It’s officially been 2 years since I decided to take that leap of faith and start my own business - Brand’eM (Brand Review and Audit Consultancy). With 3 years of professional Marketing experience under my belt, I set a path wherein I could use my time to do things I believe to be more meaningful - very millennial of me.
Whenever I tell this story to relatives, friends and colleagues, I would see the wonder in their smiles. This is paired with the slight worry in their eyes as to how a 20+ something year old can sustain this financially. Apart from the struggle of battling insecurities not working in a steady and secure corporate set-up (that’s another story), there is the challenge of liquidity. Let’s face it, cash is king. Money is a commodity we need to live, pursue our dreams and do more good around our community.
Before I got into the groove of running Brand’eM, I already expected that income would be erratic. And boy was I shookt. There were times I’d be begging, and other times I’d be splurging. Of course I’m exaggerating but the tides were real. The challenge was how to survive the tides without really knowing what the moon would look like. How then can I still guarantee that I would be able to save and invest without significantly getting from the savings I have accumulated?
In the business of brand consultancy, one has to be comfortable with ambiguity. We sail through the waves relying on the wind, stars and sea. While we’ve mapped out the destination, the “how” is something we take and try to figure out day by day. So in order to stay afloat, a good tip is to rely on consistency. I rely on the power of percentage.
Each time I receive a check payment, I automatically and deliberately multiply a fixed percentage I allocate to my savings and investment. This step is what you call “paying yourself first.” I multiply a fixed percentage on the business’ gross income, and I treat the remaining amount as my monthly budget. I have to “pay myself first” for my future because if I don’t, no one will. The said remaining amount should be enough to fund all other expenses - business’ and personal. If the amount is too low, then I have to lessen my personal expenses. I notice that people easily accept paying for their credit card bills, taxes, SSS, Pag-Ibig Fund and the like but hesitatingly allocate anything to their savings. It’s something that still makes me wonder up to this day.
I use a fixed percentage because it becomes easier for me to survive the tides. Regardless of how high or low revenue is, there is a guarantee that I am saving and investing an amount. Any amount will do as long as there is. In 2015, I started with 30% savings and investment rate. Today, I have gotten more used to the tides that my fixed savings and investment percentage has increased.
To young entrepreneurs out there, believe me when I say it’s possible. It’s possible to still save and invest for personal use without giving everything back to the business. Much like a healthier diet or exercise regimen, we will surely have instances where cheat days are just too good to be observed for only a day. The more important thing is that we remind ourselves to get back on track, go forward to our destination no matter how low or high the tides are.