This is the first in a series of interviews to help you redefine what success means for you and take that ONE STEP towards your goals. I’ll be talking to other experts who will share their advice on how to get what you want from different areas of your life.
I’m so excited about this new series and about this first interview! Today we’re talking about money – both from an accounting perspective and when it comes to your mindset. This is really one of the biggest concerns as we quit our jobs to start our own businesses and it’s an important area to deal with right away. Although it’s not an end in itself, money creates the security and the freedom to do everything else you want to do.
I loved listening to Michelle’s interview the second time as I was preparing the blog post as much as when I first spoke to her. Michelle Cooper is an accountant and ‘money rockstar’ who helps women make more money in their business.
Learn how you can design a sustainable business outside of the 9 to 5
The 5 pillars scorecard consists of 50 statements that will help you discover where you are on each pillar, give you an indication of specific areas to focus on, and offer you clear next steps for how to improve your score.
Watch the full interview here:
So what does success look like when it comes to money?
Michelle talks about how goals are very individual but a great starting point is to ask yourself:
- How much money do I need to live?
- How much money does it cost to run my business?
It’s all very well to dream of creating a six-figure business but in the world of startups and solopreneurs even breaking even in your first year is a huge achievement. We tend to compare our own numbers at the start of our journey to the numbers of people who are well established in the industry and that’s simply not helpful. Start with the basics of breaking even and then you can always increase your targets once you’ve achieved that.
The next level might be to consider an amount of investment you want to make this year. For example, you might want to buy new equipment, go on a retreat, attend events, sign up to courses, and so on.
It’s important to be intentional and strategic about this, Michelle warns. You might not be able to afford to go flying all over the world in your first year! Consider each event and think about who will be there and who you might be able to connect with; what return on investment can you expect? If you need a holiday, go on a holiday! Don’t mix business with pleasure. Likewise, don’t spend lots of money on fancy websites and systems when you haven’t even got any clients yet.
What about when you have a family?
Michelle shares how she has learned to be very intentional about spending not only her money but also her time and her energy. When you’re there with your family, be there! Put your phone down, stay present and don’t get distracted by business issues during those special moments.
Ideally you’re able to set up structures in the business so that it runs even when you’re not there every second: social media scheduling, email sequences, pre-planned blog posts, and so on. Even if you’re a solopreneur you might want to get a small team in place to support you and allow you to step out of the business when you need to.
What are the biggest mistakes people make in this area?
The biggest mistake that Michelle sees when people are first starting out is combining business and personal money. This can quickly get very messy! Even if you don’t set up a legal business entity, do get yourself a separate savings account and a separate credit card for business expenses.
Another mistake is failing to track your numbers: you really need to know what your revenue is and understand your expenses. In the first year, it’s easy to start signing up to things, buying different tools, and forgetting about the different costs that are coming out of our bank accounts every month even when you’re not actually using them. Don’t just put your head in the sand and hope for the best!
Finally, Michelle warns of trying to do it all alone. Don’t be afraid to seek help in this area! Bookkeepers are not very expensive considering the amount of work they do and they can do it much faster than you can, so that you can spend your time on more important things. If you can afford it, you might also consider an accountant, as well as a money coach to help you to work on the mindset side of things.
“To me, you’re better off investing in a really great coach than in a really great website.”
What about money mindset?
When it comes to mindset, people tend to carry around past mistakes, for example a past failure in business, or your parents’ generational stories:
- “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
- “You have to work hard to earn money.”
- “You have to invest in your pension so that you can retire.”
If you keep telling yourself those stories, you’re limiting what you can achieve. It’s a very different economic climate now than what your parents experienced and you need to understand and operate within this new climate.
“If you want to change your income, you have to change your mindset.”
Reading, journaling, meditation – these are things that can help you here.
Also forgiveness: forgive yourself, and forgive your parents.
What’s the ONE STEP I can take?
Separate your business and personal money! Open up a separate account, get a second card, and keep those business expenses separate to your personal accounts.
Get your free “Guide to being a Money Rockstar” resource here >> *Updated October 2017: now called “Uncover Your Generational Money Story”*
Michelle Cooper is a powerhouse leader who inspires women to make more money and create change in their business. Adventure features highly in her life and business – this gal’s a risk taker. As an author, speaker, coach and business owner, her goals are to motivate others to pursue their true passion, manifest their dreams and execute their vision in order to create the life they love living. As a wife and mother, she understands the juggle that women in business do on a daily basis and believes that self-care must be a priority and can become your hidden super power in business. Learn more about Michelle’s adventures and how you can create a highly profitable business that allows you the freedom to live life full out at www.michellebcooper.com.