Why You Should Always Base your Financial Goals on Your Values

I’m not a big fan of making money for no reason. When we have an abstract number in our head about how much we want to make, this can be distracting and counterproductive at best, and leave us feeling empty at worst. Financial goals shouldn’t be based on round, nice-sounding numbers that carry an air of success. They should be based on what we actually want to get out of life!

Your Values = Your Satisfaction

The way I see it, your values are pretty simple. The more you incorporate the things you value into your life, the more satisfied you are. In other blog posts, I’ve written about Vicki Robin’s concept of enough, and Lynn Twist’s ideas of sufficiency. Having enough, feeling sufficient and satisfied – isn’t that what most of us really want out of life? Your business, your finances, and your goals should enable you to have enough of the things you value in your life to feel satisfied.

For more thoughts on identifying your values, I suggest reading “What’s Your Money Why?”

Stay the Course

This is much easier said than done! We live in a world where we are met with many different distractions that make us feel insufficient. This can be especially difficult for business owners, because we can get caught up comparing our incomes and lifestyles to others, instead of staying focused on what we want for ourselves.

Creating goals that are based on your values helps you maintain your focus on your own ideas of success. It can help you avoid anxious behaviors like overworking and over-saving.

Assign a Number

Rather than falling for some number that “sounds like success,” it’s important to assign a number to your goals and dreams.

For example, you take time to really analyze your values and your dreams. You decide that what you want is more fun in your life, specifically through taking an aerial silks class (or whatever intentional choice you might make to increase your value of fun). You would then assign a number to that dream by calculating how much a class and any necessary supplies would cost, plus any other associated expenses you might want to be aware of. That gives you a dollar value that can help inform your financial goals.

I go more in depth on this process in my free e-Book, Reach Your Life Goals: A Business Owner’s Guide, which you can download by filling in the pop-up window here.

What it comes down to is that your financial goals should be intentional reflections of what you want to create in your life – otherwise, do you really want to achieve them? For more thoughts on this topic, check out my Facebook Live video, part of Financial Self Care Friday. And 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!

Happy goal setting!

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Angela

Image: Tyler Nix

My #1 Tip for Keeping Your Financial Self Care Sustainable

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

Celebration

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

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

…[T]ake stock again of all you’ve done this year, including this review process. Chances are, you will find you’ve done quite a bit of work towards your goals, no matter how close you might be to completing them! Take some time to celebrate all the work you’ve done. Treat yourself to an afternoon off, a fun or inspiring event, or whatever you’d like to do to celebrate your achievements so far! Being a self-starting solopreneur is hard work. If you’ve done the work, you deserve to cheer yourself on once in a while.

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

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

Marking Time and Progress

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

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

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

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Angela

Photo by Aaron Burden

Why Your Finances are the Key to Self Care

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

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

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

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

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

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book Cover

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

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Angela

Why Your Business And Personal Finances Are Definitely Interrelated

Perhaps it seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important for business owners to keep in mind: Business and personal finances are intimately related. All of us have personal financial lives, and they dictate what we’re able to do in our business. In the same way, how our business is doing financially vastly informs what we’re doing in our personal financial lives. Today, I’m talking about how the two effect each other and why it’s important to be aware of that.

Where Business and Personal Meet

In the past, I’ve written about the importance of separating the two by opening different accounts. Keeping things separate means more clarity about what’s going on in both financial realms. However, just because you want to look at them separately, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t inform one another. I’m also in support of checking in with your lifestyle costs and making sure your target revenue aligns with those. I’m a firm believer in making sure your lifestyle costs and your life’s goals are the things that inform how much revenue you want your business to take in. 

Many finance and business coaches like to throw out round numbers: “Increase your revenue by $5,000!” “Have your first $100K year!” However, these are more helpful in their marketing schemes, rather than your real life. Personally, I find that when your income goals are directly linked to your lifestyle costs and your long term goals, they have much more meaning to you. Doing the work of figuring out what your costs and goals are also keeps you checked in with where your money is going, and where you are going in your life. The way we spend our money and what we do with it directly correlates with how we treat ourselves. In my mind, a revenue target should be an invitation to self care and personal fulfillment.

Working Backwards

If you’re struggling to picture how your business income goals can be informed by your lifestyle costs, I invite you to try a little exercise. In my money-mapping series, I go in-depth on how to create a money map that encompasses your business earnings and your personal accounts. You can sketch one up for yourself, and then start from the personal end on the right. Total up the amount of money you need for financial goals and living expenses, and then move toward the business end and see whether your business is producing that amount of revenue. A big part of this exercise is actually understanding what your lifestyle costs you – and that’s important to your business finances too!

The Whole Pie

The bottom line here is that it’s important to look at both your personal and your business finances separately, and as they relate to each other. We have to look at the whole pie, so to speak. Many business owners might have one field or the other down pat, but having confidence in both areas takes a bigger understanding of how they work together. If you feel you have a lot of clarity in your business but struggle to pay personal bills, or vice versa, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate. The two inform each other.

If you appreciated this post and found the opportunity to think about personal and business finances helpful, you’re in for a treat! I am beginning to add personal financial coaching into my practice, and this month I’m looking for three small business owners to get started working with at a special low introductory fee. If that’s something that interests you, click here to set up a free 30-minute consultation, where we can see if we’d work well together.

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Angela

How to Set Business Goals to Finish 2020 Strong

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

What Do You Need to Succeed?

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

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

Create Good Habits

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

Make a Plan

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

Stay On Top of Your Books

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

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

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Angela

My Current Financial Goals!

So frequently, I talk about goals and planning and money systems here. But rarely do I share with you what’s going on behind the scenes for me. Today I want to give you all a look into my financial goals, and how systems work in my business.

System at Work

In my own business, I use a money mapping system that helps me allocate funds from my business for different purposes. If you haven’t read my full series on money mapping, I recommend doing so by clicking on the links above. My money mapping system helps me to allocate a portion of the income I make for saving up for my financial goals. I have a habit of over-saving, so it’s important for me to have a system in place that helps me navigate how much to spend and how much to save. If this sounds familiar to you too, check out my article on over-saving, and how overcoming it can help you! Making this discovery has definitely been helpful for me.

Goals: Big and Small

The goals that I’m currently leveraging my money system to save up for range from small things to big life events. Last November, I bought a 2016 Rav-4, so one of the goals I’m working on is paying off my car loan. I am also saving up to do a motorcycle tour of New Zealand! Originally I had a target date for this goal, but now things depend on when COVID-19 is no longer an issue, so things are a bit more flexible. You can read more about my motorcycling journey (and how being a small business owner helped me with that!) here. My last goal has less to do with saving and more with just practicing good financial hygiene. My husband is hoping to retire soon, so we’re keeping an eye on our spending to make sure we can live within our means when that happens!

Hopefully this post has given you a flavor for my goals, and helped you think about what yours might be too! For more help here, check out my article “Know Your Money Why.”

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Angela

 

Why Hiring a Financial Coach Is Worth It

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

What Does a Financial Coach Do?

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

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

What Do You Gain From This?

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

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

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

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Angela

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

Have you paused to consider what hourly wage your business pays you? This might not seem important – maybe you think that as long as you have your bills paid, you’re all set.

Why Think About Your Wage?

The thing is, this is really about 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. The next step is to see whether that’s realistic. 

The Cost of Low Prices

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 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. 

I hope these thoughts of mine have helped you consider how 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!

 

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Angela

Photo: JOSHUA COLEMAN

How to Start A Goal-Based Business

How to Start a Goals-Based Business: At Peace With Money

I want everyone to be able to align their business profits with their life goals. But, what does that really mean? You may have all kinds of life goals. Is it really possible to build a business that can help you bring them to fruition? The answer is a resounding yes.

Step One: Dig Deeper

The first step in any intentional process, like designing a business that supports you financially and fulfills you emotionally and spiritually is to spend some time thinking deeply. If you aren’t sure what your goals are, it’s time to figure that out! Envision your life in 5 years, 10 years – where do you want to be? what do you want to be doing? What are you most passionate about? Will starting this business help you get where you want to go?

It’s All Related

To help you think about how your life goals and your business are intertwined, consider this example. Let’s say Sandra is a talented jewelry maker, but she is also deeply passionate about dance. She wants to build a jewelry business that supports her and helps make ends meet. She also wishes to have ample time to attend dance classes, events, and begin performing live. By building up her business so that it runs profitably, efficiently, and provides her with a steady paycheck through the implementation of the Profit First system, she can have more time to put towards her dancing.

Even though Sandra is not choosing to monetize the very thing her personal goals attain to – dancing – she is making more room for it in her life by expanding her business and its capacity to efficiently support her. In this way, her business profits directly support her achievement of her life goals. Some other examples might include building a business that includes a lot of travel if you dream of globetrotting, or creating a business which is founded on ethical principles you’d like to see manifest in the world.

Often, I think we look at business as being a rather sterile aspect of our culture and lives – it’s just the way we make money. In fact, it can be the very opposite. It can be the vehicle for achieving your dreams and visions, whether directly through your business, or via expanding the profits and efficiency of your operations. Starting and running a business is inherently creative – what are you going to create?

If you find you need some guidance in working through the questions I bring up here, I encourage you to reach out. I’m always happy to talk with solopreneurs about how they can achieve their goals through their business. Click right here or on the Services tab up top to learn more about what I offer and how you can schedule a call!

For more reading and resources on this topic, I recommend my article, “What’s Your Money Why?” which touches on some similar subjects and may help you consider these questions more deeply.

Angela

Image Sources: Florian Klauer  Amy Shamblen

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

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