What is a Good Income to Earn from Your First Year in Business?

Last Updated: 

April 6, 2024

Before you start a business, it's important to set aside time to think about how much money you need to earn from your first year in business. This will help you figure out what expenses your startup will have and whether or not it's worth the risk of quitting your full-time job. 

But how do you go about setting an income goal? What factors should be considered when determining if a salary is sustainable or not? In this post, we'll walk through some steps for setting an income goal as well as consider some best practices for making sure that first paycheck keeps coming month after month.

Key Takeaways on Income to Earn in Year One:

  1. Variable incomes: Incomes can vary widely in the first year based on industry, location, and business model.
  2. Covering costs: A good initial goal is to generate enough revenue to cover business expenses.
  3. Sustainable growth: Building a solid customer base and achieving sustainable growth is a strong indication of future profitability.
  4. Profit vs. Revenue: Understanding the difference between these is crucial for assessing business health.
  5. Personal needs: Consider your personal financial needs when setting income goals.
  6. Reinvestment: Any extra income should ideally be reinvested back into the business to fuel growth.
  7. Benchmarking: Compare your income to industry averages to gauge performance.
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What is a Good Income?

A good income is one that allows you to cover your business expenses, live comfortably and achieve your financial goals.

If you're just starting out in business, it's important that you have a clear idea of what kind of money you want to earn from the first year.

Variable incomes

Variable incomes are unpredictable and can be based on a number of factors, such as the economy or the season. For example, if you own a bakery and sell more cookies during winter than summer, then your income will likely be higher in December than June.

Variable incomes can be good for those who want flexibility but aren't interested in working full-time hours every week. If you have some flexibility with your schedule and know how much money you'll earn each month, or even each year, you can plan accordingly and save up for big purchases like vacations or new cars!

Generate enough revenue to cover business expenses

In order to calculate your target income, you need to know what business expenses and costs are. Business expenses are the costs of running your business that you can deduct from your profits when filing your taxes. The most common types of expenses include:

  • Advertising
  • Commissions paid to sales representatives or other agents who help sell products or services on behalf of a company (for example, if you hire an outside firm that does not work for you directly but helps sell products through social media)
  • Depreciation on equipment used in production operations; this includes machinery as well as buildings used for manufacturing purposes (for example, factories)

How to Set a Budget

You can use a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your business expenses and income.

  • To calculate what you need to earn per month, divide your total annual expenses by 12. This will give you an average monthly amount that needs to be covered by revenue from your business.
  • Next, add up all the costs associated with running your business (including equipment leases or purchases), then multiply this figure by 2-4% depending on how risky it is for businesses like yours in that industry sector (2% being less risky). This will give you an idea of how much money is needed monthly just to break even on these expenses alone!
  • Now subtract this number from the previous one - whatever's left is how much profit potential there is in each month's operation!

The Minimum Salary You Need to Earn From Your First Year in Business

The minimum salary you need to earn from your first year in business depends on a few factors. First, it's important to consider how much money you will be spending on business expenses. If your new company has an office space, then there are going to be costs associated with renting or buying it; if not, then those costs will be eliminated entirely. In either case, though, there will still likely be other expenses such as office supplies and equipment (e.g., computers).

The second factor that affects the minimum salary needed for any given individual is how much money they personally make per month, this includes all sources of income: wages earned at another job or self-employment income generated through another company/business venture; royalties received from writing books or creating art pieces; investment dividends earned through stock ownership in publicly traded companies...etcetera!

Any extra income should ideally be reinvested

If you're lucky enough to have extra money at the end of the year, it's not a bad idea to reinvest it in your business. This can help you grow and expand your operations. You may want to invest in new equipment or marketing campaigns, hire employees for more efficient workflows, or even provide training for current staff members so that they can take on new responsibilities with ease.

Investing in these things will not only benefit you now but also pay off down the line as well!

Risks of Starting a Business Without an Income Plan

Starting a business is risky. You may not be able to predict the future, but there are some things that you can prepare for.

If you don't have an income plan for your first year in business and something goes wrong, like losing one of your biggest clients or having unexpected expenses, then it's possible that you could run out of money and lose everything.

Startups need to think about how much they will make and what their minimum salary will be

The first step is to set a budget. This can be as simple as creating an Excel spreadsheet or using more advanced tools like Google Sheets, but whatever you do, make sure it's easy for you to use and understand. For example, using a Google Sheets dashboard template can help you visualise your budget data and track your progress over time.

Once your monthly expenses are defined and added up (including bills), it's time to start thinking about how much money each employee will need in order for them to live well. You may have heard that "you get what you pay for," which means that if someone isn't earning enough money for their salary then they won't perform well at work, and neither will the business!

FAQs on good income to earn in your first year in business

Wondering what a good income to aim for in your first year of business is? In our FAQ section, we delve into crucial aspects including covering business costs, promoting sustainable growth, understanding the difference between profit and revenue, considering personal financial needs, the importance of reinvesting, and benchmarking against industry averages. Explore these frequently asked questions to better set your income goals.

How can I determine the income needed to cover my business costs?

  • Start with your startup costs. Your business will need money to get started, and it's important to have a realistic idea of how much this will be before you launch.
  • Next, consider your marketing costs. The more time and money you spend on marketing, the more customers and sales you'll likely earn in return, but at what point does it stop being worth it?
  • Then think about operating costs: What do I need to keep my business running smoothly (and profitably) every month? These include things like office supplies, utilities or other bills related to maintaining an office space; employee salaries (if applicable); insurance premiums; etcetera.
  • Next...taxes! Taxes are an unavoidable part of doing business, but don't fret too much about them just yet; we'll cover taxes later in this guide under "What should I know about taxes?" In addition to federal income tax withholding from employees' paychecks each month (1099s), there may also be state income tax withholding based on where your business is located, so make sure this information is included on any W-4 forms given out by employees during onboarding processes! Utilising a paystub generator can simplify this process, ensuring you have accurate records for your W-2 or 1099-MISC forms.

What constitutes sustainable growth in the first year of business?

For example, say you take on a full-time employee to help with your business. You'll have to pay them a salary or hourly wage, which will eat into your profits. In addition, you'll also need to pay for their benefits (health insurance and 401(k) contributions). That means that if the business doesn't bring in enough money after expenses are paid out for these two things, then there won't be any profit left over for yourself at all!

It's important not only for sustainability but also for long-term success of any business venture: sustainable growth means that your business can grow without needing more capital from outside sources like investors or banks; it means keeping up with demand without having to hire additional staff; and finally, and most importantly, it means staying away from debt so as not risk losing control over the company because someone else has loaned them money they cannot repay

How does the difference between profit and revenue affect my income goals?

When you're setting your income goals, it's important to understand the difference between profit and revenue. Profit is the difference between revenue and cost, it's what you have left over after paying all of your expenses. Revenue is simply how much money a business makes from selling its products or services.

Revenue can be calculated in two ways: gross revenue and net revenue. Gross revenue refers to the total amount of money brought in by customers during a given period (for example, $50 million). Net revenue subtracts any discounts or fees charged by banks or payment processors before calculating total sales volume (for example, $48 million).

How should I consider my personal financial needs when setting business income goals?

So, how should you consider your personal financial needs when setting business income goals?

First, it's important to know that there are two types of expenses: fixed and variable. Fixed expenses are those that stay the same regardless of how much money you earn in a given month (e.g., rent). Variable expenses vary based on the amount of money coming into your bank account (e.g., groceries or gas). When considering your business income goals, keep in mind that it's okay if some of them aren't met, but don't sacrifice them all just because one goal seems too lofty! You need enough cash flow coming into your business to cover both fixed and variable costs so that it can operate smoothly without interruption or worry over whether bills will get paid next month.

Why is it important to reinvest income back into my business?

It's important to reinvest your income back into your business because it will grow faster, be more profitable, make you more money and allow the business to become more sustainable.

A successful entrepreneur always has an eye on their future growth plans; they know that if they don't reinvest in themselves and their businesses then they won't get far. If you want to grow quickly then it's essential that you reinvest any profits back into the company so as not only keep up but also stay ahead of the competition by constantly improving products and services offered by both online businesses as well as physical stores which sell goods or services via eCommerce platforms like Shopify stores do every day around the world!


If you want to be successful in business, you need to set goals and plan for them. The minimum salary you need to earn from your first year in business will depend on how much revenue your startup generates and how much money is spent on expenses like rent or equipment rental fees. You should also consider whether it makes sense for any extra income earned during this period to be reinvested back into growing your company's resources so that it can continue making more money over time!

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