How I Pay Myself a Regular Salary

How I Pay Myself a Regular Salary

Until a couple of years ago, I did not pay myself a regular, set salary. Far from it, in fact. For the first decade plus of my business, I commingled my personal and business finances. Everything I earned went into my personal bank account. In a month when I earned more, I would spend more money. In a month when I earned less, I would panic about money.

I was in a feast-famine cycle that I didn’t believe I could stop without earning way more money. That belief existed in years when I made $30k and when I made well over $100,000.

The idea of paying myself a salary seemed ridiculous. How could I pay myself a set amount of money each month when my income vacillated so much? Hell, I never even had enough money to pay my business taxes, which were usually a year behind.

I was deeeeeep into my story and really believed it was the truth.

So, if any of that sounds familiar, I see you. And I know it may be hard to receive what I’m about to tell you, because I certainly had my doubts for years. But the truth is, no matter what you are earning and no matter how much your income varies, you can pay yourself a regular salary.

Not only can you, you should. And I HATE shoulds! But in this case, I’m willing to say it because I feel so strongly that it’s important for every business owner to be in control of their money, and paying yourself is part of that process.

And why am I so passionate about this? Well, my life’s mission is to smash the patriarchy. And the best way to do that is to put wealth and power into the hands of women and other marginalized communities. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg says, women belong in all places decisions are being made—and money, and who has it, drives most decisions. Becoming wealthy starts with understanding your money and being a good steward of it.

The patriarchy conditions marginalized folks to believe they are “bad with money” or “bad with numbers.” This leaves so many of us afraid of money or avoiding our finances, and that keeps us from amassing wealth.

So let’s stop that! Reframe money management as an act of rebellion, and building wealth as part of the revolution to dismantle patriarchy!

And let me be clear: I’m not saying you must be rich or motivated by money. Hell no. If that’s not what you want, then that’s okay. But understanding your finances, knowing where your money is coming from and where it’s going, is really important in no longer allowing money or others to control you. It’s a big piece of living a fully empowered life.

Plus, taking charge of your finances will allow you to pay yourself a salary and get off the exhausting and demoralizing feast-famine cycle.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that paying yourself a salary is possible (even if you remain a bit skeptical), and that it’s important. So, now let’s talk about HOW.

Note: I’m not an accountant, financial planner, bookkeeper, or any other type of financial professional. It’s always a good idea to hire a pro if you need help, and to do your own research to make sure you choose the money management method that works best for you. What I’m going to share here is not the only way to control your finances, but it is the way I do it.

About 2 years ago, I discovered the Profit First method of accounting, which Mike Michalowicz details in his book of the same name—there’s a link to the book with this video. I’ll give you the very simplified high-level explanation of the method, but please read the book before doing it for yourself.


In short, this system has you put all of your revenue into one account, and then divvy it up into several other accounts based on set percentages. The first bucket is profit (hence the name Profit First), then taxes and owner’s draw (meaning your pay), and what’s left goes to operating expenses.

So, how this looks for my business is this:

All of my revenue goes into one of my business bank accounts. Then every two weeks, I add up the total of money collected in my business over the previous two weeks, and transfer percentages of that into my various accounts.

I transfer 10% of total revenue into my profit account, 20% of the total goes into my taxes account (and I use that to pay my quarterly business taxes), 55% goes into owner’s draw (the account from which I pay myself), and 15% goes into my operating expenses account, which is what I use to pay for all of my business expenses.

These are the percentages I use, but they are not set in stone. The book walks you through how to figure the percentages that are best for your business. And it becomes easier to determine how much you need for each the longer you’re in business and the longer you use the method; I’ve adjusted my numbers already since I started using the system 2 years ago.

After I’ve done all of my transfers, I write myself a check for my salary. I get a set amount every two weeks, regardless of how much I earned in that 2-week period. This works because when I have bigger months, more money goes into owner’s draw and that helps offset the months when I make less.

To make all of this work, you must have budgets—one for your household and for your business. This is the only way to determine exactly how much you must pay yourself every two weeks to cover your responsibility for your household finances, and to make sure you have enough in your operating expenses account to cover your business expenses.

Now, the question I always had, and maybe what you’re thinking, too was this: What if I don’t make enough to cover my expenses and taxes? And here’s the hard but true answer: Then you need to cut expenses and/or make more money. Period.

Avoiding your finances because you don’t like what you see doesn’t change what’s happening. In fact, avoiding it only makes it worse. This was how I got behind on my taxes and always felt stressed and broke.

Nothing changed until I faced the facts, took control, and made responsible changes to my spending and earning. This system helped me do that.

In fact, this accounting method was a complete game changer for me and my business. Once I took control of my money, I had more of it—even before I was actually making more of it. That’s because every penny had a job. I knew where each penny was going and had a process for making sure it went there and not elsewhere.

Also, the system is called Profit First for a reason. You put money toward profit no matter what. I don’t skip that step. My budget must reflect that some portion of my revenue (at first it was 5% and now 10% and I hope to grow it to 20%) goes to a profit account. If I can’t afford that, then I need to change my spending or make more money. I no longer borrow from my future to pay for my present overspending.

I’ve had a couple of bookkeepers and accountants scoff at Profit First. They don’t like the idea of “hiding” money from yourself. And to them I say, I’m glad you don’t need to do that. But I do. This is what works from me. This simple, clear, regimented system is what keeps me from avoiding reality, hiding from my money, and allows me to feel a sense of control over my money.

This system is what took me from being a year behind on my taxes 2 years ago to now having more in the bank than I’ll need to pay this year’s taxes. It’s what’s taken me from always feeling and being broke to having thousands of dollars sitting in a profit account, that I can use to grow my business or go on a damn vacation if I want, and it’s what took me from the scary ups and downs of never knowing how much I would make to having a steady, reliable income.

Whether you choose to use Profit First or find another system that works for you, my hope for you is simply that you take control of your financial destiny. Being a better steward of your dollars is practical, but it’s also a way to step into your power.

How I Made $15k in August

How I Made $15k in August

I earned $15k+ this month. It’s my 2nd 5-figure month this year and the 4th ever.

Most important to me, though, is this is the first time I’ve earned 5 figures in a month only for my coaching work (not my pay-the-bills writing work I’ve been doing as I pivot from freelance writing to coaching).

⁠⁠I’ve taken a little time to reflect, and thought I’d share 5 lessons I’ve learned from reaching this milestone.

Before that, though, I want to say one thing: I didn’t earn this much because I changed my business model, learned some cool new marketing trick, or hired a team​.

I earned more because I believed I could. Period.

Believing I could allowed me to raise my rates, speak more confidently about my work, and close more sales.

(To be clear, this was $15k+ gross revenue collected. My operating expenses are about 17%, so my net income for August was about $12,500. What I actually earned this month is unchanged because I pay myself a set salary, but it means more money in my business profits account!)

Okay, back to the lessons I wanted to share…

⁠⁠1. I’m allowed to be ambitious. I’m allowed to dream big. I’m allowed to want. And I’m allowed to do all that publicly without apology. 💪

⁠⁠2. I’m allowed to charge more. It turns out, I actually sell more when I do (huh whaaaa?!). Best of all, charging more attracts other ambitious women who aren’t afraid to invest in themselves and who are my favorite clients because they do the damn work! 💰

⁠⁠3. I’m allowed to enjoy my work. I don’t have to do what I “should” or what “pays the bills” … I get to be paid for what I *love* to do, what I’m *damn good* at doing, and what I’m truly *called* to do. And I get to be paid WELL. 😍

⁠⁠4. I’m allowed to keep learning. As a mindset coach, I can get reluctant to admit I still need mindset help (that’s a bit scary to admit!). I’m finally allowing it for myself … and, no shock, it’s paying off big time. ✍️

⁠⁠5. I’m allowed to have support. I don’t have to go it alone. I don’t have to know it all, do it all, shoulder all the physical and emotional weight. I can surround myself with smart women who push me, cheer me on, hold my hand—and I can receive without fear of judgment. 👩‍❤️‍👩

⁠⁠I hope everyone else had a profitable August. But more important, I hope everyone else is opening their minds and hearts to possibility.

Dream big, y’all. Your capacity to live a life you love is only limited by your capacity to believe it’s possible.

Oh and if you need to hear it, your dreams don’t have to be the same as anyone else’s. Your measure of success can be anything (not just money).

I don’t care what you earn, I only want you to begin to believe that the life you want (whatever that looks like) is possible.

How to Have a Better Relationship with Money

How to Have a Better Relationship with Money

​Looking to improve your relationship with money? There are many important actions you can take, but here’s one important piece of advice: Start treating money better.

Stop avoiding it, hating it, resenting it, wasting it, or otherwise being a jerk to money. This exercise starts with what you already have.

![Another good read: 10 Books to help improve your relationship with money]

1. Show gratitude: Be aware of, and thankful for, all the wealth you already have. Take a moment right now to look around you and say a heartfelt “thanks” for everything money has given you. I’m confident your list will be quite lengthy.

Focusing less on lack and more on abundance is key to shifting your money mindset.

2. Know your numbers: Do you know how much money you make? How much you spend and on what? Do you have a financial plan? Honoring your money means being a responsible steward of your money by having and using a budget, paying bills on time, saving and spending wisely, and otherwise caring for your cash.

3. Spend smart: Audit your spending for a month—and I mean every penny you use. Where are you being wasteful? When are you engaging in mindless spending? How could you automate, eliminate, streamline, or otherwise better utilize your money?

A healthy money mindset is about respecting and appreciating money, not coveting or misusing it.

4. Act like a CEO: As a business owner, the best way you can respect and appreciate your money is to get serious about it. That means having a separate business account, paying yourself a salary, setting aside money for taxes, earning a profit, and saving for retirement. If all of that feels overwhelming, I highly recommend reading “Profit First” for a layperson’s guide.

5. Charge more: Stop undervaluing your products or services—and stop resenting people for paying you too little when you don’t ask them to pay more. Treating money well means asking for as much of it as you think is right for what you sell. Anything less says you don’t value money—or yourself.

Dealing with financial ups and downs in business Dealing with financial ups and downs in business
Dealing with Financial Ups and Downs in Business

Dealing with Financial Ups and Downs in Business

There are times when you’re so busy you can’t see straight, and the money is flowing in. Then everything shifts, and you worry you’ll never make another sale or land another client.

This feast-famine cycle is common. Very few businesses, especially smaller or newer ones, are earning consistent revenue month after month.

When business slows, it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of panic and shame.

In this video, I share five strategies I’ve found helpful in dealing with ups and downs in business.

[Another good read: 10 Books to help improve your relationship with money]

1. Know you’re not alone We tend to always believe that we are the exception to every rule. In this case, we think no other business experiences periods of drought.

Thanks to this story we tell ourselves, we don’t talk to anyone about our fears because we worry it would be admitting “failure” and looking like a fraud. That’s a lonely and scary place to be.

With 100% certainty, I can tell you’re not alone. I’ve been self-employed for 15+ years, and I still have highs and lows. In 2019, as an example, I had a $15k month and a $2,500 month.

Take a risk and be vulnerable enough to tell your biz besties about the hard times and your fears. You’ll likely hear a chorus of “me too,” and that support network can also help you devise a plan to turn things around.

2. Plant seeds Worry is a waste of time, instead view your open schedule as an opportunity to finish all the marketing things you put off when busy. Plant seeds now, and you’ll be reaping the rewards of this slow season for months and years to come.

When money starts flowing in again (and it inevitably will, especially if you’re planting seeds now), don’t stop your marketing and selling efforts.

Yes, it’s hard to make time for filling your pipeline, especially when you’re busy with paying work. But that’s a great problem to have! And it’s shortsighted and problematic to stop marketing when we’re busy. If a client doesn’t re-sign, you hit a seasonal slowdown, etc., then you’ll be right back to famine and panic.

Always be planting seeds, and you’ll always have more feast than famine.

3. Look at the data It’s easy to spiral from “I’m not making enough money right now” to “I’m a loser.” This is particularly true when we rely only on our bank account and our feelings to assess our success.

The cure is to track more metrics in your business so you can use factual data to assess your progress. Sales may be down, but perhaps you’re growing your email list or appearing on more podcasts—or any number of other things that might later result in sales. Revenues may be down, but perhaps your actual profits are up, or you are getting more repeat clients. Knowing *all* of your numbers will paint a more complete picture of the ways you’re growing and improving, even if actual sales are down.

Also, you can use this real data to be aware of your specific feast-famine cycle. If year after year, work slows down every holiday or every summer, you can be better prepared for them, financially and emotionally.

4. Take a break When work is light and money is tight, it probably sounds counterintuitive (and impossible) to relax. Yet it may be the only time to slow down and recharge your batteries.

The truth is, most of us let self-care slip when we’re swamped with work. That makes it all the more important to take a little time during a slow season to get a massage, go for a walk, binge Netflix. Reframe “slow times” as flex time. You worked your butt off to earn this time off!

5. Don’t quit (yet) Never make a big decision on your worst day. In that state of panic, any choice you make is based on feelings, not facts. It’s rooted in the story you’re telling yourself, and one that will very likely change in short order. (The same is true, by the way, for making decisions on your best days.)

Feelings aren’t facts! Take a break and, when you feel more even keeled, analyze the facts before doing something rash like changing your business model or quitting.

While my business still has a bit of a feast-famine cycle, I no longer allow it to create a peace-panic cycle, too. That’s because I’ve done a lot of hard work to shift from a scarcity mindset to abundance thinking. I now know with absolute confidence that I can—and will—always make more money.

Dealing with financial ups and downs in business Dealing with financial ups and downs in business
Not Investing in Your Business is a Money Mindset Issue

Not Investing in Your Business is a Money Mindset Issue

Are you investing in your business? For a solid decade, I basically didn’t. The idea of parting with my hard-earned dollars was scary. I also thought it was irresponsible to spend on things I could do myself.

Sound familiar?

It took more than a decade for me to realize that doing everything myself wasn’t saving money—it was actually costing me money.

​​In this video, I share why not investing in your business is a sign of scarcity thinking (and a money mindset problem).

[Another good read: 10 Books to help improve your relationship with money]

In the past, I easily spent an hour each month (and likely far more than that) emailing back and forth with clients just to find workable meeting times. Now, I use Acuity Scheduling to automate that process.

I don’t charge hourly, but I value my hours at about $250 each. Acuity costs $15 a month. By avoiding an hour of emailing, I save $235 each month or $2820 a year. No, I don’t put that much cash into the bank, but I free up the potential to earn that much during that same time.

Another way to look at it? I was paying myself $250 to do what Acuity could do for $15.

When I reframed each of my expenses this way, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long to invest in my business.

Today, I spend $247.99 per month on tools for my business (there’s a link in the description if you want to see which ones I use). It includes programs for appointment scheduling, client management, bookkeeping, email management, course hosting, and social media scheduling.

Does $248 a month sound huge to you? If so, I felt the same way few years ago. But now I realize that’s less than hour hour of my hourly value, and there is absolutely no way I can manually do everything those tools do in an hour (or even in many hours).

The lesson? Our thoughts around money are just that—thoughts. When we actually examine our money mindset, everything can change.

I once thought spending money was bad. It filled me with worry and fear. Now I realize those thoughts were rooted in scarcity and lack. With a simple shift in thinking, I could see the same expenditures as good, helpful, worthwhile. The only change was making choices from a place of abundance and wealth.

Investing in Your Business (it’s a Money Mindset Issue)

Investing in Your Business (it’s a Money Mindset Issue)

Investing in Your Business (it’s a Money Mindset Issue)

Want a Better Relationship with Money? Stop Telling Yourself These Money Lies

Want a Better Relationship with Money? Stop Telling Yourself These Money Lies

What does it really mean to change your “money mindset”? Put simply, it’s when your stop believing your stories, or lies, about money.

​In this video, I share six of the most common lies we believe about money (and why they’re wrong):

[Another good read: 10 Books to help improve your relationship with money]

Here are five of the most common lies I see people telling themselves about money:

1. “I don’t deserve more money.”
Fact: Money has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s worth. It’s merely a currency, given in exchange for the perceived value of a product or service. It’s wholly separate from YOUR value. No one deserves money more or less than anyone else. And having more or less of it doesn’t make someone better/worse, worthy/unworthy.

2. “I’d be happy if I had more money.” Fact: Money has very little to do with happiness. After about $70,000 (or $95k per year to live a dream life), money does nothing to change how people feel. The truth is, you can be happy making very little money or miserable making a ton of money. It’s about you, not your bank account.

3. “It’s bad to want more money.”
Fact: Money isn’t bad—or good. (See #1.) Likewise, it’s not bad or good to want money. It’s ultimately no different than wanting any other stack of paper. It may be valid to judge how you use money, but not how much you want or have.

4. “There’s a limited amount of money.”
Fact: There’s some $1.75 trillion worth of U.S. physical currency in circulation (not to mention all the other currency in the world). That’s an unimaginable amount, and more than enough for you to make as much as you need or want.

5. “Making money must be hard work.”
Fact: If earning were in direct correlation to effort, the richest people would be farmers, firefighters, teachers, trash collectors. In fact, it can be difficult to make money—or incredibly simple. Again, money is given for perceived value, not real or perceived effort.

6. “I’m not good with money.”
Fact: No one comes out of the womb with a comprehensive understanding of things like investing, saving, or budgeting. Anyone can learn how to manage money, including you. Being “good” with money isn’t a talent, it’s a skill that you can learn if you choose.

Want a Better Relationship with Money? Stop Telling Yourself These Money Lies Want a Better Relationship with Money? Stop Telling Yourself These Money Lies