I see a number of questions related to small business. Area51 has a startup business proposal in the commitment phase now.

Some of these questions will be related to personal finance, but some will cross over into small business management, which is probably off topic?

Where's the line?

  • As an example how about this question: money.stackexchange.com/questions/446. I'm assuming it was asked for a small business but it doesn't directly relate (at least not obvious to me) that it's personal finance related.
    – brainimus
    Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 1:20

1 Answer 1


This is an excellent question. I struggled with this when I was launching the StackExchange 1.0 version of the site. I never did settle on an answer, but here's how I was leaning:

Some limited types of questions that are small-business-related could be on-topic as "personal finance."

For instance, some questions related to being a contractor, self-employed, independent, freelancer, etc. (whatever you call it) ought to be on-topic, because they relate to a fundamental decision all individuals have to make: "How will I make a living?" Traditional employment is but one way to make a living, and to only allow people to talk about their employment income to the exclusion of other forms of income would be prejudicial. There are other forms of making a living and I think they can be explored. Even trust-fund brats could come and ask trust-fund brat questions :-)

On the other hand, I think if a questions relates more to the how-to-run-a-business side of things, or clearly to larger businesses (i.e. obviously not one-man-shops), then the question could be considered off-topic.

Of course, I have to confess a bias: I am an independent contractor, and not an employee. Consequently, I want to be able to talk about being self-employed, how it affects my finances, etc. :-D

  • 5
    I think your last sentence sums it up. If the question relates to how the business effects your personal finances the question is valid. If it does not affect your personal finances then it is off-topic.
    – brainimus
    Commented Aug 5, 2010 at 1:10
  • This covers "Personal Finance" so then what does the "Money" part cover?
    – Naz
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 16:12
  • It's a vestige: money.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1949/… Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 16:12

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