Let's stop being so polite about money. Seriously.
Let's start asking each other where we make money and where we don't; how we save money or why we don't. Let's start telling each other what we don't understand about money and start helping each other take control over our thoughts, emotions, and actions around money. Let's get confident in asking for money and knowing our value. Let's be clear about what we charge for projects, how we manage cash flow gaps, and who's lending to whom. Let's talk about how we access health care, and how we pay for college, or professional development, or awesome software, client coffees, dinner dates, and that dang trip to Cancun. Let's be clear about what we expense, and how we keep track of it.
Let's make this the year to let go of fears and anxiety around money and exchange it for awareness, transparency, collaboration, and information.
Because by shying away from the cash chit chat, we're adhering to a code that disempowers us.
And in order for us to lead a workforce revolution. We need to be empowered.
So let's start some money chatter right now.
Here are a few actionable first steps for entrepreneurs of every sort, from side gigs to solos, to startups and small businesses:
1. Get a separate bank account for your business. This is the first step to getting your business financials in order. Whether you take on a project or two a year or have a full-time operation with employees and contractors, it is never the right decision to mix your personal account with your business account. Keep them separate and pay yourself from your business account into your personal account. Even just one side gig project demands a separate account.
2. Same goes for credit cards. Don't mix personal and professional. If you cannot yet get a business credit card, then simply dedicate a personal card exclusively to your business.
3. Understand money in, money out. You need to know exactly what money is coming in and what money is going out. It seems basic, but it is so often unexamined. This cannot be guess work or estimates. Look at it. Understand it. Reconcile it. When you really start to look at your transactions you can begin to truly understand the cost of a project and what you're actually earning. You will be able to make informed decisions about how to best operate your business and allocate your time. The best ways to understand 'money in, money out' is to track it. There are several online accounting software programs (at THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™ we love Xero) that can help you do this, but so can a self-created spreadsheet, or a big 'ole paper ledger. Whatever your approach start tracking now.
4. Schedule a money date with yourself every single week. Avoidance around money is all too common. For some of us, the task is arduous. For others, the fear of what we might learn can paralyzes us. At times, it's frustrations about what we have to pay in student loans, or health insurance, or rent that keep us from simply facing our cash. And too often, we are just busy, so we put it off. But the truth is, when you start to look at your money routinely, it indeed becomes routine. It gets easier, less time consuming, and you, as a result, become more informed and more confident. So make a money date every week. Put in on your calendar, and block 15 minutes to check in with bank statements, reconcile your accounts, follow up with invoices, and make payments. Practice will help you feel better as you make financially informed decisions for yourself and your business.
5. Pay yourself first. If you did the work, then you need to pay yourself for it. How much you choose to pay yourself will depend on what you learned about the true cost of your projects and what you charge for them. And remember there is a cost to running your business and taking care of yourself. Know what you truly earned and pay yourself.