Pay Yo’ Self Series – Tara Gentile

Ever wonder how the successful bosses you look up to actually handle their money?  I sure have and so has my friend Reina.  We had questions, but we felt weird asking each other or other boss friends about it.  Well we’ve recently decided enough is enough. It’s time to make it normal to talk about money with each other!  Introducing the “PAY YO’ SELF SERIES”. One month, 8 successful bosses sharing their money secrets, + one webinar to share what Reina + I learned and answer your money questions!

For the fourth and final interview of the #payyoselfseries on my blog we have Tara Gentile the Founder of Quiet Power Strategy. Tara is actually my mentor! I have been following her work online for the last 3 – 4 years and last year made the biggest investment in my business yet when I enrolled in the Quiet Power Strategy Business Strategist training.  Tara is hands down one of the smartest people I know.  She has created an incredibly successful business for herself & is the #1 person I look to for business training and education.  I am so excited for you to learn all about how she manages money in her business!1. Can you tell us about the various income streams that make up your business revenue?

My company offers a variety of support and training programs for idea-driven entrepreneurs. Our current programs include our flagship Quiet Power Strategy: Foundation program, The Master Class, Strategist Training Program, and Connect to Sell.

We also offer a membership community that features a tactical resource library, private Google+ group, and monthly Q&A calls.

Finally, I generate additional revenue through speaking, teaching for CreativeLive, book sales, and a conference called Quiet Power Strategy: The Summit.

2. Do you plan your revenue goals for the year at the beginning of the year? If so how do you come up with that #?

Yes and I recommend everyone else does as well! After being in business for over 7 years, I’ve become pretty good at running the numbers and projecting revenue. The most important part isn’t so much planning the revenue as it is planning our sales calendar.

Once I have the sales calendar set, I determine a sales goal for each promotional period. That sales goal then determines my marketing budget and tactical approach. I set the number to create the plan instead of making a plan and trying to project what the number will be.

3. With an idea of what you will make in the next year, is your next step to budget? What does your budget usually include/look like?

Because my business operates at pretty high margins, my budget is extremely flexible. I do set a target for marketing expenses (more so that I spend more, not less!) and factor in payroll since much of our people budget is based on revenue share.

Our costs for website design and development and other technology expenses are fairly fixed, so they don’t factor into our per program budget too much.

4. When did you start paying yourself & how did you decide how much to pay yourself?

I’ve paid myself from the beginning which is both a good thing and a bad thing. I’ve always felt like my business could provide (good) but I’ve often not reinvested what I should have to grow (bad).

It’s only been in the last 6 months or so that I paid myself a salary. Until then, I just drew on the profit of the business. Now, I am paid a tax-advantaged salary and take owner draws as our cash flow and profit allows (which is often).

5. Do you invest back into your business (education/equipment etc.)? If so how much money do you put aside for that and what do you invest in?

When you operate a business with the kind of margins I do, it’s silly not to invest back into the business! I do regularly upgrade equipment and technology. Currently, I’m adding to our payroll and building our team further.

I also reinvest into the business in the form of travel and education—which is something I don’t think people budget enough for. Getting out of my home office and talking to entrepreneurs all over the world has really influenced the way my company has developed. It’s also connected me to top influencers, which has paid dividends many times over.

6. Do you or have you started to work with a book keeper or an accountant? If yes, when did you take that leap?

I did my own bookkeeping for far too long. But I started working with a great financial team in October 2014 and haven’t looked back since. We meet monthly to go over my P&L report and they advise me on financial strategy.

7. What fears did you have around making or spending money in the beginning of your business?  Do you have different fears or obstacles now, if yes can you explain?

I didn’t know what I should be spending money on early in my business. Because it was relatively inexpensive to run my business, I didn’t really even consider spending more.

As my business has grown, I’ve had to work through a number of mental roadblocks around spending more money: upgrading tools and technology beyond the basics, paying more people a lot more money, committing to longer-term expenses, etc…

The biggest thing that’s helped with this is to know exactly what my ROI is going to look like on any new expense before I make it. Sometimes that’s just a quick mental check, other times it’s a lot of number crunching and cash flow analysis.

8. How do you and your business account for the variable income nature that an entrepreneur’s business revenue can be?

Revenue planning and cash flow projections are most important to me. If I know when the next windfall of cash is coming, I don’t need to worry about the ups and downs. Realizing that (and planning for it) changed my life. I actually have a free guide to revenue planning that you can pick up here.

However, I’ve also worked hard at creating monthly, baseline revenue for my business. I know if all else fails, I can pay my bills from that baseline recurring revenue.

9. Is there anything else you would like to share with new entrepreneurs who are nervous when it comes to making/handling the money in their business?

Don’t avoid your money! Money makes you worry when you don’t have clarity about it. To get clarity, you need to spend some time every month with your P&L report, your bank account statements, and your revenue projections for the year. Know what you’re spending and why. Know how it’s creating growth and revenue for your business.

When you’re clear, you’ll feel good about handling money in your business regardless of how much you have.

MORE ABOUT TARA:
Tara Gentile is the founder of Quiet Power Strategy®, a company specializing in hands-on business training for idea-driven entrepreneurs. She’s passionate about helping people with smart ideas make more money, reach new audiences, and live life with ease. Tara is the author of The Art of Earning, Quiet Power Strategy, and The Observation Engine. She’s also the host of Profit. Power. Pursuit. a podcast that goes behind-the-scenes of the real grit, administration, and logistics of running a successful business.

JOIN US!
REINA + I will be getting on a webinar live with YOU to talk about
the top tips + strategies we know & have now learned about money.  
Click below to join our money talk + ask us your questions. We can’t wait!
pay yo self webinar

 

 

Pay Yo’ Self Series – Hope Taylor Photography

Ever wonder how the successful bosses you look up to actually handle their money?  I sure have and so has my friend Reina.  We had questions, but we felt weird asking each other or other boss friends about it.  Well we’ve recently decided enough is enough. It’s time to make it normal to talk about money with each other!  Introducing the “PAY YO’ SELF SERIES”. One month, 8 successful bosses sharing their money secrets, + one webinar to share what Reina + I learned and answer your money questions!

For week #3 on my blog we have Hope Taylor of Hope Taylor Photography. I  also met Hope one year ago at the Creative at Heart Conference, but was blown away by her photography, leadership skills, and knack for creating an unbelievable client experience long before that.  Hope is incredibly talented at what she does and was able to create a very successful business straight out of high school. So I can’t wait for you to learn all about how she manages money in her business!1. Can you tell us about the various income streams that make up your business revenue?

Because I specialize in multiple types of photography + I am also an educator, I have a few of these! My senior clients + wedding clients make up about half of my revenue, while my mentoring sessions + workshops make up the other half.

2. Do you set up a budget for your business? If yes, what does your budget usually include/look like?

Yes! In the first two years of my business, a very large part of my budget went back into my business in the form of education and equipment. Because I was 17 and didn’t have any bills to be paying, I was able to invest almost ALL of my money back into my business. I place a very high value on education in the industry, so investing in workshops and conferences was huge for me. This was a BIG blessing during those first two years. Now, my budget looks a little different. A good portion of it is still re-invested, but not nearly as much as those first two years.

3. Do you pay yourself? If so how do you decide how much to pay yourself? If not how does that part of your business work? 

This is something that I am beginning this year! As I transfer my business into an LLC S-Corp, I will begin paying myself for the year of 2016. I will be paying myself a very small salary each month to be used for personal purchases and investments, but the remainder of my revenue will be used for my business.

4. Do you invest back into your business (education/equipment etc.)? If so how much money do you put aside for that and what do you invest in?

Yes, absolutely! I may have cheated and answered this one a little earlier 🙂 In the first two years of my business, investing in education was a very high priority for me. I attended 7 wedding photography workshops and 3 conferences in those first two years, so I invested a lot! However, I was in a unique situation because of the fact that I did not have any bills or monthly expenses outside of my business. This allowed me to use the rest of my revenue to help grow my business and set it up for success after those first two years. Education was a HUGE part of that for me! I also invested in all of my equipment so that, after those first 24 months, I didn’t need to continue investing in large pieces of equipment like camera bodies or lenses.

5. Do you or have you started to work with a book keeper or an accountant? If yes, when did you take that leap?

Yes! I have started working with an accountant this year and I absolutely love her. I decided to take that leap this year (2.5 years into my business) because of the transition from a sole-proprietor to an S-Corp. Additionally, finances became something that was a huge cause of stress in my business. I tried to avoid conversations about money as much as I could because I felt like I had NO IDEA what I was doing. And I think a lot of us feel that way! Our brains are wired to be creative, not necessarily to be our own book keepers or accountants. My accountant was easily one of the best investments I’ve made in my business thus far!

6. What fears did you have around making or spending money in the beginning of your business?  Do you have different fears or obstacles now, if yes can you explain?

Like I mentioned above, the financial side of my business was always a source of stress for me. I always feared that there were things I didn’t know/wasn’t doing correctly and ways that I could be better handling my accounting. I think that we ALL share this fear at some point in our business, so outsourcing this portion of things to my accountant has relieved so much stress!

7. Is there anything else you would like to share with new entrepreneurs who are nervous when it comes to making/handling the money in their business?

Take a deep breath, I promise you are not alone! We ALL have fears and insecurities surrounding the accounting portion of our business, so please do not feel like you are the only one! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how small they are. I always feared that my questions sounded silly and uneducated, so I refrained from asking them. But the BEST thing you can do is educate yourself and ask a professional for help!

I would also suggest always letting an accountant handle your taxes from the very beginning of your business. They can help you catch things that you may otherwise miss and save you a lot of money with business expenses and write-offs.

MORE ABOUT HOPE:
My name is Hope Taylor and I am an international senior portrait, wedding photographer + educator based in Fredericksburg, VA! I love Jesus, Kate Spade + rainbow sprinkled donuts! 

JOIN US!
REINA + I will be getting on a webinar live with YOU to talk about
the top tips + strategies we know & have now learned about money.  
Click below to join our money talk + ask us your questions. We can’t wait!
pay yo self webinar

 

 

Pay Yo’ Self Series – Dear Sweetheart Events

Ever wonder how the successful bosses you look up to actually handle their money?  I sure have and so has my friend Reina.  We had questions, but we felt weird asking each other or other boss friends about it.  Well we’ve recently decided enough is enough. It’s time to make it normal to talk about money with each other!  Introducing the “PAY YO’ SELF SERIES”. One month, 8 successful bosses sharing their money secrets, + one webinar to share what Reina + I learned and answer your money questions!

For week #2 on my blog we have Kat Schmoyer of Dear Sweetheart Events + the Founder of The Creative At Heart Conference. I met Kat one year ago at the Creative at Heart Conference, the conference was one of the best weekends of my life! I was in awe of the experience and community she had created and knew she would be perfect to talk to for this series. I can’t wait for you to learn all about how she manages money in her business!1. Can you tell us about the various income streams that make up your business revenue?

I have several revenue streams for DSE (Dear Sweetheart Events) and for C@H (Creative At Heart)! For DSE, I am a wedding planner and floral designer; I also have an online shop, offer one-on-one sessions for creative boss ladies & host an e-course! For C@H, we host a conference and we have an online shop!

2. Do you plan your revenue goals for the year at the beginning of the year? If so how do you come up with that #?

I do not plan them separately. I currently have a large number that I know I need to meet each year & figure out my revenue streams from that!

3. With an idea of what you will make in the next year, is your next step to budget? What does your budget usually include/look like?

To be honest, it is much easier for me to budget for C@H than it is for DSE; I am still working to balance my budget better for DSE! For C@H, I have specific expenses for each conference (venue, food, speakers, swag, decor, etc.). I have a spreadsheet with my budget per conference and organize the information that way!

4. Do you pay yourself? If so how did you decide how much to pay yourself? If not how does that part of your business work?

I don’t! I KNOW! It’s TERRIBLE!! This is something I am really focusing on in 2016! I currently have a set amount that I transfer over every month to our personal account for our family expenses, but I am working with my accountant to organize my bookkeeping and add payroll to my business in 2016!

5. Do you invest back into your business (education/equipment etc.)? If so how much money do you put aside for that and what do you invest in?

I invest through education! I am thankful that I did not have to invest in a lot of equipment when I launched my business, therefore my goal is to invest in education. My goal is to invest in 2 educational opportunities each year: 1 mentor/one-on-one session so that I receive personal, intimate conversation and 1 conference/workshop/retreat so that I am able to meet new friends, grow from those around me & form lasting relationships.

6. Do you or have you started to work with a book keeper or an accountant? If yes, when did you take that leap?

I worked with an accountant for my taxes last year but nothing more. This year, I have hired an accountant who will not only work with me on my taxes, but also manage my payroll and bookkeeping!

7. With more than one business to manage how does that affect the way you manage your finances for each?

I manage everything separately. The expenses for each are so different! It’s actually EASIER to keep the two separate so that I am able to organize the information best!

8. What fears did you have around making or spending money in the beginning of your business?  Do you have different fears or obstacles now, if yes can you explain?

Oh, I STILL have fears stemmed around finances. In fact, the last 2 weeks I have been incredibly stressed with finances & the pressure of keeping up with them. It really pushed me to evaluate and realize that I need to outsource. I think it’s completely NATURAL for small biz owners to stress about finances, which is why it’s so helpful to go into it with a plan. Create a budget, stick to it & know your limits!

9. How do you and your business account for the variable income nature that an entrepreneur’s business revenue can be?

This is such a scary part of being a small business owner!! Matt and I are blessed that he has a steady full-time job and therefore we can rely on his income in our monthly budget. When I was working full-time and growing my business, we set up a financial plan where my business income would be saved and we would live solely off of his income. It allowed us to build my business account & our savings account. Now that I am working my businesses full-time and do not have “steady” income, our goal is to have 6 months of livable income in our savings account. This is our emergency fund for when funds are lower in my business account. I am also very careful about my spending during the rest of year, especially “busy” season. See, it may seem like money is just rolling in during busy seasons, but we have to be strategic with that income since it will need to last 12 months. I have a monthly budget for business expenses, and a monthly budget that my family needs. I make sure that I have that accounted for in my bookings so that even if I make triple that amount in a given month, it will be used for months where business is slower and the income is not coming in.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with new entrepreneurs who are nervous when it comes to making/handling the money in their business?

I would suggest setting up a system NOW! I made the mistake of NOT doing that and it was terrible!! So don’t wait!!! It doesn’t matter if your net is 5K or 50K. Having a system in place will allow you to be able to better organize the backend of your business & tackle the finances as they grow.

MORE ABOUT KAT:
Hi, friend! I’m Kat, founder of the Creative at Heart Conference & wedding planner & florist behind Dear Sweetheart Events. My high school sweetheart and I live in a 2 stop light town with our crazy pup, Knox. I love decorating our 85 year old home, enjoying an iced chai latte and if it comes in pink, I’ll take two! I left my full-time job almost 1 year ago, in an effort to continue making my passion profitable. It’s been a whirlwind, and I have such a heart for creative boss ladies juggling their dream while working a 9-5!  I’m a speaker, educator and encourager; I love hosting my #ontheroadtofulltime e-course, coordinating the Creative at Heart Conference around the country & working with my incredible DSE brides! Being a small business owner is an adventure I can’t image living without!! 

 

JOIN US!
REINA + I will be getting on a webinar live with YOU to talk about
the top tips + strategies we know & have now learned about money.  
Click below to join our money talk + ask us your questions. We can’t wait!
pay yo self webinar

 

 

Pay Yo’ Self Series – Elle & Company Interview

Ever wonder how the successful bosses you look up to actually handle their money?  I sure have and so has my friend Reina.  We had questions, but we felt weird asking each other or other boss friends about it.  Well we’ve recently decided enough is enough. It’s time to make it normal to talk about money with each other!  Introducing the “PAY YO’ SELF SERIES”. One month, 8 successful bosses sharing their money secrets, + one webinar to share what Reina + I learned and answer your money questions!

Up first on my blog is Lauren of Elle & Company. I met Lauren one year ago at the Creative at Heart Conference, but was blown away by her blog content before that.  Lauren is super smart & biz savvy so I can’t wait for you to learn all about how she manages money in her business!elle and company interview1. Can you tell us about the various income streams that make up your business revenue?

One of the greatest pieces of advice I received when I first started Elle & Company was to create multiple sources of income. Instead of putting all of my eggs in one basket (especially with the inconsistency that often comes with freelancing), multiple income streams helped me balance it out and create more security, which made it possible for me to make the leap and run my business full-time.

At the moment, my income comes from the Elle & Company Library (a subscription-based collection of files and templates for creative entrepreneurs), e-course sales, design services, affiliate marketing, and speaking engagements.

2. Do you plan your revenue goals for the year at the beginning of the year? If so how do you come up with that #?

I do, although I’m prone to coming up with a new idea that makes me tweak my revenue goal at least once during the year.

I start by setting a revenue goal for each income stream. I look at my current Library subscribers and set a goal for how many I want to bring in by the end of the year. I look at my queue of design clients and decide how many spots I want to offer. I look at my e-courses and set goals for the number of seats I want to book. Because the prices are already established, it gives me a fair estimate of how much money I’ll bring in throughout the year.

The great (and somewhat scary) thing about running a business is that your income is up to you. You decide how much money you’re going to make. If I want to bring in more revenue, I know I need to either take on more clients, increase my rates, bump up my course marketing efforts, etc.

3. With an idea of what you will make in the next year, is your next step to budget? What does your budget usually include/look like?

Another great thing about running an online business is that my costs are super low, so budgeting isn’t a huge hassle.

My budget includes monthly subscription costs (like Adobe Creative Cloud, Mailchimp, and Crowdcast). I also contract out some work to another freelancer and I brought an assistant on part-time, so I include those expenses as well. Other than those 2 items, that’s about it!

4. When did you start paying yourself & how did you decide how much to pay yourself?

My goal has been to keep as much money as possible within Elle & Company. If I don’t have to touch it, I don’t.

Every time money comes into my account, I set aside 30% for taxes and leave the rest untouched until I pay myself on the 15th and 30th of the month.

As far as the amount goes, that’s something I’m still working through. This is different for anyone and depends on how much money your business is bringing in, but the amount I’ve chosen to pay myself is largely based off of our personal budget – rent, utilities, etc. Again, we’ve been really frugal and cut back expenses so that we can leave as much in our business account.

5. Do you invest back into your business (education/equipment etc.)? If so how much money do you put aside for that and what do you invest in?

Yes, although in all honesty I need to be better about budgeting for it! This questionnaire has been showing me some areas I could be improving on… 🙂

6. Do you or have you started to work with a book keeper or an accountant? If yes, when did you take that leap?

Yes, I just started working with both at the beginning of this year.

With all of the different income streams and now having an employee, I realized it was too much to handle on my own and I wanted to make sure I was handling things the right way.

In all honesty, I wish I had started working with an accountant right from the very start. I would highly recommend making it a priority in your business.

7. What fears did you have around making or spending money in the beginning of your business?  Do you have different fears or obstacles now, if yes can you explain?

My biggest financial fear was and continues to be making sure that I’m taking care of my taxes appropriately. It can get very complicated very quickly and it differs from state to state, so sorting that out is always a little scary.

Another fear I had at the beginning of my business was making enough money and bringing in a steady income. But after building my client base and coming up with a reliable scheduling process, I’ve been able to stabilize my income, raise my prices, and increase my profits.

8. How do you and your business account for the variable income nature that an entrepreneur’s business revenue can be?

This is one of the main reasons I try to keep as much money as possible in my business.

I’m moving more into developing products at the moment and spending less time in service work, which means that my income now comes in chunks; it isn’t as consistent and streamlined. Because I leave enough money in my account, I’m able to pay myself the same amount while I’m working on a product launch.

9. Is there anything else you would like to share with new entrepreneurs who are nervous when it comes to making/handling the money in their business?

I would highly recommend focusing on bringing in multiple streams of income, especially if you’re trying to take your business full-time. Think through ways that you can streamline how much money is coming in each month, whether it’s through subscription-based products/services or a streamlined client process. It can truly make all the difference.

MORE ABOUT LAUREN:
Lauren Hooker is the graphic designer and founder of Elle & Company, a blogging, business, and design resource for creative entrepreneurs. Her love of design led her to a BFA in Visual Communication Design from Virginia Tech in 2012 and after a couple years of freelance work, she started her business full-time in 2014. Her mission is to teach other entrepreneurs the fundamentals of business, blogging, and design in order for them to turn their lifelong passion into a successful, profitable business.

JOIN US!
REINA + I will be getting on a webinar live with YOU to talk about
the top tips + strategies we know & have now learned about money.  
Click below to join our money talk + ask us your questions. We can’t wait!
pay yo self webinar

What To Do When You Loose Control Of Your Business

Surprise! My first ever all text blog post. It’s a surprise to me also because I didn’t expect to be writing it, but you’re about to hear all about why I am. Let’s talk about what to do when you feel like you are loosing control of your business.

what to do when you looks control of your business nevica vazquez business coach

So as some of you may know I officially “started” my business earlier this year at the beginning of 2015. Things had been pretty steady for a while and then this summer they sort of “exploded”. I booked many possibly too many clients at once because I thought that would be the best thing to do to get my business to full time faster. Well I was wrong, it was super overwhelming and definitely something I don’t recommend. I was left this weekend playing major catch-up, completely behind schedule on all of my content. And when it came down to it, getting work back to a client was a lot more important than making a video (which takes a tons of time). So as I sit here at one-o-clock in the morning writing you a blog post instead of making a video, I wanted to share with you what to do when you feel like your business starts running you.

 

PRIORITIZE

When things got so backed up this last week I knew I had to make a tough decision.  What was I going to sacrifice?  Creating a video or being late on returning a client their work.  While I love my audience and followers and do not want to disappoint them I had to make the tough call of not making a video.  I could not be late on a paying client’s job.  When it come’s to prioritizing I always suggest thinking about 1 – What is going to bring in money? and 2 – What is going to make the biggest impact?  Using those two questions will really help you when making a decision.

STOP & REGROUP

Once I finish up with the majority of clients I am working with right now I am going to take a step back and regroup.  While going through this crazy busy summer I have noticed that there are a lot of systems I need to implement.  As well as work I want to have done ahead of time. & New services & packages I want to create.  So when things get really crazy for you don’t let them stay crazy.  Take a step back and make time for adjusting things in a way that you can handle and have full control of.  This is your business, you get to make the rules and make the decisions.  You should never feel like you are overwhelmed or playing catch-up.  So stop and take control!

SCHEDULE

If it’s not scheduled it’s not real!  Make a schedule and stick to it! Honor it and follow it, it will make your life easier!  With a strict schedule you will be able to know how many clients you can take on.  What you actually have time for and what you need to make time for.  Literally make it a habit to write down every single task that you need to do and get it in your schedule!

PLAN AHEAD & FOR THE UNEXPECTED

Plan as far ahead as you can when you have the time to do so and always have backups or a plan B.  You may not be able to plan ahead for everything but there are certainly some things that you can plan ahead for that don’t change too much.  Such as your content.  You can have your blogs, and social media post planned far in advance.  If you batch your writing meaning doing most of it in one day and then using that writing to post throughout the month, then you will rarely be overwhelmed with keeping up with your content if client work gets too busy.  This will also allow you to plan for the unexpected.  If you get sick or if there is a family emergency you have that content stored up and ready so you won’t have to worry about it.  I would even think about going as far as having an emergency template email ready.  So if it does ever happen you can quickly send it out to current clients or just put it up as your autoresponder.

DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF

We are human.  We get caught up, work gets piled up, and we get overwhelmed.  Something I say a lot to my friends & family when they get dramatic about things is that “it’s never that serious”.  Unless something is a life or death situation let’s be real, it’s not that serious.  So relax.  Take this as a lesson (like I am)  and do what you have to do to change it!


Have you ever felt like you were loosing control of your business?  What did you do to get control back?  I would love to know in the comments below!

 

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