Financial Clarity

/Financial Clarity

How to Create A Business That Restores You

A lot of people start their business with hopes for a better life in mind. More freedom, more money, a better schedule, and a legacy to pass on are just a few things that people starting out on their solopreneur journey might hope for. However, once a business gets going, whether it’s a full time project or a side-hustle, for many it becomes a demanding enterprise. My goal is to bring the solopreneur’s relationship with their business back into balance, by making sure the needs and desires they set out to meet in the first place are organizationally and financially prioritized.

So, how do we do this? The path toward creating a business that is restorative to you, the owner, combines intentional decision making and organizational action. Here are a couple key factors I’ve identified through my work with clients:

Boundaries

I recently review Jennifer Armbrust’s awesome book, Proposals for the Feminine Economy, in which she introduces twelve principles for feminist business. Principle number one is very simple: “You have a body.” While this can be interpreted in a number of ways, to me, it’s a reminder to slow down and set reasonable expectations for myself. By keeping my physical and mental limits in mind when setting up my schedule, choosing my daily tasks, and considering the scale of my own business, I’m able to avoid exhaustion and burnout. Some solopreneurs leave the corporate world or another industry in hopes of finding better work-life balance on their own. Healthy boundaries around when and how much you work can help you realize that dream and restore mental and physical wellbeing.

Clear Objectives

Consistently, I ask my clients to consider their “money why” – the clear financial objective they aim to achieve through running their business. Your money why can be a very specific goal like saving to buy a house, or it can be more general, like sustaining your budget. I have an article all about how to set income goals based off your needs. Reading it and doing a check in can help you establish your own clear objectives. By keeping your efforts focused on those, you can make sure specific needs and desires are met.

Quarterly Profit Distributions

This is one of my favorite practices from the Profit First system. To use this practice, during a fiscal quarter, you collect a portion of your profit in a specific account. At the end of the fiscal quarter, you take whatever money has collected and use it to reward yourself and celebrate your hard work. This is a great way to stay energized in your business. You can take this reward without guilt because you have the system in place to know your business is healthy, and this money is specifically set aside for you. If you’re intrigued by this concept, I encourage you to download the first 5 chapters of Profit First and play around with my allocations calculator!

I hope these ideas help you see a path towards your own restorative business. If you’re interested in learning more about what I do with my clients, you can check out my Services packages or schedule a call with me.

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Angela

Image:  Meghan Schiereck

Live Your Dreams

The Power of a Seed: At Peace With Money

I originally posted this as “The Power of a Seed” last year as I was heading off to Sturgis. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m on the road again, so I wanted to put this post out again. This post is meant to encourage you to follow your dreams, no matter how crazy or effort-intensive they seem. This is my second year riding my own bike, and it’s been great. If I can do it, you can do it. Read on: 

I am about to take off on a bucket list trip: I will be riding a motorcycle 1,400 miles to Sturgis, South Dakota.

Three years ago, my husband and I went to the Sturgis motorcycle rally for the first time. I rode on the back of a Harley we rented for the trip. My husband has been riding motorcycles all his life, but this was a big trip for him to take on at that time.  While we were in Sturgis that first year, I saw a lot of women riding bikes and found myself wanting to do the same. These women planted the first seed of inspiration in my mind. My husband has actually tried to teach me to ride before, but it usually ended in disappointment and a few choice words.

After going a second year to Sturgis as a passenger, I again saw lots of women on bikes. I noticed that these women weren’t particularly large or strong, or even necessarily young. They were a lot like me. That’s when I decided thatif these women could ride Harleys and other large bikes, I could too. Upon returning from that trip, I completed my local motorcycle safety program and got my license. We bought a Honda Rebel 250 and I set a goal to ride my first 500 miles. Then I set my sights on a bigger bike, more mileage, and a longer trip. Three years ago in Sturgis, my friends took a picture of me sitting on a red Indian motorcycle, just as a joke. This week I’m going to be riding my new red Indian motorcycle on this trip.

The Power of a Seed: At Peace With Money

I’m not recounting this story simply to tell you that I’m a “badass biker chick”. I’m also a 53 year-old mom that makes a living as bookkeeper and finance coach. But I am a badass because a seed was planted, which I started to believe in and nourish. I set some goals and accomplished them one at a time. Now, I’ve achieved my dream.

If you are struggling to make a change or believe in your goals, I hope my story can inspire you this week. Whether your goals are business related or purely personal, I want you to remember to take one step at a time, and know that you can get there eventually.

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Angela

Image Sources:  Guilherme VelosoJanFillem

Financial Advice: How to Avoid the Bad and Find the Good

Financial advice is important, but the wrong resources can steer you in a rough direction. You don’t want the resources you’re looking at to lead you to a place of boredom or despair due to unrealistic goals. Last time, I gave some tips on finding the right financial advice for you, but today I want to break down some red flags to avoid. Then, we’ll look at some signs that show you’re on the right path!

How to Discern an Unhelpful Resources

A financial resource may not be right for you if:

  • The resource is targeted to an income level higher than yours. Even if you aspire to increase your income, financial advice will provide you with feasible next steps if it acknowledges your starting point. Starting out by reading investing guides for people with a $100k to distribute might leave you feeling alienated.
  • The resource chastises you or shames you for habits or behaviors. While many of us do carry emotional baggage around money, I firmly believe we should not be put down for this, or for our financial habits. Shame and blame do not facilitate financial learning. If a resource is telling you to quit things that make life enjoyable, or scrimp every penny as a path to wealth, evaluate these strategies carefully.
  • The resource uses financial jargon you don’t understand. Something like this can quickly lead you to boredom or discouragement. You can always look up the vocabulary words you don’t know, but finding something more accessible makes for a more pleasant and sustainable learning experience.
  • The resource doesn’t reflect your vision for your business or personal finances. Not everyone needs or wants piles of cash – so you won’t enjoy a book about how to get that if that’s not what you want!

Signs the Resource is a Good Fit

Alright, we’ve looked at red flags, now let’s talk green flags. A resource can be great for you if:

  • The resource acknowledges and takes time to help you work on your emotional stories and stressors around money. (One of my faves for this is The Art of Money by Bari Tessler)
  • The resource is accessible, easy to read or consume, and enjoyable. The more you want to come back to something or refer to it, the more helpful it will actually be!
  • The resource is tailored to your version of financial success and gives you steps for moving towards it.
  • The resource is targeted towards your income level.
  • The resource focuses on long-term solutions like mindset changes, money systems, and improved habits rather than “hacks” or penny-pinching.

If a resource ticks all these boxes for you, it will probably set you down the path to financial wellbeing! And it will feel a lot better than trying to read something that just isn’t for you. Next time, we’ll talk about starting the search for resources. For now, feel free to do some good ol’ googling. You can also check out my article on some of my favorite resources. I post more resources and video summaries of important concepts on Facebook, so check that out and see if you get green flags!

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Angela

Image Sources:  David Iskander, Thought Catalog

A Brief Guide to Finding the Right Financial Advice

Determining what kind of financial advice you’re really looking for is more important that you might suspect. A lot advice out there is targeted to people who already are or who want to be wealthy. If the advice you’re trying to follow is geared towards a vision that ultimately differs from yours, that can be an issue.The fact that so many financial resources assume their audience has a certain income level is also an issue. If you’re looking for financial help but you can only find resources that are geared towards people who make $50,000 more than you, you’re going to feel left in the dust.

One of my big goals with At Peace With Money is to help solopreneurs who don’t manage enormous accounts feel like they too can take steps down a helpful financial path. I strongly believe that no matter what amount of money you make, there are steps you can take to improve your situation and take care of yourself in the long term. I also believe you can do this without hugely sacrificing your quality of life. It doesn’t feel good to be chastised for your income level or your lifestyle, especially when class structure in the U.S. effects us in a way that means we are often not fully responsible for our financial standing. I don’t think that’s the role of financial advice anyway! Instead, good advice meets you where you’re at, and helps you get where you want to go.

 Know What You Need

Once you’ve decided to find financial advice resources that are relevant to your lifestyle, it’s important to know where you’re at personally. So, be sure to check in with your own finances. If you need a simple process to get clear, check out my Three Steps to Financial Clarity exercise.

Once you’ve done that, you should have a clear idea of your current income level and your hopes for your financial future. Both of these things will help you determine what financial resources are best for you. At the beginning of your journey, you might not be interested in people who talk about managing large investments. That can always come later! Instead, you might be interested in resources that cater specifically to small businesses just getting started, or people who’ve just opened an IRA.

Find Your Teachers

Now it’s time to find some good resources that meet your criteria. Some googling might help with this, but you can also check out my post on my favorite resources. There are tons of people and helpful guides out there. If Suze Orman’s not your style, don’t let her throw you off the path of learning how to make and manage wealth. You don’t have to already be making $100K a year or give up coffee forever to invest in your future – I promise.

I hope this guide has been helpful for you! If you like these ideas or you’d like to work with me for a little guidance, head on over to my Services page, where you can book a call with me.

Angela

Image Source:  Sharon McCutcheon , Luis Quintero

To Find Clarity and Focus, Do a Mid-Year Review Pt. II

This is part two of a two-part series on doing a mid-year review of your business! You can find part one here

So, now that you’ve reviewed your work so far and adapted your strategies and goals appropriately, it’s time for the next few steps. These are intended to really up the feeling of getting a fresh start, while enjoying your business for what it is: a way to meet your life goals.

Refresh

For an extra dash of clarity and focus, include a refresh in your review process! Now is the time to do whatever necessary maintenance you might need to grease the wheels of your business. You might clean your workspace, clear your inbox, or centralize your passwords. Attend to your physical and digital spaces. Check in with your finances, and schedule an appointment with a bookkeeper. 

This is usually my favorite part of the review process, because I make time to do all the little things that have been nagging me, like scheduling lower priority appointments, finding that one piece of paper, and sometimes making a new goal chart for myself. Giving yourself the time and space to get organized can save you time and effort down the road. It can also add ease to your everyday business functions – which is an added bonus!

Celebrate

Go back to step one, and take stock again of all you’ve done this year, including this review process. Chances are, you will find you’ve done quite a bit of work towards your goals, no matter how close you might be to completing them! Take some time to celebrate all the work you’ve done. Treat yourself to an afternoon off, a fun or inspiring event, or whatever you’d like to do to celebrate your achievements so far! Being a self-starting solopreneur is hard work. If you’ve done the work, you deserve to cheer yourself on once in a while.

If you busted through this whole review process, congratulations. I’d love to hear from you about how your business functions going forward, or if there are any little things you’ve added to the process. Just leave a comment below or shoot me an email at angela {at} atpeacewithmoney.com. If you think you could benefit from working through this process with an accountability partner, you know where to find me – just check in on my Services page.

Angela

Image Source: Emma Matthews

To Find Clarity and Focus, Do a Mid-Year Review

Goal motivational quote

We’re six months down the line. How are you doing with your goals? Have you totally crushed them, worked on them bit by bit, or are you not sure? In the thick of things, sometimes our focus on our goals can get a little murky. Here’s the first two steps of a two part series on doing a mid-year review. Let’s jump in:

Review

Step one in a mid-year review is the review, of course! When you take a look at the goals you’re working towards, it’s easy to get bogged down by focusing on what you still need to do. Instead, train your focus on what you’ve already done.

Start by making a list of milestones you’ve hit or steps you’ve completed. Rifle through your day planner or old to-do lists if you need a refresher. Go back through the year, month by month.

Now, it’s time for a little introspection. Take stock of all the actions you’ve taken towards your goals, and then ask yourself a few questions: How do I feel about this goal? Do I still want to achieve it by the end of the year? Is that feasible? At what pace have I been able to work toward this? What’s my capacity been like?

Don’t be afraid to drop things or add new things. Some goals may simply no longer excite you, or you may have realized that another achievement is more important or time sensitive.

During this review process, it’s also helpful to take a look at the systems and work routines you have in place for your business. For example, you may have set an intention to review your numbers once a week, or you may be trying out the Profit First system. Evaluate the effectiveness of your systems and routines. Are they working for you? Do you have time to do these things? Are you consistent? You may find that your routines need to be simplified or tweaked to be more pleasant. Or, you might find that your systems and routines are working just fine! Both are vital evidence when checking in on your business.

Learn and Adapt

Next, it’s time to use all of that evidence you’ve gathered to adapt your goals and practices. First, notice if you have any goals that you are either discarding or adding. Next, examine the pace at which you’ve worked on your goals. These pieces are important when it comes to planning out the rest of your year.

I recommend drawing or writing out a map for the next six months. Include any events relevant to your business, like conferences, trade shows, or gallery openings. Then, begin to write in milestones you hope to meet in the next six months. Make sure these are realistic! Don’t pressure yourself to level up in three months if it took you six to get where you are now. Instead, allow yourself the space and time to achieve things incrementally.

When you’re making your plan, be sure to adapt your goals to what’s worked so far this year. If you really love a certain routine or feel fired up to keep working toward a certain goal, go for it. If you’ve stalled on a project because you need to do more research, carve out some time to go back to the drawing board. When charting your course, keep your own needs and preferences in mind.

The next two steps will coming out in part two of the series, but I think this gives you enough to chew on for now! If you haven’t yet set goals for your business, or would like some more help thinking them through, check out my article Set Informed Income Goals. And of course, I am happy to walk through the goal setting process with you. All three of my service packages are focused on helping you set, work towards, and achieve goals. If you find you might appreciate some accountability or guidance, head on over to my Services page and schedule a curiosity call

Angela

Image Source:  S O C I A L . C U T

There is No Wrong Choice

When you run your own business, you make a lot of decisions, mostly on your own. That grants you enormous freedom, but also leaves you with immense responsibility. This responsibility often hangs over our heads: what if we don’t make the right choice? We stall the flow of our businesses by avoiding tough decisions.

I, for one, have definitely struggled with this. When I was running my jewelry business as a full time project, I often put off making decisions. My avoidance of them was fear-based and emotional. I felt like I had to nail every choice and do everything by myself. Not having anyone else to bounce my ideas off of left me frozen and fearful. You can read more about my experience running my jewelry business here

Since then, one of my major breakthroughs was realizing that there is no wrong decision. No matter what I decide to do in my business, I am always able to learn from that choice. If something I do turns out to be a mistake, I find a way to recover and learn not to repeat the misstep. However, I find that the vast majority of choices I make in my business are not typically so high-stakes. Often, I’m making choices about how to utilize social media, what to include in a proposal to a client, etc. I can agonize over the details, but at the end of the day, every choice I make is just another step in a larger experiment: my business! And the purpose of my business is to support me and my life goals – the choices I make within it don’t need to be stressful or fear-fraught.

What are some strategies that could help you breeze through decision making with your business? Perhaps you can get comfortable trying out systems and ideas on a trial basis. Maybe it would be helpful for you to find an accountability buddy to talk to and discuss ideas with. Perhaps hiring on an employee or contractor and delegating some of your workload can take some of the pressure off. It could be helpful to journal and investigate the fear or emotions that are blocking you from making a decision. Simply approaching your business with the mindset that you can learn from all your choices can also help alleviate this.

Making decisions in your business confidently and with an air of curiosity and experimentation can make your business more fun for you. And really, isn’t that what we want?

I hope this post inspired you to go forth confidently and make any moves you’ve been stalling. Go get ’em, tiger! If you find you could benefit from an accountability partner and you’d like guidance around your financial systems, I absolutely love to support solopreneurs around these things. Head on over to my Services page, and schedule a call with me.

Angela

Image Source: Amy Shamblen

 

Claim Your Power

Are we afraid of our own power? One of the things I absolutely love about Barbara Huson’s book, Secrets of Six Figure Women, is that it asks us to face this question. In a society where we are often trained to take lower pay and funneled into “helping” professions, our earning potentials are often restricted, and we participate in the repression of our own power unknowingly. Some would argue the drive to help and caretake is natural for us. Barbara pulls a quote from Fortune of Oct 2000 which reads, “Women feel powerful when they are making a difference and expanding their own capabilities.” Naturally, we gravitate towards improving the world, but we can do this while also pursuing personal power and security. 

Every time you leave the beaten path and aim for exceptional, every time you silence your fear and speak with your own voice, every time you stop acting small and start taking up space, you are owning your power and emancipating others to follow in your footsteps.

Financial Security Is Power

Power does not require money, and is not exclusive to it. However, if you have the financial freedom  to leave a job, leave a spouse, take time off, give money away, and allocate financial resources as you please, that can only add to your personal agency. Money gives you choices. Those choices can allow you to step into every part of your power.

When we claim our power in this way, we raise the stakes in our lives, and stop playing the small game.  Barbara writes,“It’s not what we have but what we do with what we have that gives us or denies us financial security.” Whatever we choose to do, we can do more easily and powerfully with financial security. 

Serious fear underlies female passivity around money. My post on wealth-building may have stirred up some of this fear for you – and it’s exactly why so many of us stall on our way to building our assets. This fear is understandable. We receive many negative messages about powerful or wealthy women. They are often the villains in animated films, and there are no positive words for powerful women. The ones that come to my mind are “bitch” and “ball breaker.” This desperately needs to change, and it starts with us as we choose to turn against it. 

Claiming your power and building financial security may be uncomfortable or cause conflict. It means rocking the boat, saying no, and not always being liked or welcomed. I believe that, in the long term, these things are a small price to pay in pursuit of your own freedom and power. 

Claim Power For Yourself and Others

Claiming our power is an act of self love. When we honor and value ourselves and have the bravery and financial security to live our desires – that is real self love. This love ripples outwards, and makes a positive difference in the lives of those around us. By striving for what we really deserve, we can inspire and pave the way for a new generation of people ready to do the same. When we have the resources to donate to causes we agree with, we can heal the planet and help others achieve their dreams. When we claim our power, we can also extend that power to others. 

I hope that this post inspires you to reach for your dreams – you truly deserve to have the financial security you need and the agency you want. If you’re interested in working with an accountability partner to help you get there, you know where to find me! Check out my Services page and schedule a call. This post is the fourth in a series I did on Secrets of Six Figure Women by Barbara Huson. You can read my other posts in the series on mindset, action, and wealth building at the links!

Angela

 

Put Your Money to Work For You

Once you’re earning a lot of money from your business, you’re set – right? It’s easy to think that way, but the truth is that high earnings give the illusion of affluence without the security or freedom that comes along with true long term wealth building. I use this term to refer specifically to investing.  

In Barbara Huson’s book, Secrets of Six Figure Women, she interviews many high earning women who she calls Modest Accumulators, high earners who spent too much and saved too little. Their issue was not with making money, but rather, managing it. Do you find you have this issue too? It can be easy to have cash flowing in, and yet you find you still have no savings or investments. 

Taking the time to learn to manage your money and build up your wealth is a separate project all its own – and an important one! Often in running our own business we are so fixated on creating something profitable. But once we’ve got profit, we need to have something to do with it! This is what wealth building is all about – creating a mindful strategy to utilize and maximize those profits so they support your lifestyle in the long term.

Fend Off Fear

When it’s put that way, doesn’t wealth building sound like a good idea? Yet so many people are hesitant to do it. Many of Barbara’s interviewees had a wide range of excuses for not investing their savings, but the underlying reason was the same for most – fear.  They feared making a wrong decision, not understanding how the market works, or not knowing what to invest in.

The ironic truth here is that the longer we delay investing, the more money we lose out on. The more time our investments have to accrue interest, the better! So the best thing to do is to start learning, and start investing. Start listening to a podcast , read a book , or check out my post on financial self-education resources. Figure out what gaps in your knowledge scare you, and start to fill them. The only way to build wealth, is to start doing it!

Invest Money To Have Money

Some say, “When I have money, then I will invest,”but it doesn’t really work that way. You won’t ever have money until you start putting money to work for you. While you’re at your job making money, your money can also be out making money, if you invest. Here’s a clear outline of how to do that, according to Barbara’s investigation. 

Automate regular transfers from your bank account to an investment. Automation is one of my personal favorite tools for wealth building. You can read more about automation in my post about it!

Delegate  – find a financial professional that can help you evaluate your investing decisions. Working with a professional also adds a dose of accountability to keep your investment plan on track.   

Educate and Communicate – silence around money is what keeps us stuck. Comparing compensation and exposing pay gaps at work is one issue communication takes care of. Financial empowerment can also be achieved in group efforts. Barbara interviewed many of the women who were involved in investment clubs with other women. I often advocate for having a money buddy or a mentor. Breaking the taboo around money can help us all build better strategies. 

Finally, I want to add a note about the need for diversification. Any professional will tell you that it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket. One of Barbara’s interviewees realized she was investing everything back into her own business, but not actually building any wealth in a diversified way. Regardless of whether you are a business owner ensuring that you are working towards a portfolio of investments is important to note. 

Now go forth, and start building your wealth! Women deserve security and the resources to take care of themselves – that’s why I do what I do, and why I want you to invest. If you’re interested in talking to me about finances around your solopreneur journey, check out my Services and book a free/no obligation call!

 

Angela

Image: Zdeněk Macháček

To Increase Your Earnings, Take Action

So, you’ve shifted your mindset: you see the potential for abundance and your life and you’re ready for the cash to roll in. But now what? It’s time to take action. By getting the wheels in motion, you get closer to earning what you deserve. This is the second in a series of posts on the seven strategies used by high earning women Barbara Stanny interviewed in her book Secrets of Six Figure Women. You can check out the first post on shifting to an abundance mindset here! According to Barbara’s insights, here are a couple action steps you’ll want to take. 

Step One: Get Clear

The first step is to get clear on where your finances are right now.  You need to know what you have in the bank, how much you are spending monthly, and what and whom you owe.  If you are currently ignoring this information, you cannot move forward until you face these numbers.  In her book, Barbara gives many examples of women who have changed their patterns with their finances.  Many had to stop overspending in various areas, some had to pay off credit card debt or stop using credit cards altogether.  But they all had to first examine their current behaviors and then think about where they wanted to end up and make the decision to make change. If you’d like a guide for this step, check out my post Three Steps to Financial Clarity

Step Two: Make a Change

Making changes may include trying new strategies with your spending and saving.  It may mean not using credit cards at all, or seeking out someone to partner with to make change, like a money buddy or accountability partner. One of the women interviewed actually set up a system of saving one third of her income, setting aside one third for taxes and living off of one third.  This may not be a feasible option for every income level, but setting up and automating some percentage of saving is a great place to begin. You can read my article about automation for more resources. The author points out that when you do make a change, “each step builds to the next, increasing confidence, competence and resources.” With that in mind, the best thing to do is pick an idea, try it, and see if it does some good for your financial situation. 

To Increase Earnings, Take Action title imageThree Keys

Once you’re on your way to making changes, it’s good to know the keys to managing your money. Barbara points out three key steps to successful money management: spend less than you earn, pay yourself first, and then put your money to work.  This last step is often the trickiest. Many people are tripped up by fear when it comes to investing and building wealth. That’s why we’ll going in depth about it next week, when we’ll talk about wealth building. I haven’t talked a whole lot about this here, beyond a few ideas about retirement prep, so I’m excited to get more into it!

If you think you’d be able to take more action with the guidance of an accountability partner, I’m always here to help. Take a look at my services, book a call, and let’s have a chat!

Angela