Artists Define Their Own Business Success

Artists Define Their Own Business Success: At Peace With Money

Have you ever noticed that a lot of business advice focuses on how to get wealthy, fast? It’s as if many people view business as a pathway to the motherlode, and little else. But not everyone wants to be the CEO of the next Fortune 500 company. And that’s ok! It just means we need to turn somewhere else for our business advice.

The conversation I had with Megan Auman a few weeks ago was all about another kind of business mindset – seeing your business as a way to sustain your artistic pursuits. Instead of the end goal being amassing the world’s wealth in your bank account, Megan talked about small business as a strategy for fueling an artist’s livelihood. Here are a couple of my favorite points she raised during our chat.

Find Advice that Speaks to Your Vision

So much business advice speaks to people who want to run a million dollar company. Megan indicated that the prevalence of this point of view in business circles could often be hurting artists or driving them away from business altogether. For this reason, it is so important that we start talking about different goals and models for business.

In my last post, I mentioned that artists often want to spend more time doing their creative work, and the best path towards making that time is to make more money! Even if artists don’t want to be a CEO at a computer all day, there is still an incentive to run a profitable business. The key is finding voices who understand and respect what artists need.

The Profit First model and Megan’s courses are two great resources for an alternative view of business. Rather than seeing business as a race to amass capital, both sources look at business as a way of meeting the owner’s needs and sustaining the work they enjoy doing.

Business Automation

While we were talking, Megan brought up the 4-Hour Work Week, the hugely popular book by Tim Ferriss. She mentioned how the book highly encourages business automation, so that business owners can spend more time lounging on the beach. Business automation can also be a great tool for artists and makers, according to Megan. However, instead of beach bumming, artists can use the time freed up by automation to spend more time working in the studio, doing the things they really love.

Artists Define their Own Success: At Peace With MoneyOverall, Megan stressed the importance of understanding what you really want from your business and your life, and structuring it to include more of what you want. Whether this is more time in the studio, more time with your family, or less time spent on certain tasks, automation helps creatives focus on the work they really want to be doing. I have written a little bit about how automation can also be great for your finances, have a look if you like!

I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom from our conversation. If you haven’t already, definitely check out the full interview posted on Facebook. Megan is a wonderful person with lots of good insights into creative business, which you can look into here. And of course, please don’t hesitate to schedule a call with me if you’d like to talk more about Profit First and setting up your business to meet your needs and desires.

Angela

Image Source: Joshua Coleman

How to Financially Survive Holiday Inventory Prep

Inventory and Cashflow During the Holidays: At Peace With Money

The holiday season is fast approaching, with Halloween on the way this week. With this season comes the time forstocking up your inventory. You want to make sure you have plenty of product available for when shopping season begins! The challenge of this time of year is that you want to build up your inventory while still having cashflow. That is, manage your financial responsibilities while increasing your spending on supplies. This can be a difficult balancing act for solopreneurs, so I’ve made a quick list of tips to get you through your holiday prep safe and financially sound!

Holiday Inventory Prep Tips

  • If you’re taking orders, consider securing a deposit from your customer so you can pay for the supplies before production.

 

  • Buy wholesale! Make sure you’re not paying sales tax for materials your plan to resell. This will likely require that you obtain a resellers permit for your state, so be sure to check. Negotiate the best terms with your suppliers. Can you get a discount for buying in bulk?  Will they give you net 30 or even net 60 payment terms, meaning you can receive the items now but not have to pay for them until later? If you find yourself feeling nervous about asking these things of your suppliers, please check out my article on rejection therapy for a little inspiration, then pick up the phone and stick up for your business!
  • Increase the dollar amount of each sale. For example, when I ran my jewelry business, I was able to do this by selling sets of jewelry. I would sell a pendant combined with a pair of earrings, making it easier for customers to make the decision to spend more money at my business. Even though I gave a small discount, I still increased my sales, and my profit!

Manage Cashflow and Inventory: At Peace With Money

  • Do you know your best-selling item? Make sure you have plenty on hand for the holidays! This will increase profits come shopping time.
  • When it’s all over, use a portion of your profit account to celebrate. You’ve worked hard during the holiday season. Make sure you reward yourself. To learn more about a profit account, I recommend downloading the first 5 chapters of the Profit First book on my website.

If you have more questions about balancing inventory and cashflow, don’t hesitate to schedule a discovery call with me! 

If you want to read more about the issues of inventory vs. cash flow, I recommend checking out my articles “Why Selling More Doesn’t Mean Making More” and “The Stages of Financially Growing a Business.”

Angela

 

Image Sources: Drew Beamer , Annie Spratt

The Possibilities of Rejection Therapy

The Possibilities of Rejection Therapy: At Peace With Money

Everyone dislikes rejection. So the thought of “rejection therapy” may seem less than enticing at first. But when I came across this idea, I immediately thought of how useful this could be for solopreneurs. How so? By helping us learn to make the big asks!

Learning to Love “No”

In a recent podcast episode, Hillary Hendershott featured Alex Grodnik, an investment banker turned entrepreneur  who discussed “Rejection Therapy”.  His therapy practice is simple: every day he asks for something and tries to get a “no” answer. This regular practice desensitizes him to rejection, and makes it easier for him to ask for what he wants. I think this is a great exercise for any of us: we all need a little help in asking for what we want!

Make the Ask

Rejection therapy is really about encouraging you to make the ask, and remember that the worst case scenario is hearing “no”. Once you’re desensitized to that outcome, it doesn’t feel nearly as scary as it used to! What are some things related to your business that you’ve been wanting to ask for? Maybe this issue comes up for you when you’re negotiating your rates, or looking for new clients, or cutting a deal with someone. Think about the big asks you’ve been needing to make. What if you just made them?

My best ask ever was getting to visit bead makers in Murano, Italy, when I was running my jewelry business. I was planning a trip to Italy, when I realized I would be very near the studio that the beads I used to make my jewelry came from. I had practiced bead making for a little while at that point, and my heart leapt at the thought of getting to visit and observe master bead makers. Before the trip, I reached out to them and they enthusiastically encouraged me to come to their studio. I even got to use their equipment and make beads along with them! If I hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have had that experience. Making the ask made all the difference.

Can you think of a time when you made a big ask that worked out well? Think of the positive impact it made on your life. Asking is important! I encourage you to try out rejection therapy and work on asking for what you want and need. It will only help your business, and help you achieve your dreams! If you find you need some guidance or coaching, check out my packages under my Services page.

Angela

Image Sources:  Katerina RadvanskaJeremy Galliani

How to Get The Most Value From Your Bookkeeper

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Bookkeeper: At Peace With Money

As a business owner, every time that you outsource a task for your business, you want to make sure you are getting the highest value out of that task. Particularly if you are hiring a professional for services, such as a CPA or bookkeeper, they should not only provide the service you need to keep your financial records up to date. They should also be able to provide you with insight or advice into your business finances. They regularly see all the financial facts of your business right in front of them. If they aren’t interpreting and discussing with you the trends they see in your business,  or they aren’t talking about or making suggestions to support the health of your business , they are actually doing you a disservice. Financial professionals can easily access that information. Making sure you hire someone who is willing to talk to you about those things and provide information that will provide you with much greater value from this professional service. If you are able to apply these financial insights, your business will benefit greatly in the long run.

This point also illuminates the value of hiring a professional in the first place. Hiring someone who knows what they’re doing to both keep your books in order and analyze financial trends is important. Paying a professional a higher wage for a better quality work, rather than hiring someone who doesn’t do the job well, will greatly benefit you and your business. Someone who can provide you with valuable information about expenses, cash flow, profit margins, and other financial inner workings of your business can prove invaluable in the long term. Think of hiring a talented professional as an investment in your business’s financial wellbeing.

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Bookkeeper: At Peace With Money

When you are looking to hire a CPA or bookkeeper, inquire whether their services include providing these insights and consultations. If you are already working with a particular professional, ask them if they are willing to start discussing their financial findings with you. If not, maybe it’s time to find someone else – because that valuable financial knowledge of your business is absolutely worth it. If you’d like to speak with me about my financial services, schedule a discover call!

Angela

Image Sources: Sergey Shmidt , Sharon McCutcheon

What’s Your Money Why?

Your money “why” is like your business’s compass, because it’s hard to get where you’re going if you don’t know exactly where you’re going or why you’re going there! Everyone talks about finding your “why” – your motivation or purpose – in business. Doing so is absolutely important, but today I want to talk about your money “why” because I think that is equally important to the direction of your business. Knowing exactly what your goals are for the money your business generates will  guide you in your financial decision making process and ultimately to the realization of said goals.  

My Money Why

When I started my first business, I wanted to make some “extra money.” The problem was, I really wasn’t clear on what that money was for. Without direction that extra money seemed to  simply come and go.  When I started my bookkeeping business, I had a specific goal for the money I was making: I was paying college tuition for our oldest daughter. She has since graduated and I am now in the process of putting our second daughter through college (three years to go!). After my goal for my money is to supplement our retirement, so that my husband can leave his demanding career. Because I know specifically what these things cost, I have an exact number to set as my revenue goal.

Know Your Money Why: At Peace With Money

Whether you have started your business to fully support yourself or your household, or you’re doing a side hustle to pay for “extras,” if you know your money goals and can get some exact numbers you need to meet in order to reach these goals, you will be so much more clear on how to get there. This added clarity will simplify your decisions, and make your objective more clear. You will also be more likely to make better decisions to maintain your business’s profitability. They always say, “keep your eye on the prize.” Doing so is a lot easier when you know what the prize is!

So, ask yourself a few questions: Why did you go into business? What are some life goals you have that cost money? What are some specific financial goals you need or want to meet with your income? Come up with specific numbers and stay focused on those – now you know your money why! If you need some assistance getting to the bottom of your money why, perhaps you’d like to check out my Business Beginnings or Turning Points packages. 

Angela

Image Sources: James ChouCasey Horner

What is the Feminine Economy?

What Is the Feminine Economy? At Peace With MoneyAs someone who’s been involved with finance throughout my career, I love hearing about and researching new financial ideas. When I came across Proposals for the Feminine Economy, a talk given by Jennifer Armbrust, it piqued my interest. Immediately, I began to see the parallels between Jennifer’s ideas and Profit First ideology. Today, I want to share these parallels and discuss how we can apply these ideas to our business as solopreneurs!

Money as Water, Business as Art

Jennifer speaks about thinking of money as water, flowing where it is needed. She maintains that a business is a “needs-fulfillment machine.” To me, this aligns directly with the Profit First philosophy of creating a business that meets the owner’s financial needs. My objective is always to help my clients align their business profits with their life goals. This includes making sure their business is supporting them financially and meeting their needs!

She also suggests that we treat business as art, as a process of experimentation. She encourages everyone to monetize their natural skills and abilities and build business structures that allow for growth. Her emphasis clearly lies on building business and a larger economy that meet the needs of the people running them. In her book, room for growth and meeting personal goals are also needs that a business can serve to meet.

How Can We Use This?

First, if you haven’t viewed the talk yet, I suggest watching it! Jennifer’s solopreneur story is one full of creativity and inspiration.

Next, take some time to think over these ideas and apply them to your business. Perhaps it might be helpful to list out all your needs. Think about things like time spent with your family and doing social activities, your involvement in your community, the amount of money and time you’re able to give to causes you care about, your diet, health and exercise, time for creativity and expression, yoWhat is the Feminine Economy? At Peace With Moneyur spiritual needs, etc.Which of these needs is your business meeting?  Which ones are not being met, and how could you adapt your business to better serve you in that area? What are your goals? Is your business helping you meet those? Answering these questions can help you discover whether your business is truly supporting you in all the ways it could. Approaching your business with a creative eye can help you create something more supportive. That’s Profit First in action!

I hope these ideas have piqued your interest just as they did mine!

Angela

Image Sources:  Omar Lopez , Hian Oliveira

Why Selling More Doesn’t Mean Making More

I assume that when you started your business, you wanted to put money in your pocket. Whether your goal for that money is to use it to fully support yourself or your family, or to fund a particular life goal, your business is meant to supply you with money.  As such, making money by selling product is often the business owner’s most common focus. Enter, the hustle timeline.

The Hustle Timeline

When we first start a business we have to get out there and hustle to sell something; to get things moving. Eventually we start rolling. But at some point we want to make more money, and we believe that growing our business is the way to make more profit.

So, we hustle some more. We do more gigs, we move more product, we sign on more clients. There is more money coming in, but there still doesn’t seem to be enough. Then we set our sights on a particular goal, the gig, the number, the client that’s big enough to put us over the edge so we can put more in our pocket. But it never really happens. Here we find ourselves trapped in the timeline; always hustling, and never quite reaching our goals.

The Answer

There are only two ways to put more money in your pocket: increase margins or decrease expenses. If we are using the same labor, materials or processes as we increase sales we are increasing our output, but not gaining anything. Perhaps we may have even added to our spending to buy that new printer or new app to handle the increase in sales volume. If we haven’t examined our spending, we aren’t gaining anything. Taking a good look at our margins and our business expenses is an important step to upping the profits of our business. 

Why Selling More Doesn't Mean Making More: At Peace With Money

To examine your expenses and profit margins, ask yourself these questions. Is your product or service priced appropriately, or are you undervaluing it? Comparing your prices industry standards can help you suss out an answer. So can calculating in materials, labor, and other costs. If you’re unsure how to price your product or service, do some research to get other opinions and methods!

Are you delivering your product or service in an efficient manner, or are there places you could cut time and expenses? Look at your processes, and be discerning. Have you reviewed your business expenses lately to see if it’s really all necessary?

Ask yourself these questions and review the inner workings of your business. This is where your profit is hiding. Let’s get it into your pocket.

Angela

Image Sources:  Roman Kraft ,  Nik MacMillan

Book Review: Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist Book Review: At Peace With MoneyThere are so many good books out there that could benefit solopreneurs and people looking to educate themselves about personal finance. I’m an avid reader myself, and lately I’ve been devouring books on the subjects of small business, finance, and retirement. I thought it may be useful to you all to hear about my reading discoveries, so I’m sharing a book review of one of my most recent reads, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. 

The Read

This is an easy read. It gets straight to the point while offering up entertaining anecdotes and doodles. It starts off with the premise that creativity is something everyone has, and that the advice contained in the books can be applied to a number of professions. Personally, I believe this is great reading material for any business owner, not just creative types. After reading, I found myself thinking creatively about my own business. 

Just Start

Kleon’s points are inspiring and motivating. One of my favorites: don’t wait until you know everything, just get started. This advice applies to business so well, and is something I’ve touched on in my writing about starting a business. Feeling the need to have everything planned or figured out can often stop solopreneurs in their tracks. Kleon encourages readers to not let this stop you, and to take up a mindset of learning as you go.

Digital Vs. Analog

Kleon also writes about how he divides his desk into digital and analog tasks and materials. He goes back and forth between the two modes very intentionally. Even if you aren’t an artist working with your hands, it is important to get away from your computer. Our brains respond differently to physical and embodied tasks. If you give your brain and body different surroundings, it is likely you will free up new ideas and insights. My favorite way to get the creative juices flowing is to take a walk through the woods with my dogevery morning. On the walk, I notice if I am not listening to podcasts or messing with my phone, I tend to come up with a lot of ideas at this time. Getting away from digital distractors is an equally important piece of the creative process.

I hope some of you are inspired to give this book a read. I definitely found it inspiring and encouraging for my own inner solopreneur!

Angela

Image Source: Austin Kleon