My Take-Aways From The Book Money-Smart Secrets for the Self-Employed

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

One of the greatest frustrations of any entrepreneur or small business is working more in your business than on your business. Working in your business is when you are doing the mundane but vital tasks of running a business, everything from balancing the checkbook to selecting insurance and beyond. By being in the trenches, you can lose the big picture perspective of growing your business, but due to your size and headcount there is probably nobody else to do these things.

This reality of working on your own is the theme of the book Money-Smart Secrets for the Self-Employed by Linda Stern. The book guides the reader through starting their own business, from merely thinking about doing it, to the fears surrounding income to the tasks required to maintain your business. It was written in 1997, and was a recent gift to me from a friend who herself used it as a guide through breaking out on her own. Where some of the specifics are outdated (such as software products) much of the book is still relevant 11 years after it was published.

My greatest takeaway from the book is you need to understand the big picture of running your own business before you do so. There are many things you do when on your own you would not do as an employee of a larger company, such as marketing yourself and hiring people. You may not even know how to do some of these things, but understanding what is involved will help you determine if being on your own is for you, and what to expect to be doing.

My next takeaway from the book is to put together a semblance of a plan for your business and review it. Not every business needs a formal business plan. A comprehensive checklist will do for some, to outline what has been done and what remains. As life changes so does business, even more so when you are working for yourself. A plan is only as good as it is realistic, thus the need to revise it as your business evolves and hopefully grows.

A final takeaway from the book is to document the money. Whether you use a logbook, a spreadsheet or QuickBooks (I highly recommend the latter!) you need to keep track of the money. Not only will this benefit you personally but it will make it easier to deal with at tax payment time, which you will learn quickly is more than just once a year when you are on your own.

Money-Smart Secrets for the Self-Employed was a good read and motivational for someone starting out on their own. As I read it several years into my own business, it served as reassurance to some of the decisions I had made. Even though it came out over a decade ago, I would recommend it for someone thinking of going on their own or just starting, as it can help them with the logistics of their corporate operations.

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