Money Talk // The Resources That Helped Shift My Mindset and Create a Financial Plan
My relationship with money has been a long and winding journey, but in the final month of 2017, I invested in three resources that changed the course of this relationship for the better and left me feeling like I had finally taken a step in the right direction and gained a little more control in an area of my business that I always felt insecure in.
If we’ve had a conversation one-on-one recently, you’ve likely already listened to me talk about one (or all) of these, but for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure — I wanted to share. Not sponsored in any way, just three resources that I’ve discovered to be infinitely valuable in my own business.
What I found especially powerful about these three resources is the way they complemented and built upon each other, weaving the mindset and actionable steps throughout so that it felt like everything was aligned. There was some overlap in the exercises (which I took as a good sign), and everything felt like it wove together seamlessly.
The common theme for me when it comes to money is the power in knowing your numbers — getting clear on where you’re at now, where you want to be, and then making a plan for how to get there.
I know for me, when something seems a little scary or unknown, I tend to shy away from it and avoid dealing with it head on. This used to be my experience when it came to money — and especially anything having to do with the CRA.
So this is my attempt to share with you some of the resources that have helped me overcome those feelings and allow me to take back control — with a little bit of help.
No. 1 — You Are a Badass at Making Money
Disclaimer — I have a total girl crush on author Jen Sincero, which happened as soon as I picked up her first book, You Are a Badass, which is a self-help-ish book that’s refreshing and real and perfect for those of us who maybe aren’t so into the idea of self-help but are still a little curious. After reading the chapter dedicated to money, I immediately ordered You Are a Badass at Making Money, and though I wasn’t too sure what to expect, it did not disappoint.
Focused on mastering a mindset of wealth, it is very focused on dissecting your relationship with money, getting clear on what’s standing in your way, what your big dreamy goals are and how you can achieve them, one little mindset shift, mantra and action step at a time.
Jen’s straight-talking, no bullshit way of writing and hilarious stories make it feel like you’re chatting about money with your BFF over a cocktail, which is just about as far from the way money conversations usually happen, in my experience at least. It’s a little on the spiritual side, so be prepared for a little bit of woo-woo, but I think that’s exactly what’s needed when it comes to looking inwards and shifting mindsets.
In order to get the most out of this book — do the exercises at the end of each chapter. I know it’s tempting to skip over these (I usually do), but this time around, I forced myself to do each and every one, mantras and all, and that’s absolutely where I found the most value, when you actually start to put your own thoughts down on paper.
No. 2 — CEO Day Kit (Being Boss)
When the girls from Being Boss announced the CEO Day Kit, it was one of those things that remained open in a browser tab of mine for over a week as I tried to make the decision whether or not to invest. Long story short, I eventually did, and I finally had a chance to dedicate a day to it last week.
It’s not a course — it’s essentially the framework and tools you need to conduct your very own business planning — or ‘CEO Day”. One day, seven steps, videos and worksheets. It was exactly what I needed to lead me through my planning for the new year, with a mix of money-focused exercises, value and intention setting, and business model development (to name a few).
The kit provides a holistic deep dive into business planning, and I absolutely love that it’s set up to be done within a day, give or take. It allowed me to align on where I currently am and what my plans for 2018 are, and the detailed worksheets are a brilliant way to walk through each exercise — and something that I will definitely be revisiting on a regular basis.
No. 3 — The New School of Finance
After having multiple people recommend Shannon and the New School of Finance to me in the span of a few months last year (and all successful, creative women I admire, at that), I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. Jason and I went in for a family planning session in the spring for our personal finances, and then it took me until mid-December to finally get in for a business planning session, which was a total game changer.
Definitely a bigger investment, this is a one-on-one, personalized experience where you get right into your financial reports and spend a few hours getting into the nitty gritty of your numbers. Sounds like fun, right? I’m one of the rare breeds of creatives that actually enjoys spreadsheets and strategy almost as much as moodboarding and photoshoots, so watching Shannon work her magic in Excel was giving me all the feels. I went in with a clear set of questions and objectives, wanting to walk away with clarity around my numbers — where my money was coming from and where it was going, the groundwork for a clear set of offerings moving forward, and the confidence that I was moving in the right direction in order to meet my business (and personal) goals.
This is the perfect example of investing in the expertise of someone in an area where you’re not quite as strong, and building an extended team around you that will help set you up for success. Absolutely invaluable.
It’s also worth noting that not only does the New School of Finance offer a variety of one-on-one services, but they also have a suite on online, DIY financial courses for various challenges you might find yourself facing. I have yet to try one out, but I’ve heard amazing things about Sole Prop School in particular, which — you guessed it! — is geared towards sole proprietors.
I also want to mention two other financial investments that I’m not specifically talking about here, as they’ve been part of my business for years and are of a slightly different nature, but do deserve a note:
If you don’t already have a system for your bookkeeping and accounting, it’s time to make that investment, and the beautiful thing is that it doesn’t have to be a big one, as there are lots of great options out there now depending on your needs.
Because I started out with a fairly complicated, product-based business, I ended up choosing AccountEdge way back when for its robust functionality (and Mac-compatibility), and I still use the software today. When I transitioned to a service-based business a couple of years ago, however, I wanted to try out program that was a little easier to use when it invoicing, so I tried out Freshbooks after hearing lots of good things, and I haven’t looked back. Admittedly, I don’t use Freshbooks to its full potential since I’m using Accountedge for the majority of my accounting tasks, but I Iove the estimate and invoicing options, the ease of sending clients invoices (or reminders, taking out the awkwardness of the personal email) directly from the backend, and the payment processing options (which include being able to accept credit cards, for example). And of course it can do a lot more than that, so as long as you’re running a service-based business, it’ll give you all the tools you need, along with amazing customer support and a beautiful user experience. Always, important, in my books.
AN ACCOUNTANT AND/OR BOOKKEEPER
At least once a year, you will want someone on your team to help you file taxes at the very least, and I cannot stress enough how valuable it is to have someone who understands your business, can answer questions for you and help reduce the stress and navigate the complexity that is tax season. I’ve been working with the same accountant since the very beginning, and he’s taught me how to manage my books, seen my business transition multiple times and helped me navigate through it all. Though I only see him once a year now and I do all my own bookkeeping (my inner nerd finds an incredible amount of joy in reconciling my own accounts, it’s weird, I know), it’s a seamless experience, and being able to hop on a quick call with him if I have a technical question is something I’m thankful for everytime.
AND ONE LAST NOTE….
It’s worth mentioning that though I know it can feel a little counterintuitive to spend money when you’re trying to make or save money, investing in the right resources is invaluable for your business. It goes back to that idea of identifying where you could use help and asking for it — or finding resources that will help you navigate through it.