San Francisco Bay Area Lockdown (Lockdown-ish?), Day 2
Thinking seriously about "waived business fees" ... while Amazon changes my plans
An evening press conference by San Francisco's mayor yesterday caused me a little rejoicing in the midst of all that is going on around Covid-19 and this three-week lockdown.
San Francisco is taking appropriate steps to prevent small businesses from being evicted, and from having to deal with business license fees – the latter are being waived until next February.
That makes me happy as a small business owner; that's money I don't have to take out of my pocket for a good while.
However, as I contemplate this today (March 18, 2020), I realize that my work as a community activist and journalist requires me to speak up here. What I am about to say also goes for business owners everywhere, and also people who are hoping that President Trump gets a check together and sends one out for everyone in the country.
You have to know the difference between a GIFT and a LOAN, and when that loan is due – because it will be!
In my author life, I have written an entire music business book, the Freedom Guide for Music Creators, in which I break down the concept of the advance – musicians love getting those big checks from record labels, not realizing that money has been borrowed from future royalties.
The same thing goes for these business tax deferments – that's not just money I get to keep in my pocket. That's money that STILL has to go out, just not at the regular time.
I have to budget accordingly. Two ways come to mind:
1. I can hold on to the money and pay it out at a more convenient time
2. I can invest that money in a project that will perhaps allow me to increase it, an opportunity I would not have had if the regular deadlines were in play
The second requires some risk … if things don't go well, and, there is a chance they won't given what the economy is suffering from Covid-19, then I have to hustle up the money some place else. But given that the city is considering waiving the fees until February of next year, that gives me 11 months to take that money and make it work for me another way.
What I don't want to do – and, this is something to keep in mind as you read – is to forget: if I do nothing, all that happens is that I end up paying out said fees for this year in February 2021 and then turn around and pay for the fees for 2021 in May 2021.
And that's the thing a lot of people who are just looking for relief don't get – getting and spending money or keeping money that doesn't have to be spent can be a trap if one is not aware that the bill is coming due later. One can get doubled up!
San Francisco is a high-rent type of city … it is easy to run out and spend extra money here. As someone who runs a small business, I see it as a kind of advantage to me that there will be no temptation to spend what I owe the city on in the regular way one can … $5 cups of tea, $12 omelets and sandwiches, highly marked-up consumer items in general. Not that I was doing much of that any way, because if you have a small business or just live in San Francisco, you learn to regret unnecessary spending QUICKLY. I am glad for the discipline I have learned before this crisis.
But the matter does require thought … in addition to doing some book and course revisions today and tomorrow, I have made time in the midst of the abundance of time I have to think about what to do with money I now don't have to spend for 11 months. There is opportunity that surely will arise, even in the midst of the present crisis.
I have nothing but time to look for and assess said opportunities in the middle of a situation that may not change significantly for a good while. California's governor is hinting that portions of the social distancing mandates may last until the end of May.
Everything has to be thought about … perhaps this is why Henry Ford said thinking is the hardest work we ever do.
Well, at least San Francisco, we have time. Time to think out not getting doubled up on fees in the future and then being in financial trouble to match the present distress, months down the line.
Also today … Amazon is no longer sending non-essential items through its warehouses. If it isn't medical and household supplies, forget about it.
For authors who make use of Amazon's print-on-demand books to move their writing, this is a bit of a problem, but while a paperback is non-essential, a Kindle book does not require physical stocking.
This forces a slight change for me … I have just completed the update of Kindle version of The Freedom Guide for Music Creators and am letting the print one get finished a little later (like, before the end of the week, Lord willing). 2020 has brought changes in the world of copyrights and public domain materials, and as of this writing it is March 18, 2020, so, it was time to get that done...
San Francisco is a reader-heavy city, and best believe, we will be doing plenty of reading during the lockdown.
Those of us who write will be doing plenty of writing, too, and, at least projects can get set up and revised on Amazon while we wait.