Hey Honey, If you’re just starting as a small business owner, I’ve been there, and I commend you for putting yourself out there. It’s exciting and challenging all at once. If you’ve been at it for years, I can relate, and I’m sure we could swap a small business war story or two. The truth is I’ve made all the mistakes (and counting) as I’ve developed and grown Honey, especially where money is concerned! But with mistakes comes growth and if you’re a seasoned Honey blog reader then you know I’m all about sharing the Honey hacks I learn along the way. If you’re not, saddle up, I’m about to give you the six most valuable lessons I’ve learned from growing into a six-figure business in 2021! So tee up Donna Summer’s “She works hard for the money” and read on.
Six Lessons from ‘Six Figs’
1. Your business earning six figures in revenue versus you earning six figures as a salary are two different things.
Listen, the headlines might be catchy and the IG posts might be clickbaity but don’t be fooled by the rocks that anybody got on Instagram. More often than not, when you see someone mention they’ve earned six figures that’s in gross revenue for their business. Meaning that figure is without expenses, health care, taxes, or contract labor. Now it’s absolutely an accomplishment to be proud of but there’s more to the mix than a sexy six figs.
2. There’s no ‘I’ in $100K
Let the record show that Honey could not, I repeat, could not have reached this milestone without the support of a (small, but mighty) team. More than 35% of annual revenue in 2021 was allocated to the incredible expertise of developers, copywriters, and junior designers. I do not claim the ‘fame’ of figures without their trusty talent!
3. It’s important to take time to celebrate!
Once you hit that goal you’ve been working toward, you’re officially the version of yourself that you longed to become. That deserves a toast or a 30-second dance party at least! Far too often, entrepreneurs don’t take the time to celebrate their accomplishments. We’re all so busy grinding with our heads down that we forget how far we’ve come. Six years ago, it felt so far-fetched that I could replace my salary income as a small business owner, and now here we are.
4. There’s more to measure than financials.
There are so many other things that are more important than revenue that indicates success to me: work-life balance, client satisfaction, and alignment, healthy habits, continued development, and education, just to name a few. While money metrics are important to keep an eye on, they’re not the only thing to set sights on.
5. Know where it goes.
A bookkeeper is a beautiful thing, I think everyone who doesn’t enjoy a balance sheet should outsource. However, it’s empowering and important to know exactly where and how your money moves. Logging into Quickbooks felt like a foreign country at first. I am (obviously) not a numbers person (hello, designer here!). But taking the time to understand percentages for owner’s draw, profit and loss, and expense categories allowed me to make smarter decisions—like not spending $100 a month on coffee or post-it notes.
6. It’s not enough.
Let me rephrase, this isn’t a money grab or a plea to swim in a Scrooge McDuck-sized pool of cash, it’s an acknowledgment that as a business, earning $100K is not sufficient to reach the specific goals I have for myself: to one day have an office space and to grow my team by supporting fantastic creatives. Given my experience as a creative director, at a larger agency, I would earn between $80-100K in salary, plus benefits. While a significant growth from years prior, full transparency, in 2021 I paid myself $47K. So while ‘six figs’ is a fantastic start, Honey has even loftier goals for the future to pay my team more, invest in the business more, and yes, pay myself based on my level of expertise and experience.
I’m thankful for the lessons learned in my journey to a six-figure business! I can’t wait for the ones I’ll learn on the road I hope to pave to the next six figs.
Honey Creative is a branding agency dedicated to providing creative resources, tips, tricks, and words of wisdom to organizations like yours. As a company, our primary goal is to help our clients tell their stories, fulfill their missions, and accomplish their goals. If you need help with brand development that makes you feel confident in your business decisions don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!