Become a Full-Time Writer & Authorpreneur // Right now I’m a full-writer with a full-time job. Yes, I consider myself to have two full-time jobs right now because that’s the number of hours I throw into writing. Eventually, I plan on becoming just a full-time writer/author to help maintain my sanity. In this video, we’re talking all about how to create a plan to become a full-time writer, or as some like to refer to it as, authorpreneur. I’ll be talking about income taxes for authors, steps to take before you quit your job, getting used to being your own boss and working from home, and everything in-between. All to prep you to be a full-time author and writer! So, let’s figure out how authors make a living and how you can do the same!

Download my Author Paycheck & Expenses Sheet:

Watch last week’s video, Indie Author Book Sale Stats & Income for 2019:

Read Business Boutique by Christy Wright:

Video Transcription:

How do you make the transition from working full-time to being a full-time author? Exactly, how much money do you need to make to be a full-time author and how can you pull that off as an author? So be sure to check out this whole video to find all of that out.

Hello everyone. My name is Mandi Lynn. I’m an author, book cover designer, and creator of The Book Launch Planner. And today we’re going to be talking about how you can make a plan to become a full-time author. As of right now, I still work 40 hours a week in graphic design and content marketing, but I do have plans to hopefully eventually become a full-time author to be able to quit my job. So today I’m going to be walking you through how exactly I made plans to do that and how you guys can do the same. So, there are some steps that you need to make before you can even consider leaving your job. So first off, you need to figure out how much income you need to make from your author career to be able to replace your full-time job income and to calculate that number.

We are going to be talking about that later on in this video, so be sure to stay tuned. Besides that, you’ll also want to create a business bank account. This is super important just for tax reasons and also just to make your life a little bit easier. When you do go to file your taxes, you keep all your business expenses and income in one bank account and completely separate from your personal expenses and income. Before you leave your job you also want to make sure that you’re continually making your income goals. So basically what I mean is later on in this video, we’re going to create your income goal, the goal of how much you need to make a month, a quarter or a year, whatever. Once you have that goal created, you need to make sure you’re consistently hitting that goal, because sometimes it can happen that in a business you’ll have a fantastic month and all is well and great, and then you’re like, I’m going to quit my job and you quit your job and then the next few months things go really downhill and then all of a sudden you’re out of a job and an income and that’s a bad thing.

So the way to prevent that is just to make sure that your business is steady before you decide to call it quits on your full-time job. You also want to make sure that your author business, that every time you’re making money that you’re also putting money aside for savings. This is not a personal savings. This is not your vacation fund. This is your, Oh my God, something just happened fund. So for me as a graphic designer, I am nowhere without my laptop. And that also just goes for the fact like as an author, as a Youtuber, as basically everything I do. If my laptop crashed and it was broken and I need to buy a new one, that’s a big deal. I can’t do my job without a laptop. So if my laptop crashed, I go to my business savings account and I use that money in that savings account to buy a new laptop.

I do not use the business savings account to buy a new laptop just because I feel like getting an upgrade, I use it only for emergency purposes. And let me make that very clear. So, later on, I’ll talk about that a little bit more about how you need to put money aside gradually into the savings account as well. Ideally, you also want to make the transition from going full-time, you know, real person worker to full-time author. My plan personally is that I do plan on hopefully going part-time and then quitting my job completely. So if your job gives you the option to do that, that is great. That way it’s kinda like going into the full-time author career with training wheels. So if you fall, you still got your part-time job to help make the blow less hurtful.

Next, you want to get used to working from home. This is a big thing for people who are used to working in like an office setting or any full-time job setting. And then if they suddenly quit and they’re working from home doing their, whether that be an author, a graphic designer, um, you know, an illustrator, anyone who is working in an office setting is used to working in an office. But there’s this weird little shift when you work from home. I’m experiencing that a little bit right now because my full-time job allows me to work from home twice a week. So that means I have to get used to that idea of working from home. And basically what I mean is when you’re working from home, it’s very easy to get distracted, whether that be with like chores that need to get done or Netflix because you don’t have a boss that’s like looking over your shoulder.

It’s very easy to get distracted at home and to not actually get work done. The best thing to do when you’re working from home is to create a pretty strict schedule with yourself. If you kind of just pretend and you treat it like your full-time job, you’ll find the transition is a lot easier rather than if you kind of just do things when you feel like doing things. Most people do tend to work better with structure, so when you make that at-home transition, make sure to keep that structure in there. Odds are if you plan on becoming a full-time author, you aren’t just going to be writing, you’re going to be doing other things. So like for me, I have my cover designing, I have my YouTube channel, I have my Patreon page, I have The Book Launch Planner, which like is a whole different thing where I have to worry about shipping out stuff.

So with that said, I’ve got a lot of other stuff going on so I know when the time comes when I’m working full-time, it’ll be easy to get wrapped up in the business side of things. Whether that be the marketing, just owning a business and client work. And it’s easy to forget the actual writing side of things. So it’s super, super important that you schedule in time to do writing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be every single day. You can find days where if you just want to write all day on Wednesday, go for it. Just write on Wednesday all day. If that suits you, go with it. But if you’re also the type of person that doesn’t like to write for long amounts of time and works better with just short periods of writing, maybe write a little bit in the morning and a little bit in the afternoon or maybe you just schedule out one hour of writing.

Again, just find whatever works for you, but make sure it’s scheduled into your day so you don’t forget it and get caught up in all the business side of things. And of course, there are many, many other things that you will need to keep in mind and kind of get used to as you make the transition from working full-time to being your own boss. But that’s something you got to figure out on your own. I can’t tell you what that means. I know there are some extra few steps that I need to do that won’t apply to you guys. But again, that’s something you’ll probably figure out when you get to it. Let me know in the comments down below what steps you feel like you need to take before you go ahead and make that transition from day-job to being your own boss.

So now this is the part of video where things get a little bit more technical. Earlier I talked about how you need to figure out how much you need to make as an income. So we’re going to go ahead and calculate income right now and figure out what you want to take home as a paycheck. But you also need to do things like pay taxes, put money away into savings. And then, of course, we have the lovely business expenses because business requires things like websites, email lists, equipment that costs money. So we’re going to talk about all of that. I do want to say everything I talk about today was taken from the Business Boutique by Christie Wright. This is kind of an offset from Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey is someone who gives like a ton of financial advice, will help you get out of debt, that sort of thing.

So I knew almost nothing before I read that book. I highly recommend reading it because what I talk about today is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s talked about in that book so that book will be linked down below. Make sure you check it out if you are serious about figuring out how to handle your business financially. So I’m not going to talk a lot today about how to make money as an author. If you want to see a little bit of how I personally make money as an author, you can check out my previous video from last week or the link down below as well as up in the cards. I basically break down my 2019 income and kind of walk you through what my income was, where things were coming from, that sort of deal. And I also talk about multiple income streams because as an author, that’s going to be super important to you because I talked about how you basically need to sell over 16,000 books in order to make $50,000 a year.

Odds are you probably aren’t going to be selling that many books for a very, very long time. Might be able to get to that eventually, but it’s going to be very difficult to do that. So the way you alleviate the pressure of making that much money off of your books is having multiple income streams. For me, that’s The Book Launch Planner, that’s a book cover design, my Patreon page, YouTube, all of that stuff. So if you want to learn more about making income as an author, again, check out that video, but today we’re going to be talking about expenses, so I’m going to let you guys know that I track everything monthly because tracking things monthly helps me stay in check. If I track things quarterly like it’s recommended for businesses to do, I will end up spending too much. I have a spending problem with my business that is basically what’s preventing me from going part-time with my job right now I am too eager to say Ooh, a business expense.

So by tracking my expenses monthly, I realized Oh I didn’t necessarily need to buy that. I should probably hold back on that next time. So that’s one reason why I track it but I also track it because it’s just easier to track things monthly. Even though quarterly is only four months, that’s still a lot of paperwork to do. So I find doing it once a month in smaller increments is better. For those of you who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, if you own a business, most people recommend that you do your taxes quarterly, so everyone talks about things in quarters. I like to talk about things in months. I just find it’s easier on my brain to keep track of things monthly and it makes sure I can reevaluate myself every month as well. Let me educate you guys for a little bit.

Cause this is something I didn’t quite think about until recently because there’s this thing called income tax. I’m talking about it from the standpoint of the United States. I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, but in the United States, we have this thing called income tax where a decent size chunk from our paycheck is taken and given to the government. It’s just the way it is. And even though when we have a full-time job, our employers take care that we never even see that money. We don’t have to report it. It’s done. It’s handled. We don’t need to think about it. However, when you own your own business, you need to think about income tax so you don’t get audited when you do your taxes. So I’m going to walk you a little bit through it. I will say I am not a tax expert.

I am not a business expert. If you want professional help, go see a professional. But if you want my personal opinion and what I do for my personal business, then keep watching. So how do I figure out how much money every month I get to go and put in my pocket? So there are a few things you need to keep in mind, the first thing is income tax. Second thing is expenses. And third thing is savings. So here’s how we’re going to calculate our take-home paycheck. So first, take whatever income your business made that month and minus out your expenses for 2020 I gave myself a budget of $700 of expenditure a month. Once you have that result, you then want to take 25% out of whatever is leftover. That 25% is taxes. Now that is not a hard and fast number. That is just a number I was recommended to out of the Business Boutique.

It is recommended to take 25% out of your leftover income after expenses and put it away for taxes. This should be more than enough money to cover your income tax later on, but you want to do the 25% that way later when you file for taxes, you’re not scrambling around trying to figure out where to find this extra money. So once you take your taxes out, I would like you all to take some money aside and put it into your savings. I personally would like to put $100 into my business savings account every month. So that’s what I would do. I would minus how $100 to put into the savings. And then whatever is left over is what we call your take home paycheck. So congratulations. That would be your paycheck. To help you guys visualize stuff a little bit more. I’m going to do this all again, but do it with actual numbers.

So the number we’re going to be working with today is, let’s say you want to make $50,000 this year just from your business, and that’s $50,000 you want to see in your pocket. So to calculate that the first thing we want to do is to figure out what we need to make a month. So our monthly paycheck would need to be $4,166 and 67 cents. Then we want to figure out the income tax. So to figure out the income tax, we take that number ane times it by 0.25 which is $1,041. From there we also want to ask ourselves, Hey, how much money do I want to put aside in savings and what is my monthly expense budget? And like I said earlier, mine is $700 so, from there we take all those numbers we just came up with and we add them up.

So we add up what we want our take home to be. We add in our income tax and we add in our expenses and the resulting number is $5,208 and 34 cents but we are not done. Because we basically before when we came up with our income tax number, that was kind of like a rough number. So now what we actually have to do is we have to recalculate our income tax. So you’re going to take that $5,000 number that we just came up with and we’re going to times it by 0.25 again. So now our income tax is $1,302 and 8 cents. So now we’re gonna re-add up all the numbers. So that is the numbers of what we want our take-home paycheck to be, what the income tax is, and what our expenses are. So once we total that together, that is $6,168 and 75 cents.

So that is how much money you need to make every month. So you can take home $4,166 and 67 cents because that’s after you factor in stuff like income tax and expenses. And now if that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is kind of a lot. That’s something that people don’t realize when they’re shooting to be their own boss is all these extra things that you have to keep in mind. For a long time it never even occurred to me that I had to pay income tax and it never even occurred to me that, um, like in my head I had this, this goal of like, Oh, I need to make, I want to make $5,000 from my business so I can have a $5,000 paycheck every month. Like how awesome would that be? But I never, like, it never occurred to me that I would have to take out a huge chunk of it through income tax because my employer up until then was always the one taking it out, which just amazed me and I will put it out there.

Right now. I will say I have never received a paycheck from my business yet. That’s the stage I’m at. So just to let you guys know, it’s going to be a long time before you see a paycheck from everything you’re doing. I’m sure I had paychecks when I first started writing my books with Essence and I an Mercy because I didn’t have a business bank account. I didn’t treat it like a business. I tax it as a sole proprietorship, which is a different, totally different way of taxing than when you actually own a business, I’m not going to go into that mostly because I don’t know how to explain it exactly. I just know what I was doing before wasn’t necessarily correct, and what I’m doing now is kind of sort, sorta correct, but if you feel discouraged by this, please don’t. Just watch the video from last week.

Again, it’s linked down below. If you want to watch it. It’ll kind of open up a new framework of mind of what you may need to do to create your income goals. Now. If you guys want help calculating all of this out, if you’re sitting here listening to all this and feeling totally overwhelmed, like, Oh my God, she just did math. I’m an author. I’m not meant to do math, then have no fear. I actually have a cool download for you guys today. It’ll be linked down below. This is my author paycheck and expenses sheet. It is a Google sheet that you can plug in all your information into. You can track all your expenses there and then you can just plug in all the numbers that I talked about earlier to figure out everything. If you’re interested in using this Google sheet, be sure to just visit the link down below. When you sign up your sent access to this Google Sheet, as well as access to my entire library of resources.

Now is when I also want to give a shout out to my patron of the week, Melissa Frey. She is the author of The Secret of the Codex. I actually had the honor of designing the new cover of The Secret of the Codec, so I might be a little biased when I say I absolutely love it, but I also want to tell you guys a little bit about The Secret of the Codex. So it was relaunched in 2019 so it’s actually available to read right now, but the second book in the series, The Prophecy of the Codex is supposed to release this year in 2020. It’s an archeological supernatural thriller about four archeologists who go for a hunt on an ancient secret. If that sounds interesting to you or if you want to know more about Melissa and her book, be sure to check out her website which will be linked down below.

If you want to be featured as one of my patrons of the week, be sure to just go ahead and join me on Patreon. When you join me over on Patreon, you can also get access to exclusive videos, webinars, and a podcast. Thank you all so much for watching. If you found this video helpful, let me know in the comments down below. Give it a thumbs up and most of all, subscribe. If you’d like to check out other content that I’ve created, be sure to go ahead and check out my self-publishing playlists. In this playlist, you will find how-to videos. You’ll see my journey as I self-published, all of my books and everything in between, so be sure to watch away.

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