April 2018 Update

As April draws to a close, I thought I would post an update on what is happening with Travel.Write.Money. The short version is that I spent time working on making this blog and other web properties into a real business. The rest of this post consists of detail about what that entails.

First, there are two businesses in play. The first business is Keralum Media, which is a sole proprietorship intended to contain all of my web content, including this blog. There are other blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels that are getting traffic. Thus, there is a slow accrual of ad revenue that will eventually pay out. I needed a business to catch all that so that the money no longer deposits to personal accounts. This past week, I opened up a business checking account to formalize management of my income and expenses.

Another thing that I needed was to catch business expenses separately from my personal expenses. For 2018, I got an AMEX Business Gold card. Fortunately, most online services accept American Express. I got the card in December of 2017. I had been paying it from personal checking accounts.

Moving on to the second business, I had initially intended to use our tax return as a payment to start an LLC. The LLC is meant to contain a travel agency. The travel agency would assist Travel.Write.Money by providing another revenue stream and a means to acquire discounted travel. In other words, Keralum Media and the travel agency would have a symbiotic relationship that ultimately would allow us to travel and earn income from that travel. Unfortunately, our 2017 filing required us to pay taxes for the first time. This change put a damper on plans to start the LLC.

These events bring me to the next subject. While our income went up for 2017, so did our expenses. We had so many things that we deferred that in 2017 we finally had a chance to address. Unfortunately, this went a bit far. We spent more than we should have. Some of it was indulgences. Some of it was an unexpected necessity, such as insurance deductibles.

The net result is that we have accumulated debt that needs to be paid down before embarking on any adventures. Let this serve as a cautionary tale.

There was some urgency to get around to opening a business checking account, which was not without hurdles. Banks are not keen to use the same EIN for multiple sole proprietorships. I had previously requested the EIN for contract work that I was doing. The IRS has a policy of only issuing one per person for any number of sole proprietorships. Banks, on the other hand, insist on using a different EIN for each business. In the end, my credit union has prior experience with multiple businesses using the same EIN. When we get around to creating the LLC, then that will require a separate EIN, on which both the banks and IRS agree.

Concerning content creation, I have experimented with vlog posts using different cameras. I find that using an iPad to record video provides the most straightforward workflow. Not only can I record video on the iPad, but I can also edit and post from the same device. Using a point-and-shoot camera and a Mevo proved to be more cumbersome in that I had to transfer the file to a desktop computer to begin editing. The Mevo, specifically, proved to be flaky with its WiFi connection to the controlling iPad at the location where I was. Although the iPad Mini proved to be the smoothest experience, its biggest drawback is that it is not as easy to mount to a tripod or wire for audio.

There is now the question of what to do for May 2018. Plans for next month include writing more content, posting videos, and possibly venturing into podcasts. I own RGV-Life.com, which currently draws the most web traffic despite laying fallow for some time. I will write local tourism content for Travel.Write.Money that would otherwise have gone to RGV Life. In other words, this blog will focus on local travel first.

Now that the business checking account is open, I may perhaps operate a travel agency under TWM temporarily. Blogging and content creation are long-term projects regarding revenue generation. The IRS would not look too kindly on me if I consistently operate at a loss. Before getting too fancy with creating an LLC, I should first look to prove the travel agency concept.

Additionally, I should attempt to generate revenue from sources besides Google Adsense. There are affiliate links and direct ad sales that would assist in producing income until there is sufficient traffic for Adsense. So that is where we are and where we are going. You can expect to see more in May 2018.