🐧 8 financial tools for US-based remote businesses

INSIDE: Business Banking, Virtual Mailbox, Accounting, Payments, & More
June 9, 2024

Today, in 10 minutes or less, you’ll learn:

  • 🏦 What is my remote business financial stack
  • 🧰 8 financial tools from business banking to virtual mailbox to payments

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🧰 8 financial tools for US-based remote businesses

In January 2023, I started two remote businesses:

Product consulting and Money Abroad (courses and media).

While plenty of people write about US-based remote businesses, not enough people talk about how they setup the financial and operational plumbing that runs their businesses.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to setup your business in the US, then this article is for you.

In this newsletter, I dive into the financial tools I would suggest for entrepreneurs looking to setup a US-based remote business.

Timeline of My Remote Business Journey

Here’s a few milestones from building my businesses:

  • January 2023: Launched Money Abroad as a free newsletter
  • March 2023: Crossed 1,000 newsletter subscribers; for consulting, got my first two product advising clients
  • May 2023: Made my first $$$ with my newsletter (ads and events)
  • September 2023: Pivoted my positioning from advising to fractional consulting
  • December 2023: Crossed 5,000 newsletter subscribers, 5x’ed my Linkedin followers since January, and launched my course beta program; for consulting, got my first two product consulting clients
  • May 2024: Launched my first official Remote Side Hustle Cohort Program

Fast forward to today.

I generate revenue through b2b consulting, 1:1 coaching, a course, affiliates, and ads.

What is my remote business financial stack?

Here’s the financial and operational stack I would suggest for business owners. Nearly all of the tools I list here are ones I’ve personally used in my business.

Without them, I would have to find a replacement quickly or risk serious issues.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I will never work with a brand that I don't personally use or believe in.

Tool #1: Doola

Doola is my go-to LLC formation service.

I incorporated my Delaware-based LLC before Doola was started, but my wife incorporated her Wyoming-based LLC as an Australian founder, and it was a smooth experience.

Founded in 2020, Doola is a newer entrant, but it's grown rapidly due to providing a simple and cost-effective incorporation service for remote businesses, startups, and freelancers.

Why an LLC?

  • Flexibility to run your business as a separate legal entity with pass-through taxation
  • Biggest perk is that it shields you from the business’s debts, obligations, and legal liabilities
  • Good fit for many small business owners like solopreneurs, fractional workers, consultants, coaches, etc.

If I were to go back and incorporate my business all over again, I’d use a service like Doola.

Try Doola (15% off with affiliate link & MONEYABROAD15 code)

Tool #2: Mercury

Mercury is my business banking solution.

As a small business owner, I’ve been disappointed by my business banking experiences in the past. While consumer banking apps had risen to a high standard, it felt like business apps fell behind.

Even though I just setup Mercury in November last year, I’ve been blown away by its easy-to-use dashboard, automated transfer rules, free wires, and simple integrations. Did I mention, no monthly fees?

I’ve used Mercury to:

Try Mercury and get $150 when you deposit $10k in your first 90 days.

Tool #3: Wise Business

Wise Business is my top pick for international business money transfers.

I’ve used it whenever I need to pay vendors overseas due to its low fees, fast transfer times, and versatility (over 50 currencies offered). As a bonus, it also offers helpful features like team management and expense tracking.

Try Wise Business for free.

Tool #4: Stable Mailbox

My US business virtual mailbox. Stable provides you with a permanent street address in a premium location and the ability to manage your physical mail online.

I’ve used Stable for:

  • Forwarding my replacement credit cards
  • Scanning all kinds of mail, including PIN codes
  • Storing my mail and packages before forwarding
  • Listing a virtual business address for various services

Try Stable Mailbox. (get 20% off)

Tool #5: Google Voice

To be honest, I’ve used my free personal Google Voice account until now.

Google Voice is a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone service for personal or professional use cases.

It’s been perfect for my use case so far, but I will likely move to a business line soon to separate my personal + business messages.

I’ve used it for:

  • Making and receiving phone calls
  • Sending text messages
  • Responding on smartphone and web

Try Google Voice

Tool #6: Stripe

Stripe is my go-to online payments platform.

I’ve been using Stripe to reliably and securely handle all my online payments since 2016. It’s worked like a charm.

Here’s a few examples of I’ve done with it:

  • Accepted credit card payments from global clients
  • Execute rebates easily in a few clicks on the dashboard
  • Integrate with Shopify, Calendly, and Acuity (booking platform)
  • Create payment links and invoices for my consulting engagements

If you Google payment processors, you’ll discover a shocking number of horror stories of high fees, payouts being held hostage, chargeback hell, etc. Payments can honestly be a nightmare (I know, I’ve worked in the industry).

I count myself lucky. So far, Stripe has been a smooth operator for my remote businesses.

Try Stripe for free

Tool #7: Deel

Deel has helped me simplify my global independent consulting workflow.

Since early 2023, I’ve been consulting for growth-stage startup clients. And I’ve been fortunate to have worked with multiple clients who used Deel to onboard me as a consultant.

The consultant-facing flow has been relatively painless, so I’m motivated to explore using Deel for my own hiring efforts down the road.

I’ve used it for:

  • Signing contracts with my clients
  • Getting paid for my consulting services
  • Keeping a record of contracts and payments
  • Downloading my tax documents (eg 1099-NEC)

In general, international hiring, compliance, and payroll can be a giant pain in the ass. I’m grateful for Deel to have made this much simpler.

Try Deel

Tool #8: Xero

Xero is my go-to accounting software.

Before this year, I used Quickbooks. But I switched to Xero due to its simpler UI/UX, lower price, and better customer support.

I also hired a part-time bookkeeper who helps me manage my books for a few hours per month.

I’ve used it for:

  • Categorizing, updating, and organizing my monthly transactions
  • Keeping records of invoices and receipts for transactions
  • Generating monthly income and balance sheet statements
  • Integrating with my bank accounts like Mercury and payments like Kajabi/Stripe

Try Xero for free for 30 days.

🌐 Beyond your borders

💳️ Is Maximizing Credit Card Rewards Worth It? (link)

🥰 This Young Professional Left Her Job in Finance After Her Remote Side Hustle Took Off and Made $76,000: 'My Idea Solves a Universal Problem' (link)

🛩️ The best and worst airports to have a layover, according to a travel expert who flies 200,000 miles a year (link)

📆 How I can help

That’s all for today!

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:

1. Side Hustle Crash Course (free) - Click here to receive my free, 5-day course teaching you the foundations of building a service-based side hustle.

2. Remote Side Hustle Launchpad - Join my cohort in Fall 2024 alongside high-performers. This is the system I used to earn over $100,000 from my side hustles taking 10 hours/week.

3. US expat tax service - Get personalized help on your tax returns from a US expat tax professional.

4. Promote yourself to 6,000+ high-performers by sponsoring my newsletter.

For daily insights, follow me on Linkedin and X (@dexteryz)

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Dexter Zhuang

Dexter is the founder of Money Abroad, an online education platform helping high-performers design their independent money path. He has 10+ years of experience building products and teams at public companies (Dropbox) and scaling startups (Xendit) across the US, Asia, and Latin America. His work has been featured in global outlets like Business Insider, CBS, US News & World Report, and Tech in Asia. He graduated from Dartmouth College.

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