For me, this has always presented more of an opportunity than a challenge because I’ve spent the last eight years specialising in customer experience communication.
These days people have smaller attention spans and (what feels like) less time to get everything done than previous generations. Plus, there’s so much choice out there, that brand loyalty has significantly started dropping off across the board.
Businesses can no longer afford to be stodgy, disengaged, and distant with their customers. They have to communicate on a human level. And co-create products that truly solve a problem – not just serve for profit.
That’s why this field of work appeals to me. I think there’s lots of space to create some really good experiences here.
Right now successful self-employed Aussies are retiring with significantly less super than their employed counterparts, why do you think this is happening?
I think there are a couple of different reasons.
First off, when you’re an employee, it’s very likely that your super is completely taken care of by your employer. You’re so disengaged with your super fund and what happens with that money that gets taken from your pay and locked away in super by your employer.
So it’s easy to see how going out on our own and suddenly having to do the whole thing yourself seems scary.
And on top of that, because you’re self-employed now it’s also voluntary.
Plus, as a sole trader, you have a gazillion things to tick off your to-dos, that finding time to dive deeper into something that isn’t smooth sailing just doesn’t get prioritised.
And the years slip away quickly before you realise you’re nearing retirement and should probably bump it up on the list. 🤔
We’ve done the research around these issues and built a fund that breaks down lots of barriers that self-employed folks struggle with, streamlining and automating the entire process.
I’m positive this will help people start doing it right sooner.
We also have exciting plans in the pipeline to help self-employed people progressively work their way up past that employer-must 9.5%, into something that comfortably sustains their retired lifestyle.
What are your top tips for small businesses that are just starting-up?
On the topic of superannuation, my number one tip would be to work the amount you want to contribute to super into your pricing.
For example, if you want to make $100 an hour for a service you provide and you want to put aside 10% of your earnings into super, then charge $110 for the service.
By working this into your pricing, it’ll feel smoother to pop that money into super because you’ve already planned for it in advance.
As for non-finance related tips, I’d say:
– If you’re not comfortable building a website yourself, definitely get some help. A professional looking website (not ‘corporate’, but professional) can be a big make or break for a business. Not sure where to begin? Reach out to 2aT Startup!
– As soon as you can afford it, outsource the tasks you’re not good at (or the ones that drain way more of your time than they should) to someone else, e.g. a virtual assistant. I say this because as startup owners we can easily get caught up in things that don’t sit in our zone of magic (the thing that actually makes our business successful) and this stunts business growth.
– Get yourself into a community of peeps who are walking in your shoes. They don’t have to be in the same industry as you, but the solopreneur journey can get very lonely. You need people you can bounce ideas off, feel supported by, and (sometimes) just plain old vent to because your friends and fam don’t necessarily understand what you’re going through.
Where can start-ups go to educate themselves better on Superannuation?
I’d like to think we’ve simplified a lot of it on the GigSuper website:
At least in terms of self-employed super.
But the ATO and ASIC’s Money Smart websites are also pretty good at eliminating jargon and explaining super in a way that’s not complicated to understand.
Come tax time, what are some ways small businesses can best prepare themselves?
Because we’re about to launch a super fund that aims to make superannuation simple for self-employed folks, at the beginning of 2019 we ran a survey to understand our community’s current knowledge of super.
And, to be honest, we were a little shocked about the results.
What we found out was that just under 65% of people had no idea they could claim tax deductions on their super contributions.
Which basically means that a ton of our self-employed ‘colleagues’ probably left tips on the Tax Man’s table by paying their marginal tax rate – which on average in 34.5% including the Medicare levy – instead of the 15% superannuation tax rate. 🙁
And this is likely because it’s not very clear how the tax deduction process works for Personal Contributions.
If you want to claim a tax deduction on the money you contributed, it’s actually not enough to simply make a Personal Contribution into your super.
You then manually have to notify your fund that you’ve made that Personal Contribution and that you intend to claim it as a tax deduction.