Organizing Yourself

It seems like every year there is no shortage of posts on any number of webmaster boards where people are asking how to organize things or what they can write off or how to do their taxes. I’m no accountant or lawyer so I’m not going to give you any actual legal advice here, but I will suggest a few simple but often overlooked things that may help make your life a little easier. 


Something any webmaster should do right from the start is to set up a good system of organization that they can stick to. I’m not going to tell you exactly how to do this because everyone is different so you will do what works best for you. Here are a few areas to look at.

Passwords – I know that it didn’t take me long before I had a few dozen usernames and passwords. Just about everything in this industry requires some type of log in. There is debate about whether or not you should allow IE or Firefox to save your passwords. I personally don’t like to do that. Instead I have a small notebook that I have all my usernames and passwords written down in so if I need one they are easy to find. I had a hard drive crash before I started doing this and it took me weeks just to get all my users/passes sent to me again. 

Receipts – You really should keep track of every thing you spend money on in this industry or anything you buy that will help your work. When I first started in this business I would just toss them in a drawer. It didn’t take long before I realized that this was going to make my life difficult in the end. Now I have a folder for each month of the year. When I pay my hosting bill or renew a domain or I buy something business related I put the receipt in the folder and I write a note on the back of it about what it was for. Then I have a spreadsheet that I enter it into. All of this only takes a couple of minutes and when tax time rolls around it makes my life a whole lot easier. I would suggest to anyone that gets into this business that one of the first things they do is make an appointment with an accountant and ask them what all you will need to keep track of. This will help you to determine what method of tracking you are going to use. 

To do list – If you are like most webmasters you will find yourself constantly behind. I have a list of things to do and projects to work on and every day it seems to grow. A while back I started prioritizing my list. Everything gets a number from 1-4. If it has a 4 it’s not all that urgent and a 1 means it needs to happen ASAP. So when I write something down and then go back to my list a few hours later I know what I need to work on first. Ever since I started this method I have found my list actually shrinking. 


Something I see every year is tons of posts with people asking when they are going to get their 1099’s. In the end the real answer to this question is that in many instances you will not get them. Last year I actually got money from 30 different sponsors, but I only received 9 1099s. Why didn’t the other companies send me one? Good question. Some of the companies were from outside the so I don’t think they are required to send me one. In the other cases I think it was just program owners not properly keeping their books. Whatever the reason, if you rely only on 1099’s to track your income you will find yourself in deep trouble. 

So what do you do? Well, I personally use a spreadsheet to track every dollar in income I bring in. When I get a check I enter into the spreadsheet the date, amount and who it came from. If I get an Epassporte payment I do the same thing. Then at the end of year I can easily add it all up and I know that I have an accurate number regardless of how many 1099’s I get or don’t get. 

Some people I know use MS Money or QuickBooks or other accounting/bookkeeping software. I would suggest that you look at your business and determine what is best for you. If you think you may want to use one of these programs, most of them have a free trial you can check out. 

In the end organizing is a small thing that doesn’t take a whole lot of time, but it really can make your life a whole lot easier and more productive. The best place to start is to look at yourself and determine what your needs are then take some small steps to get your act together. Your business will run smoother and be more productive once you have it more organized.

Reader Comments: (1 posts)

Jimbo says:
Hahahaha. I'm not too brghit today. Great post!
October 29th, 2011
at 2:43am EST
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