She Makes Money Moves is a new podcast from Glamour and iHeartRadio. Hosted by Glamour editor in chief Samantha Barry, the podcast shares intimate, unscripted stories from women across the country along with advice from financial experts to help guide those women—and women everywhere—forward. Download a new episode every Tuesday, then visit glamour.com/money for an article like this, with more insights from that week’s expert.
The number of women-owned businesses in the United States has grown by almost 3,000% since 1972, according to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. Women now make up 40% of entrepreneurs—and more are becoming their own boss than ever before.
This week's podcast guest did just that. She left her job to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, and when she finished that, she opened a business inspired by the trek. While she loves her work, she's having trouble making enough money to stay in business. To make do, she's picked up side jobs, but would like to come up with a more rigorous business plan. So Barry welcomed Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, founder of the Fiscal Femme, to the podcast. Here Feinstein Gerstley outlines how to turn your big idea into an even bigger business.
Know your numbers.
When we’re going out on our own and starting our own businesses, it’s more important than ever to know our numbers. That means knowing exactly what our personal and business expenses cost us each month and each year. When planning, try to include things that happen less regularly, like annual subscriptions, doctor's appointments, travel needs, etc. Using a budgeting spreadsheet helps to make the process simple.
Map out your future income.
When I left my corporate job to run the Fiscal Femme full-time, the business was nowhere near profitable. I was earning some income from the Fiscal Femme, so I did my best to map out/project how that could potentially grow over time. This was important so I knew how much "runway" or how many months of expenses I needed to have saved to be able to stay afloat if the business continued to lose money.
This is a lot more of an art than a science, but aim to map out how you expect your revenue to look over time. This number will continually change, so update your numbers as your business grows and changes—and budget accordingly.
Create your version of a "freedom fund."
When I decided I wanted to work on the Fiscal Femme full-time, I created a spreadsheet called the "Project Freedom." Here I tracked all of my income and expenses, and most important, it was a place where I tracked my total savings. Every time I saved money, I added it to the total on the spreadsheet. I never felt more motivated to decrease my expenses as when I was building up my freedom fund.
Every expense I said "no" or "not yet" to was more time to grow my business. One of my favorite numbers to track was my financial runway, or how long I could fund my business and personal life if my expenses stayed the same. I calculated this by dividing my total savings by my business and personal profit deficit—how much money I was losing each month.
Have weekly and monthly "money parties."
It’s important to keep these numbers relevant and helpful by regularly tracking and updating them. I’m a big fan of having a money party each week to track your weekly income and expenses, as well as a larger money party each month to make any adjustments to future plans. I call them parties for a reason. Make them as fun as possible so you look forward to setting aside the time to reconnect with your numbers. Have a nice cup of tea, light a candle, or put on some music. Reward yourself with a treat when you’re done.
Don’t forget about taxes.
One of the most common mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is that we forget to put aside money for taxes. We are used to earning paychecks with the taxes already taken out, so when we do our taxes as entrepreneurs we may end up owing a big bill to the IRS. I recommend opening a separate online savings account and labeling it "tax fund." You can put aside either a percentage of every check you earn or a percentage of your profit each month, but you want to get it into your tax fund so the money is there waiting when it’s time to pay taxes.
According to a survey by Fidelity, the sponsor of She Makes Money Moves, 80% of women aren’t talking about money with the people closest to them. Today Glamour invites you to the conversation: Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, in the iHeartRadio app, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and join us as we help women raise their voices and make money moves.
Originally Appeared on Glamour