows up is we have this somewhat of a disconnect. I mean you can look at your resume, you can look at a piece of paper and see all of the skills that you have and the way that your business is growing. And I've met people that their business is growing by, you know, 100 plus percent, six month over six month interval, and they still are having trouble believing that they're a business owner. And I'm like how, how is this? How is this happening? And a lot of that comes back down to more of that self belief and really leaning into that a little bit more. So I can't double click on that enough. If you're listening to this and and you are resonating with that and needed to hear it, it's okay. You know, we can all kind of get into our heads at some point along the journey and most of us multiple times along the journey of self employment, because it is difficult and scary and all of the things that we talked about but also to Andy's point can be limitless and can provide you so many different opportunities to go, to travel to places, to do things, to meet amazing people, and I'm just super, super grateful that you were able to come in and hang out and explain things in that way.Speaker 2:
Yeah, so glad. And now to switch gears, I did think about the second question, so I'm going to completely switch it up. This is just if you. I am more of a listener. I listen to a lot of podcasts and this is my podcast when I'm like I just need some levity, some joy some don't take it all so seriously just to laugh, just to get out of whatever I'm in. It's a podcast called Normal Gossip and it is essentially stories about regular people that are sort of wild and take some twists and turns and it's very funny If you like to hear about things that happen to people, but it's fun, it's low stakes, nothing bad happens, it's all fun gossip, people that you don't know. It's all anonymized, highly recommended. It is just a space. When I put in the headphones and listen for an hour, I'm laughing nonstop and giving me that mental break to just enjoy something silly.Speaker 1:
I, yeah, I absolutely love that and that's why I always love asking that question, because there's so many times where and why I always put the qualifier on it that it doesn't have to be self-help or business related, right, because it's. I've gotten true crime podcast episodes. I've gotten, you know, gaming streamer YouTube channels. I've gotten fantasy books and this is just another podcast and to what we were just talking about, it's important to have those spaces for yourself and to be able to step away and, you know, take a, take a breather, laugh a little bit, get some endorphins running and have a good time and remind yourself that you know, no matter how bad of a day, you could be happy having a lot of times. There's nothing a good belly laugh can't fix. I 100% agree with that. Well, so to wrap up our time here, I mean, this hour is absolutely flown by. I'm super, super grateful for the information that you're able to provide today. I always learned something. I'm sure that everybody listening is also going to have a lot of takeaways. If those people listening want to continue to learn more or connect with you, where are some of the best places to do that online?Speaker 2:
Yeah, as you mentioned earlier Collectivecom, we also have a very robust blogs and guide section of our website with tons of wonderful articles about being self-employed, making some of these decisions, about S-Corps, but even things about different types of business structures. You might be hearing about things you may have heard on TikTok. We have a lot of articles addressing those, so it's a great resource. And we also have a YouTube channel. Just look up Collectivecom on YouTube, where we also have videos that are very short they're all under four minutes that do deep dives into certain topics and again, if you felt like how I explain things made a lot of sense to you. This is really our content. Philosophy is ensuring that everything that we put out there is digestible for people.Speaker 1:
I love that and if you're also listening to this and as I was talking about earlier in the podcast, this is really just the tip of the iceberg of the things that we address inside of the Indie Collective cohort. Andy's session is always sandwiched by sales and other structures and other ways to try to grow your business inside of the curriculum and you would like to actually attend Andy's workshop while in the cohort or the curriculum? Shoot me an email at Jan looks like Jan, Jan at Indie Collective that's I N D E collectiveio to get some more information about the Indie Collective cohort, or you can visit our website at Indie Collectiveco. Until next time. This has been another episode of the modern independent Andy. Thank you again for hanging out and I can't wait to record the next episode. I will see the listeners on the next show.