How to Do a Business Check-In

So, how is your business doing these days? We find ourselves just past the halfway point of an exceptionally challenging year.  It’s likely circumstances in your business and your life have changed. Now’s the perfect time to take a pause and check in with your business. How are you doing with your goals? In the thick of things, sometimes our focus on our goals can get a little murky. Below, I share a process for reviewing your business with an eye towards those goals, and celebrating what you’ve already done. Here’s the step-by-step:

Review

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. Especially because it’s likely this year required you to adapt to COVID-19, there are likely some changes to note.

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 objective 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 a money mapping 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 attainable. Or, you might find that your systems and routines are working just fine! Both are vital evidence when checking in on your business.

Finally, it’s a good idea to check in on how much you’re earning. Perhaps you’ll want to take time to consider your hourly wage, or look into revenue cycles in your business. Checking in with where your business is at financially is key in this step.

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. Then, 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.

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 space to get organized can save you time and effort down the road.

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 solopreneur is hard work. If you’ve done the work, you deserve to cheer yourself on once in a while.

I hope this outline has given you some ideas for checking in with your goals and your business. If you’d like someone to engage in this process with you, this is something I love to do with my bookkeeping and coaching clients. Please feel free to review my services and schedule a curiosity call.

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Angela

Why Your Business’s Financials Might Not Be As Bad As You Think

Your numbers might not be as bad as you think. Many solopreneurs tend to avoid their numbers out of a feeling that if they really look at them, they’ll find financial troubles. While excusing yourself from looking at your numbers might put the problem on hold in the short term, that low-level stress and uncertainty doesn’t go away. In fact, it piles up into a sense of dread. I’m here to tell you that dread is needless. Here’s why:

No More Perpetual Vague-ness

Currently, I’m reading a book by Karen McCall called Financial Recovery. One of my favorite quotes so far is how she talks about the way people treat their finances, when she says “most people live in a state of perpetual vagueness.” Getting familiar with your numbers can actually be a comfort, because it can lift you out of this state of perpetual guesswork! Many people find that when they actually take the time to really assess where they’re at financially, it’s better than their previous emotional perception. So that’s why I say your numbers are better than you think – it’s likely true!

Take the Plunge: Look at Your Numbers

There are a number of ways to take this plunge. First, you can look through everything yourself. Especially if your books are not that complicated, or you have a rough system going already, taking a look on your own is a good idea. You can also get a good picture of whether you’re able to hire or consult with a bookkeeper. A good bookkeeper will be able to deliver a lot of important financial insights. This will certainly help you get out of that vague place. Even if your financials are indicating some unfortunate things, a good bookkeeper can soften this blow by helping you come up with strategies to surmount any difficulties.

If you were waiting for that extra push to really look at your business’s financial situation, here it is. And if you’d like to seek some assistance, with bookkeeping or profit strategy, feel free to book a curiosity call with me to see if that’s right for you!

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Angela

Image by bruce mars 

Stop Expecting “Business As Usual”

So far, 2020 has been a challenge for many business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout and the protests that have broken out around the country have both rocked the business landscape. Many solopreneurs and business owners have had to completely reshape their offerings and financial strategies. Perhaps this includes you!

This time last year, I shared my thoughts on how to do a mid-year review. This time around, I’m thinking about how rather than reflecting on the year so far, it’s time to adapt to a new and different future. I had prepared a blog post about how my income expectations faltered as the pandemic set in. However, because so many people ended up needing help straightening out their books, I blew my original income goal out of the water! My point with this post was going to be how important it is to not let a dismal situation limit your expectations for your business. But, at this moment, I think there’s something deeper to learn. In these rapidly-changing times, it’s important for us to adapt and be gentle with ourselves.

No More “Business As Usual”

Despite the many plans for re-opening the U.S., for many of us, things are not going back to normal. Perhaps you already know this from looking at your bottom line. Or maybe you’ve seen reports about how small businesses have been affected at large. The economic effects and social effects of recent times have created a lasting change in the small business landscape. It’s important for us as business owners to prepare for things to continue to change. This can look a myriad of ways. Creating a money system and putting together a savings cushion are two great strategies for establishing financial resiliency if you want extra ideas.

Just because things aren’t going back to normal doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom, though. Aside from the economic effects, both the pandemic and the recent Black Lives Matter protests have also enriched the business landscape from a social perspective. There are so many opportunities for collaboration! Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to lift each other up. If you want more ideas for collaboration, check out my article on 7 Tips for Business Owners During COVID-19 and my Cash Flow Reboot Guide.

Be Gentle

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t meet your income goals or if your business is struggling. Conversely, if you find yourself getting a ton of business as a result of the pandemic, don’t work yourself too hard, either! Coping with changes in your business can be challenging. Giving yourself the space to be present with feelings that come up and get enough rest are of paramount importance. The reality is that, no matter how hard you grind right now, in many cases things are still going to be challenging. This is a hard time in the world for most people, solopreneur or not! Be gentle in your expectations of yourself as best you can.

Be Present

In addition to stepping up to give your emotions some space, this is also a time step up for your community as a business owner. The current moment we are in is showing us many ways to do this. Whether we choose to uplift Black colleagues, create fundraising projects, or present some offerings for free, we’ve got options in how to contribute. I think that, if we want to, we can use this moment to permanently change how we do business. I love the way that Proposals for the Feminine Economy frames businesses – as “needs-fulfillment machine[s].” How can we find ways to do business that meet, not only our own needs, but the needs of those around us? Both COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests have shown us how connected we all really are – socially and economically. This is a question we can sit with right now.

What are your thoughts about business as usual? Has your business experienced any bumps in the road? Please sound off in the comments below. If you’re feeling in need of more guidance on how to navigate this time, don’t hesitate to check out my services and schedule a call.

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Angela

Image by Christin Hume

How to Find Good Financial Advice During COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic ripple effects, there’s been a lot of discussion and advice about what business owners should do. I’ve added my own voice to the mix, with a recent article and a full-length guide accompanied by a video series. Along with the variety of advice out there right now, there are also differing tones and points of view. Whether you’re looking to speak with others about money in the time of pandemic, or just hoping to find a way to navigate through all the guides, resources, and economic commentary, here are a couple things to pay attention to.

Nix the Shame and Guilt

Right now, I’m seeing a lot of people writing about this from a point of view that places a lot of shame and guilt on readers feeling unprepared and surprised by the economic fallout that’s occurred. Some are claiming that people’s lack of savings or inability to save for these types of emergencies is the ultimate source of their misfortune during this time. While saving up an emergency fund is of course a great idea, I do want to make sure that we recognize we are in the midst of a global emergency.

If you have lost money and don’t have enough saved to cover that loss, please don’t internalize that as your own fault. Sources that are encouraging you to do so or blaming those in need of unemployment benefits and other assistance are best avoided. If you are experiencing shame and guilt, take some time to process these feelings, but don’t make any decisions based on them. This might be a great time to do some mindset work.

Bye, Fear Tactics

While there’s certainly been an uptick in economic uncertainty, I’d advise you to steer clear of anyone leading a business pitch to you with this information. There are some coaches and other financial professionals who are currently using fear tactics to draw more clientele. Here’s a good litmus test to avoid people like this: don’t sign up for anything or listen to anyone who makes you feel more scared and activated than you were prior to hearing from them.

What We Really Need


Instead of fear tactics and guilt-tripping, we need to listen for messages that are factual. Resources that speak in practical terms and outline solutions are your best friend right now. Additionally, guides that approach the current economic situation from a growth mindset which stimulate your creativity and promote problem-solving, are good resources. If you have a public platform, keep all this in mind. People need guidance right now. The more we spread messages that are empowering and hopeful, the more we can contribute to the wellbeing of our communities.

If you’d like more thoughts about navigating all the financial advice out there, check out my articles on the topic:

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Angela

Image by: Fa Barboza

Why Hiring a Financial Coach Is Worth It

Having someone to talk to openly about your money is an invaluable resource. When that person also helps you set goals and untangle financial knots, that’s even better! Hiring a financial coach can be well-worth the investment. Coaches can help you break through emotional and logistical roadblocks to set up better systems in your business.

What Does a Financial Coach Do?

A good financial coach will work with you in a way that’s personalized to your needs. Their presence and the tools they use help provide structure for you to reach your desired goals.

They also provide nonjudgmental listening and act as a sounding board for your financial concerns and dreams. Given the opportunity to talk through these things, many people begin to work through their emotional blindspots and start making more logical financial decisions. A good financial coach guides this process in a structured and goal-oriented way. For example, they can help you determine a revenue target intended to help you reach other goals in your life. They can also help you test out new ideas for your business and help you tinker with your profit model.

What Do You Gain From This?

Some business owners balk at the expense of hiring a financial coach. The irony of this is that working with a coach can help you increase your profit margins. Like a bookkeeper, hiring a coach can be viewed as an investment in the longterm profitability and wellbeing of your business.

Aside from increased profits, working with a coach is also an opportunity to gain financial clarity. You can work on any emotional baggage you have around money, determine where the money from your business should go to best serve you, or find a way to spend more time attending to your favorite parts of the business.

If you appreciated these ideas, try checking out my service packages. You can schedule a free curiosity call with me to chat about whether working with a coach is right for you.

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Angela

Reduce the Hassle: 3 Tips to Keep Your Money System Simple

When I work with small business owners I often run see this one unfortunate pattern; many business owners believe that your money system has to be complex in order to work. The reality, however, couldn’t be further from that. We’ve already talked about how important having a money system is, and how to visualize it with money-mapping. Keeping your money system simple and streamlined makes it easier to visualize, but also much easier to follow through on and keep organized. If a system requires a bunch of checking in or spreads your money into a bunch of accounts you forget about, it’s not worth the maintenance. Here are three strategies you can use to pare down your business’s money system to a manageable size.

Limit Your Cards

If you’ve got a ton of cards under your business, keeping track of all of them and keeping them paid off can be difficult. To make it easier on you, I suggest paring down the number of cards you use. This will help you better keep track of your bills, credit rewards, and any other info associated with your cards.

Please note, I’m not advocating for closing any of your credit cards, as this can lead to a lowering of your credit score. However, here’s a good guide on how to do that, if you’re interested.

Under One Roof

One recommendation I regularly make to my clients is to consolidate their money into one institutions. If you have business bank accounts at three, four, or five different banks, that’s gotta be hard to stay on top of! Getting it all under one roof will help you keep an eye on your finances as a whole more easily. If you have multiple banks and you’re wondering how to go about consolidating, you might like to read this piece about switching banks we featured a couple years ago. It contains a guide to comparing banking offers and picking to the best option.

Keep Track

Making a regular habit of checking in with your finances. Make this easy by consolidating your passwords to your different accounts and portals. If you don’t have to go searching for passwords before you begin your checkin, you’re way more likely to actually do it!

I also recommend using an app or other tracking system. I especially like Mint.Others also like YNAB, or paper money tracking. Digitally tracking your money can save you some time, while also giving you a quick snapshot of your accounts when you need it.

If you found these tips helpful, you might also like this article on automation, which is another money hack to keep your systems tidy!

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Angela

Why You Need to Schedule A Year End Bookkeeping Review

As the year wraps up, I encourage all solopreneurs to engage in a little financial self-care, by reviewing your 2019 books! There are several reasons to review your books at this time of year, and they would benefit from the eye of an expert. If you don’t already have a bookkeeper and feel like you could benefit from some oversight, schedule a review with someone. The financial insight will go a long way for your business. Here are my top two reasons for reviewing your books now.

Tax Prep

First of all, straightening out your 2019 books to prep for tax season simply makes sense. Hiring an expert to help you do this can ensure that your books are accurate. That extra bit of readiness will feel so good come tax season, I promise! It will save you some stress and last minute rushing come tax time. Think of it as a holiday gift to yourself!

Where Did You Make Your Money?

My second reason for scheduling a bookkeeping review with a professional is so that someone with a trained eye can go over your books and help you discern where, when, and from what you made the most money. This kind of insight is invaluable to any small business, especially if your goal is growth. Your financial records hold this info. Work with someone willing to help you find it! For more about finding and working with a bookkeeper, check out “How to Get the Most Value From Your Bookkeeper”. The insights you gain from a good bookkeeping review could help shape your plan for your business in 2020. All the more reason to review them now!

Going over your books with a professional will save you a lot of stress and provide you with knowledge needed to run a successful business. Please consider scheduling a year-end review – you’ll thank yourself later! If you’d like to work with me, I’m currently offering a Quickbooks Online 2020 Reboot, a session meant to help you review and understand your books. You can set one up anytime from now through December 20th, through my scheduling form here.

Here’s to tying up your financial loose ends!

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Angela

Why Your Finances Might Be Feeding Your Impostor Syndrome

If you’re not aware of how your business finances look, it might be feeding your imposter syndrome. Ignoring the financial side of your business prolongs the anxiety that surrounds that part of your life as a business owner. Impostor syndrome can be detrimental to your business. It undermines your success and obscures opportunities for growth. Let’s take a look at the different ways impostor syndrome affects your business.

Anxiety

Impostor syndrome is commonly marked by a feeling of not fully trusting your own success. This anxious feeling says “Don’t let them find out who I really am!” and fails to recognize all your accomplishments. If you feel uncertain about your business finances, this takes a toll on your stress and anxiety levels. Consequently, your relationship with your business can feel increasingly strained and uncomfortable. Financial uncertainty and related stress can create a vicious cycle.

Under-Compensation

If you’re not looking closely at your business finances, you might be under-compensating yourself without even knowing it. Whether your prices are too low, or you need to cut back your operating expenses, you may be underpaying yourself. Finding yourself scrambling and struggling to get work done for less pay than you need is disappointing for many business owners. It can add to your feeling that you aren’t truly succeeding.

The Solution: Look at Your Finances

In short, there’s a feedback loop between your finances and your identity as a business owner. Therefore, the best thing to do is to really look at your business’s finances. If you feel underpaid, research changing your prices. Study your personal lifestyle and establish an income goal, and then look for ways your business can bring in that income. Go over your business expenses with a fine-tooth comb. Most importantly, remember that there are solutions to your financial woes, ones that you have the ability to find and implement! I believe in you!

If you want more of my thoughts on this, check out this facebook live video I made on the topic. If you’re interested taking a look at your finances, check out my end of year Quickbooks Online Reboot offer. This session is intended to help you simplify your system, learn QBO shortcuts, and identify secret insights in your financial records. You can schedule a session through my contact form.

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Angela

How to Create A Business That Restores You

A lot of people start their business with hopes for a better life in mind. More freedom, more money, a better schedule, and a legacy to pass on are just a few things that people starting out on their solopreneur journey might hope for. However, once a business gets going, whether it’s a full time project or a side-hustle, for many it becomes a demanding enterprise. My goal is to bring the solopreneur’s relationship with their business back into balance, by making sure the needs and desires they set out to meet in the first place are organizationally and financially prioritized.

So, how do we do this? The path toward creating a business that is restorative to you, the owner, combines intentional decision making and organizational action. Here are a couple key factors I’ve identified through my work with clients:

Boundaries

I recently review Jennifer Armbrust’s awesome book, Proposals for the Feminine Economy, in which she introduces twelve principles for feminist business. Principle number one is very simple: “You have a body.” While this can be interpreted in a number of ways, to me, it’s a reminder to slow down and set reasonable expectations for myself. By keeping my physical and mental limits in mind when setting up my schedule, choosing my daily tasks, and considering the scale of my own business, I’m able to avoid exhaustion and burnout. Some solopreneurs leave the corporate world or another industry in hopes of finding better work-life balance on their own. Healthy boundaries around when and how much you work can help you realize that dream and restore mental and physical wellbeing.

Clear Objectives

Consistently, I ask my clients to consider their “money why” – the clear financial objective they aim to achieve through running their business. Your money why can be a very specific goal like saving to buy a house, or it can be more general, like sustaining your budget. I have an article all about how to set income goals based off your needs. Reading it and doing a check in can help you establish your own clear objectives. By keeping your efforts focused on those, you can make sure specific needs and desires are met.

Quarterly Profit Distributions

This is one of my favorite practices from the Profit First system. To use this practice, during a fiscal quarter, you collect a portion of your profit in a specific account. At the end of the fiscal quarter, you take whatever money has collected and use it to reward yourself and celebrate your hard work. This is a great way to stay energized in your business. You can take this reward without guilt because you have the system in place to know your business is healthy, and this money is specifically set aside for you. If you’re intrigued by this concept, I encourage you to download the first 5 chapters of Profit First and play around with my allocations calculator!

I hope these ideas help you see a path towards your own restorative business. If you’re interested in learning more about what I do with my clients, you can check out my Services packages or schedule a call with me.

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Angela

Image:  Meghan Schiereck

Live Your Dreams

The Power of a Seed: At Peace With Money

I originally posted this as “The Power of a Seed” last year as I was heading off to Sturgis. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m on the road again, so I wanted to put this post out again. This post is meant to encourage you to follow your dreams, no matter how crazy or effort-intensive they seem. This is my second year riding my own bike, and it’s been great. If I can do it, you can do it. Read on: 

I am about to take off on a bucket list trip: I will be riding a motorcycle 1,400 miles to Sturgis, South Dakota.

Three years ago, my husband and I went to the Sturgis motorcycle rally for the first time. I rode on the back of a Harley we rented for the trip. My husband has been riding motorcycles all his life, but this was a big trip for him to take on at that time.  While we were in Sturgis that first year, I saw a lot of women riding bikes and found myself wanting to do the same. These women planted the first seed of inspiration in my mind. My husband has actually tried to teach me to ride before, but it usually ended in disappointment and a few choice words.

After going a second year to Sturgis as a passenger, I again saw lots of women on bikes. I noticed that these women weren’t particularly large or strong, or even necessarily young. They were a lot like me. That’s when I decided thatif these women could ride Harleys and other large bikes, I could too. Upon returning from that trip, I completed my local motorcycle safety program and got my license. We bought a Honda Rebel 250 and I set a goal to ride my first 500 miles. Then I set my sights on a bigger bike, more mileage, and a longer trip. Three years ago in Sturgis, my friends took a picture of me sitting on a red Indian motorcycle, just as a joke. This week I’m going to be riding my new red Indian motorcycle on this trip.

The Power of a Seed: At Peace With Money

I’m not recounting this story simply to tell you that I’m a “badass biker chick”. I’m also a 53 year-old mom that makes a living as bookkeeper and finance coach. But I am a badass because a seed was planted, which I started to believe in and nourish. I set some goals and accomplished them one at a time. Now, I’ve achieved my dream.

If you are struggling to make a change or believe in your goals, I hope my story can inspire you this week. Whether your goals are business related or purely personal, I want you to remember to take one step at a time, and know that you can get there eventually.

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Angela

Image Sources:  Guilherme VelosoJanFillem