Stop Dabbling: 5 Starter Steps for Getting REAL About Your Business

Written by Christine Kane

Stop Dabbling: Five Starter Steps for Getting REAL About Your Business by Christine Kane, Uplevel You I call it “The Empire Mentality.”

What it means is that you act like the owner of a major empire even before you have the clients or the bank account to prove it.

And guess what?  When you take your business seriously – miraculously, so does everyone else.

Here are five starter steps for making your business real…

1 – Get a Business Checking Account

Do you let your money just flow in and out of the same account?  Are you paying for groceries and web design from the same checkbook?  At the end of the tax year, are you frantically trying to determine which expense is business and which is personal?

Yes, yes and yes?

Well, this must change immediately.  Make it a priority TODAY.  Get a checking account for your business.

This may sound like Biz 101, but I meet too many self-employed women who work in this kind of accounting chaos year after year.  It’s guaranteed failure.

2 – Pay Yourself a Salary

Lack Mindset Symptom #143:  You don’t pay yourself a salary.  You just grab what you can at the end of each month and hope for the best.

When I meet women who do this, they try to convince me that they’ll change once there’s more money coming in.  No they won’t.  It works in reverse.  Value yourself and treat yourself like a real business first – THEN the money comes in.

Now that you’ve set up a business checking account, here’s your next step.  Choose an amount to pay yourself each month or week. Then set up a system and do it. (No, it doesn’t matter if it’s $25 or $2500. What matters is that you do it.)

Money does what you tell it to do. As such, it needs to know where to flow.  Once you set up an exact amount for your salary, you’ll be amazed to discover that this amount always seems to be there each month.

3 – Set up a Business Entity

If you’re still a sole proprietor, you’re probably paying way too much in taxes.  Self-employment taxes are among the highest taxes you can pay.

Whether it’s an LLC or an S corporation — you need to have both the tax benefits and the legal protection of a business entity.  Choose a name for your company, and research the options available to you.  Find a reputable local attorney who can help you make this happen.

4 – Get an Accountant

I’m willing to bet that you suck at accounting.

I’m also willing to bet that every single year, when tax time rolls around, you feel like throwing up.

Fact #1:  Dread eats away at your energy.

Fact #2: Every minute of time you put into QuickBooks is a minute that you’re not doing your genius work.  (The stuff that MAKES the money!)

Fact #3:  If you don’t have an accountant, the chances of you facing an IRS audit increase by about 7000%.

(Yes, I said 7000%. Now you know why I have an accountant.)

Entrepreneur, take thyself seriously.  Get a great accountant, and happily pay her the hundreds (or thousands as you get more successful!) to ensure that your taxes are done professionally.  You’ll sleep better and you won’t throw up.

5 – Set Boundaries with Friends and Family

If your friends or family don’t take your business seriously, it’s an issue of communication.

People who have never had their own business simply don’t understand what you do!  They often won’t take your time or space seriously.  They might call during the day, drop in when you’re on a call, or accuse you of not being a good friend when you can’t just pick up the phone.

All of this can be prevented with some communication on your part.

But first, you must be clear about your boundaries.  What are your hours?  Who do you work with? Do you do pro-bono work for friends? (I strongly suggest that you don’t!)  Does family get discounts?  Do you hire family or friends?  What will you/won’t you tolerate?

Take some time to get clear about what most needs to be communicated to the people in your life. And then, honor yourself and your business enough to share these boundaries in a clear, proactive manner.   Then, it’s up to you to enforce your boundaries!

QUICK! Before you talk yourself out of it!!

In the comments below:

1 – Tell me which one of these action steps you’re going to do NOW – and,

2 – Share the very first step you will take to make it happen!

If you've ever believed it was impossible to be totally authentic AND make lots of money in your business - then you're not alone. Purposeful entrepreneurs want it REAL - and I promise to deliver! Get my FREE VIDEO, and I will walk you step-by-step through my own Uplevel Fast Track Formula for making money... on your own terms and in your own way. Enter your email and let's get started!

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{50 comments ... read them below or add one}

Kay Williams February 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

Going to set up a business checking account!!

Thank you, Christine.

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Kay Williams February 13, 2013 at 9:49 am

Oh, and I LOVE the picture of your sweet dog! I think I will take a picture of my 2 boys with their favorite food, butternut squash, and post it with my (becoming famous) curried butternut squash soup recipe!

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Christine Kane Reply:

Thanks Kay! Let us know when the account is set up! :)

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Justin February 13, 2013 at 9:56 am

Great article! How about a financial planner :) ?

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Christine Kane Reply:

That’s a fabulous idea Justin! Though when you’re just getting started, there aren’t always many finances to plan. :)

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Alexandre L'Eveille February 13, 2013 at 10:03 am

Of course, first, the dog…love the dog. I have talked to my accountant about corporate structure and switching from sole-proprietor to S-corp. The plan was to do it the first of this year, but here it is Feb. already! So that is my first action step.

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Christine Kane Reply:

Thanks Alexandre. (I just posted her on Pinterest too since we got so many responses. Dogs always make eZine readers happy, don’t they?) And yes, the year slips by before you know it. That’s why I put stuff in my schedule and do everything in my power to hold myself accountable.

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Evelyn LiVoti February 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

I am going to pay myself a salary!

Christine, thank you for sharing this important list. I took a small business development course before starting my business. They advocated setting up your BAIL team – banker, accountant, insurance agent and lawyer.

While I have my team in place, I have not paid myself a salary – until now!

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Nayna February 13, 2013 at 10:12 am

I am going to start paying myself a salary! I just never thought of doing that :)

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Jessica February 13, 2013 at 10:14 am

I am getting an accountant for the first time (Already done the other steps – Woot Woot!) Still working on the boundaries thing.

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Cena February 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

Pay thyself – How can I pay myself when I’m paying everyone else and digging out from the debt I created to re-brand and launch? Why is this so difficult to do?

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Christine Kane Reply:

Pay yourself first and see what happens, Cena! Plan it out. Set an amount. (even small is fine.) And tell your money what to do. Not the other way around.

(And come to my next big training webinar – announcement soon. It’s called The Money Master Class – and it’ll be eye opening for you! :) )

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Jeanne B Reply:

“Tell your money what to do, not the other way around.” Now, there’s a mindset shift for you. Money and I need to sit down and have a little chat, methinks.

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Stacey February 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

Throwing up isn’t fun. I’m getting an accountant.

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Tanisha February 13, 2013 at 10:41 am

I’m going to set up a business checking account and pay myself. Great tips, thank you!!

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Elizabeth February 13, 2013 at 11:24 am

First, I want to commend you on your FANTASTIC articles!

I would like to set the boundaries but am having difficulty sticking to them. Any additional suggestions?

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Christine Kane Reply:

Elizabeth – there are several articles on my blog that address this. Here’s one:

http://christinekane.com/why-strong-boundaries-are-essential-to-your-success/comment-page-1/#comment-545729

But try a search on this blog for boundaries and standards. There’s quite a bit! It’s a big topic!

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Barbara February 13, 2013 at 11:31 am

Money does what you tell it to do. For weeks I’ve been asking to see more clearly the limiting practices in my life that keep me in this power struggle with money and understanding the obstacles. It’s not surprising that it begins with me! Thanks for the clarity.

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Amylia February 13, 2013 at 11:37 am

Excellent advice, Christine. I think all five of these are such huge game changers–not only are we telling ourselves to take ourselves and our business and gifts seriously, we’re telling the universe too. I’m going to pay myself a salary–and it might be $50 at first, but you’re right–just putting the system in place and honoring my intentions and myself enough to do that is huge. Call in about becoming a LLC right now too!

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Nandi Shareef February 13, 2013 at 11:54 am

I’m going to get a business checking account. I still work for someone else full-time, and I am only dipping my toes in the water (taking professional pictures, hiring a web designer, etc). However, that doesn’t mean I can’t begin to take myself more seriously and set myself up for success. This article is a winner! Thanks Christine!

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Angela Patnode February 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I’m going to call today to set up an appt. with an accountant. I’ve been putting it off, and your comment about spending time on quickbooks – which I do while gritting my teeth – is right on. I want to celebrate that I’m an LLC, I pay myself monthly, I have a business account, and do not do trades anymore in my business with friends – all a celebration!

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Nneka, Working Mystic February 13, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I told my friends that for the next 2 years, they can think of it as a graduate program. They got that immediately. They completely understand it now when I say that I’m working on my business. Now, they are starting their own endeavors. So, we are in it together:-)

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Jeanne B Reply:

I like that! Think of it as a graduate program. Yes.

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Lee February 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I’m going with the “setting boundaries.” Step 1: mail invoice to friend-of-a-friend *and* send formal fee agreement with a retainer required if she wants me to do any other work. I was in danger of scope-creep. That stops now.

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Shawnee Kilgore February 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Ok. At my last bank I had the “Rockstar” account, but never got to the point that I was really utilizing it properly. I will now open the “Let That Songbird Go” account, and link it up with my Paypal account. And I just had a really fun thought, that if I start paying myself a salary, I can rely on that salary coming, even if I don’t technically know where, or who, it’s going to come from (before it comes through ME! :) How about that raise, Shawnee?….Do it girl! :)

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Kimberly | New Spark Coaching February 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Business Checking Account (check!)
Business Entity (check!)

My next step is GETTING SOME CLIENTS so that I can pay myself a salary and have some money for that accountant to help me manage! Just launched my coaching practice and I’m in the steep learning curve of learning how to market myself. Choosing to enjoy this process and trust that the clients are on their way to me!

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Christine Kane Reply:

Excellent Kimberly — so your focus has to be all on your marketing and client getting activities. It will happen!

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Fonda February 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm

How do you open an account with no money? All of this sounds GREAT however im not really sure how to continue with my clients. After a while of not growing my business…I began to go flatline! I need help!

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Christine Kane Reply:

So Fonda, it sounds like you are at the stage where it’s all about your marketing and getting the word out there and generating some income. And that’s a very normal stage in a business. Focus all of your time and attention on creating marketing systems and habits and being clear in your message and offer!

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Wendy February 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

I am going to set up a business checking acct (been promising myself that for a couple of YEARS now– but this time, I am going to do it! AND pay myself a salary.

Christine, I have been so locked in fear for so long, and I am SICK OF IT! So far behnd in the Uplevel Your Life, but that is going to change too.
Thanks you, thank you, thank you!

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Christine Kane Reply:

Wendy – you are NOT behind! There IS no behind in Uplevel Your Life! It’s a LIFETIME program! :)

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Devon February 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm

SUCH funny timing because I literally JUST set up my biz acct last week!!! On the list for tomorrow: set up my salary payment! Woot!!!

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A. E. Starkey February 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm

The picture of your dog made me smile. (I tried putting glasses on my cat once. Never again.)

Next steps:

1 – I am going to open a business checking account.

2 – Honestly–and this may seem meager–but the very-very-very first step was to go online, see when my credit union was actually open, and then schedule a visit into my calendar. (They’re open till 6 on Thursdays, so I will be taking a trip to the bank after work tomorrow.)

Thank you, good call to action.

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Jeanne B February 13, 2013 at 11:20 pm

I think I’ll pay myself a salary. Even $5 a week is a start (for those of us still digging out), with the goal being to earn $1,000/month from my art this year. If my bank will let me, I’ll open a second account just for the yarn and art. (I’m sure they will, they are a great bank.)

Tell your money what to do… OK, money, earn yourself!!! :-)

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Nneka, Working Mystic Reply:

I was going to give myself a quarterly distribution of half my receipts, but I’m going to consider this method of paying myself a nominal amount twice a month. Oooh! That feels really good!

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Amy Jo Wheeler February 14, 2013 at 12:05 am

I need to do #2, 3, and 5. Tomorrow, I will take 50% of intake for my salary! Thank you, Christine!

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Frauke February 14, 2013 at 4:08 am

I’m going to pay myself a small but regular salary, since I already have a business account. Last year, I made the first profit ever. I’m still list-building and creating content, as I’m turning my local EFT-practice into an international online coaching business. So the salary will be small, but it will be all mine to have fun with.

(I’m still working part-time in a day job that takes care of food and rent and such.)

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Cindy Briggs February 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I really like Christine’s idea’s, energy and focus. I have great products but get stuck on how to sell my art, books and lessons to make money online, continue my teaching and coaching creative people. Life just gets in the way. I am hoping to shake things up this year after surviving cancer, selling my house and getting a restart. I will start paying myself a salary, even if its small, have done most of the other things. Thanks for the ideas and encouragement.

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Amy February 14, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I’m going to start paying myself a salary.

I KNOW you’re onto something because I’ve noticed for years that for every bill/expense I plan for, the money to cover it always appears just when I need it.

When it comes to paying myself a salary, I’ve always paid myself with what was left after the bills are paid. Sometimes, it’s a pretty decent pay day, but more often than not, it’s nowhere near what I would like to earn. I can’t believe I didn’t think to plan to pay myself “X amount” as if it were any other expense. Thanks so much, Christine!

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Patricia February 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Great advice. You sometimes need to see it in writing to get you going.
I’ve spoken to my accountant and we are setting up a S corp.
Don’t know what to name the business though.
Any ideas?

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Christine Kane Reply:

it looks like your biz name is Digital Bloggers. Is that right, Patricia?

Why not that? :)

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Yarrow Summers February 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Thank you Christine. Great advise for anyone starting a business. I really like the idea of telling your money what you want it to do. It is so much more powerful and proactive than the wishing, hoping, etc. that most of us do.

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Lisa February 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

I’m going to pay myself a salary! I have a business account, got my LLC last summer, have an accountant and a bookkeeper who will do the quickbooks for me. I think I have set boundaries for friends and family…but I still feel guilty and apologetic at “my day job” when I don’t work Fridays so that I have 3 days to work on the business…I DO WORK on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. I have to be more clear about that. And pay myself a salary!!

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shanae February 17, 2013 at 8:58 pm

im going to setup a business account. Going to the bank on Tuesday and looking for a reasonable bank institution not just the one i bank with. just want to compare options. Is going through legal zoom okay to do? I already have my business name and went to my city clerks offic to get registered as llc but was told i needed to go to the State to file, get a number then come back to them. uggh too long of a wait for that,6months to a year.

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Shilpa March 14, 2013 at 11:35 am

I got myself a business acount and paid myself a salary. it feels sooo great. Thank you Christine .

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Christine Kane March 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Congratulations Shilpa!!!

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Amanda Young March 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm

First, I want to have a few clients, then I’m all for setting up the LLC or S corp. Is that okay or am I just going to perpetuate the waiting. I have the bank account, know more about taxes than I should but still have an accountant, and need to pay myself a salary — which I’ll start doing since today is the 15th. I’m also going to set some boundaries, and focus on my marketing consulting work.
My blog listed here is more of a hobby that includes a book… with four more in waiting… but that’s my side hustle. Baby steps as I uplevel several parts of my life. Thanks for inspiring me!

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Andrea March 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I’m going to look into what I need to do to change my business from sole proprietor to LLC.

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Shawnee Kilgore March 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm

I declared that I would set up a business bank account, but before I could do that I had to go register my business with the county clerk. Done! Welcome LET THAT SONGBIRD GO Music and Photography! I have never felt so grown up in my whole life, though I was giggling the whole time :P Almost immediately after I got my business account activated (and deposited $1, because that’s exactly what I had) my purse was stolen, including my wallet and my camera. I grieved heavily the first day and then decided it was an amazingly powerful thing to basically lose your identity and still remain absolutely who you are. I decided it was a great time for a new beginning, and since then my wonderful friends and family pitched in to surprise me with a new and better camera, and I’m shopping for the perfect new wallet and purse that will suit my new business self! :) My next step is setting up my salary, which I’m not totally clear on. A regularly scheduled bank transfer? An actual check? I’m ready! Thank you Christine!

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Fiona January 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I have only been going a few months but I have been meaning to (1) get a business account and I can then (2) pay myself a salary – although I have been doing this in my head anyway. Then I will (3) get an accountant – I have a little more time for this given that the tax year end is a little way off yet.

My first step is to look around for suitable business accounts and then I can go from there.

Thanks for the call to action Christine!

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