Taxes Paid – But Who Will Pay You? 

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Hurrah! You made it through Tax Season! Let’s take a big inhale…hold…and exhale, letting go of all the remaining angst from taxes. We’re ready to begin planning again, but this time for something that will excite you:  your salary.

Just Like Taxes, You Can Plan For Salary

Hey, you are not doing this for free! Yes, you want money for the business to run, but you need income, too. Whether you need money for a serious purpose or a frivolous buy, you still deserve to have an income. Let’s work on your interior design business plan to include Salary.

How To Set Your Salary

Just like planning for taxes, your plan for paying yourself will include the following:

  • First, decide to pay yourself consistently. Knowing that you and your family can depend on the income you earn is a motivator and a stress reliever. 

  • Next, assess your interior design financial statements. Have an idea of the net profit you are making at all times. That is where your salary will come from. 

  • Now, designate an amount that you will budget toward salary and start paying yourself. If you are not running your salary through payroll, be sure to leave enough to cover your income taxes. Even if you start low, like $500 a month, start somewhere. If you are unsure about how to read the financial statements or how to manage the money – check out the online courses I offer.  I will put the links below in case you need them.

  • Lastly, continue to monitor your interior design gross and net profit margins and adjust at quarterly reviews as needed.

See? Same method as for taxes, only now you are setting aside cash for yourselfto enjoy.

Why You Should Plan For Salary

I mean it:  set aside cash to enjoy.None of us work for the sheer joy of expending effort. Really, we work to enjoy life with the income we earn—vacations, shopping, classes, investments, etc. are the fruits of our labors. Eat some fruit!

Truly, being paid regularly (no matter the amount) is crucial to long term success. Money is a great motivator, and if you feel like all your efforts come without anything left for yourself, then you can easily lose motivation. And that would make sense – most of us work for the paycheck, and if you deprive yourself of a salary, then you lose the biggest form of motivation to work that drives just about everyone.

Of course, you chose to start an interior design business because you feel passion for the work, but there are many forms of motivation and all are vital to succeeding. Salary is a big one.

But there’s more. Physically, you enjoy the feeling of getting paid. Endorphins, those little biochemicals that fire off when we feel sensations that we like, release when you get paid. It’s a cycle—the better you feel about getting paid, the more you wantto do in order to get paid. Rather than drudgery of the daily grind, you look forward to putting your nose to the grindstone! 

Finally, most importantly, being paid legitimizes your efforts. You really are good, and you really deserve the money earned from your efforts. This eliminates any risk of the imposter syndrome, a false feeling that tricks you into believing you don’t belong in the entrepreneurs’ arena. You’re not a fake; this is your business, you’re running it, and you’re making money from it. 

You should get paid for it. 

To get assistance with financials, check out the Understanding Your Financials course.

For assistance with implementing a money management system like Profit First, check out the Master Your Profit course.


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Two Steps To A Stress-Free Tax Season

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Were you chugging along through March, busy and working, keeping things afloat, enjoying the fact that Spring arrived and another winter is over, when suddenly it hit you like a ton of bricks:  April is coming, taxes are coming! I can almost hear the squealing of brakes as your feet hit the floor, pushing against the inevitable turn of the calendar page to April and the dreaded tax season. Do you have the money to pay for your taxes?

It doesn’t have to be dreadful or stressful! 

You can have the money to pay your taxes without stress. Yes, you can—it doesn’t have to be a payment that breaks you, scares you, or drains you dry. When you chose to start an interior design business, it was not easy, but you managed the difficulty of pricing interior design services and setting up your interior design business plan. Now, you’ll conquer taxes the same way: with a plan.

First Step: Create A Payment Plan

Business 101 will talk about dividing the year into quarters, so three months for each quarter. Once you organize your interior design financial statements to provide you a picture of the business each quarter, you’ll be able to plan accordingly quarter by quarter.

Now, you’ll be able to manage your tax payments. It works like this old parable: 

A wise woman was once asked a silly question, How do you eat an elephant? to which she answered very succinctly, “One bite at a time.” 

Same concept—small chunks at regular intervals that will break down the large amount into manageable portions. It won’t break or drain your business this way. For each quarter, you’ll determine an amount that will go toward taxes. Then, check the amount against your financial statements and set it aside in a bank account that is just for tax payments.

Second Step: Budget For Payments

Once you have the amount established that you’ll pay to taxes each quarter, budget for it. You’ll know your interior design pricing and interior design salary expectations, so you can monitor your accounting and keep that tax money fluid and ready. At the end of the quarter, you’ll be ready to take that amount designated for taxes from the appropriate bank account and pay Uncle Sam.

Remove Stress Around This Payment

There’s a bit of a national hysteria every April because we all dread doing our taxes. The paperwork, the money, the debt, all heighten our anxiety. And anxiety is contagious—one person’s worry wears onto the next and soon, tax season is a scary month feared by all. 

Don’t buy into the hype! You have carefully worked on pricing interior design services to create your interior design salary and business, and you will keep your cool in April, too, by doing the same careful work. Taxes will not be a payment that catches you by surprise, and let me reassure you, this is a payment you can handle. 

Be calm, and pay taxes!

If you need assistance creating a strategy to feel worry free at tax time, check out the Master Your Profit course.


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What Do Fitness and Business Practices Have In Common?

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My first time exercising in a long time felt great! So great, in fact, that I felt accomplished, and I began to look for results in the mirror—wait a second! That’s not how it works! Too soon?? – but I get excited and want to jump forward even though I KNOW I can’t just get back in shape after one round of exercise—and you can’t snap your fingers to make your business successful, either! . . . No matter how muchwe wish it so, these things are not that fast and easy.

Ohhh, no, no, no…the reality is true. Change must be constant, consistent, and long-term. Truths we know but forget all the time, which is why my fitness coach, Kolleen, has been a lifeline. When I get excited and want to jump forward, she reminds me of the best way to accomplish my goals: “Slow and steady, do it right, and keep going.”

She’s right; I know this, because I offer the same words of wisdom to my clients. It took applying these experiences in a new situation to really reinforce the practices in business. I saw the ways in which my habits changed across the board with Kolleen’s voice in my head. Now that I am working with a trainer on my body, the lessons have rolled over into other healthy decision making in my life. I am working on getting more sleep, watching each thing I eat, and just feeling better. And I see the long term goals a bit more clearly – they are now seeming possible whereas before they felt far away.

In your business, you’ll benefit from these practices, too. 

  • Developing Muscle Memory

    My fitness goals can’t solely focus on waking up my core muscles; that only flexes them. Instead, my goal is to get them fully engaged to the point where it becomes second-nature to use them; this is muscle memory. Do something enough, and it begins to settle into a routine, take shape, and become the new pattern of behavior. Butthis takes time

    In your business, it is not enough to write out your vision, mission, WHY, etc. but to sit with it, turn it over, commit to it – OWN it. Only when you spend time with these tools will they become a part of you and second nature to how you work and think.

  •  The Importance Of Scaffolding 

    My purpose for working with Kolleen is to reduce my back and shoulder pain, so I was pretty ready to start building my arm strength right away. However, she delayed this in favor of strengthening my core. First thing’s first; other building will come in time, but I can’t start working on my arm muscles if it will cause me to pull my back out. There is a process. I did not create this pain and lack of muscle engagement overnight, and I won’t change it overnight. Each day counts, even if I don’t see immediate results. That’s because there is a multiplying effect that comes from building to each level—I become the sum of the parts.

    In your business, make sure to make your foundation the strongest piece and then scaffold from there. Build over time and add pieces once you are strong enough to handle them.

  •  Good Form Matters

    My fitness goals are about strength, and an injury would be a major setback. It’s a delicate balance to push the body in order to grow stronger while avoiding injuries. Luckily, there is a formula to follow that makes it possible to avoid getting hurt: to grow stronger and not cause injury, follow good form. There is a Right Way to perform strengthening exercises that will build muscle without suffering an injury. Form matters.

    As it does with your business. Business practices that follow a good form will be more successful. There are established methods and means to a successful end. Therefore, a good actionable plan matters and will support us for years to come.

Putting It All Together 

Like Kolleen helped me see and understand, following good form, building my foundation, and allocating appropriate time to the process created changes in my fitness and is helping me to achieve my goals. The same can happen in your business when we work together. The Solid Foundation Builder program will help you create a strong ‘core’ for your business. And you will hear me in your head when you are done cheering you on to the business of your dreams.


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Getting To The Core Of The Matter

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My personal trainer seems to be reading my mind. When it came time to start training with her, I told her that I wanted to strengthen my arms, back muscles, and shoulders. These were the areas where I desperately needed help, to stop excruciating pain and get relief. In the face of my urgency to get started and target these areas, my personal trainer had one response, “Not so fast.”

Before you can deal with the issues, you need to target the biggest underlying factor contributing to the problems:  she said that I had to build my core, though she called it “my body’s foundation”. I about laughed out loud—Sound familiar? Isn’t that pretty much my starting point with clients? Of course! You need a good solid foundation on which to build, whether it’s your body or your business.

Everything out of her mouth was like listening to a recording of my own sessions with clients: the ways she defined my body and the weaknesses was SO SIMILAR to my own methods for describing my clients’ business and foundational practices.

3 Core Facts

It was like my words back to me, a sounding board that helped me address the needs of my body in the same ways that my clients need help with their business. It took an external perspective to help me see things that I already knew because sometimes, we’re too close to something that is right in front of us to see it; we need another point of view.

1.       Our Core Supports Us

The reason to start with the core is simple—it supports everything. The stronger the core becomes, the better you are able to MOVE.

 Same thing in business. Your core business practices allow everything else to happen. Without a solid core, you will not be able to pivot or respond to the demands of your enterprise.

 

2.       Engage Your Core At All Times

We must keep our core engaged at all times, not just when we walk: whether sitting, talking, or breathing, your core is working.

In business, we also need to keep our core values and our WHY front and center – in all company decision making. Engaging with your core business principles prevents you from losing focus, momentum, purpose, and, of course,—profit!

 

3.       Many Parts Make Up The Core

Our core is made up of more than one muscle, and they ALL must be engaged together. If you only strengthen one part, then the weakness of the rest will prevent your continued development.

 Again, our business is more than a mission statement or a vision board; business is the combination of mission, vision, WHY, marketing and financial strategies that create long term success. It’s not okay to focus only on one at a time; these ALL must be in action simultaneously to achieve results and success.

 

Just as my fitness coach helped me see, I can help you. Find and develop your business core with The Solid Foundation Builder, and you will see results!


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Rinse and Repeat: Repetition is a key learning strategy

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The Spring quarter is about to start, and we’ve been figuring out the story revealed by your financials. Where are you at? Are you feeling the optimism of Spring at the results, or are you feeling defeated because the story reveals you’re not at the level you must be to succeed?

First, let’s all breathe – take in a breath and let it out slowly, finding a place in your mind clear from distractions . . .

Listen: . . . just because you have learned the numbers doesn’t mean you stop, and just because the story you discovered fits a scary genre doesn’t mean you’ve failed. This is a learning process, and if we break that down, both words deal with stages and steps; learning takes you through phases of ignorance to enlightenment while a process brings you through sequential moments that culminate in a final outcome. No where does it say each step or phase only occurs once.

Rinse and Repeat

Before dry shampoo sprayed our hair clean, directions on shampoo bottles were pretty cut and dry: rinse and repeat. Apply the product not once, but twice; apply the method not once, but twice. Same thing goes for understanding your interior design financial statements.

  • Review. Did you take my course, Understanding Your Financials, listen to an interior design podcast, or use another type of resource? Go back. Take it again. Review the information. Like watching a movie for the second time, you will notice something that you didn’t the first time; you will glean something new, and that might make all the difference.

  • Re-apply. Gather your interior design business plan, your interior design fee structure, your accounting reports, etc. Work the numbers through and perform analyses of your interior design profit margin. You’re looking for new options to pursue or connections that you missed the first time. Make sure you’ve got the right story. It’s always possible to adjust your interior design business plan for a different, better outcome.

  • Repeat. Repetition is the key to learning. We don’t always grasp something the first time through. We don’t shampoo our hair once a year (shudder at the thought!). Don’t just learn about your financial statements and stop. Keep learning. The goal is to re-visit your financial statements habitually; establish a process that includes financial reviews. Your story will always be changing, your goals are subject to change, and the world delivers surprises all the time. Therefore, you need to make this a constant part of your business.

A Wealth of Knowledge

A good way to foster learning is to gather a library of resources. Provide accessible and easy-to-reach information so that you will return to and use your resources:

  1. Make a collection of training videos, podcasts, articles, etc. in a folder on your computer

  2. Put links to good sites into a document

  3. Use your Favorites Bar on your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc.)

Then, rinse and repeat: re-read, re-listen, re-watch, and re-apply the lessons.

Make a Choice to Profit Today! - Are you a business owner and you are trying to get a "handle" on your finances? Enroll in "Understanding Your Financials" today to see how you can reach your business/financial goals.

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