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Maintaining Sound Financials as a Sole Proprietor




Running a small business is the stuff of dreams for many a sole proprietor who would rather make it on their own than toil away for someone else. Operating as a sole proprietor is just one way to structure a small business. It has its advantages and disadvantages. It also has its challenges, including maintaining sound financials.

The thing about operating as a sole proprietor – or sole trader in the UK – is that the government does not recognise any distinct separation between personal and business assets. Every dime a sole proprietor earns in business income is also considered personal income. It is taxed accordingly. Sole proprietors are subject to fewer write-offs as well. To keep finances in order, sole proprietors have to be a lot more careful in managing their personal finances.

Key Differences for Sole Proprietors

By definition, a sole proprietor is someone who operates their business alone. There are no other employees, with one possible exception: immediate family members. A good example would be a baker who specialises in wedding cakes. They normally work by themself. When necessary, theybring in their spouse and one of their children to help get them through those especially busy times.

Here are some of the key differences for sole proprietors:

  • Legal Entity – A sole proprietor’s business is not a legally recognised entity in the same vein as an LLC, partnership, or corporation. This is definitely important at tax time. It could also prove important in the event of litigation.
  • Tax Structure – As previously mentioned, the government does not recognise separate income for sole proprietor and their business. It is all one and the same. That means sole proprietors pay both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  • Managing Assets – Assets are not considered business property for the sole proprietor unless they are used exclusively for business purposes. Rented space for the baker would be considered an exclusive business asset. Their kitchen at home would not be.

All of this matters to maintaining sound financials. Sole proprietors have to consider all of these things, and more, and weigh them against non-business financials like paying the mortgage and covering the groceries.

The Budget Is Key

Budgets are important for everyone. They are even more so for sole proprietors. Not only does the budget act as a spending guideline, but it also acts as a fire action sign for a business owner’s financials. In other words, a budget lays out exactly what’s coming in and going out. If expenditures are higher than income, a budget is a warning sign that demands action be taken.

The thing that gives sole proprietors the most trouble in terms of budgeting is planning for business expenses. Like household expenses, there are certain business expenses that are known in advance. But that’s not the case for every expense. Business expenses constantly fluctuate for sole proprietors.

A good way to address unknown business expenses is to take the total from the previous year and then multiply it by the current rate of growth. So, if you are 50 percent busier this year than you were at the same time last year, 50 percent is the rate of growth. You would take last year’s total expenses and multiply them by 1.50 to get an estimate of this year’s.

You would then take that number and multiply it by the rate of inflation to make up for higher prices on equipment and supplies. That final number is the number to use for budgeting purposes. It is a rough estimate of how much you need to set aside to cover equipment, supplies, etc.

Setting Aside for Taxes

The other thing that kills sole proprietors is tax liability. Again, sole proprietors pay both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare (FICA). That is on top of regular income tax. It is a smart idea to set aside a certain amount for every payment to go toward taxes.

Also bear in mind that sole proprietors have to file estimated quarterly taxes. Payments are made in April, June, September, and January. There are two ways to decide how much to pay:

  • Estimate – Sole proprietors can estimate their annual income and pay taxes accordingly. The federal income tax table indicates the business owner’s income tax while FICA taxes are assessed at a flat rate. Those numbers can be found on the SSA website.
  • Previous Year – Business owners that do not want to take a chance at estimating and getting it wrong can simply pay a total of the previous year’s tax liability. Even if quarterly payments are eventually not enough, there will be no penalty for underpayment the following April.

Sole proprietors required to collect and pay sales tax should be setting aside that portion of weekly receipts to pay the bill. It is very important that a separate sales tax account be set up rather than throwing everything into a general fund. It is just too easy to spend everything in the bank account and then not have enough money to pay sales tax when it comes due.

Planning and Saving

In a nutshell, keeping a sole proprietor’s finances on track is about planning and saving. The budget is a planning tool that acts as both a guideline and a fire sign. Savings enable a sole proprietor to make tax payments on time and, if there is a little leftover, earn some interest.

The one thing sole proprietors should not do is leave their finances to random chance. When business finances are not in order, it is too easy to pass off obligations to the next month, then the next, and so on. A lot of sole proprietors have gotten themselves into tax hell by not keeping their finances in order and then not being able to pay their taxes.

As a side note, transitioning from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or LLC, for the purposes of separating finances, isn’t a good idea unless you’re willing to pay an accountant to keep things straight for you. If you cannot manage your finances as a sole proprietor, you will not be able to manage them as chief officer of the LLC or partnership.

The idea of Bigtime Daily landed this engineer cum journalist from a multi-national company to the digital avenue. Matthew brought life to this idea and rendered all that was necessary to create an interactive and attractive platform for the readers. Apart from managing the platform, he also contributes his expertise in business niche.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Essential Social Skills in Business




Effective communication and strong relationships are essential for success in the workplace. One factor that can greatly influence these qualities is emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ. EQ refers to the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Research has shown that individuals with high levels of EQ are better equipped to handle stress, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively with others (Chamorro-Premuzic & Sanger, 2016).

Research has consistently shown that emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important predictor of job performance and success in the workplace. EQ is comprised of a set of skills that allow individuals to recognize, understand, and regulate their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In addition, individuals with high EQ are better able to communicate effectively, build relationships, and navigate complex social situations. As a result, they are often viewed as effective leaders and collaborators, and are more likely to achieve their personal and professional goals.

In fact, a number of studies have demonstrated the significant impact that EQ has on job performance and success. For example, one study of 85 upper-level managers found that those with higher EQ scores were rated as more effective leaders by their subordinates (Law, Wong, & Song, 2004). Another study of 151 employees found that those with higher EQ were more likely to be promoted within their organization over a five-year period (Carmeli, Brueller, & Dutton, 2009). These findings highlight the importance of EQ in the workplace and suggest that developing these skills can lead to significant benefits for both individuals and organizations.

According to a study conducted by TalentSmart, a leading provider of EQ assessments, EQ is responsible for 58% of success in all job types (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). In contrast, IQ only accounts for about 4% of success in the workplace. This suggests that EQ is a crucial skill set for individuals in any professional field. Fortunately, EQ is a skill that can be developed and honed over time with practice and awareness.

There are several key components of EQ that are particularly important for success in the workplace. These include: 

Self-Regulation: This refers to your capacity to recognize and control your emotions. Sometimes treating them when they arise may be necessary. Understanding how to manage your anger is essential. However, it can also cover how to control the feelings you’ll experience.

Self-Awareness: This implies recognizing and understanding your own feelings. Do noisy places make you nervous? Do other people talking over you make you angry? Knowing these truths about yourself shows that you are working on your self-awareness. Being conscious of yourself is necessary for this phase, which can be more complex than it sounds.

Socialization: This category focuses on your capacity to manage social interactions and direct relationships. It doesn’t entail dominating others but knowing how to work with others to achieve your goals. This could entail presenting your ideas to coworkers, leading a team, or resolving a personal disagreement.

Motivation: Strong motivators include external forces like money, status, or suffering. Internal motivation, however, plays a significant role in Goleman’s concept. By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to control your cause and initiate or continue initiatives of your own volition rather than in response to external demands.

Empathy: It’s equally critical to be sensitive to others’ feelings. This may entail learning to identify different emotional states in individuals — for example, can you tell the difference between someone at ease and someone anxious? — but it also requires comprehension of how other people may react to their current situation. Empathy is one of the essential traits in business and business leadership.

A thought leader in this space, Michael Ventura has built a career advising organizations on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. In his book, Applied Empathy, Ventura highlights the value of empathy in business and provides strategies for developing and applying this skill set. With two decades of experience as a leader, facilitator, and educator, Ventura’s work has made impact in with prestigious institutions such as Princeton University and the United Nations as well as corporate clients such as Google and Nike.

Through his work, Ventura advises leaders to focus on the development of EQ in order to help individuals improve their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills, ultimately leading to greater success in the workplace. Experts like Ventura continue to support the growing body of research on the value of EQ in business, and the evidence that organizations who invest in the EQ of their teams help to create a more empathetic and successful professional environment.

And it’s worth noting that EQ isn’t just important for individual success in the workplace, but also for overall organizational success. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that EQ was a better predictor of success than IQ or technical skills in the workplace, and that teams with higher levels of EQ tend to be more effective and productive (Boyatzis, Goleman, & Rhee, 1999). By cultivating a culture of empathy and emotional intelligence, organizations can improve their overall performance and create a more positive work environment for their employees.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence is a crucial component of success in the workplace, and individuals and organizations alike should prioritize the development of these skills. The ones that do not only develop a leading edge in their category, but also become a meaningful place to work for their teams. And in today’s rapidly changing talent landscape, the retention of highly capable, emotionally intelligent leaders is one of the greatest keys to unlocking success.


Boyatzis, R. E., Goleman, D., & Rhee, K. S. (1999). Clustering competence in emotional intelligence: Insights from the emotional competence inventory (ECI). In R. Bar-On & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), Handbook of emotional intelligence (pp. 343-362). Jossey-Bass.

Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.

Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Sanger, M. N. (2016). Does employee happiness matter? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 3(2), 168-191.

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