If you’re working with a self-hosted WordPress site and are looking for e-commerce options, I highly recommend WooCommerce . There are many tutorials and guides to usingWooCommerce and I hope this one can be used to supplement these other rich resources. Maybe you’ve dabbled withWooCommerce a bit and need a few questions answered. Or maybe you’re totally new and want a bit of a head start on the more complicated features. Either way, learning about taxes in Woocommerce can help you about a lot of headache.
Taxes in WooCommerce are, for whatever reason, one of the trickiest parts of setting up the program. I find other resources about taxes in WooCommerce very vague and confusing. It took a lot of trial and error for me to set it up properly. WooCommerce is a fairly self-explanatory plugin, but some things can be a little tricky to figure out. Please remember to comment below with any questions about adjusting taxes in WooCommerce – I’m going to be continually updating this post to answer any and all questions that come my way.
Let’s dig in!
How I Set Up Taxes in Woocommerce
I struggled with getting this right a lot and I still tend to mess up. There are many factors in calculating the right tax for you, depending on what you sell, where you sell from, etc. Here’s a step by step for helping you establish basic, standard tax settings.
Go to WooCommerce in your WP Dashboard and select Settings. On the General tab, make sure that “Enable taxes and tax calculations” is selected. Once selected, you’ll have a Tax tab. On this page, you can edit your tax options. Here is where things get tricky. I’m going to go through setting up basic taxes, nothing fancy.
Prices Entered with Tax
You can bypass calculating tax altogether by entering prices inclusive of tax. This means that if you charge $1 for a product and your tax is 6%, you will enter the price of the product as $1.06. If you want to do this, select “Yes, I will enter prices inclusive of tax”. Otherwise, choose “No, I will enter prices exclusive of tax”.
Calculate Tax Based On
This means you can calculate the tax either based on your location, the shipping address of the customer, or the billing address of the customer. If tax, where you live, is 6%, choosing the first option will mean all tax is 6% and so on.
I recommend leaving the Rounding and Addition Tax Classes blank.
Next you have a dropdown for how you display prices in the shop. “Excluding Tax” means that the $1 item will show as $1 as the customer is looking through your shop. “Including Tax” means they will see the item as $1.06 in the shop.
Then you have the dropdown for showing prices during Cart and Checkout. So there are no surprises, you should have this set to “Including Tax” so that the customer can see the final price before going to the payment screen.
Leave Price Display Suffix blank in most cases.
For the Display Tax Totals dropdown, it’s best to have it as a single total. Otherwise, the checkout screen may get messy as it will show the tax for every single individual item as opposed to one total for the amount of tax the customer will have to pay.
Make sure to save all your changes!
Head over to the Standard Rates page, the link to which can be found up at the top.
The asterisks mean that this rate applies to all Countries, States, Zips, and Cities. If you’re setting up basic tax, this is fine. The Rate % in the example is for 6%. Name your tax name Tax or something very basic. It will be priority 1, Compound should be checked and Shipping should be blank.
This example is for a site that charges 6% tax on their products, no matter where you’re buying from. If your state tax is 7% or 9%, the Rate % area should change to reflect that. Aside from that, all your options should be the same as my step-by-step.
Applying Taxes to Products
If you forget this step, you can do everything else perfectly and still not have your taxes working. I went back and forth with a client for ages (embarassing!) and this was the simple solution.
Each product needs to have the proper tax configuration on it’s edit page.
When you create a new product in WooCommerce, make sure that the tax status is set at “Taxable” and the tax class is set to “Standard”. This allows you to have tax on some items and not others if you want to.
And there you have it! Setting up taxes in WooCommerce can be tricky, but not so bad once you know the ins and outs. Please comment below with any questions you have about WooCommerce!
First off, what the heck is Admin Day? I mentioned it in my planner blog post, but didn’t go that much into detail about it. When you work from home, especially in a creative field, there are a lot of administrative tasks that you may forget to find time to do. Or else they just aren’t fun so you keep pushing them back and back until it’s too late. These are things you maybe should do as you go, but let’s face it, life is messy and you can’t always be that organized. You can hire a VA for a lot of those tasks, but some of them really need your eyes as the head of your business. Admin Day is one day every month where you don’t do anything else but complete those tasks.
Let’s take a look at some of those tasks and why they are important for you to perform once a month.
Organize Your Files to Improve Workflow
I save a lot of files to my computer…. contracts, proposals, images for social media, screenshots, or design inspirations. When I’m in a rush or in the zone, I usually just save to my Desktop or Documents Folder and move on. I don’t take the time to send them into the very specific and labeled folder they should go in. And I almost never name them properly. It’s a really bad habit and super hard to kick.
On Admin Day, I go in and organize the heck out of my files. I create nested folders and name all my files so they are much easier for find later. I also take this time to empty my trash can and uninstall any programs I installed and never used. This cleans up space on my hard drive and helps the performance of my machine.
Maintain Your Inbox to Stay Organized
No matter how hard I try, I constantly end up with spam in my inbox and cannot find the emails I need. On Admin Day, I go in and unsubscribe from things I don’t want. (I get a lot of emails from marketers after opting in to download a checklist or workbook) I also get lots of marketing emails from whatever programs or tools I signed up for that month. While I try really hard to sort my important emails into folders, I take this time to make sure no one fell through the cracks. Having a clean inbox makes your day to day life so much easier. Plus, important emails don’t get accidentally deleted or never responded to, which can mean the difference between making a sale and losing one.
Budgeting and Track Your Money to Grow
I used to use Admin Day for going through my bank account transactions and making note of everything in my big Budget Google Sheet. But now, I’ve been using Wave which tracks all my transactions for me. However, it doesn’t know if that $20 I spent at Walmart was for personal or business purposes. On Admin Day, I go through my transactions and categorize everything. Then I pull a report to see how I’ve been spending my money. This helps me see where I should cut back or spend more and prioritize for the next month. If I’m not on track for one of my savings goals, I can tweak things then and there.
Create Reports to Constantly Improve
We trudge ahead every day and rarely find time to look back. I learned early in my career that compiling reports on the successes and failures of your efforts is important for growth. So once a month on Admin Day, I create the reports for my social media, advertising, website SEO, and email marketing. This helps me to see what is working and what I need to improve upon in the upcoming month. My Admin Day is the 1st day of every month. So I make sure to schedule my social media, blog posts and email campaigns in that next week. I refer to my reports to see things like what day of the week is best for posting on Facebook vs. Instagram and which of my A/B email tests did best.
Physically Clean Your Computer to Protect Your Investment
I have a fairly old laptop and won’t be able to afford a new one for a while. It’s important to me that this laptop stays functional and healthy. So on Admin Day, I literally clean the entire thing. I turn it off and wipe it down with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol. I get a cotton swab and clean in between the keys and inside the ports. I do the same thing for my cell phone, too. I used to never do this and my laptop and phone were SO gross.
Read Pinterest Articles to Learn New Things
Whenever I’m on Pinterest, I tend to pin interesting looking things and then never actually revisit them. On Admin Day, I read all the articles I pinned and make notes from the ones I can actually use. For instance, this past month I started a Giveaway. Last Admin Day, I read some articles about how to and how not to run a Giveaway. The info I got from those pins really helped make my Giveaway better. No matter how long you’ve been in business, you never stop learning. Keep teaching yourself new things!
Many people are intimidating by freelance work because of the lack of structure. When you work for a company or in an office, you have work hours, an office or desk, a lunch hour, etc. Most of all, you have other people nearby to hold you accountable. You can’t spend all day watching Netflix because, well, people will notice! Being a freelance web designer is challenging because you have to be responsible for your own time. You have to be disciplined. You have to hold yourself accountable.
The great thing about freelancing is that you can work when and how you are most productive. If you work better in the evening, work in the evening! If you work better in PJs, sitting cross-legged on the floor, go for it! No commute or dressing up for work if you don’t want to. All this freedom can be tempting. The best way I’ve found to make freelancing easier is to create your own structure. Here’s how I structure my days to make the most of my time and my freedom.
My favorite part about freelancing is that I can get up whenever I want to. I don’t even have to set an alarm! I usually wake up naturally sometime between 7 and 9am. If I’m not feeling well or just in one of those moods, I’ll sleep in as late as noon! (I haven’t been doing this recently, but I used to! I don’t recommend it.)
I’d like to say I’m one of those people who get’s up early, eats a hearty breakfast, works out, reads the newspaper, and then starts working. In reality, I check my email and social media from bed and reply if I can. I spend some time playing with my cat before showering and making some coffee. Despite my lazy tendencies, I don’t work in my PJs. It makes it too easy to want to slip back into bed later on in the day when I get drowsy. Minus the shoes, I always dress as though I’m going to go out. If I need an extra boost I’ll even put on makeup, just to get myself in the mindset that I really am “going to work”. I often eat some toast or fruit with my coffee at my desk while I get started working.
Thankfully, I now have a designated room in my house that I use as my office. I used to work in my bedroom or living room. Now, I have a clean, fairly minimally designed room that I can use to focus. (Although there’s a cat bed in the corner for when my kitty wants to visit.) I answer the emails and social media messages I couldn’t answer in bed. I pull out my planner and get down to it.
I try to tackle the things I don’t want to do first. Getting them out of the way means I have something to look forward to later and I don’t lose momentum. If I don’t do this, I still get that 2pm slump after lunch and it becomes really hard to not check out early.
- Set an alarm and wake up early EVERY DAY to get your body used to early mornings.
- Have something to eat or drink in the morning.
- Get dressed if it helps you feel more productive and energized.
- Don’t work in bed.
I usually work until about 4 or 5pm. (This is when my boyfriend comes home from work and I end up getting distracted.) I often keep music playing while I work or even sometimes have a TV show I’ve seen a million times (like FRIENDS) on in the background. I’m the kind of person who focuses better if there’s extra noise in the room. I have a hard time thinking in complete silence. Everyone works differently. One of the best parts of being a freelance web designer is that you can work in the environment you’re most comfortable in.
I try to avoid social media, but it’s tough. Part of my job involves being active on social media, interacting with people, doing research, and participating in Facebook groups. It’s a struggle sometimes to ignore the cat videos and focus on work. If you get easily sucked into social media platforms, I recommend finding a blocker that will prevent you from accessing those sites during designated hours.
Before I stop working, I take a look at my planner and make sure I’ve crossed off what I’ve accomplished. I check the next day to make sure I am prepared for what’s coming up. For instance, if I have an early meeting, I make sure to set an alarm to make sure I don’t oversleep and do some prep so that I have less to do in the morning.
- Have a time in the afternoon or evening when you make yourself stop working. Schedule your work life and personal life as separate parts of your day.
- Minimize distraction as much as possible.
- Always prepare for the next day.
My evenings are my extra times to work some more or not work. Sometimes I need some time away from a project or problem in order to tackle it. If I’m struggling with something during the day, I’ll often drop it. Later on that day I often get another rush of energy around 7pm or 8pm. I’ll often hunker down for another 2 hours or so and get some more things off my list between those times. I don’t go out a lot, so I’m usually still home anyway and it’s easy to pick up my laptop again.
I check my email and social media consistently, even when I’m not working. Most of my clients know that if they email me at 10pm, they can get an answer pretty quickly. This isn’t always good. I get anxiety very easily and not being able to sleep because emails keep lighting up my phone isn’t good. If you want to have your work and private time separate, make it clear to your clients that you do have office hours and will not answer messages outside of those times.
- Working outside of your personally set “work hours” is fine, but don’t over do it. Life happens between answering emails!
Freelance Web Designer Tools
Here’s a list of tools, websites, and resources I use daily to keep me going.
My Planner – I couldn’t operate without my planner. Since I’ve started using it, my business has begun to grow and things have been falling into place. I use it for the big and the little stuff to keep myself from getting overwhelmed. Check out this post on how my planner changed my workflow entirely. If you’re getting geared up for 2017 and want a luxurious planner of your very own, enter here to win one! (Giveaway ends December 18th, 2016)
Waves App – My friend Kristy told me about this site and it’s a life saver. It links up with your bank accounts and tracks all your income and expenses. You can categorize and label everything, then create amazing reports for yourself or for tax season! You can also create invoices and do a ton of other amazing stuff. The site is very user-friendly and not too techy.
Hopper – I recently discovered this site and it’s one of the only Instagram scheduling tools that actually posts for you. (Instagram has lots of lame API rules about not posting) I highly recommend it if you want to automate your Instagram profile.
Facebook – It may seem like a fun place to keep up with friends and watch videos, but Facebook has been one of my most powerful tools. Aside from having my business Page and ocassionally running ads, it’s helped me connect with tons of other business owners. They have helped me learn and some have even hired me for my services. Check out this post I wrote on how Facebook helps me drive traffic to my site.
Hubspot CRM – This thing is like magic. It does what all good CRMs do: helps you keep track of your sales funnels, reminds you when to contact leads, keeps track of contacts, lets you schedule phone calls and meetings, etc. However, it has some other amazing features too. My favorites: allowing you to sync up with your gmail account to schedule emails to send later AND lets you know when people have opened your emails! Amazing.
Google Drive – No brainer. It was probably the first tool in my kit when I started my business. I create everything here. Sheets are particularly useful for me, from keeping track of client info to sharing information to calculating my budgets to making social media posts schedules.
SignNow – It’s a bit pricey, but lately I’ve found myself really needed a strong and professional way to get contracts to my clients and having them sign. SignNow is incredibly helpful and every client I’ve worked with has had no problem using it.
Simple Bank – If you have a bank account already, I recommend Simple for a business account. It’s free to set up and their whole thing is simplicity! No fees, to extras, no lines of credit, no frills. Literally just a bank account. And my favorite part is that you can sort your money into different goals. For example, I have goals for my bills, business expenses, savings, taxes, and personal. Every time I get paid, I split the money up and put some into each goal!
PayPal – Last but not least. PayPal is how I process all my payments. I recently started using it for invoicing which is a million times easier than using a third party site. I’ve linked it to my bank accounts so I can organize my money the way I want.
Are you a freelancer? What do your days look like?
A few months ago I wrote a blog post – 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Freelance. It in no way went viral, but it’s my most successful post by far. I’ve been in business for myself for less than a year and there are people who have experiences starting a business that I don’t have. I got to wondering what types of things they wish they knew before starting to work for themselves. So I asked some of them! Here’s some of the advice and lessons I got from people who are making it doing things their way.\
Get Ready to Change Your Mindset
The big thing that I wish I’d have known, is that there is more soul-searching and self-improvement involved in starting up and running my business. I’m an introvert by nature. So to be successful, I could no longer use that as an excuse to keep from learning how to market myself and get myself out to the right audience. Running a business has required that I change my mindset drastically. It can still be difficult at times, but changing my perspective has made taking a rejection from a Client as an opportunity for growth, instead of shutting my business down. I wish that I had known (and truly believed!) that I am in control would have led me to success a lot sooner.
Christine Kirby is the artist and business owner behind Carousel Atelier which sells creates beautiful customized stationery. Follow her on Facebook!
Build Yourself a Support System
The one thing I wish I knew before I ventured out on my own is how lonely it can be. Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business is an amazing feeling but it does get lonely. You don’t have a gaggle of co-workers to chat with you and there really isn’t anyone who can share in your successes. My solution to that? Build a tribe! Join Facebook groups and find like-minded individuals to connect with. Having those Business Besties really does add a lot of value to your business plus it’s nice to have that group of people who understand your vents and can appreciate your successes!
Erin Montgomery is the founder of Piper Social Media, specializing in brand media management. Follow her on Facebook!
Remember To Be Yourself
I wish someone told me how important it is to be myself in my business. In the beginning, I got so overwhelmed by strategy, that I forgot to speak, write, dress, and move like myself. I’ve realized that you can have a bullet-proof marketing plan but at the end of the day, my clients are attracted to ME. My personal style and sense of humor connect me to my ideal people and repels clients who wouldn’t be a good fit.
Lily A. Calfee is a women’s creative health coach at Ideal Nourishment, helping women create a peaceful, easy relationship with food. Follow her on Facebook!
Don’t Let Fear Stop You
I wish I knew to start before I was ready. I delayed in starting my business because I thought I needed to know “everything”. And what I’ve learned is entrepreneurship doesn’t work that way. The truth is you’ll never be ready. In order to achieve success, you must be open to exploring the unknown and let go of the need for everything to go as planned. There’s nothing wrong with being prepared but don’t allow it to hinder you from doing the work and trusting the process.
Tameka Allen is a Business Strategist for Female Entrepreneurs and can be found at tamekanallen.com. Follow her on Facebook!
Don’t Give Up
I wish I had known sooner that I’d love it so much! Fear is a powerful thing. And while I won’t say every day isn’t a challenge, it’s very rewarding to fight every day for a passion and concept I believe in. To know we help inspire others to live a healthier, more fulfilling life is worth more to us than monetary currency. My advice would be to allow more time for your idea to grow to fruition. When you feel like giving up, don’t. That’s usually right when things are just about to take off.
Amanda Camacho is the Creative Director at Natural Discoveries International which sells organic and healthy tea, water, and more. Follow her on Facebook!
Build Your Foundation First
When you’re starting out your singular focus should be having enough work to put food on the table and pay your bills. I felt like I was running a 3 ring circus by trying to “do it all” right from the beginning. Build a solid base, then you can take over the world!
Melanie Lea is a Graphic Designer at My Billie Design Studio and specializes in helping create brand identities. Follow her on Facebook!
Treat Your Business Like a Business
Although I felt prepared when I launched my company 12 years ago, I later discovered my business knowledge was definitely lacking. There are a lot of specific, tactical things I could share, but I’d say more than anything I wish I had known to treat my business like a business. Instead, I thought of myself as a freelancer who just did some writing for people. I didn’t consider myself a small business owner and, as such, didn’t do a lot of the operational things I should have (such as setting up an LLC or hiring a CPA) nor did I demand the respect I deserved from my clients, friends, and family. My advice to any new entrepreneur is to treat your business as a business and yourself as a business owner. It’s a subtle mindset shift that can make a huge difference.
Becky Mollenkamp is a Writing and Business Coach at Becky Mollenkamp Creative. Follow her on Facebook!
Push Through, No Matter What!
Oh gosh, where to start! If I had to narrow it down to one thing I wish I knew before starting my business it would be that there will be very rough days, very rough. But you have to keep persevering, keep designing, keep doing, and find a role model who’s business model you look up to. And on those rough days where you are just so so close to shutting down the business and giving up, look to your business role model for inspiration and think, “Hey, if she/he could do it, then I should be able to do it too!” and then go right back to work 🙂
Samantha Turcios is the designer and owner of Hooked By Design which is all about branding and identity. Follow her on Instagram!
Thank you so much to all my amazing entrepreneurs for your contributions!
Are you in business for yourself? What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far? Leave it in the comments below!
I have always been obsessed with office supplies. I remember the unadulterated joy I would experience in September, going with my mom to Staples to get all my new school supplies. I remember ogling the thick, heavy Five Star brand notebooks… the sturdy and colorful mechanical pencils… and all of the planners I was too young to need. I still have an obsession with buying notebooks that I end up not using.
Now, as an “adult”, I do have use for a planner. But ever since starting my business, funds have been tight so I haven’t splurged. I’ve been using mobile and desktop apps to try and keep organized. But I couldn’t get away from the fact that there is something incredibly satisfying about writing things down by hand, crossing them off, and feeling the pages turn under your fingers.
But finally, a few weeks ago, my boyfriend bought me a gorgeous planner as a gift. It’s my pride and joy, my new favorite thing. It has big clean pages, on page side per week, that I use to log all the things I need to do, big and small. And it has surprised me how much my planner has changed my workflow. It doesn’t just keep me organized, remind me to do things, etc. But it’s actually changed the way I work and the way I look at my time.
My Planner Changed My Workflow By Motivating Me
My planner encourages me to stay motivated and keeps me inspired. First of all, it’s so pretty. Using something pretty and clean and fairly expensive makes me feel pretty and clean and expensive… does that make sense? It’s like the old saying, “Dress for the job you want to have, not the job you have now.” By using a tool that is professional and sleek, I hold myself to a slightly higher standard.
I’m also more motivated purely because I can see what I have to do every day, every week, every month. I write everything down in this planner, but only give each task one line. This way, at a glance, I can see how much I have to do on a given day. Before, I would make a to-do list for the next day at the end of each work day. I would keep big deadlines in my digital calendar. That gave me a general sense of what I had to be doing, but never before have I seen my time laid out so plainly before me. Seeing that I have things to do, knowing that I am busy encourages me to work hard. And yet because I don’t include too much detail, even a full day of work doesn’t seem daunting.
My Planner Changed My Workflow By Making Me Try New Things
Before my planner, I would get the idea to do something – like re-do a webpage, organize my photo files differently, take a course – but I didn’t have a way to hold myself accountable to do it. That, or I would see my full to-do list and decide I was too busy to take on a project that could help my business grow.
Now, I can write it down in my planner for a week or two from now – “Audit web design page and redesign”. As I fill up each day, I can easily work these tasks into my workflow and make sure they get done. Even if I have to move them around to account for larger deadlines, writing them down, having them exist in pen-and-ink form makes them much more real and therefore, they get done!
My Planner Changed My Workflow By Making Me Schedule “Regular” Activities
As a business owner/freelancer/entrepreneur/whatever, there are things you have to do on a regular basis. Some of my “regular” tasks include:
- Sending my monthly newsletter
- Scheduling my next month worth of social media
- Updating the WordPress plugins for my websites
- Checking the backups on my sites to make sure they are working
- Creating a monthly freebie
- Sending reminders to clients who have weekly or monthly payments
We would like to think that we can wake up in the morning and remember – oh hey, it’s about time for me to schedule my next batch of Facebook posts! Not the case. With my planner I can go in a few months into the future and write in all my regular tasks ahead of time. After a few months, I put a reminder to write the rest of them in for the next few months.
My Planner Changed My Workflow By Helping Me Get More Done
Having to-do lists scribbled in a small notebook or on a post it is better than no to-do list at all. I’m not saying to go out and buy a designer planner and it will instantly make you successful and more productive. However, if you’re like me and have an insatiable desire to make and complete lists, you would seriously benefit from a planner.
If I come to the end of a day without completing all my tasks, I move the unfinished tasks to the next day. I don’t finish a week unless everything for that week is crossed off. Keeping track this way makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks and nothing gets overlooked.
My Planner Changed My Workflow By Helping Me Remember the Little Things
Nothing is too small to add to my planner. Not only do I add deadlines and tasks for large projects, but reminders to follow up on an invoice, reminders to post a behind-the-scenes Instagram post, reminders to read a newsletter that came into my inbox. I include all activities, big and small. I’ve found that before my planner, little things would pile up and pile up and keep getting pushed back until it became a problem. While I don’t prioritize them the same as large, paying tasks, making them real in my mind by making them real in my planner has made my business richer and has made it look like I have a whole team working for me.
My Planner Changed My Workflow By With Admin Day
When I first got my planner, I dove into a planning frenzy. When I say my planner changed my workflow, I mean it totally revolutionized it and allowed me to grow. I did research on good things for business owners to do on a regular basis to maintain and grow the business. I found some interesting things, but none as interesting to me as Admin Day.
Admin Day is the one day a month you don’t work, you detox from social media, and you take care of all the crappy administrative tasks that you’d rather contract out to a virtual assistant. This includes billing, cleaning, filing, invoicing, etc. For example, my Admin Day consists of:
- Organizing my computer files and deleting anything I don’t need any longer
- Emptying my email inbox and unsubscribing from nonsense
- Compiling a small report of my expenses and income for the month
- Compiling a small report of my social media marketing
- Compiling a small report of my email marketing
- Compiling a small report of my time tracking to see where I’m spending most of my time
- Doing an SEO audit of my site and troubleshooting any weak areas
- Physically cleaning my computer
- Reading any articles I may have Pinned or saved in my inbox to look at “when I have the time”
- Sending invoices to any outstanding accounts
I’ve decided that the 1st of the month will be my Admin Day. It will allow me to get things organized as well as evaluate my own performance. The reports I will do won’t be hyper-detailed, but will be there so that when I need to check out some analytics, the data is all right there for me.
Do you have a planner? How do you use it to stay organized?