Starting a business is a big step because it comes with many responsibilities, highs, and lows. One of the most challenging parts of running a small business is how unstable your income is — In January, you might make a ton of money, and in March, you’d barely have enough to get by. While running a business can be very rewarding, unstable income is something that many small business owners struggle with in the early years of their business. We spoke to three business owners/creators about their experiences, and here’s what they shared with us:
Chilotam(YouTuber & Copywriter):
As a YouTuber, it’s not easy to achieve a stable income at first, at least for the first year or two, because growth is slow, and people aren’t watching ads enough. You can’t even get paid unless you have up to $100 in revenue, and that payment has to be done between the 21st and 26th of every month. I can’t determine how much I’m even going to make monthly; the only thing I can do is ask people to watch my ads. Because of this, I can’t solely rely on the income I get from Youtube — I try to do other side jobs like copywriting. Even copywriting isn’t very stable; sometimes, I get up to 3 jobs. Other times, it’s just one or nothing.
I’ve been able to manage this by getting a 9 – 5. It’s been the best thing for me because I know I can rely on it. Even if I don’t get any money from my businesses, I know I’ll still get paid from my 9 – 5 job.
Sochi (Social media influencer):
I’m a social media influencer who makes money by signing deals with brands, so except I have an ambassadorial deal; I can’t always be sure of the income that comes in monthly — I literally can’t say how many brands will reach out to partner with me. In February & March, no brand deals were coming in, so my income here wasn’t stable. The same thing happened sometime last year; deals weren’t coming in so well, so the income here wasn’t great.
I handle this instability by putting money aside for rainy days. As much as it’s unstable sometimes, It can also be really good some other times because deals keep pouring in. When this happens, I always keep some money aside; this helps me stay on top of my finances when I’m not earning as much.
Celestine (Gadget Vendor):
I was strapped for cash after graduating from Uni in 2021. My kind of business is very capital intensive, so it was a bit difficult. Because I didn’t have much money then, I had to buy cheaper products like the iPhone 6 & 7 to sell fast and make a profit. Honestly, It takes a lot of patience because the money doesn’t always come in as fast as I sometimes expect; at that time, it wasn’t easy at all because sometimes I won’t even make any sales, and my money will just be held down in the products I already bought. Another thing that causes unstable income is the unstable exchange rate. I import these gadgets, so my business is easily affected by the exchange rate; the cost of getting these products keeps going up, and I have to increase the price, which chases customers away sometimes.
I handle this instability by trying my best to sell off what I bought previously. I also reduce how many of these goods I import instead of stopping altogether to keep the business alive. In addition, I use stable investments to grow my money; this helps as an extra source of income.