Thank you to TurboTax for sponsoring my writing about household finances. Learn more about how TurboTax can help you find every tax deduction you deserve. Managing a home business in addition to running a family can be tricky. I've learned a few tips to keep everything organized and functioning as smoothly as possible. It's not going to be a surprise that cleverness and communication are essential to running a business from home. Here are my best tips for smart moms that run home businesses:
Keep business and personal finances separate. Soon after launching this blog, I decided to invest in formally turning my blog into and LLC. Why did I spend $500 on this decision? LLC members cannot be found personally liable for company debts. That mean my family's finances won't be negatively impacted if Momtrends falls into trouble (not that I anticipate that!).
Have your own accounts. There is a Momtrends business account that is completely separate from our family accounts. This makes it easy to track the business and to make sure my expenses don't get lost in the family accounts. If you are into branding, you might want to get your logo on your checks or splash out for a fun print. I also opened a separate Visa account for Momtrends.
Maintain Your Records. Our family shares a file cabinet. One drawer is for Momtrends--the others are for family finances. We file a year's worth of statements for our records and have all the files clearly labeled. Keep your business records separate--this goes for your computer as well. If you don't have space for a file cabinet for your business, tuck all your needs into one of these cute file totes ($60 from Sorting with Style) that you can stash in your closet. Create a folder in your computer where you stash all your work papers and documents.
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Fight the Paperwork. When you combine the needs of a family and a home-based business, you're looking at a lot of paper entering the house. Attempt to go through the mail every day. We use three "in boxes"--one for the Mr. one for me and one for Momtrends. Since we are in a space crunch, we try to file or react to everything as soon as we can. Get as many e-statments as possible. The way I see it, I don't need months and months of bank statements clogging my files. I rely on electronic banking for most of my needs. Everything that is not absolutely essential goes into the shredder. Consumer Reports picks Fellowes Intellishred PS-79Ci Shredder (CRC32279.1) as a favorite shredder.
Reconciliation is Key. Just like a relationship, your finances have to be tended to. Set aside a time every week to go over your accounts. Mr. Momtrends and I discuss our financial goals on a monthly basis, and at least once a week we talk strategy about day-to-day finances. As for the business, at least once a week I take stock of outstanding invoices. Build this time into your calendar. Communication is essential to a smooth running family AND business. If you find you can't keep up with your accounts, it's time to bite the bullet and hire an accountant.
As with so many things in life, investing your time and money wisely will pay off when it comes to managing your home-based business and family finances.