Working for yourself has its perks: you call the shots, lead the company, and, hey, even make the dress code (slippers, please!). But there are some downfalls, too, like costly up-front charges and you can kiss that matching 401(k) goodbye. Here are three tricks of the trade for getting the most out of spending and saving as a small shop:
1. How to spend. It gets expensive funding a company entirely on your own. Lucky for you, there’s lots of support out there and rewards programs to help you stretch your dollar farther. Sign up for a Chase Ink Plus credit card and get 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. It’s worth 25% more when you redeem for travel, which makes the Plus an even better travel card than most airline credit cards. This is especially a good choice if you’re just starting out; you’re likely going to be spending more heavily in the beginning as you set up a home office, extra phone line, and promotional materials—plus travel to enlist more clients! Bonus: if and when you expand your company, you get free employee cards.
2. Where to spend. As a small business owner, you get to choose where you spend your hard-earned cash, so get picky about who gives you the best deal. We love Apple’s Business Experts, who are on-call 24-7 for your business’s tech needs no matter how big or small you are. Sign up for their small business program and get discounts on the stuff you need, from iPhones to iPads to computers. They’ll even help you make a purchasing plan so that your equipment keeps pace with business growth. Trying out some new software or formatting a new device? Make a one-on-one appointment with the Genius Bar or try one of their free group workshops to get the most out of your devices.
3. How to save. No 401(k)? No problem! There are lots of other ways you can save money for down the road. The first type of retirement account worth considering is an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA. An IRA is particularly effective for putting aside less than $5,000, and you can set it up right at your local bank. If you plan to set aside more than $5,000, consider a Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement, or SEP IRA. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but totally worth it because like an IRA your contributions are tax-deductible. You can open one at any major brokerage, like Fidelity or TD Ameritrade.