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

How to Start A Goal-Based Business

How to Start a Goals-Based Business: At Peace With Money

I want everyone to be able to align their business profits with their life goals. But, what does that really mean? You may have all kinds of life goals. Is it really possible to build a business that can help you bring them to fruition? The answer is a resounding yes.

Step One: Dig Deeper

The first step in any intentional process, like designing a business that supports you financially and fulfills you emotionally and spiritually is to spend some time thinking deeply. If you aren’t sure what your goals are, it’s time to figure that out! Envision your life in 5 years, 10 years – where do you want to be? what do you want to be doing? What are you most passionate about? Will starting this business help you get where you want to go?

It’s All Related

To help you think about how your life goals and your business are intertwined, consider this example. Let’s say Sandra is a talented jewelry maker, but she is also deeply passionate about dance. She wants to build a jewelry business that supports her and helps make ends meet. She also wishes to have ample time to attend dance classes, events, and begin performing live. By building up her business so that it runs profitably, efficiently, and provides her with a steady paycheck through the implementation of the Profit First system, she can have more time to put towards her dancing.

Even though Sandra is not choosing to monetize the very thing her personal goals attain to – dancing – she is making more room for it in her life by expanding her business and its capacity to efficiently support her. In this way, her business profits directly support her achievement of her life goals. Some other examples might include building a business that includes a lot of travel if you dream of globetrotting, or creating a business which is founded on ethical principles you’d like to see manifest in the world.

Often, I think we look at business as being a rather sterile aspect of our culture and lives – it’s just the way we make money. In fact, it can be the very opposite. It can be the vehicle for achieving your dreams and visions, whether directly through your business, or via expanding the profits and efficiency of your operations. Starting and running a business is inherently creative – what are you going to create?

If you find you need some guidance in working through the questions I bring up here, I encourage you to reach out. I’m always happy to talk with solopreneurs about how they can achieve their goals through their business. Click right here or on the Services tab up top to learn more about what I offer and how you can schedule a call!

For more reading and resources on this topic, I recommend my article, “What’s Your Money Why?” which touches on some similar subjects and may help you consider these questions more deeply.

Angela

Image Sources: Florian Klauer  Amy Shamblen

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

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 Every Solopreneur Needs a Mentor

Why Every Solopreneur Needs a MentorAs a solopreneur, you have a huge amount of control over your business. You get to make all the decisions, whether they’re creative decisions, financial decisions, or simply what kind of stamps to get at the post office. But what do you do when you need to bounce ideas off someone? Who do you turn to when you could benefit from another’s wisdom? The solopreneur’s work life can easily become isolated. That’s why it’s important to reach out to others and find a mentor! Someone who can help you solve problems, make decisions, and refine your ideas can be immensely helpful to your business, especially if that person is experienced and knowledgeable.

My Mentorship Experiences

In the early years of my career, when I was living the corporate life, it was easy to have a mentor because there were so many people around and available. My coworkers and supervisors were available for me to “talk shop” with whenever I pleased. Their influence and advice proved invaluable for me in that stage of my career.

When I started my jewelry business, I found I no longer had access to that same store of wisdom and encouragement. As a result, I often made the mistake of often trying to figure everything out on my own. Because I knew I still had a lot to learn as a business owner, I turned to online courses. I took a course from both Tara Gentile about building my own website, and  a course Megan Auman, who really helped me learn more about running my own creative business. (I would highly recommend both for solopreneurs looking for a good course!) I also participated in Etsy’s Bootcamp program. As far as I can tell, they no longer host that program for sellers, but it was a step-by-step program that connected Etsy sellers and helped them prep for the holiday season. Through this experience, I found another Etsy seller who became my accountability partner and helped me work through the trials of running my own business. 

These mentorship relationships were an integral part of both my corporate career and my solopreneur life. They provided me with fresh ideas, advice, and sometimes simply the support I needed to get things done!

What’s a Mentor For?

If I learned anything the hard way from my early days as a solopreneur, it’s this: don’t try to do everything yourself. There is so much I wish I had known (particularly financial stuff!) when I started my own business, and so many ways I could have benefited from the problem-solving power of two brains rather than one. I encourage you to reach out to potential mentors, particularly if  you have specific questions or don’t have expertise in some area.

Where Can I Get One?

Where you look for your mentor depends on what kind of help you need. If you’re looking for general industry advice and people to bounce ideas off of, you could turn to your business-savvy friends or perhaps befriend some people working in the same industry. When I owned my jewelry business, networking with other creative business owners was always helpful for me.

Why Every Solopreneur Needs a MentorIf you’re looking for expertise or need answers to big questions, taking an online course or seeking out a coach or specialist might be your best bet. I know I definitely would have benefited from speaking with a Profit First Professional when I first started out! If you’re looking for help in the financial department, you know where to find me. You can read more about my services and schedule a curiosity call if you’re interested!

Happy mentor-hunting! May you find the advice and energy you need.

Angela

Image Sources: My Life Through a Lens, Brooke Lark

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

What is a Solopreneur?

What is a Solopreneur? At Peace With Money

An increasingly popular term around the internet’s business and finance spheres, “solopreneur” is often used interchangeably with “entrepreneur.” The two are definitely not one in the same.

There are a few key differences between solo- and entrepreneurs. All lie in the mindset, business approach, and ultimate goal of the business owner. First, solopreneurs often are very content simply doing the work their business centers around. Often, they may be specialists of some kind, like freelance writers or cabinetmakers. Related to this, solopreneurs are more likely to either wear many hats and take care of the various business tasks that need to be done, or contract them out to other specialists. Rather than hiring new people and delegating or outsourcing to them, their preferred practice allows them to keep control on the central business ideas and outcomes. For example, many solopreneurs may choose to hire the help of a bookkeeper and profit strategist. They can receive assistance with their finances while still being heavily involved in all elements of their business, including the ones they love the most.

A willingness to be versatile while maintaining control over the business’s central concept means solopreneurs are also scrappy and economical. They can start businesses with very little money and don’t often look for large investments.  Similarly, solopreneurs aren’t looking for a buyout. Rather than selling off to a larger company, solopreneurs dream of sticking with their business long-term. They are passionate about their business idea and enjoy the work it requires.

What is a Solopreneur? At Peace With Money.com

This scrappiness, passion, and versatility is what I love about solopreneurs. I’m a solopreneur myself! I understand the challenge and reward of starting and sticking with a businessyou love.

I also understand the financial oversights that befall some of us. Your business isn’t making you any money? Trust me, I’ve been there. That’s why my focus is helping solopreneurs get back on their financial tracks, so you can figure out how to align your business profits with your life goals. Isn’t that what your business is really about?


Angela

 

Image Sources: 1, 2