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Financial Tips for Your Side Hustle

Here is the final installment in our “financial tips for” different industries—Financial Tips for Your Side Hustle. This article is for anyone building a business on the side of a full-time job or on the side of another business.  Creating a side business and growing it to allow you to replace your 9-5 and go full time into entrepreneurship is an exciting journey. Here are a few financial tips to help you make that happen.

 

Financial Tips for Your Side Hustle

 

 

Start Your Separate Personal Financial Identity immediately

 

From day one, treat your business as a business. Separate your banking, get a debit card for business expenses, and have all income from all sources deposited into the account. Just point your PayPal, Stripe, Square, or whatever you use to the business account.  Pay your expenses from that account. You will file a different tax schedule when you own a business. Keep receipts and treat it like the real business it is right from the start.

 

 

 

Have a Pricing Strategy That Gets You Into Profit Quickly

 

Many times, when entrepreneurs begin side businesses they start off with pricing that is often too low to make much of a profit. This can be because there is the feeling that the venture is for “extra money,” so making even just a little bit is “fine.” Yet, the best strategy is to be priced correctly from the beginning, so you aren’t just breaking even or worse, losing money with your side hustle.  You are in business to make money, and that means pricing yourself to include your real costs, your paycheck, and some profit to make sure you have capital for growth.  Follow this link (Mastering Your Cash Flow (kartra.com)) for my free three part pricing formula.

 

You don’t have to lose money the first few years in business. See this blog post (5 Tips for Maximizing Business Profits (entremoneycoach.com)) more tips to maximize your profits.

 

 

Set up for your Self-Employment Taxes and pay them at least quarterly

 

Part of treating your business like a business right away is to set yourself up to file your taxes as a business. In the U.S. if you are a sole proprietor that means a schedule C.  When you file that report of self-employment you will need to pay your self-employment taxes. Make it a habit from the start, and you will always be in compliance with the IRS. I learned this lesson the hard way, and ended up owing over $27k in self-employment taxes back the year of my husband’s accident when we lost our consulting business.  We did not set ourselves up, and taxes were an afterthought. Oops.

 

It’s easy to set up to pay your taxes online, visit https://eftps.gov and register. They have to snail mail you a PIN so it takes a few days to set up, but once you are enrolled you can easily make online deposits into your “tax account.” You should deposit 20-30% to start, based on your other job, tax bracket, etc. Visit your accountant to figure out exactly what is best for your situation. But just do it. I withhold when I take a paycheck, I don’t even wait for quarterly anymore!

 

 

If you are going to scale and leave your 9-5 have a plan

 

As you are scaling and building your side hustle to become your full-time gig, I always recommend having a plan. It won’t be perfect, and it will probably change, but you should know your numbers, have some money squirrelled away, and keep debt down so that the payments, if any, are manageable on your new entrepreneurial salary. Plan your income and profit each quarter, knowing how much you need to make to pay everything, including yourself.

 

And know that sometimes businesses take off faster than expected, sometimes they take longer.  Have a real conversation with yourself around what the minimum number of sales or clients you have to consistently have to make a move. It doesn’t always have to be a calendar date! Make your plan around events that happen inside your side hustle and celebrate every milestone.

Financial Tips for Coaches and Consultants

This article is relevant for all service providers, but I’m focusing on coaches and consultants who use the online space to make sales and provide services. Here are a few financial tips for coaches and consultants to make the finances easier, and better, for service providers!

Financial Tips for Coaches and Consultants

 

FINANCIAL TIPS FOR COACHES AND CONSULTANTS

Have a financial structure for money management and taxes right away

 

I see service providers frequently live out of their own personal accounts for a while. It’s so important to set up your business bank account and to create a system for withholding taxes and paying yourself as soon as you can.  Typically profit margins can be larger in the online space, because the cost of doing business is minimal, and I see many entrepreneurs make the mistake of treating their revenue as, “it’s all my money anyway.” This co-mingling makes it difficult to hire contractors, such as a social media manager, because you shouldn’t pay business expenses from a personal account. This can create a tax nightmare.

 

You must pay self-employment taxes on your own paycheck, and if you are using the money in that account, even for business purposes, it be your own personal money. Create a separate financial identity from the start. Get a business bank account. Set up your online deposit with the Internal Revenue Service or your home tax agency and make sure you are withholding and depositing your taxes. Pay yourself every two weeks and let the rest of the money sit in the bank until you get paid again or must pay bills.

 

Calculate everything in your pricing, and know your numbers and your margins

 

My next tip is one that I get some pushback on, I want you to calculate your numbers and know your margins. The reason I get pushback is because people frequently want to “feel” into their pricing, which isn’t a bad thing, but just make sure your feelings are profitable. 

 

I worked with an entrepreneur who was losing money on her most expensive package. By the time we calculated the hours, the services and additional bonuses and things provided, her $1500.00 package had a net LOSS of $80.00 per client. OUCH. In fact, her most profitable package was $195.00. It was extremely hard for her to hear, but it was the truth. Her lower cost packages were covering her losses. She was very frustrated in business, and that was why.

 

You need to know how much you need to make, how much you are legitimately profiting, how many things you need to sell, and at what price, to grow your business strategically and sustainably. Please get your numbers.

 

Stop feast or famine with payment plans and signature offers

 

Coaching and consulting can be feast or famine, and the income can be very unpredictable, especially when you are starting out and haven’t built up your client base. To stabilize your income quickly, please have payment plans available for anything you offer over a certain dollar amount. You get to decide, but I have a client that offers at least 2 payments for anything over $299.00. I have another client that starts at $500.00 and still another that starts at $1,000.00

 

When you offer payment plans you are giving people access to your programs and services at a price point, they can more easily afford, and you get to project income out into the future. Just make sure you cover any additional interchange fees, the fees charged by the bank for running the card each time, in your pricing. Based on the dollar amount, that may be just a few dollars. Again, this is your decision.

 

I know there are some people who do not recommend extending payment plans beyond the length of the program or service the client is buying.  I understand that there is a risk that they will get the service and not pay the remainder. But, while there is a little risk that someone will not honor their payments, generally people follow through, and if you have good policies and procedures surrounding payments (discussed below), you can protect yourself from these instances.

 

Have policies to protect you from chargebacks and from giving refunds if you do not offer them

 

Do not accept anything without a payment agreement. I have a podcast episode, “Get it in Writing” that talks through the basics of what should be in an agreement. I want to talk here specifically around payments. Protect yourself from chargebacks. That is where someone complains to the credit card company or payment portal, and the company gives them the money back- straight from your account. If you do not have anything in writing that says, “no refunds” or “all sales are final” then you will not win against the payment vendor.

 

Make sure that your terms and conditions are required for EVERY sale you make. Take the time to draft them or have an attorney help you and post them inside the sales process. For longer programs or bigger ticket items, send a follow-up agreement in writing to clients. There are a few people in the world that will try to take advantage, and having good, clear, and acknowledged policies surrounding payments will protect your income and your business.

 

Coaches and consultants need to protect themselves financially. I have a special place in my heart for this group of entrepreneurs, because it’s where Mike and I started with UNEQ Consulting in 2011, and I wish I would have had these tips, and had taken this advice back then.

 

 

Author’s Note:

If you enjoyed this blog about Financial Tips for Coaches and Consultants, feel free to visit my other blogs and resources

Financial Tips For Writers

Let me start by saying that writers don’t have to be starving artists to be successful. Today, in this blog, we’ll be talking about financial tips for writers.

financial tips for writers

 

The fact is, you’re a business owner, you are self-employed, and you’re actually running the business of you. To run a business, you must have some money. When people say they just want to write and not worry about the money, what they’re saying is, I’m not interested in, protecting, growing, and developing the business of me, which is the income and revenue-generating source of my business.

 

 

With that in mind, here are some financial tips for writers

 

 

Have a monthly budget and put away enough of your advance or royalties to cover 3-6 months of expenses

 

In the book writing world, your royalty checks are held anywhere from 2-6 months after books are sold. That’s a long time to wait to get paid. I know that many writers have a feast and famine cycle in their financial lives for this reason. One of the best ways to break that cycle is to make sure your personal expenses are covered every month and the money is in the bank. This will bring some security and can support your ability to create by removing financial stress. Calculate the costs of your food, utilities, rent or mortgage and transportation every month and squirrel away the amount you need to pay a few months of your expenses.

 

If you are freelancing or writing for a magazine or other organization that pays regularly, know what you need to bring in every month, and price your articles and projects accordingly. Make sure you can cover your monthly expenses. As soon as possible create an emergency fund and squirrel away a few months of income to prevent the feast and famine of the publishing world.

 

 

Think of your labor in a book as a sunk cost  

 

It is very hard sometimes to imagine recovering some financial benefit to all the hours you put into developing your work. It is much more difficult than somebody who, say, a jewelry designer, who knows that it takes an hour and a half to make a certain piece, and we can put a direct dollar figure to what they want to recover. So, I’m going to start by saying I understand that writing is hours and hours and hours and having an hourly rate that you recover actually could be very difficult to calculate. This may give people a little bit of a pause about using a formula because it may seem more complicated.

 

But just pricing a book and hoping to sell a bunch of copies isn’t necessarily the best business model, because you don’t know whether or not you’re actually making back what you’re putting in to generating the work. It’s smart to have a sales goal; a financial goal, for the work.

 

think about pricing accordingly

 

There are two considerations you can use for this. The first one is you need to know how much you need to recover for your personal money. During the time you spent writing, on average, what do you need each month for food for your rent or mortgage for your transportation for all your utilities? Having that as a base as an operating figure that you would use?

 

Then, how many months did it take you to write this particular piece of work? How many months of operating expenses? Did you basically put out during the time that this was in development and being written, so having that number there gives us a place to start for you to recover money for your personal needs. If you were to consider your operating costs, let’s say that it took you five months to develop this particular piece of work, and your operating costs every month are $3,000, you’re looking at $15,000 as the minimum that you need to make back in order to cover your own time. Time that in reality you “loaned” the book to write it.

 

The second consideration is to come up with a number or percentage of costs that are profits. Adding a little bit of extra money to the cost of a book for profit is important, but in all honesty I get a lot of pushback from creatives on generating profits.

 

 

Don’t let your love of writing overshadow your need for profits

It isn’t just writers. For some reason, many creatives want to be the altruistic entrepreneur.  The fact is that the more profit you make the more impact you can have. Price your books and services and deals for profitability.

 

If you’re not making a profit, you can’t have a level of impact above anybody else. How can I say this? Well, how can you be insanely generous and donate to the causes that mean something to you?

 

How can you create opportunities or hire people? Whether it’s a cleaner for your home, or an editor, or an assistant? You can’t do those things without making a profit. In some ways, profit is your duty. As a business owner, you really are the only engine that is going to generate additional money in the marketplace; support other people and causes, or allow you to do volunteer work. When you look at profit as an impact you can see that it’s okay to make a profit.

 

Writers have unique gifts and storylines to bring to the world. But the vision of the starving artist does a huge disservice to craft. Follow the tips I had discussed to make sure you make money while doing what you love. 

 

 

Author’s Note: 

Did you enjoy reading Financial Tips for Writers? If this is something that resonates with you and you need further assistance to take your business on to the next stage, visit my RESOURCE CENTER

“I don’t know what I am going to make.” I hear this statement all the time, and when your business is fairly new, I get it. But even from the very start, you should understand your capacity and availability to predict your revenue.  Whether you are a business or a service, you should be able to figure out how much you can make in a given time and create a path to get there.

 

 

It is so important that you figure out a predictable revenue at every phase of growth. Using these numbers can help you make the best business decisions regarding whether it is time to scale. The first thing you have to do is get your pricing right. If you need a pricing formula that will help you price any product or service for profit, you can find it in this blog: How Do You Calculate Selling Price? | Entre Money Coach .

 

Once your pricing is where you need it to be, we can talk about your capacity to make products and services for predictable revenue. I’m going to use a recent example, a client of mine who is starting a coffee roasting business.  We calculated his pricing based on operations, cost of the beans, labor, packaging, and shipping. We also figured out both a wholesale and a retail price for his products, because part of his model is to be on consignment in small local stores.  Here’s how we went from pricing to predicting monthly revenue:

 

 

 

 

  1. Capacity and Availability

 

Roasting coffee takes a certain amount of time per batch and based on the roasts and origins times can vary. But we averaged the time it takes to roast a batch, and the number of bags of product he can make in each roast cycle. That number alone will limit his capacity to make more than a specific amount of product each day. 

 

So, based on roasting time and resting time before packaging, we calculated the maximum amount of product that can be made per day, and then per week.  The cool part is that you can decide how much and how often you work. My client wanted to be part time to start, so the amount of product produced was also determined based on his availability and the number of hours he wanted to work.

 

 

 

 

  1. Number of items of each type to sell at each price

 

My client has two package sizes of roasted coffee beans right now, a 3oz size and a 12 oz size. How many of each size he makes, and sells, each week can help him predict his income. Some will be sold at wholesale, some at retail, with pricing at each size. Based on the number of wholesale and retail orders, plus the product he makes, without orders, to sell that week we can predict how much he will make each week, then month, then quarter. These numbers need to be reviewed at least every quarter.

 

For example: He sells 20 12 oz bags and 10 3 oz bags in a week.

 Ten 12 oz bags at $10.00 wholesale becomes $100.00 and ten 12 oz bags at $14.00 retail is $140.00.

Adding ten 3 oz bags at $2.50 wholesale is $25.00. With this mix of products, he will gross $265.00 this week on 30 total bags, mixed in size and price.

 

This is his “predictable” revenue. He can make more or less by selling more at a retail price instead of wholesale. This is just one small example of how knowing your “mix” of capacity. That and knowing your availability, audience and price can be brought together on paper. Doing this will allow you to predict how much money you will bring in.  I want to note that this isn’t actual sales at this point, but a very solid estimate.  You CAN predict your revenue, even as a new business.

 

 

 

Ready to plan your revenue for Q2 2021? Join me Saturday, March 13th for the three-hour Revenue and Profit Planning workshop! Visit https://entremoneycoach.kartra.com/page/quarterlyintensive for more information!

 

 

Every small business needs money pros. A money pro can be a bookkeeper, accountant, financial coach, or payroll service. A fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is another type of money pro, and there are others, so this list is not all-inclusive. Not every business needs all the pros, but at a minimum, I advocate for every small business to have the services of a small business accountant for tax preparation every year. This post isn’t about finding your pro by getting a referral from someone you trust, which is always good practice.

Woman conducting an interview to find her money pro

This post is about making sure the pro you hire is a good fit to help you with your financial needs. Not all accountants have the same services. Some reporting styles will work well for some people more than others. You need a pro that will be an important part of your team for business compliance, planning, and growth. And it may end up being more than one pro.  You need to get what you need to meet your goals. 

 

 

 

 

FINDING OUT YOUR MONEY PROS

 

What support do I really need? This question actually covers two areas in my mind. What are the mechanical money things I need done, like running payroll or filing taxes, and the organizational and mindset support you need, like regular email reminders. There are a variety of services that can manage the mechanical. What are the financial things you don’t want to do? Or find too complicated? Find the pro that can do them. But make sure you also consider the personal touches needed to keep you on track. If you need a monthly phone call or email, request one. I know people who have weekly or bi-weekly meetings with their accountants. I know others that only need a letter with their completed quarterly return to sign and file by mail.

 

 

MONEY PROS AND YOUR COMFORTABLITIY

 

What level of reporting and understanding am I comfortable with? Let’s be honest, not everyone can read a financial report and understand it.  It’s definitely not in the zone of genius for most entrepreneurs. But what good is having the reports if you can’t use them? If someone just generates a report can you use it for projections and growth decisions? Perhaps for you it would be better to have quarterly in person (or virtual) meetings to review the numbers and understand what they mean for you. I have several quarterly planning clients because their accountants only do reporting for compliance. So, they work with me to do planning and projections. Get the pro or combination of pros that makes you very comfortable using the data to drive your decisions.

 

 

 

WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A MONEY PRO

 

The phrase,Just because you ‘can’ doesn’t mean you ‘should’’ includes financial matters.  Are you still running payroll when you should have handed that off already? Struggling with your taxes again because you don’t want to pay for help? Having money pros can also reduce the potential mistakes that can cost your business. Having a bookkeeper, accountant, payroll service, CFO or coach for planning and growth are all pros that can help you avoid costly mistakes. Tax mistakes can have penalties and interest costs. Not withholding the right amount of money from your employee’s checks can also have penalties. Just like not having projections and growth planning each quarter can affect your profit margins and goals.  Keeping your books inconsistently can also cause a financial crunch, and you can miss indicators that business decisions need to be changed.  As soon as you can, get professional support.

 

 

 

FREQUENCY

 

Finally, how often do I need to see my pro? For many of us an annual checkup by a physician or medical practitioner is on the calendar for our health. For others there are weekly appointments to the chiropractor or regular visits with a specialist. Approach your financial pros the same way. What are your goals? You will likely need to see more people more frequently if there is an issue, less if you have a good management practice in place.

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

 

Don’t be afraid to just book a session with a pro for an hour if you need one. Go get that consultation and have your questions answered if you need it.  Thinking that you must retain a money pro for every week, or every month can prevent people from getting the support they need. These pros work for you and need to be a good fit for your personality, business culture, and financial needs.

 

 

 

 

 

Money management should align with your personality and the way you like to do stuff. Radical, right? I believe one of the biggest obstacles that business owners face when it comes to money stuff is the idea that there is only one “right way” to do it. This software. Or that spreadsheet formula. Or these guidelines. But if we are really honest, there are actually very few things that have to be done a specific way. Tax and employment filings, sure, but the way you track and manage your business money is up to you. The method you choose just needs to be in a manner that protects your business records and would stand up to an audit, just in case.

 

 

 

What is Aligned Money 

Management?

 

 

So, what is aligned money management? Managing your money in alignment with your financial style, so you stick with it (even if you never learn to enjoy it).  When we try to force ourselves to use a system that doesn’t naturally work with our style of doing things it rarely works. This is a common issue, and it often creates a struggle and resistance to doing the things that support our business growth.

 

A great place to start is with your financial personality (If you don’t know which personality you best identify with, visit this blog to learn more).  It’s important to know how you currently relate to your money. Particularly your business money. For example, do you ignore or obsess over your financials? Whichever it is you can then begin to work with your money in a way that feels relatable.

 

 

 

MONEY MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

 

Next, we need to examine your comfort level with different management strategies. How are you tracking other things in your business now? Are you a pen and paper person? Do you prefer software or spreadsheets? Do you like more automation or are you comfortable entering data points regularly? Your natural comfort level with certain approaches can easily translate to your financial tracking.  There are templates for paper and pen tracking, apps and software, spreadsheets, and computer formats available for anyone and any budget.

 

Finally, it’s time to start trying things out and being open to tweaking your approach. If you know that pen and paper is how you like to do things, grab some templates, and try them. If you like automated software,  start shopping for one that feels pretty intuitive for you. Many have free trials, so try them. If you like spreadsheets but don’t know how to set one up, get some help creating one that works for you. If you are really at a loss for where to start, hire a money pro to help you. Ask your accountant or have a session with a financial coach.

 

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

It can take three months or so to get into the habit of managing your money if you don’t do it now, so make sure you build in some grace and room to make mistakes or forget stuff. Particularly your internal processes. If you are worried about the most important compliance things like taxes, turn them over to your accountant so you have the knowledge that they are done correctly. You CAN create a money management strategy that works for you, your needs, your personality, and your organizational style. Making sure your money approach is comfortable and aligned will help you stay consistent with your finances.

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

 

Our Book Club for The Profit Accelerator for Small Business begins in a few days! You have free exclusive access to the club when you purchase your copy of The Profit Accelerator for Small Business book on Kindle or paperback.

 

 

 

Financial Personality

We all have a relationship with money. Money is a personal and emotional topic for many people, and there is often a bit of shame wrapped up in how we deal with it.  I want to share with you four general financial personalities I see working with entrepreneurs. Also, I have been each one of these personalities at one time or another, my relationship with money has evolved over time, and yours will too. 

 

photo of jar with coins

 

If you see yourself in any of these, if they resonate, I want you to know that you are definitely not alone. These obviously aren’t all of the potential relationships with cash, but these are definitely common ones!

 

 

Financial personality 1: Annie

(It’s all on autopay, ignore and pray)

 

Annies have been told to just put it all on the card, set it and forget it. Her stress comes with overdraft fees and late fees and over limit fees because she doesn’t always have the money in the account when she needs it In a way, she’s afraid to look at her money and believes she isn’t very good with it

So, she ignores it and deals with the emotional stress every month thinking, “I’m in business, it’s supposed to be this way.”

 

 

 

Financial personality 2: sALLY

(Spendthrift and fearful)

 

Sally operates from a place of financial fear. Constantly calculating and worrying, She is so terrified to make a money mistake, so, she  refuses to make financial decisions that involve risk. In effect, Sally is strangling her business’s ability to grow and thrive. She has an almost a hostile relationship with money, believing that there isn’t going to be enough to meet her needs.

 

 

Financial personality 3: OLIVIA

(Out earning mistakes, no planning)

 

The Olivia personality believes that she’s got it all figured out.  But in reality, she is just managing what’s right in front of her without planning or having the bigger picture. Olivia’s are treading water financially and making short term decisions without a plan. She puts any shortfalls on the credit card and may not know that her debt is creeping up. She may be growing too quickly, without a financial foundation. And she just ends up bootstrapping month to month.  Which causes stress, but she thinks if she just makes more sales, she will be fine. Olivia doesn’t see the financial danger she is getting into. She relates to her money only with what needs her attention right now.

 

 

Financial personality 4: Jessica

(Just trying everything and frustrated)

 

Jessica is following all of the guidance. Use this spreadsheet or this program. And she is trying to do everything right. The thing is, Jessicas don’t understand profit and loss, and that’s okay, but she isn’t taking the time to really learn the basics. So, she’s losing money and is very frustrated. Jessica works so darn hard, but she never keeps any money after the bills and only pays herself sporadically. Jessica feels like the money stuff is just too complicated and is allowing the finances to rob her of her joy of being an entrepreneur.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT!

See more about aligning your business decisions and strategies with your financial personality in my book, The Profit Accelerator for Small Business. Available on Amazon today!