In 2008, I was living in Los Angeles and working as a professional actress. It’s no secret that Los Angeles is an expensive place to live, so I started a “side hustle” business to make a little extra money. My new business made around $10k the first year, and I was feeling pretty good about everything--until I was hit with a tax bill for $3.5k (Gulp.)
After this experience, I started trying to figure out what I could write off for my business. It was frustrating as I got so much contradictory advice from different people. My CPA didn’t really understand creative businesses, and he wasn’t willing to put in the effort to understand how my businesses actually made money. I searched online, and most of what I found only applied to larger companies - not to a creative solopreneur like myself.
In addition to being a creative person, I am also a little bit of a nerd (my husband would say it’s more than a little bit!). So when I couldn’t find the answers, I started doing my own research. I started spending my free time studying business accounting, reading IRS Publications, Notices and Bulletins, and even reading court opinions from tax law cases. In the process of doing this research, I started gravitating toward business accounting. By 2010, I was a QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a Certified Bookkeeper.
In 2012 I started a full-service accounting company in Los Angeles, and for the next five years I served hundreds of clients who were based in California as well as in 7 other states. My clients ranged from solopreneurs bringing in $30k per year to larger companies with yearly gross income of over $5 million. But even though I had a diverse clientele, my heart has always remained with helping small, creative businesses and freelancers.