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

When To Take The Leap

When to Take The Leap: At Peace With Money

You’ve relegated your passion project to side hustle status for a long time, working on it in between your day job and other parts of your life. But you know that if you want to get your business growing, you need to invest more time. That’s when you start asking yourself, “When can I get this off the ground? When can I take the leap, quit my job, and do this full time?” This is a question that must be considered carefully. While I support jumping in, I think it’s best to make the decision based on practical financial criteria. Taken at the wrong time, that leap could jeopardize your business. So, let’s take a closer look at what criteria you and your business should meet before you’re ready to take it to a full-time level.

Savings

Before you leap into the realm of self-employment, it’s good to have some savings to cover your expenses before things get going. This requires calculating your living expenses for each month, and then deciding how many months worth you want to have saved up. Many sources recommend saving up between six months and a years’ worth of expenses, but it’s ultimately up to you. Whatever number you decide, make sure it correlates with how much time you think you’ll need to get your business to a point where it supports you. If you need some resources to help you determine your monthly expenses, I recommend my article “Three Steps to Financial Clarity.”

Proof Of Concept

It’s important to prove to yourself somehow that people actually want your product or service – that there is a demand and real profitability in your idea. Setting up some metrics specific to your business idea can help you divine whether this is the case or not. Depending on your industry, this test could look very different. It might be helpful to research what success and demand look like in your industry. Ensuring that your business will have customers is an important step in the path towards solopreneurship. 

When to Take The Leap: At Peace With MoneyI know they say “Leap and the net will appear,” but in order to take care of yourself financially, I think it’s best to take the leap only when you’ve already constructed at least some of that net for yourself. I understand this is difficult territory. It can be hard to know when you might make more money if you’re able to work on your hustle full time, rather than playing it safe and keeping it on the side. My advice is to think carefully and critically and make sure you have the resources to take care of yourself! 

If you enjoyed this article and want to talk more about the profitability of your business, and how you can make it work for you, don’t be afraid to reach out. You can check out my Services page and schedule a call.

Angela

Image:  Chris Ouzounis

Integrate Your Creativity and Business Sense

Integrate Your Creative and Business Sides: At Peace With Money

I enjoy busting the myth that artists can’t be business people, and vice versa! I truly don’t think the two ways of being are mutually exclusive. However, I do agree that integrating the two takes some effort. That’s why, in this month of habits, I want to talk about how we can establish habits that address both our business and creative needs.

The most important thing solopreneurs can do to serve their business on a financial level is to look at your numbers once a week. Using these numbers to assess business success, needs, and changes to be made is just good business practice. This should be a regular habit, but it doesn’t need to be devoid of creative energy.

Instead of separating your business-owner side from your creative side, let the two aspects inform each other.  Think of ways to engage your creative side while looking at numbers. Try putting on music, or get the wiggles out beforehand by dancing. If you’re a visual person, record or track your finances using a bullet journal full of doodles, color-coding, and stickers.  Create a fun visual chart to map your progress that you can color in as you save, pay off debt, or work towards a business goal. 

Looking at your numbers regularly doesn’t have to be bland or austere. It’s your business, you decide how you do things! Keep your creative and business sides equally engaged. I believe that’s key to the life of a creative solopreneur. I hope this gives you a little inspiration to start a weekly numbers habit, and infuse your business finances with creative spark! If you need some guidance around this or are interested in chatting with me, look at my Services page and book a call!

Angela

The Creative Exchange

Book Review: Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Book Review: Joyful By Ingrid Fetell Lee: At Peace With Money

For this month’s focus on habits, I thought I’d review Ingrid Fetell Lee’s wonderful book, Joyful. This book is a great resources for getting into the habit of seeing the joy in our everyday lives. Who doesn’t want to make that a regular practice?  Isn’t the point of working for yourself to allow yourself flexibility and greater opportunities to enjoy life? I know many solopreneurs are driven by these desires, which is why I think tapping into joy is something we can all do with more consistency.

Ingrid Fetell Lee is a designer, blogger at aestheticsofjoy.com and expert on joy. I found her book to be an excellent resource for finding joy in my daily routine. Joy may be hard to separate from happiness – but in her Ted Talk, Ingrid defines joy as “feeling good right now, in the moment.” Even the table of contents Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee Book Review: At Peace With Moneybrings me joy. Expect chapter titles like Abundance, Harmony, and Magic! Each chapter includes an overview and the science behind these aesthetics of joy. Then, she articulates easily attainable ideas and examples to bring in more of each element.

One of my favorite chapters is Freedom, in which Ingrid points out that “Joy thrives on the alleviation of constraints.”  She goes on to explain how we experience the restorative benefits of freedom through viewing or spending time in nature. According to her findings, this can be as simple as adding a plant to your home space. Color also plays a major role throughout the book. She explains how color can easily be added to or just enjoyed in our daily lives.

She wraps the book up with a Joyful Toolkit including project worksheets to add more joy as you plan your space, event, or perhaps even a new offering in your business!  Learning about joy can not only improve your work life as a solopreneur, but also help you learn to invoke joy for your customers. In general, I think this book is an excellent resource for appreciating and enjoying life. I try to operate my business with an eye towards the emotional side of money. Joy is an emotion I would love to help my clients experience when it comes to their finances! If you’re interested in what I do, check out my Services, and book a call!

Angela

Why DIY Business Owners Can Still Use a Bookkeeping Partner

Why DIY Businesses Can Still Use a Bookkeeper: At Peace With Money

Recently, several people have reached out to me who prefer to do their bookkeeping on their own, but want to have a second set of eyes on their numbers. I can’t tell you how pleased I’ve been to receive these requests. I think consulting someone else about your books is a great idea, even if you typically keep your records yourself. There are two main reasons why I think occasionally working with a professional bookkeeper, even if you’re a whiz on your own, can greatly benefit your business.

Accountability

Having someone who regularly looks at your books, even if it’s only once every month or so, motivates you to stay on top of them. Regularly scheduled reviews can help you maintain consistency and accuracy in your record keeping, which can streamline your business even further. It’s easy to fall behind on your books if no one’s watching. Having someone else look at them every now and then encourages you to keep up.

Accuracy Check

Your financial records are something you don’t want to mess up. Mistakes can be terribly inconvenient at best, and very costly at worst. Plus, if you are working to learn the skill of bookkeeping, it’s great to have an expert on hand to review your work. That extra pair of eyes can help keep your records orderly.

My Story

When I was running Dolce Beada, I knew how to do my bookkeeping, but I still had someone come in once a month to make sure I stayed on top of all the entries. Having someone look at my records regularly kept me in the habit of recording my numbers and keeping my books from getting messy. I also really benefited from a monthly numbers-check, just to make sure I was doing it right. 

Some business owners may feel that they are not ready to hire a bookkeeper, so they prefer to keep their own records. If this is you, you can still benefit from having a bookkeeper review what you’ve done. Or perhaps you need some training on how to set up and maintain your bookkeeping – an expert can offer this too.  Many solopreneurs also benefit from Profit First Financial Coaching in order to set a revenue goal for their business, fully understand how much they are spending both personally and in their business, and prepare to pay themselves and all taxes as they come due. All of these business concerns require some financial work, and an expert who can coach you through that work can be an invaluable resource. 

If you’re interested and want to learn more about the Profit First and financial services I offer, check out my services page, and book a call with me!

Angela

Image Source: Ashkan Forouzani

Love Your Future Self

Love Your Future Self: At Peace With Money

One of the best forms of self love is this: put some money away for 65 year old you! Starting an IRA is the perfect way to do this. Beginning to put money away now so that you can take care of yourself in retirement will vastly improve your life as a whole. It’s important to remember your future self, and make sure you aren’t only treating yourself today. What better way to care for yourself?

Give Yourself a Gift

Make contributing to your IRA a fun and regular occasion. Consider it a gift to both your present and future self! Perhaps you could give yourself the gift of a deposit to your IRA for Valentine’s Day. My sister does this for herself on her birthday every year, to celebrate her present and future self! 

Invest!

It’s very important that when you do contribute to your IRA, that you remember to invest it. Don’t simply let it sit in the account in cash.  If you let it sit, it’s not actually accruing any more value, and therefore will not expand beyond the amount you put in. The longer you let it sit, the more time that could be used to expand your investment goes by. 

LOVE YOUR FUTURE SELF: At Peace With MoneyPlay the Long Game

Remember, this is long term money. You won’t touch it for years, so don’t worry about how much your investment increases or decreases in value today.  You are in it for the long haul!

For more  specific info on types of IRAs, here’s the IRS’s info page, plus a helpful article from NerdWallet. I love to talk to people about IRA’s and how setting up Profit First can make saving for retirement more possible, so if you’d like to chat, check out my services page and schedule a curiosity call!

Angela

Image Source:  Ivan Jevtic

Money and Marriage

Money and Marriage: At Peace With Money

Ah February, the month of love. What better time to dig into your finances with your partner, right? Marriage and money can be a complex subject. I’ve written a little bit about the money moves my husband and I have made over the years to stay on top of our money game. But my best suggestion? Make time to go over your finances together.

The Impact of Regular “Money Time”

Regularly coming together to look at your finances is extremely important in marriage! Why? Because your futures are intertwined, and finances are a major factor in any potential future you share. If you’re not both on the same page about where your money is going and how close you are to reaching any goals, planning other parts of your future plans will be difficult.

Having regular “money dates” can make space for the time you need to get on the same financial page. Together, you can check in on accounts and investments, review your personal incomes, and set and monitor financial goals. Doing this regularly can build your motivation and help you stay on top of financial projects, like paying off debt or building an emergency fund.

Make It Fun

Money and Marriage: At Peace With MoneyIn my last post, I put up a book review of Bari Tessler’s The Art of Money.  Check it out if you haven’t already! One of my favorite pieces of wisdom from her is that it’s important to try to make looking at your finances more pleasant for you! If it feels difficult to look at your accounts and really be honest with yourself, think about what you can do to make it more fun. This could be relaxing music, lighting some candles, a warm fire – anything to make the task feel more comfortable. This same advice holds for money dates with your partner. If it’s hard for the two of you to sit down and talk about money, brainstorm together about how you can make it more fun and bearable!

I hope this info has inspired you to check in with your life partner and gauge the path of your financial futures! I wish you smooth sailing. Check out my article on money buddies for more ideas!

Angela