This is a really interesting subject matter and can also be quite confronting, it is also an essential area of life to be totally honest with yourself in, as well as visiting with an open mind to see where you can improve.
The purpose of this blog is to trigger an assessment of your relationship with money, to encourage you to review your history learning about money and see where you developed your attitudes towards money. It is also an opportunity to review the language you use when you talk about it and think deeply about how money makes you feel.
Then consider all this information and reflect on how your relationship with money is effecting the way you run your business.
I have to admit my relationship with money has changed massively and it has taken years of practice to get to where I am at now (and believe me there is still room for improvement).
In a bid to help you and at the same time learn more about myself, I'm going to share my story with you in case it resonates, strikes a cord or drops a seed in a bid to hopefully help you along your way with your relationship with money.
My introduction to the world of money was watching both my mum and dad work over 12 hours a day, 7 days a week managing their own newsagent and grocery business. They worked hard and their answer to when the finances got tight was to take out more debt, this was a repetitive cycle until it became unmanageable, when the final solution was to sell the business, the house and start again debt free.
This was sustainable for a few house moves until the housing market crumbled and there was no where else to go but manage the debt. Without the proper tools and guidance to change their behaviour (as this wasn't an era where people went outside for help) this created a lot of stress and anxiety which meant lots of arguments in our household on the topic of money and not being able to buy what was wanted and in many cases, what was needed.
This foundation of learning sent me off into my twenties determined to earn lots of money so I could buy whatever I wanted when ever I wanted it. (yes I know - naive little thing wasn't I?)
I unknowingly took on my parents programming with finances. That time in my life was mainly spent sticking a card in a cash machine pressing my digits and crossing my fingers, if there was too much month at the end of the money I'd go into debt to go out, my budget put entertainment on each line and all the essentials were last, there was no such thing as savings and I used the words, 'I'm broke', 'I can't' or 'its too expensive' a lot, as I was constantly living in the 3.5 week low self esteem fog after payday.
I unconsciously associated with a belief that I needed to be earning as much money as possible to survive this financial lacking, so I jumped around the city of London taking pay increase after pay increase without much thought for longevity, wellbeing or developing a specialism. Of course this was not sustainable, as soon as September 11th disaster hit, the whole city went in lockdown.
Then I realised that earning money wasn't the answer, it was how to be smart with the money I had worked hard for and make it work for me that was key. That key of course took another 10 years to find the door of evolution as my road to personal development was delayed somewhat. I still hadn't worked out what was important to me yet as I was too busy partying in Ibiza!
Once making the effort to improve my relationship with money, it became obvious I had spent a significant amount of my life being programmed and programming myself with a language associated with money that was very negative. I used money (or lack there of) as a reason not to do things in life and I had also created an unhealthy association with low self esteem and my low financial status.
When analysing whether a product was worth the price tag I had made an association with the word 'expensive' to my current financial lacking or inability to afford that product. It hadn't occurred to me to qualify it if was worth the price by comparing it to a similar product on the market. I certainly never considered how much time and effort went into the creation or distribution of that item, the materials it was made out of or what was behind the brand of the product.
So imagine the damage I was doing to my first handmade jewellery business when I left for home after no sales at the end of a day at the markets, with a low self esteem my mistake was to naturally assume my prices were off, reduce them and return to that emotional fog of the post payday of 3.5 weeks.
This would spiral into 'The Handmade Comparison Trap' and I would question my own business existence, my own talent and eventually my own existence in the future of creating my own successful business, which as we all know isn't a winning formula for success.
It was time to change my relationship with money and here are four tips on how I accomplished this;
Make a choice to develop a different relationship with money
It starts right here. Any personal mission that you decide to journey on starts with you making a decision to be better than what you are now. It doesn't start with your partner nagging you to make a change (as that change is to cull the nagging).
Make a deal with yourself, an agreement a bet or a challenge. Encourage yourself with positive self talk, give yourself a goal no matter how small and treat yourself after you have achieved it.
Any teeny tiny change in your world - starts and ends with you and don't delude yourself into thinking that spouting affirmations of each morning with no follow up or action is going to win you that race - its not. Think about what you need to do, talk about what you need to do, then action what you need to do, it is your behaviour that will determine the outcome.
Remove emotion from financial decisions
Have clear reasons and benefits for making a financial decision in your business. Ask yourself if you expect there to be a return on investment? If so when?
If you are in start up mode and keen to buy a new application product to support your business, ask yourself if there is a free or lower cost version. For example; Are you really ready for a $200 inventory application for your 3 months old business? or would you benefit from writing your inventory out in the beginning using paper or and xls spreadsheet?
Reprogram your financial language
Are you the mate that your friend calls who is always talking about how broke you are, always talking about the bills that need to be paid? Do you often use words like 'I can't' or 'it's too expensive' in reference to money?
Alright let's be brutally honest, 'you actually can' - you are just choosing not to. You have a choice on how to spend your money, you have control to bring more money in and you control the money the money does not actually control you. (sound like a pep talk? - good, it is).
Start by being more positive about the way you talk about abundance and be grateful for what you have in your life and you will start to see more of this visual developing. The quicker you change your thought process on how you think and feel about money and how grateful you are with everything you have right now - the quicker your language will change and your experience with it. You may even find that your mate calls you more often!
In summary, make a choice to address improving your relationship with money and explore decisions that make good common sense for your business. Be honest with yourself re money and definitely encourage yourself to speak and think positively about money.
You will be much much happier in the long term.