What is a Memory Gnome?
In the world of Savvy Groomer it is that thing you are trying to remember, trying to place, trying to get done... but for some reason you just can't seem to get your fingers on it. Some people may call it a "blonde moment", even if you're not blonde. If you're a dog lover you've seen a Labrador or Pug do this, if you're a cat lover you've seen a Persian do this. I do this almost every morning, I put my keys on the key rack, right? My son can't find his shoes, even though we have a shoe organizer... It MUST be little gnomes who came into my house last night and moved everything, there is no way I misplaced all this stuff, every day, all the time... right?
Who groom to pay their rent/mortgage, groceries, transportation costs, their grooming profession is their career. This can be their twilight career or career in their 20s, but the most important thing is this is how they pay the bills.
The way that a groomer looks at their business (as a professional or as a hobby) allows Savvy Groomer to guide them in a specific way.
A Hobby Groomer is less about the money and more about the fun, they may invest their skill set into something that may not have a strong or immediate return. Which is fine, it’s a hobby!
A Professional Groomer may need to be more focused and reserved in their investments.
YOUR MONEY WILL NEED TO BE HANDLED IN A DIFFERENT WAY!
A Hobby Groomer is probably in a stage of life where they are retired, have dual income (maybe a stay at home mom or live with their parents), or enjoy grooming part time. While this money will still need to be budgeted less of the net profit will need to go back into the business to grow and expand.. unless that's what you want to do!
A Professional Groomer may need to look at their bottom line and make harder choices. Do I need to let go of one of my employees and take on...
What is a Professional Groomer?
How I define a professional groomer is one that grooms for a living. Do professional groomers love their job? Yes!
Professional groomers have families to feed, roofs to keep over their heads and blades to sharpen. While they love dogs, their customers and their job they have bills to pay. When looking at a dog to groom they take into account how much time and work this dog will require. Will this client rebook on the schedule this style needs to be maintained? Is this pet matted, will I be able to de-matt this pet in a timely manner that the customer is willing to pay me for my time and expertise? Will grooming this giant breed dog allow me to hold my infant son without pain? Is this worth it? These questions asked are similar to other professions such as plumbers, mechanics and labor contractors. Make the customer happy, protect your reputation and ensure what you are promising is...
Thrive is the final step, this is where you can focus on getting the best insurance you can afford, giving to charity, growing your business and feeling comfortable knowing you have a fully funded 6 month - 1-year emergency fund.
Protect you and your family:
Health Insurance (the good kind!), life insurance, disability insurance, an emergency fund dedicated to that potential "career ending bite".
Financial & time-based charity
Grow yourself and your business:
Trade shows, books/DVDs, online courses, hands-on training, business growth, business coaching.
At this stage, you should feel safe. That cat bite or slip and fall will not leave you broke and broken. You can share your prosperity by teaching other groomers or do foster.
Live is your next step, this is your grooming tool, entertainment and saving to your beefed up emergency fund of $2500-$4000.
Keep your grooming tools in shape:
Sharpening, blade/scissor replacement, clipper/tool repair
Keep connected to the outside world:
Phone, internet, cable
Keep yourself entertained, live a little:
Subscriptions, books/audiobooks, pocket money, pet pampering allowance.
At this stage, you should have some wiggle room to get beyond these basics but may still need to temper what you are spending your money on.
Survive is your first step, this is your food, clothing, housing, transportation and saving to your starter emergency fund of $500 - $1000.
Food on the table:
Groceries, restaurants, daily habits (coffee, etc)
Professional, home/seasonal, kids grew out of
Car payment, car insurance, car gas, car maintenance, car repairs
If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck or playing catch up you may not get beyond these basics in survival. If you do not get beyond your survival budget there is a strong probability you are living beyond your means OR not making enough money to... well... survive.
I don't make hourly or a salary, I make commission...
I have irregular income, so I cannot make a budget
Irregular Income (income changing week to week) is a normal issue for anyone making commission, it affects both 1099 Independent Contractors or W-2 Employees. One week you may make $300, another week $700 and yet another week $1300 or more. Most groomers know the Holiday Season is a bountiful time when we will make the most money all year. Some groomers will actually double if not triple their income in the months of November and December.
Guess what? That 'extra money' needs a plan so it can be squirreled away for January and February. With the chance of some groomers seeing snow, extra rainy days, etc) they may see a drop in those months.
OK, That's great but how Do I budget for irregular Income?
Go back the last 3, 6 or 12 months worth of income depending on your employment and your patience to add numbers up. Add your AFTER TAX income...
A budget stops all of us from being broke or impulsive, from buyer's remorse or “having to work 12 hour days” to pay for those impulse items. Our jobs are too physically demanding to simply work for our basic living expenses. Groomer's bodies are machines that will eventually burn out.
I'll just put this emergency on my credit card...
Living off debt or spending a paycheck as it comes in is like a dog chasing it's tail... Or a cat chasing a laser pointer. It's futile. We all know how insane a groomer's lifestyle is, we have all crawled home and right into bed because we were exhausted. There is this tugging feeling that we can “always make more” or “will catch up during the busy season”. We can't, we need a better plan.
As groomers we often are too tired to cook after a long day, we find items we "deserve" because fluffy bit us or we got anal glands in our hair. The problem with this approach it is can spiral out of control...
Survive is based on business over head. How much money do I need to make to "break even" and pay all the bills? Do you have low or high expenses? These are all the bills you need to pay monthly in your business, minus your own paycheck.
Live is based on my business expenses PLUS how much I would make to be content. You may be the type of person to be content with an extra $100 a week, $1000 a month or maybe $5000 a month. How much would you need to make to in order to feel like you accomplished something? Personally, when I break this down I always add an additional amount to save for tax. You can set aside 20-30% of gross profit. If you're the type who would rather give themselves a tax return or over estimate go with 30%. At 20% you may still owe a little more money depending on your profits for the year. (*cough talk to your tax professional*)
Thrive is where you go "how much...