Posts Tagged with “running a business”

What Bloggers, Influencers and Freelancers Need To Know About Taxes in Malaysia

The Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN) confirmed  that income generated from reviews, brand endorsements and social media promotion are subject to income tax.

Since many bloggers and freelancers earn money from these activities, I thought it would be useful to have some accounting professionals answer some frequently-asked questions about taxes:

Do you need to pay income tax if you are a blogger?
Do Malaysian bloggers / freelancers need to register a business?
How do I record my income from Google AdSense / ad networks?
How much of my “income” is taxable?

In February 2019, two accounting professionals spoke to members of the Kuala Lumpur WordPress Meetup about this topic. Here are pictures and slides from the seminar. I want to give a warm thank you to:

Winnie Chua, principal of SNC Consultants Sdn Bhd
winnie.chua@sncconsultant.com

Rosdelima Mohd Ali Jaafar, partner at Rosdelima & Co
rosdelima@rosedelima.com

This article is a summary of their presentations at the event.

Bloggers are subject to income tax

Yes you must file your income tax. And you must pay taxes if your annual income exceed RM34,000 a year (as per 2018 guidelines). The good news is that you only pay taxes on your chargeable income, which is your total annual income minus all the tax reliefs and exemptions that Malaysians residents are entitled to.

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Self-employment is a license to say NO

shutterstock_18863395

Many people go self-employed and gleefully say, “look at all the things I can do.” Self-employment offers the freedom to say YES to all sorts of interesting projects that they wouldn’t have time for with a full-time job.

But the true freedom offered by self-employment is the ability to say NO. Now you can choose to avoid mediocre projects, uninteresting obligations and avoid the drudgery of chores you had no choice but to do when you had a job.

Your time is precious and irreplaceable, so you should absolutely be saying NO more often than YES. Now you can focus your time on the projects that actually excite you, your family and loved ones, your calling โ€“ i.e. the stuff that truly matters.

Running your own business feels like dodging trains

Subway Surfers by Kiloo

Subway Surfers by Kiloo

I’ve been playing a game on my iPad called Subway Surfers (it’s available for Android too). In the game you control an avatar running along the train track. You have to pick up trains, jump over barriers, and dodge trains! As you progress the speed increases so you’re almost flying past the tracks and trains. Sooner or later the inevitable happens – you smash headlong into a train.

It occurred to me today that running your own business feels like a lot like playing Subway Surfers. You’re constantly chasing your paycheck, you dodge problems after problem, but inevitably you smack into one. In the game, you can simply restart but in your business you’re going to waste time, lose money or worse – your reputation.

Moral of today’s random musing: Practice running your business, not Subway Surfers ๐Ÿ˜€

Bill Erickson shares a few thoughts about the benefits of running a consulting / service-based business. His post is in response to the notion that product-based business models are more scalable and therefore profitable.

Bill covers the pros and cons of the consulting business model, and what people frequently forget when thinking about product-based business models. One thing resonated with me:

As a service provider, find the more scalable aspects of your business and focus on them. Likewise, find the aspects that are less scalable and decrease your focus on them.

This is something that I’ve been working on at ClickWP. In service-based business models, decreasing focus on the less scalable aspects are usually handled by automation. However it’s important to remember not to automate too much because your business will become cold and your relationship becomes transactional, when customers frequently choose you over other vendors because of that high-touch relationship.

A simple bookkeeping system for your freelance microbusiness

It’s almost the tax submission deadline (for businesses) again. This year, I handed my accountant my records a whole 5 weeks before the deadline, so she has plenty of time to compute my taxes.

It wasn’t always like this. Filing my tax return in the first 2 years of running my business was a big headache and involved sleepless, stressful nights leading up to 30 June. I’ve come a long way since and thought I would share my process to help individuals just starting out.

Disclaimer: I am not an accounting professional. What follows is what works for me – your own mileage may vary. You should take this article as a guide, and consult a licensed accountant for specific questions.

The Objective

First, let’s be clear about what my system is and isn’t. This process works to:

  • Record invoices and payments (money in)
  • Record expenses (money out)
  • Make it easy for you or your accountant to compute and file your taxes

This system isn’t a solution to:

  • Be an accounting solution
  • Generate financial statements
  • Forecast your business financials

It’s important to stress that this isn’t really an accounting system – it’s more of a bookkeeping system. For most freelancers and sole proprietorships though, it is quite adequate.

If you’ve just started your business, I don’t think you need a full-on accounting solution like Quicken or MYOB. It will confuse you and make it an enormous chore to keep your books in order. Just keep it simple for now.

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