Jen Mayer is a Brooklyn-based mom of two, a financial counselor, a former doula, and has been self-employed her entire career life. Jen is a financial counselor trained through the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE). Her passion is working with parents and self-employed people to implement financial strategies so they can live with financial confidence, less stress, and meet their lifelong goals. 

In this episode, Jen and I discuss:

  • As a self-employed person, how do you make sure you’re building a financially stable business?
  • How to give yourself a benefits package as a self-employed person
  • Retirement and 401Ks
  • Financial freedom

Read the full transcript

Jen Mayer 0:00
I’ve been self employed my entire career. So I’m 39. I’ve been self employed for 20 years. And I’ve probably made every financial mistake in the book.

Meg Casebolt 0:11
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lipsync send to cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started. Hello, friends, welcome to the social slowdown podcast. I am here with Jen Mayer from fully funded. And Jen and I were connected by a listener by my friend Kim Healy. If you guys went back and listened to the podcast episode that we had with Taryn Newman a couple months ago, Tara and I were lamenting the fact that there aren’t a lot of personal finance resources for people who are self employed. And so Kim emailed me after she listened, I think she was actually in the middle of listening and was like, um, I have a resource for you. Her name is Jen. So Jen, thank you so much for being here today and helping us fill in the gaps of previous episodes.

Jen Mayer 1:37
Absolutely. I’m so excited to chat with you today.

Meg Casebolt 1:40
So what I really wanted to kind of just leap right into is, Tara is a business coach, she was talking about how, you know, sometimes we don’t need our businesses to be the end all be all of always generating new cash for us. But instead, if we have really smart personal finance, instincts and systems in place, then we can kind of coast a little bit more easily. We don’t necessarily have to have that nonstop cash flow coming in and going out, but we can invest in retirement accounts, the way that people who have who choose and have salaries are doing. But it’s not really something that’s being talked about very often within this entrepreneurial self employment fund freelance founder space. So I would love to hear a little bit about your background and how you got into both financial coaching, but specifically talking to this entrepreneur self funded space.

Jen Mayer 2:39
Yeah, so I’m a financial coach. And I founded fully funded out of the pandemic in 2020 2020, and launched in 2021. But I have come into this work a little sideways, like life is a journey. I’ve been self employed my entire career. So I’m 39. I’ve been self employed for 20 years. And I, I probably made every financial mistake in the book. From my own experiences of that first good year, right, bam,

Meg Casebolt 3:16
taxes. Yeah. And I feel like there’s also that first, the first not good year, where you’re like, Oh, cool. I, you know, I left my job making $50,000 I’ve been hustling and I’m making $20,000 I only get to bring down $10,000 Like, what the heck am I doing this? And then you do have the good year, and you’re like, Wait, where did all the money go?

Jen Mayer 3:37
Where’d all the money go? Or, Oh, I have this big tax bill. And so that experience and then, having been self employed my entire career, I didn’t have a job in my 20s that had a 401k I hadn’t been putting money aside into retirement, I was too busy, hustling and working and putting myself through college. And then I really started to buckle down in my 30s and work on my personal finances and starting to invest for my future. So even before becoming a financial coach, I always had a personal interest in personal finance, just from my own experiences in my own journey. But the way that I came to start the business was I had been a birth doula for over 15 years. I have a doula collective here in New York City that I own and manage. We have like 70 people on our team that work with us. And through my own experiences of becoming a parent, I’ve got two kids are seven and three. I’ve planned a parental leave twice. And for anyone listening, if you’re self employed and plan to parental leave, like it’s just a different situation, right?

Meg Casebolt 4:49
It’s totally, you know, even like, I got pregnant with my first kid when I was still employed, and it was a small enough business that I didn’t need to have FMLA but there was something different about Like, knowing that I would have had a job to go back to after 12 weeks, even if I didn’t have that income coming in, versus when you’re self employed, and you’re planning that maternity leave, you’re like, but when’s the money coming back?

Jen Mayer 5:15
Exactly, exactly. So you’re not only planning for an unpaid time away from your business, you have to think ahead and plan how you’re going to have money coming back into your business once you return. So there’s a lot of stress around taking a leave when you’re self employed. The first time, I did not plan well, and then the second time I plan my entire pregnancy around my leave, I was like, I am taking four months off, I am training a team to be in my place, and I am saving X amount of dollars to make it happen. And it worked. And it was a total success. And like one of the best experiences of my life and totally worth it. And so originally, I started fully funded to help other self employed people plan their leaves, and the original name was fully funded by 40 weeks. Oh, but as I started working with people, I quickly realized, and this is not shocking, right? We live in the US. And there’s no mandated paid family leave. So no matter if people are self employed, or if they’re employed, and they have FMLA, or they’re taking an unpaid leave, so much of parental leave planning is actually financial planning. Yes. And once I saw that, I was like, well, guess I’m getting into financial planning.

Meg Casebolt 6:43
I have I have two kids, and we have you know, the nosy Auntie family members who are like to when are you going to have another baby? And I’m like, when you give me $20,000 To take maternity leave? Sure. Do you want to fund that for me? Because if not, I mean, I probably could afford to do it all over again. But it really is. It’s it’s a time and, and money expenditure that you don’t get, and then it’s, you know, two grand a month and daycare or decrease. Right, there’s always some sort of adjustment that’s happening in the in the process of, and a lot of us and a lot I know a lot of listeners here are also in the same boat as you and I, which is we have little kids, we built the businesses so that we can have the flexibility to be with our families. But the flexibility has a financial cost to it, which might be an opportunity cost of you can’t work 40 hours a week, or you choose not to work 40 hours a week. So you have to find more efficient ways to use your time or it might be a you know, you can’t take on specific jobs, because you can’t be on those calls at that time. Like there’s always some sort of trade off happening in the process.

Jen Mayer 7:54
Right, totally. So I enrolled in a fcpe, the Association for financial counseling and education and planning. And became a financial counselor. And once I started working with people in general around financial counseling, there was such a demand. Yeah, I was like, Oh, my goodness, people really want education and support around making financial decisions, and also getting themselves set up for decades to come.

Meg Casebolt 8:29

Jen Mayer 8:31
So I don’t even it’s not even on my website anymore, that I do the parental leave coaching. It’s all financial coaching at this point.

Meg Casebolt 8:39
That’s so interesting to me that you really started from a place of this is the problem that I want to solve and it is a, you know, one year solution. And then as you went through that solution with a number of people, you’re you sort of zoomed out. I feel like so often we start broad and then zoom in, but you went in the opposite direction, because you know, if you have a fully funded parental leave, but then you get back to your business and you’re like, oh, it’s in shambles. Right? I didn’t set up my 401k I didn’t set up my emergency fund. I don’t have these sort of structural systems in place than having a fully funded maternity leave or poor parental leave, I should say more accurately. It’s like a bandaid on top of a problem. It’s not a solution. Exactly.

Jen Mayer 9:27
Yeah, yeah. So there’s, you know, other financial pieces of the puzzle that put together.

Meg Casebolt 9:33
So talk to me about like, what’s the process if you have somebody new that you’re onboarding they come to you and they’re like, I really want as as a person who is self employed as somebody who has variable income month to month or their it’s really cyclical, and like summers are quiet but September’s crazy, which is like what my business looks like. We don’t we don’t get any leads in the summer and I’m just used to it. So I have to do my cash flow planning around that. So if you’re listening and you want to work with me now Next summer is really good. Because we’re dead in the summer because we work with a lot of parents. But I also my team is parents. So we’re all like it’s fine. Just take a light schedule right now. But if you have people who maybe don’t necessarily recognize their their cycles, or they’re trying to figure out how to plan ahead and how to fund these things, knowing that your income is going to be feast and famine or variable or cyclical, like what are the first things that you ask them are the first steps that you expect them to take?

Jen Mayer 10:37
Yeah, so when I start working with clients, we do an overall assessment of their financial picture. And for business owners, we’re looking at personal finance, but we’re also looking at the business finances as well. Because when you’re self employed, the two are so intertwined and links. And when I start working with some folks, it’s so intertwined, that it’s all in the same bank account. Oh, gosh. Yeah. So that right there is like the first step is separating personal from business. So I always start with income, right? If we’re looking at financial goals, we can take things out of a budget, or like pare things down only to a certain extent, there’s always going to be expenses that have to be paid because we have to live. So I always like to start with income, let’s see, what is the current income? What are the offerings? What are what are people’s capacities? How’s the health of business? Then we’ll be looking at their overall expenses, both from the personal and from the business, and really combing through what does it take to keep your business moving forward each month? And what does it take to keep your household moving forward each month? Right? Yeah. And from there, we can see, is there any inefficiencies? Or is there any duplicated efforts? Can you streamline any of these finances?

Meg Casebolt 12:03
What kind of like duplicated efforts? Do you mean?

Jen Mayer 12:07
I’m, like, looking through subscriptions, for example. Yep. I think that is an easy one to look for leaks like, Are you paying for something that you didn’t realize you’re paying for? Another leak can sometimes be debt and interest rates? And how much that might be? So really having a good sense of what is actually going out each month? Then we’re going to look at savings. Is there an emergency savings in place? Is there an opportunity fund in place for both the business and for the personal, sometimes people have savings. Great, and sometimes people like I have no savings. So we really need to start there and start carving out that account and prioritizing it and getting a good sense of what is the amount is usually like three to six months of living expenses that we want set aside. But that’s a project that takes time. And it’s not going to like happen overnight. And that’s Well,

Meg Casebolt 13:05
I mean, the first part of figuring out three to six months living expenses is figuring out how much is your monthly living expense. zactly. And I would, I would guess that you, as somebody working with folks with kind of inconsistent income, you might want to caution them to be more on the six month side of things versus the three month side of things because like, if I trip and fall and break my leg, and I don’t have disability insurance, which I don’t right now, I should probably or you know, I mean, you get COVID You’re out for a month you’re backed up, then you might not be able to go get as much income versus if you were you know, if you had disability insurance through an employer, you might still be able to work you might have some of that income coming in. So like knowing that your risk assessment from being an entrepreneur is higher, you might need to have a larger emergency funds and folks who don’t have as risky of an income stream.

Jen Mayer 14:06
Absolutely right. So if someone single no dependents has a W two they could probably swing like three month emergency fund. But if we got parents who have kiddos who are depending on them self employed, we want at least six months and in some cases nine months might feel more comfortable for some people Yeah,

Meg Casebolt 14:28
like feel a little bit more secure. And and you also said something interesting that I hadn’t really thought about which is you know an emergency fund for your personal finance and like a rainy day or opportunity fund for your business where you don’t have to dip into your personal emergency fund or go into credit card debt. If you you know, there’s a program you want to join or you know, there’s a new team member you need to hire but they haven’t made back their their expenses for the first couple of months. And so you have to kind of float them a little bit like there Do your business can have a rainy day fund and your life can have a rainy day fund. But that means that if you have a six month rainy day fund across both of those places, then that’s a lot of fun.

Jen Mayer 15:11
Right? Yes. Yeah. So for the business, if you have team members, right, you’ll want to have extra cash set aside, just in case businesses slow. So you can still pay your team members. Or if you want to be saving for a future conference or a training or continuing ed, investing in anything, new website, you know, all these things that keep our businesses moving forward. Yeah, absolutely.

Meg Casebolt 15:40
Okay. So people are going to figure out how much money they’re making and how much money they need to make, they’re going to think about setting up some sort of emergency or rainy day fund for their businesses and their personal expenses. If they have all of that, what are the next steps that you can help people work on?

Jen Mayer 15:56
Yeah, so then we’re looking at debt, are people carrying debt? And what kind of debt is it right? Not all debt is created equal. We’ve got high interest debt. And we’ve got low interest debt. So the general definition is anything over six to 7% is going to be considered high interest. And anything under six or 7% is going to be considered low interest.

Meg Casebolt 16:21
And correct me if I’m wrong, but that 7% mark is based on the average inflation rate. So it’s like if your debt is higher than inflation, that you’re losing money. But if your debts interest rate is lower than inflation, then you can continue to acquire money faster than you can pay it down. I didn’t probably explain that as clearly as I could.

Jen Mayer 16:41
The benchmark I’ve always referenced is the the s&p 500. So if you were to invest that money, would you make a return on it? So you wouldn’t want to invest money if you had a higher interest rate on your debt? Because you’re not going to out invest? The interest rate for that debt? Yes,

Meg Casebolt 17:01
that was what I meant to say. That’s why I was like, correct me if I’m wrong, because I might not have the right the right benchmark here. But you’re right. Like, if you invest in the stock market, some an index fund, like the s&p 500, then you would probably make more than 8% is the average over time. Right?

Jen Mayer 17:21
Okay. And there’s some like, classic financial advice to like, pay off all your debt, and then invest. But if you have a low mortgage rate, if you bought last year, and you’re like cruising at a two or 3%, interest mortgage rate, why would you pay off your house first, before you start investing in the stock market? Totally. Yeah,

Meg Casebolt 17:43
we have a 3.25. VA loan, and I’m like, we’re gonna hold on to that for the full 30 years. Just gonna ride that out. Yep. Sorry, you’re not getting a single penny of principal extra on me, because that’s going into into savings into the stock market, because it’s half of, you know, with a 3%, that would be very different than a credit card, which would be probably 15 or 20%, where you’re losing more than you would be able to make investing.

Jen Mayer 18:14
Yeah, and anyone listening, if you have credit card debt, go check your interest rates. If you had a variable interest rate, interest rates have gone up. In recent months, the Fed has been raising interest rates. I just had a coaching call, and we were going through my my clients, debt 31.9. Yeah, but that’s not what it was when she got the job and the credit card.

Meg Casebolt 18:41
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And this is, you know, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Dave Ramsey, but the snowball approach of like, start with the debt that has the highest interest rate, and work your way down that way that sort of, is that the snowball? Whereas the snowball that you start with the biggest one see, this is the thing is, I feel like even people who are like I consider myself to be like, fairly well versed in personal financial literacy. And still I’m using these, like, got inflation and stock market confused and, and if this isn’t something that you’ve grown up with, it can be really hard to figure out how to navigate these systems.

Jen Mayer 19:17
And it can be really, it can be really can like, like really hard to navigate. And also, just like hard to figure out like, is this a good plan for me? Yeah, right. Like, Dave Ramsey plan is not gonna be a good plan for a lot of people. He teaches the snowball, which is you pay your lowest debt first, up to your highest debt. I’m a big fan of the avalanche. Like you were saying, start with the highest interest rate, pay that off first and work your way down on the interest rate. One isn’t like right or wrong, personal finance is personal, but I think you’re gonna save some more money. You start with the highest interest

Meg Casebolt 20:01
rate? Yeah, that would be my approach. So yeah, I, I agree with your approach, but I didn’t know the right name for it. I wouldn’t even as an SEO person, I wouldn’t have known what to Google to figure out like, which of my debts should I tackle first? And what is the right benchmark? And how do I know when? And you know, there are absolutely parts of that that are Google bubble, but there are parts where you’re like, can someone just tell me what to do?

Jen Mayer 20:24
Absolutely, especially, it’s like, Where do I even start? Depending on the debt situation, there might be a student loan situation. Yeah, that’s a whole thing right now. And then if people have their emergency fund or Opportunity Fund, they don’t have debt, or they don’t have like the high interest debt, then let’s look at investing. Let’s plan for the future. And that’s one of the cool things about being self employed, is I say, Cool. And

Meg Casebolt 21:00
it’s both where it’s both.

Jen Mayer 21:05
Because you are your own boss, and you are the employee. So how can you build your own benefits as someone who’s self employed, and give yourself like an awesome benefits package. And that’s stressful to like design your own retirement plan, right? There’s a lot of great options and accounts that are available, just for self employed people.

Meg Casebolt 21:29
And in a lot of ways we get, like you said, because we are both our employer, our own employer and our own employee, we get the benefit on both sides of things. So my personal 401 K has a match from love it for search, which I am paying myself the matching funds from myself, which was a weird thing to wrap my head around, when I set it up, I was like, Wait, so I’m just, I can max out lots of guys, you may not be here, that’s okay. It took me like seven years of figuring this out and doing the research to do this. But it’s like, I know that the maximum 401 K account for a person is $20,500, or something like 90,500. But I also can pay myself an extra 5% of matching fees from my business to myself. So I get to go above that because of the matching, but I have to make sure that I mentioned every team member of mine who’s on a 401 K account at that same rate, and there’s all these different rules that can be really hard to figure out. You know, I had an employee right now, I’m all contractors, so I can kind of ease off of that. But when I had the employee had to have disability insurance, and it’s just like, there’s so much to navigate. And it’s even though it’s me as the business owner making those choices, it is impacting my personal retirement accounts.

Jen Mayer 22:53
Absolutely. And there’s so many hats to wear, right, just in the process of setting up the account that you’re referenced, you’re like, Okay, I’m gonna put on my business owner hat, and I’m giving myself a match. And then it’s like,

Meg Casebolt 23:06
I have my hat as the business owner in my hat as the employee, both in the same account, were asked to log in and log off as myself twice, because I’m like, CEO, Meg is gonna give a raise to employ you, man, like, it’s a weird thing that we have to figure out. But also, like, you’re getting not free money from the government. But you know, and I’m speaking specifically to Americans here, because I’m sure that with our RSP is in the Canadians, it’s a little bit different. But like, there are ways that you can decrease your tax burden by doing this, but it’s a it’s still run around.

Jen Mayer 23:41
Yeah, um, there’s ways to definitely save on taxes. There’s tax advantaged retirement accounts that the US government incentivize people to save for their retirement and this, this is so important when we’re thinking about our futures, because there’s social security. And back in the day, so back in the day been the 80s. Yeah. When you would talk about retirement planning. They used to reference what’s called like, the three legged stool. And so there was like three legs to retirement planning. There were social security. There was pensions, and there was savings.

Meg Casebolt 24:26
So that everybody has a pension anymore unless they’re working for like the post office. Yeah.

Jen Mayer 24:31
So thirds a third pension a third savings if there’s social security. Knocked out one of those legs, right. We don’t have pensions anymore. So Social Security didn’t go up. Not 50% Nope. I’m not sure how old you are.

Meg Casebolt 24:47
I’m 30 I’m an elder. We are elder millennial geriatric live please listen on geriatric millennials. We could just be elders. Although, you know, we were Just talking about maternity leaves, and I think about the fact that we would have geriatric pregnancies right now. And I’m like, isn’t that kind of an oxymoron to say, geriatric pregnancy, but geriatric is a very, I don’t know, maybe it’s a trigger word for me anyway, as an elder millennials, as, as a veteran millennials,

Jen Mayer 25:18
were thinking of like Social Security down the down the line, right? We don’t know, it’s not going to be totally depleted, but it’s projected, like whatever gets paid in that year is going to get paid out. So we’re not going to be counting on Social Security to be a large chunk of our retirement. So right now, people generally plan around it being a third of their retirement. But we’re, you know, we might need to plan for more. Yeah. So that’s where the incentivized retirement accounts that are tax advantaged, come into play, and they’re pretty substantial. So for self employed people, they can have access to the traditional IRA, if their income qualified, they can do the Roth. And that’s for, you know, who, however, you’re employed, who are self employed, right, but then self employed people also have access to a SEP, Sep, Ira. And if you have employees, you’ll also have to contribute a similar percentage to their accounts. But if you’re a solo, in your business, or if you have contractors, then you can just put money in. And that’s a big bucket. Yeah, big big bucket are like talking like 60 grand, like,

Meg Casebolt 26:39
Yeah, cuz that’s like about 20 grand into your, your 401. K, if you have one of those, and then you can do six serves 6500, or something, it changes every year into your Roth IRA every year, and that’s kept regardless of your income. And then if I recall correctly, it’s like 20% of your net income, you can put into your Sep. So depending on how much you’re making, you can put more or less into that self employed IRA. And so like, like you said, you can save, you know, 40 5060 grand a year, maybe more, depending on how much you’re making. But you have to also plan ahead, so that when you have that money available, whether that’s, you know, if you’re if you’re aiming for 60 grand, which like good for you. But that’s a dollars a month that you’d have to write. That’d be nice. But that’s $5,000 a month that you’re setting aside every month. And yes, it’ll bring down your tax burden, but you still have to save for taxes at the same time that you’re saving for retirement and investing in all these different places and, and that you need to have the foresight to know that that’s coming. Because if you wait until you get your taxes back, I did this, for the first like two years, I was at like my business where it was like, Oh, it now I’m getting my taxes back. And I don’t have the six grand to put into my Roth, like I just I, I didn’t have the cash flow. To do it. I knew that I could, but I didn’t have the actual, like liquid cash to do that. So it’s a lot of that is that like budgeting around variable income,

Jen Mayer 28:15
budgeting around variable income. And I think building in percentages, so that as your business grows, and as your income grows, you’re saving proportionally to your income. And yeah, so like, no matter where people are at like, right, if someone’s just starting out, or they have really high expenses, or paying off debt, or just anything that they could put towards retirement would be a bonus, right. And then these are long term plans, we’re talking like working over a decade’s time, then as your financial picture shifts each year, you’re able to prioritize more, either more percent or more income towards your retirement investing goals. That year over year, planning and consistency is gonna get you to where you want to be. Right?

Meg Casebolt 29:05
And then you’re not stuck in this position where you’re turning 60 Turning 65 And you’re still working, and you’re like, I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Because, you know, like, what, I’m just going to stop working, I’m just going to sell the business. But I don’t have that income coming in if I sell the business, which is a really tough situation to be in, you know, and for people who are W two or their employees somewhere, they can set that up to automatically come out of their paychecks. They may or may not choose to do so. But they can.

Jen Mayer 29:41
They can Yeah. So maybe the business coach is talking about or maybe another guest has talked about the book profit first. Yes.

Meg Casebolt 29:51
That was gonna be my next question is do you recommend some sort of target allocation percentage like Profit First does?

Jen Mayer 29:57
I love Profit First do that I changed my life in 2017. Once I started implementing the practices in the book, I was like, Oh, it can be, it can be this straightforward.

Meg Casebolt 30:11
Yeah, you don’t have to figure it all out. It’s like, okay, if I save this, if I pay myself this much of how much I make it, my expenses stay underneath this cap, if I set this aside for taxes, it doesn’t have to feel so hard.

Jen Mayer 30:25
It doesn’t have to feel so hard. Absolutely. And I love the consistency of the practice of people aren’t familiar with the premise of profit first. Basically, every time you pay yourself, you divide that income into different categories by percentages. So you’ll pay yourself a percentage and your owners comp, you’ll set aside a percentage for taxes, you’ll set outside a percentage for the business expenses. And then you set aside a percentage for your profit, or this percentage could be for retirement or your future or

Meg Casebolt 31:00
whatever, your rainy day fund, whatever that looks like, wherever you are in that process.

Jen Mayer 31:05
Yeah. So I think that can be a really, really helpful tool for folks as they’re setting up their, their business income and expenses and saving for taxes and all of these things. So even if you’re starting with a smaller percentage at the beginning, you can reallocate as you go on.

Meg Casebolt 31:23
Yeah, so I, if I recall correctly, if you’re making like under $250, it’s like you’re paying yourself half of that, as your your owners draw, and then 15% to your taxes and 30% to your expenses and 5% to your profit. And the other thing that I love about Profit First is like, there’s a rhythm to it, where either like the first and 15th, or the month or the 10th and 24th of the month, you sit down and you actually like the recommendation as you go, and you actually move things around your bank accounts, and make the money go away if you don’t, can’t use it, right. Which was a hard thing for me to like, have money in a bank account and be like, I’m not allowed to touch that, that bank account for a while like that’s, that’s a hard thing. Like it’s very much like it’s, it can burn a hole in your pocket. And so while I have the cash, I may as well go hire that business coach or join that program or hire that team member. But then you’re like, what’s the phrase like stealing from Peter to pay Paul, or it’s like, oh, you hire the team member, but you’re taking it out of your retirement accounts or your texts tax savings account, and could end up shooting yourself in the foot?

Jen Mayer 32:27
Exactly. And for me, personally, using the profit first model and method has given me like, instant feedback on the health of my business. Right? Like, if, if this is gonna work, if it’s gonna be a functional business, this is why I can afford to pay myself because this is what I’m saving for business expenses, this is what it costs for taxes. And then if I want to be profitable, we have to prioritize there being profit. And real quick, you can say like, is this working is not working? Yeah. Are the expenses too high for the amount that the business earns? It’s like, how can I make a leaner business model? Or maybe like, wow, I have a very lean business model. This is great. Let’s just rinse, wash, repeat.

Meg Casebolt 33:16
And I think one thing that you said early on was like, You need to know what your home and personal expenses operating expenses are, and what your business expenses are, and make sure that your business is making enough revenue to cover both of those. The original conversation that I was having with Tara, which spurred the recommendation to have a conversation with you, she has a calculator on her website that you can download where it’s like, you go in and you put in, here’s what my mortgage is, here’s what my utilities are, here’s what my team costs, you know, like both your business and your personal expenses. And then based on profit, first target allocation percentages, it’ll go, you need to make $400,000 in your business, or you need to change your expenses. Right. And that was what mine came in as, and I was like, oh, okay, like it was more than I expected to need to make, which gave me some, you know, aware of it. And part of it is you’re saving for your retirement to you’re planning ahead to save for your retirement. So if I know my business is making $400,000 Which it’s not that’s what I need in order to save that $50,000 a year so I can retire before I turned 70. You know, like there’s there’s a lot of like, Jenga tower or like dominoes, not Jenga, that’s like the old tower falling dominoes that can kind of positively or negatively impact things. But the sooner you start to think about this and plan ahead, the longer you have for Domino’s to stack up. I don’t know if Domino’s is the right example here but compound interest feels a little bit too nerdy to give us an example.

Jen Mayer 34:54
But then also like, like I think dominoes illustrates that things are intertwined, right? Yeah, you with one lever is going to affect another lever when you’re self employed, and using that calculator gives people a really, really clear vision for any goals for their business. Right? Yeah, revenue goals. And that helps in inform offerings and pricing and help people create a sustainable functional business.

Meg Casebolt 35:28
Yeah. Which sometimes we don’t have that full picture when we’re visioning the business. It can be either you dream too big, and you’re like, oh, yeah, I’ll totally grow my business to $2 million a year without also thinking about the subsequent expenses and the costs and the discipline. What’s the team going to cost, but there’s also some of us are, and this is this was my case, where it was like, I was playing a little bit too small, and it wasn’t setting my goals to be appropriate to the lifestyle that I wanted to lead. And, you know, like, kind of had to adjust a lot of things in terms of both what not just what do I want the business to do? But what do I want out of life? And those should be conversations happening simultaneously for most of us who are running these kinds of lifestyle businesses, not the, I’m gonna go get to $24 million from Silicon Valley from venture capital, right? But like, No, I want to make enough money that I can live comfortably and I can save and I can I can invest in, I can splurge on things, and still be able to have a great quality of life.

Jen Mayer 36:30
Yeah, yeah. Especially for folks who are looking for that quality of life piece. Or maybe there’s a reason why did you start this business in the first place? Yeah. Did you leave a corporate job? And you wanted more time with your kids? Or did you want more flexibility to pursue this thing that you’re passionate about that you built a business around? And running those numbers? And this is like a journey, right? It takes time to tinker. And as market conditions change, and the economy changes? This is like an ongoing tinkering. But for creatives, which I’m guessing there’s a lot of creative lists there. Sure. Those are the things our brains love. Right?

Meg Casebolt 37:13
Right. Yeah. And then sometimes we’ll hear from people who are like, I don’t want to think about this, I just want to do the work. And if that’s the case, then maybe you want to do the work. And then you want to hire somebody like Jen, to help you figure out how to make this plan work for you. So if people want to work with you, John, what is the best way to follow up to learn more about how you work?

Jen Mayer 37:36
Yeah, oh, my goodness, if people are interested in working together, check out my website, we are fully And you can check out my offerings there, I typically start people off with a one month engagement, which includes two sessions. One is a financial overview. And the second is a financial planning. I’m also really active on my Instagram, you can always send a DM or voice note at we are fully funded over there. And then for people who are looking to work deeper, both in their business and personal finances, I do six month coaching packages

Meg Casebolt 38:12
to perfect. And I also saw on your website that you do have a free guide called the roadmap to financial freedom. I know I probably tapped on like steps along this roadmap in this conversation, but I bounced around a lot because you know, ADHD. I’m like a pinball machine and my questions. So if you’re like, I really wanted to hear more about that. But I wish that they had articulated it in a more coordinated and structured way. I’m sure John can do that for you. Over at we are fully So John, thank you so much for being here today and walking through some of these kinds of finances, financial literacy and personal finance and business finance, where they all meet in the middle. I really appreciate all of your insights and expertise.

Jen Mayer 38:55
Thank you so much for having me, Meg, this was so fun to chat about.

Meg Casebolt 39:00
Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social and sign up for our email list. You never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media. Talk to you then.

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episode 53 pinterest pin: money and maternity leave for self-employed and freelancers with jen mayer