Multiple business owners who have taken their businesses from small to large (with employees, benefits, and more!) have told me about these three startup practices that you should get going from the get-go. If your plan is to start your small business and scale your business, it’s just another reason to get these going from the start!
This will set you up for tracking, prepare you for growth, and allow you to feel like you have the space to invest back into your business. If you plan to freelance as a side gig only, it may not make sense to do this. I freelanced for years making supplement, taxable income, but never planned to make it anything larger.
If there’s any point at which you plan to grow/scale and make the business/your freelance work more official, you’ll eventually need to keep the income stream completely separate and give yourself a “salary.” This is a great way to practice this from the start and build your systems while you’re smaller and there is less to keep track of.
Just like a personal finance spending log, digital tracking system, or budget, it’s important to find a way to track revenue and expenses for your business. This can be done through a spreadsheet, by hand (yes! I just said that… I love notebooks!), or with a tool like Quickbooks or Honeybook (great for service-based businesses!). Whatever works for you now, may not work for your later–so start where you can. You can always grow and adjust the process.
If you’re charging hourly or spending some of the money right away, you should definitely make sure that you take self-employment taxes into account. When you work for a company, a lot of things (like taxes!) are automatically deducted before your paycheck hits your bank account. It’s not that way for self-employment. You’re getting the whole pie, and need to account for the money that you’ll owe back.
Take some time to get these processes going, and you’ll have a smoother time later on!