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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

Three Steps to Financial Clarity

3 Steps to Financial Clarity: At Peace With Money

As the holidays set in and the mad rush of preparation begins to slow, you might find yourself with a little time to reflect on your year. Why not take the opportunity to reflect on your finances? Your money, much like all the other pieces of your life, deserves your attention, thought, and critical eye. This exercise is meant to lead you to financial clarity. By completing it, you’ll gain a better understanding of what you want from your money, and how to get there.

Step 1: Define Your Destination

What’s your destination with your money? What are you planning to do with it? Is there something you’re saving up for? You might have vague plans, a well-defined roadmap, or nothing at all. This is the step where you can dream and imagine that destination. If you already have one in mind, check in and make sure it’s where you want to go. Make sure you investigate any current money goals you might have to make sure they really align with your desires. If you don’t have any goals, think of some you might like to adopt!

Step 2: Drop Your Pin

Pinpoint your current location. In other words, figure out where you are now financially.  It’s time to get clear and honest about what you have, what you owe and where your money is going each month. Use this step as an opportunity to total up your expenses and debts and track your recent income. Leave no bill unturned! If you want further instructions on this step, I recommend checking out my article on creating a spending plan, specifically the section on analyzing your expenses. 

Step 3: Plan Your Journey

3 Steps to Financial Clarity: At Peace With MoneyNow that you know where you are and where you’re going, it’s time to figure out how you’ll get there. This is the step where strategy comes in. Based on all the information you’ve already looked at during Step 2, you should be able to determine what will help you get to your destination. Whether that’s saving more money, paying yourself first, cutting out certain expenses, increasing your income, or a whole host of other ideas, identify your moves and decide when you’re going to make them. 

This process may take you a little while to complete, but it will ultimately bring you to a place of much greater clarity when it comes to your finances. This exercise can be applied to personal finances but it can also be applied to your business finances. I hope this season of reflection serves you well.

If you need any assistance looking through your finances, I’m happy to help you reach a place of clarity. Schedule a call with me!

Angela

Book Review: The One Thing

At Peace With Money: Book Review: The-One-ThingThis summer, I read The One Thing by Gary Keller (no relation), and my initial reaction was irritation. Essentially, the book advises us to focus on one big goal that you want to accomplish and then break that goal down into smaller time chunks.The goal is to do something small to work toward that goal every day. The key is focusing. That’s probably why it irritated me.

Staying focused is definitely something that I struggle with. As a business owner, as a wife and mother, as a person in today’s world of distracting gadgets – focusing is difficult!  It seems there is always a fire to put out, a need to be met. Always there is an idea that is nibbling your brain, or a rabbit hole to dive into and lose 45 minutes of your life. My reaction was about something I need to work on in myself rather than the idea the author presents.  

He also suggests scheduling that focused time into your calendar and protecting it – another challenge for me. On top of that, he debunks the idea of multi-tasking. This felt blasphemous to me at first. What mother do you know who does not pride herself on juggling multiple balls in the air on a daily basis!?! It seemed to me that Gary Keller was basically trying topull the rug out from under my life! This book made me so angry that I had to take a few months to calm down enough to even write this review.

Practical Applications

But somehow, this morning I woke up thinking about this book again. A practical example to apply his basic techniques popped into my mind. Let’s say you want to save $30,000 to buy a house over the next 5 years. That sounds like a lot of money to save and a crazy goal! But if we break it down to saving $6,000 this year and saving $500 each month which means saving about $17 each day, it becomes manageable. To reach this goal, we ask, what’s the one thing we can do today to get that started? Perhaps you open the savings account. Maybe you start a side hustle and allocate all the income to that goal. You might start saving your cash in a money jar to deposit at month end. Maybe you resolve to pack your lunch.

The One Thing Book Review: At Peace With MoneyWhat’s important is getting started by taking some action today to make the goals you have for your future turn into a reality.  That is a lesson I can take from this book.

I might have to work on my focus, and reexamine my views on multitasking. However, I do feel I stand behind the ultimate message of this book: get clear on your goal, focus on it, and work towards it every day. If you do that, you will achieve what you’re after. Whether that’s saving for a house or starting a business, this is an important reminder in how we approach our financial goals. If you need an accountability partner to help you get started, please feel free to reach out.  I would love to help you reach your goals (and I promise not to forbid you from multitasking!)

 

Angela

Image Sources: Squidhub, Bonehead Business

Check In With Your Goals – Time for a Review

Check In With Your Goals: At Peace With Money

Time to review your goals.  Only four months left in 2018, can you believe it? It’s certainly flown by for me, which is why this week I want us to take some time to reflect on our goals. Many of us set goals at the beginning of each year.  You may have set some goals for your business that you have since been working towards. It’s been a while since January, so now’s the time to check in!

The Review

Review your goals and begin to reflect on your progress for each one. Now, here’s the tricky part: don’t get caught up in what you still need to do. Instead, it’s important to spend a good chunk of time reviewing what you’ve already done to reach your goals. If you feel like you can’t remember everything, try going back month by month. If you use a day planner, flip through it and scan your old to-do lists. 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 reflect on the work you’ve done, and congratulate yourself on this work. 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.

While you’re having this victory party for yourself, now may also be a good time to map out what you hope to get done during these last three months of 2018. By reflecting on what you’ve done up to this point first, you are able to clearly see the pace you work at. With this in mind, you can set realistic expectations for the next three months, rather than trying to cram in too much work.

My Check-In

You may remember that I set a goal earlier this year to be mindful by enjoying what’s right in front of me. I want to share a little check-in of my own on this goal. That way, you can see how it’s going and be inspired to reflect on your own goals.

I’ve been doing a couple things throughout this year to stick with this goal. Every weekday, for 10-15 minutes each morning, I’ve been writing in my little gratitude journal. During my morning walk, when I reach the top of our road, I cross the street to take in the view of the Monterey Bay for a few minutes. In this way I’ve been able to appreciate the place I live more fully. I also notice changes in the season and the forest, and even the subtleties of the fog cover.

Check In With Your Goals: At Peace With MoneyI’ve also been trying to practice a technique for grounding my memories. The way this works is, when having a good experience, you try to capture the memory by taking in all the sensory details. Notice how your surroundings smell, feel, sound, and taste. Paying attention to these details has helped me appreciate them more. I learned this technique from Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas. It’s a great read, and I hope to do a book review on it soon!

For more resources on reviewing your goals, I recommend this video series by Muchelle B. on Youtube. I hope this post inspires you to check in with your goals, celebrate your hard work, and be mindful of your capacity as you finish out the year. Remember to enjoy your business, and your life! If you find you need some help setting goals, especially for your business, check out my services page or set up a discovery call with me!

Angela

Image Sources: Brooke LarkAmy Shamblen

Why Automation Is Your Money’s BFF

Why Automation is Your Money's BFF: At Peace With MoneyAutomation is your money’s best friend. By automating your finances, you reduce your opportunities for decision making, thereby reducing your chances to change your mind about saving money or paying a bill in full. By reducing your decisions you set yourself up for success! Automation can build up your savings and pay off your bills, without any extra effort on your part. So, how can you use automation as a financial tool?

Automate Everything!

There are many different facets of your finances which can benefit from automation. Automating your bills is a good place to start. Many banks have online bill pay options available that help you pay your regular monthly bills on time. In particular, automation is a good way to ensure you always pay your credit card balance in full, so that you don’t accrue any interest fees. However, one important thing to be aware of when automating your bills is that you will need to stay aware of your bank balance, to avoid over-drafting your account. As long as you keep an eye on your balance, automating your bills is a good way to avoid late fees, build good credit, and stay on top of your finances.

The other major arena of your finances that definitely deserves some automation-attention is your savings. I touched briefly on automating your savings in an earlier article, which you can read here. The most important thing about automating your savings is that if money automatically gets moved out of your spending account, you have no chance to spend it. That makes saving that much easier! We do this with our retirement savings, and it really helps us keep it up. A great resource for further information about automating your savings is The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach.

I hope this motivates you to try out automation with your finances!

Angela

Image Sources: Mitch Lensink, Lucas Silva Pinheiro Santos

Young and Thrifty: Creating a Spending Plan

How to Create a Spending Plan: At Peace With Money

Creating a spending plan, also sometimes known as a budget, can be a very important tool for getting a handle on your finances no matter where you are in life. In my last Young and Thrifty post, we briefly touched on budgeting as a way to encourage saving habits. Today, I want to look more closely at 3 different types of spending plans. Maybe you’ll find one that works for you! But first, the budgeting basics:

Analyze Your Expenses

The first step to creating almost any spending plan is to analyze your expenses. Figure out what your fixed expenses are, like rent or mortgage payments, transportation costs, food, etc. These types of expenses are things you really need that tend to cost the same amount every month. After you’ve confirmed what your fixed expenses are, you can analyze the rest of your spending habits and determine which of your expenses are flexible, and not as necessary as your fixed necessities.

Once you’ve evaluated your finances in this way, you can start to take charge of your spending using various strategies.

Categories

The most common budgeting strategy is to divide your expenses into specific categories and assigning designated not to exceed amounts for each category. For example: “Food, $200/month, gas, $150/month, etc.” Doing this can help you establish your monthly living expenses and also help you understand how much you spend on each category. If you wish to cut down on your spending in a particular area, this may be a useful strategy for you.

Set Amount for Flexible Expenses

Another strategy that is helpful when you’re really focused on saving is setting aside a set amount of money for all expenses that lie outside of your fixed necessities. When my oldest daughter was setting a budget while saving for her road trip, she set aside $100 a month for all expenses that weren’t fixed necessities. This might be tight for some, but setting an amount in this way is a very simple budgeting tactic that can encourage you to make your spending more intentional.

Rewards

A third tactic that can help you create a spending plan you’ll stick to is to set aside rewards for yourself. For example, if you have $500 to spend on a certain monthly expense, and you manage to only use $480, you can use that extra $20 to reward yourself. This can be applied to your overall monthly expenses or within certain categories. One of my daughters has found this strategy very motivating and usually ends up using her reward money on ice cream.

Resources

There are two digital resources I can recommend for anyone looking to create a spending plan. Mint and You Need A Budget are both digital budgeting software systems that will help you set up and track your monthly budget. From my personal experience, I enjoy Mint, and my family uses their free version. Amber Dugger really appreciates YNAB and uses it with her clients.Creating a Spending Plan: At Peace With Money

Though this article mentions only a few strategies, budgeting and spending plans can be as simple or complex as you need them to be. I encourage you to do more research if you’re interested. I recommend this article from Practical Money Skills and this podcast from Jen Hemphill as two helpful resources. In a later post, I will be putting together a list of some of my favorite resources for financial self-education.

I hope you find these spending strategies useful. Stay thrifty!

Angela

Images:Camille Orgel, Unknown