Self-employment is the most accelerated form of self-development that I know of and money is a major piece of this. It’s imperative for you to take responsibility for the money coming into and out of your business if it’s to be profitable and sustainable, rather than an expensive hobby.
In recent years, entrepreneurism has become fashionable. Attracted by the clarion call of freedom and the ability to live and work from anywhere, countless people have taken the plunge into self-employment. Yet many become overworked, overwhelmed and underpaid. Oftentimes, finances get put in the “too hard basket” and the self-employed person tells themselves that they are simply “not good with money”.
Yet your relationship with money can improve in a major way, starting today, and with far less effort than you might believe. Then, it’s a small step to becoming “good with money”: spending and investing in the right things at the right time; happy to receive money and respectful of what it can do without becoming overly fixated on it; a smart money manager and way more generous as a result.
These three money dysfunctions are discussed in the first money module of my Hustle & Heart group coaching program. If your business profits are lacklustre, it’s likely that you have one of these three common dysfunctions with money.
1: Struggle to receive money
Some people struggle to receive money and may feel unworthy or embarrassed about asking for it. If this is your money dysfunction, then your difficulty to charge an amount that’s appropriate to the value you’re delivering will, in time, impede your joy and satisfaction derived from your work. Being unable to create a sustainable, profitable business means that you’re likely dependent on others to pay your way in the world.
2: Struggle to hold onto money
Some people struggle to hold onto money, are quick to spend it, and spend beyond their means. This dysfunction depletes your business of necessary cash flow, meaning you can’t invest in your business’s future growth, whether that’s hiring staff, marketing, purchasing equipment or other support.
Overspending often goes hand-in-hand with flightiness – you may frequently change up our offerings, rebrand or rename, and change business direction. Consequently, you risk being seen as unreliable and untrustworthy by prospects and clients.
3: Struggle to spend money
Some people struggle to spend money, finding this quite painful, and may be overly fixated on money. This can impede your business growth and curtail your enjoyment of being in business, as you’re always DIY-ing it, convincing yourself that you enjoy this. Meanwhile, you haven’t had a holiday for years and your family is beginning to resent your business.
Underspending is often accompanied by staid stubbornness – you may resist change and risk becoming stale, out of touch, or obsolete.
We are all dysfunctional
We are all display dysfunctional behaviours around money because money is both a powerful influence, as well as a taboo topic, AND these dysfunctions are not a life sentence.
Our money behaviours, beliefs and attitudes are significantly influenced by our family, peers, community and industry peers, who influence us directly, indirectly, and unconsciously.
Money is oftentimes linked to power, and it’s very common to use money as an emotional crutch. Of course, this extends to our business as well.
Ideally, we want to earn and spend in appropriate amounts, using data to inform decisions and reducing the emotion involved in decisions on money. So how do we address our money dysfunctions?
How to overcome fear of receiving money
There are a few different ways to approach this dysfunction: through exposure, reassurance and iteration.
- Put your prices up.
- Display your prices on your website and email, rather than through conversations. If you know you’re going to undermine yourself, avoid this by having packages, pricing, terms and conditions upfront in full, on your website and other communications.
- Set yourself weekly or monthly revenue goals and review these daily.
- Look at your profit and loss statements monthly and consider getting some training into bookkeeping so you can keep your own books.
- Notice how you feel when you receive money. Focus on where in the body you feel uncomfortable. Focus on transmuting these into positive feelings of celebration for your self-sufficiency.
- Practice receiving compliments with a graceful ‘thank you’.
- Invest in your home. Something as simple as getting rid of furnishings that don’t bring you joy, or buying a new mattress. Make your home as comfortable and appealing as possible.
How to overcome overspending
There are many ways to reduce overspending, both practical and psychological.
- Pay yourself a regular salary amount, to be automatically transferred on the first of the month from your business trading account to your personal account.
- Automate your saving, with your trading account linked to a savings account to remove the ability to spend.
- Reduce your spending limits on your credit card or consider doing away with your credit card altogether and relying on debit cards.
- Write a ‘fridge list’ of free or low-cost, accessible things that make you happy. Display these on your fridge and commit to doing one a day, every day. (Ideas to kick you off: a cup of tea in the sun; handstands; calling a friend; walking the dog.)
- Take up hard exercise – push yourself to build up your endurance and tolerance for discomfort.
How to overcome fear of spending money
Fear of spending money is related to control and safety. To help overcome this, we need to address both.
- Reduce the amount of time you spend attending to your financials and checking your bank balance by giving more to your bookkeeper or accountant to do and removing your bank app from your phone.
- Commit to spending a percentage of your profit each quarter on your business. Some ideas: hire a digital marketing specialist to review, recommend or implement changes in your business; invest in business coaching; upgrade your equipment or website; invest in professional learning and development.
Increase your sense of safety:
- Focus on strengthening your local business community, by initiating regular events and catch-ups.
- Implement a regular routine of getting in contact with old and current clients, either by old-fashioned mail, a phone call or face-to-face catch-up.
- Put more effort into your personal relationships with friends and family. Make your weekends and holidays free of work (and go on more holidays!).
Knowing money dysfunctions helps your clients too
Becoming aware of the emotional triggers that stop you spending when it would be a wise thing to do, or overspending when it’s not necessary, is not only imperative to making smarter money decisions in your business, it’s also a fantastic insight into your clients and their motivations when making the decision to buy.
You’ve likely had the experience of meeting someone who you know is a great fit for your business and really needs what you offer, but doesn’t buy. Developing self-awareness around the emotional minefield of money deepens our understanding of why people buy, and why they don’t.
Rational justifications, though necessary in the selling process, are not nearly as relevant as emotional triggers. Learning how to use these in our marketing enables us to qualify people in our business: attracting the right people who are perfectly suited, will get the most out of our offerings and are making a right decision to purchase, while repelling those who aren’t a good fit for our businesses, won’t get the most out of our offering and shouldn’t purchase.
If you want to address your money dysfunctions, better understand your business profitability, introduce a new, premium-priced offering to your business, and get better at money, then register your interest in my upcoming Hustle & Heart group coaching program.