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Ruby’s Real Money Diaries: We chat to business couple Tracey and Phil

22 June 2021

Aussies are an entrepreneurial bunch, starting over 300,000 new businesses every year, according to the ABS. Partners in love and business, Tracey and Phil, are in that group – and while they admit it’s been great overall, there have been challenges, too! They talk us through what they learned financially, the day-to-day spending when you’re in business, and their tips for success if you’re keen to follow in their footsteps and start a business with your partner.

About Tracey and Phil

Age: Late 20s

Location: Sydney

Occupation: Tracey’s a marketing director and Phil is a creative director in teir full-service Creative Marketing and Design Agency

Income: We’re comfortable but would like to earn more for the hours we work!

HECS / HELP debt? No

Any other debt? No

Do you have any savings? Yes

Any investments? Not currently

RUBY: Tracey and Phil, thanks so much for talking to us about your business journey. Did you have any concerns before starting a business together?

Well, having worked together successfully in our previous jobs, we knew that we would make the perfect duo. The major concern was hating each other and spending countless hours together – at work and at home! But so far, so good. It’s also important to be on the same page when you start a business and ideally, share the same level of risk – otherwise that can cause conflict.

RUBY: Start-ups can come with a heap of costs – did any expenses come as a surprise to you both?

Not really. We dealt with a lot of start-ups over the years, so we had a general idea of costs and what we’d be up for, before going into business together. We also both come from family business backgrounds, so we kind of knew what we were getting ourselves into.

RUBY: Did you have a plan for managing your finances or did you develop it as you went along?

We actually developed it as we went along – we’re still developing it! We both think it’s important to trust your instincts, especially when it comes to working together in such a creative environment.

RUBY: Talk us through your day-to-day spending around running your own business. What do you have to factor in?

Oh wow, where do we start? Office rent, wages, contractors, bills, lunch meetings with clients, and a whole lot of appointments centred around coffee! There are a lot of costs to consider.

RUBY: Have your personal spending habits changed since starting your own business?

Yes. Starting the business has made me a lot more disciplined when it comes to my finances. Before buying a dress or a handbag, I have to constantly remind myself how hard I work for every dollar spent on that very item.

I’ve also come to appreciate spending my money on experiences rather than tangible things. Business teaches you how valuable your time is. I’d rather spend my monthly savings on a getaway more than anything else!

RUBY: What’s your number one tip for readers who want to start a business with their partner?

Be kind. Be patient. It gets rough.

RUBY: How do you keep a work/life balance when starting your own business and working with a partner?

It’s really difficult, and probably one of the hardest parts about owning your own business.

We’re slowly learning how to totally switch off on Friday nights, take the weekend off, and we put the ‘business hat’ back on once Sunday night hits, so we can set up for the week ahead. This ensures we don’t have any work-related surprises on Monday morning! We also keep a work-life balance by having regular dinner dates where we avoid discussing work.

RUBY: What did you wish you knew earlier about starting a business?

The basics of budgeting and knowing how much to invest back into the business. This is so important to factor into starting a business, and it’s difficult to get the right answers before you actually start! Looking back, I wish we were equipped with all the tools and knowledge before making the big step.

Starting a business has made me a lot more disciplined when it comes to my finances.

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice



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