a beginner's guide to bookkeeping. www.iammichellegifford.com

A Beginner’s Guide to Bookkeeping

Business Tips

A Beginner’s Guide to Bookkeeping

It is the Year of the Money Maker and we’re getting all sorts of transparency with our finances and goals. It isn’t too late to join in and start goal planning for your business; text “Money Maker” to 951-309-7885 to get your goal pages and fill them out. Now, let’s jump into this exciting topic: A Beginner’s Guide to Bookkeeping. 

Part of our goal planning is tracking and submitting our earnings every month. We have a community goal of reaching ONE MILLION DOLLARS in 2022 and want you to be a part of it. I reached out to one of my Money Makers, Elise, and she’s going to share her tips all about bookkeeping. In order to submit your earnings, you have to know what they are and Elise is here to help you get your finances organized so you can be a part of the Year of the Money Maker.


tips and tricks on biz finances. www.iammichellegifford.com

Get to Know Elsie

elise laney bookkeeping business. www.iammichellegifford.com

As a legal accounting clerk by day and craft blogger by night, Elise knows the importance of keeping your online business and blog bookkeeping in order. She knows the challenges of starting a business and how intimidating tax season can be. She is here to help you create some systems and best practices for keeping your business expenses and income organized all year long so you can track your business expenses, celebrate your income, and face tax season every year with confidence.

Visit PolkaDottedBlueJay.com to find craft projects, free cut files, and real-life excerpts as Elise juggles being an accounting clerk, boy-mom, and blogger. 


Question #1: Tell me the story behind your bookkeeping e-book: A Beginner’s Guide to Bookkeeping. Why is that topic such a passion for you?

I started my blog and Etsy shop in 2011 after I decorated a birdcage to hold wedding cards for a friend’s wedding – remember when that was a trend? I spent hours searching antique stores and Home Goods looking for fun birdcages that I could spray paint and decorate with hand-folded origami flowers. I did it all out of my tiny one-bedroom apartment, carrying the massive shipping boxes up and down three stories, and do you know what profit I made on each of them when I filed my taxes the next year? $2 each.

20-30 hours of work, $40 worth of supplies, and I couldn’t even buy myself dinner with my earnings.

I started implementing skills learned at my 9-5 job as an accounting clerk to help me track my income and expenses and still use most of those same systems today.

I know what it feels like to have a small business and be a one-person shop. You may not be able to hire an accountant, but you can track your money and have organized reports to bring to a tax professional every year. That’s the goal with A Beginner’s Guide to Bookkeeping; empowering small business owners through their finances.

NO ONE should work as hard as I did and not get paid for it. 


Question #2: What are some tips for starting to track business finances?

Start somewhere even if it is as simple as designating a spot to put all your business receipts. It can be a shoebox labeled “receipts” but start putting them all in one place. The next step is using the principles in A Beginner’s Guide to Bookkeeping to organize those receipts. The e-book lays the foundation to consistent bookkeeping; no more frantic searches in March for receipts or trying to figure out what business expense was on that Target receipt from 9 months ago.

Deciding to start is the most important thing. You have to take ownership of your bookkeeping. Do you want more money? Know where it is coming from and where it is going.

a beginner's guide to bookkeeping. www.iammichellegifford.com

Question #3: Do you have any bookkeeping secrets or tips to share to make the process easier?

Do what you can to make it a fun part of your business. Most creatives I know dread this part of their business; it feels unfulfilling, tedious, and definitely not creative. You have to see the value in maintaining your books and then make them fun for yourself. 

  • Make your spreadsheets colorful
  • Use colored markers on your tracking sheets
  • Every time you hit a new milestone, celebrate it! For example, every time you add something to your income sheet you do the running man for 20 seconds. Hit a new dollar goal? Add star stickers, unicorn gifs, or celebrate with a Money Maker who supports your business.
  • Make bookkeeping part of your routine. Set a date or time, get it done, and then celebrate with a cookie or two.


Question #4: Who should be tracking their finances as part of their business?

Literally, everyone who considers themselves a small business, a shop owner, an influencer, artist, maker, etc. If you are making and spending money you need to keep track of it. It doesn’t matter if you sell products on Etsy or Shopify, are a beauty guru on YouTube, or host retreats; if you really want to embrace the Year of the Money Maker, you have to track your money. 

Here is a sample expense scenario: 

Sticker maker expenses: 

  • Etsy listing fee
  • Sticker paper
  • Ink or printing service expense
  • Clear plastic baggies
  • Label printer or Sharpies to write addresses
  • Mailing supplies
  • Branding – your logo on a sticker, return address stamp for the envelopes, enclosure cards
  • Postage
  • Seller fees

Here are some other types of businesses that could benefit from A Beginner’s Guide to Bookkeeping

  • Embroidery kit designers
  • Digital cut file crafters
  • Photographers
  • Chocolate makers
  • Food bloggers
  • Dance teachers
  • Podcasters
  • Sign makers
  • Travel bloggers
  • Life coaches
  • Earring makers
  • Gym owners
  • Lifestyle blogger
  • Oils, shampoo, or lipstick ambassador

Use coupon code MICHELLE10 to get your discount on the beginner’s guide!

Ok, Money Maker, now it is your turn to participate in the Year of the Money Maker and log your income in our community tracker! Text “money maker” to 951-309-7885 to get started.


get organized in your biz with bookkeeping. www.iammichellegifford.com


What’s included in A Beginner’s Guide to Bookkeeping:

  • 20-page Ebook
  • Expense tracking sheet
  • Income spreadsheet
  • Expense spreadsheet
  • Private YouTube receipt demonstration

You can follow me on Instagram @iammichellgifford for more tips and tricks for your biz! 


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