“I don’t pay myself; I just take a little bit here and there when I need it.” I hear this phrase all the time from entrepreneurs. Even from owners of businesses with employees. They just don’t take a check. But they do get paid. Here are some of the top objections to setting paydays, and some reasons you should really do it in your own business and for yourself.


Payday: image of someone counting money




1. Setting paydays: It’s all my money anyway


Maybe. Depending on the structure of your business that money belongs to your LLC or corporation. If you are a sole proprietor the argument can be made that yes, it’s all yours.  But you are earning it in your business and keeping business and personal finances separate is important. Now, I know some business owners that still use their personal accounts for business transactions. They accept credit card payments to their personal accounts. That creates kind of a mess for business expenses. There are fees for accepting cards, and these are co-mingled with personal money. And oftentimes, business expenses are missed when they are mixed in with the personal.


Separating your finances is one of the easiest things you can do that protects the integrity of your business record keeping. All of your payments earned in your business go into the business account.

Your expenses stay clean and you can still get your money from the work you do in your business.




2. setting paydays: I don’t need take the extra step to write myself a check.


Taking the extra step to pay yourself protects your business and personal cashflow. Here’s what I often see happen. The electric bill is due, and “just this once” you are going to use the business debit for your personal expense.  Or you just write a business check to the orthodontist because it is just “easier” than taking a check and depositing it in your personal account.  In both of these very common occurrences you are potentially messing with your cash flow.


If you dip into your account throughout the month for expenses you are increasing the chance for a cash flow issue.  There are always things that can happen to your income. You can have a chargeback. Or you can have a client pay late. Or you can have a down sales month. Many times, unexpected challenges affect our business financially for a time.  If you set two days a month that you would take time to write that paycheck (for what you really need to support your personal expenses) you allow the cash in your business to build up throughout the month. For example, instead of 8 draws on your cash for personal bills, you would have two.




3. setting paydays: I don’t take that much anyway.


The tax liabilities on small business owners can be huge where the taxes aren’t withheld when money is taken from the accounts. More than once when the books are actually reviewed did the entrepreneur have to do a double-take to see what was actually taken. Owner’s draws, those little withdrawals from the account for personal use, add up and they are taxable as self-employment income.  In the U.S. you have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your personal income. It is very easy to take a little bit each week, and not pay taxes on it. Because it doesn’t feel like very much.






In reality, you can set up a process to withhold and deposit your taxes every time you take a paycheck. Having an online payment portal to the IRS is easy in the states.  You can make a transfer when you pay yourself.  Over the course of a year, it is very easy to take $20k or more from the business and not feel it. $20k a year is only $1667 a month, which is a little over $400.00 a week.  Pay your car payment and insurance, grab a little bit for groceries, and buy a birthday gift for your mom and you can easily hit that a month. You will then owe taxes on that $20k.


Take the time to set yourself up to protect the integrity of your business records, protect your cash flow, and protect your personal income by setting up paydays for yourself. Taking a check every other week is a great way to also predict your income for your personal expenses and allow you to have some income security.

Every small business needs money pros. A money pro can be a bookkeeper, accountant, financial coach, or payroll service. A fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is another type of money pro, and there are others, so this list is not all-inclusive. Not every business needs all the pros, but at a minimum, I advocate for every small business to have the services of a small business accountant for tax preparation every year. This post isn’t about finding your pro by getting a referral from someone you trust, which is always good practice.

Woman conducting an interview to find her money pro

This post is about making sure the pro you hire is a good fit to help you with your financial needs. Not all accountants have the same services. Some reporting styles will work well for some people more than others. You need a pro that will be an important part of your team for business compliance, planning, and growth. And it may end up being more than one pro.  You need to get what you need to meet your goals. 







What support do I really need? This question actually covers two areas in my mind. What are the mechanical money things I need done, like running payroll or filing taxes, and the organizational and mindset support you need, like regular email reminders. There are a variety of services that can manage the mechanical. What are the financial things you don’t want to do? Or find too complicated? Find the pro that can do them. But make sure you also consider the personal touches needed to keep you on track. If you need a monthly phone call or email, request one. I know people who have weekly or bi-weekly meetings with their accountants. I know others that only need a letter with their completed quarterly return to sign and file by mail.





What level of reporting and understanding am I comfortable with? Let’s be honest, not everyone can read a financial report and understand it.  It’s definitely not in the zone of genius for most entrepreneurs. But what good is having the reports if you can’t use them? If someone just generates a report can you use it for projections and growth decisions? Perhaps for you it would be better to have quarterly in person (or virtual) meetings to review the numbers and understand what they mean for you. I have several quarterly planning clients because their accountants only do reporting for compliance. So, they work with me to do planning and projections. Get the pro or combination of pros that makes you very comfortable using the data to drive your decisions.






The phrase,Just because you ‘can’ doesn’t mean you ‘should’’ includes financial matters.  Are you still running payroll when you should have handed that off already? Struggling with your taxes again because you don’t want to pay for help? Having money pros can also reduce the potential mistakes that can cost your business. Having a bookkeeper, accountant, payroll service, CFO or coach for planning and growth are all pros that can help you avoid costly mistakes. Tax mistakes can have penalties and interest costs. Not withholding the right amount of money from your employee’s checks can also have penalties. Just like not having projections and growth planning each quarter can affect your profit margins and goals.  Keeping your books inconsistently can also cause a financial crunch, and you can miss indicators that business decisions need to be changed.  As soon as you can, get professional support.






Finally, how often do I need to see my pro? For many of us an annual checkup by a physician or medical practitioner is on the calendar for our health. For others there are weekly appointments to the chiropractor or regular visits with a specialist. Approach your financial pros the same way. What are your goals? You will likely need to see more people more frequently if there is an issue, less if you have a good management practice in place.





Don’t be afraid to just book a session with a pro for an hour if you need one. Go get that consultation and have your questions answered if you need it.  Thinking that you must retain a money pro for every week, or every month can prevent people from getting the support they need. These pros work for you and need to be a good fit for your personality, business culture, and financial needs.






Money management should align with your personality and the way you like to do stuff. Radical, right? I believe one of the biggest obstacles that business owners face when it comes to money stuff is the idea that there is only one “right way” to do it. This software. Or that spreadsheet formula. Or these guidelines. But if we are really honest, there are actually very few things that have to be done a specific way. Tax and employment filings, sure, but the way you track and manage your business money is up to you. The method you choose just needs to be in a manner that protects your business records and would stand up to an audit, just in case.




What is Aligned Money 




So, what is aligned money management? Managing your money in alignment with your financial style, so you stick with it (even if you never learn to enjoy it).  When we try to force ourselves to use a system that doesn’t naturally work with our style of doing things it rarely works. This is a common issue, and it often creates a struggle and resistance to doing the things that support our business growth.


A great place to start is with your financial personality (If you don’t know which personality you best identify with, visit this blog to learn more).  It’s important to know how you currently relate to your money. Particularly your business money. For example, do you ignore or obsess over your financials? Whichever it is you can then begin to work with your money in a way that feels relatable.






Next, we need to examine your comfort level with different management strategies. How are you tracking other things in your business now? Are you a pen and paper person? Do you prefer software or spreadsheets? Do you like more automation or are you comfortable entering data points regularly? Your natural comfort level with certain approaches can easily translate to your financial tracking.  There are templates for paper and pen tracking, apps and software, spreadsheets, and computer formats available for anyone and any budget.


Finally, it’s time to start trying things out and being open to tweaking your approach. If you know that pen and paper is how you like to do things, grab some templates, and try them. If you like automated software,  start shopping for one that feels pretty intuitive for you. Many have free trials, so try them. If you like spreadsheets but don’t know how to set one up, get some help creating one that works for you. If you are really at a loss for where to start, hire a money pro to help you. Ask your accountant or have a session with a financial coach.





It can take three months or so to get into the habit of managing your money if you don’t do it now, so make sure you build in some grace and room to make mistakes or forget stuff. Particularly your internal processes. If you are worried about the most important compliance things like taxes, turn them over to your accountant so you have the knowledge that they are done correctly. You CAN create a money management strategy that works for you, your needs, your personality, and your organizational style. Making sure your money approach is comfortable and aligned will help you stay consistent with your finances.






Our Book Club for The Profit Accelerator for Small Business begins in a few days! You have free exclusive access to the club when you purchase your copy of The Profit Accelerator for Small Business book on Kindle or paperback.




We all have a relationship with money. Money is a personal and emotional topic for many people, and there is often a bit of shame wrapped up in how we deal with it.  I want to share with you four general financial personalities I see working with entrepreneurs. Also, I have been each one of these personalities at one time or another, my relationship with money has evolved over time, and yours will too. 


photo of jar with coins


If you see yourself in any of these, if they resonate, I want you to know that you are definitely not alone. These obviously aren’t all of the potential relationships with cash, but these are definitely common ones!



Financial personality 1: Annie

(It’s all on autopay, ignore and pray)


Annies have been told to just put it all on the card, set it and forget it. Her stress comes with overdraft fees and late fees and over limit fees because she doesn’t always have the money in the account when she needs it In a way, she’s afraid to look at her money and believes she isn’t very good with it

So, she ignores it and deals with the emotional stress every month thinking, “I’m in business, it’s supposed to be this way.”




Financial personality 2: sALLY

(Spendthrift and fearful)


Sally operates from a place of financial fear. Constantly calculating and worrying, She is so terrified to make a money mistake, so, she  refuses to make financial decisions that involve risk. In effect, Sally is strangling her business’s ability to grow and thrive. She has an almost a hostile relationship with money, believing that there isn’t going to be enough to meet her needs.



Financial personality 3: OLIVIA

(Out earning mistakes, no planning)


The Olivia personality believes that she’s got it all figured out.  But in reality, she is just managing what’s right in front of her without planning or having the bigger picture. Olivia’s are treading water financially and making short term decisions without a plan. She puts any shortfalls on the credit card and may not know that her debt is creeping up. She may be growing too quickly, without a financial foundation. And she just ends up bootstrapping month to month.  Which causes stress, but she thinks if she just makes more sales, she will be fine. Olivia doesn’t see the financial danger she is getting into. She relates to her money only with what needs her attention right now.



Financial personality 4: Jessica

(Just trying everything and frustrated)


Jessica is following all of the guidance. Use this spreadsheet or this program. And she is trying to do everything right. The thing is, Jessicas don’t understand profit and loss, and that’s okay, but she isn’t taking the time to really learn the basics. So, she’s losing money and is very frustrated. Jessica works so darn hard, but she never keeps any money after the bills and only pays herself sporadically. Jessica feels like the money stuff is just too complicated and is allowing the finances to rob her of her joy of being an entrepreneur.



See more about aligning your business decisions and strategies with your financial personality in my book, The Profit Accelerator for Small Business. Available on Amazon today!




The holidays are over and for many of us quarter one is where things slow down. Not for everyone, if you are a health coach or a personal trainer your business is probably booming! Whatever industry you are in, you will be more successful if you speak directly to your ideal audience with a consistent and coherent message.  You probably know this. But I just really learned this.


Photo of audience chairs




Speak Directly To Your Ideal Audience


I want to chat today a little bit about how I discovered recently that I was talking to a lot of the wrong people in my business. And these people were getting a mixed message/ brand from me. I really discovered this when my conversions were well below industry standards. Now, I am not solely concerned about how many I sell of something, but I am concerned with finding and helping the people I am supposed to work with. It’s my duty and the reason that I have been given my purpose.  In reality, I cannot possibly convert much if I have the right message to the wrong audience. Or if you are completely missing your audience.





Speaking To Your Supporters


Until very recently I was talking mostly to my supporters, not to an audience who are really the people who need what I do.  I have a ton of supporters and I love and appreciate them all, but with current social media limits and things speaking only to your supporters may not grow your business. This group of people may be the wrong ones for your message. Wrong as in, not ideal clients or people who know or serve your ideal clients. People who will cheerlead you on, but don’t have anything that will help you move the needle.


Speaking to your supporters can prevent you from reaching the right people who need to hear and resonate with your message. Why? Because there may be two very different messages there. The pain points you discuss may not be clear to your ideal clients if they resonate with your supporters.  You may have the solution to a very real problem, but your copy may not translate your powerful offer into something your supporters need. And the clients who really, really need you probably won’t see how you can help them with their most pressing issues.






How do you find and make sure that you speak directly to your ideal audience most of the time?  First, you have to make room for them. Which might mean unfriending some people. Which might also mean changing your bio and your descriptions. Some people may naturally fall away.


Get on a podcast, guest blog, or give a masterclass. Use someone else’s audience to help you find and talk to yours. You also need to ask people to share your posts, blogs, and content with others. Your message must be consistent across all of your marketing to attract the right audience.  You may need to run some paid ads to new people. Honestly, you just have to be laser-focused on finding your community. They are out there. You were given your gifts and purpose to serve others. You’ve got this.





Are you ready to DIY your own growth and profitability with a step-by-step guide?


The Profit Accelerator for Small Business is available for pre-order. If you purchase the book now you will have a bonus free admission to the Profit Accelerator Book Club. 


Dawn will walk with you through the book, chapter by chapter helping you implement your strategies, answering all of your questions, and making sure that you make the permanent and positive changes that will move your business forward.

 Defining Offers Your Audience Will Crave

One of the services people seek from me is defining offers that are strategic and are profitable.  My first step is to learn all I can about my client’s business and how they currently serve their clients. We then discuss how they are feeling about their business.


I’ve had clients come to me ready to pivot, ready to stop doing what they have been doing up to that point.  Truly loving what you do is critical to long-term success in business.


Shocked Client




There are many approaches to defining offers that clients are excited to buy.  One is to first define your “Ideal Client Avatar” or ICA.


My approach is a little different. I first want to know why people would come to YOU for what you do.


What is your unique perspective, method, approach? If someone is shopping for what it is you do and sell, and all other things being equal, what do you think the deciding factor would be for the client to choose you? Have you ever answered that question before? 


Secondly, the next step is to ask where the client is in their journey with your current offers.


Do they need to really know you to work with you or can they align quickly with your results? One way to explain this is, do they need to commit 3-6 months to work with you, or can they get you for an hour or two? Or do you have an “entry-level” thing to sell? or are you currently only a long-term commitment? 


Guess what, all approaches are fine. You just need to recognize where the client has to be to take advantage of your offer.


Thirdly,  ask what levels of results do you want to offer? I want my clients to go from A-B, C-D, and E-H. Maybe you just have one result. But know what it is.


Lastly, define where you want to serve new clients in your world. For some people, they want to serve on a recurring basis, like in a membership or subscription.






However, some have more of a stair-step approach. Some serve new people with free masterclasses for several days before making any paid offer. Again, it is about your results and how you get them.




There is no one right way to create and sell your offers, and I don’t believe that everyone should have a certain number of offers available. I have paid courses, workshops, group and 1:1 programs, and a book, and then free resources, masterclasses, and a podcast. Plus, this blog. But this isn’t the right mix for everyone and every business. These offers are what work for my clients along a spectrum of needs and desired results and feels really good for me to offer and serve. 


I recommend that you approach your current offers through this process and evaluate what you can offer to fill any service and results gaps in your current programs. One other thing to do is to ask people if there is anything you should be offering differently. That question actually created a 12-week program because the 6-week profit accelerator felt too rushed for one of my clients. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience how you can serve!


Is Imposter Syndrome Showing Up in Your Marketing?


Imposter syndrome is real. I’ve battled with it; I know many others who have too. This article in Fast Company describes The five types of impostor syndrome and how to beat them.


The thing about imposter syndrome is that while there are real feelings of inadequacy and questioning our competence, many times on the outside we look, “just fine.” Happy even. Confident. We teach masterclasses with a smile even though on the inside we are questioning whether anyone will find the info useful. We moderate our Facebook groups wondering if people really see value in what we say. Like I said, I’ve been there.


What I saw recently with a client was imposter syndrome showing up quietly in her marketing. This client had been published in major publications and named a top 30 attorney in her field, yet to go to her website, there were no badges, videos, or any outward showings of her accomplishments. There was a page with just links. A whole page of links. You had to read line by line to discover her amazing media appearances.


I realized that her imposter syndrome was showing up in her website. In a way, she was hiding her achievements and keeping herself small. Not consciously. She just didn’t think about it, but after we talked about it, she definitely saw imposter syndrome in her business. She didn’t necessarily think she was as good as the other attorneys in her field, but not only was she equally good, in a lot of ways she had built a unique niche and people came to her for everything related to her practice area.


What is your takeaway?


Understanding there was a disconnect between her serving clients and her putting her face out into the world was eye-opening.  We talked about the hidden accomplishments that would not only add credibility in the eyes of searching potential clients, but also a real sense of prideful ownership of her achievements.


So, what was missing? Nowhere did you see the boards she served on.


There were no press releases around her latest legislative wins. There wasn’t even a bio on the website to tell her story. I immediately put her in touch with my marketing genius Marie, and this is all being addressed now.

How about you? Is imposter syndrome showing up in your marketing? When you look at your brand, your website, your social media do people know what you’ve accomplished? Why you are the best choice for what they need? If not, why not?


Are you struggling with confidence? How about the feeling of, “not wanting to toot your own horn?” These are real things, and they affect many, many entrepreneurs. But moving past them is essential to a thriving business. And a thriving business owner. Stepping into and owning your competence, unique point of view, and value will change everything.


Take a look at your website and ask yourself, “If I wanted to learn more about myself and my achievements would I be able to from this site?” If not, schedule some time with someone to do an analysis of your marketing and branding to ensure that you are putting your best foot out there and showing up as your best self-online.


I have a few spots left for January 2020 intensives! Contact me to learn more. In 3-hours we can create more profitability and an actionable strategy for your business that meets your goals.

I wanted to give you an end of year checklist with the knowledge that once you check these things off, your 2020 stuff is in the books! If you run your business on the January to December calendar year, follow these steps to close your year out over the next few weeks!

End of year checklistIt is almost the end of 2020 (fanfare!) and I know most of us are relieved and grateful for the new year. This past year didn’t go as planned for anyone I know. Yet, many people learned to pivot, change, and thrive this year. Never underestimate the determination of an entrepreneur.




End of Year Checklist

Close out your income for 2020.


After the 31st, no more income counts for 2020. You should have your gross numbers immediately if you have been tracking your income monthly. Print out reports from Stripe, PayPal, and any other payment processor you use. Keep these for your taxes.




Organize your receipts by month


If you don’t keep your receipts by month already, go ahead and sort them into envelopes, by month, and total the amount of the receipts on the outside of the envelope. You can add the 12 monthly totals together to easily find what you paid in expenses in 2020.




Know your regular monthly expenses for 2020.


Again, if you don’t total these monthly, go ahead and add up your regular monthly expenses such as your phone, rent, internet, and software subscriptions. You need this total for your taxes as well.




Print out the report of your tax deposits


In the U.S. you have until January 31st to pay your fourth quarter taxes. If you follow my method, however, you are withholding and depositing taxes with each paycheck throughout the year. This means 26 deposits in 2020. If you used the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) you can just print a report of your deposits and have it for your taxes.




Make sure you send your returns for of your payroll tax deposits


If your bookkeeper will run you an annual report, grab it and have it for taxes. The same with your software, run those reports if you paid employer taxes to make filing your final 2020 940 and 941 easier. If your bookkeeper or accountant does this for you, bonus! Just make sure you sign and mail these returns on time.




Recalculate your Breakthrough Number for Q1 2021


Have your expenses changed? Do you still need all of the things you pay for? Take time to run your numbers and adjust your emergency fund deposit as needed to cover any changes. This is also the time to check in on your cyclical fund deposit for any changes in 2021.




Finally, celebrate the end of 2020


Check all of these things off the list, and feel free to dance around the living room. I won’t judge. The new year brings 365 new days of opportunities, growth, and success.




Wishing you the very best for 2021. Happy Entrepreneuring!



Creating your signature offer is one way you can be sure you reach the right audience and hone your message. One that you will be known for.  One that people will seek you out for.  Your signature can be a course, program, flavor, color, packaging, template, the sky is the limit. 


No matter your business or industry, your voice, your values, and your point of view are unique to you. Your message will resonate with some people, and not with others. And that’s just fine.


Creating Your Signature Offer


The one thing about creating your signature offer is that it needs to be on-brand. It needs to be cohesive with your voice, message, image, and values. Make sure you know these things for yourself before you start creating your signature offer. To start crafting your signature offer, answer the questions below.




What do you want to be known for?


It’s the Profit Accelerator for me. The programs, the (upcoming) podcast, the book, all of it. I want to be the go-to for entrepreneurs who want to make more money and keep more profit by starting with their numbers. I know profit creates impact and I want small business owners to have a tremendous impact in their communities and in society.





What change or transformation do you want your clients to have through your signature thing?


I want people to be empowered with their money. Confident in making financial decisions. I want them to walk away from my signature Profit Accelerator experience with positive permanent changes that make entrepreneurship better for them. You need to be very, very clear about what your clients will experience through your signature thing. Your answers in this step will help you define the actual offer in the next step.





What’s the best format for your clients to get that change?


In the program I created, it is a hybrid between 1:1 sessions and group coaching for a six to twelve-week timeframe with the singular goal of generating revenue and keeping the profit. For some of you, it will be a course, whether online or live. For others, it will be with your products. You know your audience, make sure you are meeting them where they are so you can help them get to where they want to be.





What feels good for you to deliver?


The final question has to do with alignment. Your signature offer must represent you and you must feel good delivering it to the world.  If you are not a webinar and PowerPoint person, you can’t force your signature offer into that format. Really think about this. The way you deliver your signature thing is the way people will remember you.


There are still two weeks left for 2020, why not take a little time and create the thing you want to be known for in 2021. Daydream a bit if you need to. Visualize it, feel it, and outline whatever you need to in order to bring your signature thing to the world in 2021.


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Recurring revenue creates business stability through renewable products and services.


Do you know why memberships, subscription boxes, and automatic renewals are so popular? Because people love to be a part of something and to receive new things regularly.


And where there is predictable RR the business owner can relax a little bit because a certain amount of money will be flowing in each month without their having to make any more sales.  This is also the reason payment plans are so popular for entrepreneurs as well. Yes, there is a risk someone won’t meet their obligation, but most of the time people do. As a result, recurring revenue streams can be a great way to grow your business and have “guaranteed” income each month and I recommend having at least one offer to many of my clients.  



How to Set Up Your Recurring Revenue:


1. Create an offer that people want every month.

Many people join memberships and subscriptions because the offer has something new each cycle. I belong to a few memberships where each month has new trainings that I love.  There may be a members-only masterclass, new members-only bonus, some accountability, or other “new” perk that keeps the subscription fresh.

If you don’t already have something that would support a regular renewal, create one. Start with the outcome. What is the client going to receive with this offer? Sales support? A Product box? A new course or masterclass? Why would they choose to work with you each month, what are you giving them?


2. For subscriptions, use membership software to minimize your tasks.


There are a lot of different kinds of membership software available that will automatically “renew” your members each month and keep your client’s payment information secure.  I don’t recommend manually invoicing or running cards for small payments in a membership. It is labor-intensive and there is a risk of making a mistake, double charging, invoices not being sent, etc.

Invest in a membership portal or software to automate the billing tasks.  I have personally used a single purchase of Memberpress for my WordPress website linked to PayPal for my monthly recurring membership for non-traditional law students. I know that there are other platforms and software products available for you to explore.




A note on payment plans.

You can still have recurring revenue with payment plans for your products and services.  You can decide how many payments you want to receive for each offer. I don’t recommend stretching the payments too far out past the end of your program or service. And I always recommend adding to the monthly payment enough to cover your additional fees and to reduce the risk of someone not paying.

For example, I have an offer that is $697.00. I have a plan for two payments at $365, or $730, and three payments at $250.00, or $750.  The little bit extra in each payment offsets both the increased interchange fees and the risks that someone won’t make all of the payments. Payment plans can be a great way to have a regular income for a few months on a single sale.


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