a second office + spending tax cash to boost a home business

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #YourTaxCash #CollectiveBias

Tax season can be stressful but everyone is all smiles when it comes time to spend their tax return cash.  As a small business owner, my cash always goes back into my business.  Our family business is photography (plus this little ol blog) so our refund finds its way to a new lens or computer upgrade.  What would boost your business in 2017?  That’s always the question in my mind come March.  Sometimes it isn’t just a new toy your business needs, but a better workflow and that’s just what I was thinking of this year while setting up a secondary office.

My husband is the professional photographer.  Of course, I’ve soaked in all of his teachings and I take most all of the photos for my blog (and I’m his second shooter for weddings and events), so I’m a photographer too, in a way.  For both of us, home is our office.  We spend a LOT of time in our own home, working away at our computers.  I have a large desk in our front room with drawers, storage, every desk accessory known to man.  I never work at it.  9 out of 10 times, I end up working in my bedroom.  I have been saying for awhile that I should just put a secondary desk in my bedroom and this week, I went for it.

My bedroom is pretty furnished already with, you know, bedroom furniture, so my desk area needs to be small.  I don’t want to sleep in an office either so I’m keeping everything minimal, ya feel me? No staplers or paper shredders in sight.  Here’s how to make a functional, small office space using your tax refund, which we can streeeeetch:

upgrade electronics

Time to look at your most important equipment and decide what needs upgrading.  For us, cameras, lenses and computers are the life blood of our business.  This year, we really needed a new external monitor which is crucial for editing photos, but also fabulous for blogging.  It’s also great for Netflix movie breaks, but that’s not super productive, so let’s just pretend I don’t do that.

What new piece of equipment could boost your business and cash flow in 2017?  Another idea we have been kicking around is a mobile business phone.  Having a dedicated line that we can put on business cards, websites and advertising seems like a good idea.  Now we never let a call go to a personal voicemail, never answer the phone with anything other than “Husvar Photo” and it feels like our business just became more legit.

improve workflow

Working faster and more efficiently is definitely the path to success when you own your own business.  Those who are self employed know that there is no “clocking out”, no vacation days… so having a perfect workflow is important.  Improving my workflow means creating a second office in a room I constantly work in, my bedroom.  For this, I needed a desk (love this Parsons desk that I’ve bought 3 of so far) and a workstation (monitor, computer, etc).

A better workflow also comes with improved storage and organization.  Have everything you need to get your work done in one place, neat, so you don’t have to waste work time searching.  Since my second desk is short on space, I went vertical.  This is the easiest way to create an office space out of a simple, one drawer desk.  I opted for this cute trio of U shelves that I’ve put all over my house.

Other items to think about purchasing for increased workflow – planners, schedule/organizer boards, desk and drawer organizers, anything that will keep you and your office space focused.

Don’t forget the most important desk accessory, somewhere to hide all of your most important things.  For me, it is this ultra-fabulous faux book about how to be a unicorn.  My daughter found this gem on one of our shopping trips (I’ve taught her well) and it just might be my favorite thing ever.  There’s another tip.  Don’t forget to add items to your desk that make you happy

…or items that inspire you like family photos, artwork and encouraging quotes.

With a new mega expensive lens, a new monitor and some other random office upgrades, I was looking to stretch my remaining tax refund cash far when it came to a business line.  I headed to Walmart to check out what’s available in the Walmart Family Mobile line, ultimately choosing a Samsung Galaxy On5 and the Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan.

With the Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan, our business line gets unlimited talk, text and data which includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE then 2G for just $49.88 a month per line.  My husband is always running out of data since his “office” is the open road and a million different destinations.  Being able to split off work and use this unlimited data will not only save us money but give peace of mind.  No matter where he or his clients are, he’ll be able to reach them for as long as he needs.

When you’re at Walmart choosing your Walmart Family Mobile phone (or bringing your own) don’t forget to grab a SIM Kit for $19.88 when signing up.  The 3-in-1 SIM fits all three sizes: standard, micro and nano.  The Samsung Galaxy On5 requires the nano.  You can see how the SIM is customizable below.

Along with your Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan, you’ll get a free VUDU movie credit every month ($7 value, same as a new release rental) per line.  I’ll be using ours for an extra special monthly family movie night with lots of treats, both sweet and savory.  I’ll be sharing how the night goes + my tips for the ultimate family movie night later this month, so come back and check that out.

Since Family Mobile bills you later, you only have to pay $19.88 when you sign up.  To check out the phones and Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan for yourself, head to the electronics department at Walmart.  Look for them in the aisle with prepaid phones, near the video games.  The Samsung Galaxy On5 is regularly $119.00 but was on rollback to $69.00 when I purchased mine (see below).

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to  or your local Walmart for current pricing.

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  1. March 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm — Reply

    Your photos look amazing! Good tips! I definitely need to upgrade and improve my work area.

  2. Stephanie
    March 15, 2017 at 7:22 am — Reply

    This office is beautiful – you did a fantastic job. I have the same Parson’s desk so you gave me some great inspiration with your amazing style! Great tips for your business along with the phone plan! #client

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