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!

☮

Angela

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.

☮

Angela

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. 

The 4 Components of a Restorative Money System

The purpose of your money system is to help you meet your financial needs and keep things organized. A good money system is financially and emotionally restorative. It helps you keep your money going where it needs to go, and it keeps you from stressing. It helps you integrate your personal and business finances seamlessly and without worry. There are many different mechanisms to a money system that help us achieve these objectives. Today, let’s talk about the 4 key ones:

A Spending Plan Aligned with Your Values

Having a clear spending plan that helps you align your expenses with what you care about most is an essential part of a restorative money system. Take the time to assess what you value most in your life, what feels best to spend money on. Oftentimes, there are things we’re paying for regularly that we don’t really value, or that don’t add value to our lives. Discerning the underlying desire beneath your expenses can help you better define your values. For more thoughts on this concept, I recommend reading
The Soul of Money by Lynn Twist.

Once you’ve assessed your values, it becomes easy to cull what doesn’t truly align with you from your spending. From there, you can make the moves to create a spending plan that will keep you on track financially, and in alignment emotionally.

Clear Income Target

Another wonderful thing about creating a spending plan is that going through the process means you get a good idea of what your monthly cost of living is. This means that you have what you need to create a clear income target for your business that corresponds to your tangible needs. Having an income target grounded in your financial needs and goals is a restorative element of your money system because it keeps you in touch with your reasons for putting in the work to take care of yourself financially and run your business. It’s much more powerful than the grand-but-vague “have a 10K month!” approach, because it’s personalized. Your income target reflects the amount of money you need and the amount of work you need to do to live a life aligned with your values.

Your Money Why

Absolutely key to a money system that seeks to restore and enrich your life, your money why is the purpose of your income. This is especially important for business owners, because whether your business is your side-hustle or your full-time income, your income needs a purpose. Vague goals like, “make extra money” tend to have vague outcomes. Your money why is a clear goal or intention you plan on using your income for. After thinking about your values and desires, identifying your money why is simple. For example, maybe you value adventure above all else, and you want your business to make enough to support you and pay for a grand cross-country trip. One of my values is family, and I started my business to support my daughters as they went through college.

Your money why is connected to your values, but it’s goal-based. It ensures that you have a goal connected to your money system that will lead to fulfillment and financial growth. It could be paying off debt, a big purchase, or supporting your family. Whatever it is, your money why keeps you focused and helps you create a good life for yourself.

All Needs Met – Especially Yours

A restorative money system helps you stay organized and save to meet needs – yours and your business’s. This means having a system that helps you save for taxes, pay operating expenses for your business, and pay periodic expenses in both your business and personal life. A restorative money system also prioritizes its creator – you. Your money system should not only account for those important expenses, it should also provide a regular paycheck for you as the owner of your business, even if you have fluctuating income. My ideas around this aspect of a money system are based on Profit First. This system also calls for a way to collect a portion of your income as profit, and distribute it to you, the owner, as a reward for your hard work every financial quarter.

If you enjoyed these ideas about a restorative money system, you will probably also like my series on money-mapping. Here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3 of that series. If setting up a system sounds like the thing to do right now, but you’d like to work with an expert accountability partner, check out my offering, 4 Week Refresh, which is designed to help business owners review 2020 and plan for 2021 from a systems perspective. I’m offering this through the end of January and I invite you to join me!

☮

Angela

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.

☮

Angela

Image by  Arnel Hasanovic

How to Create a Generous Business: Leverage Your Profits

I’m a big proponent of 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!

The Purpose of Profit

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.

A Generous Business is a Happy Business

One suggestion I’d like to make here, is sharing your profit distribution in the form of holiday 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 For Your Community

This year has given 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.

One way your business can give (that’s coming up soon!) is by participating in #GivingTuesday on Tuesday December 1st. Here’s their guide for small businesses who want to participate. For GivingTuesday, At Peace With Money is supporting Violence in Boston and Second Harvest Food Bank, just to give you some ideas!

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

☮

Angela

Image: Kelly Sikkema 

How To Plan for Surprise Expenses

Did you have a nasty surprise yesterday with the estimated federal tax payments deadline? Or perhaps in your business you deal with other surprise expenses – things that add up. Worker’s compensation, insurance payments, replacing equipment, etc. can surprise business owners and knock you out of a financial groove very easily. Whether these things are a big issue in your business or not, I’m a huge proponent of planning to address them, just in case. How do we do that? Well, let’s talk ideas: 

Have an Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund saved for your business can be extremely helpful. Whether a surprise expense comes up, or some other disaster strikes, having between three and twelve month’s worth of expenses set aside is great in a pinch. This strategy can be particularly helpful in emergency situations, but for taxes and other types of expenses that are somewhat predictable, try some of the other strategies below.

Set Up a Money System

If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I love money-mapping. Setting up any kind of money system can help you think more broadly about how much you need to put aside for operating expenses and taxes, well before it’s time to actually pay for those things. Checking out my articles on money-mapping is a good intro to money systems if that’s what you need to get started. If you’re a seasoned veteran with money systems, or have at least tried them before, maybe it’s time to do a business check-in and see where your business is at financially. Assess the situation and make a resiliency plan.

Check In With Your Finances Regularly

Ideally, you have a bookkeeping pro doing this, someone who can regularly look at your numbers and pull out important insights. Or, if you’re doing it on your own, you have someone that you consult with on a semi-regular basis to review your books. Even when you’re not working with a professional, regularly looking at your finances is the way to go if you want to be prepared for surprise expenses. The more aware you are of where your business is financially, the more prepared you will be to deal with an issue when one comes up. I recommend finding a way to make regular intentional time looking at your finances fun, like finding a money buddy or setting money dates.

Note Potential Future Expenses

Take time to think about what potential expenses may arise in the future. Perhaps you use a lot of special equipment in your business, and some of it is getting into disrepair. Maybe you simply have a hard time remembering when insurance or tax payments are due. Take note of all of these things and factor them into your money system or savings plan. Write important due dates on the calendar well ahead of time so you’re aware of them. Have an equipment replacement fund set aside for when your laptop or pottery wheel or farm vehicle finally busts or needs repair. The more you can anticipate these things and incorporate some wiggle room into your money system, the less you’ll be knocked sideways financially when they do come up.

I hope this list has given you some good ideas for dealing with surprise expenses. If you need more ideas about developing financial resilience in your business, check out my free e-book, Cash Flow Reboot Guide: A Guide to Thriving in Uncertain Times.

☮
Angela

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

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

Reflect

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

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

Re-evaluate

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

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

Take Action

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

☮

Angela

Stop Expecting “Business As Usual”

So far, 2020 has been a challenge for many business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout and the protests that have broken out around the country have both rocked the business landscape. Many solopreneurs and business owners have had to completely reshape their offerings and financial strategies. Perhaps this includes you!

This time last year, I shared my thoughts on how to do a mid-year review. This time around, I’m thinking about how rather than reflecting on the year so far, it’s time to adapt to a new and different future. I had prepared a blog post about how my income expectations faltered as the pandemic set in. However, because so many people ended up needing help straightening out their books, I blew my original income goal out of the water! My point with this post was going to be how important it is to not let a dismal situation limit your expectations for your business. But, at this moment, I think there’s something deeper to learn. In these rapidly-changing times, it’s important for us to adapt and be gentle with ourselves.

No More “Business As Usual”

Despite the many plans for re-opening the U.S., for many of us, things are not going back to normal. Perhaps you already know this from looking at your bottom line. Or maybe you’ve seen reports about how small businesses have been affected at large. The economic effects and social effects of recent times have created a lasting change in the small business landscape. It’s important for us as business owners to prepare for things to continue to change. This can look a myriad of ways. Creating a money system and putting together a savings cushion are two great strategies for establishing financial resiliency if you want extra ideas.

Just because things aren’t going back to normal doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom, though. Aside from the economic effects, both the pandemic and the recent Black Lives Matter protests have also enriched the business landscape from a social perspective. There are so many opportunities for collaboration! Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to lift each other up. If you want more ideas for collaboration, check out my article on 7 Tips for Business Owners During COVID-19 and my Cash Flow Reboot Guide.

Be Gentle

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t meet your income goals or if your business is struggling. Conversely, if you find yourself getting a ton of business as a result of the pandemic, don’t work yourself too hard, either! Coping with changes in your business can be challenging. Giving yourself the space to be present with feelings that come up and get enough rest are of paramount importance. The reality is that, no matter how hard you grind right now, in many cases things are still going to be challenging. This is a hard time in the world for most people, solopreneur or not! Be gentle in your expectations of yourself as best you can.

Be Present

In addition to stepping up to give your emotions some space, this is also a time step up for your community as a business owner. The current moment we are in is showing us many ways to do this. Whether we choose to uplift Black colleagues, create fundraising projects, or present some offerings for free, we’ve got options in how to contribute. I think that, if we want to, we can use this moment to permanently change how we do business. I love the way that Proposals for the Feminine Economy frames businesses – as “needs-fulfillment machine[s].” How can we find ways to do business that meet, not only our own needs, but the needs of those around us? Both COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests have shown us how connected we all really are – socially and economically. This is a question we can sit with right now.

What are your thoughts about business as usual? Has your business experienced any bumps in the road? Please sound off in the comments below. If you’re feeling in need of more guidance on how to navigate this time, don’t hesitate to check out my services and schedule a call.

☮

Angela

Image by Christin Hume

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.

☮

Angela

Reduce the Hassle: 3 Tips to Keep Your Money System Simple

When I work with small business owners I often run see this one unfortunate pattern; many business owners believe that your money system has to be complex in order to work. The reality, however, couldn’t be further from that. We’ve already talked about how important having a money system is, and how to visualize it with money-mapping. Keeping your money system simple and streamlined makes it easier to visualize, but also much easier to follow through on and keep organized. If a system requires a bunch of checking in or spreads your money into a bunch of accounts you forget about, it’s not worth the maintenance. Here are three strategies you can use to pare down your business’s money system to a manageable size.

Limit Your Cards

If you’ve got a ton of cards under your business, keeping track of all of them and keeping them paid off can be difficult. To make it easier on you, I suggest paring down the number of cards you use. This will help you better keep track of your bills, credit rewards, and any other info associated with your cards.

Please note, I’m not advocating for closing any of your credit cards, as this can lead to a lowering of your credit score. However, here’s a good guide on how to do that, if you’re interested.

Under One Roof

One recommendation I regularly make to my clients is to consolidate their money into one institutions. If you have business bank accounts at three, four, or five different banks, that’s gotta be hard to stay on top of! Getting it all under one roof will help you keep an eye on your finances as a whole more easily. If you have multiple banks and you’re wondering how to go about consolidating, you might like to read this piece about switching banks we featured a couple years ago. It contains a guide to comparing banking offers and picking to the best option.

Keep Track

Making a regular habit of checking in with your finances. Make this easy by consolidating your passwords to your different accounts and portals. If you don’t have to go searching for passwords before you begin your checkin, you’re way more likely to actually do it!

I also recommend using an app or other tracking system. I especially like Mint.Others also like YNAB, or paper money tracking. Digitally tracking your money can save you some time, while also giving you a quick snapshot of your accounts when you need it.

If you found these tips helpful, you might also like this article on automation, which is another money hack to keep your systems tidy!

☮

Angela

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