As a business owner, your income is probably not consistent from month to month.
So what happens when you read the Suze Ormans, Dave Ramseys, and Tony Robbins’s of the world, all who create plans for the person earning the regular paycheck?
Well, if you’re like many entrepreneurs, your eyes glaze over, you feel left out of the loop, and you blow off the concept of managing money altogether.
When you manage your money well – especially if your income is all over the place – you’ll be more confident, and you’ll be much more prepared when your business grows quickly and you have to make better investing decisions. (Trust me. Years ago, I never would’ve imagined I’d pay cash for a 3000 square-foot office space, or invest hundreds of thousands in my own coaching. It all started with getting a handle on managing money, especially when it wasn’t always predictable.)
Here are my favorite do-able steps for managing the unpredictable income of a business owner like you. Pick one to start – and then move to the next.
Step 1: Know your Expenses
How much do you need each and every month just to live your life? That’s one number you need to know.
And how much do you need each and every month in order to run your business? That’s the other number you need to know.
On a P&L statement, this is the “L.” (Loss.) This is how much you spend each month just to live or just to run your business.
Start with your personal expenses. There are lots of great online tools that make this so easy, you’ll be ecstatic to manage your money. My two faves are:
1 – Mvelopes
2 – Mint
Use their tutorials to get crystal clear on how to track your expenses and come up with an average for the month in every category. This is valuable information, especially when it comes to our next step.
Step 2: Pay Yourself a Salary
Let me guess. All the money from your biz comes into one account, and you just grab what’s left at the end of each month for yourself.
You may even convince yourself that you’ll change your ways once there’s more money coming in. No you won’t. It works in reverse. Value yourself and treat yourself like a real business first – THEN the money comes in.
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 $350 or $3500. What matters is that you do it.)
Money does what you tell it to do. As such, it needs to know where to go. 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. (And if you want to implement Step 3, make sure you pay yourself enough salary to cover that expense!)
Step 3: If you have debt, start a “Debt Snowball” plan
Dave Ramsey’s “debt snowball” is so effective because it’s a behavioral model – not a “should” model.
Start by creating a master list of all your debts. When you begin paying them down, start with the one that is the lowest number. All of the extra income you have goes to paying that off. Once you’ve paid it, you move to the next higher number on the list.
I call this “the energy of completion”. You’re not splattering yourself all over the place trying to pay off this giant thing called “DEBT.” You’re chunking it down and making it doable.
After that, you can use that money to begin a savings plan.
Step 4 – Get an accountant. Then get a bookkeeper.
Face it. You stink at accounting.
Fight me all you want, but you and I both know that every single year, when tax time rolls around, you want to throw up.
Here are three facts to mull over:
Fact #1: Dread drains energy.
Fact #2: Every minute you’re on QuickBooks is a minute that you’re not doing your SuperPower. (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%. This is why I have an accountant.)
Once you have an accountant, the next step is to get a bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper will help you stay on track all year long – and will guide you to keep this plan moving forward.
Step 5 – Sell Packages, Not Hours
This is how my Uplevel Academy clients (yes, even the ones in start up) create a heavy-duty money foundation under their businesses each year. We start them off by transforming how they get paid. This means that they strategically create offers that are value-based, not time-based. Plus, they get paid up front. Which means, they aren’t waiting for invoices to go through, or for someone to pull out their wallet and write a check. The entire deliverable is paid in advance. And when you practice strategic pricing, then you Uplevel your entire income system. This makes all the other steps a lot easier.
Stop playing the hours for dollars game. It’ll wreck you.
Step 6 – Develop Money Habits
My Uplevel Your Life® Mastery Program has helped many thousands of people transform their lives. It works because it teaches do-able habits and practices for self-management and for getting results.
Great habits work. And great habits are required when it comes to managing your money. Especially if your money is inconsistent.
Develop a money habit that includes a monthly check-in or a regular visit to your Mvelopes account. Schedule a monthly check-in with your accountant or bookkeeper. If you don’t know what to do during that meeting, ask them to show you what helps other clients, and tweak as you go.
The key is to start being in relationship with this thing called “your money.” A strong relationship needs regular check-ins and visits.
Step 7 – Build Powerful Money Mindsets
The great thing about owning your own business is that there really IS no fixed ceiling on your money. You aren’t stuck with that limiting paycheck that all those authors are trying to help you squeeze the very last breath out of. You can make craploads of money ANY TIME YOU WANT. And then you can pay off your house, buy an office space, take your friends with you on vacation…or start a 401K plan for your team. The possibilities are endless.
Don’t believe me?
Well, you may have a mindset problem. (Or you need to get some help with your strategy. Or both!)
Look. In order to be a successful business owner, you must learn to manage your power around money. I call this the “SOUL TRACK” of owning and running a business. It’s the soft stuff that everyone dismisses as “woo.” It’s not woo. It’s very real.
An abundance mindset means that you:
- make decisions from where you WANT to be, not from where you are.
- are unafraid to be clear about your ideal client and that you can say no to any client that drains you.
- invest in yourself with coaching and education.
- honor your service and your business by hiring only the top players.
None of this is woo. In fact, it’s very practical. But it requires that you breakthrough the fears you hold around money.