If you run your own business you should be saving a percentage of your earnings to cover your business taxes when tax time rolls around.
When I started my business in March of 2018, I decided I’d put away 50% of my revenue. Yes, half.
Where I got the 50% number was partially from my accountant. We both knew putting away 50% would easily cover taxes at tax time (generally taxes fall somewhere around the 30% mark here in Maryland for an LLC). But I wanted to also have a generous buffer over the 30% (it was my first year of business after all), and I also wanted to keep a little left in the account to invest back into my business.
Well, tax time came around, I paid my taxes, and guess what? I had a nice cushion leftover in my business bank account. Sure, I could’ve paid myself that money, but yet another approximately 30% would be taxed as payroll. So how to avoid those taxes? Use the money for business expenses - most of which can be used tax free.
Instead of using that pre-tax business money to invest in conferences or hiring help, I decided this would be the year I’d want to use the money to remodel my home office.
If you’ve been following me, you know my home office was NOTHING to brag about. Sure, it was a nice space, complete with nice natural light, and new hardwood floors (which were a part of the house remodel we did in 2017), but it was the catch-all room/guest room. We have no idea the last time it was painted - it was a dirty off-white - and so much of my stuff in the room didn’t belong.
So, first I started with my budget.
I had $2364.70 to spend. That sounds like a lot, but when you factor in the paint and trim (I wanted to hire it out), that only left me with $1300. And let me tell you, when you’re buying furniture, $1300 goes fast!
I decided my top home office priorities were a minimal desk in the center of the room, a light color rug (it’s a no-kid zone and the floors are dark so it’s totally justified), and 2 bookshelves. If I had to, I’d sacrifice items like a new office chair because I could live with what I already had.
My inspiration was taken from the same piece my branding took inspiration from - this art piece from Target. So my color palette was pretty set. I love the colors. It’s calming, professional, and feminine. I wanted mostly white with gold, rose, and navy accents.
So I started shopping.
First I purchased the rug. It was easy. I knew what I wanted, it went on sale at RugsUSA.com, and I bought it. The texture is to die for. It’s like your favorite cream sweater - beautiful and makes you want to touch it. You can buy it here. Like the reviews, yes it does shed, but I’m hoping after it gets vacuumed a few times and settles, it’ll stop leaving little dust bunnies on my dark floors. Only downfall, I had to get the 5x8’ because the 6x9’ would’ve been to long in the 9’ direction. If they had it, I would’ve purchased an 8’ square.
The desk was probably the hardest to shop for. I wanted an open legged desk (it looks lighter and more minimal in a smaller room), white, ideally with gold accents, with drawers. And because my current free-facebook-find desk was 56”, I wanted it larger than 48”. However, apparently anything larger than 48” was either not meeting the rest of my requirements, or was out of my budget. So I landed on this beauty.
So far I’m not missing the added length. Maybe when I use my WACOM monitor in addition with my dual screen setup it’ll feel cramped, but I don’t typically need 3 screens. It was easy to put together, it’s sturdy, and the drawers are the right size.
The chair is a Facebook Marketplace free find, so it won’t be staying long-term, but it’s surprisingly comfy, and neutral enough to not bother me to the point of immediate replacement.
Like the desk, the shelves were hard to finally pull the trigger on - but not because I couldn’t find them. I found what I was looking for, but there were two different sizes at two different prices. It took a few weeks to decide which I’d prefer.
One set was only 30” wide and only 70” tall, but it had 5 shelves (not including top). The set I finally landed on was 80” tall and 36” wide. I’m really glad I went with something taller and wider. It just fits the space so much better. I had to pay for the extra height and width, but I don’t regret it. You can find the same shelves I purchased here from Wayfair.
The rest of the money went to accessories. Sure, they aren’t necessary, but I was also trying to “finish” the room as much as possible and tie it together. So I bought a few things I either came across or knew I wanted to add to my office - a curtain rod, blush colored iPhone stand, some rose colored frames, some gold accessories, and a lamp.
I also wanted a pin-board for all those notes and images I can never seem to find a temporary space for, and almost right away I found this gold and white pinboard on Michaels.com that has the same design as my shelves on the opposite wall. It was meant to be. So I bought online and picked up in store - easy peasy.
The one item you can consider a non-home office investment went to a new ring light for photos and videos. I landed on this one and I’m really happy with it. It may not “go” with the office, and it certainly doesn’t make it look beautiful, but I’m already getting use out of it. If you’re interested in getting one, I would recommend the one I bought here.
So that’s it!
You can expect I’ll be moving some things around, organizing more as time goes on. I may even purchase a few more white storage boxes. But for now, this is what my savings and tax prep got me - a newly remodeled home office!
What do you think? Are you saving up to use business money to use to spiff up your own home office? What look are you going for? Let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram at @laurenaustincreative.