The Myth Unveiled: Pay Yourself First – A Reality Check for Solopreneurs

by | Mar 5, 2024

As solopreneurs, we’re often told that the golden rule of business finance is: Pay yourself first.

It sounds empowering, doesn’t it? Dive headfirst into your entrepreneurial journey, and ensure your personal financial well-being is secured from day one. But here’s the catch – this mantra hinges on a crucial factor: your ability to actually pay yourself!

Let’s debunk this myth and navigate the truth about paying yourself first.

The concept of “pay yourself first” is traditionally the cornerstone of financial success. However, for solopreneurs, this strategy demands a deeper understanding of your business’s financial health and strategy. It often takes time for your business to grow and be able to pay yourself. 

To be able to “pay yourself first”, it is critical to understand your break-even point – where your revenue equals your expenses. It is non-negotiable before you start cutting checks to yourself. This ensures that you’re not prematurely draining your business’s money and making a mess of your personal and business finances. This includes making sure you set aside some for “Uncle Sam.” The government wants a part of your revenue after your deductions. Consult your tax advisor to see what percentage you should be setting aside and when you should be paying them, whether it’s ok to wait until April, or if you should be paying quarterly taxes.

If you deal with irregular income, this can be a unique challenge. So check out my article all about how to budget with irregular income to help you create a great foundation for finding your break-even point. 

Before you set your sights on big paychecks, let’s discuss cash flow. Understanding both your revenue and expenses will empower you to make well-informed choices. 

Every dollar matters, from day-to-day costs to future investments. You need to carefully oversee your cash flow, setting your business up for steady expansion and, of course, rewarding yourself with a well-deserved salary when you are able.

When managing your cash flow, it’s crucial to keep track of your incoming and outgoing finances diligently. By monitoring your revenue and expenses closely, you can gain valuable insights into your business’s financial health.

This awareness will enable you to allocate resources wisely, whether it’s reinvesting in your company’s growth, saving for future endeavors, or paying yourself a sustainable salary. It’s easy to keep increasing your expenses and never have enough to pay yourself. Remember, your salary is part of your expenses.

Remember, financial stability is not just about the numbers; it’s also about setting yourself up for long-term success. By fostering a healthy cash flow system, you can create a solid foundation for your business to thrive and achieve your goals.

A hard-hitting question you may need to ask yourself – How long can I sustain my business without drawing a regular salary? This uncomfortable question serves as a litmus test for your business’s success and longevity.

It’s crucial to have a clear plan and realistic expectations about generating revenue and paying yourself. While passion is a driving force, sustainable growth requires a solid financial foundation. As a solopreneur, the ability to navigate the challenges of cash flow and profitability is key. 

In the end, if you’re not making money, it’s just a hobby. Your business needs to pay you a reasonable salary and be profitable. 

Paying yourself first as a solopreneur isn’t just about financial discipline; it’s about financial viability. Before you set aside that paycheck for yourself, ensure your business can stand – and grow – on its own. Remember, the goal is to build a sustainable business that not only supports itself but also supports you.

Feeling overwhelmed by the financial intricacies of solopreneurship and how to balance that with your personal finances? You’re not alone. I help individuals, couples, and business owners to take control of their finances and become intentional with their income, by creating a spending plan to eliminate debt or build wealth.

Schedule a free Discovery Call with me today and let’s chart a course toward financial clarity and success together.

About Penny Kidd

I'm a social worker turned Financial Coach. I'm completely debt-free (including my house!) and help others make their money behave by doing a budget and becoming intentional with their money.

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