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Is That Deductible? "Creating An Online Course in SoHa"

Dec 04, 2023

Respite From Busy Week

It has been a busy week with many things going on, which made us even more excited for one of our favorite activities—to escape to our vacation rental in South Haven, Michigan, and relax or work. Both Ellen and I were eagerly anticipating the end of the week so we could leave town on Thursday after work. These three-day retreats are incredibly refreshing for us!

My Agenda

This trip had multiple elements associated with it. First and foremost, I had the audacious goal of organizing and recording my first online course for SimpliMD, titled "Doctor, You Are A Business." Setting small goals and long timelines has never been my style. Instead, I prefer the mindset of "go big or go home." Even though I'm working alone, I am determined to get the job done this weekend!

Our place allows me to immerse myself in an environment designed to maximize my focus and concentration at an exceptional location. With its ideal setting, it’s the perfect space to channel my productivity and achieve outstanding results. Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, it offers a bustling atmosphere in the summer and a serene tranquility in the winter. The 3rd floor, in particular, is a delightful space for work, flooded with natural sunlight and elevated above tree level, providing a picturesque view of the lake. I find it truly refreshing as it enhances my creativity and productivity. It's where I spent a significant amount of time a year ago, bringing my best-selling book “Doctor Incorporated: Stop The Insanity of Traditional Employment and Preserve Your Professional Autonomy” to completion. I absolutely love it here.

No lie, I have put in 18 hour days with focused work on accomplishing my tall task, and as usual it seems that everything always takes “more time than I expected”. I came into it thinking that the video production and editing component would be the most time consuming—and it indeed it may take a lot of time. But the heavy lifting has involved all the prep working for creating meaningful and connected resources that will enhance the learner’s experience. As I near the end of the weekend, I am still optimistic that I will at least get the raw video produced by the end of the weekend—-we’ll see—cause to be honest I am a driven optimist!

And when I need a break, I love my mindfulness runs along a Lake Shore Drive, beside the famous North Beach, and among the urban forests that are typically filled with wildlife in Michigan.

Of course, being in a resort community, albeit in the off-season, there are plenty of restaurant options available for our evening meals. At this point in our lives, we prefer simple breakfasts, with my favorite being fresh doughnuts from Meijer's bakery. For lunch, we usually just graze a bit. The biggest decision of our day will involve choosing which restaurant to dine at. During this visit, I finally had the chance to use the $100 gift card for Clementine's, the renowned restaurant in our city, which I had been holding onto for almost 2 years. It was a thoughtful gift from our local realtor when we purchased our property. Ironically, since we often share meals and don't consume much alcohol, we will be fortunate to spend half of the gift card's value during our meal. As expected, we enjoyed a delightful and satisfying meal that only amounted to $40. It seems like we'll have the opportunity to use the remaining balance on our next visit up here.

Ellen’s Agenda

My wife is an incredible scrapbooker. By that, I mean she goes beyond simply cutting and pasting decals on pictures. She is exceptionally creative and loves bringing her creations to life with thoughtful, handmade work. Our entire family benefits from her work, as our home is filled with beautifully crafted, memory-preserving handmade books. Additionally, she has her own YouTube channel where she produces demonstration videos from her scrapbooking studio, which is located in our home (when she has the time). However, finding dedicated time to make these books has been a challenge, especially in the past year when we have been incredibly busy.

Our place at SoHa boasts a spacious upper floor with a massive table, creating the perfect light-filled setting for her to spread out and indulge in her scrapbooking work. The fireplace adds an element of coziness and comfort that contributes to relaxation and a clear mind. This weekend, she had signed up for a virtual scrapbooking conference hosted by one of her favorite scrappers. Our weekend retreat provided the uninterrupted and ideal space for her to fully immerse herself in her passion.

Being away from everyone and everything is exactly what we both needed this weekend!

STR Work

As a real estate professional, I actively manage our Short-Term Rental (STR) and invest over 100 hours per year in its maintenance. This weekend, I had the responsibility of meeting with a city official, a fire officer, and our property manager at the unit to conduct the mandatory STR inspection, which incurs an annual cost of $600. Thankfully, being a newer unit, no issues were identified during the inspection.

This year brought some wear and tear, including a loose stairway railing that needed to be reinforced. Our contractor is scheduled to do the work next week, which will take a whole week. As a result, I had to blocked out the unit for that week. This work was originally scheduled 6 weeks ago, but as is often the case with contracting work, it had to be rescheduled. This is precisely why I had to be present this weekend - to hold the contractor accountable once more. And, unfortunately, as I feared, he met with me on Friday and informed me that the work would not be completed as scheduled next week due to sub-contractor schedule conflicts — so frustrating! So, he will inform me next week about the new schedule - yet again :(

I also had some maintenance work to do, such as replacing HVAC filters, winterizing the exterior, closing off the outdoor shower, and inspecting and inventorying the kitchen tools at the end of the rental season. It always amazes me how things disappear each year!

Back at Home

During the week before our trip, I was able to help my newly widowed mom find a new car that eliminated her current car loan. We’ll continue to work on organizing her new financial structure associated with my dad’s death last month.

We also met with insurance adjustors, Servepro contractors, and began creating our interior inventory list in my man cave/garage— all associated with our house fire less than a month ago.

I connected with the realtor who is managing the listings for my development property/business. Thankfully a large regional builder is likely going to buy our remaining residential lots in the development and we we discussed the terms of the deal. This included me needing to work with another commercial builder who is wrapping up his apartment complex at the development—and he must remove his equipment off the residential lots before I close on them(he rents the lots from me).

Lastly, at lunch time during my clinic on Thursday, I slipped away to close on a new residential property that was too good of an asset to pass up. We are thrilled it only a half block from our primary home, and as a bonus, it was left fully furnished and cleaned by the prior owner. It is move-in ready if we want to rent it, but we have some good ideas on how to use the asset with some family members. Time will tell how that plays out, but in the short run, one of our LLC’s will own the property and cover it’s minimal expenses.

Back at SoHA

During my time in South Haven, I had the opportunity to meet with a prospective client from California who was interested in SimpliMD. We discussed the advantages of transitioning his income from a sole proprietorship to a micro-corporation structure. This change would not only help him save money on taxes but also enhance his retirement funding in a tax-efficient manner. One of the things I love about my work with SimpliMD is the flexibility it provides for me to do the work from anywhere in the world!

This will be very handy when I retire from day to day clinical practice next summer and we begin traveling more for both work and leisure. Along those lines, I also checked in from SoHa with my preferred locums agency/agent to discuss any locum opportunities for the 3rd quarter of 2024—nothing matching my profile yet.

I was on call for the hospital back home during our weekend in SoHa and fielded some calls from the ER. The call compensation is nice-especially when the calls are few, and I can take the call remotely.

Lastly I reached out to a owner of Mila’s Mini Market about their 2024 parking lease with my LLC that owns my medical office building. I own all the land and parking around my MOB, and this little shop is nestled within that land —but has minimal parking. I could have bought the building a few years ago, but had no use for it—choosing instead to purchase and control the land all around it. Thus the building and business owner lease dedicated business parking spaces from me annually. I invoice them each December.

Is That Deductible?

Now it’s that time when we take a deeper look at my activities and decide what is a deductible business expense and what is not. Please remember I am not a legal, tax, or accounting professional and thus each of my decisions will be reviewed and scrutinized by my professional team that helps manage my business enterprise.

  • SimpliMD, titled "Doctor, You Are A Business." Course creation: The cost for software, computer, headphones, cameras, microphones, etc… are covered business expenses by SimpliMD. I could have had SimpliMD rent the STR for the weekend, but ultimately chose to expense that out through the STR LLC.

  • The travel expenses and meals were covered by our STR LLC since we were here on official business. There was no charge for staying in the unit 3 nights in order to do the work here. The cleaning fees will be held up—pending the construction work to be done—that will necessitate a cleaning.

  • Ellen’s scrapbooking conference is more of a hobby than a business expense, although we are nearing the point of making it an official business based on the work done and her affiliates through her YouTube Channel.

  • The work with my mom has no business deductions and simply part of being a caring and connected son.

  • Our house fire claim on our personal home has no business deductions involved. It will be interesting to find out what the insurance settlement from the adjuster is next week. Our other property damaged by the fire is an owned by our LLC and it any associated expenses will be covered by the LLC.

  • The new residential dwelling purchased by one of our LLC’s has all expenses covered by LLC including the home purchase, utility transfers, taxes, and insurance.

  • My time and availability. It takes a time and business mindset to generate income through my business assets. Although my time and availability is not deductible—managing, operating, and creating micro-business assets all provide revenue and the backdrop for asking myself—”is there a business purpose for this?” Thus my enterprise of 9 micro-businesses are rarely far from my mind and activities.


So as I wrap things up this week, let me invite you to sign up for my brand new SimpliMD course that is almost ready for the public titled "Doctor, You Are A Business." To sweeten the offer, I will provide you a “wait list” discount worth a whopping 50% off the normal $999 price! Just use the coupon code “EARLYBIRD” at checkout to save $500!

Interested in getting away to a magnificent and quiet STR along Lake Michigan’s shores? Look no further than Simpli SoHa—a place for a great get away with your spouse, or perhaps a place to enjoy a splendid mindfulness retreat. Better yet figure out a business purpose for the rental, and expense it out! Check out our Simpli SoHa off season prices that are nearly 70% off the seasonal rates!

Lastly, need some micro-business coaching so that you can better learn how to maximize the dollars you are spending—and move them from post-tax (personal) to pre-tax (business purpose)—sign up here for my micro-business coaching 4 pack.