Most of the info here is UK specific but the principles work worldwide so check with your local professional for the differences you need to know about.
You’re a health blogger and you absolutely love it. Maybe your blog has been going a while and you want to start freelancing or maybe you’re a new blogger wanting to know how the money side works.
You want to turn your blog into a business and you need to know what to do, where to start, how to pay yourself and how to make the right decisions for you.
It can feel exciting, overwhelming, liberating, uncertain, confusing, happy and scary – all at once!
In this series of blog posts, I’ll start you off with the first steps:
- When is your blog a business
- Choosing between sole trader and a limited company
- How to set up as a business
- Paying yourself
When Is Your Blog A Business?
When is your blog a business? Your blog can create money and it may not be a business – or your blog can lose money and it is a business. Confused? It’s because of your intention for your blog.
Whether your blog is a business is to do with your intention to create a profit. If you’re an emotional health blogger, you’ll know about the importance of intention.
Blogging only for the pleasure it gives you
If your health blog is for your personal pleasure and the money you create from it covers your costs with not much left over, then you have a personal blog. Keep track of income and expenses and don’t offer any freelancing services from your blog.
Blogging to create money as well as the pleasure it gives you
If your health blog is intended to create money for you (profit) you have a business. Even if your blog loses money, to begin with, it’s a business and you need to register as a sole trader or limited company and can claim expenses.
Choosing Between Sole Trader and A Limited Company
So you know you want to turn your blog into a business. You want your blog to create money for you as well as be a joy in your life and change others lives for the better. This is where adulting starts because your first decision is your legal structure. In the UK, you decide between a sole trader and a limited company (most countries have similar options).
A sole trader is easiest and has lower cost. You register with HMRC, you keep records of your income and expenses and you do a tax return every year (you can do all of this yourself).
A limited company gives you more protection but has more requirements and has a higher cost. You register your company with Companies House, you keep records of your income and expenses and your accountant does a tax return, 2 sets of accounts, an annual statement, possibly PAYE and a bunch of other compliance admin.
There are pro’s and con’s to both options and it’s important to choose the right one for you (most especially because it makes a big difference in cost and how you pay yourself). If nothing else, this is a good time to get some support to talk through what you want to do with your blog and how you want to freelance so you can feel confident you understand what the best decision is for you right now and for the next few years.
I have my own business giving women a safe space to sort out the money side of their business so I understand what it’s like to set up a business, because I’ve been there too.
I have a blog, I’m into health and because I have clients who have financially successful blogs, I know the inside track on how to turn your blog into a business without a ton of stress (and that’s what health is all about, right?).
Just to be clear, when I say ‘turn your blog into a business’ and ‘start freelancing’ I mean the money side: paying yourself, expenses, not going broke, feeling confident about numbers, your legal structure, understanding what you need to know and self-care about your biz finances.
For marketing, content and click-through rates, you need to check the Introduction to the Business of Influence course.
How To Set Up As A Business
Once you’ve decided whether you want to start as a sole trader or a limited company, it’s time to keep track of your blog income and expenses (costs). You need a system for this so it becomes easy and routine.
It’s the same as you already do with your social media posting. The hard way is to rush around doing it all last minute. The easy way is to have a content planner and use as much routine and automation as you can so you can focus on interaction when needed and in a meaningful way. (And yes, often we do both, me included).
Ask what works for other health bloggers or work with your coach, accountant or a professional like me to create a system you love that is easy for you to keep up to date.
You need a bank account. How Do I Choose A Business Bank Account?
If you’ve decided on a limited company, you need a business bank account. If you’ve decided on sole trader, ideally you want a business bank account but many don’t to begin with. It’s also a good idea to have a separate business Paypal account.
If you want to offer freelance services, you’ll need to have an invoice. In fact, sending an invoice means you have a business as only businesses can use them.
A limited company invoice can be as simple as a sole trader invoice. You need to add some legally required extras such as your registered address, but they aren’t much different. No need to overthink this one. Don’t forget your contact details and bank details!
Paying yourself is such a lovely phrase, isn’t it?
Money for nut butter. How to pay yourself when you start freelancing is one of the biggest blocks to making the leap.
Paying yourself as a sole trader
If you decide to be a sole trader, you take money when you want to. That’s it.
Paying yourself as a limited company
If you decide to have a limited company, you can’t take money when you want to. You take money from your company by paying yourself a salary or dividends. There are rules to both of these and you must stick to them.
None of this is a problem if a limited company is the right decision for you – it’s just different and you need to manage your personal money differently to what you may have been used to and you can get help with how to do that.
Turning your blog into a business can feel daunting when you realise how much you don’t know.
Take it one step at a time, like you did with your blogging. Celebrate every time you take a big step like registering your business, asking for help, or paying your first tax bill from your blogging earnings.
Like your physical and emotional health, your blog needs good financial health and part of that is paying attention to the back end like money and numbers, legal structures and tax returns. Then reward yourself with an extra spoon of your favourite artisan organic nut butter.
Note: Most of the info here is UK specific but the principles work worldwide so check with your local professional for the differences you need to know about.