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Pay Yourself First

Pay Yourself First

March 29, 20242 min read

I have a darling friend named Sam. She is ambitious, energetic, and talented. Not long ago she wanted to leave her job that had burned her out. She was making a career change, had a desire to start her own social media management business, and came to me for advice.

During our conversation, we talked about how much she should charge for her services. She said to me, “Amy, I need to make $3,000 each month to cover my expenses.” 

I said, “Whoa Sam! You are thinking about this all wrong. You are not going into business just to cover your expenses. You are going into business to make money. Then, you can have the fabulous life you desire.  $36,000 per year netting in a zero bottom line is not going to get you there.”

When you're in business, it's easy to tally up your list of expenses and think: well, that's not bad. I can cover that each month. The problem is, you walk away with nothing. So, you've started your own business, only to make less than you were making at your J-O-B.

You see, you have to pay yourself first. Your salary should be the first expense on your list. If you don’t pay yourself first, your business will become not just financially draining, but mentally and physically draining for you and your family. It will fuel more doubt in yourself. You will regret going to work every day and the choices you made to start your own business.

It was at that moment in my conversation with Sam that she began thinking like a business person. She shifted her thinking from what I NEED to earn to what I WANT to earn. What will allow her to have freedom in her life to spend time with her family, to pursue her hobbies, to enjoy her time? She identified that number and wrote it down. That is the first number on the top of her expense list. Then, she added her $36,000 in expenses onto that number to identify her target revenue targets.

About a year later, I received the most lovely email from Sam. She shared that she had developed a solid book of clients, as well as a relationship with a referral partner. She was loving the work she was doing and enjoyed serving her clients. Then, she went on to celebrate that she had surpassed her annual earnings from her previous full-time job. Even better, she was on a path to double her personal income next year. 

Pay yourself first. You won’t regret it.

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