I love being an entrepreneur.
I get so excited during launches, just watching the money roll in. That “cha-ching” sound my phone keeps making? AMAZING. I’m on top of my shit.
It’s an incredible feeling when people pay you for your skills, knowledge, and real-life passions.
But as amazing as it feels to have those big days, not every day looks like that. Wah, wah.
And it can be easy to feel like you’re an instant millionaire when you hit those high days, and conveniently forget about that month you didn’t exactly have enough clients to take yourself out for a nice dinner.
As self-employed entrepreneurs, we have natural ups and downs. It’s not a bad thing at all, it’s just how it works for us.
We gave up the steady paycheck that was exactly the same, predictable number every other Friday so we could have those kick-ass "five-figure" days and amazing launches. But for every 5-figure day, there could be a slow period around the corner.
Right now, my business works a lot like what I’ve been describing. I get a big payday when I launch something new - a new product, a new program, a new offering - and then it tends to slow down into a more normal trickle of sales in between these big pushes.
I might make $10,000 one month, and then only $2,000-$3,000 the next month. It’s a financial (and emotional) roller coaster.
And I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
I’m sure many entrepreneurs and solopreneurs face this same thing. Here’s how I deal with the feast and famine nature of my business:
Celebrate, but don’t go overboard:
You made $5,000 in one week and that is INCREDIBLE for a solopreneur. You totally deserve a nice treat - maybe a fun dinner or those practical shoes you’ve been hemming and hawing over and can now totally afford (and they’re a good investment! - okay now I’m just talking to myself).
But, don’t go crazy. You did not win the lottery - you worked your ass off and it paid off.
Do something nice for yourself, and then remind yourself that you can’t take this for granted and nothing is guaranteed when you work for yourself and are building your own company. Do not go out and buy yourself a new car, a new wardrobe, or a new laptop (okay, I did buy a new laptop after a successful launch but that was totally necessary).
In fact, the best thing you can do when you have a “feast” kind of day/week/launch, is to keep your spending exactly the same. You’re going to need that cash to grow, expand, and invest in you and your business, so don’t waste it on the high feeling you have at the end of a great sales day.
Have a budget:
When your income increases drastically with a particularly awesome month or successful product launch, you shouldn’t necessarily increase your budget.
Make sure you stick to your monthly goals. If you have the funds, a great place to expand your budget is investing in your business - whether that means education for you, software that would help you streamline operations, or marketing and advertising.
Plan out your next 2-3 months:
When I have an awesome launch, I keep myself in check by asking what it would mean if I didn’t make any money over the next 2 months.
Would I survive? how would I budget? If sales dropped off, which they definitely will at some point or another, would I be in the red?
I look at an awesome day like that and spread it out over the next few months, just in case. If I make thousands of dollars in a week with one product, I mentally spread that out over 2 months of expenses until I will have something new to launch or promote. So instead of talking about it like “I made $5,000 in 5 days!”, think about it as if you've made $2,500/month for two months. This is how I operate on the safe side, so I don’t end up overspending and then scraping by the 2 weeks before I have something else to launch.
Get to work:
When you have an incredible launch or “feast” month, it can be hard to remember what those “famine” months felt like. And you hope to never know what that feels like again!
But the best way to guarantee that you’ll keep having those incredible 5-figure days and huge launches is to get back to work. Don’t rest on your laurels (do I sound old when I say that?).
Check your bank account, do a private fist pump, dance around, and then get back to work on your next big thing. If you have a slow period, just take that time to work on a new product, program, or offering and get it out there.
You really have to be disciplined when you are self-employed and making money, and in control of your own finances. It takes a lot of planning and self-control to have a $10,000 launch week and not start to spend your hard-earned cash on vacations and other glamorous things.
The reality of being an entrepreneur is that there are big, amazing high days, and low, frustrating bad days (sometimes these “days” can also be weeks or months).
If you are smart when you are at your best, you’ll have a MUCH better time dealing with it when you hit a low-revenue month.
The market is unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean your life and personal finances have to be.
When you have a feast-worthy month, don’t be a glutton. Pace yourself. Don’t stop now - keep working until you can count on those kinds of days happening EVERY day, then you can eat as much caviar (that’s a fancy thing, right? I am not a fancy person) as you please.