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Everyone who starts a blog, MLM, or any side business does so for many different reasons.
Some are hoping to make income because they NEED it to pay their bills every month.
Some are hoping to make extra spending money or to go on vacation.
Others want to be self-employed, quit their 9-5, and travel the world.
And there are even some that just want to do it as a hobby because they love writing and want to share things with the world!
Whichever group you fall into you’re going to be spending money at some point on your blog or business. And if you’re going to be spending money, you need a budget!!
Because a budget is what will tell you upfront if you have the money to even get started. And it will tell you if you are spending more than you can afford and now can’t pay your rent. And it will also tell you if you’re making a profit or losing money.
So, now that I’ve convinced you of the obvious, that a budget is essential, here are some tips that will help you set up and manage your budget.
Set your spending limit
It’s up to you if you prefer a monthly budget, an annual budget, or just a total amount of money you are willing to spend overall. Take into consideration your current monthly income, monthly bills and savings to make sure you are not spending more than you can afford.
Also when planning your budget, consider the upfront costs to get started in addition to the monthly spending amounts to help determine WHEN you will have to spend money.
Separate your business money from personal
I strongly recommend that you either set aside a specific credit card that you will only use for your blog/business or open a separate bank account where you put the money you budgeted and collect all your sales.
Not only will this make it MUCH EASIER for you to track and see if you are making money, but it will also make it so much easier when you are doing your taxes to make sure you are reporting all of your business expenses and income. And should you be unlucky enough to get audited, having your business activity separate from personal will be a lifesaver when dealing with the IRS.
You should also read my post “Taxes for Bloggers (or Any Side Hustle)” for what you need to know about taxes if your a blogger or have any side business.
Monthly vs Annual billing for services
For many services you will be using for your blog or business, you are often able to get a significant discount by paying for a year at a time. For example, website hosting with Bluehost can save you 50% or more if you buy 3 years up front. Or Tailwind for Pinterest will give you a 30%+ discount for buying 1 year at a time. If you have some budget upfront, I would definitely recommend considering these savings.
BUT…There are many reasons that this savings may not be worth it for YOU. If you don’t have money to spare upfront and only have a monthly budget because of when you get you paid, it is perfectly acceptable to pay monthly even if it may end up being more per year.
Also, if you are just testing out the idea of blogging or a side hustle and haven’t fully committed, you may not want to spend a lot upfront because you aren’t yet sure if you will be doing it in a year.
Leverage your strengths
When setting your budget and listing all the products and services you need for your business or blog, you need to consider the things you are good at and the things you aren’t. You also need to consider how much time you have to spend working on it.
If you love social media and are on Instagram or Pinterest all the time, but are terrible with WordPress, you may want save on schedulers like Tailwind and Boardbooster because you can do it yourself, but budget money for a virtual assistant to do your website. Or if you are great at marketing and websites but bad with numbers, you may want to shift more budget to a bookkeeping service to free up your time to work on marketing.
Keep track of everything at least monthly
At least once per month you should be going through the finances of your business and reviewing all your expenses and sales. You should be making sure that your spending is still in line with your budget or if you are going over. This will give you the opportunity to determine if you need to cancel any services before you overspend and can’t pay your bills, or determine if you have budget to spend more so you can jump on opportunities as quick as possible.
You can also look at where your sales are coming from so you can determine which products are successful or not so you know where to put your time and energy.
If you are having difficulty tracking your budget or just need a little help, get my FREE Business Budget Template by subscribing right below or on our Subscribe page here. It’s a super easy way to keep track of your blog, business or side hustle budget and see how your doing.
Reassess your budget every couple of months
Every few months you should reevaluate your budget. If your income is increasing, you may want to increase your budget and add services that might be helpful. Or you might find services you have been paying for that aren’t really helping you or you don’t use that you should cancel.
Blogs and business are constantly changing and evolving, so your budget and how you spend your money will likely need to adjust to these changes.
Understand ROI (Return on Investment)
You should always be evaluating the benefit you are receiving for everything you are spending your money on. You want to always be asking yourself “is this worth it?”.
If you’re paying to promote posts on Facebook or pins on Instagram, you need to track what you hope to earn, and see if you are meeting that expectation. Whether its sales or subscribers or traffic volume or just time savings, you need to make sure that each expense is giving you what you want. If something is not meeting your expectations, look for alternatives and better ways to use your budget.
Just because you started with a service or you heard everyone else uses it, doesn’t mean it will work for you and doesn’t mean you are stuck with it. You want to always be trying to maximize the benefit you get from every dollar you spend.
We have all heard the saying "you have to spend money to make money," and this principle defintely applies to having a profitable blog however you should always be mindful of your spending and make sure your expenses are working for you. Making a budget and keeping track of it is the best way to do this.
If you find yourself struglling with you blog's finances and are overwhlemed or confused by which expenses are most worth it, I can help. Reach out today! Email me at Rob@yourhealthyfamilycoach.com or Contact Me Here!