Running your own business as a solopreneur can be immensely rewarding, but it also comes with unique financial challenges. Without a team to delegate to, the financial responsibilities fall squarely on your shoulders. However, implementing solid financial management practices can set you up for stability and success. Here are six tips for managing your finances as a solopreneur.
Determine Your Essential Expenses
As a solopreneur, you won’t have the steady pay check that comes with a traditional 9 to 5 job. This means determining your basic living expenses is absolutely essential for stability. Make a list of all your essential monthly costs — housing, transportation, food, insurance, etc. Knowing your baseline expenses will help you budget properly and ensure you can cover your needs, even in slower months. Be sure to account for any variable or seasonal expenses as well so you don’t underestimate.
Create a Budget
With your essential expenses in mind, draft a comprehensive monthly budget. Factor in both your personal and business finances. Be sure to include one-off or variable expenses too, like quarterly taxes, professional memberships, or travel costs. Revisit your budget regularly and adjust as needed. Having a carefully planned budget provides clarity on where your money is going and what changes may be necessary to reach your goals. Build in a miscellaneous category for flexibility.
Set Up an Emergency Fund
Given the variability of self-employed income, establishing an emergency fund should be a top priority. Try to save at least 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses as a cushion. This fund will help you avoid racking up credit card debt or tapping retirement savings when you face an unexpected expense. It also provides peace of mind and allows you to focus on your business, knowing you have a financial safety net. Most banks allow you to automate contributions, which is a great way to easily build your emergency savings over time.
Separate Personal and Business Finances
Even as a solopreneur, it’s critical to separate your personal and business finances. Open a dedicated business checking account and credit card. Keep accurate records of all business income and expenses. This separation will make tax time easier, help you calculate your net profit, and generally provide greater financial clarity. Using separate accounts also prevents you from accidentally spending business funds on personal purchases. Never commingle personal and business money.
Invest for Retirement
Retirement may seem far off, but investing early and consistently is key. Take advantage of tax-advantaged retirement plans for the self-employed, like a solo 401k or SEP-IRA. Automatically contributing a portion of your earnings will help build retirement savings without much thought or effort. Compounding investment returns over decades of consistent contributions will generate significant growth. Prioritizing retirement is vital even amidst business demands. Meet with a financial advisor to determine the best retirement strategy.
Leverage Financial Tools and Apps
Modern financial technology can be hugely beneficial for solopreneurs. Take advantage of tools and apps to automate processes, keep detailed records, manage cash flow, track tax deductions, invoice clients, accept payments and more. For example, if you’re looking to save a little on software, look for discount codes. Streamlining your finances through technology will enable you to focus more time on revenue-generating tasks. Link tools together for maximum efficiency.
Operating as a lean, one-person business allows tremendous freedom but also significant financial responsibility. Following these financial management tips will help you take control of your finances, achieve stability, and position your business for growth. With discipline and organization, you can build a healthy financial framework to support your solopreneur success.