Five Ways To Maintain Stability As An Entrepreneur
One thing I hear a lot is most people would prefer stability over fast cash. While I agree fast cash in some cases is only temporary, if you look at your business that way, you’re doomed for failure from the start. Running a successful business (any business) is definitely not fast cash. It can take years to build. Most will tell you, they hardly make any money in their first few years of launching. But, with the right planning, being an entrepreneur can earn you much more financially than any typical 9-5. I would think doing the right things (investing, etc.) with $100k up front from a business deal perhaps, or (fast cash if you say), can put you in much better position than living check to check, which most I assume consider being stable?
Journalist John Boitnott with Inc.com laid out five great ways to maintain stability as an entrepreneur. By applying these rules to your business, you stand more of a chance of being successful and prepared for any unexpected circumstances.
1. Keep Personal And Company Finances Separate
There should be a wall of separation between your own finances and the corporate bank account. This will ensure that you save money for yourself and don’t lose it all on the business. More importantly, it protects you from liability in the case of legal trouble or corporate debts.
Your business should be incorporated as a distinct legal entity with its own finances. Otherwise, you run the risk of having to pay any debts the company incurs out of your own pocket.
2. Keep Yourself Marketable
You may not intend to work for someone else ever again, but it’s still a good idea to keep that resume up to date while working on your own business. Keeping a record of your role within the company can help give potential employers context for what skills and experience you might bring to the table.
Online classes and certifications are a great way to keep your qualifications up to date while on a tight schedule. These classes will let employers know you haven’t fallen behind in your field while working on your business. Most will also be very impressed by your dedication in finding time to work in those classes.
3. Pay Yourself What You’re Worth
Define your role in the company, and pay yourself an appropriate salary for someone in that role. Many entrepreneurs will only pay themselves the bare minimum they need for survival at first, but this can be a dangerous habit. Not only does it put your personal finances in jeopardy, it also creates a misleading picture of your company’s finances.
Paying yourself an appropriate market rate gives you the resources to cover basic expenses and save up money. It also allows you to factor in how much capital you will need to finance your business long-term, and it saves you from drastically changing your cost structure a few years down the road.
Drew Hendricks, Inc. contributor and CEO of Infographics.Space says, “It’s best to have plenty of money saved when starting a new business so when you’re paying yourself a small salary it won’t affect your life outside of work.”
4. Know Your Personal Financial Goals
You’re more likely to come out of your business in good shape if you have clearly defined goals for your personal finances going in. These are distinct from any business goals and should only reflect what you want your own bank account to look like.
Personal financial goals might be saving up enough emergency money to provide for your family for a year, or building towards retirement. Knowing what you want from your personal finances will help you structure the cash flows from your business in the best way possible.
5. Talk To Professionals
No matter what your business looks like or what your financial goals may be, it’s always useful to talk to a professional financial planner. A financial planner can give you advice on investing the money you have saved up, budgeting your resources to save the maximum amount, and structuring your finances to reduce your tax burden and protect yourself from liability.
Many entrepreneurs don’t take the step of talking to financial planners, as they don’t believe they have enough time. In reality, it takes very little time to talk to a professional and create a financial plan (after all, handling money is what they do all day). Considering that a good financial plan can mean the difference between stability and going broke, there’s no sound reason not to take a couple of hours to talk to a professional and consider at least working with them to prepare for worst case scenarios.
In conclusion, nothing in life considered worth it comes easy. Listening to other professionals, staying focused on your goals, applying those goals, and not giving up is the key.