This week I’ve been reflecting on our relationship with money. Whether it’s what we earn or spend, how much we charge for our products and services or how we feel about money. Most of us have a complex relationship with money. It’s tied in with the picture we have of ourselves and what we think ourselves and others are worth. What’s your relationship with money? How do you feel about managing it? What should you charge for your products and services? What should you pay people? Whether you’re just launching a new business, thinking about starting or in a growth phase, understanding your relationship with money is important if you want to build a business and a life that works for you.
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” Will Smith
How do you feel about money?
When we think of relationships, our thoughts usually go to our interactions with other people. We know that our relationships with people can range from healthy and supportive to toxic and draining. Have you ever considered that our relationship with money can also exist anywhere on that same spectrum?
Money is closely linked with the deep seated beliefs that we all hold. About ourselves, our place in the world, our independence, our worth and how we relate to others. Many studies have shown that money is a leading cause of stress for adults. In fact, arguing about money early in a relationship has been found to be the number one predictor of whether a married couple gets divorced. Our attitude towards money is something we learn at a young age. The experiences we have as children and the emotions they trigger in us shape our values and relationship with money. Although many people believe that more money will increase their happiness, many studies have shown that the opposite is often true.
How we think and feel about money is often complex. It can make us feel confident or insecure, disciplined or impulsive, powerful or weak. I’m rubbish at managing money. How much should I charge for my services? I’m not sure I deserve to charge more. What if people think I’m too expensive or too cheap? I don’t know how to ask for the order. Who do I think I am? Talking about money makes me feel uncomfortable. Am I being greedy? Money often comes up in the coaching sessions I have with my clients. As business owners, we’re forced to confront our relationship with money in ways that others may not have to.
I mentioned The Virtual Entrepreneur Summit last week. It was hosted by the fabulous Nikki Gagnon and was a really great event with inspirational speakers, offering practical tips and tools. I was honoured to be asked to contribute. One of the speakers was asked about pricing and how to know what to charge. He stated categorically that price was often not a function of the market or the product but more about the provider and the client. To prove his point, he spoke about yoga mats being sold for hundreds of dollars. He shared his view that pricing was a question of being really clear about what you deliver and to whom. If you want to be able to charge more you need to find the people who will pay more for what you offer.
This truth is simple but not straightforward. Some of my clients have had to overcome doubt and fears around money. Others battle feelings of guilt and even shame. Ensuring that we have a healthy relationship with money is key to building a successful business. Improving our relationship with money is more about mindset than it is about habits. It’s hard to stick to a budget if you feel restricted by the categories. It’s challenging to earn more money when you feel conflicted about capitalism.
Here are my Top 10 Tips for Building a Great Relationship with Money:-
🌟 Starting point. Take some time to get clear on how you currently think and feel about money. Notice how it feels when someone pays an invoice, when you have to pay a large bill or when you hear about a stock market event.
🌟 Future. What would you like your relationship with money to be? Do you want it to feel easy? Do you want to feel less anxious, more confident and calm with money? What does a healthy relationship with money look like for you?
🌟 Specifics. Perhaps you have specific goals around money, like being able to manage it better or charge more for your products and services. Maybe you’ve got goals around savings or investments.
🌟 Blockers. Become conscious of negative patterns or narratives you’re running in relation to money. Do you avoid looking at bills or doing your tax returns? Do you experience guilt or shame around money?
🌟 Reality. Writing down all your income, expenses, debt and savings can be a very powerful exercise. It may feel scary if it’s not something you’ve done before but having a full view will help you make a plan to move forward with.
🌟 Needs. A very important question to ask yourself is what do you need in terms of money. Get clear on what that number is and work backwards to make yourself a plan. What do you need to charge and to how many clients?
🌟 Getting started. What feels manageable and healthy? Would looking at your finances each week feel healthy to you? Could you create some positive affirmations around money to start each day with?
🌟 Perspective. Getting outside help can really help, especially if you’re struggling with pricing or how to value what you offer. What are others charging? What would you like to be able to charge?
🌟 Link. Making the connection between your spending and your goals can really help you be intentional about your money and develop a healthier relationship with what you earn and spend.
🌟 Plan. Once you’re clear about where you are and where you want to be, you can make a plan. Start small and gain momentum. Enjoy the process and be kind to yourself. Money is a tool. It does not define who you are.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – February 2022