When I quit my 9-5 corporate job, I left without a financial plan. Looking back on my entrepreneurial journey, however, I know that organizing your finances beforehand can positively impact the development of your business.
As part of my Transition: From Corporate to Entrepreneur series, I sat with money and life coach Meghann for what felt like a personal budget masterclass (see the full talk here).
I asked Meghann to guide us through actionable steps, compiled in this checklist, that can prepare you to quit your job. As you go through the list, know that your budget should be personalized to achieve your personal business and financial goals.
Goal Setting and Money Allocation
Getting clear on your goals is an essential step when you start a budget. This will help you identify where you are financially and where you want to invest your money.
For example, my goal is to live vivaciously. To me that means having a lifestyle that allows me to travel freely and move at my own pace, which includes having a location-independent business.
Visualizing the lifestyle you want and setting goals accordingly will help you be more critical in the next step: creating a balanced budget.
To get started with lifestyle visualization, check out the Vision Book I created!
Create a Budget to Have Control of Your Money
Having a clear vision of your goals, you can now take a closer look at your income and expenses. As difficult as it may be at first, it is necessary to be aware of how you use your money to better direct it.
Get started by tracking your spending.
Do this without judgment. Remember that your budget is not set in stone, so you can make the necessary adjustments.
[Pro tip: Meghann recommends using an excel sheet or app that allows exporting onto a sheet to actively engage in planning your budget. You can use her Spending Tracker Template here].
Use this information to decide where you want to be spending and create a budget.
Tracking your spending will help you make better decisions about where you want to be spending. You may find that you overspend or underspend in some areas.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while you create your budget.
- Check in with yourself. Are you happy with what you are spending? Is it in alignment with the life you are creating?
- Creating a budget is about making agreements and intentions with your money. As Meghann explains, maybe spending on brunch with friends is something that brings you joy, so while you may limit how much you spend, you don’t have to cut it out of your expenses. It’s about spending intentionally.
- Always remember to spend less than what you earn. Your budget is not like everyone else’s, so this will likely look different for you than others. This means no comparing.
While these temporary adjustments may seem difficult, staying at a job that takes away your joy is more detrimental to your health in the long run.
After tracking your expenses and knowing where your money is going, you can start saving towards an emergency fund.
An Emergency Fund Made for You
The purpose of this fund is to sustain you if you have no income coming in. This is particularly important at the start of your entrepreneurial journey, which can be unpredictable.
The amount in your emergency fund will depend on your individual circumstances. Meghann shares some factors that may influence that amount may be how secure you feel in your current job and whether you have family support should you lose your job.
These funds must include all non-discretionary expenses. These are expenses that are non-negotiable like rent, food, bills, etc. From there, you can choose to have additional categories such as “going out” if you want to keep a sense of normalcy should you lose your source of income.
Three months, six months, or a year?
I asked Meghann how long our emergency fund should last, having heard three months was the suggested time period. However, Meghann explained that three months is the minimum, but some people may choose to create funds for longer periods of time.
As with investments, money in your emergency fund will always come with a risk because you cannot predict the future. This is why it is useful to have a backup plan.
For me, three months was enough because I knew I would be willing to do anything including freelancing. Worse case scenario, I knew I had my family’s support.
[Pro Tip: Get rid of high interest rate debt such as credit cards. Otherwise your emergency fund may not be enough, and you will have the additional stress of paying off a debt.]
Once you have a good handle on your finances, you can shift your focus to creating an exit strategy and building wealth.
Your Exit Strategy: Investing in You
With an emergency fund in place, any leftover money should go towards investing. This could include investing in things that will generate assets and income when you choose to quit.
For example, you can invest in your personal development by hiring coaches or taking courses that make your transition to entrepreneurship smoother.
Having a skill set that will allow you to thrive and having a better understanding of where you are financially will let you focus on leveling up your business.
Are you still unsure about whether entrepreneurship is a possibility for you? I invite you to dig deeper to learn if this is because of limiting beliefs around money.
If you are ready to invest in yourself, invest some time in listening to the Transition series where I and my guests give you free advice to quit your job and achieve your entrepreneurial goals.
Make sure to check out the complete talk with Meghann for additional budgeting info! And for additional tips on starting your business, check out my blog on mistakes to avoid when starting out!
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