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

 

What’s Your Money Mindset?

If you got my newsletter this month, then you know that I’m deep-diving into Barbara Stanny’s Secrets of Six Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to up Your Earnings and Change Your Life. By doing this, I hope to lead us through a month of investigating our own earnings and making sure we’re earning what we deserve! This week’s post is about mindset, the first ingredient in that process.

Check In

Barbara interviews six-figure earners and contrasts them with women she dubs underearners.  One of the contrasts that is ever present between the two is a difference in mindset.  In her workshops with underearners, she uses a great exercise that I would encourage you to explore for yourself.  She asks them to complete this sentence:  People with money are _______________.  If this as well as the title of this book bring up negative emotions, you will need to change this story before you are able to change your relationship with your earning potential. 

I mentioned in my newsletter that I don’t believe that we all need to strive for a six figure income, or even that money is a measure of our success.  But as business owners, if we are not able to support ourselves through our work, we will find it impossible to continue sharing the gifts that we have to offer.  I believe that we need to shift to an abundance mindset. What do you think of when you think of the word abundance?  I feel that this word includes many things: being grateful for what we have now, for what the future holds for us, for the gifts and talents we are able to share, the connections that we have to other people and the money that our society uses as a measure of exchange.  Unless we include money in our desire for abundance, we will not be able to increase or even feel deserving of our earnings.

My Mindset

I have been exploring my own money mindset recently. While I thought I had a positive relationship with money, I still found that I had some blocks as well.  Because our society seems to measure a person’s value by their salary, it is easy to base your self-worth on your income.  In our household, my husband earns the money that we base our lifestyle on. When I truly began exploring my mindset, I found that I was seeing my earnings as “insignificant” in comparison to his.  When I began to separate the value that I deliver to my clients from my worthiness as an individual, my outlook on my potential impact also changed. 

The Deciding Factor

The path to making this mindset shift towards abundance includes gratitude, affirmations about your worth, and a decision to make a change.  Many of the six-figure women interviewed by Barbara started out with negative feelings around money, but they recognized that fact, made a decision to change and then put their new attitudes into practice.  The fact that you are reading this blog about money already shows your willingness to change. That is a great start!  

I hope you found these words about mindset helpful. Next time we will be talking about actions you can take to improve your earnings potential. If you want to talk more about mindset, I’m your gal. Check out my Services page and book a call!

Angela

Image Source:  Nathan Atkinson

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

Staying Motivated as a Solopreneur

Staying Motivated as A Solopreneur: At Peace With Money

Of  all the barriers to being a successful solopreneur, one of the most challenging might just be this: yourself. Not you specifically, but your ability to find the time and motivation to take your solopreneur business seriously and do what needs to be done. Lots of people find that when it comes to managing themselves, they are not the best bosses. Without somebody looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing what you should be, it can be challenging to actually get things done! Here are a couple ideas and resources that can help you take the leap – and take your creative work seriously.

My Story

Working alone has been challenging for me throughout my solopreneurial journey. While running my jewelry business, I often dealt with feelings of pointlessness and like I was working without direction. However, I knew that I really benefited from accountability partners, so when I took on another employee to help me with jewelry making, the company and the fact that I needed to have work for her to do both kept me on track.

In general, I have always worked best with either deadlines or an accountability partner. My most successful exercise programs have involved meeting others for hiking or for a class. One year Etsy offered a boot camp program where we got paired up with a couple of other people and we met weekly via FaceTime from October through December to prepare for the Christmas holiday. We discussed strategies and set goals and then reported back during the following week. 

Another strategy I’ve been working on recently is time blocking, which reduces decision making. Just like with your money, when you make a plan ahead of time and reduce the need to decide in the moment, you usually make better decisions. So on Sunday evening or first thing Monday I plan out my general schedule for the week. Then I schedule the tasks I need to get done each day, and I schedule break time so I don’t burn out. I’m still working on this, but I find when I do it I end up having a day that I feel good about.

Experiment

I’ve found the things that work best for me and figured out how to structure them into my work and my business. Doing this for yourself can ultimately really aid your motivation! Try brainstorming practices that have either helped you get things done in the past, or that you’d like to try. Maybe bullet journaling used to work well for you, or maybe you’d like to find an accountability partner who also runs a small business. Perhaps you’re actually exhausted from all the other things you’re doing, and you’d get more done if you scheduled in some breaks! Play around with your ideas and find out what works. Once you’ve found your sweet spots, use them and get stuff done!

Resources

Staying Motivated as A Solopreneur: At Peace With MoneyIn my monthly newsletter (subscribe here!), I recommended some of Thomas Frank’s resources on motivation. I also want to recommend a couple resources centered around motivation and productivity. Earlier this month, I happened to listen to a great episode of the Copyblogger podcast, which featured author and cartoonist Jessica Abel talking specifically about productivity for people who make creative work. I highly recommend the episode and definitely want to check out her book, Growing Gills. She also has lots of free exercises on her website. Muchelle B’s videos on goal setting and weekly scheduling are also very helpful. She talks more in depth about using an accountability partner and time blocking.

I hope these ideas are helpful for you, and that you find the motivation you need. Speaking of an accountability partner, my coaching is designed to provide exactly that. If you’re intrigued, check out my Services page and schedule a call!

Angela

Getting Health Insurance If You’re A Solopreneur

Health insurance is often one of the biggest reasons people cite when they talk about why they don’t leave their job to start something of their own. Having your basic health needs covered contributes to the peace of mind and focus you need to really run a business. Figuring out health insurance on your own might seem scary, but it’s not impossible. In fact, about 18 million people buy health insurance on their own. So how can a solopreneur find health insurance that works for them?

Well, I did a little digging and came up with a couple ideas, plus a lot of resources. Here are my findings:

Don’t Freak Out About Numbers

If the sheer cost of health insurance is what scares you, this might calm your nerves. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2016, the average American holding a federal Marketplace plan paid $106 per month, after subsidies. Of course your individual costs will differ depending on your situation, but I like to throw out a statistic just to help us all relax.

Assess Your Situation

Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. What is your situation, and what are your needs? Are you able to qualify for subsidies through the ACA? Do you qualify for COBRA coverage? Do you qualify for Medicaid and CHIP programs in your state? (Note: These are all links to Healthcare.gov which you can click on for more info on each type of coverage)

How many people are you trying to insure? If you have a spouse, can you get on their plan at low or no cost? Determine what your needs are, what you qualify for, and any special concerns you have. Once you’ve got that information, you can begin the next step.

Shop Around

Once you’ve established your needs and what you qualify for, it’s time to shop around. There are an incredible amount of options when it comes to solopreneur healthcare. If you’ve explored the marketplace options above and found none of them work, it’s worth looking into the various group options available to you. These include the Freelancers Union, which offers a range of plans. There are also some religious groups who have ventured into buying group insurance through a money pooling system. If you’re interested in this option, check out the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, Health Share, and Samaritan Ministries. There are also often local professional groups or organizations that offer group health plans. It’s worth looking into any local options that might exist in your area. Finally, you can get healthcare as a business, if you are a legally registered business.

Another option to compare is taking a high deductible plan that includes a health savings account, or HSA. HSAs allow you to put money away in a tax-sheltered account, meaning you can save up for medical emergencies without being penalized come tax time.

Sometimes it can be helpful to talk to an insurance broker who represents various companies and go through all the different options with you. As you can see, there are quite a few. The more you look and compare, the more likely you are to find an affordable plan that works best for you.

How To Get Health Insurance As A Solopreneur: At Peace With MoneyFurther Reading

For further reading on the topic of health insurance, I recommend a couple articles. “Health Insurance For Freelancers: 12 Viable Options,”“How To Save On Health Insurance as a Freelancer in the Trump Era”, “Health Insurance for the Self-Employed”, “Health Insurance for Creatives”, “5 Places to Find Health Insurance for Freelancers and the Self-Employed” and HealthCare.gov are all current, helpful resources. They contain even more information about unions, group plans, short term plans, and the particulars of the ACA. If you feel like you need a broad explanation, check out the videos “Health Insurance Terms You Need to Know (In The U.S.)” and “The Structure and Cost of U.S. Health Care”.

Phew! Well, I hope that’s enough information to get you started. There’s certainly a lot to know about the ins and outs of health insurance, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing the solopreneur life you dream about. If you’re interested in talking to me about the financial particulars of your business, check out my Services page and schedule a call! I hope these resources empower you to shape your life the way you want to.

Angela

Image:  Rodion Kutsaev

It’s Okay to Make Money

It's Okay To Make Money: At Peace With Money

If you get my newsletter, you’ll know that this month I’m focusing on breaking down some barriers that often prevent people from striking out on their solopreneurial adventures. I decided to tackle one of the most common stumbling blocks first; the belief that you don’t deserve to make money. There are many iterations of this belief. Maybe it’s not that you don’t deserve to make money doing what you want to do, but that it will be very challenging. Or maybe it’s that you need to do something more serious instead of following your creative pursuit. If any of these statements resonate with you, you probably have some limiting beliefs around how you can make money.

Not without reason, of course! Our society puts enormous emphasis on the corporate world, tech business, and STEM education. It’s no wonder that more creative pursuits and anything else that falls outside that realm is relegated to a list of jobs that won’t make you money. These messages get transmitted to us over and over starting in childhood – so of course our beliefs around how we can make money are biased.

Let’s go out on a limb and start imagining some ways you could make money from your passion. Get creative about the possibilities. What are some ideas you have? Once you open your mind, the ideas may start to flow freely. Making a list of all these ideas can get you going.

It's Okay to Make Money: At Peace With MoneyActioning and monetizing any of these ideas will take follow through, learning, and plenty of time and resources. My real point here is that there are many ways you can make money doing your creative pursuit. So it’s time for us to throw away the idea that you can’t/won’t/shouldn’t make money that way. I want to encourage you and give you permission to make money the way you want – whether it’s through your creative pursuits, or another idea that makes you want to strike out on your own.

Removing this barrier of belief is probably one of the most important things we can tackle, before we get into the nitty-gritty. For more on this subject, I recommend my articles “Artists Define Their Own Business Success” and “Artistry and Solopreneurship Can Coexist.”

And if you’re interested in getting into the details and figuring out how you can make the most out of the money you make, check out my Services page and schedule a call!

Angela

Image Source: Paweł Czerwiński

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