Paying yourself super as a startup

Author: 2at

Superannuation. It’s a word that many of us self-employed people shudder at, and often a ‘don’t-go-there-unless-I-have-to’ type of subject. 

Enter, GigSuper. 

Branka Injac Misic (CMO of start-up GigSuper) who has been down the business owner path herself, understands exactly why looking after your future self is important. She sat down to speak with us about her challenges and triumphs in business, and why super isn’t such a scary thing after all. 

Branka one tiny tribe
Tell us about Gig Super and why it exists? 


Oh my. Where to begin? Ha! 

In a nutshell, GigSuper is simplified (and automated) superannuation for self-employed folks. 

What tends to happen when you’re self-employed, is that some traditional funds might slam you with all sorts of complicated forms and painful procedures.

It can cause confusion, frustration, and often involves really clunky workarounds just to get the same benefits that employees automatically get in superannuation. 

I experienced this stuff firsthand when I started running my eCommerce business five years ago. 

All of a sudden super was completely my responsibility, but I wasn’t a ‘finance-y person’. 😩 (I’m still not…really.)

That’s why trying to do the right thing and put money away for retirement presented a bunch of hurdles for me:

– I had no idea what I was doing (I never had to take care of this thing myself before), the processes were complicated,

– there were piles of paperwork,

– and unless I wanted to fork out for an accountant or a financial advisor, the help around it all was minimal. 

It was just a total admin and confidence nightmare, purely because of self-employment. 

So long story short, it’s been a couple of years in the making, but I’ve teamed up with some awesome humans to create a purpose built super fund for the self-employed community.

We’ve taken out all the complexity. We’ve made it all app based. We even worked with an insurer to nail down insurances as they relate to self-employed folks.

We’ve made sure that someone is finally empowering people like us to properly set ourselves up for the future. (We work way too hard just to get it wrong in retirement, right?!)

And I’m really proud of what we’ve built. 😄

 

2at social media new (27)
Super and finance can be pretty scary topics for a lot of start-ups, what is it that appeals to you about this field of work?

 

Totally agree. Lots of startups founders and solopreneurs find super (and finance in general) a scary topic.

I think part of the reason relates to what this popular meme is trying to bring to light:

The education system simply doesn’t set most of us up for these real-world financial skills that we need to feel like we’re in control. 

Then on top of that, the financial industry is littered with jargon, that it can feel way more complicated than it actually is.

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:

www.gigsuper.com.au

😏

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.

This is because your fund can’t tell the ATO about any tax deduction claims unless you first tell the fund you want your Personal Contributions treated as a tax deduction.

So if you’ve popped some of your money into your super as a Personal Contribution and you want it treated as a tax deduction, you have to fill out something called a ‘Notice of intent to claim’ form.

For most funds, that form needs to be downloaded from the ATO or from their website. Once it’s filled out, you then need to send it back to the fund (sometimes via snail mail…yes…snail mail ?).

The fund should then send you acknowledgement of your intention to claim the contribution as a tax deduction – confirming they’ll tax your money accordingly.

Once you have that acknowledgement, you then need to give it to your accountant at tax time. Or use it yourself when you do your tax return.

That’s how you complete the whole process.

It’s not hard.

But it is unnecessarily complicated.

So if you make a personal contribution to super, don’t forget to consider claiming this handy tax deduction.

(Shameless plug, we’ve automated this whole process involving the Notice of Intention to claim within the GigSuper app. 👌)

     

What have been your own most unexpected challenges in working in your field so far?

 

Not so much ‘unexpected’ but one of the challenges is the heavy regulation of the financial industry. 

Don’t get me wrong, be all want the financial industry to be heavily regulated, of course! But when it comes to marketing, there can sometimes be lots of back and forth with compliance, meaning you can’t just pump out an idea or campaign instantly. 

In many ways this is a good thing. It means there’s lots of opportunity to stand out in a sea of lazy marketing. 

As well as the CMO at Gig Super, you are also the Founder of One Tiny Tribe! Tell us, what was it that inspired you to begin your own business? 


When I went on maternity leave for the first time, almost 8 years ago, I didn’t know what had hit me. My work has always been a fulfilling part of my being, so having that stop suddenly and having my life flipped upside down really threw me off. I wasn’t hating on motherhood, but I did struggle and it took a while to figure that out and to find that part of myself again. 

So when I was going on maternity leave the second time, I was ready for how that would affect me mentally and emotionally. And instead of waiting until the kids are older to start my own thing, I decided I’d do it just before giving birth.

For a while I had been watching the Instagram scene and noticed that a couple of online stores had popped up and I thought “I’m just going to go for it – live and learn”. So I put together some designs (I’m a comms person by trade, but I used to do a lot of visual art when I was younger – including finishing a diploma of the Adobe Creative Suite), pulled together a simple online shop, and started promoting my work on Instagram.

Back then Instagram was a whole different ball game. There were only about 10-ish online stores catering to the baby-mama market. And everything was chronological. You knew that if you posted at prime time – 7pm on a Sunday night – you would get crazy engagement and even sales off the back of those posts. Building a community was easier too, because you quickly showed up in front of the people you wanted to attract.

For me, that was mums who were looking to decorate their boys’ rooms and nurseries with something other than posters of trucks and dinosaurs. Having gone through the process myself with my son’s room, I realised there was a huge gap in the market. For girls’ rooms, there was lots of variations. For boys’ rooms, however, the options were very limited. 

So the artwork I created has always been inspired by incorporating meaningful messages and trying to make sure that it speaks to both mother and child. I believe that’s why our signature posters “And then, one day, there was you”, “Messy bear”, “Golden Days”, and “I loved you first” have been so popular.

For someone considering starting up a business of their own, what do you think they need to consider?

 

Like I mentioned before, that professional website/branding is a great start. It’s the difference between looking established or looking like you’re operating from the garage.

If you’ve never been part of the business building side of things, I’d also really, really suggest schooling yourself up on some business basics. The START UP WORKSHOPS that 2aT Startup runs are one of the best workshops I’ve been to. It’s one day chock packed with all the biz info you need to know to set yourself up with a strong foundation. Everything is covered: Finances, Legal, Marketing, and confidence in business. It’s such a valuable investment – I honestly can’t recommend it enough.

And the last (maybe not so conventional) thing would be to consider leaping into it while you’re pregnant or when your children are really young. I know that sounds counterintuitive, especially for anyone who has been through that newborn haze. But I’ve noticed a trend, especially in the last 4-5 years, where starting a businesses during that time works well for new mums or those with newborns. The business almost becomes a mental escape from the often mind-numbing routine of feed–change–lull to sleep–repeat. I know it worked wonders for my mental health at that time.

Where can we learn more about Gig Super?

 

Over on our website:

www.gigsuper.com.au

You can also join our community over on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/gigsuperau/

And lastly, what’s your favourite motto or saying when it comes to inspiration in business?

One of my favs is:

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

– Red Adair

GigSuper does not currently offer any financial products. GigSuper will shortly be appointing an APRA regulated RSE Licensee who will be responsible for issuing the financial products associated with GigSuper. After this time, you will be able to find the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) on the GigSuper website. You should always consider the PDS in deciding whether to acquire any financial product. 

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