My ONE Regret in 10 Years Blogging


I don't spend a lot of time on regrets; it's more productive to learn from them and move on, but with regard to blogging, which is my full-time work and career, I do have one really important regret. And that is that I should have handled the financial side better.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very good at budgeting and handling money in my personal life, which definitely carried over to my business. After blogging for two years I was able to go full-time and support myself mainly by selling advertising directly, with some affiliate income mixed in. At that point, I wish I'd put a strong financial and business plan together that would carry me through the next ten years. As it was, I sort of flew by the seat of my pants and made things up as I went along.

Things certainly aren't terrible now, but I really do regret that I didn't take the business side of blogging more seriously the first 5 years; it would have set a more stable foundation for where I am now, and where I want to be in the next 10 years if I had. We talk a lot here about treating your blog as a business and being professional in all aspects of representing yourself, but the truth is even if no one else sees it, it's important to have an accounting system and business plan in place also.

Here's how:

Establish a business FIRST

I actually did this…but it's really important to have a business entity that you work under right from the beginning. I never took personal checks or cash or anything like that, I started with a PayPal account and sent and received invoices through that (I still do). You can set up an LLC, or a sole proprietorship if you want, you have to decide which one is better for you, but DO IT.

Make a business plan

Set goals for yourself and your business and then hold yourself accountable. Start small, and make a one year business plan, then circle out to include where you want your business to be in 5 or 10 years. I've heard that having a business plan can make you more productive and efficient (I honestly don't know though, I have never done one. Although I know I should!!). It can also be useful if you're looking for investment, even if only from friends & family.

Start with Quickbooks immediately

I started using Quickbooks a few years into my business and it was the best decision I ever made. I wish I'd started earlier, but even so, having an accounting system is ESSENTIAL to knowing how much money you make every year and filing your taxes. If you take some time every month to reconcile everything (now it's much easier than it was 10 years ago!!), you'll have nearly nothing to do at tax time, just fill in the numbers. I like Quickbooks, and now I use the online version, but there are other free services out there.

Separate business & personal accounts

After you create your business entity set up a bank account IMMEDIATELY, and then keep it separate from your personal account. I did this too, but I didn't try very hard to keep it separate. I still don't, honestly. It's hard! The idea is that you receive money to your business account and pay business-related expenses from that, AND keep some in reserve, then pay yourself by transferring money into your personal account.

Also, if you earn any money from affiliate commissions you know how cyclical it can be. One month you'll rake it in and the next, crickets. Unfortunately for you, the IRS still needs to get their estimated taxes every quarter, and you probably have bills to pay that don't fluctuate with your income, so it's important to save enough to cover the lean months. This is something that I still haven't perfected.

Have an accountant

I still don't have an accountant, but I wish I did. Especially if he/she would tell me how I can consider my clothing purchases business expenses!! Seriously, I think paying professionals is important, especially if you're running a business. You do what you do best and let someone else handle the other stuff! I definitely wish I'd hired an accountant early on and kept him/her.

Invest in the business, tools, classes, etc.,

Ultimately, my regret boils down to not making the investments I should have in my business from the beginning: not investing the time to do accounting properly, and then not investing money BACK into my business, so that I'd have some reserves and the ability to purchase things I need to run it efficiently. Not just clothes 😉

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34 Responses

  1. Gigi


    Thank you so much for your transparency. Although I am not a professional blogger but have tapped into it a few times my business goals are more on the personal styling side of the industry. I love the work you do although this is the first time I’ve ever commented on anything you’ve written. I have to be honest I do not see your post often, however I do admire your work when I do. That said, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment about ensuring financial controls and having a sound business plan in place. Most of the steps you’ve listed here I have done and just out of the first year of working my business full time. I have a business and marketing plan, separate business account for deposits with check and and debit collections and I have invested in business in the educational part by going to school for merchandising and marketing currently carrying a 3.89 GPA and graduating in August this year. What I have not done was establish myself as a LLC although I am listed now as a Sole Proprietor – I don’t think this is the right route for me any longer and the biggest point you mentioned here that I found the kicker is to INVEST IN QUICKBOOKS! I haven’t done this and really need to get a hold of it like you mention and I can say your post has really focused me to do that part of it which is I would say the most important part. As creative beings I think we don’t want to think about the financials in such a way because it can be boring or depressing at times and really during a growth cycle. With this in mind, and although I still have a great deal of work to do to continue to build the business I do want to be as prepared for success as I possibly can so I have to suck up the hesitation and get moving – thank you for the push!


  2. John Gugel

    Very good advice! It is never too late to put good business principles into action. Having started several business’s over the years the most overlooked aspect of a new business is accounting services. Talk to someone that knows accounting…period!

    Investing in good accounting software is equally important but it works only if it is properly setup. (see “see accountant” above!)

    If you are comfortable with how the revenue/expenses are being accounted for you are more free to do what you do! That is blogging, of course.

  3. Aileen

    Really great and sound tip! I was wondering when exactly does one start taking care of the financial side of the blog… first paycheck or after it becomes steady.

    The Style Boro

  4. Anastasia

    Great article. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information about how full-time bloggers manage a financial aspect of the blog and how they turned it into a real business! I just started to use affiliate links and think of my blog as a possible business- after 1,5 years of blogging! In need of all the information of this kind!:))

  5. Kierra

    Definetly having an accountant is a must! I would also even enlist some of my friends to help out too. Social Media is my achilles heel! Its way to time consuming yet its one of the biggest aspects of being a susccesfull blogger. I say all the time that I wish I had some help. An extra set of hands would be great!

  6. Janelle Hawes

    Hi Gretchen, this article is very informative and necessary for blogger who hadn’t thought about the business side! I run my own businesss and recently added blogging to the mix, so I already had all the items discussed (and many more) in place when I began blogging.

    The most valuable piece of advice I learned long ago was that no one can look after your business like you. That means even though you hire experts to do the things you can’t do (such as accounting) you still need to be able to understand what that person is doing with the numbers.

    A resource I use to continually educated myself in areas of business is Universal Class ( They’re cheap, can be done online, and have hundreds of offerings. They can help you learn or brush up on just about any subject you want to learn more about, I really like their business and management courses.

    You should check it out!

    Great tips in this post.


  7. Kali

    Excellent advice, thank you! I was an actor for many years before starting my fashion blog and a lot of these same steps apply. I think the biggest one is to have a separate bank account (plus Quickbooks) for your blogging income and when you’re ready to pay yourself, transfer that money into your personal account. As an actor with an accountant, I even failed to do that every year and then tax time wasn’t pretty.

  8. Christina

    Love this post! I was actually just thinking about, five years in already, making a proper business plan, or at least some projections, for SaleBite. Never too late I guess. Also, why is it so hard to keep the biz and personal separate?! I have that same problem.

  9. Heather RJ Fletcher

    Thank you for the advice, Gretchen! I really needed to read what you have written.

  10. Fashionur

    Unfortunately, there is a lack of information about how full-time fashion blogs manage a financial aspect of the blog and how they turned it into a real business! Thanks for the advice, I will consider it when my blog becomes well established in future.

  11. Bua

    Thank you so much for sharing this important lesson of yours. I’m glad I have found you.

  12. Inga Bloom'ing

    Great article. Very helpful and informative. Thank you for sharing, Grechen.

  13. Tiffy @ Cute LA

    Thank you for this. Mainly because as a business owner I already do all of this for my company. However, I never thought to start to view my blog in a more serious light. I need to see the potential and honestly I know the benefits of doing all of these already. Thanks for putting it on my radar for my blog and making a good checklist.


  14. Chennaiwebs

    Blogging is the best way to share ideas, own thoughts and engage with audience. you are an perfect blogger, and I very impressed about your words. keep going and all the best.

  15. Letitia Elizabeth

    I really wish I would take financials for side projects more seriously as well. Why is it always the one thing we lack motivation for. Arghhh.

  16. Poonpo

    You have given a excellent advice and i liked your point ” Make A Business Plan” which is actually very necessary . Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. MsK

    Good stuff, reminds me that I need to set up this business account and register for Quickbooks. Thank you!

  18. Susan

    Thank you so much for this, I have been looking for advice on the business side of blogging and by far this is the best advice I have gotten. Am a newbie and I basically know very little so thank you for taking time to be honest about this, I just hope Ill try out everything.You can check out my site