Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that I actually am legally a business now. My city doesn't require me to have a business license, the county said that although I could spend $10-$12 each month to "register my business name" it didn't really matter because it didn't give me exclusive rights to the name, and the state gave me my sales tax ID without a bit of problem!
But I am a business now, and I keep having to remember that I need to keep track of what I do with my business. For example - keeping receipts for beads, keeping receipts for eBay fees, Etsy fees, etc. It can be really challenging. Obviously I am keeping these receipts for tax purposes, and to be honest, I may actually have to go to a tax preparation service at least this first year to be certain I am doing my taxes correctly. :D But I digress. LOL Remembering to keep my receipts is sometimes a big challenge because my first instinct is to simply shove the receipt in my purse and move along.
This is especially true when I am at the post office, Walmart (where I buy my shipping materials), Hobby Lobby, & Michaels. Yes, I do buy beads from Hobby Lobby & Michaels. LOL Those receipts get stuffed into my purse and often forgotten about. If I don't think about it, I'll toss them in the trash and never think about it. :/
When I order things online it is easier to keep track and since I always use my PayPal account to pay for those things, it makes it very easy to keep track because PayPal keeps track of it.
I do have a couple of tips for keeping track of business related purchases. If you have a PayPal account, use it to pay for supplies, eBay/Etsy fees, etc wherever possible. The records kept by PayPal can help you to remember where and when you spent money on your business!
Another thing, and this may sound funny, but get a PayPal debit card! If you have brick and mortar stores you purchase supplies from, postage to purchase from the post office, etc, PayPal also tracks purchases made with the debit card! So you have a record of it still! Obviously you still have to keep the receipt to use for tax purposes, but it can help if you happen to need to enter an amount in your preferred bookkeeping method and don't have the receipt right there with you at the moment.
Keep a box of some sort to toss your receipts in! I use a box that my Bible came in, a friend of mine uses a shoe box, and I have yet another friend who uses one of those little coupon file books to store hers in. Whatever you use, make sure you have one and try to remember to put your receipts in it!
Another thing you can do to help you get your stuff together for tax season is to use a service like Outright.com. Outright.com lets you keep your books - track expenses and income. They also partner with Shoeboxed.com which allows you to keep your receipts online. Both are great tools to use - I haven't started using Shoeboxed.com yet, but I do plan on doing so soon! Shoeboxed.com offers a free account where you "do it yourself" as far as scanning and storing your receipts there, as well as paid plans that allow you to send them your business cards and/or receipts and have them scan them for you. There are different levels and all accounts start with a 30-day free trial of the paid version of the service.
Being in business can be a headache, but it is something that I definitely like. I'll post more posts giving my little tips and tricks for what works for me when I find things that work well for me. :)