What You Need to Know About Your Business Financial Plan

What You Need to Know About Your Business Financial Plan

Finances and budgeting can seem like big scary things. That’s why, instead of using the word budgeting, I recommend you call it a financial plan or map. And today, let’s make sure that your personal and business financial plan are both separate, strong, and ready for the rest of the year.

Your Business Financial Plan Should be Separated from Your Personal Finances

Many entrepreneurs and business people don’t realize this one, simple fact: your business and personal finances are separate. As such, they deserve separate accounts. So the first thing you need to do in order to get your business finances mapped out is to go open a business account right now. Really. Go take care of it!

Once you’ve separated your accounts, then we can see how your business needs a separate financial plan or map from your personal budget. And we’ll start it all by tracking our income and expenses.

1. Track Everything in Your Business Finances

In order to make your business work best, you need to know where your money is coming from. You also need to know where your money is going. And the only way to do that is to track it all.

Now, before we start, I do want to give you this piece of advice: hold out 25% of all income for taxes.

This way you won’t get sticker shock come tax time! This way you’ve got a plan for that.

That being said, you’ll want to pick a software or a program or an app to manage all of your business tracking. Whether you’re using a software on your bank, credit union, something like QuickBooks, an excel spreadsheet, an app, or whatever else. The one that is best is the one that works for you.

So find that one that’s best for you.

Track your Income – and Where it Comes From!

List out every little piece of your business where you get income. Every widget, product, or service you sell – list it. List every transaction, whether it’s online or in person. List them out one by one along with the price points.

That way you can see what’s working and what’s not. Then, you’ll be able to  use that evaluation to shift your energy to what’s working and making money. So track everything that brings you money!

Track All Business Expenses

Yes, you’re going to want to track everything. Most people get caught here in the first 1-5 years as you build your business and you invest more and more. But you’re going to be able to use this tracking so that you can turn a profit and get paid.

So, break down your expenses. You’ll need to keep track of: materials, supplies, printers and paper, and other basic supplies. Every time you go to Office Depot or order from Amazon, keep track of it.

You’ll also need to keep track of:

  • Postage! If you’re sending goods, products, keep track of those expenses. Especially for Thank You notes, which I recommend you send.
  • Physical location – if you have an office, that’s an expense. If you work at home, your square footage for your home office is part of your expenses. Talk to your accountant, but you should be able to expense part of your monthly utilities, phone bill, and internet as business expenses.
  • Travel. Track it so you can use it! Use Expensify or MileIQ to keep track of the trip – the drive to and from the airport, hotels, meals. Take a picture of those receipts for that trip so that you know every expense for that trip will go for a write off. Because it can only be an expense if you track it.
  • Conventions and training are also regular expenses you need to track.
  • Marketing and ads – people throw little bits of money here and there. It’s ok to do them strategically, but don’t just throw money at it and wonder where it all went. You need a strategy and to track it!
  • Insurance – find the right business agent for you to cover your butt and your business.
  • Credit card fees add up fast, so track them.
  • Monthly fees for programs – if they bring you value, keep it! But if you’re just recurring fees monthly and it’s not brining value, think about changing it.

Now that you’re tracking everything, it’s time for some basic business math – so that you get paid.

Track Your Business Money and Know Where It’s Going

This will be a brief summary of the business math, because it’s a big topic. But when you look at what you make (your revenue), you’ll need to take the expenses out. That leaves you your gross profit.

From there, 25% will be needed for taxes. From your net profit, you can get into taking your salary and taking a profit and creating a regular transfer from your business account as an owner’s draw for your salary.

Or, if you prefer math equations, here you go:

Revenue – total expenses = gross profit – taxes (25%) = net profit

But the big advantage to doing it this way is that you’re creating a solid business financial plan for your business. In other words, you’re setting things up to first take care of things so that you don’t dip into your personal expenses. And because you’re already tracking everything, you’re set.

And now that you’ve been tracking your income and your expenses, it’s time for you to get paid and for your business to grow.

Do you want more support and money management tips? Get my free eBook, 52 Financial Tips to Help You Succeed and other free resources to help you attract more money into your life today.

Organize Your Space & Make More Money

Organize Your Space & Make More Money

I like to periodically hire someone to help me organize and declutter my space.  I just recently had my desk repainted and office redone — let me tell you, it was well worth it.  There is something about having a professional organizer come and hold you accountable that makes this experience so much better.  I find it helps to brainstorm ideas with someone who is not emotionally attached to your things.  Every time I organize my space, I notice my energy for work and creativity goes up. I also notice that my new environment actually helps me to be more creative. I find old ideas that I had either forgotten about or put aside — scraps of paper with notes on them, old files, and sketches have all been hidden in my piles of stuff.  I have been able to revisit these old thoughts and find new ways to implement them.  This in turn, has actually helped me to make more money.

Because of these experiences, I always recommend to new clients that they take the time, create the space, and use their energy to reorganize their office. 

Take Time

You may feel overwhelmed about taking the time to reorganize.  One of the greatest tips that I have learned from my professional organizers is this – start by sorting.  Take one area, one hour, and just sort.  Don’t worry about getting rid of anything in the beginning.  Just put things in piles of what you want to keep, what needs to be put in another room, and what you really can live without.  In this first stage, there is no pressure to make huge decisions, it is just a great way to get started.  Later, you can make the big decisions of what can stay and what can go.  The act of sorting, however, will give you the energy to keep going and to not give up halfway through. 

Create Space

Make it a priority to organize your office on a regular basis.  Make sure everything has a place.  The last time I organized, I had labels made to divide up all of my papers and supplies.  I also bought beautiful wire boxes to keep things looking neat and tidy.  There a mental renewal that comes from physically having a spot for everything.  I find that I have more peace of mind and room to think through new ideas because of a clean space.

Use Energy

Here’s my next tip:  hire someone to help you.  We hire accountants to help us with our taxes, why not hire a professional organizer?  It will be well worth your time and money.  Having someone help you whose zone of genius is decorating and decluttering will free up your time and energy to do the things that you do best.  You are not a failure for asking for help – in fact, you are smart for choosing to outsource.

When you take the time, create space, and use your energy to get an office makeover, you will be amazed at the results.  My clients tell me that they make more money every time they go through this process.  Revisiting old ideas, having more peace of mind, and finding a renewed sense of purpose actually has a direct correlation to doing better in your business.  Schedule your professional organizer today!  

Watch my Facebook Story about this topic here.

What You Need to Know Before You Start Investing

What You Need to Know Before You Start Investing

Investing is not for everyone, and that’s okay. But in case you’re wondering if it’s for you, let’s make sure you’ve got the basics: the terminology, the right frame of mind, and the right expectations. That way, you’ll be able to do more than just start investing – you’ll also be able to watch your net worth grow.

Are you ready? Then let’s start with the four golden rules of investing.

start investing

 

 

Before You Start Investing, Know these 4 Golden Rules

While you’ll also need to know a few definitions, that’s not the main focus today. Today, we’re going to make sure you’ve got the right mental framework to be a successful investor.  I also want to give the quick disclaimer that while I’m not currently licensed as a financial adviser, I was one for years. And thankfully, this foundational information isn’t something that changes.

 

1. Don’t Sell When the Market is Down – Buy!

The first golden rule is that when the market is down, don’t sell. Instead, that’s when you buy! Let’s put it into terms that are a lot more fun – shopping at Nordstrom. When something is marked down, or on sale, what do you want to do with it? That’s when we buy, my friend! The investment world isn’t much different. When things are on sale, or “down”, that’s when we buy. It isn’t when we sell, or we won’t see the great profits.

 

 

2. Sell When the Market is High

The second golden rule of investing is to sell when the market is high. Going back to our Nordstrom example, let’s imagine a seasonal item at Nordstrom. Let’s say it’s something that they carry every year for a few months. And you take a look at the price – and whoa. It’s definitely NOT on sale. Now isn’t when we buy it – now is when we sell it (if we have it, anyway!). And the best way to know if something is at a high is to watch the 52-week top average price. Don’t buy at the peak. That’s when you sell.

 

3. Day Trading is NOT for the Faint of Heart

Until you’re more secure in your investment capabilities, I recommend that you hold for the longterm. In fact, I recommend that you hold it for at least a year.  That’s because day trading is ruthless – to you. It’s hard, it’s stressful, and it’s time consuming. So if you don’t want to deal with that, don’t feel bad. Day trading is rough – and it’s not for everyone. In fact, it’s not a lot of people – and there’s a good deal of burnout for those who work in the industry. So hold onto those investments – and don’t worry about day trading. It really isn’t for the faint of heart – or even those who aren’t 100% committed to it. And that’s okay. That leave us with one final golden rule of investing.

 

4. Don’t Be a Control Freak

The last golden rule is to not be a control freak. Have you ever followed the stock markets on a day-to-day basis? If you haven’t, don’t. Because it can be stressful! Quick analogy – it’s like your weight. Your weight very naturally fluctuates from day to day. That’s why you don’t weigh yourself every day – you’d go crazy worrying about a few ounces that might not be there tomorrow! The stock market is the same way. Daily fluctuations are very normal. So if you can’t let go of that need to control something that’s not controllable, I recommend that you just don’t look at the daily market fluctuations.

Don’t be a control freak. Otherwise, you’re going to have a panic attack, because it can’t be controlled. There you have it – the four golden rules of investing. Don’t sell when the market is down. Sell when the market is high. Day trading isn’t for the faint of heart. And don’t be a control freak. Knowing all of this will give you a good beginner’s foundation so that you’re ready to start investing.

 

Want to continue this conversation in more depth? Come join my free Facebook group, the Make More Money Insiders Club.

How to Skip Boring Budgets and Find Financial Stability

How to Skip Boring Budgets and Find Financial Stability

 

 

After 15 years in the financial services industry, I’ve seen it all. And since then, I’ve taught a lot of women about money, about their business, and more. However, it’s important to make sure that everyone has the basics. This is an idea I’ve shared with many of my clients, but hasn’t made its way to my website before this. And that’s a shame, because this has helped so many other women just like you! So it’s time to talk about the basics to financial stability both here and in my weekly Financial Tip Tuesday videos.

 

So you’ll want to follow me on Facebook so you catch each of them live.

 

financial stability

The Foundation to Financial Success is Knowledge

So many women transition in and out of the workforce due to a wide variety of life circumstances. For some it’s having children, raising children, taking care of elderly parents, or something else. It’s statistically so much more so than our male counterparts. And because of that, women seem to have a greater fear around money and a different view of money.

And part of overcoming that money block fear is having the right mindset about money. So, I’m going to show you two very visual methods to better understand your money. It’s helped so many other women, so I’m sure it’ll help you, too.

First, we need to get over the taboo around the word “budget.”

 

Skip the Boring Budget – and Use This Pie Graph Instead

Instead of calling how I allocate my finances a budget, I like to see it as a pie graph.

That pie graph is made up of all of your gross income that’s coming in. Perhaps that’s from a salary, a business, from commissions, or somewhere else. Everyone’s total gross salary amounts will be different – that’s fine. Talking about changing that amount is for another day. Today, we’re talking about how to set you up for financial stability.

Now that you’ve got your pie graph visualized in your head, it’s time to see where that money goes – and how you should allocate it for your financial needs. It’s going to be split up by 25%, 45%, 15%, and 15%.

 

Here’s What Money Needs to Go Where – and How to Adjust it

Looking at your pie graph, you need to know that 25% of it (your gross income) is gone to taxes. Just think of that 25% of your pie as out. There’s some tax sheltering and savings you can do, but that’s much too involved for now. Just cut that quarter of the pie out.

 

The next 45% of your pie will be for foundational expenses. That’s your bottom line for what you need to survive. It’s things like:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Clothing
  • Groceries
  • And any other basic necessities you need to live every month

 

Now, if you don’t know what that is, feel free to contact me for a little template you can use to figure that out. But it is something you need to pay attention to each month.

The next 15% of your gross income is savings. That’s saving for your future, and you really need to make it a priority. In fact, if you’re finding things too tight at the end of every month, you need to adjust your foundational expenses or your spending money – and leave your savings alone!

The final 15% of your pie is your fun money. If you’re in the midst of paying off debt, then you may be putting a large chunk of your fun money towards that. It won’t be fun right now, but having that debt paid off will be worth it!

So – now you know where your money is – and where it should go. And that is going to get you set up to be financially savvy and reach financial stability sooner than you thought possible.

 

Do you need some help shifting your mentality so that your business thrives? Let me be your second opinion. If you’re ready to go from entrepreneur to shining like a diamond with a fabulous six-figure salary, then let’s chat.

 

Financial Tip Tuesday! Super Simple Budget and… coffee

Financial Tip Tuesday! Want to get a handle on your money and keep more of it in your pocket?

Posted by Lori Hildebrand on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

How to Organize and Purge More to Earn More

How to Organize and Purge More to Earn More

 

Are you so overwhelmed with emotional or physical stuff that success is buried? Here’s how to organize and purge more - so you can earn more.

 

How cluttered is your desk? What about your office and your home? How much time do you spend finding things? If everything doesn’t have its place, then the answer is “too long.” That’s why I like to take time on a regular basis to organize things – and to purge things that need to go. Doing so does more than just clear off a desk – it can actually help you earn more, too.

 

Organize and purge your way to more space, peace, and energy

If you’ve got kids, you’re familiar with the idea of organizing – and purging. Every school year, I go through my son’s clothes with him. We donate the clothes he’s outgrown so that he’s got the room he needs for his new clothes.

Doing that gives us physical space, and that’s awesome. Because he needs that space for new clothes – clothes that actually fit! But here’s the great thing about organizing and purging – the benefits aren’t just limited to physical space.

Organizing and purging can also bring you a greater sense of peace – and more energy. My son now has a room that’s organized, labeled, and he knows what goes where. It frees up his time for other activities – and it keeps that corner of his life clean and organized so that it doesn’t negatively spill into anything else.

 

Purge more to earn more

Other benefits to purging and organization are this: when you take the time to identify what’s most important, you can more easily see what clutter there is. And, you can see which clutter needs to go! So clearing out the clutter give you more time, space, energy, and peace. But beyond that, it gives you the focus you need to succeed.

In fact, when I purge more, I find that I end up earning more. And that’s a fantastic side effect that’s 100% repeatable. Try it – because it works. It doesn’t take a lot of time, either. Just spend a few minutes (or an hour), here and there, organizing and purging as you can. Then, you’ll start seeing the benefits – and the profits – rolling on in.

 

Do you need some help shifting your mentality so that your business thrives? Let me be your second opinion. If you’re ready to go from entrepreneur to shining like a diamond with a fabulous six-figure salary, then let’s chat.

 

Purge more to earn more!

Posted by Lori Hildebrand on Friday, August 17, 2018

How to Raise Your Credit Score with These Little-Known Tricks

How to Raise Your Credit Score with These Little-Known Tricks

 

 

How’s your credit score? Because whether you prefer cash or credit, the simple truth of our society is this: here in America, everything runs on credit. There are business loans, investment properties, home loans, car loans, and the credit types go on and on. You need credit – and a good credit score – so that you can get the best loans, options, and payment options. That way, your money is working for you, instead of the other way around.

 

What if your credit score isn’t so hot? Well, that’s a common problem, even for the savviest financial folks. So let’s talk about how we can raise your credit score by using some little-known industry tricks.

 

Raise your Credit Score by Being Aware of This

 

Knowledge is power. And in order to improve your credit score, you need to know where it’s currently at. So tap into all of those free credit report methods to find yours.

Here are a few ways (both paid and free) to find out your credit score:

Ask for your credit score (for free!) any time you initiate a loan.

Ask your credit union to check your score – for free. Most will gladly do so once per quarter.

Check it online for free every 12 months at Annual Credit Report

 

Something to keep in mind is this: there are actually 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). And depending on what kind of credit report you get, the report may only reference one, two, or all three of the credit bureaus.

And because not every credit union gets every detail right every single time, you really need to be checking them all on a regular basis to make sure that things are being reported correctly – so that you can lobby for fixes as needed.

That way, you’ll be keeping control of your credit score – and keeping things that could dramatically hurt your credit score in check.

So that’s the first step: to know your credit score. That way, you know where you’re starting and can clean off any inaccurate things that could be dinging your score.

 

Trick 2: Keep Your Credit Utilization Ratio under 30%

 

Okay, now that you know your score and are keeping it clean, let’s take a look at your revolving credit AKA credit card usage.

The general rule of thumb that creditors like is for you to keep your credit utilization ratio under 30%. In other words, if your line of credit is $10,000, make sure that you’re keeping your charging expenses to $3,000 or less.

That’s all well and dandy for theory, right? But in real life, there’s another trick behind this one. And this trick isn’t well-known, even among the savviest of financial types.

Here’s the trick: call your credit card and ask them when they report your utilization to the credit bureaus. It’s not a secret and it’s something they should be able to tell you fairly easily and quickly.

 

Why do you want that information?

Let’s say you have that $10,000 limit. And you had to charge $5,000 on it this month, but you paid it off (or at least down below that 30% rule of thumb). How does your credit card report that to the credit bureaus? If you know when your utilization report gets run – and you paid it off before that – then your credit looks impeccable. But if you didn’t know that date – and you missed the report? It looks like you’re using 50% of your credit. And that’s going to hurt your credit score.

Now, if missing that utilization report date is going to be a regular occurrence or problem, don’t despair! There’s still hope. Call your credit card company and ask them to raise your limit. That way, you’re charging $5,000 on $15,000 (instead of the $10,000) and you’re back to well within that 30% rule of thumb.

Can’t you see your credit score gaining points left and right?

 

Trick 3: These Won’t Affect Your Credit Score

 

Finally, there are a few types of credit cards that don’t affect your credit. Do you have a true charge card like a true American Express card and you pay off the balance every month? If so, they don’t bother with a utilization report to the bureaus. In other words, you’re free to borrow and pay it off each month without worrying about it affecting your credit score.

Just make sure you’re being responsible with that kind of card. It’s definitely the kind you want to pay off each month!

In other words, by knowing the details of your cards – and the credit agencies, you’re going to be able to rock your credit score – and your business.

 

More Reading on Credit Scores and Finances

 

How to repair my credit and improve my FICO Scores

3 Steps to an Effective, Simple Business Plan (and a Six-Figure Business)

3 Ways to Overcome Money Block and Earn a Better Income Now

 

Do you need some help shifting your mentality so that your business thrives? Let me be your second opinion. If you’re ready to go from entrepreneur to shining like a diamond with a fabulous six-figure salary, then let’s chat.

 

How to win the credit game!

Little known tricks to improve your credit! Looking at applying for a loan soon? Do this now to help your score and save you money!

Posted by Lori Hildebrand on Wednesday, May 9, 2018