My #1 Tip for Keeping Your Financial Self Care Sustainable

Self-care is important, but if you never actually do it, it’s not that valuable. The key to reaping the rewards from a financial self care routine is making sure it’s something you can actually do on a regular basis. So far this month, we’ve talked about the importance of financial self care. We’ve also touched on why regular “money time” makes a difference. Finally, last week, we focused on three simple steps you can take to infuse financial self care into your work routine. To wrap up this month’s series, let’s focus on how we can make sure you are able to keep that routine going sustainably.

Celebration

Yep, my number one tip for keeping your financial self care routine is celebration. Specifically, celebrating your financial wins. A financial win is any instance where you get a little bit closer to a goal you’ve set for yourself. So even if it’s just saving an extra $5, resisting the urge to spend on something small, paying down your debt just a bit, or making the first appointment with a bookkeeper or coach, these are big steps, and they deserve to be celebrated.

In my series on how to do a mid-year business review, I wrote this passage on celebrating your financial wins:

…[T]ake 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.

I whole-heartedly believe this is true, and especially with the challenges this year has faced us with, we definitely need a moment to look at all our accomplishments and congratulate ourselves. Doing this is important to sustaining our financial self care routine, because it encourages to keep moving forward on our goals.

I invite you to find whatever feels like it would be the most meaningful way to celebrate these things. It might be sharing them with other people, like a money buddy or a mentor. It could be rewarding yourself with a purchase or some time off. If you use the Profit First system, it’s time for your quarterly profit distribution! Think about what you’d like to use it for. If you need some help thinking about the most meaningful way to celebrate, check out The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.

Marking Time and Progress

Over the years, running your business may often feel like a blur. In order to get the fulfillment and satisfaction you want from it, it’s important to take time to mark time and progress. Notice how long you’ve been running your business. Make a practice of keeping track how you’ve grown and progressed as a business owner. Celebrating your financial wins is one excellent way to keep up with that practice.

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book CoverMarking time and progress also helps you create a sense of momentum and purpose. This helps you keep coming back to your financial goals. When you notice how your actions are bringing you closer to certain achievements, it gets easier to show up every day and do the work you need to do.

So, celebrate yourself today! If you’d like more thoughts on celebrating your financial wins and other topics in the realm of financial self care, download my free e-Book, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care

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Angela

Photo by Aaron Burden

3 Simple Tips to Infuse Financial Self Care Into Your Routine

When you first decide you want to put effort and intention into your finances, it can be hard to know where to start. Especially as a business owner, you already wear many hats. You have a lot to do, and whatever you add to your plate needs to be simple. I’ve got you covered. Here are three ideas for infusing some financial self care into your work routine.

Organize Your Passwords

If you want to look at your accounts regularly, organize your passwords for easier access! I am a huge advocate for looking at your numbers on a weekly basis. The more you’re checked in with where you and your business are at financially, the better. Taking some time to do this step will simplify the process of working on your finances, and take away some of the hesitation.

Find a Financial Education Resource You Love

…and then stick with it! Whether it’s a podcast, a book, or a YouTube channel, financial education comes in all formats these days. Find a person or resource who really resonates with you. Then, dive deep into what they have to say, and try to integrate that into your life. If you want some guidance around finding sound financial advice, read my guides on some things to look for and how to steer clear of the not-so-helpful stuff.  You can also check out my favorite educational resources. Here’s a list of some of my faves from other sites, and a list of my best educational blog posts.

List Some Action Items

You know your business and personal finances best. Chances are, there are probably already some to-do list items in the realm of your finances. Try jogging your memory for those and writing them down. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try creating a money map for yourself. Maybe you want to automate all your bill payments. Identify those action items and write them down somewhere you can revisit them.

Next, strategize. How can you get these done? What resources or assistance do you need to do so? Can you divide the tasks into bite-size chunks and work on them piece by piece? Your financial wellbeing is something you can handle – sometimes it just takes some strategy and awareness.

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book Cover

I hope you’ve enjoyed these quick tips for financial self care. You might also be interested in downloading my free e-Book, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care. In this e-Book, I go in-depth into 9 different steps you can take to build a solid financial self care routine for yourself. Try it out by clicking the link above!

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Angela

Image by Siora Photography

A Simple Strategy for Financial Self Care

Humans are creatures of habit. It’s well-known that one of the best ways to incorporate something into your life is to make a habit out of it. So, if you want to engage in some financial TLC for your business or personal finances, make a habit out of it! Last week, we talked about why your finances are the key to self care in your life. This week, let’s talk about how you can bring that financial self care into the center of your life.

It’s Routine

We often hear about how important it is to develop an exercise routine or a bedtime or morning routine. But what about a financial self care routine? Adding in some financial self care every week is key to remembering to revisit your numbers and your spending plan.

In my e-Book 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care, I recommend setting up a weekly period of time for yourself. Ideally, this is a short amount of time so that it doesn’t feel like “too much” and become difficult to continue. I typically recommend starting out by dedicating thirty minutes to an hour every week for financial self care. This time can be used for things like checking in with your spending, setting or checking in on a financial goal for the month, learning about finances, or doing any finance-related admin work.

Make it Fun

I recommend making this time as pleasant for yourself as possible. I love the ideas Bari Tessler presents in the Art of Money Y about making your regular money check-in more pleasant. Dealing with money can bring up a lot off difficult feelings that get in the way of doing this regular check-in. To counter this, doing our best to make this time fun and rewarding is very important.

Try an environmental upgrade, like playing some nice music or lighting a scented candle. You can also try temptation-bundling, which involves doing a pleasurable activity during or directly after doing an activity you need to do (like your weekly financial self care sesh!).

Lastly, try ending the session on a high-note. Stopping for the week while you’re feeling good and enjoying yourself makes it much easier to feel interested in repeating the habit next week.

If you’d like some more ideas about how to make your financial self care habit stick, check out this playlist full of tips on YouTube by MuchelleB.

Buddy Up

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a big proponent of having a money buddy, or better yet, a money team! Having trusted people in your life that you can talk to about money is a huge asset to your own financial self care. Another way to enhance your financial self care routine could be inviting a money buddy to do it along with you. Do you have a friend who’s also a small business owner? Try having a numbers study sesh together! Team up once a month to check in with your numbers and talk about financial goals. You can also try setting up a regular time to check in with your partner about money. Working with another person can make this time fun and sociable.

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book Cover

If you enjoyed these ideas about incorporating financial self care into your life, I encourage you to check out my free e-Book, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care. You can download it for free at this link.

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Angela

Photo by Suryaansh Maithani

Your Finances are the Key to Self Care: Here’s Why

We know that self care is important. We know it’s important to do things like unplug from electronic devices, get exercise, and treat ourselves. But oftentimes the conversation about self care can leave out one important aspect: financial self care.

Financial self care is the foundation of all other self care in your life, so it’s a shame that it gets forgotten! By financial self care, I mean doing the routine maintenance and occasional projects to keep your finances in good order. Things like reviewing your spending plan on a weekly basis and planning for irregular expenses are key to other aspects of your life. When your money is in order, it is so much easier to care for yourself. Your physical, spiritual, and mental health benefit when you are confident in your financial situation.

What are some areas of your life that need more care? Take a moment to really think about this. Perhaps you want to be able to purchase organic food or pay for a medical treatment. Maybe you want the ability to work less and turn down certain engagements. Or maybe you would benefit from seeing a therapist or spiritual worker.

Underlying all of these self care actions is a financial decision. When you engage in a regular financial self care routine, these decisions get easier. When you know whether you’ve met your spending limit for a category, deciding whether or not to spend the money to get that massage is much more simple. Regular financial self care takes that guesswork away and helps you get clear.

Financial self care involves engaging in a process of setting financial goals and working out what you actually want to spend your money on. When you’ve got this worked out, it makes it much easier to decide what to spend money on in order to take care of yourself. This process can illuminate what you really need and want. Therefore, it can deeply assist your overall journey of self care.

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book Cover

I created a full e-Book on the concept of financial self care, which you can download by clicking here. This e-Book goes into depth on many different strategies to infuse your days with financial self care and build a solid routine for yourself. If you are interested in exploring how financial self care can support your life, I recommend giving it a read!

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Angela

Book Review: The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist

This is the time of year when we focus on giving and gratitude. While I don’t believe either should really be relegated to one season, especially when it comes to our money, I do like taking this time to really think on these themes. I recently finished The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Life by Lynne Twist and found it the perfect resource to meditate on these ideas. Lynne Twist is a recognized global visionary who has worked with people of all income levels and is committed to ending poverty and hunger. Her thoughts in this book are a beautiful exploration of being intentional and in alignment with your money. Here are four takeaways I enjoyed from this book, that you might too! 

Scarcity vs. Sufficiency

One of the key tenets of this book is Lynne Twist’s definitions of sufficiency and scarcity mindsets. She posits that,

“Scarcity speaks in terms of never enough, emptiness, fear, mistrust, envy, greed, hoarding, competition, fragmentation, separateness, judgment, striving, entitlement, control, busy, survival, outer riches…Sufficiency speaks in terms of gratitude, fulfillment, love, trust, respect, contributing, faith, compassion, integration, wholeness, commitment, acceptance, partnership, responsibility, resilience, and inner riches.”

This quote offers some excellent perspective for self-examination. How frequently are we acting from a place of scarcity or sufficiency?

Lynne also discusses how the assumed scarcity that our monetary system and culture are both built on reinforces inequality of all kinds. She explains how when we accept scarcity, we also accept that some will not have enough, and that perhaps they don’t have enough because they are “less than.” She explains,

“When we believe that more is better, and equate having more with being more—more smart or more able—then people on the short end of that resource stick are assumed to be less smart, less able, even less valuable, as human beings. We feel we have permission to discount them. When we believe that’s just the way things are, then we assume a posture of helplessness. We believe that a problem is unsolvable. We accept that in our human family neither the resource-rich members nor the resource-poor members have enough money, enough food, or enough intelligence or resourcefulness to generate lasting solutions.”

Working from a place of sufficiency can help us transcend that place of helplessness and accepting inequality.

Sufficiency Opens Up Energy

The author also remarks on how, when we let go of scarcity and stop going after things we don’t really want or need, this “frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have. When you make a difference with what you have, it expands.” She also remarks, “when people [a]re able to align their money with their deepest, most soulful interests and commitments, their relationship with money bec[omes] a place where profound and lasting transformation c[an] occur.” This reminds me of the concept I come back to often; knowing your money why. It’s so important to align your finances with that which is truly important and valuable to you!

Our Conversations Are Our Reality

If you look at the first quote I pulled about scarcity versus sufficiency, you’ll notice Lynne says “Scarcity speaks…”. In her book, she makes a point to discuss how our words and thoughts are connected, and work together to create the conditions we find ourselves in. Take a look at how sufficiency speaks. What if your conversations centered around gratitude and possibility? Surely sticking with that can have a positive effect. Imagine approaching your money with that attitude!

On the whole, this book is inspiring and eloquently written. Lynne Twist does a great job articulating a philosophy that I hold dear in my practice at At Peace With Money. She emphasizes how important it is to align with our true values, claim our power, and work to create transformation, for ourselves and others.

If you enjoyed this article, check out my other book recommendations! I’ve got a great collection of my faves that can help you explore your relationship with money.

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Angela

 

 

How Planning Your Ideal Day Can Help You Avoid Overworking

If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely to be familiar with the word “grind.” Owning a small business is hard work. You don’t need me to tell me that. Especially if you’re striving to support yourself or a family through your work, you work hard to meet your needs. Today I want to suggest an exercise that can help you take a look at your work life without being caught in the hustle. By planning your ideal work day, you can avoid overworking. How? Let’s jump in and I’ll show you:

How Much Do You Want to Work?

Though it might feel frivolous, especially if you’re used to long hours or a tight schedule, go ahead and ask yourself this question. It’s important to keep a vision in mind. Especially so if you’re self-employed, because you’re the boss! So, would like to work 25 hours a week? 6 hours a day? Think about the other facets of your life – how could you find balance?

Now, compare this with how much you are currently working. There’s probably a difference. Start thinking about ways to close the gap.

Your Schedule Bone Is Connected to Your Pricing Bone

I love this saying from Ariane Trelaun, a fellow bookkeeper and self-described business witch. The point she puts across here is that how much you need to work is directly connected to how much you charge for that work. So, if you need to work 60 hours a week at the rate you’re charging now, imaging upping that rate by a couple bucks. Maybe you could ease back to 40 instead! Doing this math requires being aware of your expenses, and setting income goals based on them.

Try taking a look at your expenses, and how much you’d like to work. Ask yourself, “How much do I need to charge to work that amount?” Doing so can bring you more awareness of why you work as much as you do, and how you can start to limit that. For more thoughts on considering what you make as a business owner, check out this article.

Business, Not Busy-ness

It’s important to note that beyond income needs, there are many other reasons why we might find it difficult to put a cap on our work hours. Many people use work as a coping mechanism, or pride themselves on long hours. Being busy is not a badge of honor. In the long run, busying yourself with your business can lead to solopreneur burnout and a lack of fulfillment in your business. The more you choose to set up your business in a restorative way now, the more it will serve you down the road.

I hope this exercise helps you think through the way you’re structuring your work schedule, and encourages you to find ways out of overwork patterns! If you’d like some personalized help with any of this, please check out my services and schedule a discovery call.

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Angela

Image: Slava Keyzman

How to Set Business Goals to Finish 2020 Strong

Here we are – the last quarter of the year! 2020 has been strange and challenging for many of us, but it is definitely not cancelled. Many small business owners have been hit hard financially this year. That means the need to pay attention to business finances is greater than ever. Below, I have some ideas for goals to set to finish out the year strong.

What Do You Need to Succeed?

When setting any goals for your business, it’s important to consider what you need to succeed. If you’re at a point where you’re unsure about that, I suggest doing a business check-in first. If you feel like you’ve got a good picture of your business’s current strengths and needs, you can go ahead with the goal-setting.

When setting a goal concerning your business financials, here are a couple tips. First, set one goal, not a dozen. This will make it easier to manage and complete the goal. Second, identify the thing to do in your business finances that would make everything else easier or irrelevant. This advice is from the book, The One Thing – you can read my book review here. In a small business context, this could look like setting up a money system, finding a good bookkeeper to work with on a regular basis, or building a money team. We’ll talk more about potential goals below, but the important thing is to set your sights on the thing that would make the biggest difference to your business.

Create Good Habits

One potentially life-changing goal you could set for your business in 2020 is to finish out the year with good money habits. When I say “money habits,” I mean checking in with your business finances on a weekly basis. The more aware you are of where you stand financially, the better. I’ve written about the stressful weight that feeling vague about numbers can create for business owners. If you look at your records every week, this won’t be an issue for you! In fact, you’ll be better able to make financial decisions in your business, because you’ll be more aware of the information you need. If you need more ideas about what to look for during your weekly check-in, read my articles on knowing what your numbers are telling you and creating more revenue.

Make a Plan

If your business is feeling the effects of the pandemic, perhaps your goal to finish out the year can be to create a financial resilience plan. The most important thing to do when creating a resilience plan is to first take stock of where you are. I recommend reading my article on finding financial clarity if you want some guidance here. Perhaps your resilience plan will include seeking small-business relief opportunities, or adapting your offerings to our continually changing conditions. For ideas on what to include in your plan, I’d recommend checking out the SBA’s resources on preparing your business for emergencies, and my free guide, Cash Flow Flow Reboot Guide: A Guide to Thriving in Uncertain Times.

Stay On Top of Your Books

If you received money from Paycheck Protection Program or other forms of small business support, it’s very important to stay on top of your record keeping this year. Especially if you’re applying for loan forgiveness, it’s important to keep your financials tidy. The SBA has specific stipulations about what they money can be spent on in order to qualify for forgiveness. Keeping your books in order will help you stay on top of where that money goes so you can qualify. I recommend consulting with a bookkeeper for assistance.

I hope these ideas have given you some thoughts on what the best goal to finish 2020 strong is for you and your business. In my private work with clients, we do a lot to make sure they meet their goals. If this sounds like it might be helpful for you, reach out and schedule a free discovery call.

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Angela

How Starting My Business Helped Me Live My Motorcycle Dreams

Earlier this month, I completed my fifth annual 1,400-mile cross-country motorcycle road trip. This is my third year riding my own bike, and my third year riding on my dream motorcycle, a red Indian.

I haven’t always been a motorcyclist. The first two years of this trip, I rode on the back of my husband’s bike. But after that second trip, I decided I wanted to learn how to ride. 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.

Living my motorcycle dreams involved a long process of incremental growth, a flexible schedule, and some money. I had all of these things because I was a seasoned business owner. While I’ve been working under the name At Peace With Money for about three years, I have a much longer history of doing independent bookkeeping work, and before that I ran a jewelry design business. The skills I gained as a solopreneur – dedication, commitment to incremental progress, etc. translated well into becoming a motorcyclist.

I also have a flexible schedule as a solopreneur, which meant I could find the time during the week for lessons and rides. And I had the ability to pay for a course, because of my financial savvy in my own business experiences. I find that solopreneurship can be full of valuable lessons, and can give you the skillsets and necessary resources to accomplish the things you’ve dreamed up. That’s why my objective with At Peace With Money is to help solopreneurs align their business profits with their life goals; because I think it’s 100% possible!

I hope this little pep-talk give you a dose of inspiration for the week. Think of a dream you’ve always had. How could you orient your business to focus on achieving it? You might also like to read How to Start a Goal-Based Business for more thoughts on this subject.

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Angela

 

Is Your Business Serving Your Life, Or the Other Way Around?

As a business owner, it can be tough to make sure you don’t get caught up in the hustle all the time. I’ve worked with many business owners whose businesses were definitely the main center of their time and attention, but who weren’t really getting their needs met that way. This is really unfortunate to see, yet so common. Today, I’m going to walk through an exercise you can use to evaluate whether your business is serving your life, or the other way around, and then suggest some next steps. Let’s dive in:

Reflect

To evaluate whether your business is serving your life, or the other way around, there are many different questions you can ask yourself. I recommend setting aside at least 20 minutes to reflect on a few of these questions. Pick whichever call to you:

  • How are my needs being met by my business?
  • What is my primary emotion while performing business tasks, and why?
  • What needs are being fulfilled by my business? Which are not?
  • Do I gain anything by running my business? Do I miss out on anything?
  • Is there balance in my life between all the different roles I play (ie. business owner, friend, partner, etc.)? Which role do I spend the most time in?
  • What are my goals in life? Is my business helping me get closer to reaching them?

Re-evaluate

Once you’ve sat with those questions, you will have a clearer idea on where your business might be running your life. Balance between your business and other parts of your life might be out of whack, or maybe you simply aren’t getting paid enough. Now that you’ve acknowledged the issue at hand, it’s time to re-evaluate. Ask yourself, “How can I re-orient my business so it serves my life?” Start thinking about and researching new strategies you can use to close the gaps between your needs and what your business is providing.

A couple pointers for inspiration: if you feel like you’re not getting paid enough, check out my article on considering your hourly wage and my article on creating an owner’s paycheck. Another good place to look for solutions is my series on money-mapping.

Take Action

After you’ve researched and thought through strategies, it’s time to take action! Your business doesn’t need to run your life. Acting decisively to end this cycle will only help you. Whether it’s opening a separate account or deciding on a day every week where you look at your numbers, any action you take is a step in the right direction. If you work well with an accountability partner, you might enjoy my profitability coaching services. Feel free to schedule a call with me to see if we’d be a good fit.

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Angela

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