Avoid This Impostor Syndrome Pitfall By Connecting With Your Values

One major impostor-syndrome-induced pitfall I see people struggle with is this: overcompensation. Perhaps they’re not getting enough paying clients, or not keeping track of their finances. Or they’re missing some other metric in their business that makes them feel like they’re “getting somewhere.”

Whatever the reason, people in this type of situation can sometimes fall into a pattern of overcompensating. This can become a financial or non-financial issue. For example, many people in this situation may feel their circumstances are due to the fact that they need to learn more. Other people can struggle with feeling like they need to “spend money to make money” and get preoccupied with gear, expensive software, etc.

Especially because you’re the one calling the shots in your business, making these decisions all comes down to you. That’s why it’s important to work through emotional mirages like impostor syndrome before making a financial or business decision. Let’s dive into both of these examples, and then talk about banishing impostor syndrome by connecting with your values:

“I Don’t Know Enough”

People with this story can get caught up on an information hamster wheel. This is especially easy to do with the whole Internet at our fingertips! People might feel that their business isn’t succeeding because they’re missing something, or don’t have the right training, etc. As a result, they sign up for courses, trainings, and coaching engagements. Or perhaps they spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and working through free opt-ins. Whether this version of impostor syndrome results in financial investments or not, it can also make running your business feel murky and difficult.

Exercise: Show yourself what you do know. If there’s a particular subject or specialty that you’ve been researching or wanting to get training in, spend some time writing down everything you already do know it. Just taking a breather and doing this for 5 minutes can remind you of all the knowledge you already hold!

“I Need to Spend Money to Make Money”

This is one of those longstanding business myths that many people can get convinced of unknowingly. I wrote about how people just starting businesses can avoid this pitfall here. What’s important is to keep in mind how you want to do things, rather than looking at how other business owners do them. If we play the comparison game we ultimately end up losing. Social media and comparing yourself to other more established businesses can intensify this feeling.

Exercise: Take stock of what you have. What software systems, supplies, gear, business accessories, etc. do you have that you love working with? Celebrate those and be thankful for them, just for a few minutes.

The Answer? Connect With Your Values

Just to be clear, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all solution to impostor syndrome. But connecting with your values by tapping into what feels authentically joyful for you is a great step forward. You don’t have to be the industry expert or have all the bells and whistles to run an awesome business! You just have to do things in the way that feels right for you. So take some time to consider what that actually looks like!

It might be the case that you really do value education or having the latest tech for your business. Just make sure you tease those values apart from the feelings of urgency and “less-than” that come with impostor syndrome. Let yourself come to conclusions about what you want on your own, without outside influence, as much as possible.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably like reading through my free e-Book, Three Essential Steps to Starting a Business, particularly the section on having a purpose and a plan for your money. Download it here!



Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

How Much Should You Invest in Your Business?

When you’re feeling ready to invest in yourself or your business, the next decision to make is, “How much do I spend?” This is different for everyone, but the key is to think about how the investment will pay off. How soon can you expect a return on purchasing equipment, or more education?

Below, I have mapped out some questions for you to think through when getting ready to make an investment in a couple different categories. Having clear answers to these questions can help you make a decision on what amount will be a sound investment for your future and the future of your business.

  • Buying equipment or supplies – With this one, ask yourself, how much extra are you going to make or save by buying that piece of equipment? Or, are there other ways this equipment or supplies will reduce costs or increase profits? Really sit down and do the math – quantify what your situation is now without the thing you want to purchase, and estimate what things would be like once you’ve made the investment. 


  • Hiring  an employee – Whether you’re considering hiring a VA or another type of employee, figure out how much of your time a task you’re going to turn over to them is absorbing for you. Try calculating your hourly wage, and considering what other things you could be doing with that time that may bring your business more profit. Weigh this against what it will cost to hire them, get them trained, get them on payroll and provide them their legal benefits. Plus include the cost of bonuses or whatever else you might want to factor in so you can be a kind and generous employer. 

  • Coaching or further education – This may be the least cut-and-dry category when it comes to calculating possible payoff. However, as someone who has personally benefitted tremendously from investing in business coaching and further education from people like Karen McCall and Kadijdja Yansane, I highly recommend making this type of investment after careful consideration. Vet the training or coaching out. What kind of results have people who’ve gone through the program achieved? Also, check in with yourself about what your goals are for this new education or coaching engagement.  Working through mindset blocks or knowledge gaps can be huge for your business. This can enable you to grow quickly and make the moves you want to make. However, make sure you have some clear goals you can name, and that you aren’t attracted to these programs purely because of impostor syndrome.

I hope these questions help you think through your potential investment. If you would like some assistance, I’m happy to join you for a free Financial Self Care Consultation, where we can discuss what you’re seeking and find out if working together might be a good fit.



Image:  Iris Wang

When Is the Right Time to Invest In Your Dreams?

Whether you’re wanting to quit your day job and go full time in your business, invest in some equipment to level up your production, or get a higher level of education in your field, all of us face choices about when to invest in our dreams. Let’s talk about how to make these decisions from a financial perspective.

Consider Your Timing

First, establish a timeline for yourself on making this investment. By when would you like to start your training, hire an employee, etc? Now, think realistically about other events and expenses that may come up around that time. For example, making a large equipment purchase around the holiday season may prove to be financially stressful. By analyzing your timeline and any upcoming expenses, you can plan to have the funds and energy on hand to take this new leap.

Establish a Savings Cushion

Especially because these decisions are typically financially loaded, it’s important to already have, or begin to cultivate, a multi-layered savings cushion. Ideally, you have a savings cushion to cover periodic expenses, and another to cover income-loss emergencies, typically an amount to cover 3-12 months of your expenses saved up. You can read more about establishing a savings cushion in my article “How to Plan for Surprise Expenses“. Take a look at these ideas and then make a plan to establish a savings cushion before taking your big step.

Tune Up Your Money System

This is a good idea whenever you’re making any financial decision. Take a look at your income and expenses and see how things are going with your savings. Making a regular habit of doing this is immensely helpful and can simplify financial decisions like this one. My e-Book 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care has a lot of great insights on how to establish a habit of checking in with your money.

If you have yet to set up a money system, you might like to check out my articles on money-mapping. “The 4 Components of a Restorative Money System” is a great place to start.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and that your decisions making process is a peaceful one!



How to Use Your Profits to Create the Generous Business You Envision

I’m a big proponent for using a money system in your business for many reasons. One of those is the way it can make giving away money, or donating, so much easier. Today, we’re focusing on how to use your profits to be able to give freely in your business. In my series on money mapping, I wrote about setting up a profit account like the Profit First system suggests. I’ve also written about how you might use that profit account to donate money. This post will be a more in-depth exploration of those concepts, so go ahead and read those posts if you haven’t already!

When it Comes to Profit, Values are Key

In my post “The In-Depth Guide to Mapping Your Money, and How it Can Fortify Your Business, Part II,” I describe the profit account in a money system this way:

The profit account accumulates and then is distributed quarterly. Business owners are encouraged to use their Profit Distributions to reward themselves for their hard work. This keeps the owner excited about and invested in the business. It also discourages any tendency to reinvest everything back into the business, or over-save.  Rewards can range from a day out to charitable giving, to really anything you want!

Note that last bit: charitable giving. Recently, I’ve made a couple posts about how to figure out what we really want to spend our money on. It has to do with our values – when we know what’s really valuable to us and we think about how to get that, we can spend our money in ways that are the most purposeful and fulfilling to us. We can spend in a way that brings us that feeling of “enough.”

Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, describes this phenomenon this way: “When people were able to align their money with their deepest, most soulful interests and commitments, their relationship with money became a place where profound and lasting transformation could occur.” Imagine doing this every quarter with your quarterly profit distribution! To create a generous business and get the most satisfaction from your profits, I encourage you to engage in some soul searching. Think about what the word “generous” means to you and what you might do with your money to embody this word.

Generosity Creates Relationships

One suggestion I’d like to make here, is sharing your profit distribution in the form of bonuses for any employees or independent contractors you work with. Appreciate the work they do by sharing your profits. Receiving their thanks and building up a relationship of mutual appreciation can be one of the most satisfying ways to use your profit distribution. It can also improve the overall quality of your work life! Because I advise clients to use the money accumulated in their profit account every quarter, the last distribution of the year comes up during the holidays. This is the perfect time to show employees some appreciation.

Be Community-Oriented

The past year and a half gave us more opportunities than ever to show up for our community as small business owners. I encourage you to think about organizations in your local community or on a larger level that you would like to show visible support for with your business. I wrote a post about thinking about your business’s role in your community called “How to Step Up for Your Community as a Business Owner,” that you might like to read to get some more thoughts on this subject.

I hope this post inspires you to be generous this summer! If you would like to work with someone to develop a money system which enables you to feel abundant and be generous, schedule a Financial Self Care Consultation call with me. I’m happy to chat and see if we can work together.



Image: Elaine Casap

This blog post is a re-publishing of the original article, “How to Create a Generous Business,” published in November 2020. For more articles on this topic, check out the “giving” tag. 

Boost Your Social Impact With the Power of Belief

I’ll get straight to the point – what you do with your business and your money matters. A year ago, protests against racist policing and in support of Black lives erupted around the country. Today, we can reflect on those moments and think about the impacts they had, like the conviction of Derek Chauvin and the reduction of police budgets in more than 20 major cities, and look to the future to see how we might add to the movement ourselves.

Typically on this blog, I share practical tips related to giving, like how to use money mapping to give back and tips for stepping up for your community as a business owner. Instead, this article approaches the issue from a mindset-centered perspective. Many of us feel discouraged when it comes to thinking about social change. However, it is important for us to stay in touch with the belief that we really can make a difference. Internalizing this is the first step when it comes to making social impact with your business. Here are a couple tips on this subject:

Reclaim Your Power

When world and community issues are displayed to us on the news, they can feel huge and overwhelming. At this point, many of us feel helpless – while we might be able to imagine alternatives a better world, who are we to bring it about? The world’s problems are so big, and we feel very small.

This is where we need to reclaim our power. It’s important to recognize that while you may not be able to Wonder Woman the world’s woes away, you are capable of making a positive difference in the world. You can plant flowers, donate, fundraise, deliver and inspiring speech, cook a delicious meal for hungry people, and so on. Even better, your power is multiplied when you join up with other people who also wish to create positive social change.

Get Clarity On Your Values and Your Money

One thing that might be feeding a sense of powerlessness in your life is a lack of clarity with your values and your money. If you feel strongly about social issues, but your schedule, income goals, and spending plan don’t reflect that, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

If you’d like to have more time to volunteer, or more money to pass on as reparations, think of ways you can incorporate these considerations into your schedule and finances, while still caring for yourself. You are in charge of all of these resources. How would you like to allocate them?

See Yourself In Your Context

If you want to use your business to make positive change but you aren’t sure where to start, look around you. Who is your community? Who surrounds you, locally, in your industry, in your interests and organizations? When you take a look, surely you can start to see creative ways you and your business can help fill a need or brighten a day.

There might be local issues you’re passionate about, and there are likely organizations already doing work to improve the issues who would love your help or expertise. The same goes for your industry or a group you might belong to, like your church.

Remember the Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect dictates that small events have a rippling effect that can cause much larger events to occur. While you may feel that your contribution to the world is small, what you do ripples out. I love this quote from author and activist Grace Lee Boggs, who says, “We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a question of ‘critical mass.’ It is always about critical connections.”

Next week, we’ll look at some of the more practical aspects of giving when it comes to your finances. For now, I hope these suggestions inspired you and gave you a couple ideas.



How to Avoid Underselling Yourself

A few years ago, I had the chance to speak with a group of businesswomen about their biggest financial mistakes. One that came up almost immediately was pricing products or services too low initially. Women especially struggle with worth and conceptualizing the value of their own labor, whether we’re working for an employer or ourselves.

Actually, I’d argue it can be even easier to get stuck in a cycle of chronically undervaluing yourself when you’re a solopreneur. One woman I spoke with shared about struggling with this. She priced her services too low initially. After realizing this, she found it difficult to raise her rates, because her first clients expected her low prices. She struggled between raising her prices and earning a wage that was too low for her needs. 

Whether you’re in a similar position, or just starting out and not struggling with this, there are actions you can take to avoid this pitfall of solopreneurship.

Establish a Plan and a Purpose for Your Income

First, establish your money why – your purpose and plan for the money you earn though your business. Where will it go? What will it do? An important part of this process is looking through your expenses and determining how much your business will support you with them. Once you’ve established your money why, you’ll be able to set income goals based off this information, so that your income is truly able to cover your living expenses. Once you know how much money you need to make, it’s easy to figure out how high your prices need to be.

Consider Materials and Costs

Ask yourself a few more questions: What products or services are you planning to produce and sell most often? How much time, labor, and supplies will go into production? Account for those costs in your pricing formula, and make sure the answers are what you want them to be. If you’re planning to make most of your money from custom embroidered portraits, but you actually hate embroidery, maybe you’ll want to tinker with your profit model a bit. After this inquiry, you’re well on your way to pricing yourself well. For more resources, check out this article I wrote about my interview with Megan Auman.

Work on Your Mindset

If you’ve already priced your products and wound up in a similar situation to the woman above, you can still double back and figure out your true income targets and prices. The real challenge comes in actually implementing a rate change. Before you do this, it can be helpful to do some mindset work. Raising your rates can be a scary prospect that brings up all kinds of emotional baggage, but if you work on it, you can get to a point where you feel settled. Then, go ahead and raise your prices! You deserve to be comfortable and make a living wage. After all, isn’t that why you went into business for yourself?




I hope you found this helpful! If this is the type of work you’d like to do with an expert guide, check out my Profitability Coaching Services and schedule a free Financial Self Care Consultation!



Image Source: Magnet.me

This blog post is a tweaked and re-published version of the original, published in 2019 as part of a series on financial mistakes made by women solopreneurs. You can read the full series here

Why You Need to Consider Your Hourly Wage As a Business Owner

How much does your business pay you, hourly? Whether you’re working on a pricing strategy or just feeling burnt out by your business, this can be an important thing to consider.

Why Think About Your Wage?

Knowing your hourly wage can help you be more aware of the time and effort you’re putting into your business, and what kind of return you’re getting. Calculating your hourly wage can be a great tool for a perspective shift. For many business owners, even if they work 12-hour days and have just enough to cover bills, they might not see that their business isn’t paying them enough until they’ve figured out their hourly rate. If your hourly wage would make you want to leave your position if you were an employee, that’s a great clue that some new thinking about your pricing is in order!

Appropriate Pricing

Understanding what your hourly wage is (and what you want it to be) can be a huge help in pricing your products appropriately. First you need to understand your money why, or why you earn the money you take in from your business.  This will help you understand if your current prices can really sustain the goals that you have financially. You can learn how to set informed income goals here. Once you understand what your income target is, you can work backwards and see how much of your product or service you would need to produce and sell in order to make that income. 

Take a moment to consider the cost of low prices, too. Look around at what other people in your industry are selling their product for. If you’re giving your goods away because they’re priced so low, you’re not doing anyone any favors. Remember, selling more doesn’t mean you’re necessarily making more. You aren’t making money, you’re reducing the value of what you do in the eyes of the buyers and you’re making your industry fellows unhappy.

Consider Your Time

When you are considering how to price your product or service, you may take into account the cost of supplies, transportation, and other materials. However, you must also take into account the cost of your time. If you were working for someone else and getting paid, you would receive an hourly wage, so consider that just as important in your own business. If you hired someone to help you with production, you’d need to pay them an hourly wage too. If you’re planning to scale up a business you’ll need to be able to hire other people and your prices need to be able to sustain that.

Another thing for product-based businesses to consider when looking at your pricing is your interest in wholesaling. When selling wholesale, you will typically  sell at 50% of your retail price. If, at this price, you’re not covering your costs, labor and making a profit that supports your financial goals, you need to raise your prices. 

Taking your hourly wage into account can help you accurately price your products and meet your income goals. If you’re interested in learning and thinking more about pricing formulas, I encourage you to check out my interview with Megan Auman. Our talk, plus my articles on how artists define their own success and how business skills and artistic sense can coexist, are great resources for anyone with a creative business looking to tinker with their profit model. Enjoy!




Photo: bruce mars 

This blog post is a tweaked and re-published version of the original, posted in 2019 as part of a series for creative business owners. Check out more articles on that topic here

How to Set Financial Goals for the Next Quarter


April marks 1/3 of the way through the second quarter of 2021. How are your goals doing? Whether you typically set goals for the whole year, or in twelve-week increments, taking some time to check in with your goals and set new, more relevant ones, is a good idea. 

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’re working on the personal side of your finances, this process can easily be re-shaped to fit that, too. Feel like you’ve got a good picture of your current financial strengths and needs? You can go ahead with the goal-setting.

When setting a goal concerning your finances, 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 or personal finance 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 you.

Create Good Habits

One potentially life-changing goal you could set for 2021 is to go through the year with good money habits. When I say “money habits,” I mean checking in with your 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, 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.

Prioritize Financial Self Care

I whole-heartedly believe that your finances are the key to self-care in your life. If you’re having trouble thinking of a goal to set in the realm of your finances, why not try prioritizing financial self care? That will look different for everybody, depending on your habits, values, and intentions. For more goal ideas in this realm, check out my article on simple ways to infuse for financial self care into your routine.

I hope these ideas have given you some thoughts on what the best goal 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, you can reserve a space in my private coaching program, 4 Week Money Refresh, through April 30th!




Image: Gift Habeshaw

How Tailored Income Goals Keep Your Business On Track

When you’re running a business on your own, it’s easy to get swept off course. Solopreneurship and small business ownership are both full of moments where we waver, question whether our dreams will work out, and look to what others are doing. This can easily fuel impostor syndrome and turn into a full-blown comparison fest. When this happens, you may lose sight of your own goals and values.

Last week, we went over how to set income goals that are tailored to your lifestyle costs and needs. Today, I want to share with you how doing that groundwork can help you stay focused on your own bottom line, and ultimately help you reach your goals more quickly.

Avoid Comparison

It can be tempting to run your business in a way that is essentially some version of “keeping up with Joneses,” but as you might guess, that’s not very fulfilling. Other businesses can provide healthy examples of what we do and don’t want, but it’s important that we don’t compare our business to others, especially in the monetary sense. We don’t know what other business’s numbers are like on the inside. The businesspeople we admire could be grappling with debt, struggling to pay themselves, or overworking.

Stick to Your Game Plan

Instead of playing the comparison game, I suggest taking regular time to get back in touch with your vision – your “money why.”Doing this will keep you in touch with your own goals and help you keep moving toward them. It can also increase your capacity to appreciate all the hard work you’re already putting in, and feel grateful for all the opportunities available to you.

If you haven’t done the work to investigate what your values are, and what you really want more of in your life, take some time do that. Then figure out what financial figures you need to make those dreams come true, and there you go – you’ve got a game plan to stick to.

Skip Marketing Gimmicks

If you’ve spent much time in the business coaching sphere looking for advice, you may have come across someone’s ad inviting you to work with them to “Have your first 25k month!” (or whatever the promise is). While these nice round numbers might sound nice, they’re really there for the slogan, not for you.

Your financial goals should be based on your values. They should be designed to bring you whatever you want more of in your life. Those nice round numbers won’t do much for you in the way of life satisfaction if they’re not connected to a larger vision of what you want for yourself. Having income goals that are tailored to your life can help you sift through the barrage of marketing messages and financial advice out there.

I hope this post inspires you to keep working to create a business that truly meets your personal needs. If you would like to work with an accountability partner and guide to identify your values and shape your finances around them, check out 4 Week Money Refresh, a package of 4 private 1 hour personal financial coaching sessions, available through April 30th!



Image: Eye for Ebony

How to Tailor Your Income Goals to Your Life

One of my favorite sayings comes from the artist-turned-business mind Jennifer Armbrust: “A business is a needs-fulfillment machine.” Your business exists to support you; to fulfill your needs. However, if you don’t have a clear picture of what those needs are, it can be difficult for your business to fill them. This week, I’m suggesting that to really financially care for ourselves, we investigate the true costs of our lifestyles. By doing so, we will be able to make informed decisions about what income goals we’d like our businesses to meet. 

The Process

Time to take a realistic look at how much money you’re spending every month. Dig up the past three months of your bank and/or credit card statements. (For most of us, these should be available online). Go through line by line to see where your money is really going. Total up all the expense categories, i.e. groceries, utilities, rent, etc. 

Once you’ve got your totals, you have a realistic picture of how much money you need on a monthly basis. At this stage, you may find it helpful to look critically at your lifestyle, and see if there’s anything you’re interested in culling. If you’re looking for some ideas around creating a budget or spending plan, I’d recommend these articles of mine. Click here. 

Set Informed Goals

Whether you decide to create a spending plan and reign in your expenses, or feel satisfied with your lifestyle costs, you now have a complete picture of your financial needs. At this point, you can now set informed income goals that are designed to meet those needs in your personal life. Without this crucial information, your goals will just be shots in the dark, aimed at an amount of money that “sounds nice” but doesn’t tangibly satisfy a need.

Additionally, once your have this information, you can also take a look at how your business is doing in its current state. Is it making enough to support you? Whether you’ve got a side hustle or something you want to stretch into a full source of income, checking in with this question is important. If your answer is no, you can start to strategize around how you might close that gap. For more ideas on this, check out this post.

I hope this post inspires you to keep working to create a business that truly meets your needs. If you would like to work with an accountability partner and guide to identify your values and shape your finances around them, check out 4 Week Money Refresh, a package of 4 private 1 hour personal financial coaching sessions on early bird sale through April 15th!


This article was originally posted in 2019 as part of a month-long series on  financial self-care. Specifically, I’m focusing on what you can do with your money to take care of yourself and improve your business in 2019. You can read the whole series by clicking here. 

Image:  CoWomen

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