Starting a side hustle or any online business can feel overwhelming sometimes (a lot of the time).
But the one thing that often gets overlooked is the business side of things.
Should you set up a limited company or just stay as a sole proprietor? What about tax? Should you even worry about this when you start?
Tiffany Domena from How to Entrepreneur joins the podcast to explain what she has done now that she has almost 3 years experience.
We chat about:
- What Tiffany would do if she started again
- Some of the biggest mistakes she made
- How long it really takes to be profitable in most businesses (online or offline)
- and much more
Setting up an Online Business the Right Way
From How to Entrepreneur
Make Time Online Podcast on iTunes - Online Entrepreneur Tips
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Tips and tools mentioned in the podcast
Tiffany was in the military and realised it didn’t really bring out her creative side. So she tried a ton of different entrepreneurial ideas such as:
- Fish farms (she built a pond but you could buy big fish tanks)
- Book publishing
- (I also want to note she has been raising 2 kids throughout this!)
What Tiffany has found out...
- It takes most businesses 3-5 years to make profit (most people think their website or online business will be different)
- It’s taken 2 years to start making a good profit from How to Entrepreneur (over $3,000 revenue a month)
- Creating content helps to save you time and provide someone with a better answer than a quick email response
When did she incorporate the business?
In 2017 Tiffany set up her & her husband's real estate service based business as a C-Corp (which she wouldn’t recommend for a small business).
- Need to do quarterly accounts
- Need to pay yourself a “reasonable” amount, and the sales may not be there at the start
Tips on how to set up an online business:
- Don’t incorporate until you have some risk to mitigate
- Stay as a “sole proprietor” until you have something to be liable for
- Once you’re making consistent sales then it can help to incorporate as an LLC (you will need to check with a tax advisor and get your own legal advice!)
- Inc file is a good place to incorporate your business and learn more
Top tips and links from Tiffany
Full Tiffany Domena Podcast Transcript
So that stage may take them some time as they’re choosing a niche, they might switch a couple times as they’re choosing what products and services to sell, whether they do affiliate products or whether they do their own or whatever the case is. And so I feel like incorporation shouldn’t really happen until you until you start having some risks that you need to mitigate. Because the whole point is, like in a limited liability company is to take off some liability, legal liability and also tax liability. And if you don’t have any sales, and if you don’t have any potential of a lawsuit, that is kind of like, Why do it right now.
Mike Beatty 0:46
Hey, guys, it’s Mike from Make Time Online, and today we’re joined by Tiffany Domena from how to entrepreneur.com
So Tiffany is about two and a half, or coming up to two and a half years into her online business, how to entrepreneur.com. And she’s just kind of really getting to that stage where things are really starting to scale. So I thought it’d be a really good idea to have a chat with her, particularly about like, kind of how she got started and how she set things up. Because, I mean, she was really just like a serial entrepreneur, she was just trying to try and different things as you were in the chat. But she has got some real good business now, some of my word sounds about right. But she, she just understands, like she’s really set things up or try to set things up well, but as she kind of explained, it could have probably been a bit better. And so I just thought it’d be good to get like her ideas and things like that on you know, whether it you need to incorporate your online business because you know, at the start, you’re not going to be making any money and so, when’s a good time to do Do this and just some of the lessons that you kind of learn from her so that we can sidestep those mistakes and hopefully sort out in the future. As always, this is quite long chat. So if you just want to jump to the last five minutes up also, I will summarise some of the key takeaways and hopefully that will help you enjoy this one guys. So, Tiffany, obviously you’ve been on the podcast before but we didn’t really chat too much about what you were doing. So I’d love to love to know a little bit about like, how your website is doing now I’ve seen a lot of stuff that’s going on but I just wonder if you could share like how long you’ve been doing it and what what sort of stage is that now?
Yes, so I started how to entrepreneur calm and January of 2018. So it is a it has over two years now. I will actually be two and a half years in June. So when I started, you know, it took some time to get the compounding working in my favour. But now that it’s at the two year mark, I feel like I am moving into a new phase of business. And that’s exciting.
Mike Beatty 3:18
Yeah, no, I’ve heard that from so many people as well as like, around two years, two and a half years seems to be like how long? It really takes a website to almost just be trustworthy, like Google and you know, like, getting more and more traffic and things like that. So yeah. Now have you noticed that as well?
I think that it actually transcends beyond a website. I think that from my experience with business offline, it seems like that’s the same trend. And even when I read my books, because I took courses on entrepreneurship and college, and when I took horses that they say that usually businesses don’t make it into to profit until the three to five year mark. So it’s like, it’s pretty standard. I think what we see in online is that you can expedite the growth of your reputation because you leverage intellectual property so much you’re writing these articles. They it’s not like your pin and out business cards and flyers that wrinkle up and get rained on and stuff like that. And then nobody refers to them two years down the line. If you build a website, then this is an asset because you you take that same time you want us to make a flyer or to buy a flyer and you create an article online and it stays there and people can search for it for years on out. So and even when you count like the cost of flyers or something or business cards, usually they’re like 20 cents per card. You can get let lower cost per click when you have advertise online. So I feel like the same thing exists. I remember when I was trying to get marketing clients from going to local business events. And I was taking my business cards with 20 cents per card. And I would have goals like I want to hand out this many I want to meet this many people, you know, and you have to go to relevant events very, I mean, it’s just all of these things to think about. And it takes some time for even if you go to an event and you meet a person live, it takes some time to really build that relationship to where they’re like, I can see that this relationship will be valuable, and I want to work with her. And so I feel like when you have a website, you can you can build that kind of somewhat passively because the It’s not like, I’m going to this networking event and I talk to this person and they’re late want to approach me again at the next time I attend the same event. And again and again, to handle whatever objections, answer whatever questions. You know what I mean? Yeah, I’m like, sometimes that may take, if you were to do it manually, it may take several conversations before you are making a sale. Yeah, with your website, you have an article and you interlink it to somewhere else, and somewhere else that actually has the conversation for you. So that the sale is like, is more passive. And that is to me the beauty of having a website and online marketing and yeah,
Mike Beatty 6:52
yeah, no notice that was so many things actually is even. Even if someone has a question quite often you you’re like, Oh, yeah, I’ve already written about that. Or Now have a podcast on our YouTube or whatever, you already have something and you can just literally send them a link. And it’s easy for you because it takes, what 10 seconds to send the link and then yeah, actually gives them more value than what you could do by typing out an email for 30 seconds or whatever, you know, guys is so much yeah,
I mean, my videos, usually I take a lot of thought into making them even before I shoot the video. So then they’ve got all this research time plus, if the video is even a half hour, that’s time that’s a that’s a long conversation if you were to do it on the phone. So, um, I think that and, and also the videos are a little bit more put together because I have all of my research right there when I do it. Whereas if you just have a conversation you might not remember all your references
Mike Beatty 8:00
Don’t remember what I did last week, let alone what I was reading and everything so, no 100% Yeah, actually, it’s something that I’ve always kind of noticed from you. And something I definitely want to get to in this podcast is how you’ve, you’ve definitely got like this more entrepreneurial business mindset. And a lot of people that I’ve spoke to particularly you know, people that are still relatively new in the journey and everything it’s almost like from day one you knew this is like a business and you’ve kind of set things I’ve just noticed there’s like this aura about you that set things up in a really cool way. So I just wondered if you could let us know like, what did you would you actually do like have you? Did you have to like incorporate your business like what have you what are some of the steps that you went through to get things like set up in a in a more like business structure?
I was say that I would say I did a lot of things wrong too.
Mike Beatty 9:05
Good to know.
So let’s go back to how did I build up a business mindset. For one thing, my parents are real estate investors and my dad started buying houses when he was 18. So that was one thing that that I think positioned me in a different way where I was able to build some entrepreneurial skills early on, because they had my dad and my mom, they had me around 26. So at that time, he had been buying houses, and renting houses, and he had built up something by time I was born. And then over the years, he had been buying houses, flipping houses, rent and houses, all of that stuff. And we would have to, like that’s how we would get our allowances by working with business. So I used to have to keep track of who pay rent and what day and who was late and things like that. And I think I started that probably in middle school. Okay,
Mike Beatty 10:17
so young to be doing all that. That’s so cool. It’s such a good experience, isn’t it? Really?
Yeah, it was good experience for my brother. He got the chance to do all kinds of like flooring, jobs, roofing jobs, age back jobs, and build up a lot of trades like that early. And my sister was the same way but they would try to gear us more towards what they could see we were naturally stronger. And that was helpful. So for me, I was very always very artistic. So they would definitely have me involved in things like if they needed a flyer made Or their logo. And I still do things like that, for the sake business. If they need swag, or anything like that, I still do those things when it comes to, so I think that was helpful. But once I got to be an adult, I really wanted to use more of my artistic skills. I was always in performing art schools, and I didn’t know how to translate being a good painter into business as much as I didn’t want to be a gallery painter, you know, like, I didn’t want to go the whole manufacturing route and try to get my pictures in Burlington or somewhere because I knew that was a long road. And so, I tried to I tried a lot of things in order to figure out which one would best fit
Unknown Speaker 12:00
to figure out which ones are best fit with. What, what, what, why skills. So I started out when I was in the military, that was a whole that is not artistic at all. Let me mention that my artistic or creative or anything like that the military is very structured, you do what you told. And that was one thing I really didn’t like about it because for me, I’ve always been a yyy person, a person that tries to bet things and there’s no room for that in the military unless you were really high leadership positions. And so I had a lot of
Unknown Speaker 12:52
Yeah, no, unless I did have a good opportunities to because some leaders really want people like that. Some leaders absolutely hate people like that because they just want to be in charge. So you really have to learn what type of people you can work with when you’re that type of person. So anyway, I started doing a lot of site hustling, and I did what my husband would tell you. We did. fish farms.
Unknown Speaker 13:32
Unknown Speaker 13:35
We built a bigger pond in our background. Did you really
Mike Beatty 13:42
well, and you would like to sell in the local market. Again.
It was an epic fail. What happened when I had an area my guy that did not go grass because the stern has been so hard to it, so I was thinking I started doing research about what I should do to make sure something something happens in his area. And then I came up with the idea that like somehow and I turned into growing tilapia because then you will have the fish water that you’ll be able to use to water the other plants and plant these fruit trees and the use the fish water somehow irrigate the pond so that the water will lead off with the with the plants.
Unknown Speaker 14:35
And then I’ll have this beautiful forest.
And so I got some tilapia, they really breathe pretty fast and they they eat algae. So when you have them in the sun, then that’s where the algae grows, they have something to eat. I’m like that’s perfect because that part of the yard is just horrible. Anyway And this would be a perfect use for it.
Mike Beatty 15:04
It makes total sense Have you still got it?
What happens is um I think we got the fish around maybe early in the year when it was really a lot of fun and I didn’t plan for our first frost
Mike Beatty 15:25
right I didn’t
plan for when the weather would get cool and tilapia can’t handle that so I didn’t get heaters and all that stuff so once once it got to the point where the the tilapia was really multiplying and we’re like, this is gonna be great so much this is gonna be I go my the fries came and I came from work they were
Mike Beatty 15:58
no Just one day. Oh, no.
Yeah. So, I mean, his things happen, like you take a risk, that was a business idea. And it was, it was fun we had a lot of fun doing everything with bird in the pond and going out there and looking at the finish girl and and all that stuff. But honestly, like I said it would have been going forward after we had the fish it would have taken time to build that reputation that we have a fish farm to explain that our habits and how clean we are and you know all of those things to build that reputation takes time. And it probably would have taken us more time than we expected. With that and just by trying different business ideas. That’s what I’ve learned that would have probably been In about two years of consistently going out telling people that we have a fish farm and it’s in our backyard, but our backyard is you know, well maintained. And don’t worry, you can actually come see it if you like, you know, his food and people especially like with the COVID and all the stuff going on, people will be concerned about whether or not I we did we did a good job whether it’s really healthy whether we’re putting pills in the tilapia and on and on. Yeah, so. So the tilapia was one, one idea. Then I moved on, and I did ATM. And the idea was basically, I was, I have my son was in private school, right and he was in a school They only accepted cash. And really, they did not take cards. Why? Because it was a really, really nice school. And so they didn’t take cards. So I started getting upset because I would have to drive so far. If I forgot to bring his tuition, I’ll have to go all the way to this ATM that the ATM was like two miles away, which isn’t far but it is far.
Mike Beatty 18:27
You just got off of work and you go to pick up your kit, you forgot to pick up the tuition. You got to go all out of your way. So there was a corner store across from his school. And I decided like what if I buy an ATM and do a deal with the with this guy that owns a quarter store and let him know we’ll split the surcharge. So that’s what I did. So I bought an ATM. I placed it. I talked to the guy before Of course, before I bought ATM, I talked to the guys that, Hey, I got this idea like this school across the street is you know, all of the parents are always needing to get money to pay the tuition is cash only. And if we just put this ATM here, I can promise you, you’re gonna get people coming over here to you know, get to I will keep the thing failed. And I’ll do all the maintenance to the ATM and we’ll split the surcharge because I don’t have a patient right? Yeah. So that’s what I did. So that was my second idea. I was a good idea.
Mike Beatty 19:39
Yeah, it sounds like a pretty good idea.
Yeah, it worked. So I was getting passive income from that, though, was very mostly passive because all you got to do is put the keep the money in there. And then from there,
Mike Beatty 19:54
how do you do that? Do you have to get the money out of the bank, or do you have to Since you’re all in cash you have to put in there
well it kind of works like a loan right? So you put the money in and the the payment processor is transferring the money from their bank to your bank so you should always have more coming back than what you put in right Yeah, because you get the money back plus your surcharge Yeah, every time
Mike Beatty 20:24
and 1% or something No,
it’s what you make it so dependent on the demand in the area like if you go to like a more amusement park surcharges will be high. Yeah, if you go to somewhere where the demand is lower, then surcharges will be lower. So for for me, I had a pretty medium surcharge. I was I was like, 350 $3 50 cents. So every time when somebody would take out money, I would get the money back plus two 350 Wow. And so I thought it was it was great. Yeah. Yeah, it. I kept that working until until the guy sold his store. Okay. So
Mike Beatty 21:14
yeah, so you would get that going basically if it was possible.
It was pretty simple and I felt like I was being paid to pick my kid up from school.
Unknown Speaker 21:27
Mike Beatty 21:28
parents wish they could get paid to pick their kid up from school.
It was right across the street, I would go check in make sure thing is still working, but nothing was wrong with it. But I will also get notification if anything was wrong with it. So it was pretty passive. And I really like deals like that where is whether intellectual property or in some way you’re leveraging your time and not directly, directly trading your time I really like things like that. So yeah, I think really, you know, that’s what
Mike Beatty 22:04
everyone is looking for, isn’t it? At the end of the day, I think everyone wants to. I don’t think most people are entrepreneurial minded people have no issue in like working hard. But the ideal is like, work hard for something that can sort of like, pay you over and over again sort of thing, isn’t it? Yeah. That’s the dream.
Yes. So I did the ATM and from the ATM, it was book publishing. And so I published 15 books, and I work on my Christian lifestyle. And that’s kind of what brought me to internet marketing because I had these books that I’ve self published. And I wanted to learn, I didn’t want to have to do book trailers and like the book signings and stuff like that, because when I wrote the books, I was active duty, so I didn’t really have time to be doing Amongst tours and going all over and speaking, you know, I just didn’t have the time what kind of they were Christian lifestyle was like, yeah, so things like marriage and, um, and just overall mindset and things like that. So, um, I wrote these books, and then it was like, I started to want to get more sales with the books. Obviously, yeah. So I started, like, one thing I learned from just trying different businesses was I had a bad habit of investing in the investment in the product development and investing in the service design before having an audience for it. And I learned to flip that model and really Internet marketing has helped with that evolution. But I wrote all these books, but I didn’t build the audience first, you know, then when the books were published in or live, then that’s what I’m concerned about how are how am I gonna get sales with them? So I have a co host here. I don’t know if you know daycares are
Mike Beatty 24:26
I guess that’s one of the one of the great things as well, isn’t it about what you what you’ve set up is like you can actually be there with your kids and
is I’ve been able to compare because I did all of these different ideas before and been in the military before and even with my parents doing real estate, and having tenants call when they need this or that. There’s passive components to real estate, but there’s very active ones too. And so I’ve been I’ve been To compare all of those things in, I was so grateful that I chose to start an online business and to work on how to entrepreneur.com and the people that I come in contact with, like, and still being able to have my kids like, you know, the first two years were super rough, because it was building a business. It was having a newborn. It was having my son was in a hospital. So it was so emotional and stressful. Build in the business with all of these things going on. Yeah. And I feel to now that if I could do it, then there’s no excuses. There is Yeah, like so two and a half years. This may With all of the sales and stuff like that, now I can officially say that our business is full time, you know, I was able to get more than 3000 a month. That was a long road. And I feel like if I could do that with all of the things going on, then people should not have so many objections.
Mike Beatty 26:26
Sorry, would you make more than 3000 a month?
Yes. Oh, so this month with my sales, I haven’t got it in hang it. So this is just what I’ve accrued. But, like this month, I can say that I know that I’ll get more than 3000 next month.
Mike Beatty 26:47
Nice. That’s a good place and it’s kind of like been Snoke like growing each month as well recently. Um, what do you take ups and downs
um, the first year was definitely more predictable because like I got sales in my first month, so that I did have flukes like that that happened, I knew kind of that you have to put your affiliate link and you have to get traffic to that. You have to have good copy and all that stuff like that. Understood. So I was I was able to get sales early. But as far as actually building that reputation where people come back and people are coming to you for recommendations, and your website traffic is actually compounding that process took some time. And, um, so I that I think that after my one year mark, that’s when I started to see more like, I mean, you know, it’s always going like uphill, but I think that I have more confidence and I was starting to To be more confident and experimenting and the risks that I was taken and and at the same time, I was managing my personal life, better able to prioritise my business more. Because when I first started out having a newborn and having my son I was homeschooling and just trying to figure out when can I do this how to get the baby to sleep long enough that I can do this, you know? Like, it was a challenge. So at some point, I got better with her napping patterns and her sleeping and now she’s much more independent than she was before. She can make her own popcorn.
Mike Beatty 28:56
Hey, never need to cook again.
Unknown Speaker 29:02
She could make her own popcorn
Unknown Speaker 29:05
in the microwave
Unknown Speaker 29:07
And it’s just step by step, you have little milestones like that, where it’s like, she can do a little bit more by herself. Yeah, when she knew a little bit more by herself, that means that this one was thing I have to do, right? And that the same thing with my son just teaching them things like how to cook and how to clean up after themselves. And all those things mean that I have less distractions in my workday, because like when she was younger, and she makes a big Kool Aid mess, and she doesn’t know how to clean up by herself, then I feel like well, even though I was working on this blog post, I have to stop and they’ll clean up their Kool Aid otherwise there’s gonna, you know.
Mike Beatty 29:56
Yeah, so obviously not when you actually first started as us Like, do you have this exact plan of like how it was all going to go? Do you know? It’s going to take two years, two and a half years? And did you? Did you kind of like get everything set up from day one? Or did that from like the business side point of view, then did you that how did you actually get that all set up?
Okay, so, the business side, I incorporated in 2017. And that was before I started hot entrepreneur. So I incorporated this cohort, Inc. And I did that in 2017. And I incorporated as a C Corp, which I feel is a big mistake. I felt like I should have incorporated as a limited liability company. And at the time, the business was a service based business. So I was doing marketing services for people and my daughter. She was just she was four months so my my head been started, but I never got to my final business that worked and supported us. That was the general contracting company. So when I was in the military, about two years before I separated, we started with a general contracting company. And so my husband was started out he was doing lawn care for people. He was from Ghana, he had a tough time finding jobs here in the US. And a lot of them one at work experience when I was starting low hourly wages, and he just wasn’t for that. He wanted to be able to really contribute to the house. And so he decided that he would do better off just cut people’s yards. And he started taking a lot more and cutting people’s yards. And because he was reliable, it grew from there where you have people who would start to ask, Well, if you could do this, can you also do a fence? Can you do this? Can you do That. And so his services kind of expanded. And so he started doing fencing and it got to the point where he he did full home renovations. And now he still does that. So he does for home renovations, mostly for real estate investors. So they will buy a house that is just jacked up and then hire him and he will make it where it’s ready for rent or ready for sale.
Mike Beatty 32:30
And team then as well, or is it just him?
Yeah, nice. Yeah. So basketball over time. But that was another opportunity. I had to see a business startup. So I like I would be in my uniform going door to door telling people do you need to I mean, it looks like you do need to York.
Unknown Speaker 32:57
Did you have any time today or two out pigeon? You’re doing our sales thing. Oh, but Emma. So it grew. And I would also go to like groups like pay groups like real estate groups and stuff like that. And those people pay a lot to be in those real estate groups. those groups might be like 20,000 or something like that to be a part of it, especially if you in multifamily circles. Well,
Mike Beatty 33:37
what is that for training or just to be part of the group?
is a this both is training working. Also, they go into deals together. So like, it might be like, if you have a big apartment complex, like more than 200 doors or something like that. It’s usually not one investor that goes in on it. So they might partner and have like seven investors and say you each one of us has to put in no less than this amount. And then this person will be the primary investor that’s gonna be in charge of the management and everybody else is passive. So you get dividends every month on this day and that so they set up this deal right? and the like, those people are good to work with when it comes as a as a contracting company. So I would go and network with those people and then get to know them or network with single family, real estate investors and get to know them, and they will get sales, right. So that business has been a large contributor to us even to this day. So that’s what my husband does most of the time and it is very time intensive as a service based business and So because of that, when I started my, my business then then I was kind of pulling away from that one. Because I wanted, I was had a baby, it was harder for me to do what I was doing before. What the baby in, I wanted to find something that was that I could do from home. That was also a way that I could be really involved with her. My son was having some health challenges. I don’t know what happened, but I know his heart rate just went down. And it went down to 30 beats per minute at one point, and so extremely lethargic. And I started having to go to the hospital with him a lot. And so all of these things kind of inspired me to look for different work because it was like, I can’t be doing that. contracting and balancing this. And then even with the doing the marketing services, it was tough. So it got to a point where I was like, I felt like I can’t do, I don’t know how I’m gonna balance my time and still be able to offer these services and fulfil expectations for people. And so that was in 2017. I had incorporated as a C Corp, I would say, don’t do that.
Mike Beatty 36:33
So what is a limited liability company is better?
Like, I’m not an accountant or a legal professional yet.
Mike Beatty 36:42
Did you get advice or did you just kind of go online and do it yourself?
I should have gotten much more advice than I did. I mostly go on my what the benefits that I saw a C Corp was I was thinking way years down the line. And I was thinking of being able to offer things like profit sharing to employees and being able to have employees that can buy stocks of the company and I was thinking of different things like that. That Are you, you just don’t do early. Yeah. So, so what is the bad? what’s the what’s the disadvantage of having a C Corp? The disadvantage is that you have to you have to do quarterly taxes, you have to run payroll, you have to pay yourself at a certain at a reasonable rate, they say, and when you’re starting out, your sales may not be there, huh, you know, to where you can pay yourself, like consistent to what a company would pay you. Why are you know, in those first couple of years, you may not be able to so And then in the first couple years, you are trying to be on your grind with sales and with just establishing your service and your reputation. So it’s much easier for you to focus on to not have to focus on like accounting and finance as much, you know. And I didn’t see that going forward. I just was like, Well, you know, taxes four times a year, that’s cool. payroll, yeah, I’ll be able to get my sales. That’s fine. Even if you even if you read my blog posts when I first joined the affiliate,
Unknown Speaker 38:41
Marisa, by me
my first blog was I think I was so motivated to become full time and like why mom, two, three.
Mike Beatty 38:55
That’s why everyone thinks I think this is so much false information online. You know,
I don’t know why they make it seem like online is so much different than offline. Right? And, like you You think when you start out you don’t know if you actually get paid for the typing Am I articles? articles are gonna end up into my mate. At some point you have to, like, you realise that as a small business and all the parts that are no small business are in the in the online business or in the blogging business. Yeah. So, yes, I incorporate it and then that I pivoted quite a bit because like I said, I started out with doing services and From the services I realised that this isn’t the best fit for us have it again family since my husband has this demanding service based business in there for me to have a service based business to that means who’s gonna be Washington? Like, because I felt like capable of being really successful with that, but I felt like it was just I like to be good at what I do. And I really felt like I couldn’t because I really wanted to be a great mom. So like, I don’t want to fall flat on that. And so I decided I had said it was one of my friends told me well Tiffany, you can’t get an A everything. You got to choose what you want to get in. And you got to be okay with getting a B or C and some other things. So, that advice really stuck with me because it was like voice I want to get a in my professional life. And I want to get an A, as a mom and as a wife too. But this professional right here is that it’s not gonna work. Because if I want to get an A in this, then I’m gonna end up getting a B or C as a mom and a wife. And according to what I felt my standard was, and so I decided to hold off on that and to focus more on building my website as an asset and leveraging that because I could vlog in the morning and I could vlog at night after the kids were asleep and I really stabilised with it nap schedule, and make sure that I was able to get work done while she sleep.
Unknown Speaker 41:55
She’s a big YouTube fan
Mike Beatty 42:03
does she watch your channel?
Unknown Speaker 42:10
She She does
Mike Beatty 42:13
get some hours out 50 you get up get her into your channel
yeah my now my kids are into my son’s into fortnight.
Mike Beatty 42:25
Nice my boy kid into fortnight
you’re right my daughter’s into lol surprise dos. Oh
Mike Beatty 42:33
no I surprised you like lol
Unknown Speaker 42:35
yes. lol So now she’s not really that into business at this point my son is actually more into business he he is but not to the point where the information I’m sharing will be like super valuable for him. No. Well,
Mike Beatty 42:56
I mean, there’s so many obviously you got your kids everything I don’t want to keep you too long, Tiffany. And I’ve already kept you very long. So we had a massive chat before we actually start recording. So is there anything that you would kind of do differently? Like when you set it off? Or what would you do? Knowing what you know? Now, if you could go back and like you were setting up your business and everything? Is there anything that you think is really important that you need to get in place? Or what would you do?
I think what I advise people now is that, like, the, what I noticed is the concept phase of the business takes some time. And most of the people that are startup entrepreneurs that I meet, they don’t clearly have a concept of what product or service they want to deliver. They know that they want to make an extra 500 1000, you know, per month, but they don’t know how they want to do that and what they want to do to help other people so that they can make that money. Yeah, and so that stage may take them some time. As they’re choosing a niche they might switch a couple As they’re choosing what products and services to sell, whether they do affiliate products or whether they do their own, or whatever the case is. And so I feel like incorporation shouldn’t really happen until you until you start having some risks that you need to mitigate. Because the whole point is, like in a limited liability company is to take off some liability, legal liability and also tax liability. And if you don’t have any sales, and if you don’t have any potential of a lawsuit, it’s kind of like, Why do it right now? Right? So
Mike Beatty 44:40
you don’t need to do it straight away was what you’re saying. How was she going? Now what would you say is the right time?
I think it’s okay to be a sole proprietor until once you start having some liability. And that usually is when like, for forever As as online marketers, and as blogging business owners, we start doing those reviews, those reviews are starting to get traction, and people are starting to kind of get their feathers ruffled about, like what you say. Because when you’re doing reviews, you’re directly commenting on somebody’s product, and it can be damaging to their reputation, they could say something to you. You, you also have you also can say more taxes when you incorporate. And so once you start to do your taxes, you’ll notice that you’re being charged more once you’re getting sales, you know. So it’s gonna be once you get to sales, and once you are possibly having more legal liability, then that’s when I would say you definitely want to start looking into insurance. Corporation because just to protect yourself if somebody did say, I’m thinking about suing you or whatever, then you’ll know that they’re not gonna steal your house. So you adding a house so you add to everything else that you’ve accrued personally so it’s all protected
Mike Beatty 46:17
Corporation and do a Can you like offset? You know your expenses and stuff? Can you offset that if it’s in a company, but you can’t if you’re a sole proprietor?
I haven’t experienced a lot of that. Let me know most of our expenses as blogging business owners are fairly low. Yeah. So I will say that I know that because I’m incorporated I could do things like the payment protection and all those things that might be a little bit more challenging for a sole proprietor because they most likely may not have their accounts separate. But I would say that it’s also important as early as you can to get a separate bank account. Because it’s really much easier to know how much like, you see how people do their income reports. But it’s difficult to know how much you put into the business because it’s usually like change at a time. Yeah. And it’s like little experiments, and you don’t really think of them as business and investment until it gets to a point where you’re consistently investing.
Mike Beatty 47:36
a lump sum, actually, just spoke to a really cool guy. McAteer vicini. I think his name is, but he was talking about a book called profit first, and I really liked it and like, even from Have you have you read that one? Yeah, yeah, I just like the way that he sort of taught. He broke it down into three bank accounts sort of thing, whereas you don’t know you could just have it in one bank account. And then just have to Basically have your expenses to where most of you just stick with income in there, put 10% in a profit account, and then like, what 15% in a tax account or whatever. And then the rest is to pay to yourself and to any other operating costs and things like that. I was like, That’s such a great idea, particularly as a new business. I think that’s so if you can get into that habit every month is like, right, I’ve got made this much money. I’m gonna put 10% into a profit account, you know, 15% into a tax account, and then the rest I need to pay myself and whatever expenses and stuff.
I think it’s harder to do as a business. Because
Mike Beatty 48:42
Yeah, they all everything’s changing everything, isn’t it? But
yeah, because everything changes. I thought I was at the point where that would be a good idea at this stage. But being honest, it is still challenging to do because you have your actions expenses. And then you work, you want to get to the point where you can pay yourself as if you had a job. So now I’m at the point where I think I can I can increase how much I’m paying myself. For a long time, I was paying myself, like maybe less than a third of what I bring in, in in for a longer time. I was paying wasn’t paying myself at all. I just started paying myself in October, which would be when the business was from January 2018 to October 2019 over a year. Yeah, I was. And I wasn’t paying myself. So in October is when I set up QuickBooks and I set up the payroll. And I started doing my bookkeeping at the beginning of the month, and when I would get all my affiliate code missions, all of my service income, all of that stuff, and then saying, This is how much I need for expenses. This is how much I want to say, for working capital. And then this is how much I want to pay myself. So I just started doing it. And honestly, that working capital account is what also could be called the profit account. And I don’t like leaving it alone. Alone, because I’m constantly thinking about, well, if the reputation of the business grow more to sales will go up. Yeah, you know, and so it’s kind of like should I just have this money so that I can give myself bonuses or so that I can say that I’m profitable, or should I just not profit right now and double down on growing the reputation and increase in sales because really I’m not happy with the, the amount that I’m paying on myself, or am I happy with them on the sales that I have? So I need to just keep, like, boosting that. I need to keep going.
Mike Beatty 51:14
I can actually agree. But I’ve got to say like when I when I read the book, it just kind of like made me think. Yeah, no, actually I do get it. It’s like, it’s more like a habit. And if you can get into the habit of putting though put in profit first, always like this is profit. You keep that. And what I actually said as well is every quarter so that every quarter then you just pay yourself 50% of the profit. So that’s like a bonus to you. Because that’s the whole point of setting up a business.
I love the book. And I love the concept. Like, I understand that you don’t want to get into like, you don’t want to you see the public companies that they’re constantly reinvesting for growth and reinvestment Grow, you don’t want to get to the point where you never get to profit. Yeah, it does seem to be a point where you have a deadline. That is like from this point, we’re going to make sure that the company’s profitable, we’re going to keep the expenses at this range. We’re gonna the pricing is just right. I don’t feel like I’m there right now.
Unknown Speaker 52:24
No, I know what you meant. I do know what you mean.
I think also when you you, you have to you might have to change the decision sometimes because when you see an opportunity, and it’s a timely opportunity, then you might feel like it’s necessary to double down for example. During a lockdown, I saw that there was a big interest in alternative ways of making money. So I have money that is in my from My brother. And I had no intentions on advertising. But I said, this is a great opportunity. And I have some posts that are doing well organically. So should I keep that money there for working capital for a computer that I might buy in a couple of years for like, should I keep it there? Or should I take advantage of this timely opportunity? And I feel that sometimes you have to think like that and because like even Jeff Bezos talks about that, how he knew that he knew that it was important to double down with Amazon, and to just like go all in so he chose not to profit for a period of time, so that they could expand at the rate that they did. I think there are there has to be calculated into the equation when you decide what to put to the site versus what to reinvest and all of that. Yeah, timeliness is is going to be very,
Mike Beatty 54:13
very true. Just you kind of mentioned there, you had like a couple of posts that are doing well organically. And I guess that kind of like links on to what’s gonna ask you, have you got any other tools or anything like any training or tools or anything like that, that you use? particularly to like, track things? or just in general, maybe if your whole online business, anything that you haven’t already mentioned?
Oh, well, I strongly watch Google Analytics. And so I see I see a lot of information from there. But in addition to that, I also watch hot jar and hot jar like with hot jar, you can actually watch recordings of the people Who are showing your website, and you can see how they’re engaging with your content. You can make hypothesis about what to move around so that you can get better results with your content. Like it’s just so powerful. And then it also has the feature of heat maps. So it’ll show you by colour coding. Like the red areas are the areas that a lot of people are seeing and the blue, the blue areas are the areas that are kind of pulled, not a lot of people are getting into. So you’ll be able to kind of see which portions of your website are the most engaged. And when you know that then you can possibly move call to actions to highly visible areas. You can decide whether whether your content in certain areas is engaging enough because obviously it’s not bringing them all the way through so you can try to rework some of these content to see if maybe you can increase the engagement is all kinds of hypotheses that you can create as a result of having that tool.
Mike Beatty 56:10
Yeah. No, it sounds like such a good one. You were saying it before the chat. And I was just like thought, this sounds amazing. And it so you can get a free plan. And then you I’m guessing you get paid plans as well.
Yeah. And you know, another tool that kind of does similar things that I’ve also looked at is called VW Oh, I don’t know if you’ve seen it before, but they have very similar things. I haven’t used them for that. But they also have a really feature rich set of tools that includes recordings and heat maps. And they also have those push notifications. And I’ve been really thinking about experimented more with that. That’s not something that I’ve done to this point, but push notifications kind of work like retargeting, yeah, because Fs parser signs up for push notifications, with with retargeting for those who haven’t studied it before, basically, you can have, you can take the information from people who’ve come to your website, and then advertise on like Facebook or other places in a way that will bring that audience back to your website. So you stay top of mind with put push notifications that people have opted to click to receive more notifications from you. And it can have the same effect where you are posting things. And then whatever you post, I mean, like, of course, you can play around with what type of content you put through the push notifications, but it will bring them back to your site. Yeah, so I think the push notifications, awesome, really powerful. People are saying that they’re seeing good results with that in comparison with email marketing, or even in complement with email marketing. So I’ve been thinking about that, but bw was definitely more on the pricey side in comparison to Yes Who Jar Jar has the free plan and then they have plans that are like $40 a month and etc 99 depending on your traffic VW O is starting at 100 a month
Mike Beatty 58:21
so well step up basically. So I just always ask someone is at towards the end of the podcast if it is if they can go back in time and I’m going to try and choose a good day let’s go I’m going to go with like when you were during the like serial entrepreneurial phase like when you’re getting the fish farm set up, let’s go for that day actually, let’s go for when you came back, and the frosty calm and like ruined your whole plan. What would you ever do with knowing with everything that you know now what would you tell yourself if you could go back to that day?
Yeah, If I could go back to that day, hmm. I think that that day was such a, it taught me so much. And actually, at that time, I was so eclectic, and what I was willing to do, like that had nothing really to do with my skills. I was just, I have multiple interests, and I just would go after him. And I think there’s a lot of good about being spontaneous. But I think I would tell myself to go back to when I’m stronger and to build an audience based on that, because yeah, I think that would have gotten me to my angle much faster. But because I was like, just spontaneous and just wanting to try all kinds of things that I did that. But I didn’t really know much about fish don’t really know much about fish. I was not willing to fish at all. I wasn’t there. I was too scared when they start swimming around in the match. Oh, I would just like be jumping in.
Mike Beatty 1:00:20
So basically stick stick to what you’re good at
how to get somebody else to do majority of that business like it didn’t leverage my skills at all. I don’t think it would have been a good long term play unless my husband was willing to go into it with me which at the time he was, so he’ll be the one in there fishing. And even when we came back and saw that the fish were by pretty much died. He wasn’t there and and fish them out and put them in Ziploc bags and he’s like, well, let’s see if we can preserve anything.
Mike Beatty 1:01:00
You’re like that done.
Yeah, I think that I couldn’t eat something I was like, I just it just, I just was too disappointed in the whole thing to even think about.
Mike Beatty 1:01:14
Well, if if anyone has listened to this, Tiffany, and they’re like, just want to get in contact with you, what’s the best way for them to reach out?
I think how to entrepreneur is definitely a good way to get in contact with me. But I’m also a member at Wealthy Affiliate and my username is t dominar. I write quite a bit of content there and do training and stuff there. And I engage quite a bit there. So I would say those are two good ways and also on my YouTube channel. I do respond to the comments. They’re really good. So let’s say those three ways.
Mike Beatty 1:01:51
Cool. I’ll put links to everything in the show notes, but it’s been an absolute pleasure, Tiffany and thank you so much for your time.
Thanks for having me. It’s always fun chatting with you. So yeah, thanks for having me, I’ll make time online.
Mike Beatty 1:02:11
So there you have it, she is obviously, like doing amazing things right now. Just as she was sort of saying their incomes just starting to, like grow and snowball and things like that. And it just sounds like it’s such a common thing, you know, two and a half, three years, that sort of timeframe seems to be very, very, seems to be like very similar to other people’s stories as well. So she’s still in that early phase, you know, just like us, we’re all in this together. That’s the whole point of this podcast, just kind of share these sort of things. Anyway, the I’m going to just summarise five key things, and hopefully that will help you. Number one is that Tiffany started or she incorporated a company before she even started online business and she was sort of saying that she did a C Corp. I don’t even know what that means. But she basically said it is not Good idea to do that at all a limited liability company would be far better. But then also number two is that she said, it wasn’t necessary to do that you could just be a sole proprietor. Again, I’m not entirely sure what that means. But I think it’s something to do with the fact that you’re not a company. only do it when you actually get to a certain level, you know, so once you actually starting to bring in income and you have anything to actually be liable of is kind of like what she said, you know, if you’re not making any money and you’re not like, doing it, you’re not at a stage where you have any liabilities as such, then you can probably just get away with not doing it. Not that maybe, yeah, that and that. I think that’s pretty good advice. Anyway. Number three is that it often takes any business sort of, she’s read loads of books and stuff. We didn’t really get into that in the chat. Although we had such a I think we’re on screen. for three hours, that’s the longest I’ve ever been on Skype with anyone for the podcast. And we were just chit chatting, you know, like it does seem to take three to five years for any business to sort of start seeing profit and really becoming a business. I did quotation marks there in case you didn’t see. And I just think that is it’s just something to be aware of, you know, so many people jump into an online business and you see all these things online, how I made money, how I made $3,000 in my second month blogging, you see all those sort of titles all the time and is misleading, because what they don’t tell you is how much they have done before. You know, like, there might be my built websites and things like that before they’re not starting from scratch. They never they might have even tried a website that’s failed before or something like that. And this is their second go. So that’s just something to be aware of that mindset washer going into it. Then number four is that she sort of said, she realised once she started the fish farm and that failed, she realised he just needed to kind of like go back and stick to what she is good at, you know, leverage your own skills. There’s no point in trying the basic would be no point in me trying to become an artist because I would be terrible at that. And it’s kind of obviously the thing is though, what I would say with that is a lot of people think oh, well, I have no like techie skills or online business skills or remember blah. The thing is, all of these things are learnable, however, is trying to find something that suits you like you might be more extroverted and maybe doing YouTube channel might be a better one for you. Maybe you really like writing and you’re quite introverted and you want to, you have to be in behind the screen, but you don’t want to be that out. In person like to start with so you figure out what what it is you might like chatting while I haven’t talked to people so maybe a podcast is a good route to go down use the skills that are good for you like suit you and I think that’s really good advice. And then number five is just some of the tools that she mentioned. She actually mentioned this one offline Inc file is a great website to get incorporated with, which I didn’t know. So you know, if you are looking to incorporate your business that’s a good place to go. And hot jar. I think this is my standout one. She did mention loads of other stuff to me, but those are the two hot jar is basically you can start for free. And you can like see you see a video of people looking on your website. I think why not like that sounds like such a cool idea because you can see where they like hang around, shows you like hotspots, it kind of shows you where they’re interested in and it can maybe help you place like a link or something like that if there are loads of people hanging around a certain place. Anyway, that’s my main takeaways. I don’t want to just carry on rambling too much. I really hope you enjoyed it guys.
Thanks for listening in to this episode of Make time online. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss any future episodes. And please take a moment to write a review for our podcast in the App Store. keep changing for the better guys. Take care
Some of my main takeaways from this chat are...
- No need to incorporate when you start out
- There may be benefits to incorporate once you start making consistent income
- Online businesses are more similar to offline businesses than people think
- Leverage your own skills and what you’re good at (is it writing, videos, podcasts etc.)
- Build an audience based on what you’re good at
What were your main takeaways? Any questions? Drop a comment below…
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