How I Handle My Bonus Responsibly
For me, one of the hardest parts of running a venture-backed startup is knowing that I make far less income than I would if I still ran my web agency. At the agency, all the profits were mine; at my venture-backed startup, my board of directors has control. In calculating my salary, we collectively set it so I could earn enough to fund my life—barely. Yes, my budget includes a small amount toward my retirement and enough cash to purchase a TV-ready wardrobe. But that’s it. No fat.
When a new year rolls around, expenses in November and December usually exceed my just-enough income. So I depend on a $10,000 February bonus to start the year in the black. Many find it ironic that as the head of a financial media company I don’t simply negotiate for a higher salary. But when I’m also the largest shareholder, I consider my enterprise’s cash flow to be just as important as my personal cash flow.