You've just handed in your resignation notice to your boss. You're putting in your final two weeks as an employee and taking the full-time leap into self-employment. Congratulations! You've worked your ass off during early morning work sessions, burned the candle at both ends juggling a gig that pays the bills and the side business you're truly passionate about, and grew it with love to a place where you can now step into the role of owner, President, CEO, CFO, CTO, COO, Director of Marketing, PR, Social Media and (many, many) others.
Your plan is in place to kick your business into high gear, skyrocket sales, and expand your customer base online and off.
But even with a roadmap, a nice buffer of savings, strict budgets, and careful planning, things can still get hairy and scary in the financial department. Your accounting hat is large, but you don't have to drown in it. If you're looking for a few hardcore, marginally drastic, and creative ways to cut corners, save cash, and make ends meet (you know — just to be on the safe side), then employ these tactics to keep your everyday spending on the downlow.
- Use Free WiFi — Your online business really only needs two things: you and an Internet connection. Coffee shops are an obvious place to find WiFi, but camping out all day while you respond to emails, fill orders, make connections, write your blog posts, engage with your audience, and put out fires can get a little old. For you and the barista. Get a change of scenery every once in a while. Check out hotel lobbies and bars, laundromats, and the library (which won't force you to buy drinks or do your wash while you work).
- Buy (and prepare) in Bulk — Grab the biggest size and prepare the largest quantity of food you can. It may cost you a bit more on the front end, but you can always freeze things like meats, pastas, and soups to eat over the course of a month. Bulk dry goods and non-parishables are a given.
- Get a Roommate — Enlisting someone to help pay your rent can cut your costs at least by half if you have a true second bedroom, but those city apartment dwellers that have a one bedroom with a closed off living room can make this work as well.
- Ditch the Car — Ride a bike or take public transportation wherever you need to go. This saves money on gas, parking, and parking infractions if you happen to leave your ride somewhere you shouldn't. Use a ZipCar, a day-use vehicle, or get a friend to help if you need to hit up Costco.
- Move to the Burbs — The city is a prize fighter when it comes to beating your wallet (and savings) down to a pulp, and if you're an online-based biz there's likely no need for you to be smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a major metropolitan. Check out rentals and homes a few miles outside your current dwelling, and you might find a drastic change in price. Make sure it's near a public transportation line, and you'll have it made.
- Use Half the Goods You'd Normally Use — Make your toothpaste, makeup, detergent, shampoos and conditioners last longer by cutting down on the amount you're using. It's likely you don't need as much shampoo as you're using in your hair (I know you like a lather, but come on), and same goes for your toothpaste. And since you're not going into the office every day (your abode is your new cube), don't use as much makeup. In fact, don't use any at all if you're not meeting with clients or networking.
- Make Your Own Coffee — Daily coffees from the corner joint are already adding up, and if you've taken the leap to self-employment, it can really drag you down. Sipping down a $3 coffee every day adds up to a steamy $1,000 a year. Save that dough by dripping your own at home instead. And no, those single-use K-Cups aren't the same. Talk about price gouging!
- Cancel Your Landline — Who uses a landline these days? Not a lot of people, and fewer and fewer companies. Make your cell phone your only line in or out and cut the tether (and expense) of your landline. The only time I'd keep it? If it's getting you a discount on at-home WiFi service.
- Cut out Cable — Ask anyone and they'll tell you that one of the biggest expenses on their monthly lineup is cable. Seriously take a look at how much TV you're actually watching, how much you actually NEED to watch, and whether or not a cable subscription is worth it. Chances are, you're grinding so hard at your business that you won't notice it being gone, but you will notice the extra $100 bucks in your pocket every month.
- Use Free Tools — There's never been a better time to start up since there are mounds of free tools to help you get business done online. Sites like Google, Weebly, and Hootsuite make blogging, selling, monitoring, and engaging super easy which is all you really need these days, right?
Have you made any drastic changes to your life now that you've quit your day job? Share your stories in the comments on our Facebook page!