Cash isn't king. Cash flow is.
Especially in business.
Cash flow is simply the money that comes in and out of your account every month. By focusing on it, you can have an accurate view of your monthly income, monthly expenses, tax payments, and more.
The reason that focusing on cash flow is important is because you need to know how to manage it to succeed and sustain your business. It's reported that lack of cash flow was the top reason that businesses fail.
As a creator, you have to approach money management and sustainability different than most businesses because your income is likely driven by your creative efforts. And as you know, maintaining those creative efforts year in and year out can be challenging, especially if you've established a fairly strict creation cadence.
In a reply to a tweet from Creative Juice, YouTube creator and entrepreneur Roberto Blake gave some cash flow advice to creators looking to go full-time:
It's important to think about the business you want to be in, the kind of work you want to do long term, and then determine the best ways to monetize.
Whether it be a community membership, product sales, or ad revenue, you have to figure out which revenue models align best with you and your audience.
Financial stress hurts the creative process more than anything, so here are a few tactics to help manage your cash flow:
• Automate your bills, savings, and taxes
One of the easiest ways to begin managing your cash flow is by automating everything you can. Take some time to get an understanding of how much income you have coming in every month, look at your expenses, and then determine how much money you can set aside for savings. Ideally, this would be 10-20% of your income to get started. So if you made $5,000/month, aim to save $500 for personal savings or investments.
Then you have to remember everyone's favorite expense.. taxes.
While the technical number will depend on your income, it's generally recommended to set aside ~25% of your income for taxes.
• Use an expense tracking/accounting tool
An accounting software allows you to project future income, see your monthly expenses, view your balance sheet, and more.
• Focus on creating multiple streams of income, but start with one
While multiple income sources is ideal, if you spread yourself too thin at the beginning you won't be able to gain traction as well as if your efforts were focused on building one stream first, and then moving onto the next.
Read Wave's Cash Flow Guide for Small Business Owners