Hobby or Business

by in Tax Issues

I spent this week with Melinda Emerson, the SmallBiz Lady, doing a Twitter Chat with her and her audience. It was a very illuminating experience, sitting on the phone with her and Tai Goodwin, talking to each other while we were posting all the Tweets.

All of this came to mind when Mary asked TaxMama this question:

Is there a minimum income to qualify as a small biz, as opposed to “hobby” Isn't there a five-year rule about profits?

You can read my answer here, if you like. Or read IRS’s explanation of hobby losses. Today’s discussion isn’t about my answer. It’s
about my experiences.

Some people often try to play the hobby loss game – trying to show just a little profit to prove they’re really in business. But not single mothers. Single mothers succeed. They have no choice!

Clearly, for them, it’s not a matter of not paying taxes, per se. It’s a matter of desperately needing enough money to put food on the table – and to keep that roof over the family’s head. At first.

Once that is secure, Mom pushes on to ensure there is enough money to clothe the children like their peers, so they don’t
stand out, looking poorer than the rest.

The next step, is a painstaking effort to save up enough money for college, for a future for her children.

Along the way, that desperate push to build security propels that woman to succeed beyond her wildest dreams. Her children
are drawn into her orbit and pulled into her business. She needs their help, there’s just no way to pay outsiders. The children learn to work, to sell, to build a business, too – and to become proud of their mother. And a part of her success.

Look at a couple of single mothers you may not know –

Linda Woods, once known as the Affiliate Goddess. I remember seeing her crying privately, she was so down and frustrated after her divorce. Once. Never again! Over the next several years, she built her business up to be one of the most profitable affiliate marketing management firms in the business, with one of the very best teams. She sold it to Brook and Forrest Schaaf, years later with enough of a profit to feel secure.

Lynn Freer, EA  president of Spidell Publishing Inc. After Lynn got a divorce, she also got a makeover. Overnight, Lynn became a well-fashioned professional woman, determined to let nothing stand in the way of her supporting her family – and succeeding. She
sold her specialized tax practice at just the right point in time – and started working for Bob Spidell’s seminar and publishing business. Ultimately, she grew his business so well, he agreed to let her buy him out (mostly).  Today, that’s a multi-million dollar

Single mothers don’t have hobbies. They lead lives of exuberant desperation!

Are YOU a single mother?


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About the Author - Eva Rosenberg

Eva Rosenberg, EA, founder of the popular tax advice site, TaxMama.com, is a nationally syndicated Dow Jones columnist at MarketWatch.com, an author and popular speaker and instructor. Please join the TaxMama family and get answers to your own tax questions.


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