Many of us dream of being our own boss, and with hard work and careful planning, self-employment can bring financial and lifestyle rewards – along with enormous personal satisfaction. But without the backup of a regular wage or salary, running your own show calls for careful money management. Boring but true.
Many self-employed Australians earn a good living. But while your overall annual income may be strong, the flow of money is not always regular. It can be weeks or even months between pay cheques. So it’s important to manage your money carefully. Running out of cash before you get paid again could mean living on credit cards, which charge high interest rates. #notideal
Pay yourself a wage
Rather than treating all the income you earn from your business as your personal spending money, pay yourself a weekly wage. In an ideal world, you should also maintain separate bank accounts for business receipts and personal spending.
Deposit or transfer your business revenue into a high-interest savings account, and only draw on this account to pay yourself a set amount as a wage, or to pay actual business expenses. Putting your business earnings in a high interest account is a simple way of earning extra income through interest.
It’s a good idea to set a personal budget to help you live within your wage, and so that you don’t dip into your business account too often.
Get O.C.D about your business
If there’s anything worse than retrospectively trying to figure out 12 months’ worth of receipts and invoices 2 days before your tax is due, then please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org because we’ve done this and it’s god awful. Personal admin is the Everest for many self-employed people. Learn from our mistakes. Logging all relevant receipts digitally as they happen (try Xero for example) is a good way to get started. Just snap and forget. If you’re not using a program to manage your invoices, get organised. Find a way that works for you so you can track which invoices are unpaid or overdue, when bills are due, when your tax or BAS is due and more.
What’s the deal with super?
Nearly 10% of the Australian workforce is self employed, with almost a quarter having no super at all [SuperGuru].
Don’t get caught out by not contributing money to super or you could be on a one-way ticket to a big super gap. Unless you can confidently say you’re going to be independently wealthy, then this is leaving yourself open to possibly a world of financial pain later on. Making personal super contributions is a way of saving for your retirement and your money goes a lot further in super than it does in your bank – How? Tune in for our Freelancer Part 2 blog coming next week…