Managing Inconsistent Revenue Months in 2024 with Tiffany Scarlett

April 23, 2024



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I'm Kara - the voice behind some of the brands you know and love (I know because I love them too!). I'm results-driven and ambitious, just like YOU.

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Do inconsistent revenue months stress you out? If so, you are not alone. Most of us are dealing with inconsistent revenue months. I know in my wedding business, I definitely have had seasons where I was making more money than other seasons. I would know those seasons in advance, so it’s not like it was a surprise, but it can still be stressful.

Even now in my marketing business, I have fluctuating months. While most of my marketing clients are month to month, so I have a pretty good baseline of what my revenue is going to be most of the time, sometimes I’ll book more VIP days for website copy. So that can fluctuate my income quite a bit depending on how many of those I take on.

That was one of the things I brought Tiffany Scarlett on the podcast! For those of you that haven’t met Tiffany yet, she’s an on-demand CFO and business strategist for online creative business owners who want to grow their business without worrying about the finances. She works with heart-led, kind, impactful creatives, and she really walks the walk. Even though she is a money person, obviously as a CFO, she really believes in building a business that supports your life. She believes that managing your money well is a way to do that.

One of the things I absolutely loved hearing her talk about is how most of us are looking at our money in the past and instead, she wants to encourage us to look forward. It’s such a good conversation. There’s so much more that I want to dive into but I don’t want to make this a 10 minute intro, so let’s get into it!

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Can you talk about what CFO does and how it’s different from a bookkeeper or accountant?

A bookkeeper and accountant typically receives your expenses and revenues during or at the end of the month, and they will give you the profit or loss and maybe how much you need to put aside for taxes and how much you can pay yourself that month. That’s all data from the past. As a creative entrepreneur myself, I understand the creative mind and the emotional attention that is required for businesses. As a CFO, not only do I look at the story of the past, which is typically the pattern that a lot of creatives fall into that causes them money stress, and struggling with the inconsistent months.

I also look into the long term trajectory of what we can do strategically with the money so that it becomes a tool so we don’t have to stress in any of the low income months. I’m your content strategist and help you strategize for the future to hit your goals. I look at the inefficiencies of your analytics from the past to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Then strengthen what works, and minimize what doesn’t and change what we need to so you hit your goals in the future like a content strategist would do.

In your opinion, at what point should business owners hire a CFO?

It depends in what capacity. From the start of a business, you have the creative vision side of things, you impact the purpose and vision you want to create. But, because it is a business and not a hobby, we are dependent on it, so you have to be very clear about the money side of things. There needs to be clarity on the steps to hit your goal and concrete numbers on how to get to a point in your business where you are sustainable. It’s similar to someone starting their business and focusing on content creation because they think it will drive traffic.

Then at some point they’re feeling burnt out or something isn’t working so they hire somebody to help them. But, everybody will say they wish they had some sort of clarity from the beginning. Because we as creatives have clarity of our vision and in order to sustain our vision we have to know what numbers work for us and don’t work for us.

For a new business, you may not need a CFO who is there with you every day, but you may need someone short-term who can plan a long-term strategy with you. New businesses need some concrete idea that gives them a direction. Then, I always say, when you are struggling with the income spikes month over month you need somebody to strategically be inside your business in some capacity to create a consistent salary for you despite inconsistent revenue months.

inconsistent revenue months - for Pinterest

What do you think is the biggest money struggle we all have?

I work specifically with creative business owners and one of the top is inconsistent revenue months and not knowing what to do with it. If anybody is promising you consistent revenue months, you want to ask them what to do with the revenue after it comes in. If they can’t give you a plan for how to make your business sustainable or how to hit your goals then stay away. If somebody tells you to create a consistent salary from your inconsistent revenue months, then that’s somewhere you want to learn from.

I don’t believe that creative entrepreneurs have to be good at the business side of things. Overtime they have to learn because there’s mindset, and growth that they need to step into as a business owner. But I also believe if you use the resources properly, you can free up almost all of your time to be creative so that the business people can do the business side of your business for you.

If you had to choose, in general, should creative entrepreneurs focus on making more money or saving more money?

The answer to that question is so multidimensional. Even though I am a so-called CFO, I don’t really care much for the numbers. For me, it’s not really about how much money you can make or how much money you can save. For me, and I think for a lot of creative business owners, it’s actually the time, financial and emotional freedom to be able to create and focus on the vision.

At the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you make or save. It’s about how much money you have as a tool to fulfil your life in a way that is rewarding. Making the money is important because we have to be able to serve our family and our clients. Saving money is important, but those are just action steps that we take to get to living the life that is fulfilling for us.

Fractional CFO shares tips for how to get out of the money chaos of inconsistent revenue months

Last question, do you feel like your business had a tipping point, and if you did, what caused it?

I feel like I’ve had a few. The first time was probably when I was learning in a group alongside my peers. I was discovering what I wanted my business to be. Then my peers started coming to me about sustainable business, money strategies and business strategizing.

The second was when I was healing from a concussion for quite a few months. And, because I built sustainability into my business from a money perspective, I was able to take those months off and play around within my business without feeling I needed to sign clients or book a project. That was one of the biggest tipping points for me to see and realize firsthand how effective it actually is.

Thank you to Tiffany for breaking down managing inconsistent revenue months with us today!

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I'm Kara - the voice behind some of the brands you know and love (I know because I love them too!). I'm results-driven and ambitious, just like YOU.

Meet Kara