Upgrading from Blogger to Entrepreneur with These 4 Tips

Anyone can have a blog and some people might even be fairly successful bloggers, whether “success” is defined by the amount of subscribers they have or how much money they make from their content. But there is a huge leap between being a blogger and blogging for a living. It’s not just about the number of hours you put into your business. If your website is gaining a lot of interest and you feel confident about taking the next step, here are a four tips to help you upgrade from casual blogger, to entrepreneur.

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Sort out your finances

Even if you’re not quite ready to quit your day job just yet, it’s a good idea to check on your financial situation before you attempt to become a full-time blogger. If your position is not so secure that you can afford to be without a guaranteed income for a while, it’s best to make a slow transition to your new career.

However, if you have a big enough safety net to get you through a few months, you’re confident that you can increase your blogging income fairly quickly, and you’re happy to take that leap of faith, then go ahead and take the plunge. Neither one of these options is better than the other; it’s more about what’s the right move for you.

Check your hosting platform

When you first started blogging, you might have been content to have a functioning hosting platform free of charge. But if you want to seem more professional, it might be time to pay for a website that doesn’t end in “wordpress.com”.

To get your research off to the right start, you need to read MangoMatter’s managed WP hosting page reviews. This will give you a better idea of which platforms offer the best support, cost, bandwidth, disk space, and are more popular with users. Don’t be afraid to go for a hosting platform that offers better templates and layouts; you might have done well with a simple blog before, but now it’s time to step up your game.

Image Credit: Pexels

Increase your presence

You’ve already established your brand, and you’ve generated enough interest to consider doing this full-time. Most of the hard work is already complete, you just need to appeal to a larger audience. Reach out to other bloggers and ask if you can collaborate on a project, or get in touch with retailers an offer to promote some of their merchandise through affiliate marketing.

Create a page on Facebook, and separate profiles on Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else that might be relevant. You’re no longer promoting your hobby on your own social media pages, you’re promoting a business that needs its own platform.

Improve your content

Content is king; it’s what got your readers interested in your blog, and it’s what got you into your current position. Now it’s time to step up your research, style, and topics for a fresh audience. The more successful you get, the more your content has to improve.

Tax Doesn’t Have to Be Taxing When It Comes to Your Blog!

You know you’ve landed on your feet when you find a hobby that also earns you money. Something you genuinely enjoy doing but also pays — sometimes so well you can turn it into a full-time job! If you started blogging as a way to share your knowledge, improve your writing and connect with others, you might have landed yourself in this very position. Companies pay very well to be featured on blogs because they’re aware of how much influence they have.

Even if you didn’t set up your blog with this intention when companies start contacting you and are interested in paying you to feature their links and information it does change things a little. Once you’re earning money, it means you have to declare your income and complete a tax return (even if you have nothing to pay, the tax office will still want to know about it).

In fact, the Internal Revenue Code states that all income is taxable unless it is specifically exempted. The IRS states if you work as a blogger it means you run your own business, which is covered by the same tax laws that apply to most other kinds of jobs. So what do you have to bear in mind when it comes to paying tax?

Please bear in mind, this might not be applicable to all countries.

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At what point is my blog classed as a business?

If your blog is a hobby and you’ve not earned any money from it yet, but you want to in the future- this can be a bit of a gray area. The IRS says that you need to be actively engaged in trying to make a profit and this must be for at least three out of the last five years. So if you’re in this position but are yet to earn money, you should be able to set up as a business.

If you’re earning money from your blog regardless of how small, you are most likely to be classed as a business. This can be useful as you are able to claim any losses for your business on your tax return. This can be anything from furniture, equipment, insurance, even utility bills if they relate to your business.

Things like domains and hosting could also be deducted, this is something that can be quite pricey for bloggers especially when you’re not earning any money yet. The problem with cheap WordPress hosting is that it often lacks in support which can be problematic when you’re new to the game. So it can make sense to spend a little more here.

What is self employment tax?

People who work for themselves will pay self-employment tax, this is a social security and Medicare tax. When you pay this, it provides you with a range of benefits, for example, retirement, disability and hospital insurance benefits.

Once your blog earnings exceed $400 you will liable to pay this, and even if you work as an employee and pay tax on that — your blogging income will still count as self-employment income. Even if it’s just on a part time or casual basis.

So it’s something that will still have to be paid, regardless of whether you owe any federal income tax. If you withhold your tax payments or only pay based on an estimate, you will most likely have to pay a penalty. If you run into any legal or tax issues, speak to a lawyer who specializes in the field.

Image Credit: Pexels

What is estimated tax?

Something that traditional employees of a company don’t have to worry about but which you will face as a self-employed blogger are estimated taxes. As you don’t have an employer to pay these for you (since you are essentially your own boss), you will need to pay a quarter of your estimated taxes to the IRS.

These will need to be filled out if you estimate that your tax bill will be one thousand dollars or more. Estimated tax is used to pay towards things like income tax, as well as your self-employment tax and alternative minimum tax. Again it’s worth mentioning that even if you have a full-time job and blogging is a part time or casual thing for you this will still need to be paid.

It’s separate from your main employment, so the payments made won’t count towards your blogging income. If you get stuck, you could always just hire an accountant to deal with things for you!

Have you had to deal with tax as a blogger yet? How easy or complicated did you find it?

Blogging 101: Safety and Security

Everyday, hackers go onto the Web and look for loopholes to exploit. When they find them, they seize their opportunity and install malware and other nasty software. You’re probably thinking: ‘how does this affect me?’ Well, you’re a blogger, aren’t you? As a blogger, you can’t afford random thieves to access your pride and joy and flood your site remotely. Sadly, far too many people with websites and blogs don’t take its safety and security seriously. After all, they only target big enterprises, right?

For the bloggers who aren’t secure enough, this is your lucky day. Underneath are the tips and tricks that transform your site into a digital Fort Knox minus the gold.

Image Credit: Pexels

Change Your Login Details

Firstly, platforms like WordPress have default settings for new users. Hackers know this, too, which is why the login details need personalising as soon as possible. A tip is to use a different password than normal and to include capital letters, signs, and numbers.

Besides this, you should also change your password on a regular basis. Pass codes which stay the same are easier to hack because it gives the thief fewer combinations to guess. Lastly, use Captcha to prevent programs from entering the site with brute force.

Update Plugins

Bloggers love to use widgets because they add to the user experience. Anyway, you need to share content, and social media is the quickest and most accessible way to hit the brief. Unfortunately, the features that you think are your friend can, in fact, turn into an enemy.

Plugins and software programs have bugs and glitches – it’s an occupational hazard. As a result, there are weak spots for hackers to target as a means to access the site. Updating these features makes them more secure as the upgrades contain fixes.

Invest In Quality Antivirus Software

The best way to secure your blog is to install antivirus software. But, how do you know what is good and what isn’t? The answer lies in the price. Any program that is free or cheaper than the competition isn’t comprehensive enough. This is especially true if they have a free and a paid version because they will hold features back.

Also, consider unbiased sources and what they have to say about the software. If someone you trust believes manufacturers make the best malware removal programs for PC, don’t take the advice lightly. As long as they have experience and expertise, their counsel is important.

Back Up Data

It is worth saying that backing up your data won’t prevent an attack. Still, sometimes a hacker isn’t easy to stop. Quite simply, hacks are inevitable at some point of another. The sooner you understand this, the better because you can begin to pick up the pieces.

By backing up your data, for example, you can reset the blog to the last saved point. Hopefully, this will prevent you from losing any important or sensitive data.

As the saying goes, the best do the basics well.

The Brilliance of Blogging: Is Your Business Missing Out?

Most businesses are looking for ways to establish an online presence and improve their SEO ranking. While social media can be incredibly influential, this is not the only way to go about getting your name out there on the web. If your business doesn’t already have a blog, you could be missing out. Blogging can be a brilliant means of reaching out to your target market and optimizing pages that promote your business and will hopefully drive sales. Here are some benefits of blogging and some tips to help you find the best bloggers out there.

Image Credit: Flickr

The benefits of having a blog

If you have a website for your business and you’re keen to drive traffic and get more people talking about your company, it’s almost certain that you could benefit from running a blog. Blogging is an effective component of a content marketing strategy, and it can help you to bridge the gap between the company and clients, give you more presence online and improve your SEO ranking.

By posting articles on a regular basis, you can provide your target market with important information about your company or the products you sell, you can interact with existing and new customers, and you can set yourself apart from your competitors.

Finding the best bloggers

Writing blogs is not as simple as putting some thoughts down on paper and hoping for the best. If you’re not blessed with writing talents, it’s wise to look for people who are. The good news is that there are thousands of bloggers out there who would probably be keen to appear on your blog. When you’re on the lookout for guest bloggers, don’t be afraid to be picky.

The people who are trying to secure your business should be aware of the competition, and they should make a great pitch to garner your interest. You don’t want somebody who tells you their name and just asks if you want to feature their posts on your website. You want a blogger who looks like they’re read an article about how to write the perfect guest post pitch and has experience and expertise in your field, enthusiasm, and ideas that match your expectations.

Don’t be afraid to ask for examples of titles they’d like to put forward or read some previous submissions. Quality content makes all the difference, so take your time to find the best people for the job.

Blogging basics

If you’re new to the concept of blogging, there are some simple rules. Make sure you update your blog with fresh, engaging content on a regular basis, but avoid bombarding readers. Make sure the topics are relevant and share your posts on social media. Optimize the content and encourage interaction. Always remember that quality is more important than quantity.

Image Credit: Pixabay

If you own a business and you’re not au fait with blogging yet, it’s time to make some changes and get with the program. Blogging is a great way of connecting with a wider audience and putting your company on the map. If you don’t want to blog yourself, look for others who can do a brilliant job for you. Focus on posting quality content, keep the blog fresh, and make sure you spread the word when your posts are up and ready to read.

Why You Should Join My Social Experiment on Facebook Dubbed Do Good 365

So it’s all rather simple really; I want to highlight as many inspirational and uplifting stories as I can as often as I can.

I think it’s important since every day each of us is inundated with so much information we sometimes barely read the body of the article. Furthermore, we’re constantly reading and ergo consuming a tremendous amount of negativity.

My hope is by creating a platform (a cause) on social media I can bring about some balance in your day so I started Do Good 365. I’ll feature stories on business, design, art, tech, science, environment, and entertainment all with one theme in common… good news! Each story will be written using 60 words or less (rather hard to do!), but I’ll give it my best shot.

Below is the first story I’ll feature next Monday on a social enterprise called Orange Sky Laundry. It’ll all be done in that format. Just consider it an enlightening meme.

I more than welcome your feedback on what I’m attempting and I’d love your support as well. Like the Facebook page, share it with your friends and comment. Maybe we can start a movement of positivity.

For more information on Orange Sky Laundry, click the link http://www.orangeskylaundry.com.au/
For more information on Orange Sky Laundry, click the link http://www.orangeskylaundry.com.au/

Introducing One of My Favourite Filmmakers Casey Neistat

Like many of you, I spend parts of my days watching videos on YouTube. It never gets boring! There’s always something new.

I’m not really familiar with a lot of video bloggers, but the ones I do know tend to just sit in front of a camera and record themselves talking. That’s fine, if you’re into that sort of thing. I, however, appreciate people who are great and genuine storytellers and one such storyteller is Casey Neistat.

He’s a young filmmaker whose YouTube channel I’ve been following for a few years now since I first stumbled on this video entitled “Make It Count” posted April 9th 2012. Nike basically hands him some money to make them a movie about what it means to make it count, Casey opts for making his own movie on what it means. Personally I preferred his approach which was a trip across the globe capturing the moments as they went along until the film budget was spent.

Flash-forward to 2015, Casey makes a rather BIG ANNOUNCEMENT and as a fan, I had no idea what that could be. When I watched the video it was the greatest news I could ever imagined! His new plan outside of making films for his YouTube channels was going to be one vlog every day for a year or until he got bored. It was his big pivot of sorts for turning 34 and wanting to keep pushing his passion and his craft.

Film-making can’t be easy with all the footage that you have to capture then the editing, colour correction and adding of sound and music in the post-production phase. By the way, the music featured in every vlog Neistat puts out is always top-notch! I respect the quality that goes into the quantity of films he’s produced to date. It’s impressive and really motivates me to work on my own craft and try to explore various medium of expression.

Below is his latest vlog, which came as a bonus today and it’s a musing from the Farrelly Brothers known for movies like “Dumb and Dumber”. Casey’s film is 27 seconds long, but manages to show his talent and creativity as a filmmaker. Not sure what typeface he uses (outside of being a sans-serif), but it works especially, in upper-case letters. It makes me want to pick up my smartphone and start creating some films too. I doubt they’d be as good, but like everything else you just have to start somewhere.

You can subscribe to Casey’s YouTube channel or follow him via Instagram http://instagram.com/caseyneistat

Dream a Little Bigger than You Did the Day Before

Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” I have been blogging since April 2012 and within that time, I have written 120 posts. Each time I write it has given me greater confidence to put what I need to say out into the world. I will be brutally honest though; there have been many a moments when it has gotten frustrating. Every person who writes hopes to have their work read and appreciated by someone else. When you write on a platform like WordPress, that appreciation in the perfect world would equate to likes, comments and shares across social media platforms. If only.

Walt Disney drawing the famous mouse that started it all
Walt Disney drawing the famous mouse that started it all

In almost three years, I have had 8,320 views thanks to 5,162 visitors (1,752 followers) from every continent on the planet excluding Antarctica; maybe because Emperor penguins have no internet. That was no easy feat. It has taken relentless self-promotion (horn tooting) using popular social media platforms day in, day out. Some days are better than others. But I have never given up.

Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to grow my audience exponentially, but I was not sure how I would pull that off. I have been following blogs and vlogs (a video blog) on the Virgin Group’s website for years now and I have learned a tremendous amount particularly on entrepreneurship. It seemed like the perfect platform and I was able to get an opportunity to write a guest blog on the theme “How to turn an idea into reality”.

The iconic bright red Virgin Group logo
The iconic bright red Virgin Group logo

I really wanted to ensure that this blog was one of the best. I spent a little over a week creating countless drafts through constant writing and editing. After sending my blog “across the pond” (to Britain) to the content manager at Virgin.com, I was told it would go live on February 11, 2015. That was probably the longest wait of my life (even though it was only two weeks)!

We all get those moments when we dare to dream just a little bigger than our last dream. We also end up questioning our own abilities and unknowingly wing up limiting ourselves. We should never be afraid of the unknown; trust your gut feeling and do what it tells you. My biggest fear and questions were around people’s reception to my writing style since this was an entirely new audience. I would soon get the answers that ended up becoming confirmation of what my gut had been telling me.

lego bricks
LEGO® was a huge part of my childhood memories

The day finally arrived and I woke up around 8 a.m. (1 p.m. in the United Kingdom) like a kid on Christmas morning and went online. There it was, my long awaited blog, 10 lessons on developing ideas from Shubham Banerjee’s story! That was one of the best feeling I have ever had and kudos to the team at Virgin.com, they did a fantastic job laying out the story; the visuals were perfect. I think I spent many an interval throughout the day monitoring the ‘shares’ and comments. I’ll be honest, I kept checking every day for maybe the first two weeks. After that I was satisfied with the momentum it had picked up. Even better my wife, friends and family loved it too.

Braigo Labs' young CEO Shubham Banerjee with his DIY braille printer invention Photo credit: Niloy Banerjee
Braigo Labs’ young CEO Shubham Banerjee with his DIY braille printer invention
Photo credit: Niloy Banerjee

It has been a little over a month since my blog got published. I am happy to report that it has been shared over 3,000 times across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. It is also on of the website’s recommended and one of the most shared blogs. The best part for me was reading all the comments directly on Facebook, LinkedIn and the Virgin Group’s website. A lot of people were inspired by my writing and the 10 lessons I outlined for turning an idea into reality.

I have been invited to be a regular contributor with Virgin.com. My next blog goes live on March 31st and you guessed it, I have been steadily counting down the days. As lesson # 10 in my aforementioned blog stated, “Dream up big ideas to match big ambitions. Only your mind can limit your ideas and your attitude your ambition.”

Go change your world!

My Top 10 Most Popular Blogs!

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In honour of hitting another major milestone for my blog site of 5,000 views, I thought it would be appropriate particularly on Throwback Thursday to showcase my 10 most popular posts.

Here they are as they rank in views. Enjoy.

  1. What Should You Charge for a Logo Design?
  2. On Pricing Your Work: Be Fair to Yourself.
  3. How Commercial Artists Evolved Into Graphic Designers: Paul Rand
  4. When Betting on a Winner Goes Wrong.‏
  5. Here’s a Quick Way to Name a Graphic Design Business.
  6. How to Make a Movie Poster Just as “golden” as an Oscar!
  7. Drawing is More Than Just Child’s Play… Sort Of!
  8. Working Pro Bono? Never Miss an Opportunity to Market Yourself.
  9. Arby’s New Logo Gets Lassoed! A “Phresh” Perspective.
  10. Look Up From Your Phone! Poem Shatters Everything Social Media Claims to Be!

Follow me via Twitter @phresh_ID

Thanks for Taking the Ride with Me These Last Two Years!

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My blog officially turned 2 years old on April 20, 2014! I’m excited!

After nearly 70 blog posts and approximately 4,300 views, I have to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have gotten this much support from the WordPress community.

Thanks to the 78 of you who follow my blog and to every other blogger and non-blogger (who should blog), your likes and comments are greatly appreciated!

I’m going to keep blogging and I hope you’ll continue to take the time to read and comment and share my posts with others.

Greetings!

This is my very blog, ergo my very first blog site. I love writing and think it’s a great platform to express one’s thoughts.

Not much to say, but give a little introduction to my company and what it’s about. Hopefully this blog site will evolve with time and quickly or slowly build an audience and following.

With over nine years worth of design experience, phresh I+D® represents a different approach to generic concepts. ‘Individualism’ is a key component of the phresh brand, where we believe being yourself is best and should be expressed through great ideas and designs.