The Key to Reducing Money Stress in Your Business

As a business owner, you are responsible for the finances of your business. That responsibility can come with a lot of stress. However, with proper management, the financial side of a business can become a seamless system that sustains you and your passion. The key here? Get organized.

What does getting organized look like when it comes to your business finances? It looks like solid record-keeping and the ability to look back at financial data easily. It looks like a good awareness of the money coming in and out of your business. It looks like knowing you have enough to pay yourself, pay your taxes, and run your business.

All of this can be done without the chaos, by implementing a few changes to how you do your business finances. What you need will vary depending on the type of business you run and its current financial conditions. Today, I’d like to share a couple tips on getting your business finances organized that seem to come up most often in my work with clients.

Create a Supportive Money System

Last year, I wrote a full series devoted to money-mapping, a practice you can use to visualize the flow of money in your business. Creating a money system, and a visual way to understand it, can help you recognize where the income you receive through your business is needed most, and how your personal and business finances integrate. By creating a money system that tracks every dollar (including cash) of income that you receive, you set yourself up for success. A good money system gives you an idea of the profitability of your business, so that you’re not guessing at how much you’re really making.

My work around money mapping integrates the Profit First system’s allocations idea, to help business owners set aside money for various uses in their business. These include the important things, like paying your operating expenses, getting paid, paying taxes, and saving a portion of that money in a profit account. You can read the series on money mapping here: Part I, Part II, Part III, and a follow-up article on keeping your money systems simple.

Get Prepped for Taxes

One of the big themes in my guide to getting prepped for tax time is just simply keeping your documents organized in one place. Keeping all your paper documents in one physical spot, and saving all your digital documents to a designated folder, can save you from a lot of digging and stress when March rolls around. Creating a simple organizational system for tracking these things is a great preparation step for tax season, and a definite stress-reducer.

Show Up

They say that 90% of success is showing up, and this rings true when it comes to keeping your business organized and stress-free. If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, you’ll know I’m a proponent of having weekly “money time,” which is for you to review your financial situation and do any financial admin work that needs to get done. This time is extremely important for financial self care. Perhaps even more important than what you do during this time, is simply scheduling it in and doing it. When you make a regular habit of revisiting your finances, you will naturally start to shape them to be more organized.

Use Helpful Tools

These days, we are lucky to have many tools available that can help us stay organized in our businesses. Here are a couple that I frequently help clients integrate into their finances:

  • MoneyGrit is a great tool for either personal or business use.
  • Mint has fewer features, but can be really helpful for solopreneurs with few transactions, or personal use.
  • Quickbooks is a classic and excellent for business use.
  • YNAB is a tool I personally have less experience with, but a few other coaches I know use it often and recommend it.

I am planning on doing a more in-depth post on money tracking softwares, and the why and how to use them for business and personal finances later this month. Stay tuned for that!

I hope these tips on organization encourage you to decrease the financial stress in your business. A lot of this work can be accelerated when done with an accountability partner. I’m currently offering a 4 Week Refresh package through the end of January for people who’d like to work with an expert to gain control of their business finances. This package of four private sessions is designed to help you review 2020 and create a clear roadmap to your financial goals in 2021. We’ll also construct a money map personalized to your business, so you can effortlessly visualize your money system. If you’re interested in this package, you can learn more and sign up for a free consultation here.

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Angela

Image by  Arnel Hasanovic

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

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

No More Perpetual Vague-ness

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

Take the Plunge: Look at Your Numbers

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

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

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Angela

Image by bruce mars 

To Increase Your Earnings, Take Action

So, you’ve shifted your mindset: you see the potential for abundance and your life and you’re ready for the cash to roll in. But now what? It’s time to take action. By getting the wheels in motion, you get closer to earning what you deserve. This is the second in a series of posts on the seven strategies used by high earning women Barbara Stanny interviewed in her book Secrets of Six Figure Women. You can check out the first post on shifting to an abundance mindset here! According to Barbara’s insights, here are a couple action steps you’ll want to take. 

Step One: Get Clear

The first step is to get clear on where your finances are right now.  You need to know what you have in the bank, how much you are spending monthly, and what and whom you owe.  If you are currently ignoring this information, you cannot move forward until you face these numbers.  In her book, Barbara gives many examples of women who have changed their patterns with their finances.  Many had to stop overspending in various areas, some had to pay off credit card debt or stop using credit cards altogether.  But they all had to first examine their current behaviors and then think about where they wanted to end up and make the decision to make change. If you’d like a guide for this step, check out my post Three Steps to Financial Clarity

Step Two: Make a Change

Making changes may include trying new strategies with your spending and saving.  It may mean not using credit cards at all, or seeking out someone to partner with to make change, like a money buddy or accountability partner. One of the women interviewed actually set up a system of saving one third of her income, setting aside one third for taxes and living off of one third.  This may not be a feasible option for every income level, but setting up and automating some percentage of saving is a great place to begin. You can read my article about automation for more resources. The author points out that when you do make a change, “each step builds to the next, increasing confidence, competence and resources.” With that in mind, the best thing to do is pick an idea, try it, and see if it does some good for your financial situation. 

To Increase Earnings, Take Action title imageThree Keys

Once you’re on your way to making changes, it’s good to know the keys to managing your money. Barbara points out three key steps to successful money management: spend less than you earn, pay yourself first, and then put your money to work.  This last step is often the trickiest. Many people are tripped up by fear when it comes to investing and building wealth. That’s why we’ll going in depth about it next week, when we’ll talk about wealth building. I haven’t talked a whole lot about this here, beyond a few ideas about retirement prep, so I’m excited to get more into it!

If you think you’d be able to take more action with the guidance of an accountability partner, I’m always here to help. Take a look at my services, book a call, and let’s have a chat!

Angela

When To Take The Leap

When to Take The Leap: At Peace With Money

You’ve relegated your passion project to side hustle status for a long time, working on it in between your day job and other parts of your life. But you know that if you want to get your business growing, you need to invest more time. That’s when you start asking yourself, “When can I get this off the ground? When can I take the leap, quit my job, and do this full time?” This is a question that must be considered carefully. While I support jumping in, I think it’s best to make the decision based on practical financial criteria. Taken at the wrong time, that leap could jeopardize your business. So, let’s take a closer look at what criteria you and your business should meet before you’re ready to take it to a full-time level.

Savings

Before you leap into the realm of self-employment, it’s good to have some savings to cover your expenses before things get going. This requires calculating your living expenses for each month, and then deciding how many months worth you want to have saved up. Many sources recommend saving up between six months and a years’ worth of expenses, but it’s ultimately up to you. Whatever number you decide, make sure it correlates with how much time you think you’ll need to get your business to a point where it supports you. If you need some resources to help you determine your monthly expenses, I recommend my article “Three Steps to Financial Clarity.”

Proof Of Concept

It’s important to prove to yourself somehow that people actually want your product or service – that there is a demand and real profitability in your idea. Setting up some metrics specific to your business idea can help you divine whether this is the case or not. Depending on your industry, this test could look very different. It might be helpful to research what success and demand look like in your industry. Ensuring that your business will have customers is an important step in the path towards solopreneurship. 

When to Take The Leap: At Peace With MoneyI know they say “Leap and the net will appear,” but in order to take care of yourself financially, I think it’s best to take the leap only when you’ve already constructed at least some of that net for yourself. I understand this is difficult territory. It can be hard to know when you might make more money if you’re able to work on your hustle full time, rather than playing it safe and keeping it on the side. My advice is to think carefully and critically and make sure you have the resources to take care of yourself! 

If you enjoyed this article and want to talk more about the profitability of your business, and how you can make it work for you, don’t be afraid to reach out. You can check out my Services page and schedule a call.

Angela

Image:  Chris Ouzounis

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,

Three Steps to Financial Clarity

3 Steps to Financial Clarity: At Peace With Money

As the holidays set in and the mad rush of preparation begins to slow, you might find yourself with a little time to reflect on your year. Why not take the opportunity to reflect on your finances? Your money, much like all the other pieces of your life, deserves your attention, thought, and critical eye. This exercise is meant to lead you to financial clarity. By completing it, you’ll gain a better understanding of what you want from your money, and how to get there.

Step 1: Define Your Destination

What’s your destination with your money? What are you planning to do with it? Is there something you’re saving up for? You might have vague plans, a well-defined roadmap, or nothing at all. This is the step where you can dream and imagine that destination. If you already have one in mind, check in and make sure it’s where you want to go. Make sure you investigate any current money goals you might have to make sure they really align with your desires. If you don’t have any goals, think of some you might like to adopt!

Step 2: Drop Your Pin

Pinpoint your current location. In other words, figure out where you are now financially.  It’s time to get clear and honest about what you have, what you owe and where your money is going each month. Use this step as an opportunity to total up your expenses and debts and track your recent income. Leave no bill unturned! If you want further instructions on this step, I recommend checking out my article on creating a spending plan, specifically the section on analyzing your expenses. 

Step 3: Plan Your Journey

3 Steps to Financial Clarity: At Peace With MoneyNow that you know where you are and where you’re going, it’s time to figure out how you’ll get there. This is the step where strategy comes in. Based on all the information you’ve already looked at during Step 2, you should be able to determine what will help you get to your destination. Whether that’s saving more money, paying yourself first, cutting out certain expenses, increasing your income, or a whole host of other ideas, identify your moves and decide when you’re going to make them. 

This process may take you a little while to complete, but it will ultimately bring you to a place of much greater clarity when it comes to your finances. This exercise can be applied to personal finances but it can also be applied to your business finances. I hope this season of reflection serves you well.

If you need any assistance looking through your finances, I’m happy to help you reach a place of clarity. Schedule a call with me!

Angela

Money Doesn’t Need to Be Scary

Welcome to your money pep talk. If you were looking for a sign to encourage you to level up your personal or business finances, this is it. For many people, money is a stressful subject. Talking about it can bring up a lot of fear and other emotions. But much of that fear stems from the fact that so many people simply leave their finances shrouded in mystery. Many of us don’t receive good education on finances when we are younger, and when we become adults, we either don’t seek or don’t find the information we need to have healthy finances. One of the main ways to fix this problem is very simple: self-education! Once you start learning about money and start paying attention to your own financial matter, the hardest part is over. You might find a lot of your fear has dissipated!

Thanks to a plethora of resources, self-education doesn’t have to be effort-intensive either. Perhaps you might simply choose a financial podcast and listen to it on your commute (my personal favorite method). Or pick out a book and finish it over the course of a month. All you need to do is pick a resource and carve out a specific chunk of time to absorb the information. Below, I have recommended a couple of my favorite resources for learning about personal and business finance. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook, where I regularly post blog posts and podcast episodes that I find especially helpful and inspiring. And since it is my profession, know that you can always schedule a discovery call if you’re curious about my services or need some guidance in your financial education journey!

Business Finance Resources

Don’t Keep Your Day Job is a great podcast hosted by Cathy Heller all about the business side of carving out a creative career.

Profit First, of course! Download the first 5 chapters of the Profit First book here on my site.

Mike Michalowicz also hosts the Profit First Podcast, which is full of insight for business owners looking to get more financially savvy.

Profit Boss Radio by Hilary Hendershott is a great resource on both business and personal finance topics. She focuses on financially empowering women.

Personal Finance Resources

Afford Anything is Paula Pant’s podcast, chock-full of useful personal finance info and advice.

Be Wealthy and Smart by Linda P Jones is a great pick for people who are interested in slightly shorter podcast episodes. She tackles and breaks down simple yet important topics like investing.

At Peace With Money: Money Doesn't Have to be ScaryHer Money Matters is hosted by Jen Hemphill, and also focuses on financially empowering women.

The Automatic Millionaire is one of my favorite books on personal finance. The core philosophy has been central to my retirement planning. If you’re thinking about retirement, it’s a must-read. I sing praises for this book in an article I wrote a while back on automating your finances. Check it out!

I hope you find these helpful and educational. May these resources help you conquer your money fear!

Angela

Image Sources:  Clark Tibbs, Linh Pham

What’s Your Money Mantra?

What's Your Money Mantra? At Peace With Money

When I see the words “money mantra,” I am instantly a little skeptical.

People often confuse money mantras with affirmations – statements like “money comes easily and abundantly to me.” There is nothing wrong with affirmations, but they are not the same as money mantras.  Affirmations are what you intentionally tell yourself for 5 minutes in the morning as you get ready for your day. You may or may not repeat them for the rest of the day.

In contrast, your money mantra is what your actual belief is throughout the day as you make money and life decisions. Think of it as your guiding principle in financial matters. It is rooted deeply in your belief system and affects all your money decisions, big and small. 

My Money Mantra

I uncovered my mantra almost instantly: “having money in the bank gives me choices.” I think this mantra even helped me come up with my business name; having choices gives me a sense of peace. This statement is a basis for my daily decision making process and in my plans for the future. If I say “no” to one decision I can say “yes” to something else. Being able to choose what to say “yes” to is important to me. I want to able to say “yes” to making charitable donations, to supporting artists, to paying for my daughters college, to my husband retiring early.

DIY Money Mantra

What's Your Money Mantra? At Peace With Money

You can discover your own money mantra by investigating your beliefs around money. Do a little soul searching and ask yourself some questions about your positive and negative thoughts and ideas around finance. This list of 20 questions should help get you started.

This activity can be done solo, or with a money buddy or partner! Once you’ve investigated your beliefs, some positive statements that you can use as your mantra may start to pop up. If you find you don’t have a lot of positive beliefs around money, do some digging to find a mantra that feels true enough for you that you can start operating with it on a daily basis. Incorporate it into your money decisions and see if you can track your progress. Make sure your mantra is guiding you in the financial direction you desire. I desire choices – what do you want from your money?

A money mantra simplifies financial decisions and helps you create a personal financial philosophy. Uncovering one is in itself a helpful process that can help bring financial clarity to your life. Happy soul-searching! May peace be with your money. If you’re finding you need some financial guidance with your business finances, check out my services page or schedule a discover call.

Angela

Image Sources:  Thought Catalog ,  Diego PH

Book Review: The One Thing

At Peace With Money: Book Review: The-One-ThingThis summer, I read The One Thing by Gary Keller (no relation), and my initial reaction was irritation. Essentially, the book advises us to focus on one big goal that you want to accomplish and then break that goal down into smaller time chunks.The goal is to do something small to work toward that goal every day. The key is focusing. That’s probably why it irritated me.

Staying focused is definitely something that I struggle with. As a business owner, as a wife and mother, as a person in today’s world of distracting gadgets – focusing is difficult!  It seems there is always a fire to put out, a need to be met. Always there is an idea that is nibbling your brain, or a rabbit hole to dive into and lose 45 minutes of your life. My reaction was about something I need to work on in myself rather than the idea the author presents.  

He also suggests scheduling that focused time into your calendar and protecting it – another challenge for me. On top of that, he debunks the idea of multi-tasking. This felt blasphemous to me at first. What mother do you know who does not pride herself on juggling multiple balls in the air on a daily basis!?! It seemed to me that Gary Keller was basically trying topull the rug out from under my life! This book made me so angry that I had to take a few months to calm down enough to even write this review.

Practical Applications

But somehow, this morning I woke up thinking about this book again. A practical example to apply his basic techniques popped into my mind. Let’s say you want to save $30,000 to buy a house over the next 5 years. That sounds like a lot of money to save and a crazy goal! But if we break it down to saving $6,000 this year and saving $500 each month which means saving about $17 each day, it becomes manageable. To reach this goal, we ask, what’s the one thing we can do today to get that started? Perhaps you open the savings account. Maybe you start a side hustle and allocate all the income to that goal. You might start saving your cash in a money jar to deposit at month end. Maybe you resolve to pack your lunch.

The One Thing Book Review: At Peace With MoneyWhat’s important is getting started by taking some action today to make the goals you have for your future turn into a reality.  That is a lesson I can take from this book.

I might have to work on my focus, and reexamine my views on multitasking. However, I do feel I stand behind the ultimate message of this book: get clear on your goal, focus on it, and work towards it every day. If you do that, you will achieve what you’re after. Whether that’s saving for a house or starting a business, this is an important reminder in how we approach our financial goals. If you need an accountability partner to help you get started, please feel free to reach out.  I would love to help you reach your goals (and I promise not to forbid you from multitasking!)

 

Angela

Image Sources: Squidhub, Bonehead Business

Why You Need a Money Buddy

Why You Need a Money Buddy: At Peace with Money

Who do you go to for financial advice? We don’t talk about money that much in our society, but we should! Talking about our finances, our incomes, and exchanging financial advice can bring in helpful new perspectives to our financial lives. That’s why I believe everyone needs a go-to person for financial advice or perspective.

Not unsurprisingly, I am that person for a few people in my life. When my sister and I were young adults, we had a conversation about what roles or specialties we would take on in our lives. I have always been a “numbers person,” and volunteered myself to be the financial sounding board between the two of us. My sister calls me any time she needs financial advices, another perspective, or an extra set of eyes on her finances.A few weeks ago, she asked me for my advice about buying a new car, which I wrote about here.

Why It’s Important

Having a go-to person for financial advice is crucial for a few reasons. First, using someone else as a sounding board can lend clarity or new ideas to any financial situation. You can also share tools, tips, and ideas with each other. I enjoy talking with other financial coaches about their favorite strategies, and also get some good book recommendations!

Most importantly, having someone you trust to talk about money with can make your finances less intimidating. If you hear about someone else’s financial situation, it can put yours in perspective. Having a “money-buddy” is likely to keep you more accountable to your financial goals and also help you feel more comfortable thinking about money as it becomes a more regular topic of conversation in your life.

Solopreneurs may also appreciate having someone to bounce financial ideas off of, because they can benefit from outside perspectives. When you’re running your business all by yourself, it can be easy to develop financial blind-spots. Having someone to talk to about your business finances can help you avoid that.

Find Your Person

Try approaching a trusted friend or family member with the idea of sharing financial advice with each other. Make sure it’s someone you feel comfortable with so that your conversations are solely helpful. Once you’ve found someone, figure out how you want to structure your financial mentorship. You could review Why You Need a Money Buddy: At Peace With Moneyyour finances together every month, share your financial goals and progress, start a mini financial book club, or simply plan to call on each other when you need to make financial decisions. Keep it as simple or involved as you like.

I hope that finding a go-to person for financial advice will help you make better financial decisions and reach your financial goals. Of course, if you ever need professional help, you know where to find me.


Angela

Image Sources: Thought Catalog, Tyler Nix