Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the United States. So many of our country’s groundbreaking innovations have come from the entrepreneurial spirit of many. I love talking to entrepreneurs. One thing I have noticed about many entrepreneurs in my family, friend groups, and professionally is that they rarely, if ever, put themselves first. If you’re an entrepreneur and this sounds like you, here are some ways to begin putting yourself first, while still running a successful business.

Accountability To Your Goals

Across the board, I’ve seen business owners for new startups all the way to well established companies say, “I will start thinking about my own future when ___.” Then, when whenever the blank happens (a certain revenue goal, a customer landed, a certain business valuation, a certain number of employees, a capital raise), the bar raises. This desire for more is what makes great entrepreneurs and can ultimately lead to a successful business, but it can also lead to personal financial goals falling to the wayside.

If you say you’ll do something by a certain date, hold yourself accountable to that goal and do it. With my own business, I create an updated business plan annually, laying out both personal and business goals. I then review the plan to track accountability quarterly. If I didn’t do something I intended to do by a certain date, I reassess that goal and execute if it is a priority.

Make An Exit Plan

Many of the business owners I speak with hold most of their net worth in their business. When asked about their plan for retirement, many say their business is their retirement plan. This is not a plan. There are a few options one has for stopping work and monetizing a business:

· An outright sale

· An installment sale

· Acquisition

· Private equity offering

· Public equity offering

All of these exit techniques often require years of planning, and most importantly, they require the entirety of the business success to not be reliant on you. If you are working 24/7, micromanaging, and never taking vacations to keep the business successful, you may want to consider hiring a business coach to save you time and make your business more marketable for an eventual exit.

Do Something, Even If It Is Small

Compounding interest is a wildly powerful force. Systematically saving and investing a small amount over time not only gets you over the hump of starting, but it can result in significant funds down the road without you thinking about it. Let’s say you take an income of $70,000 per year, and everything else gets invested back into the business. I’ll use a high tax state for argument’s sake. If you live in New York, you’re paying $19,267 in taxes. Your take-home pay would be $4,227.75 per month. $200 per month to a Roth IRA, for instance, would be less than 5% of this take-home pay.

This is where the magic of compounding interest comes in. Let’s say you’re earning a hypothetical 10% rate of return* on your passive Roth investments, you start at age 35, and plan for retirement at 65. Over that 30-year period, you’ll have saved $72,000 and earned $343,429 for a final value of $415,429. And if you’re in this hypothetical scenario, you’re taking all that money tax-free.

A little bit goes a long way when you start planning. So, stop procrastinating, waiting for that next goal, or waiting until you think your income is high enough to maximize. Usually, starting is the hard part and everything else from there is easier.


Being a business owner is a tough job and it can be difficult to put yourself and your own personal needs ahead of the everyday needs of the business. Taking a step back, assessing your goals, making a plan for what you’d like an exit to look like, and doing something small can support your personal future immeasurably.

* This hypothetical example is not indicative of the actual performance of any particular investment, insurance or annuity contract, or other financial product, nor does it account for the impact of any market losses or applicable fees and expenses.

This informational and educational article does not offer or constitute, and should not be relied upon, as tax or financial advice. Your unique needs, goals and circumstances require the individualized attention of your own tax and financial professionals whose advice and services will prevail over any information provided in this article. Equitable Advisors, LLC and its associates and affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice or services, nor do they endorse, approve or make any representations as to the accuracy, completeness or appropriateness of any part of any content linked to from this article.

Cicely Jones (CA Insurance Lic. #:0K81625) offers securities through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA, SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN) and offers annuity and insurance products through Equitable Network, LLC, which conducts business in California as Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC). Financial Professionals may transact business and/or respond to inquiries only in state(s) in which they are properly qualified. Any compensation that Ms. Jones may receive for the publication of this article is earned separate from, and entirely outside of her capacities with, Equitable Advisors, LLC and Equitable Network, LLC (Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC). AGE-5755817.1(06/23)(exp.06/25)


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