How To Feel In Control Of Your Money As A Small Business Owner
When you’re first starting out in your freelance career or self-employed life, or even when you're a little way in, money is bound to be a big fat scary sticking point.
After all, most of us have only known a regular wage that comes in at the same time every month (and may even be all gone the very next day…just me?)
That, plus the fact that we’re conditioned to want ‘certainty’ in our lives as a basic human need, means the idea of not having a regular or certain wage coming in each month can have the power to send many into what feels like despair.
And that kind of despair is not a resourceful state to be in, especially when you’re trying to be uber confident and act like you totally have your sh*t together.
In fact, feeling any kind of lack, scarcity or worry about money can completely flaw us, particularly on days where our confidence is dipping as it is and we’re wondering ‘can I even do this?’ (Which totally happens, by the way. But you CAN do this - promise!)
So, as someone who has totally been there - from feeling completely paralysed by money fears, to earning more in a month than I had in a year in my business - it’s fair to say there are a few things I’ve learned along the way and that I’d love to share with you in order to help you fund yourself and dissipate your money worries when starting out.
Here you’ll find some really practical action steps you can start taking straight away to feel in control of your finances and to start funding your life of self-employed freedom!
Get Friendly With Your Finances
First up, I’m going to ask you to get really friendly with your finances. Yep, sometimes that can be difficult, particularly if you’ve gotten very used to putting your card in the machine and checking your balance through squinted eyes. But when you become your own boss, it’s really important you start keeping check on your numbers, and that begins right here.
1. How Much Money Do You Need?
Work out how much money you actually need to cover your costs - your rent, your bills, your food shop, petrol, business costs - the things you actually have to pay for. I speak with so many people who are afraid of starting their own businesses or who feel totally overwhelmed when first starting out because they assume they won’t be able to pay their bills or eat, but when you get really clear and specific about how much you actually NEED to cover your outgoings and business costs, it suddenly becomes a lot more achievable and not half as scary as you had been thinking.
2. What Are You Spending Your Money On?
Many clients I speak with who are working corporate jobs but would love to move to full-time self-employed often say that the main thing holding them back is that they couldn’t give up their current wage. That’s totally understandable, particularly when you’ve become accustomed to a certain way of life. BUT, it’s really worth noting down what you’re actually spending your money on now and whether that’s as important right now as the freedom you’d like instead by becoming your own boss.
Take a look through your bank statements with a fine tooth comb and note down your typical spending habits over the last few months. Are you spending a lot on shopping sprees for clothes that end up still with tags on a year down the line? Are you spending on copious cups of coffee or cigarettes that you could do with cutting down on anyway? Are you paying out for a costly gym membership that hasn’t *ahem* been used?
It’s likely that lots of things you think you need are really being spent on ‘because you can’ and not because you necessarily want or need them. Consider what you could cut down on in order to put towards your business venture instead.
3. Where Could You Make Some Savings?
In line with the point above, what could you sacrifice for a little while and instead put towards your business? Perhaps you’re paying a little more on your phone contract, or insurance that could actually be reduced. Maybe you’ve been paying for a magazine subscription or a monthly membership you could really do without. You might be paying for a netflix, amazon prime or music subscription that you haven't actually used for months. Take some time to reconsider your spending, and put any savings you can make into a separate account for your new business!
Once You’re Clear On How Much You Really Need Right Now, The Below Options Could Help As You Ease Into Becoming Self-Employed…
1. Get part-time work
If you’re in a corporate role already and are looking to transition to self-employed, cutting down to part-time hours is a great way to ease into things. Alternatively, if you’ve finished at your job but are feeling really uncertain about money, starting some part-time work in an area that’s completely separate from your business and allows you to switch off from it to work on your venture is ideal. These options will give you that sense of certainty that you have income coming in, which will reduce the worry and allow you to give your full confident energy to your business.
2. Secure a regular retainer rate
This means you secure a monthly freelance contract with a client, and again know that this will be your ‘bread and butter’ as such, to help you pay your outgoings, and again put you at ease knowing this will be coming in. Lots of business owners are looking for the certainty of someone who can help them on an ongoing basis, in the same way that you will benefit from that regular income. A great way to encourage this is to let people know you offer a reduced rate for clients who book you for regular monthly work.
3. Save enough money to cover your first few months
This will give you the reassurance that you have enough to see you through your first few months in business while you’re building your client base. Again, when you’re not worrying about money, you have far more energy, confidence and resourcefulness to start attracting clients and customers. You’d put money aside when saving up for a car or a holiday right? So it’s definitely worth adding to that savings pot for your brand new life of following your passion!
Funding yourself when you’re starting out can feel really overwhelming, particularly when you’re so used to having a regular wage paid by someone else and have only ever had to think about what to spend it on next! But, earning and managing your own money really isn’t as scary as it seems and becomes second nature really quickly. It only takes a few little practical habit tweaks as mentioned above to start feeling more confident and comfortable when it comes to managing your finances and earning a living from what you love!
If you want to take control of your self-employed life so you feel like you’re nailing it and not winging it, or want your side-hustle to take more of a priority, get in touch to explore how my support could help bring your dream to life with a practical, purposeful, plan of action. Apply HERE to book a complimentary 45 minute taster coaching session.