We’re thrilled to speak with Meleah Smith, who describes herself as a “walking tax deduction.” When she’s not consulting for a social media company, she’s managing a band with her brother or volunteering with her church.
Tell us about your business. What does a typical day look like for you?
I have no typical day really. But my life is composed of three main pieces: social media work with EventLion and Social Lion, managing a band, As Issac, with my brother at home and on the road, and volunteering mentoring girls through my church.
How many miles do you drive in a typical week? Where do you drive as part of your job?
I drive a lot. In May, I logged 153 drives, 3128 miles, for $1,149. In April I logged 136 drives, 3061 miles, for $1,447. That’s a bit higher than normal because that included a trip to New Brunswick Canada with As Isaac.
Routinely, I drive around the greater Chattanooga area daily with EventLion, as I do not have an office. And then around the region on a monthly basis with As Isaac (like to Nashville, Alabama or Atlanta). Then at least twice a year, I take a long cross-country trip. But usually, it’s three to four times a year.
I’m basically a walking (or driving) tax deduction. 🙂
What’s changed since you started using MileIQ?
My sanity. Seriously, having one less thing on my mind that is on my list of things to do is such a relief. And my relationship with my brother has improved. My brother, who is in As Isaac, previously would tediously take my records of each band trip and recreate detailed mileage spreadsheets.
What other apps do you recommend to other small business owners?
Facebook. I know I work in social media, but it really is one of the best ways to connect to your audience where you know they already are. Marketers have dreamed of targeting that’s now available to us. It’s an extension of the relationship and trust you build in person. And I love it when you take it full circle and get to connect in person with those you’ve built relationship with on social media.
I honestly don’t really download many apps and I really hardly ever buy apps. Until I purchased MileIQ for the year, I had only ever bought one app: Heads Up for the youth group students to play with.
What’s the biggest challenge you face running your business, and how do you address it?
With As Isaac, it’s not compromising our integrity. To do what we know we’re called to do, and do it well, and yet, to try to figure out how to make money. It’s challenging when you’re not interested in joining the machine of the music industry. With EventLion, it’s learning to rest rather than being “on” continually.
What do you enjoy the most about the kind of work you do?
My heart swells with a sense that I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what is right and good and true, when I am with As Isaac and I see people I love doing what they love. We get to travel the country and internationally! Things many only dream of getting to do and work very hard to obtain…and yet it has literally just come to us. I am very grateful and humbled.
My work with EventLion is rewarding because I get to work with an amazing team of people doing work that’s enjoyable. This also gives me the flexibility to do what I love with As Isaac and mentoring students.
Mentoring the girls through youth group is one of the greatest joys of my life.
What tip would you share with other business owners?
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Have integrity. Don’t sell it. Be it. Let your work overflow from who you are. Have boundaries. Communicate expectations up front. And be OK putting it down for the evening, a weekend, a week, or even a month.
Where can people learn more about your business?
You can learn about EventLion here and here. And you can download a free song from As Isaac here and listen to more of our music on YouTube. And of course, everything I do is on social media @meleahvallie! 🙂
MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.