Interview with JeFreda Brown of Goshen Business Group, LLC

JeFreda Brown - Tax Planning for AuthorsName: JeFreda Brown

Business name:  Goshen Business Group, LLC

Website URL:   www.goshenbg.com 

Social Media Links: www.facebook.com/goshenbg, www.twitter.com/goshenbg, www.linkedin.com/in/jefredabrown 

How did you come to do what you’re doing today? When I was 7 years old, I would always pray and tell God I wanted to own my own business one day so I could help people. I have gained experience from jobs I’ve had and also with my education background. I just stepped out in faith in 2010 and formed my company. So, it’s always been a desire to be an entrepreneur. I love helping others.

Can you describe a typical day in your life? Normally, I get up and read my Bible and pray. Then, I take a shower or bath and get dressed. Most days I already have a full schedule. I have to schedule things a week or two in advance. Usually, I’m meeting with clients, attending business events, working on potential opportunities for my company, and doing things at church.

What do you most enjoy about what you do? I enjoy the feedback I receive from clients who tell me that I have helped them tremendously. I enjoy being able to shed light on things for clients that they were unsure of. I also like the freedom of being able to constantly grow and learn more myself.

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey? Of course, the Bible is my daily life manual. I also have had several family members, teachers, and friends who have inspired me throughout my life. I would be all year naming people. There are people I have met in passing who have inspired me. I may never see them again, but they planted a seed in me just by something they said to me or something I saw them do. I can think of one example of a customer I was helping when I worked at JCPenney during college. While I was helping her, she started to tell me about the goodness she saw in my eyes. She said that I had a good heart and would help many people. She didn’t know me at all. That encounter with her really helped me at that point in my life, and it is still with me. I often tell people about that.

Your firm, Goshen Business Group, offers business coaching and accounting solutions for small businesses—including authors. Many authors may not realize they’re running a business if they write a book. What are some things that authors should do to make sure they’re prepared for the tax implications of publishing/selling a book? 

One very major thing with taxes and authors is making the distinction between it being a business or a hobby. There are some tax implications based on whether authors write as a hobby or as a business. There are certain expenses that can only be deducted as business expenses and not for a hobby. There is also the benefit of having revenue from writing go through an LLC rather than being paid directly. There is no protection for personal assets without the coverage of an LLC. I recommend LLCs because it’s less expensive than doing a corporation. There is also less required with an LLC. The tax savings are more favorable with an LLC. Also, with an LLC, authors can pay themselves through owner draws instead of as an employee.

I also advise clients all the time to not deduct all of their business expenses to show a loss as a self-employed person. Profits and losses from the business are reported on Schedule C in the personal tax return. If the author plans to purchase a home or car, get a loan, get investors, etc, the Schedule C needs to show profit and not losses. The losses tell those looking at the schedule that you are not making money. Nobody will give you any type of loan if you can’t show you are making money. Paying self-employment taxes quarterly will prevent you from having to deduct so many business expenses. It helps to lower taxable income, but when your expenses exceed your income, there is a loss. This means you don’t owe taxes, but you also are not showing a profit. Instead of trying to avoid paying taxes, make the quarterly tax payments, and show a profit for your business. 

Do you have specific tips for how authors can manage their money, either from sales/royalties of their books or speaking/teaching opportunities? 

I definitely recommend at minimum using QuickBooks to track revenue and expenses. It’s very affordable. Please don’t use Excel spreadsheets. With QuickBooks, everything is in one place, and you can pull financial statements when needed. You can’t do that with spreadsheets. Using an accounting system also helps you to see where you stand financially. Along with the financial statements, there are several types of reports that you can pull or even customize in QuickBooks.

Authors definitely need to have a separate bank account just for their book sales and other writing revenue and speaking/teaching opportunities. All of this revenue needs to be kept separate from personal income. 

Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you? I love to dance. In the shower, I’m Whitney Houston. Lol. ONLY in the shower. I also have dreams of going into politics one day.

What’s next for you? Continuing to grow my company. I also have a couple of book ideas. I will begin writing soon. I have an ebook on Amazon that I self-published in 2013 called 12 Reasons You Need an Accountant for Your Small Business. It’s only about $4. I recommend anyone in any business get it. I come in contact with many people who want to start a business and even those who have businesses, but they have no idea of the full magnitude of operating a business. My ebook will give people some insight of things they really need to know that will keep them out of trouble and off the failed businesses list.

After I wrote the ebook, I caught the writing bug. I have some things in the works. I love to write.

Is there anything else you would like to add? I also do a lot of webinar trainings on several business-related topics. I have several coming up. People can connect with me on social media. I post everything that I’m working on or are involved in. If anyone is interested in gaining more knowledge to help them in their business, please connect with me. I’m also planning some live trainings for later this year.



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