Guest Post: 3 Ways to Invest in Yourself and Your Business in 2020

12.20.19BLOG > Featured

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For goodness’ sake, have a separate bank account. If you learn nothing else from us, do this one thing. PLEASE. If you don’t already have a separate bank account that you use exclusively for your business, the new year is a perfect time to make that happen. This is the single biggest thing you can do to make your record keeping and taxes easier next year, plus it’s a quick and easy one-time thing. You can get this set up in just an hour or so, and you’ll immediately be glad you did it. This account doesn’t *have* to be in your business name—it can be in your personal name if you’re a Sole Proprietorship which makes it even easier. If you’re taxed as a corporation (and file a separate return for your business), then it is important to have this account in your business name, which might be just a bit more work, but still not a big deal.

Once you have a separate account set up use it ONLY for your business. Otherwise you defeat the whole purpose of having a separate account and you’re just back in the same boat. If an instance arises that you need to pull money for something personal, instead of paying for your personal expense out of your business account, write a check to yourself, put it in your personal account, then turn around and pay your personal bills with YOUR PERSONAL account. This is crucial to keep you from doing something called “piercing the corporate veil” which basically means exposing you personally to more legal risk if anything ever went wrong in your business. This sounds bad and scary and we hope you get the point. The other reason it’s so important to make sure to keep your expenses segregated is for your mental health. If you do this it makes record keeping so much easier at the end of the year. Knowing that besides those checks you wrote to yourself, 100% of the expenses in the business bank account were for the business, it will be a lot less work to get ready for taxes.


Just like setting up a separate bank account for your business is crucial, it’s important to get your business its own credit card that you use 100% of the time for your business. Just like with the bank account, this makes it a lot easier to sort between your business and personal expenses (and makes sure you don’t accidentally miss business deductions because they got intermingled with your personal transactions). If you have good credit you should be able to get something that gives you 1.5% back on every purchase, and if you don’t have good credit, this gives you a chance to repair your credit by using the card responsibly. I am a big fan of setting up autopay so my cards are paid off in full each month. It’s definitely possible to abuse a credit card buying things you don’t need and end up in trouble, so make sure you use it wisely.


Most small business owners (not just photographers) start out the year with the best of intentions. This time you’re going to keep up with your bookkeeping, but then you get busy running your business, serving your clients…and before you know it, you’re six months behind, and there’s no way you have time now to catch up so you put it off until it catches up with you again this time of year. We know willpower isn’t enough to make most anything happen by itself, and good intentions don’t get anything done. So, create a recurring monthly reminder for the 10th of the month (because all of your bank and credit card statements will probably be to you by then) and get everything entered into whatever you use for your bookkeeping. We love QuickBooks Online, but there are some other good solutions out there too. Be sure to keep this appointment like you would any other appointment. It’s easy to push it off because it’s “just for you” but invest in yourself and your business. If you really want to make sure you stay on top of this, find someone to get together with for coffee once a month to look at your financials together. Maybe you have a friend who also owns a business who would give you some feedback. Ideally this both gives you a real motivation to get your books done and gives you some good information on how to better run your business. A lot of colleges have Small Business Development Centers at them. These Federally-funded groups provide free advice to people starting or growing their business, and they can be a good resource.

BONUS Get Mile IQ or another app that automatically tracks your mileage and lets you easily categorize business vs personal. This is one of the biggest areas we see photographers paying too much in taxes. Set this up now so you’ll have it for the entire year. Future you will be glad you did.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as tax advice. Please consult your tax adviser.

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