If you haven’t heard about the new EU VAT legislation coming into force on January 1st 2015, you’ve probably either been living on another planet…or you’ve had your head firmly planted in rainbow-coloured sand 😉
(If you have noooo idea what I’m talking about – and you’re a solopreneur selling digital products in your business – please read this. And then this). And that applies to readers in the US too…this affects you!
Those two articles above explain what this is all about in plain English, so I’m not going to re-invent the wheel, so I’ll assume from hereonin that you have an inkling as to what I’m talking about.
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT an accountancy expert, so my views are purely my own and my own interpretation of the circumstances I find myself in. Soooo…PLEASE get advice from the relevant people before making your own decision on what this means for you and your business.
DISCLAIMER 2: This post is kinda long – BUT I hope that seeing my behind-the-scenes viewpoint will help you consider your own options, and how this will affect your solopreneurial journey.
It kinda sucks.
When I first learned about the new legislation a few weeks ago, my eyes very conveniently (and voluntarily, of course) diverted themselves to another direction.
Ah, I thought. More red tape. I’m sure this won’t affect me.
My dear business-bestie Nicola and I had a heart-to-heart, and she so kindly made me see that I was making a crazy assumption.
After having done a LOT of research, agonising and internal debating, here’s what I have decided to do:
I have decided that I’m shortly going to pull ALL of my digital products from sale until the dust has settled…and have a rebrand while I’m at it.
This includes the Sweet Validation eBook, the Archetypal Branding Initiation Kit and The Alchemy Study ( * note for existing members at the bottom of the post).
I know that sounds kinda drastic, but here’s my thinking behind the decision…
Whilst I have been researching MOSS to try and figure out how it will affect me and my business, I found myself growing resentful. I have BIG plans for 2015 – my work really is starting to go to depths I could only have dreamed about this time last year, and my intention for 2015 is to put it to really good use in the world.
A little while back, I withdrew my Alchemy Study from sale. I have spent the last couple of months writing fresh material – both for existing Study members and new members – and a HUGE amount of effort has gone into developing the Sanctuary – the community platform where soulful branders can connect and support each other.
My initial plan was to relaunch the Study on 16th November, however the unchartered depths this new material has taken me to made it apparent to me that it was going to take me a little longer to create.
I also launched my Archetypal Branding Initiation Kit recently, which has been so popular.
I have spent a LOT of time and energy carefully cultivating the archetypal branding journey for the benefit of anyone who comes into contact with my work, and I’ve JUST started to feel like all the pieces are in place.
So you can imagine the frustration I felt when I realised how MOSS could actually affect me and my business.
The point of me running my own business is that I get to be a stay-at-home mum, and earn a living by doing something I am ridiculously passionate about. Selling digital products has played a MASSIVE part in me being able to do that…and I felt like my contribution to helping solopreneurs play THEIR part in this world was being thrown back in my face. I felt angry – solopreneurs around the globe are doing just that…making the world a better place. And now, we’re being penalised for it – being caught up in the #MOSSMESS that is this new legislation.
But – just as I felt my blood starting to boil – I realised something.
This could actually be the best thing that could have happened to me right now.
As annoying as it is, MOSS provides me with five very clear options. Here they are as I see it:
1) Stick my head in the aforementioned rainbow-coloured sand, and hope it all goes away.
2) Carry on as I am, and register for MOSS – complying with the new regulations.
3) Carry on as I am, but ensure no-one in the EU buys any of my digital products.
4) Amend the affected offerings, and perhaps look at selling them through somewhere like FastSpring.
5) Remove the affected offerings until further notice.
Here is my rationale behind each of these options:
1) On the basis that I don’t want to end up in Swiss jail, this one was a no-brainer to discount.
2) I am HOPELESS at accountancy. Like…really. The thought of having to get my brain around all of the ridiculous requirements MOSS currently brings with it is too much for my heart (and head) to bear right now (much as I LOVE the thought of navigating 75 different rates of VAT across the 28 countries involved, sixteen VAT returns a year, three pieces of information kept for ten years for every single customer located in the EU – even for a $10 eBook).
3) From what I understand, this isn’t as straight forward as it seems. Not only do you have to retain evidence to PROVE sales were not made to the EU, the issue is that there is always the opportunity for mistakes to happen; someone in the EU purchasing anyway, without realising, or…someone outside of the EU clicking the wrong option in the drop-down box to confirm their country. Either way – we’re back to the heart-and-head-ache of 2).
4) This seems to be a huge grey area right now. I’m aware that there are some new platforms springing up (taking advantage of the opportunity) who would act as a middle man, but this not only will likely result in my pricing having to go up to cover the cost, it just doesn’t feel like the right option for me, right now (and you know…we Alchemists like to trust our intuition).
5) By process of elimination, this seems to be the only feasible option I feel entirely comfortable with right now. I know that there is a chance that the rules may change for small businesses – but in the interest of not losing concentration or momentum at this pivotal time in my work, it feels like the most sensible move to me. For every moment I put my plans on hold and worry about what will come out in the wash, I could be making a difference.
When I first came to this conclusion, I was actually pretty mad.
What did this even mean?
How would I earn a living with that being the case?
What would happen to all of the hard work I’ve put in to the new material over the last couple of months?
How will this impact my cash flow?
I felt the fear rising, but I decided to breathe into it. And I came to the following conclusion…
We can get angry, frustrated…join the petitions and Facebook discussion groups. (And we all SHOULD do those things, and take a stand for what is right – not just for ourselves, but for our fellow solopreneurs the world over).
We can feel penalised, wounded and victimised. We can even feel a great sense of loss and grievance.
We can speculate about how this will be policed, or whether the legislation will be watered down or adjusted at the eleventh hour.
But at the end of the day, the law is the law. And we have our businesses to run…in the circumstances we find ourselves in. MOSS or no MOSS.
In the meantime, we have our families to feed. Bills to pay.
We still have a job to do.
The format may need to change – even temporarily, until the dust settles and we know what’s what – but ultimately our ability to make an impact has not changed.
I’m choosing to see this as a challenge – as an invitation to explore new avenues, to step up to the plate and push myself outside of my comfort zone. To adapt to the digital environment we are now finding ourselves in.
Faced with this challenge, I’ve decided to begin 2015 by following the call I’ve been hearing for some months to get ‘out there’ in the field, and work more closely with solopreneurs in a more intimate, personalised setting.
I’m going to channel my energy into the development of a diagnostic tool I’ve been working on behind the scenes for the last few months – the Archetypal Calibration System™ – of which here is a sneak peek…
I’m in the process of developing some highly unique mentoring offerings that put this new system into use, designed to help solopreneurs get out of their own way by tapping into their archetypal landscapes.
(I’ll be running some limited-space, reduced-rate beta sessions for these. If you’re interested, put your name down for first refusal here).
My desire to make an impact on the lives of solopreneurs has not changed – I’m refusing to let the new legislation take up even one more breath of energy, and instead I’m using this as an opportunity to breathe new life into my business.
I’m rebranding to my own name – Cerries Mooney – and I’m broadening my horizons. (I plan to write a post about the rebrand over the next week or so, to give a behind-the-scenes overview of why I’ve made that decision).
And that’s where I’m at.
And I’m SO excited.
So…I really help that this has inspired and invigorated you. No matter what your circumstances are, know that there is ALWAYS an opportunity to be had in the face of adversity.
Above all, I hope that this proves to be a scenario that only serves to strengthen the solopreneurial movement as a worldwide community, and call on us to rally together and support our international peers as they face these challenges in their own businesses. Even if this doesn’t affect you directly, this is a golden opportunity to display grace, understanding and support to our comrades across the globe as they make some big decisions about their offerings, direction and business decisions in general.
[Tweet “Stop the madness. #VATMESS”]
What are your thoughts? What decisions are you making? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
( * If you’re an existing member of the Study, please hang tight – we’re currently working out our next move for the Study and the Sanctuary for those who are already members. Likewise – if you’ve recently purchased the Initiation Kit, I’ll be sending you an email soon with an update, too).