When you think about the stats on how much money the average American has in savings, it's a little scary. If you look at the 2017 GOBankingRates survey, more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings. A thousand dollars is not a lot of money to handle the many emergencies that life throws at us. If you're an entrepreneur, it would be very difficult to take care of business emergencies with that amount of savings, and you need cash flow to scale.
I want to state very clearly upfront that I'm not a lawyer, accountant, financial planner or expert in regards to money. When it comes to the legal and best structure for your money, you should talk to a professional. There is all kinds of advice in the world of entrepreneurship and a lot of it only works for the person giving it. However, there are some basic principles that have helped entrepreneurs since the beginning of time. One of those is this idea of having savings and disposable income.
It's not uncommon for another entrepreneur to approach you with a desire to purchase one of your products or services but they don't have the cash. They offer to trade, barter, collaborate, or network their way into your premium offerings instead of paying. If this has been you, it's one thing to offer a swap if the trade adds value for each entrepreneur. But, if you are throwing offers out there because your finances aren't stable, it's time to get honest with yourself. It's time to make changes that lead to more income and a savings of more than $1,000.
Put away a fixed percentage of your profits
This should be common sense but it's not. When we experience lots of money coming in at one time, there's a temptation to live the good life. We buy the things we want assuming business will always be good. When it gets slow, we panic and get mad at ourselves for not putting more away.
You should understand your financial situation. You should know how much you need to make to pay your bills, how much you forecast that you'll make in this quarter, and how much you should be stashing away from emergencies. Large corporations understand and plan all of these things in this way and far in advance. As solopreneurs and smaller businesses, we need to develop this kind of mindset. With proper planning, you can control the highs and lows and rollercoaster income.
It's easy to spend and invest in your business when times are good and the money is flowing, but it's not always smart. If you log onto social media, you'll run into this new philosophy that tries to convince you to buy courses, coaching and products no matter what your finances look like. You're shamed if you say that buying the training is not in your budget right now. You're told that the only way to get past your situation is to invest in someone's paid training.
There is a time to push past self-limiting beliefs and invest in a way that makes you grow, but not if you're going to dig yourself in a hole that you can't get out of or when you have a family depending on you. Courses, coaching and products can work but it will take time to recoup your investment. Keep that in mind before making an investment.
Don't overextend yourself and your finances because you've been convinced by someone else. Make decisions that work best for your life and business.
Make your goal to have "screw you" money
Most of us entrepreneurs started our businesses to be free and build financial security. When you start a business, you have big goals of building something that supports you. It's your focus and you work hard to get there. Once you reach that level, it's time to set bigger goals.
Your next growth level should be creating income stability to the point of having plenty of "screw you" money. That's money you can spend or invest on anything you want and still be solid financially. It means you have savings, your business is consistently generating strong revenue, you're investing back into your business and you still have extra. It's a great place to be.
If you don't have disposable income in your life and business right now, you have some new goals to set and hit. Get back to the basics and you'll create more stabilty in your business. The key is honesty and clarity. You have to know what's going on to make the best decisions.
Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors