Ambitious Women Are Unleashing Their Potential by Starting Businesses


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Foreign correspondent Tanzeel Akhtar talks to successful female entrepreneurs from Nigeria and South Africa to find out about their achievements and discover what motivates them.

Female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa is rising rapidly, with a number of ambitious women defying the odds, going solo and unleashing their potential.

There are also a number of global initiatives supporting and propelling female-run businesses on the continent but the fact remains that there are still challenges women need to overcome.

For example:

In sub-Saharan Africa, at least 40% of the labour force is female, according to the Pew Research Centre.  However, 74% of women’s non-agricultural employment is informal, in contrast with 61% for men.

Read more about the wonderful stories of women who dare to dream.  Be inspired.

Get Proficient With Google Analytics and Improve Your Earning Potential

This two-day course will have recruiters banging down your door.

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

If you want customers to find your brand on the web, you’re going to have to put in a little work. Learning the ins and outs of Google Analytics will help you organize all of the data your company collects and put it to work on actionable marketing plans. This Google Analytics Certification course will add a valuable bullet point to your resume — or help you mine solid, helpful insights from your own startup’s website.

This class helps you prep for Google’s Analytics Individual Qualification exam. The two-day course is designed for complete beginners, and the 25 lessons include engaging HD video lessons for visual learners. You’ll gain access to 150 practice questions and answers to get a feel for how your exam will pan out.

The course also presents three different study strategies that are guaranteed to reduce your study time by 50% or more. A detailed overview of the exam and insider tips on how to pass the first time puts these certification lessons head and shoulders above the rest. There are even active discussion forums to help you connect with other newbie data strategists.

Usually, it costs $199.99 to take the Google Analytics Certification course, but right now you can prep for this essential online marketing exam for only $19.99

The Next Potential Trade War Unsettles Stock Market

U.S. relations with Europe, not China, were the catalyst this time.

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

After closing yesterday, the U.S. Trade Representative proposed an $11 billion list of European goods, including commercial aircraft, dairy products and wine, on which to impose tariffs. The U.S. is considering the actions as retaliation for European subsides to Airbus and the aerospace sector. Separately, the International Monetary Fund lowered its estimate for global economic growth this year to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent.

The major stock indexes were all down sharply. The Dow and S&P 500 indexes fell 0.72 percent and 0.61 percent respectively, while the Nasdaq Composite was off 0.56 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ ended the day down 0.53 percent.

Starboard Value LP is making waves at companies on the Entrepreneur Index™. Yesterday, the activist investor backed off a fight with management at retailer Dollar Tree Inc. after the company agreed to make changes to its product pricing strategy. Today, it struck a deal with Cerner Corp., a provider of healthcare information technology, to install four new directors on Cerner’s board, increase operating margins, and boost its share buyback program. Cerner stock was up as much as 16 percent before settling with a gain of 10.3 percent — the biggest on the Entrepreneur Index™ today.

Clothing-maker Under Armour Inc. had the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™, falling 4.69 percent. B. Riley analyst Susan Anderson reiterated a sell rating on the stock, pointing to the company’s weakness in athletic footwear as a reason for concern. She put a price target of $12 on the stock — more than 40 percent below its current $20.72.

Shares in casino-maker Wynn Resorts, up 40.8 percent this year, were down 3.86 percent today. The company announced it had terminated discussions to buy Australian firm Crown Resorts for $7.1 billion after news of the deal was prematurely leaked. Wynn is looking to diversify its operations in Macau, where its gaming licenses are up for renewal in 2022. Macau currently accounts for about two thirds of Wynn’s revenues.

Other declines on the Entrepreneur Index™ included asset managers Franklin Resources (-2.81 percent) and BlackRock (-1.42 percent) and drug-makers Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (-1.38 percent) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals (-1.5 percent). Gap Inc. and REIT SL Green Realty Corp. were also down 2.95 percent and 2.34 percent respectively.

Only 12 of sixty stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ posted gains today. Outside of Cerner Corp., tech stocks TripAdvisor Inc. (1.55 percent) and Facebook (1.51 percent) had the biggest gains. Food-maker J.M. Smucker Company was also up 1.27 percent.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.

Big list of potential tax deductions for bloggers

Start writing off

They say the only two things certain in life are death and taxes. While I can’t help with cheating death, perhaps I can with lowering your taxes. And spoiler alert: If you are a blogger that is making any kind of money, you have to pay them. But the good news is there are several tax deductions for bloggers you might qualify for.

If lowering your tax bill sounds good, keep reading.

Of course, this is the point where I must also throw in a disclaimer. I’m not an accountant, and I don’t play one on the internet. Though I’ve done my best to offer knowledge I know to be true with sources cited, please do your own research, and hire your own professionals when it comes to actually preparing and paying your taxes.

Related: 7 tax tips for your side hustle

Which bloggers have to pay taxes?

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether your blog is a business or a hobby. If you simply blog for fun and aren’t really trying to make money, this post might not necessarily apply to you.

But then again, you still might be required to pay taxes on any income earned from your hobby. The IRS states that you have to file an income tax return if your net earnings from self-employment — including working for yourself part-time — were $400 or more (and, under certain conditions, you still might have to file a return if your earnings were less than $400).

Editor’s note: Need a program to help with your business expenses? Check out GoDaddy’s Online Bookkeeping. Everything is organized in one place, and you can even invoice your clients to stay on top of your incoming cash flow.

6 potential tax deductions for bloggers

For the sake of this article, we’ll assume your blog is making a profit. With that as the basis, here are the tax deductions for bloggers you might qualify for:

  1. Home-based business tax deductions.
  2. Marketing and advertising tax deductions.
  3. Equipment and software tax deductions.
  4. Products tax deductions.
  5. Travel, entertainment, gifts and transportation tax deductions.
  6. Miscellaneous tax deductions.

As you can see, there’s a lot of ground to cover — and lots of potential deductions. Let’s get started!

1. Home-based business tax deductions

Potential home-based business tax deductions for bloggers cover stuff like:

  • Home office: You’ll calculate the area of your home (percentage) used for business.
  • Telephone (mobile phone and landline costs, depending on whether you used one or both for your business).
  • A portion of your utilities, including your internet fees.
  • Repair and maintenance fees (i.e. did you pay to have it cleaned, or did you shell out cash to paint the walls?) Remember, this must be for business use of your home-based space.
  • A portion of your homeowners/renters insurance, security, mortgage/rent and property taxes.

How much you can claim is dependent on the size of your home office and whether or not you used it exclusively for business. That said, it’s definitely worth the time to learn more about home tax office deductions from the IRS.

2. Marketing and advertising tax deductions for bloggers

Marketing and advertising tax deductions for bloggers might include:

  • Flyers, pamphlets, business cards, etc. This is marketing collateral you use to promote your blogging business.
  • Website costs. Generally, you can deduct costs like domain registration fees, webmaster consulting costs and other related expenses for a website that you use for business.
  • Ads on social media. This might include Facebook ads, Twitter campaigns, promoted posts on Instagram, and hiring an agency to promote your company on social media.

Related: What you need to know about deducting startup costs

Tax Deductions for Bloggers Fashion Blogging at Coffeehouse

3. Equipment and software tax deductions

Equipment and software tax deductions for bloggers might include:

  • Computer software you use for your blog (i.e. Microsoft Office, Photoshop or even Canva Pro).
  • Laptop or desktop computer used for business.
  • Camera and accessories (lighting, microphones, memory cards) used for business.
  • Mobile phones — again for business use only.

You usually have the option to claim 100-percent of the cost of these items for the year you purchase them, or you can claim a portion of the cost over multiple years.

4. Products you sell on your blog

Let’s say you sell products on your blog. You might qualify for some tax deductions on those items. This is a big topic, so a good place to start is by looking at the IRS’s information on the business deduction for the cost of goods sold. Postage, shipping and delivery fees are deductible as other expenses if they are not included in the cost of goods sold.

Related: How to deduct “other expenses”

Tax Deductions Bloggers Woman Shooting Photo

5. Travel, entertainment, gifts and transportation tax deductions

Let’s check out travel, entertainment, gifts and transportation tax deductions for bloggers outlined by the IRS:

You can deduct all of the costs related to travel, entertainment, gifts and transportation, provided they are “ordinary and necessary business-related expenses.”

The IRS defines ordinary and necessary as follows: “An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. An expense doesn’t have to be required to be considered necessary.”

In other words, to claim these deductions, you actually have to need them to run your blog. Don’t expect to get away with claiming a seven-day vacation to Disney World as one of your tax deductions for bloggers. That is, unless you are blogging about every aspect of the trip, and can prove it is a necessary and ordinary expense for your business.

The same goes for buying clothes and makeup just for social media images. Unless you are writing a review about the items in the outfit and the outfit is being used 100 percent for business purposes, you might want to be careful trying to deduct those expenses.

A word on transportation: Make sure you are keeping thorough mileage records if you’re claiming your car’s use for transportation in your business. It’s also important to remember that you can only claim the mileage directly related to your blogging business.

For example, claiming the mileage to go to a blogging meetup is fine, but claiming the mileage to go to the park for an unsponsored Instagram post might not be. This is one of the many times where a tax pro might come in handy, as it’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid the risk of an audit.

Related: What you need to know about writing off auto expenses

6. Miscellaneous tax deductions for bloggers

Miscellaneous tax deductions for bloggers cover a broad range of things like:

  • Blogging or industry-related conferences (e.g. the ticket, hotel and flight).
  • Stock images and music that you purchased.
  • Subscriptions and dues such as blogging memberships for learning or group coaching, memberships to professional organizations, and magazine subscriptions you use for inspiration.
  • The cost of products, events and meals you review (i.e. unsponsored items you won’t be reimbursed for). The kicker here is you must keep proof you paid for the item and that you blogged about it.
  • Cloud services and security costs to back up that data.
  • Office supplies.
  • Learning materials like books and courses.
  • License fees, trademark costs and fees for becoming a corporation or LLC.

Related: Calculating self-employment taxes

Still have questions about what you can and can’t deduct in terms of blogging expenses you might incur? Check out the IRS’s big ‘ole guide about business expenses.

Insights from CPA Theresa Turner of Tax Happens

Tax Deductions for Bloggers Tax Happens

To close out this post on tax deductions for bloggers, I asked my bloggy friend Theresa Turner, CPA, MST and owner of Tax Happens LLC, for her best tax tips for bloggers. Here’s what she told me:

If the business expenses you are trying to claim are not ordinary, necessary and reasonable, the IRS will not allow the expense.

Although there are many common and obvious business expenses, what qualifies is defined by the unique business. What appears to be the exact same expenses may be deemed as ordinary, necessary and reasonable for one business and may not for another.

General tax-preparation tips for your blog:

  • Always keep separate books and records for your blog and personal stuff. The most efficient way to do that is run the business through a separate bank account or credit card.
  • Keep all receipts — you will need them if you’re ever audited.
  • Startup costs are deductible. It is important to track business expenses incurred before the business officially started.
  • Business miles count as tax deductions for bloggers. Track those miles and keep accurate, detailed records. There are countless phone apps that can do that for you.
  • Business miles are not just to and from clients or customers. Miles to meet with your CPA, insurance agent or attorney regarding business are considered business miles.
  • Personal expenses can’t be tax deductions for bloggers. That suit you picked up from the dry cleaner to close the sale worked, but unless it is a “uniform” that someone wouldn’t wear outside of work it is NOT a business expense. Yes, many people wear makeup and get their nails done to look sharp and close the deal but still not deductible.
  • Entertainment or any expenses related to activities generally considered entertainment, amusement or recreation are no longer deductible.
  • Fifty percent of the cost of business meals are deductible if the taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) is present and the food or beverages are not considered lavish or extravagant. The meals may be provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or similar business contact.

This kind of professional guidance from a CPA is priceless because, as you can imagine, it is never simple when it comes to the tax code. Here is where a full understanding of a business and the business purpose of a transaction are vital.

For bloggers, in particular, a full understanding of the business purposes of an expense is needed to determine the appropriate tax treatment of an expense.

Some expenses that may have a business purpose by regulation might not be deductible or may be limited on how much can be deducted for tax purposes.

Take, for example, a blogger writing about the cleanliness of hair studios. As part of the research the blogger schedules appointments, and goes for hair appointments at several hair salons in order to gather the information needed to write the story. These hair salon costs are allowable business expenses because there is a business purpose. Because it’s provable that these are for a blog post, it is not considered a personal expense for tax purposes.

This is why it is so essential that these expenses are fully documented.

You want to assure you can substantiate the unique business purpose if you are ever audited.

There you have it, my bloggy friends — your inside scoop on tax deductions for bloggers. Keep thorough records and blog your heart out. Until next time, may your taxes be low, your page views be high — and your income even higher!

The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

You’ll Go Barking Mad Over the Potential in Dog Business Opportunities

Americans spent more money than the combined GDP of 39 countries on their pets in 2018, which was a whopping $72 billion. With such a big market, it is easy to see the big opportunities in the business of all things canine.

A new infographic presented by TruDog and developed by NowSourcing titled, “The Business of Dogs” looks at how much Americans are spending to take care of their dog. This includes everything from healthcare to food, supplements, and more.

As a business concept, taking care of dogs covers a range of industries and one ideally suited for small businesses. Whether you want to start by walking or sitting dogs, or making gourmet dog food there are many options. The key is identifying a niche and going after it.

A great example of this is the founder of TruDog, Lori R. Taylor. She started her business after going through the agonizing heartache of losing her Great Dane named Truman to cancer. By the way, the name of the company in part has his name.

In researching his condition, she soon found out the processed dog food Truman was eating was full of carcinogens and little nutrition. So, she came up with TruDog so dog owners are secure in knowing the food and supplements they feed their pets are healthy and nutritious.



The Business of Dogs

With around 90 million pet dogs in the US, the billions of dollars their owners spend on them is not really surprising.

According to the infographic, dogs are part of the family. For 66% of it is their best friend, while 59% said they are a snuggling buddy. This was followed by 37% who said their dog was a guardian, and 33% a child, and 25% a therapist.

When it comes to how much Americans spend, it varies according to which generation they were born in. Millennials spend the most at $142 per month, followed by Gen Z at $124, Gen X at $105, and baby boomers at $80.

On average Americans spend close to $1,300 every year on their companion.

The amount they spend also comes with great cost, as 3 out of 4 Americans said they would make a financial as well as lifestyle sacrifices. A clear majority or 79% said they would give up eating at restaurants, 67% would skip their vacation, and 37%  said lower the amount they put towards retirement savings.

Veterinary Cost

The cost of veterinary is getting more expensive, and without insurance, it can really put a dent on your finances. The cost for the most common health problems is up to $6,500 for stomach issues, $6,000 eye conditions, $4,000 skin problems.

The costs are higher when it comes to emergencies, seen or unforeseen. Radiation therapy can run as high as $9,000, with brain tumor treatment coming in at $12K, followed by $20K for kidney disease and transplant.

According to the report, the cost of veterinary care has resulted in more people buying pet health insurance. By 2022, the market is expected to reach $2 billion. Considering 1 in 3 pets require urgent vet care each year, having insurance one way of offsetting the cost.

Prevention

Keeping your dog healthy and living longer means making sure they are getting the best food and nutritional supplements. And 85% of Americans believe quality food can extend the lives of their pets.

Vitamins and supplements now make up a growing segment of pet nutrition. In 2018 the average dog owner spent $100 on vitamins and 1 in 3 of them said they give their pet daily supplements. This includes glucosamine, Omega-3, and probiotics to name a few.

Small Business Opportunities

As the data in the infographic points out, there are different segments an entrepreneur can address when it comes to dogs and their owners.

Dogs have many of the same needs we have, so there are many opportunities. And for their owners spending the money to make sure they are healthy and happy is an expense they are willing to make.

Lori’s company TruDog has grown into a leading brand as the first anti-aging system for dogs.

Take a look at the rest of the data in the infographic below.

You Will Bark When You See the Potential in Dog Business Opportunities

Image: TruDog

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Reach Your Full Potential with This Natural Male Enhancement Supplement

Green Lumber’s Male Enhancement supplement is made from roots and herbs for an all-natural lift.

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

When a new business idea strikes and you’re hustling all day to get it off the ground, it can be hard to slow down for an intimate time with your partner. Personal relationships can take a hit from the stress of finding a reliable business team, setting up and optimizing your website and hunting down customers. Carving out time for romance helps you achieve a better work/life balance, and you can take an all-natural approach with Green Lumber’s Male Enhancement supplements.

This four pack of Green Lumber capsules contain a proprietary blend of roots and herbs sourced from Far East rainforests. One dose lasts 72 hours, so you can enjoy an entire weekend of intimate moments without worrying about re-dosing. The capsules naturally ramp up your body’s testosterone production, and they also increase your coital strength, stamina, and recovery.

These capsules are 100 percent natural, and you don’t need a prescription to try them out. The high-quality ingredients are a far cry from the cheap enhancement supplements you’ll see at gas stations or convenience stores. They’re a natural option that will add some spice to your precious private moments.

Normally a four-pack of Green Lumber’s Male Enhancement pills is $39, but right now they’re on sale for $34.99 (10 percent off).

Align Your Goals With a Potential Partner Before Going Global


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Rhonda Klosler, National chief operating officer at RSM Canada; office managing partner, Toronto, talks about what it takes to incorporate a good new partner that can take you global while still maintaining your identity.

Becoming part of a global firm offers many benefits: access to different talent pools, more opportunities for new business, extra resources and capabilities and, of course, international breadth to clients.

In her case, the Toronto office where she was a managing partner became a part of RSM, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms.

To set up for success, they had to capitalize on their new-found advantages without losing the key differentiators that made their businesses so successful.  Here are three:

  1. Educate employees about “why”
  2. Maintain what makes you special
  3. Seek out relationships across the business

Read the entire article about taking your business global and making sure to tell your employees why.