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Time saving tips for your taxes from a fitness instructor

Posted 3 years ago in Small business by
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Jenny Brian is no stranger to fitness. From college athletics to high intensity pilates, she’s done it all. Jenny is a self-employed fitness instructor, teaching up to 20 classes a week at various studios around LA. But when she left her office job to start instructing, figuring out self-employed tax deductions was a challenge.

“When I worked an office job, I was used to getting a standard paycheck every two weeks. I didn’t have any special tax requirements, I had nothing to itemise,” she says. “But now I’m trying to write off as much of as I can for my business.”

From office to fitness studio

Jenny was working as a pricing analyst for an automotive tech firm when she first discovered the Lagree fitness workout. She saw the class in a fitness studio near her office, and decided to try it out. Lagree Fitness is a full body workout regime using a special piece of equipment called a megaformer. She was instantly hooked.

“I’ve always worked out, and I’ve always been looking for the next workout,” Jenny says. “Most things I tried I would get bored of after a year or so. Lagree was the first workout I wanted to keep going with. I was pretty obsessed.” Jenny enjoyed the workout so much she decided to try teaching it.

When Jenny told her boss that she was thinking of becoming a fitness instructor, he was very supportive. Her let her work reduced hours while she built up a client base. “Before working in an office, my boss was a ski instructor,” Jenny says. “So I think he was proud of me for choosing to do something I really enjoyed.” Four months later, Jenny was teaching Lagree fitness classes full time.

Overcoming the challenges of self-employed work

Jenny says the transition to contract work wasn’t without its challenges. After working as an analyst, she initially struggled to summon the energy and authority of a fitness instructor. “I remember the first class I taught, I thought I was going to hyperventilate. I was terrified,” she recalls. “In my personal life it helped me grow a lot. It helped me become more confident and outgoing.”

In the early months, Jenny remembers fitness instructing felt like a popularity contest. There were many instructors competing for the same clients and class times. “From a customer service point of view, you have to personable and likeable in this industry,” she says. “Otherwise you just won’t succeed.”

Jenny also struggled at first to manage her own finances and taxes. In a salaried job, there were processes to ensure everything ran smoothly – from regular paychecks to automated tax deductions. Having to suddenly do her own invoicing, bookkeeping and taxes was a jarring experience.

Spending hours doing self-employed tax deductions by hand

Figuring out how to manage self-employed tax deductions was Jenny’s biggest pain point. Come tax time, she would export all of her credit card statements for the entire year. Then she would spend hours a day slowly itemising those transactions, line by line.

Jenny would spend hours more double checking – after all, incorrect tax deductions can have harsh penalties if the IRS audits you. “It was tedious. Very tedious,” she laughs. But now she’s finally found a solution that’s easy and saves time – Xero TaxTouch.

Xero TaxTouch makes tax deductions a breeze

With Xero TaxTouch, Jenny no longer has to do her tax deductions manually. “My taxes are going to be done a lot faster this year,” she says. Jenny can itemise expenses on the fly, logging in to TaxTouch every few days to sort her recent transactions. “I’ll definitely be much more organised with what I show my accountant this year!”

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