If there's one thing that has stressed me out the most about starting my company, it's money. I'm terrified of wasting it, losing it, and never having it again. It turns out that although these fears are totally normal, there's no reason to fret so hard.
The secret to starting a business and ensuring your personal finances are safe is simple: plan.
According to Matt Murawksi, a financial planner at Goodstein Wealth Management, following these key steps can protect any entrepreneur from any situation and allow them to grow and protect their personal finances while taking risks in a new business.
1. Diversify Your Income
Although it's an incredible feat that you've up and started your own business, know that you're entering a territory with unstable and unpredictable revenue. Your best bet is to secure several lines of income, whether that be a current stable job, your new side business, stocks, investments, or any other creative way you can think of. It's the best way to not put all your eggs in one basket in the event that something goes wrong. Murawski adds:
"Placing funds aside for alternate investments gives people breathing room in their business or the option to pivot their business plan or business model. There's a point where you will jump ship, but starting off, it's important not to have that fear element that you're not going to eat. People don't do well from a position of fear."
2. Separate Your Personal And Business Accounts
"You've got your personal funds and you've got your business funds. By separating the two finances, it gives your business a little more legitimacy and creates clear boundaries," Murawski says.
In a worst-case scenario that something happens to your business or you get sued, you will lose everything if you keep it all in your company account. In addition, think about creating a savings account to protect your earnings in the rare case that the company debit card gets stolen. Fraud happens the most in the checking/debit account and since cash flow is so crucial to a company's life, it's important to take all measures to keep the finances safe.
3. Don't Plan For Rainy Days, Plan For Rainy Months
"Rainy days are optimistic. As an entrepreneur, you have to plan for rainy months. Most of the time it's not regular income so it's important to budget out finances to draw out from savings in the leaner months," Murawski points out.
Follow these tips to create your personal financial plan and establish a smart emergency fund.
4. Protect Your Most Valuable Asset: Disability Insurance
Although this one is the least exciting of them all, having and protecting your well-being is absolutely crucial. If you get injured or sick and can't work, this will protect your income. Look into long-term disability and short-term disability insurance, a safety net that will help you get paid when you can't perform your usual day-to-day.
5. Don't Forget About Savings and Retirement
Murawski's tagline? "Time is your biggest asset."
Although some may argue that locking up money deters from current cash flow, saving up for yourself down the road will be one of those things you'll thank yourself for later.
6. You Get What You Pay For
If you're serious about managing your money and can afford professional help, find someone who specializes in one area. Typically, the "one-stop-shop" firms may be all over the place and you'll end up having important details overlooked.
"Find someone who specializes in that one area. When you hire a tax accountant, hire someone who only does taxes. When you look for a business attorney, look for someone who looks at biz agreements every day. You want to have checks and balances. If you're all under one umbrella, you lose having objective advice."