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!

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Angela

Image: Eye for Ebony

What You Can Learn From a Money Crush

There’s nothing like having a crush. You can spend hours admiring them. You love to watch them do things. I experience crushes regularly – money crushes, that is! Today we’ll talk about what a money crush is and why they’re helpful, how to find yours, and a couple of mine. Let’s dive in:

What’s a Money Crush and Why Would I Want One?

A money crush is a playful term for someone you know, or know of, who handles their finances in a way you admire. This could be somebody you know personally who has the kind of financial setup you want. It could be someone who writes or speaks about money in a way that inspires you. A money crush is essentially somebody who models the things you want for your own financial life.

The benefits of having a money crush are pretty simple; these role models inspire you take your own steps towards emulating what they embody in their finances. They give you someone to look up to, someone whose actions you can study. Your money crush can help breathe life into the vision of your own ideal financial situation.

Finding Someone Crush-Worthy

So, how do you find a money crush? Money crushes can be found in all types of places – in your friend circle, at an industry gathering for your profession, or on the web. Take a couple minutes to reflect – have you ever encountered someone whose way of doing things around money really inspired you? If yes, they’re money-crush material. I’ve written before about money buddies and business mentors. If the person you have in mind is someone you know, consider establishing a relationship like that where you can feel free to talk about money and pick their brain.

If the person you’re thinking of is an author, blogger, or other public figure, you’ll probably take a different approach. First, search out all their material. They’ve likely produced more than whatever book or article introduced you to them. See what else they’ve got – maybe it will be something you love! You might consider reaching out and writing them an email of thanks, too.

Lastly, I’d like to recommend my articles on finding good financial advice. A Brief Guide to Finding the Right Financial Advice breaks down tips that can help you find financial advice tailored to your vision of financial success. Financial Advice: How to Avoid the Bad and Find the Good lays out some red flags to look for when searching for financial wisdom, as well as some green flags that tell you you’re in the right place. Finally, Find Good Financial Advice During COVID-19 gives you some tips on avoiding financial gurus who rely on fear tactics. These articles may help inspire your search for a money crush!

A Few of My Money Crushes!

I want to introduce you to a couple people of whom I am a not-so-secret admirer! They might become your money crushes too:

  • Megan deBoer of Tended Wealth is a constant inspiration – I love her thoughtful posts on Instagram and the way she really invites people to imagine thriving financially.
  • Lynne Twist is the author of The Soul of Money, and her writing encapsulates my favorite way to think about money.
  • Karen McCall of the Financial Recovery Institute is an inspiration and a mentor of mine. I first fell in love with her book, Financial Recovery, before seeking out her training!
  • Vicki Robin is one of the authors of the well-known book, Your Money or Your Life. I especially love the way she thinks about how our finances have to do with satisfaction, and finding our “Enough” point.
  • Hadassah Damien has a plethora of resources dedicated to helping marginalized people learn about money and how to handle it well. She’s also a motorcyclist!

Could I be your next money crush? If this post has inspired you to do some digging around my resources, I encourage you to check out my free e-Book, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care! It’s packed with tips and helps you think about ways you can work financial self care into your work routine.

Happy crushing!

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Angela

Image by:  Sharon McCutcheon

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

How to Build Your Best Money Team

Money team jumping into the air

Money is a team sport. Although we have an unfortunate notion in our culture that talking about money is taboo, we need to do our best to break it. By collaborating with others and building a team of people we can trust to talk to about our money, we can start getting the help and information we need.

There are many different people who can make up a money team. Money confidants, such as close friends and coaches who you can confess your financial feelings to, and receive good advice from, are one good example. Your bank can be considered a part of your money team, especially because good customer service is an important aspect of banking. Similarly, your tax prep person, financial planner, accountant or bookkeeper, and even the people you get financial advice from, are all important parts of your money team.

These “team members” fall into three different categories: people in your life, trusted professionals, and advice sources. Let’s take a look at each category and figure out how you can find good team members.

People in Your Life

Anyone in your life who you’re able to talk to about money falls here. Most importantly, these people are able to provide you with space to air your feelings. In some cases, they may also offer good advice. For example, if you’re friends with an accountant or a retirement planner, you’ve hit the jackpot! If not, good friends that you can open up to are still very helpful. The more we air our feelings about money, the more we’re able to think clearly and pursue practical solutions

If you don’t have anyone in your life that you’d consider a financial confidant, don’t worry. Run through your list of connections and identify some people with whom you might feel safe sharing thoughts, feelings, and ideas about money. Then, try approaching them with the idea of sharing these things. Many people are happy to have someone to talk to about this, so it’s worth a shot. For more tips, you can read my article on Why You Need a Money Buddy.”

Trusted Professionals

Here’s where your team members might get more diverse. Financial coaches, bookkeepers, tax preparers, and financial planners all fall into this category. Not everyone will need to refer to every one of these professionals, and perhaps not on a regular basis. However, working with professionals in all of these areas can do wonders for your financial life.

Like a money buddy, coaches are there for you to confide in, but are also trained to help you find specific solutions. Good bookkeepers are able to deliver valuable financial insights about your business and follow appropriate record-keeping laws. If you run a business, you might find you appreciate that someone else does your record keeping, while you get to do whatever it is you really enjoy. Here’s an article about how to find a good bookkeeper.

Tax preparers are great to consult with during tax season. The most helpful tax preparers help you get a better idea of what you need to file, what you can write off, and if you qualify for any credits. Depending on your assets, you may or may not need to have a financial planner you can regularly work with. If you want to do some complex planning, it might be good to consider adding a financial planner to your money team.

Advice Sources

The last category is made up of public figures and advising entities. Your bank is probably the most important member of your money team here. If you don’t have a bank that provides good customer service, or if you’re getting charged bank fees, switch, and fast. Being able to sit down with a bank employee when you have questions is an important aspect of building your money team. Bank fees are just annoying, but also totally avoidable! Read my articles about “How to Avoid Bank Fees” and “How I Broke Up With Wells Fargo (And You Can Too!).”

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that a financial planner can be a good reference, but another option is to simply meet with a planner at a firm as needed. I had one client who, when planning for retirement, made one appointment at a firm and got all her questions answered. No commitment needed, and a good source of advice.

The last member of this category is public advice figures. There are quite a few out there, so finding the ones who give the best advice for you might require some sifting. These articles contain some of my thoughts on finding good financial advice. Also, here are a couple of my personal favorite resources.

Building a money team takes some work, but when you have a network of people, professionals, and resources who can help you solve your money problems, you’ll be glad you did it!

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Angela

Image: Husna Miskandar

The In-Depth Guide to Mapping Your Money, and How It Can Fortify Your Business, Part II

Last week, I talked about money-mapping, why it’s helpful, and how you can get started. Today, we’re going to dive into more money-mapping using the Profit First methodology. Profit First posits its own money system, pictured in the above map. Its goal is to ensure that you as the business owner get paid.

Solopreneur Paycheck

In order to ensure that you actually get paid by your business, you need to portion off a certain percentage of your income, and then designate that for your personal finances. This portioning off is exactly what the Owner’s Pay account is for in the Profit First system. The Profit First system advocates for creating separate accounts for all your different pots of money associated with your business. If you can’t do that or don’t want to, I advise using a spreadsheet. You can use this to keep track of how much money is designated for Profit, Owner’s Pay, Taxes, and Operating Expenses.

So, back to that Owner’s Pay Account. Once you put a percentage of income in it, you then transfer some portion of that to your personal account, which serves as your solopreneur paycheck. When I work with clients, we work to figure out what portion should go into this account. That amount depends on how much the business makes in revenue, and what portion of their personal expenses they want to cover using income from their business. If income in their business varies month to month, we decide on an amount that they transfer to their personal account, leaving the leftovers to act as their cushion during slow months. This way, the business owner receives a steady stream of income, even if their business varies from month to month. This is the solopreneur paycheck.

The Function of Profit

Cordoning off funds for operating expenses and taxes may seem practical enough, but the Profit account is what makes the Profit First system unique. 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!

In part three of this series, I’ll discuss what applying this model to your business can look like, and integrate all the info we’ve gone over so far. If you’re enjoying this and would like more, check out part one! You can also head to my services page and schedule a call with me. Money mapping is one of my favorite subjects. Come talk about it with me!

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Angela

The In-Depth Guide to Mapping Your Money, and How It Can Fortify Your Business, Part I

Keeping track of your money and where it needs to go may feel like a difficult task. That’s why visually mapping it can be especially helpful. When I work with clients, I help them create a visual flow chart to show where every dollar goes. Today, I want to walk through why I do this, and how you can get started on your own money map.

Simplify Decision-Making

The goal of money mapping is creating a clear visual guide of what to do with every incoming dollar. If you’re confused about where to put incoming money, your systems can quickly get out of whack. By drawing out the paths your money can take, you make it clear to yourself where everything needs to go. You also simplify the decisions you need to make, because you have everything spelled out right in front of you! This way you’re able to take action to put your money in the right place quickly and easily.

For extra points, you can automate some of these transfers each month, so that you don’t have to move everything manually. If that sounds interesting, you might like to read “Pick One of These 5 Tips to Automate Your Wealth”.

How Much Do You Need?

In order to create that map and streamline your decision making, you need to do the math up front. It’s important to think about how much you need for your own pay, business taxes, and operating expenses. When I work with clients, I help them determine these numbers in the process of creating their map. If you want a DIY version, you can check out my articles on financial self-care, which will help you determine your personal expenses and understand how they relate to your business finances. Going through your records and averaging your operating expenses can help you get a good idea of what that percentage might be.

The above image is an example map from Hadassah Damien at Ride Free Fearless Money. In this example, you can see that she’s fleshed out the necessary percentages of income that need to be set aside for savings, taxes, business expenses, and personal expenses. In part 2 of our discussion of money mapping, I’ll talk about Profit First and what these percentages are according to their theory.

From Income to Final Destination

Above all, the goal of money mapping is to know where your money is going every step of the way. From the moment you receive income, to the moment that money is saved for taxes, invested for retirement, or put away for a savings goal – you’ve got a plan. Consequently, this is an opportunity to define those final destinations. Creating a tax savings account and an operating expenses account come in handy here. You can also think about creating savings goals for yourself, and making a plan to contribute regularly to those.

If you found this article interesting and helpful, I invite you to download the first 5 chapters of Profit First! The book has its own suggested money map that I’ll also talk about in part 2 of this series. If you’re into this kind of thing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the book.

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Angela

Financial Advice: How to Avoid the Bad and Find the Good

Financial advice is important, but the wrong resources can steer you in a rough direction. You don’t want the resources you’re looking at to lead you to a place of boredom or despair due to unrealistic goals. Last time, I gave some tips on finding the right financial advice for you, but today I want to break down some red flags to avoid. Then, we’ll look at some signs that show you’re on the right path!

How to Discern an Unhelpful Resources

A financial resource may not be right for you if:

  • The resource is targeted to an income level higher than yours. Even if you aspire to increase your income, financial advice will provide you with feasible next steps if it acknowledges your starting point. Starting out by reading investing guides for people with a $100k to distribute might leave you feeling alienated.
  • The resource chastises you or shames you for habits or behaviors. While many of us do carry emotional baggage around money, I firmly believe we should not be put down for this, or for our financial habits. Shame and blame do not facilitate financial learning. If a resource is telling you to quit things that make life enjoyable, or scrimp every penny as a path to wealth, evaluate these strategies carefully.
  • The resource uses financial jargon you don’t understand. Something like this can quickly lead you to boredom or discouragement. You can always look up the vocabulary words you don’t know, but finding something more accessible makes for a more pleasant and sustainable learning experience.
  • The resource doesn’t reflect your vision for your business or personal finances. Not everyone needs or wants piles of cash – so you won’t enjoy a book about how to get that if that’s not what you want!

Signs the Resource is a Good Fit

Alright, we’ve looked at red flags, now let’s talk green flags. A resource can be great for you if:

  • The resource acknowledges and takes time to help you work on your emotional stories and stressors around money. (One of my faves for this is The Art of Money by Bari Tessler)
  • The resource is accessible, easy to read or consume, and enjoyable. The more you want to come back to something or refer to it, the more helpful it will actually be!
  • The resource is tailored to your version of financial success and gives you steps for moving towards it.
  • The resource is targeted towards your income level.
  • The resource focuses on long-term solutions like mindset changes, money systems, and improved habits rather than “hacks” or penny-pinching.

If a resource ticks all these boxes for you, it will probably set you down the path to financial wellbeing! And it will feel a lot better than trying to read something that just isn’t for you. Next time, we’ll talk about starting the search for resources. For now, feel free to do some good ol’ googling. You can also check out my article on some of my favorite resources. I post more resources and video summaries of important concepts on Facebook, so check that out and see if you get green flags!

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Angela

Image Sources:  David Iskander, Thought Catalog

A Brief Guide to Finding the Right Financial Advice

Determining what kind of financial advice you’re really looking for is more important that you might suspect. A lot advice out there is targeted to people who already are or who want to be wealthy. If the advice you’re trying to follow is geared towards a vision that ultimately differs from yours, that can be an issue.The fact that so many financial resources assume their audience has a certain income level is also an issue. If you’re looking for financial help but you can only find resources that are geared towards people who make $50,000 more than you, you’re going to feel left in the dust.

One of my big goals with At Peace With Money is to help solopreneurs who don’t manage enormous accounts feel like they too can take steps down a helpful financial path. I strongly believe that no matter what amount of money you make, there are steps you can take to improve your situation and take care of yourself in the long term. I also believe you can do this without hugely sacrificing your quality of life. It doesn’t feel good to be chastised for your income level or your lifestyle, especially when class structure in the U.S. effects us in a way that means we are often not fully responsible for our financial standing. I don’t think that’s the role of financial advice anyway! Instead, good advice meets you where you’re at, and helps you get where you want to go.

 Know What You Need

Once you’ve decided to find financial advice resources that are relevant to your lifestyle, it’s important to know where you’re at personally. So, be sure to check in with your own finances. If you need a simple process to get clear, check out my Three Steps to Financial Clarity exercise.

Once you’ve done that, you should have a clear idea of your current income level and your hopes for your financial future. Both of these things will help you determine what financial resources are best for you. At the beginning of your journey, you might not be interested in people who talk about managing large investments. That can always come later! Instead, you might be interested in resources that cater specifically to small businesses just getting started, or people who’ve just opened an IRA.

Find Your Teachers

Now it’s time to find some good resources that meet your criteria. Some googling might help with this, but you can also check out my post on my favorite resources. There are tons of people and helpful guides out there. If Suze Orman’s not your style, don’t let her throw you off the path of learning how to make and manage wealth. You don’t have to already be making $100K a year or give up coffee forever to invest in your future – I promise.

I hope this guide has been helpful for you! If you like these ideas or you’d like to work with me for a little guidance, head on over to my Services page, where you can book a call with me.

Angela

Image Source:  Sharon McCutcheon , Luis Quintero

Working on Your Finances is Self Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angela

Image Sources: Wolfgang Hasselmann,

The Stages of Financially Growing a Business

Stages of Business Financial Growth: At Peace With Money

Starting a business is a financially intricate process. I’ve written at some length about avoiding financial pitfalls and myths, and important first steps, but something I don’t see many people talk about are the stages of growth a business goes through as it financially matures. Today I’m mapping these out for you, so you know what to expect on your solopreneur journey.

First, some general advice. When first starting a business, you have two priorities: a) get the word out about your business, and b) keep your expenses low. Doing these two things from the get-go will set you up for business success. If you need some more guidance around wrangling your business expenses, check out this article of mine. 

Fledgling

As you build your business, focus on streamlining your processes. Figure out how you can refine them to be time efficient. Keep track of time spent and ensure you are making a living wage and being cost-effective with your expenses. If you’re purchasing a lot of materials to create a product, look into bulk purchasing your supplies.

In this stage, it’s also important to cultivate the relationship with your current customers. Allotting time or room in the budget around strengthening customer relations and making sure your first customers have exemplary experiences with your business is very important. A good reputation sets you up for success, and good word-of-mouth exposure can eliminate advertising costs later on.

Growth

As your business begins to grow, again refine your processes to cut costs and increase efficiency. As you receive more orders or draw in more clients to serve, your processes may have to adjust to accommodate these larger numbers. You will likely find yourself spending more time doing production or client work. Consider the possibility of delegating or outsourcing some of your tasks, or find other solutions. Work on further defining your role in your business – what are the pieces that you want to keep doing yourself? What can you hand off? Continue to keep an eye on your bottom line.

Maintaining and Sustaining

Once your business establishes some staying power and becomes financially stable, it’s time to move to the next stage. Make sure your business is sustainable for you by keeping it fun and engaging. Continue to challenge yourself. Incorporate new ideas and investigate what role your business can play in the lives of your customers, clients, and community.

Stages of Growing a Business: At Peace With MoneySearch for feedback. Listen to your customers to continue innovating and refining your product or service. If you have a team of other people, focus on them to keep things fresh and engaging. Brainstorm together and streamline your business partnerships.

And of course, again make sure you are earning a living wage. Continue to examine your finances and find ways to improve the financial sustainability of your business. Part of the reason you created it was to meet your needs, after all!

Lastly, at all stages utilize Profit First. This is an essential part of every step, especially the fledgling stage. Setting up money systems that allow you to have a steady paycheck and stay focused on your own financial needs will help you create a business that won’t feel draining to operate.

I hope this little walk-through helped inspire you to work on your business idea! If you need more guidance, take a look at my offerings.

Angela

Image Sources: oldskool photography,  rawpixel

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