How I structure my business finances
Money! Yay! I love it. Do you love it?
I love the feeling of freedom and independence that comes from supporting myself and generating my own income. I love the feeling of raising an invoice and knowing I’ve done a brilliant service. I love the feeling of seeing money go into my bank account. I love the feeling of seeing my savings account go up and up. I love the satisfying feeling of paying my bills. I love knowing that money can flow to me from so many different avenues.
This is what you’ll catch me saying to myself on a regular basis.
But more importantly, these feelings are what I tune into almost every day.
I definitely did not always feel this way about money (hello burnout and financial stress only 6-12 months ago) and sometimes I definitely do drop into fear and anxiety. But, most of the time these days, I can soothe myself into a place of feeling good about money.
We don’t talk about money enough. I’ve never seen any other business woman share openly how she manages her finances. Have you?
I figure it’s time we started talking about it more. I know I’d love to see how other women do it.
Here’s how I do it:
1. I know how much I need to live comfortably
I have a monthly budget in an excel spreadsheet. This budget includes everything I need to live comfortably – rent, house expenses, groceries, adventures and outings, gifts, personal insurances, car expenses, public transport, health treatments, personal savings etc. I’ve carefully worked out exactly what I spend my money on and how much I need each month. Plus how much I would like to put away each month in savings.
I’ve deliberately setup my life so I don’t need a lot of money. I’m definitely not an extravagant spender. But I also don’t scrimp if there’s something I really want.
I then break this budget down into a weekly figure (because I pay myself a weekly wage – more on this to come shortly). I know how much I need to earn in my business as a minimum each week to live comfortably. I stick closely to this budget.
I know there’s a tendency to think budgets are restrictive. But I don’t find my budget restrictive at all. I’ve factored in almost every thing I could ever need and I find it freeing knowing I have money available to me for all the things I might want.
2. I know how much my business costs to run
I’ve done an audit on all my expenses in my business – recurring monthly subscriptions, courseware, software, website hosting, podcast hosting outsourcing to team members, insurances etc.
I review these expenses every 3-6 months and cancel anything I’m not using, downgrade or swap to providers with cheaper plans. In fact, this is a good activity for you to go away and do now – it’s surprising how much you can save. I recently cancelled a couple of subscriptions, freeing up enough money for me to hire a virtual assistant to help me in my business for a few hours a month! How good is that!
When you’re clear on what your expenses are, you can then work out an average monthly business expense figure and set aside money for those expenses.
3. I know how many hours i want to work each week
As I’m recovering from burnout, I have to limit my time in front of the computer screen. Gone are the days I can work 8 hours or more. I’m pushing it a 5-6. Even if I wasn’t burnt out, I really do NOT think any of us should be working anymore than this. Am I right?
I know what my business expenses are, I know how much money I need to live comfortably, I know how many hours a week I want to work. From here, it’s pretty easy to calculate a minimum hourly rate…
4. I pay myself a weekly wage
Every Friday I open up my accounting software. I raise invoices to and follow up outstanding invoices from my clients, I reconcile bank accounts, I look at my profit and loss statement for the week, I pay bills and I pay myself a weekly wage. I actually get SUPER excited when I go to do this. I love Fridays. Ha!
5. My thoughts on credit cards and debt
Yup, I have credit cards – two actually. One for personal and one for my business.
Nope, I don’t have debt.
The two are not one and the same.
Personally, I love having a credit card. It gives me flexibility and helps on those weeks when cashflow might be flowing out more than in. But, because I have a weekly budget and follow that carefully, I never overextend myself on my credit cards and I almost always pay them off the next week.
Debt: I’ve gone none. I used to be in thousands of dollars of debt and it was the worst experience of my life. I got myself out of debt five or so years ago and vowed I’d never do it again. If I can’t afford something, I don’t buy it or I save for it. Simple as that. One of my big core values is freedom and debt does not make me feel free.
6. Here’s how I structure my bank accounts
I have separate accounts for both personal and business. This is how they work:
Cash account: this is where my weekly wage goes into and where I draw cash from
Savings account: my personal long-term savings account, with a higher interest rate
Personal credit card: I pay for everything on my credit card because I’m not a fan of carrying cash (and I earn points on this card). When I get home, I simply transfer money from my cash account over to my credit card. I very rarely have anything owing on this card but I use it all the time.
Cash account: this is where payments from clients drop into and from where I pay my wage and any other cash expenses for my biz.
Savings account: I take a percentage of what I earn and put it here for tax and superannuation. I’m also going to start using this account to save for larger business expenses such as a new laptop or phone so when it comes time to replace these I’ve already got the money put aside.
Business credit card: I pay for almost all of my business expenses on my credit card. Because I’ve worked out how much, on average, my weekly biz expenses are, I simply transfer that average figure onto my credit card each week on pay day. Sometimes this account is in credit. Sometimes in debit. But it always evens out.
7. I use accounting software
I use this free software to manage my business accounts. You can set it up to automatically import transactions from your bank and PayPal. It gives you clear reports so you’ve got visibility of what’s going on with your money (so important for making decisions!)
Seriously, if you’re not using accounting software for your business, get onboard this. Why wouldn’t you? It’s free and it makes life soooooo much easier – especially around tax time.
8. I get advice from professionals
I have a wonderful financial advisor who has taken care of me for years (I LOVE him). He regularly reviews my superannuation fund (I’ve gone with an ethical fund) and he provides me with guidance on income protection (so important when you have your own biz), life insurance etc.
I also recently had a financial clarity and alignment session with Lynda from Valo Financial. THIS woman. WOWSERS! We sat down and looked at where I am financially and where I want to be. We explored how to better report on my billable hours, calculate my hourly rate, create new offerings and services WITHOUT having to work more hours. Lynda helped me see the potential of where my business could go. I felt like I put my big girl finance pants on after this session. AND it felt so refreshing to talk openly about my finances with someone who GETS it and can see the bigger vision.
That’s it lady love! I’m not a financial services guru so don’t take this as financial advice – it’s simply me just opening up the money conversation and sharing what personally works for me.
As always, if you’ve got questions, ask away.