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

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

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

Pick One of These 5 Ideas To Automate Your Wealth

Pick Pick One of These 5 Ideas To Automate Your Wealth: At Peace with Money

Last week we talked about loving our future selves, and dove into the world of IRAs. Today, I’d like to share a way you can love yourself and share the wealth with both future and present you – automation! I’ve written about automation before, and why it is so beneficial to our financial lives. The idea is simple: by automating your finances, you reduce your decision making, thereby reducing your chances to change your mind  or forget about saving money or paying a bill in full. Automating your finances make saving money easier and less of a mental effort. This principle is what Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg employ in their wardrobe choices. They’d wear the same thing every day so that they could conserve their brainpower for other more important decisions!

Here are my five ideas you can use to dip your toes into the world of financial automation. Start off slow – just pick one and try it out. If you like your results, you can come back for more!

Automate a Savings Goal

Set up an amount to automatically be sent to a particular savings account for a goal you’re pursuing. Don’t worry about the amount, any amount is great! Simply trying this is the most important step. 

Automate a Bill Payment

Automating a bill payment insures you will not pay late fees. In the long run, this could save you a lot of money. 

Set an Alert

Many banks offer to send alerts when your account hits a minimum balance. Set this up so you don’t overdraw your account. This way, you can avoid those pesky overdraft fees. 

Connect Your Accounts

Connect your accounts to a money management system or app so you can  really see where your money is actually going. I use Mint and I love it! Personal Capital is another I’ve heard of, and many people also swear by YNAB, or You Need a Budget

Set Up Direct Deposit

Have your paycheck automatically deposited into your checking account! This is so much more simple than Pick One of These 5 Ideas to Automate Your Wealth: At Peace With Moneyhaving to take all that time and effort to take your paycheck to the bank. Even if you have your own business and have varying income, you can create a solopreneur paycheck using the Profit First system. If you’re interested in reading more about this, I recommend my posts Create Your Own Paycheck  and How to Pay Yourself First.

If you enjoy these tips and want more resources on automation, I’ll happily recommend The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. This book emphasizes how savings habits and automation can help you build up savings for retirement. He also has a variety of free resources available for download on his website, so go ahead and take a look at those too! And of course, if any of this has piqued your interest, I’m happy to talk to you about setting up money systems for your business. Take a look at my service packages and schedule a curiosity call!

Angela

Image Source: Rodion Kutsaev

Book Review: The Art of Money by Bari Tessler

Book Review: The Art of Money By Bari Tessler

If you read my newsletter (you can sign up by clicking here) then you know that this month, I’m focusing on how we can love ourselves through our money. This idea touches on financial self care, but also folds in the idea that looking after our finances can be a pleasant and loving thing we do in our lives.

If there is a book that captures that sentiment, The Art of Money by Financial Therapist Bari Tessler is it. This is one of the first books that I read when I became interested in adding financial coaching to my bookkeeping practice.  While I know that I have a talent for helping people with their money systems, Bari Tessler has a talent for helping people go deeper in their relationship with money.  If you have ever listened to Bari speak on her podcast, you can clearly hear her voice in this book. She truly makes doing emotional work around money feel like a safe space.

She lays the process out in three phases and includes many useful practices in each area. Her first phase gently lays out a process to understand and heal your feelings and your history around your money past. She utilizes her training in somatic psychology to help facilitate this process.

In phase two, she covers the practical side of dealing with money.  Here she includes something we’ll explore later this month: money dates, or spending intentional time working on your finances, in a pleasant way. She also talks about setting up money systems and assembling your support team – whether that is professional help or a money buddy.

Her final phase deals with goals, dreams and plans.  Her philosophy holds that when you have healed your relationship with money and have tools in place to address it, you can start to see the bigger picture and how your dreams can become reality. This book can be a great resource, but particularly if you have money beliefs or blocks that are holding you back. It provides support and practical tools to heal and move forward with improved financial self care.  My posts this month will feature other ideas and support around this topic. If you are ready for  more in-depth help around your money systems, I invite you to reach out and schedule a call.

Angela

Working on Your Finances is Self Care

Working on Your Finances Is Self Care: At Peace With Money

It’s that time of year: time to make New Year’s resolutions. Many of us are focused on doing better for ourselves. We often resolve to do things like “exercise more consistently,” or “learn new things.” One habit I’m adopting this year is stretching at the end of my daily walk.

These self care habits and regimens are all well and good, but one area that gets overlooked is your finances. This is an unfortunate oversight. Our money is so connected to our quality of life, so if we really want to treat ourselves well, looking after our finances is one of the best things we can do.

If you’re here reading this blog, then you’ve already begun to take the first steps towards working toward financial organization and freedom. Congratulations! This blog is a great resource, and I suggest clicking around on some things that interest you anytime you need a little financial education. One of my favorite posts, “Money Doesn’t Need to Be Scary,” contains a lot of great resources for financial self-education. Give it a whirl!

Working on Your Finances Is Self Care: At Peace With MoneyAs we go into 2019, I’m focusing on this idea of financial organization as self-care. To kick the new year off, I’m releasing a series detailing my top three money moves for financial success this year. These insights are geared towards solopreneurs and intended to help you get on top of your business finances. [Edit: you can read the full series here.]

In the meantime, reflect on your financial state of affairs. Perhaps you’d like to check out my exercise, “Three Steps to Financial Clarity.” This will give you a good snapshot of where you are in your finances and where you’d like to go. If you’d like to talk to someone more in-depth about your business finances, don’t hesitate to schedule a curiosity call. You can also check out my services packages to see if they might help you get on the right track this year.

Angela

Image Sources: Wolfgang Hasselmann,

Artistry and Solopreneurship Can Coexist

In our society, we often hear this myth of the “starving artist.” We see art and monetary success as polar opposites. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Megan Auman, a jewelry designer and business coach. Her two livelihoods alone defy our myth about art vs. money, and Megan’s philosophy follows this same sentiment. While we were talking, she made a couple of points that really struck me that I wanted to share with you all.

Artists Need Money

One great point Megan raised, is that artists can often be found talking about how they just want more time to focus on their art. Pursuing the business aspects of an artistic career is often seen as not aligned with this goal. In reality, however, artists need money in order to support themselves and have time to do their creative work. Megan put it simply, saying “The more money you’re making, the less stressed you are, and the more energy you have to create more work.” Building up the practical side of your business so that it generates income can actually enable you to spend more time doing what you really love.

Creativity and Business Sense Can Coexist

You might have read the title of this post and scoffed. The idea that arts- and business-intelligences can’t coexist runs deep for us! However, Megan raised the point that good business people have many of the same skills as artists. Skilled business people are often creative, good at finding solutions, and able to think in nonlinear ways, just like artists. Business skills are a capacity that can be grown and nurtured. Even if you’re an artist at heart, through self-education and inquiry, you can develop your business skills. The two realms are interrelated and can easily combine to shape your livelihood.

I really enjoyed speaking with Megan because our goals are very similar; we both want creative solopreneurs to have profitable businesses that allow them to spend time doing what they most want to do. Whether it’s their creative work or other pursuits, all of those things take financial security. Business success is within reach, even, and especially if you run a creative business. I encourage you to watch the full interview here and check out Megan’s resources, Artists & Profit Makers, and Market Your Selfie, for more of her wisdom. Many of Megan’s ideas are well-aligned with Profit First concepts! If you want to talk finance, check in and schedule a call with me on my Services page. 

Angela

 

Image Sources: Rosie KerrS O C I A L . C U T

Money Doesn’t Need to Be Scary

Welcome to your money pep talk. If you were looking for a sign to encourage you to level up your personal or business finances, this is it. For many people, money is a stressful subject. Talking about it can bring up a lot of fear and other emotions. But much of that fear stems from the fact that so many people simply leave their finances shrouded in mystery. Many of us don’t receive good education on finances when we are younger, and when we become adults, we either don’t seek or don’t find the information we need to have healthy finances. One of the main ways to fix this problem is very simple: self-education! Once you start learning about money and start paying attention to your own financial matter, the hardest part is over. You might find a lot of your fear has dissipated!

Thanks to a plethora of resources, self-education doesn’t have to be effort-intensive either. Perhaps you might simply choose a financial podcast and listen to it on your commute (my personal favorite method). Or pick out a book and finish it over the course of a month. All you need to do is pick a resource and carve out a specific chunk of time to absorb the information. Below, I have recommended a couple of my favorite resources for learning about personal and business finance. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook, where I regularly post blog posts and podcast episodes that I find especially helpful and inspiring. And since it is my profession, know that you can always schedule a discovery call if you’re curious about my services or need some guidance in your financial education journey!

Business Finance Resources

Don’t Keep Your Day Job is a great podcast hosted by Cathy Heller all about the business side of carving out a creative career.

Profit First, of course! Download the first 5 chapters of the Profit First book here on my site.

Mike Michalowicz also hosts the Profit First Podcast, which is full of insight for business owners looking to get more financially savvy.

Profit Boss Radio by Hilary Hendershott is a great resource on both business and personal finance topics. She focuses on financially empowering women.

Personal Finance Resources

Afford Anything is Paula Pant’s podcast, chock-full of useful personal finance info and advice.

Be Wealthy and Smart by Linda P Jones is a great pick for people who are interested in slightly shorter podcast episodes. She tackles and breaks down simple yet important topics like investing.

At Peace With Money: Money Doesn't Have to be ScaryHer Money Matters is hosted by Jen Hemphill, and also focuses on financially empowering women.

The Automatic Millionaire is one of my favorite books on personal finance. The core philosophy has been central to my retirement planning. If you’re thinking about retirement, it’s a must-read. I sing praises for this book in an article I wrote a while back on automating your finances. Check it out!

I hope you find these helpful and educational. May these resources help you conquer your money fear!

Angela

Image Sources:  Clark Tibbs, Linh Pham