It takes money to make money, or so they say. But, with business overheads never higher and many sole traders struggling to turn a profit, it’s a welcome moment for cutting back on unnecessary expenses and freebie favours.
However, ‘loud budgeting,’ a personal finance trend that’s emerged on TikTok, has its lessons for solo business owners, freelancers and sole traders. We explore how it can help vulnerable business owners to have shame-free conversations about their bottom line.
Enter ‘loud budgeting’
Loud Budgeting is a refreshing approach championed by comedian and TikTok sensation Lukas Battle. The trend encourages individuals to proudly prioritise their financial goals over frivolous spending. It challenges the notion of keeping up appearances, and instead pushes for openness about your finances.
Many entrepreneurs who are first starting out feel the need to spend on a few luxuries to project a sense of success and professionalism early on. This could mean covering the cost of a pricey coworking space, lunch with a prospective client, or even a set of business cards.
It has been found that 45% of UK business owners find themselves working for free or offering discounted rates up to 75 times a year, as revealed by a Capital on Tap study late last year, and the issue is that early-stage business owners can undermine their own precarious financial positions by taking on these ‘mates rates’ jobs for friends and family.
This may seem perfectly natural for personal finance decisions, such as telling a group of friends you’re not okay with dining out this week. But, the principles of loud budgeting have value for small business owners, too. They can lead to open communication with clients or customers about how and why they’re now running a lean business.
This doesn’t have to mean underwhelming your customers, of course. But it can involve being clear about setting red lines on your spending. That can be as simple as sticking to remote video calls rather than in-person client meetings at early stages when you can’t justify the cost of travelling, or of covering a round of coffee for an uncertain lead.
When it comes to red lines over mates rates, loud budgeting can help small business owners to stress the importance of fair compensation for their services.
Using loud budgeting when handling ‘mates rates’ favours
Loud budgeting may feel like a blunt tool when it comes to pushing back on mates rates and freebie favours. But, there’s value in this openness.
It means having frank conversations about your finances, and establishing transparent expectations from the beginning. That’s no easy thing, but through doing so, you should be able to get your friends and family to understand your reality. And, hopefully, they will start to cultivate an appreciation for the true worth of your services.
Alex Miles, UK Managing Director and small business expert at Capital on Tap comments:
“Asking for money and chasing up invoices won’t be anything new to small business owners but it’s not always easy when it comes to friends and family. It’s no surprise that over one in six (16%) of the surveyed business owners find it awkward saying no to them.”
Miles suggests these three core principles:
1. Set clear expectations
“Setting clear expectations from the start and making sure that friends and family understand the terms of your services from the moment you agree to do work for them can help make it easier,” Miles says.
“It might help to treat your friend or family member like you would any other customer or client. That means keeping records of communication and creating professional invoices.”
2. Ask for more than just lip service
“If you’re one of the nearly one in five (19%) looking to start word-of-mouth advertising, it might seem like they’re doing you the favour. Should this be the case, remember that you’ve provided them with a service and that your business depends more on revenue than it does on marketing efforts.”
3. Don’t be scared to chase up outstanding debts
“If you do end up having to chase them, don’t hesitate to give them a friendly nudge. It just might be that they’ve forgotten or think the payment is due on another date.”
These days every penny counts, so by embracing the ‘loud budgeting’ trend you can break free from the cycle of working for free and start thriving financially. Remember, setting clear expectations, valuing your worth, and gently nudging for what’s rightfully yours are key steps in this journey.
Embracing the ‘loud budgeting’ trend isn’t just about bragging rights or thrifty finds; it can be one of the best approaches to safeguarding your business’s financial health.
Word from the streets (of Tiktok)
- “I just started thrifting & “loud budgeting” is a great description of how I feel bragging about my finds to my friend group” – Stratty
- “Loud budgeting is me romanticizing my gas station coffee instead of the $10 coffee shop coffee…✨” – Morganlalas
- “This makes my Scandinavian heart so happy. There, it’s considered gauche to flash wealth and luxury. There, it is quiet budgeting, It will be a game-changer to bring this attitude to the US. Well done” – JeanneWilkins27
- “Are we glamorising the recession now?” – Elijah