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Health Update and Camp Accountant

Don't check out and travel the world; check-in and change the world. Make a difference. Make the world a better place. #love #travel #help #success #friendsThe extended 4th of July holiday here in the states was a do or die situation in The Wealthy Accountant offices this year. Illness had plagued me for some time and became acute just as tax season got underway. The pain was exquisite and unrelenting. It was time to decide if I can continue doing the things I most love.

In July I published a late post letting readers and clients know where things stand. You can read the prior post if you wants details from the trenches.

Things have changed a lot in the last three months. Clients and readers should be pleased my health has improved enough that I no longer consider health issues an existential crisis. 

The second part of this post is an update on Camp Accountant. 

 

Check-in or Check Out?

My writing process requires time. Usually I have a good idea what I will write about days in advance. As I think about the topic I gather materials and scribble notes. This post is no different.

Where this post is different is the material covered. I always want to tell a story that engages, drawing the reader in. Repeating what I already published seemed redundant to me and since this post is really an extension of the post linked above I will pick up where I left off. 

 

Thinking about the nature of my illness caused ideas to keep flooding my mind. For the first time in my adult life I seriously had to consider retirement and an old nemesis returned: depression. I prefer discussions of solutions over complaining about the inequalities of life. 

Earlier this summer, I had to face the real possibility of life without purpose. What would I do if I no longer could do what I was good at? 

I visualized a life of leisure with stacks of books and nothing to do all day long. As much as I love reading and books I knew a life of accumulating knowledge I would never use or share was still meaningless. And longtime readers of this blog know my disdain for travel.

That is when this little verse popped into my head:

 

Don’t check out and travel the world;

Check-in and change the world.

 

I don’t know what you can do with that. It sums up my philosophy on life. Hopefully these words give you the motivation to do great things. 

When health declines strange thoughts enter the brain. My journey is not done. There are many things I must do; things that could change the world at least for one person. I now know this blog is only practice for a much larger stage. I also know, from this blog, that I do not handle the large stage well so I need plenty of practice. 

When the purpose is important enough you will find a way. Somehow God, life, something, just comes together to make important things come to life. Our worst moments of life eventually become the most important events of life. True value is impossible without these moments of crisis.

All I know is that I am not ready to check out. This blog and my accounting career have more room the run; things that must be done.

But there is one more thing I must do. Something so important (in my egotistical mind) it will change the world for the better for at least a few people. I wish I could flesh it out here and now, but you would not understand without the full context. All I can say for now is that it will start with a TEDx talk, a book and a larger public presentation. It will be the hardest thing I have ever done; the hardest thing I will ever do. And I have to stand in the light on a stage. And travel.

You see, I had to get well enough (and experienced enough) to complete these tasks. 

Before you think I flipped my rocker, let me say that my purpose will change the world for at least a small number of people. Not at the level of Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. No, my earth shattering world change may only make a difference in the life of only one. But for that one person it will mean everything. And the odds are good more than one will be served. Too much is at stake to be diverted over a simple illness.

 

What was Wrong with TWA

The short version of my illness is I had a sinus and lung infection that required several rounds of antibiotics to resolve. Recovery is still in progress.

The cause of the infection probably came from a serious issue with acid reflux. Several years ago I noticed reflux issues but thought little of it. Acid reflux is such a minor issue (in my mind) that it didn’t need attention. 

Jogging would cause coughing bouts. Even flying was an issue. (Maybe that is why I hate traveling so much?) As the reflux worsened I reduced my workouts to adjust and my diet declined. Weight went on and round and round we go down the drain.

The doctor said the acid reflux did not cause the infections (in her opinion). The infection just made the reflux more noticeable. I disagree. I would wake up at night choking. It was painful. It felt like it got in my lungs.

Regardless if the chicken preceded the egg, I ended up with a serious infection coupled with serious acid reflux. I was unable to talk and breathing was difficult. And I was in constant pain.

The infection is gone; the acid reflux is more of a constant friend. Diet and exercise improved after the infection was removed. (I gained nearly 40 pounds!) I can talk again to the chagrin of family and employees. I can even sing in church on Sunday morning, though I would not sit too close. I’ve been know to etch glass with my voice. Now we will see if my voice survives the upcoming tax season.

 

Where do We Go from Here?

There is no doubt I took the additional time allotted me while I healed to reflect on what life means to me.

I enjoy my work and always have. There is more work than any one man or business can handle. That is a hard lesson for me; the ability to say “No” when it is the right thing to say. 

Just because you can do something does not mean you should!

The tax practice lives on. Current clients stay. I will not say I will never add another new client. What I am saying is that any new client will probably be local. I can’t be everything to everyone, taking the most complex tax returns from around the country. (Refer to the point before this paragraph.)

This blog also stays. The once per week publishing schedule works nice and if I want to pound out a few other ideas I’ve been working on I can always have an extra post now and again. 

To compensate for fewer clients (some old clients leave and fewer replace them) I will focus on helping the largest number of people with a course on taxes tips. (News coming soon!) The same questions keep coming up again and again. With a course I can say it once and help thousands instead of one-on-one. A few other courses are also planned.

Consulting is still on. My consulting this year is way down due to that nasty loss of voice. If you contacted me on a consulting session you may hear from me soon. While consulting is still a go, understand I can’t consult with every request I get. There are just too many and I really do not want a relapse of the first half of this year. 

And then we come to Camp Accountant.

 

Camp Accountant

Yes, Camp Accountant is now a real thing! Use the link for details and sign up.

Several false starts have finally ended in a real Camp. Changes were important. In the past I was pushed to do a Camp by someone else’s rules and it kept falling apart. I finally decided to have the Camp right where I want it: a short walk from my tax office. (Sorry Colorado fans. The Upper Midwest also needs some love too.)

Camp Accountant: Where you go to learn the simple path to success, wealth and financial independence. #FI #FIRE #CampAccountant #Simple #Path #success #wealthI also decided I would run it my way. These things are a lot of work and I was expecting somebody else to do all the lifting. My contribution would be showing up. That wasn’t working.

Instead of the traditional FI and FIRE camps around the country, I settled on a one-day event. I brought in two speakers and all attendees get a Wealthy Accountant t-shirt. We also will tour my office so the proletariat can see how the bourgeoisie works in his natural habitat. Warning! You might be underwhelmed.

The morning will be presentations with guest speakers. I will share thoughts on the topic as well. After a nature walk to my office and lunch I will give a presentation followed by a Q&A. (Think of the Q&A as a consulting session without the cost.) If no one has any questions (that would be a first) I have an additional topic to cover. 

Camp Accountant should be fun and informative. It is for everyone looking to build wealth, reach financial independence and make a difference. CPAs, enrolled agents and attorneys get CPE, but this doesn’t mean only these people will benefit. We are offering the CPE so these professionals can get a tax deduction as they satisfy their continuing education requirements.

 

I hope no one was too worried about my health. People were asking so I thought it best to publish an update. Camp Accountant is something people have asked for as well. I am very happy this is happening. 

Now I am working to keep balance so I don’t relapse. I am grateful for the best clients and readers anywhere. This is important to me because I know it helps you. So I repeat:

Don’t check out and travel the world;

Check-in and change the world.

 

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Credit Cards can be a powerful money management tool when used correctly. Use this link to find a listing of the best credit card offers. You can expand your search to maximize cash and travel rewards.

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Mr. Money Mustache Fired His Accountant

It was late May of 2015 when a wayward accountant from the backwoods of Nowhere, Wisconsin traveled to Cascadia. Tucked away in the Washington State foothills stood the Rainbow Lodge where a nondescript gathering of devoted followers of the emerging Mustachian movement were preparing for Camp Mustache II. This was our hero’s destination.

The goal of our accountant was to meet the Great One, Mr. Money Mustache himself, Pete Adeney, and present him with a business offer. 

The wayward accountant had a game plan. Since Pete had no idea who this crazy guy was he needed to build rapport before springing his devious plan on the unsuspecting celebrity. He had four days to build this rapport, present his offer and seal the deal. The pressure was on!

Since our hero was already attending the event he figured he could volunteer to give a short tax presentation. And wouldn’t you know it, the Big Guy attended the session and sat right in front of him, no more than five feet away!

Oh, well, figured our country boy. He went ahead with his tax strategy presentation. No more than ten minutes into the presentation and Pete interrupted, saying, “You’re my new tax guy.”

Gulp!

Cool as a cucumber, our backwoods accountant never missed a beat as he finished his session. When the session ended Pete introduced himself to the accountant and said, “When I say something I mean it. You are my accountant.”

 

Pressure

You would think the pressure would be off at this point. Mr. Backwoods Accountant had his foot in the door three days early. Not only did he have his coveted rapport, he had a new client; Mr. Money Mustache himself! (Can I squeal like a girl in delight now?)

But there was one problem. Mr. Accountant wasn’t looking for new clients. He had a business proposition to make and he had to figure out how to present it.

Honesty is the only way. Later the same day our hero pulled Pete off to the side and spilled the beans on why he was there.

He admitted to Pete he wanted to offer his DIY online tax software service, using MMM as the platform. Pete didn’t care for the idea. (Disappointment.) But he would be happy to mention the project on the MMM blog without strings attached. (Glee!)

But there was still one overwhelming problem.

 

Honesty

The story to this point is public information. I’ve shared this story in the past and many are aware of it.

What is not publicly known is why I wanted to make the business offer to Pete in the first place.

Sometimes getting fired is the best thing that can happen to you. The loss of a job or client opens the door for new opportunities. You can only grow when you deny the past and embrace the future.

Sometimes getting fired is the best thing that can happen to you.

The reason for the DIY tax software project was because I was ready to take a step back and start living the MMM lifestyle. Now that I ended up with a very visible new tax client that dream fell to dust. 

The DIY tax program is alive and well, thanks to the extra push Pete gave it in February 2016. However, the idea of slowing down and focusing on teaching the next generation of tax professionals had to be put on hold. 

The phone and email server started to smoke the traffic was so heavy. Mr. Money Mustache gets close to 10 million page views per month and his readers are devoted. They all wanted the same taxguy Pete had. This wasn’t going to work.

At its peak I was receiving over 300 emails a day that tax season just from the MMM blog alone. Just saying “No” to each request was a strain on resources. And these weren’t the simple returns either. These fine people took serious advantage of the tax code.

Instead of slowing down I was winding up at a rapid clip and it was wearing my team and me out. It took a few years to adjust to the New World Order. I had to learn to say “No” at a level I never imagined before. 

Employees were crushed by the onslaught. I still don’t understand how I survived the transition. Stress was higher than at any other time in my career. 

Let’s be clear. None of this was Pete’s fault. He had no idea what was about to hit me. Every action Pete took was to help someone he admired and liked. Pete and I became friends. And he empathized with my situation. He offered to break the links on his blog, but I begged him to keep them up. My ego was the only thing enjoying the ride.

 

Hell

My descent into hell was complete. I was adding new clients, but couldn’t keep up with the pace. The first tax season (spring of 2016) was non-stop triage. It wasn’t good at all.

The quality of my work suffered and I was exhausted. And my attitude started to show it.

This was NOT what I had planned. I couldn’t even dream something like this would happen. We’re country folk and live a fairly secluded life. More people contacted my office that year than there are people in the county I live in! Think about that for a moment.

The next tax season (2017) was better, but not my much. I wanted to help all these people and I still fantasized I could. I was saying “No” more, but still held myself open to more clients. It was a round robin at this point. When I said “Yes” to one new client I would lose another. And all the while Pete watched patiently.

Pete knew I was struggling no matter how brave a face I put on. He offered helpful guidance and even mentioned on several occasion I was working too hard. But I kept thinking, “This is Pete! He thinks everyone works too hard. I’m a Wisconsin boy. I can take it.” 

But I couldn’t and I knew it. 

I might be slow, but I ain’t dumb. (No comments from the back row.) Last tax season (the third since that fateful day at the Rainbow Lodge) I was starting to adjust to my new situation. I slowed the pace of client growth (I actually orchestrated a small decline) to a manageable pace.

 

Back on Track

The saving grace of this whole ordeal was automation. I was forced to think in ways I never had to before. 

My team did not fare so well. Every employee I had at the start is now gone. The last one left late last year, burnt out from the experience. My senior employee is now three years with me. It is hard sometimes to see how I could rebuild, but rebuild I did with my original goal back on track.

It could have been worse. You could have kept your job. Sometimes losing your job is the best thing that can happen to you. You now have the freedom to choose the path you want going forward.I’m one ornery backwoods Wisconsin coot that refuses to give up! I had a plan and it got detoured. Nothing more. 

After three plus decades in the tax industry my value wasn’t best utilized serving one client at a time. Yes, this blog does help spread the word and teach others. This blog isn’t enough, however.

With headcount lower and the door closed to virtually all new clients, I was able to focus on the original goals. 

To accomplish these goals I needed to focus on what I was good at: tax. I outsourced all payroll. Except Pete. Pete was my friend. I couldn’t do that to him. 

Bookkeeping—a low margin service—was curtailed to just those clients needing the service as it related to their tax situation. Automation and outsourcing did the rest

Last tax season was at least reasonable. Even my senior employee, Dawn, with me three years, noted the difference. Things were looking up.

Then I made a serious decision. It was time to explain to my friend, Pete, that he needed to have his payroll handled elsewhere and I facilitated the transfer to the service I use in my office. Pete contemplated doing it himself, but decided to take my direction.

Then I got the email.

 

You’re Fired

Pete saw the handwriting on the wall even if I wasn’t totally honest with him. He knew I was under tremendous pressure and was putting on a brave face for the world. I was the only one fooled into thinking nobody knew what was happening behind closed doors.

Pete is one of the smartest. most common sense, guys you’ll meet. His email was titled: Continued Collaboration Plans. Yeah, I can see a pink slip when I see one.

I wasn’t really fired (or is that FIREd) and it wasn’t a surprise. Discussions in our conference room at the office centered several times around the Pete issue: Should we continue doing his taxes? The discussion revolved around how narrow the office demographic had become. We wanted to return to a more traditional tax office. My teams—what was left of them—knew I still wanted to work out of the traditional tax environment and start preparing the next generation of tax professionals.

Pete had no idea. In truth, we never would have turned Pete away: he is too much a friend; I admire him and his work too much. Still, it wasn’t the right thing and apparently Pete knew it too.

Pete made very clear in his email how happy he and Simi were with my work. I responded I wasn’t as thrilled with my performance as he was. I knew where I dropped the ball. Stress and taking on too much are not valid excuses.

Then Pete said he wanted my blessing for a new tax accountant he found, saying,

But at the same time, I’d love to continue collaborating with you on whatever you see fit, whether it is talking about life, blogs, tax strategies, sending folks your way, or whatever.

Pete is all class, as if you guys didn’t know that already.

Pete finished his email with,

So my own taxes are just a footnote – I feel with your firm being so busy already, I’d rather not be a burden myself, and I also don’t feel comfortable sending too many additional customers at you, because you are all so busy already! As stated earlier, I want to be able to bring in more new firms to the fold so we can help more people.

Like I said, all class.

 

Overjoyed

(Don’t bail on me yet, kind readers. The best part is still coming!)

I shouldn’t feel such relief that the ordeal is over, but I do. Serving a very visible client is distracting at best. But the change will serve Pete, his readers, and even you, kind readers, better than ever!

I did something horrible, however. When Pete sent the email I could tell it was hard for him to write it. I waited almost a week to respond, though I saw it the moment it hit my mailbox. My response, you see, was equally difficult to write.

Pete gave some sage advice in his original email:

. . . your teachings through both the Wealthy Accountant blog and the in-person seminars have helped tens of thousands of people – or more. So I want to continue all of this! 

How could I let my friend down. He wanted me to realize my goal from five years back when we first met. You have no idea how humbled I am by his encouragement. 

I finally was able to write back what I wanted to say. Now Pete was overjoyed.

I wrote in my email:

Pete, I can only imagine the apprehension you had writing this to me. Understand I think your proposal is a good one so no worries. 

Rather than just assigning 2018 to his firm, let’s do this as a full transition to the new accountant. If he has difficulties I am available to consult; if he doesn’t live up to your standards I can always step in again.

I made it clear to Pete I was still on his team. His new accountant is close to his home and I am certain will do an awesome job. Because of the new tax law changes I will reach out to the new accountant (name undisclosed at this time for reasons obvious in above writings) to make sure he understands how this will affect Pete. That 199A thing is really important. I can provide guidance (my true value) and he can perform the application.

So you understand how overjoyed Pete was I didn’t take it personally, he started his response:

WOW, thanks so much for that helpful response! You are right that I was nervous that you’d take my request the wrong way. But as I said, it just seems like a win/win for everyone, so why not!?

I agree.

There is one more morsel to share later. You want to stick around.

 

Now for Something You’ll Really Love

While all this was happening, a certain accountant from the boondocks of Wisconsin was still planning and working hard toward his goals of serving his people better than ever before.

Outsourcing and downsizing certainly made a difference in the office environment. With new processes in place working and Pete doing what I should have presented long ago, I have been able to focus on things you, kind readers, have been asking for. And so far this has been the best tax season in well over a decade.

The best boss sees your potential and pushes you to reach for it. The best leaders bring the best out of others.

The best boss sees your potential and pushes you to reach for it.

Camp Accountant is now almost certain to happen. Before it was just too much to fit into an already crowded schedule. The new world order turns this into a real possibility.

Camp Accountant is tentatively planned for late summer this year in beautiful West Bend, Wisconsin. Attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents will earn continuing professional education (CPE) credits for attending. No other camp has ever done that!

And I have another secret no one reading this will know.

This blog has been growing thanks to training courses I’ve taken. The best course by far is Moolah Marketing. Highly recommended.

The Moolah course, by the way, is remarkable in more than just driving traffic. Rachel Miller, the wonderful woman running the course, hammers first on identifying who your fans are. This is important as I’ll now illustrate.

When I started the Moolah course Rachel kept asking who my fans were and I kept saying the FIRE community. She kept telling me I was wrong. I finally figured out the FIRE community is only a small part of my demographic, but tax professionals scream for more of my work. The tax pros are my people!

What Rachel instilled in me is a new path for this blog, my work and fulfilling my original goal back in May 2015. Several courses in this vein will be produced by this blog or are in the works!

Rachel invited me on a Facebook Live and asked her people if they would like a course from me on 30 Tax Tips for Solopreneures. She said if 50 people were willing to pre-order I was obligated to create the course. It took less than 5 minutes!

So I need to be committed, ah, I’m committed to creating the course. Now I need to set up the order form (a future post will list details and how to order) and create the course. Due date is May. (This year!)

Here are a few more courses in development:

  • 20 Tips to Avoid Taxes When Investing in Real Estate
  • Build a Million Dollar Tax Practice
  • Investing For Dummies (May need to change the name due to copyright.)
  • Bookkeeping for Profit

We are floating more ideas.

This means I will be teaching more than ever. In the past I was locked into serving one client at a time. Now I will serve thousands at a time! If you have a topic you want my team to consider be sure to let me know.

Finally, you may have noticed a new feature here. I started a Find a Local Tax Pro page! (This might be what triggered Pete to email me. A few weeks after I launched I heard from Pete.)

If you need a tax professional, this is the place to look. If you are a tax pro willing to add more clients to your book and follow The Wealthy Accountant tax principles, allow me to add your name to the list. If your tax pro is awesome, be sure to point her to this resource. It is free and you can change or delete your listing anytime your situation changes with no fee. This is for the people of this community. 

 

Did Pete Finally Get Something Wrong?

I’ve known Pete for about 5 years now. The one thing you quickly notice is his clarity of thinking. Anytime I’ve asked for his advice or he just gave it because he saw I was in desperate need, he has always hit the nail on the head.

Pete gave me this final warning:

I’m not sure if I’d post the MMM new accountant thing just yet (and of course you never have to, I can always explain if ever needed that we still work together and collaborate) – but I’ll leave it up to you. In general, I find it’s good not to stoke the gossip engine, because people always get stuff wrong!

I feel this post is about more than Pete using a new tax professional. I covered a lot of material today that will serve your needs, kind reader, for a long time to come. 

I can’t be a mini-Pete forever; I need to strike out on my own in a direction I feel best serves my people, you.

Pete is right. People tend to get it wrong. Many will read the title and no further, building their entire opinion on those few incomplete words meant to drive traffic more than anything else. (Gotta get ya to read it before I can help you.) 

Just this one time can we prove Pete wrong. He is a good man. He’ll be happy to be proven wrong on this. This is a major step forward for this community and desperately needed. We need more qualified tax professionals and this is a serious first step. 

Now if you’ll forgive me, I need to find my handkerchief. I was just FIREd.

 

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Credit Cards can be a powerful money management tool when used correctly. Use this link to find a listing of the best credit card offers. You can expand your search to maximize cash and travel rewards.

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Challenges of Running a Successful Blog

Learn how successful bloggers grow their business.

Blogging can be fun, but takes a lot of work.

Blogging is a business. Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but it is true. Along with podcasting, speaking and every other form of training and education, blogging is a business. Sometimes a really big business. And businesses take work to manage and grow.

It is easy to forget that those friendly bloggers you communicate with work some serious hours to bring you information and perhaps a laugh or two. Most people don’t realize bloggers are sweating it out at the keyboard in the wee hours of the morning to get a post out on schedule. 

And then there is the invisible work. It seems like blogging is about the cheapest hobby going until you realize that every part of the platform demands a fee and usually loads of time. And that is where this blogger enters.

I originally planned a detailed post of the coming collapse of China when the IRS released another 249 pages of regulations on Section 199A. The ink wasn’t dry before the calls flooded in for a brief post on the IRS release. The good news is we finally have a definition for a trade or business as it applies to 199A. The bad news is those 249 pages contained a lot of material and one simple post wasn’t going to cut it. A series was in process before the next hammer fell.

 

Time to Get Social

If I’m going to put in all this work I may as well bust tail to acquire a few readers. You see, people don’t magically find my glistening prose. (Yeah, I know. Surprises the heck outta me too.) I’ve done all the obligatory stuff: auto-posting, email list, attend conferences, remind everyone I see I have a blog. And traffic has been good for a tax blog with heavy doses of personal finance mixed in. 

But more is always better, I heard, so I purchased a few courses to hone my skills. First I attended a course on Pinterest and saw my Pinterest traffic go from nothing to several hundred page views per day and still climbing.

Then I cracked open my wallet for a very in depth Facebook marketing course called Moolah. (Hint: Rachel is one awesome lady when it comes to Facebook. She knows her stuff.) Here is an example of some of the free stuff she offers from her course, banned words on Facebook, for example. The free Facebook group alone will send your traffic higher

Increase your blogs ad revenue with tricks used by the most successful bloggers today.

Automate the hardest part of blogging.

The Moolah course is an intense 10 week program. (You have access to the videos and other materials for at least a year afterwards and there is a special Facebook group for graduates to keep pushing their traffic and sales to the moon.) While in the course I was informed I wasn’t handling ads correctly. I used Google ads, of course, and another platform called IMS. It was a small, yet steady stream of income to cover blog costs. With my traffic levels I was informed I needed to move to a more robust platform like Mediavine. So I took the plunge.

As this was happening another serious request came into the Facebook private group. (Y’all are invited to join our august group and The Wealthy Accountant business page. It is a great place to meet like-minded people and learn how to cut your taxes and manage your money for greater returns.) A reader asked about stock options, the kind granted by an employer, and that wasn’t a simple answer.

So, the China post was on hold even though this reporter has inside information about China that will shock most readers. I will post on this soon due to the serious financial consequences. The 199A post is also delayed due to the imminent incentive stock option issue. 

And now all those posts are on hold as I just spent 30 hours of my weekend before the approaching tax season ripping code from this blog. Why? It seems Mediavine is a vibrant platform requiring all old code removed before they go live. Well, once the process was started my other ad revenue was reduced to zero as the transfer took place. What was supposed to be a quick flick of the switch turned into a detailed review of all 454 published posts to pull out rouge ad code and other issues from the early days of the blog. This became priority if I wanted this blog to stay viable.

The good news is I did it. It is Sunday night as I type and I think I got all the problems fixed. I’ll find out tomorrow morning (probably as you read this). If you don’t see an ad anywhere on the blog you will know I’m still toast. Now I have to sweat it out as Mediavine is an automated system; I have no idea how they will display ads. I demand it is tasteful and useful to my readers. Time will tell.

 

Writing Shtick

The best news is that publishing posts from now on will be faster and easier. This weekend opened more of my time in the future with the improvements. (As long as I live long enough to reach the time break point.) 

But publishing a post is not the most time sensitive part of the process: research is. Tax issues take time to unravel. Answering a client question is faster because I only deal with one facet of the issue facing the client. When writing I must take into consideration all other possibilities a reader might encounter. This is more challenging than it sounds.

The China post requires a modest amount of research. I already have the links built. However, I need to pull from multiple sources, including a source inside China, to complete the post. Still, there wasn’t enough time to do it justice.

The 199A issues are so massive and time consuming I don’t know when I’ll be able to tackle the issue for the blog, but I am committed to a short series before tax season gets too far along. This is important for readers! The weekend workload just didn’t offer anywhere near the time I needed to get a quality post out on 199A.

The same applies to the incentive stock option post.

So, if time didn’t cooperate, offering me the chance to write a detailed financial or tax post, what was I to do? Well, you’re reading it. A post outlining some of the back office headaches of running a blog is easy to write because I can just tell the story of my weekend. Other bloggers should find value in this post while non-bloggers will gain a greater understanding of what it takes to keep a web page up and vibrant.

 

Whether You Believe it or Not

And if all the stuff above isn’t enough, we get some wonderful Wisconsin weather. The forecast has a foot of snow in it for this evening with plenty of blowing to make it as miserable as possible. Then temperatures will dip colder than -20 F. Wednesday’s high is forecast at -12 F. Yes, that is the high for the day. Welcome to the backwoods of Wisconsin.

None of this is meant as whining. I should have known better things wouldn’t transfer to Mediavine as smoothly as predicted. It’s still an excellent learning experience which should increase ad revenue by a significant margin and save time posting from now on. 

As for the weather, there was a hint the weekend would end with snow so I brought plenty of work home with me Friday. Technology today allows me to work from home and it’s as if I’m sitting at my desk. The bad news is I don’t know if any employee will make it in tomorrow. Everything is closed tomorrow: every school, program and every business I checked. 

Write viral blog posts, increasing traffic, revenue and sales. Write something meaningful for your readers. Provide value. Killer titles meant to go viral.

Write something meaningful for your readers. The rest will take care of itself.

And good thing. I can’t get the tractor running tonight so I need to get up early if I’m going to get snow moved so I can get out my driveway. Ah, when it rains, but it pours. Snows, I mean

Actually, I had a great and productive time last week and this weekend I killed it. Things were looking ugly for a while when I found some crazy code from the legacy platform when this blog was set up. But I broke through to the other side. It looks like the code is clean now.

Technology also bails me out. Twenty years ago a snowstorm would devastate my schedule. Today I log in from the living room couch and get more work done than if I was at work because there are no interruptions. 

By noon or so things should be clearing out as the plows get the roads open. I’ll break down and wander into the office if possible. 

I just wanted you, kind readers, to understand why I didn’t provide a tax post as tax season bares down on us. There is plenty of powerful stuff in the queue, but those golden nuggets take work to produce. Frequently it is required I call experts to dig deeper into issues these days. It’s almost like journalism for advanced tax strategies. 

Before I sign out I want to whet your appetite with a few more items from the queue: investing in conservation easements for massive tax deductions (special handling required to avoid problems), Medicare complaint annuities (the one annuity members of the community I run in will want to own), the wealth gap, income inequality, Form 3115 (for cost segregation studies), and more. My guess is I’ll need to live to 135 to get all these things published. 

One thing is certain; I enjoy tackling the difficult issues. And for good reason. The stuff regurgitated ad nauseam in the traditional press doesn’t really help you. I want to provide the power tools you need to control your taxes and financial life. It’s a lot of work and worth every bit of effort. 

Before I sign out, can I ask a favor? I busted tail this weekend (and a lot more) working on this blog. The upgrades make it easier and more user friendly to share posts on social media. Would you be so kind as to help out an old wayward accountant by sharing a post or three on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media. I need the ego boost. Thanks.

Now I need to get back to the tractor. The snow isn’t going to move itself.

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Credit Cards can be a powerful money management tool when used correctly. Use this link to find a listing of the best credit card offers. You can expand your search to maximize cash and travel rewards.

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Stalking the Accountant: Housecleaning

Vote for The Wealthy Accountant , says Pinky.

I have three short bits for your review. It will only take a minute, but still important stuff.

 

Plutus Awards: The Plutus guys wanted me to inform my readers nominations are closing July 31st. If you haven’t made your nominations known do so quickly or forever hold your piece. I’d encourage you to consider this blog for Blog of the Year. It’s okay if you choose someone else, but if you do my cat Pinky will have a stern “meow” for you.

 

Copyright Issues: A lot of things go on behind the scenes of a blog; what you see is only the tip of the iceberg. One of the increasing demands on my time involves copyright issues. Many of the tax issues I cover (and other subject matter, too) is in demand by certain media outlets and academic papers. Several requests per week show up. I point them to my post allowing use of my material. Not good enough, they say. They need copyright paperwork in place. This requires reading contracts which is very time consuming.

When I was slow in responding to a few requests this blog was reported to ACI Information Group, formerly Newstex. ACI handles copyright issues for large organization like Business Insider. It was an easy choice. By signing up I dealt with all copyright issues one time and now can wash my hands. You are still welcome to use any of my material, but if you need copyright permissions you can go to ACI and get what you need. I have signed all necessary documentation with them so you can report to your organization you have secured copyright permissions.

 

Golden Nugget: Have you ever wondered where writers like Stephen King get their ideas? Have you ever wondered what they read? Well, I don’t know about Steve, but I can share something I found and am really enjoying.

I found this blog, Debt Free Dr, and was instantly pulled in. His style is crisp and informative. When you get a chance, check it out. You don’t need to be a doctor to benefit; if financial freedom is something that interests you then do yourself a favor and check out Debt Free Dr.

How did I find this awesome blog? you may ask. Well, it wasn’t any special talent on my part. The guy who writes the thing asked for a consulting session. I had to check it out, of course. It is really good. I gained as much or more out of that consulting session as my client.

 

Enjoy your weekend.

Friends All Over the World

Rooster Run: As we arrived at our temporary home in Kentucky we saw this . I had to have a picture. You can only imagine the jokes your favorite accountant spit out rapid fire. I would share those jokes, but they are less than flattering to those involved.

I have a confession. I was jealous of Mr. Money Mustache. Well, not exactly of Pete himself, but of something he has been able to do for a long time that has eluded me.

Several years ago before I met Pete I read how he periodically traveled the country and rarely paid for a hotel room. There was always someone willing to put him up. One summer he spent in Hawaii at a guy’s house and he helped him with some remodeling as payment. There were several other incidents where he mentioned couch surfing.

My first attempts at this fell flat. You can’t just bed down in anyone’s home. What if your host is a serial killer (notice the empty corn flakes boxes behind the house)? What if the host thinks you’re a serial killer?

It really wasn’t Pete’s fault. I just hadn’t learned the fine art of securing accommodations outside the hospitality industry. I didn’t know enough people from around the country where this would work on a regular basis and couch surfing at a stranger’s home seemed to me fraught with risks.

Then I got an email.

Meet My Hero

Somewhere around the early 2000s Mrs. Accountant and I loved attending science fiction conventions. One of my favorite authors was going to be the guest of honor at a small SF convention in Schenectady, NY. The missus and I loaded the car and off to New York we went.

Meet Pharaoh, the new mascot of The Wealthy Accountant. Bernie’s little buddy was as awesome as our host.

The convention was very homey and of course my favorite writer at the time was there. Except there was a problem. The conference was cliquey. The author stuck tight to his close group of friends. I never had a chance to introduce myself or chat for a few moments. I was hurt.

It was really my fault. The author did stick with his acquaintances, but he did so to pass the time. It was a very small gathering and I doubt he would have felt comfortable standing around with his hands in his pockets. Sure, he could have made a move towards me when he saw me constantly looking on, but it had to have felt weird for him also. I never made the move and never got to meet my favorite author. . .

. . . until years later at WorldCon, the largest annual science fiction convention on the planet. This time I matured enough to speak with the author. There was also a small round table with said author that I attended as well.

I promised myself to never do what that author did to me: to leave a fan standing there, hands in pockets. I know how hard it is to introduce yourself to someone you only know by their published work. It’s hard on the author too. Engaging every guest at an event is impossible and exhausting. The talk is always light because there is no commonality.

At first.

Dealing with the Problem

The same problem I had taking advantage of an opening to speak with an author I admired was the same problem I has securing opportunities to visit with people anywhere in the country I was traveling.

In the beginning it was all about knowing how to do it. There isn’t an author on God’s green Earth I couldn’t walk up to and chat with today. I evolved. As easy as it is to work with clients locally, I was out of my league when the net was cast wider. In a few minutes I will share how I recommend you avoid my pitfalls and move right to the fun stuff of building relationships.

Remember the email? Well, at some point a month or so ago I must have mentioned publicly I was going to see the eclipse with my family. I kept it hush-hush for the most part so I could focus on the event. Seeing my first eclipse was important to me!

The hotel was booked and travel plans set. Then the email.

A reader, Bernie Keene, emailed offering shelter during my stay for the eclipse. My response was so quiet you could hear crickets. Which brings up a good point. If you contact me and I don’t respond it doesn’t mean I haven’t seen your email. Sometimes I think about it and want to think about it more later. Frequently it is forwarded to my office manager. Some I delete; it doesn’t work for me at this time. And other contacts are saved in a digital filing cabinet for review in the future. The worst part is you don’t know what I am doing or thinking. Due to time restrictions I am unable to personally respond to every request. It sucks and I know it.

Bernie had no idea what I was thinking or if I even read his offer. What I was really doing was checking the weather in my original location and Bernie’s for the day of the eclipse. Finally, the Friday before the big day I responded to Bernie and said I would be happy to show up the next day with the crew for several days. It was a happy acceptance.

To be fair, I did email Bernie around Wednesday to let him know what I was thinking. But his email was in my inbox for quite some time as I played with the idea.

New Friends

When considering spending the night at the home of someone I don’t know requires a minimal amount of research. If it was only me I would not be as concerned. With Mrs. Accountant and the girls involved I decided to check Bernie out. He has a Facebook and LinkedIn page which made him look like a normal guy. I can attest he is a very normal guy after enjoying three nights in his home.

Here is where it happened , folks. Every problem plaguing modern society was solved in this room over a bottle of Spotted Cow beer. (Note: I always can break the ice by bring a case or two of Wisconsin’s finest brew.)

This brings up a good point. If you want to do something like this you should have at least a minimal social media presence available to the general public. No accounts make me wonder if it is who they say they are and all hidden accounts means potential drama.

A hotel is easier, but you never get to enjoy the local community the way you do when living with a local. For example, one of the things that impressed me most about Bernie was his pride in the accomplishments of his family. He showed me pictures of his parents (mom died in 2005 and dad is in a nursing home where Bernie visits frequently) and siblings. He told stories about each.

The home where we stayed belonged to his parents. It was converted into a bed and breakfast years ago where mom and dad Keene entertained guests for a decade. More stories were told. And you know how I love telling and hearing good stories. It is arguably the only real reason to live and is what makes life worth living.

We talked every evening until about 10:00 solving the entire world’s problems. Bernie had more than a few questions and I was happy to share my knowledge or at least my viewpoint. Which is yet another interesting point. When you open your home or visit another’s home you will have such an awesome experience. You learn so much and can share so many ideas. It is hard to sleep from the excitement.

I included several pictures of the weekend. It’s impossible to share all the things that happened and some was private. What I can tell you is how awesome a time my whole family and I had. And it all started from a simple email offering us a place to stay during the eclipse.

Now I knew why Pete did it. If I would have known how special these Conclaves are I would have been more jealous still.

Now It’s Your Turn

How can you have your special weekend at Bernie’s? It takes a special kind of person to feel comfortable couch surfing in a stranger’s home. Reaching out to a blogger you enjoy reading can work, but until a connection is made might not.

It’s easier for me now because of my position with this blog’s growing readership. I also attend plenty of personal finance conferences now and know many of my readers personally as a result.

That is the best starting place for you as well. If you want the opportunity to visit for several days with a blogger or other people of like mind in your home or theirs, consider attending a few conferences first. Talk with people. Don’t make my mistake and stand in the corner afraid to talk because you don’t know anyone. My inactions didn’t fix that problem!

In back, our host Bernie Keene holding mascot Pharaoh. In front from left to right we have Mrs. Accountant, two junior accountants and some crazy accountant who couldn’t keep his puss out of the picture. (This my first selfie ever. Holding the phone while taking a picture makes my face look a bit, ah, more than you want. But I am happy.)

I know I can travel to virtually any area of the country and find a place to bed down. This blog might be the reason, but without attendance at conferences I would not have made the personal connection most people need to feel comfortable opening their home to what amounts to a total stranger.

There have been a few instances when someone was traveling to the backwoods of Wisconsin and asked for shelter. I agreed. Understand this isn’t a daily or even monthly occurrence. It happens now and again which makes it special.

By meeting people you have alternatives if you desire saving hotel costs with couch surfing. Schedules frequently don’t mesh so you end up speaking with several people before finding accommodations. Sometimes you end up in a hotel.

Each time a connection is made is special. You learn more about people than anywhere else when sharing an apartment. When all parties share the same values the gathering is always special.

Now it’s your turn. There is a world of friends out there waiting for you.

This is one of the few blog posts on The Wealthy Accountant where reading the captioned photos add to the story. Please, enjoy.

Finally, there has never been an instance when I stayed at someone’s home where they did not become a friend. Sure, there is geographical distance. The friendship is long-distance, but in our modern world that is not a problem when you decide to stay in touch. You don’t have to be connected at the hip and it’s best if your weren’t anyway.

We live a brave new world where we no longer need to cry out into the night alone. We have friends everywhere we turn. I have friends.

You have friends.

Stat Stalker: The Wealthy Accountant Stats To Date

It’s hard to believe The Wealthy Accountant blog has six months under its belt. A year ago I started the process of creating this blog due to demand from followers of Mr. Money Mustache and speaking engagements I did involving Mustachians who knew I prepared Pete’s taxes. I knew I would get an initial kick in traffic when Pete, the man behind Mr. Money Mustache, mentioned The Wealthy Accountant.

I was unprepared for the response. Over 12,000 requests for information or help swamped my office. In the end I accepted only 200 new clients. We are still digging out. The Wealthy Accountant also received a nice traffic boost. Then it was up to me to keep it going. There are three stages to building a successful blog. I have written extensively online over the years, including several blogs. I currently write two flash fiction blogs and The Wealthy Accountant. The other two blogs have been around for a few years and get slightly more than 4 million page views per year. Not bad for fantasy flash fiction.

The three stages in building a successful are as follows:

  • First create content,
  • Then drive traffic,
  • Then monetize.

Any other order and it does not work. Traffic will not come if there is not enough content and regular updates. Without traffic any monetization efforts are a waste.

It takes about six months to create a nice basket of content for readers when efforts to drive traffic should begin. After six months of pushing traffic it is time to turn the blog profitable. Well, we are at the six month mark now. Pete mentioned this blog on February 10th. Traffic spiked and then settled into a lower traffic pattern because I had a small inventory of content. Tax season (and lots of new clients) kept me from working on The Wealthy Account the way it should have been. Now I am publishing 4-6 times a week and it shows. (New employees at the office are now trained to handle the larger workload giving me a break so I can have a life and time to write.)

Several people have asked about my stats. Happy to oblige. The stats lack excitement at this stage of the game. Still, I understand why people might be interested. So, I have gathered several stats starting with February and moving forward.

February 2016

Page views: 34,639 Thanks, Pete!

Users: 6,657

Google Adsense Revenue: $32.70

Amazon Revenue: $21.49

New Posts: 8, I also published 3 in January.

 

March 2016

Page views: 12,732

Users: 2,117

Google Adsense Revenue: $14.34

Amazon Revenue: $17.05

New Posts: 9

 

51EGUs+q7BL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_April 2016

Page views: 9,560

Users: 1,901

Google Adsense Revenue: $8.46

Amazon Revenue: $8.42

New Posts: 8

 

May 2016

Page views: 8,905

Users: 1,619

Google Adsense Revenue: $9.98

Amazon Revenue: $6.53

New Posts: 9, I slowed my publishing during Camp Mustache III over Memorial Day weekend in the States.

 

June 2016

Page views: 9,712

Users: 1,711

Google Adsense Revenue: $11.83

Amazon Revenue: $25.08

New Posts: 12

 

July 2016

Page views: 13,992

Users: 2,152

Google Adsense Revenue: $25.20

Amazon Revenue: $44.14

New Posts: 20

As you can see, there is a price to providing limited content. Publishing fewer than 10 posts a month caused users to drop to 1,619 in May. Ramping up the publishing schedule after the Independence Day holiday in the States has increased traffic and users to the highest level since Pete gave me liftoff; users and traffic are still climbing. As my content continues to grow and is published on a regular basis I expect traffic, users, and revenue to accelerate. The end of July saw a clear uptrend in traffic and revenue due to increased publishing. Bloggers looking to make their mark would be well advised to follow one simple rule: publish daily. Readers need to get into the habit of visiting your blog. Of course there are a lot of other rules to. My goals are for The Wealthy Accountant to exceed my other blogs in traffic, users, and revenue which means over 4 million page views a year and $18,000 in revenue. Fiction blogs do not make much so I have high hopes here.

Over the next months I will share stories of what is working. Many readers here have their own blog and piggy-backing my test runs are an easy shortcut to a successful blog. What works building a fiction blog will not work here (but I will try anyway). My research indicates a certain set of actions should yield effective results. Consistent publishing coupled with effort to drive traffic should make for an exciting adventure.

I’ll check back with a new update at the end of the year. Any surprises I will share as they happen.