As a new business owner, there are a lot of things that we need to/can spend our money on (like when I was talking last week about a wardrobe budget). When it’s your savings that you’re investing you want to make smart choices so I thought I would talk about some of those key expenses for people still preparing to make the leap.
This post includes affiliate links, opinions are my own I promise 🙂 And sorry guys this is a long one.
Budget for set up
First and foremost you need a website – and they cost money. Buying a domain and hosting for a year is one of the most important things you will spend money in your new business, but shop around because there are a few options for you. I use JustHost and they are pretty good. I also recommend to everyone who will listen (including clients) WordPress websites as they are really easy to use and in the early days can be set up cheaply/free.
Technology set up – I already had an at home computer and laptop so my home set up was ready to go, but for many people, it won’t be. Getting your home office set up will probably the biggest investment in the early days so think about what you will need and why. I remember my Dad telling me when he was studying that he needed to buy a computer for his course and he got himself a little Texas while some of his mates got the more expensive Commodore 64; his little machine did all that he needed for his course but the price difference mattered to his young family. Was a useful lesson to grow up on, especially as I was trying to figure out what to invest in as an entrepreneur myself.
Software – I use the Adobe Creative Suite for things like graphic design or creating the planner tools (like the one you get for signing up to my newsletter). Quite simply the Creative Suite allows me to make better quality tools/elements for people and that is worth paying for. For others, it might be a different program that you need to do your job.
Nice to have but there are free versions too
Social media scheduler – I use a combination of later (paid) and buffer (free) for social media sharing but social media management is a service I offer clients so it’s a work tool. You can, of course, go straight to the source to post but that is going to take up a lot of time so be prepared.
Website theme – if you do choose a WordPress website then you may consider buying a theme. There are a lot of templates available to purchase for WordPress from places like Creative Market or Etsy. Of course, you don’t have to buy one you could just use a free one from WordPress in the beginning – though I admit it is easier to set up a new website than try and transfer an existing one.
Invoicing – if you invoice people then you will need a tool to do this. I use Wave which is primarily free unless people pay me by credit card then there is a fee. Though I have started shifting some accounting over to Harvest as I need to be able to track hours worked.
Project management tools – there are so many options for you here, many of them free so explore those services first. If you fall in love with one then you can pay to get the extra bonuses. I use a mix of Trello and dapulse and Harvest (to track my hours).
Introduce when you are ready
Advertising budget – eventually you will want to promote your product/service so you should factor in a small advertising budget that grows as your revenue does. There are ways to promote your business for free before you start advertising but it won’t be long until that comes up.
Accountant – when I first started I got myself an ABN and an accounting program and went for it. Luckily, my husband has worked for himself for years so I was able to learn from him about setting myself up as a sole trader. All this meant I didn’t need an accountant to start out but as I grow the need to bring in a professional has grown as well. I just want to make sure I am doing everything correctly and am set up to invest in the business in bigger ways over the coming years. Plus I have a mortgage in Sydney 🙂
Team mates – this might seem a little self-serving but there is an argument to be made for bringing in people like myself to assist you during set up. Mostly that argument focuses on how much easier it is to set up something correctly than it is to change it later (triple so with websites) but also it allows you to focus on the work you are actually here to do.
Memberships – it can be lonely as an entrepreneur but there are some great communities out there that will support you through the journey. Whatever stage you and your business are at they will have tools, events and wisdom to support you. For example, I am a member of Business Chicks who hold some incredible events (like breakfast with Jane Goodall) but they also have a Facebook group and monthly magazine that when you are home, alone can be incredible to be a part of. Same goes for the Institute of Managers and Leaders – they have a really meaty mag + LinkedIn discussion group for a community and member lounges across Australia if you just wanted to pop in and be around people.
Budget for life
As with my comment last week about budgeting for wardrobe you really do need to budget for having a life outside of work. There are definitely places I save money working from home (like no bus fares). Similarly, there are expenses I didn’t anticipate (I go out for coffee with people a lot more now). We get so focused on investing in the business and we’re definitely going to need to put the bulk of money earned there but still allow for a life outside of the office.
Also, I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this but save for tax time. Unlike when I worked full time and my employer ensured I paid the ATO now it’s all up to me. Let’s be honest no matter what your reasons for not saving the cash it’s going to suck if you can’t pay your tax bill.
So that’s it, some of the things that I think should be at the top of your list when budgeting for entrepreneur life. Do you have anything to add to the list? What did you leave out of your budget early on but really should have?