Making your own schedule, choosing your clients, and sweet, sweet freedom—these are just a few of the many perks of freelancing. But with that freedom comes great responsibility…including being on the hook for filing self-employment taxes. Above, content creator Grasie Mercedes—who splits her time between acting, writing, directing, and blogging—sits down with Lisa Greene-Lewis, TurboTax CPA, to learn how TurboTax Self-Employed can help freelancers stay on top of their tax obligations throughout the year. Read on to learn a little more about Grasie and see how TurboTax can help you find deductions, file confidently, and keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. Plus, we're gifting 30 readers with a FREE TurboTax Live Self-Employed product code (valued at $169.99) below—so you can file for free this season!
To quote your Instagram bio, you “do a lot.” You’re an actor, writer, director, and blogger—what do you like most about working on so many different projects?
I love to keep busy and I love everything entertainment, so for me, it just makes sense. Now, more than ever, actors "do it all": they direct episodes of the shows they're on, they create their own series, and they continue to act in everything from commercials to TV to major motion pictures. I think it's wonderful and exciting! Blogging is something I started over eight years ago as a creative outlet to supplement my then-styling career, which was supplementing my acting endeavors. From there, I turned it into a brand/business that I can have forever (or as long as I want)! Having so many things to work on and work toward is so special to me...I never get bored "working" and that's a dream. I'm so grateful to be able to do what I love, every single day.
What’s your biggest challenge in having so many different business ventures on your plate? The biggest reward?
The biggest challenge is when the various ventures start to interfere with one another. Acting is a crazy business with an unpredictable schedule so there have been plenty of times where I have to miss an event, trip or opportunity because I have to be in town for pilot season or for a callback, etc. When that happens, I just have to weigh my options and then deal with serious FOMO when I see what I missed on social media. The biggest reward is hitting new goals in any given venture. I just signed with an amazing talent agent for writing, I'm developing my first pilot with a great production company, and my first film is still getting accepted into major film festivals! Those are all huge wins for my writing and directing careers, which I started less than two years ago!
We polled our C&C community and found that many freelancers share the same concerns as Grasie—conflicting schedules and deadlines can make solopreneurship difficult. Luckily TurboTax Self-Employed makes it easy for freelancers to track and file quarterly estimated payments, so you can focus your efforts on your work and your clients.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to go freelance but is worried about how they’ll make a stable living?
This is a tough question. I think you have to weigh your options and responsibilities. When I decided to quit my day job and move to LA to be an actress/creative, I was in my late 20s with zero obligations. It was easy to just go for it because it was just me. No kids, no mortgage...not even a pet! If you have that freedom, then just GO FOR IT full throttle! Do whatever it takes to pay the bills (legal things only, of course). Wait tables, get a temp job, be a barista...all the while, make sure you are working on your creative endeavor daily. If you're responsible for more than just yourself, I would say keep your day job as long as possible, save money where you can and again work on your creative endeavor daily until it's bringing you enough money to quit your day job. The only difference between these paths are that the first one usually gives you more time and freedom to pursue your dream. But regardless of which path you take, the most important thing is to WORK HARD and WORK EVERY DAY on whatever it is that you want to be doing! Dreams are wonderful, but they only come true if you work your ass off.
What are you most excited about for your business in 2019?
Excited to revamp my blog and to work as a writer and director more! Acting will always be "my first born" and something I'll never stop doing, but creating my own work (TV shows/films) is my number one priority at the moment.
Want more tips for tax time? Check out our guides for side hustlers and C corp entrepreneurs! or Or you can dive into TurboTax Self-Employed here—and enter to win a free TurboTax Live Self-Employed code below!
Our friends at TurboTax were nice enough to share a giveaway with Create & Cultivate readers so you can file your taxes for FREE this season!
30 readers will receive a FREE TurboTax Live Self-Employed product code (valued at $169.99). Simply fill out the form below to enter to win. The winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email. Good luck!
Not quite a full-time freelancer?
If you’ve got a side hustle and need help with filing taxes, be sure to check out last week’s guide. Stay tuned for next week’s post for more solopreneur tax tips—and enter to win a free TurboTax Live Self-Employed code below!
This post is sponsored by TurboTax.