Wearing all the hats as a business owner can be really challenging. And one of the hardest hats to wear? That’ll be the ‘Chief Accountant & Bookkeeper’ hat. Learn ways you can lean into discomfort and become more financially empowered.
Starting your own business means freedom; you get to do something you love, decide how and when you work and have control over the money you earn.
With this freedom comes the obligation to deal with budgeting issues without the luxury of a bookkeeper and chief accountant…and that can make many female entrepreneurs feel way out of their zone of comfort, especially when they struggle to keep a positive money mindset.
You have to wear a lot of hats as a business owner, and unfortunately this is a hat you cannot avoid wearing. Whilst you might want to run away and hide under the duvet when faced with the serious financial stuff, the most empowering thing you can do is lean in!
5 Common Financial Mistakes
Check out these common money mistakes along with some tips to help you avoid them…
Mistake 1: Not Keeping Your Business & Personal Expenses Separate
One way to avoid a budgetary mess is to separate business and personal finances. I cannot tell you the number of business owners who are operating from one bank account and it sure does make your ‘Chief Accountant & Bookkeeper’ hat a whole lot heavier to bear!
Having separate accounts is a no brainer and will make things so much easier and cleaner for you. You don’t necessarily need to fork out for a business bank account, although this does depend of your business status, so always check what you need according to the laws where you reside. In many cases a standard current account will do the job until your business grows.
When it comes to your monthly money meeting (see more on that below), everything will all be in one place, so you’ll be able to clearly see what’s coming in and what’s going out, as well as being advantageous when you’re working out your annual taxes etc.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Money Matters Completely
As a recovering money avoider, I completely get it. When you have money blocks, the last thing you want to be doing is actually looking at your business finances, I mean, as if! But I’m afraid you have to pull up your big girl knickers and start, because avoiding the money matters in your business could ultimately lead to big financial mistakes, or worse, having to close your business.
Every month I highly recommend that you schedule a time for a full review of your budget. Ideally you’ll already be automating your accounts (see #5), so this review will be as easy as looking at what you have earned, what you have spent and deciding what areas of your business can be run more efficiently and with fewer expenses.
Being pre-emptive and solving issues before they arise is much easier than solving problems later on, plus how will you know if you’re overspending or meeting your money goals unless you’re actually taking the time to check? You can make it a fun experience by calling it a money ‘date’ or rendezvous. Light a candle, put on some soft music and enjoy showing up for money.
Taking stock of your business finances every month can make your business more productive and successful.
Mistake 3: Not Finding Creative Solutions to ‘Feast or Famine’ Stresses
You may have heard of the phrase ‘Feast or Famine’ which pertains to the fact that for many entrepreneurs one month the money is rolling in abundantly…and the next, it’s distinctly lacking.
It can be tough not knowing how much you’re going to earn from one month to the next and this uncertainty can put a strain on budgetary planning, so don’t just wing it! Reduce some of the uncertainty by encouraging your clients to split pay (pay in 3 or 6 instalments, either weekly or monthly), subscribe to your services (pay monthly over the course of a year, or on an ongoing basis) or put them on a retainer. That way, you will have a clearer idea of how much money you will earn.
What is a retainer? Here’s a great definition courtesy of Contract Calculator:
A retainer is typically a regular payment by a client to a service provider or an individual to be on ‘stand-by’. That payment then enables the client to access the skills and experience of that worker or service provider on demand, or for a set period of time.
I recommend offering split pay or subscription for any payments over £250. Paying in instalments will often suit your clients better too, so don’t feel awkward about offering different payment options.
Incentivize the above options by offering a small discount, or offer free bonuses such as an eBook, a masterclass/webinar, or partner discounts from other female owned businesses (offer to do the same for them to support their ‘feast’ ambitions too). You’ll find that your clients will be more open to subscriptions if they feel valued and special.
Many entrepreneurs start a membership site as a way to grow a recurring monthly income, so this may be another thing to consider.
Mistake 4: Not Having Any Money Put By
Many opportunities only come along once and sometimes you just get an intuitive nudge from the Universe that it’s exactly the right time.
It’s important to have the funds available to take advantage of these opportunities, especially if they are a potential game-changer for your business. It could be a esteemed business event that usually happens in another country and yet this time, it’s almost right on your doorstep and you know it will connect you with hundreds of awesome soul clients… or a brand new course presented by someone you really admire which you know is going to have a massive impact on your business success, or maybe even some new software which will automate a time-heavy task for you, enabling you to free up hours of time each month.
Putting a little money aside regularly for a special expenses fund will ensure you can invest in these opportunities when they come along.
Mistake 5: Going it Alone…The Hard Way
Still doing your budgeting and expenses on paper? In which case, it’s definitely time to get automated!
There are so many great online software accounting programs out there which will make budgeting in your business much easier. Not only that, it will provide metrics that will help you monitor your business growth and save you a whole load of time manually inputting figures, especially if you’re taking payments online because you can link things up, meaning everything gets automatically fed in.
Getting rid of those notebooks and slips of paper will make your business way more organised and efficient, plus it will save you big headaches finding everything when it’s tax return time.
If you have the funds to do so, you may also want to consider hiring a bookkeeper to help you keep things organised, provided of course you aren’t avoiding the money stuff altogether by offloading it to someone else – you’ll still need to know what’s going on with the financial ins and outs of your business!
The first thing to remember if you feel like you’ve made any of the business money mistakes above is that it’s not your fault, so let go of any self-critism or shame. Very often we make these basic errors because either we don’t know how (it’s not like we get taught this kind of thing) or it’s due to our past programming and experiences. The most important thing is always awareness, so if you’ve read this post, you’re way ahead of the crowd. If you feel emotionally triggered by money matters, take small, simple steps to gradually build up your confidence, and get support if you have past trauma around money and self-worth.
Now that you’ve got your business budget under control, what other money mindset troubles are holding you back from the success you deserve? Very often women in business fall into bad money patterns or habits and don’t realise it’s an issue because it’s just how they’ve always handled money.
If you’d like to delve into money mindset a bit deeper, check out The Abundance Hub for some free resources.