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I Love Making Money (Now)

My Journey To Making Money My Friend


Have you ever been in a position where you didn’t know where the next dollar would come from? 

 

I have, and it’s probably the most stressful situation I’ve ever had to experience. 

 

In last week’s newsletter I shared that, in the early years of my business, I had no idea how to manage money and almost went bankrupt. Even though it was over 20 years ago, I still remember the fear that would surge through my body as I watched the petrol gage on my car, hoping I’d get a client payment into my account, before I ran out of fuel. Then there was the dread of queuing up to pay for groceries, hoping the cashier wouldn’t announce to everyone “Sorry, your card says it has insufficient funds.”

 

Back then, I thought I didn’t care about making money. I was more interested in being acknowledged for my skills and talent and wanted to enjoy the (supposed) freedom of working for myself. I even remember saying “I don’t want to be rich! I just love what I do.” At that time, I felt that a desire to make money was in opposition to the pursuit of creative success.

 

Little did I know, I was manifesting a totally unhealthy relationship with money.

Not only did I fail to take an active interest in the financial health of my business, but I also didn’t see the value of the services I was offering to my clients and as a result was vastly undercharging on all my projects. I’d provide rounds and rounds of revisions for free and encouraged clients to request dozens of options without charging. Because I wasn’t reviewing the figures, I was completely unaware of how incredibly damaging my charging structure was to my profitability.

 

Because cash flow was unreliable, I was uncomfortable allocating a set wage for myself. I also didn’t feel “worthy” of a wage, as deep down I was feeling ashamed of my poor financial management skills. As a result, I would randomly withdraw cash from my trading account when payments came through from clients, although most times I’d go without paying myself to make sure there was enough to pay for product orders and bills. This living hand to mouth was erratic, disempowering, stressful and unsustainable. 


Fast forward a couple of decades, an overhaul of my business systems, a lot of learning and coaching and hard work, and my relationship with money has come full circle. That’s not to say that everything is always easy (and that the universe doesn’t keep testing my dedication!) but now I have the skills, tools and tactics to manage my money effectively. And I love it!

 

I now believe that LOVING making money is a necessity in business.

 

That doesn’t mean you need to prioritize money over everything else. Nor does it mean that you should be greedy, unethical or wasteful. Having money enables you to live the best version of your life, and to live into your values; to do wonderful, generous and positively influential things. 

 

One of my most important values is to live a life of adventure: to travel the world for inspiration, learning and personal growth. This week my partner Brendan and I bought flights to Thailand for a holiday in June/July. I feel comfortable paying for these relatively expensive flights because earlier in the year we created a budget.

 

We’ve been setting aside money each month into a joint account that will also be used to pay for accommodation and meals on the holiday. It’s incredibly empowering to feel secure in the knowledge that this holiday has been budgeted for, and we’re not dipping into savings for other important expenses.

 

Budgeting and forecasting have also transformed the way I manage the finances for both of my businesses. 

 

When I was introduced to forecasting by a good friend many years ago, I had SO MUCH RESISTANCE to the concept of estimating future revenue. I mean, it felt ridiculous to make up figures that weren’t confirmed, like looking into a mythical crystal ball!

 

It also felt unsafe, because after all, wasn’t I setting myself up for failure by predicting income that wasn’t guaranteed? 

 

The truth is quite the opposite. Creating a budget and regularly forecasting within your business sets you up for success. It allows you to make measured decisions about future spending by considering the likely health of your business at any particular point in time. It also provides incentives to formulate marketing and business development strategies to help you meet the sales figures your forecast is predicting. When managed the right way, it motivates you to get into action.

 

How about you? Do you love making money?  

Are you proactively analysing and reviewing the profitability of your business so that you can make better decisions, avoid getting into debt, and create a powerful platform for living the best version of your life?

 

At our Queenstown Retreat in October, 2023, we were fortunate enough to work with local psychotherapist Rebekah Key in a couple of workshops on Money Mindset. It was surprising (and quite reassuring) to learn that everyone had some sort of limiting story running that affected their approach to money and how they ran their business. Stories about money that were often formulated as small children, imprinted into our subconscious, dictating our beliefs around self-worth and informing patterns of behaviour.

 

Changing my relationship with money took time, effort, vulnerability and a whole lot of help from people around me. It required me to overcome my fear of looking stupid (a big trigger for me) to enable me to reach out to friends and coaches to say “I don’t get it”, allowing them to teach me the foundations of money management. I’m happy to say that I’m still learning, and know that this will be a lifetime project.

 

If you relate to my stories of not loving money, you might be experiencing feelings of disempowerment and shame, as I once did. My “money story” was that I used to think that I was terrible with money. Perhaps you feel that way too? Know that this isn’t who you are, nor does it have to be how it has to be ongoingly. 

 

If I made the change to “I love making money”, you can too. 

 

It takes a shift in your approach and (I’m not going to lie) a fair bit of hard work. I’m not a financial expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have certainly learned a lot in the past 15 years, and am happy to share what’s worked for me. These are the practices that have helped me manage money more effectively:

 

PRACTICE # 1: Understand your beliefs

 

Get curious about your Money Mindset challenges. Do you see money in a positive light? Or do you believe that “money is the root of all evil”? Do you truly believe that you’re worthy of charging properly for your services, that your talent is a valuable asset capable of earning you a healthy living? 


PRACTICE # 2: Learn the lingo

 

Learn to speak the language of money: reports, banking, accounting. Get educated (people, books, podcasts, courses). It’s difficult to avoid formal terminology, especially when dealing with nerdy finance-types! Find yourself a team (see below) who are willing to take the time to explain everything in simple terms (in my case, explain everything a few times). 


PRACTICE # 3: Gather your team

 

Invest in a great (not just good, great) accountant, bookkeeper and (ideally) financial coach. We’re only as strong as the team we build around us, and your money people are a critical part of building a healthy business. 


PRACTICE # 4: Make yourself accountable

 

Set a regular meeting with someone (or a group) to check in on your finances. This could involve setting targets with an accountability partner/group, or reviewing financial reports with your bookkeeper or accountant. 


PRACTICE # 5: Learn to budget 

 

Create a personal and professional budget. This was one of the most eye-opening, jaw-dropping exercises I’ve ever done in my business. To budget correctly requires you to do an audit on your current spending practices. If you haven’t done this previously, strap yourself in for a bit of a reality check (delivered with the subtlety of a sledge hammer). Ultimately, a budget is just a breakdown of where you’re spending your money, or more importantly, where you PLAN to spend your money. 


PRACTICE # 6: Separate your bank accounts

 

Set up separate accounts to streamline your spending and to ensure you have the right money set aside to pay your bills. Check out Profit First or The Barefoot Investor for tips on how to do this effectively. A big priority should always be setting money aside for our friends at the tax office. As my financial coach loves to remind me, “That’s not your money!” (OK, ok! I get it now) 


PRACTICE # 7: Pay yourself 

 

I’m still shocked by the number of business owners I coach who don’t pay themselves a salary or wage (no judgement here -  I used to be the same). If you’re a sole trader, allocate yourself a wage/salary rather than spending randomly from your general bank account. Even if it’s a small sum, set regular transfers that you know the business can afford, and build from there. 


PRACTICE # 8: Health check your business

 

Always check in regularly (reporting and analysis) to assess the health of your business, especially when you’re stressed financially. Sticking your head in the sand won’t make the bills go away. If this isn’t a strength, get others to help you. 


PRACTICE # 9: Look forward

 

Learn to forecast. This is the ultimate “health check” for your business, now and into the future. When it comes to making big money decisions (eg: taking on a new office lease, employing someone, paying for a photo shoot), knowing what your cash flow looks like in the future can help make more measured decisions. 


PRACTICE # 10: Build a buffer

 

Almost all small businesses need to manage periods of low cash flow. In architecture and design it can be feast or famine! We handle large payments from fees and procurement that can be quite intermittent. Building a buffer of cash reserves will enable you to ride the ebb and flow of money with more security and confidence. 


PRACTICE # 11: Know your options

 

If your cash flow is low, it’s important to consider all your options ahead of time. To do this, we need to know what’s coming up, hence the forecasting. The last thing you want to be doing is foraging for cash to pay bills at the last minute. If things are looking a bit grim, talk to your bank about a loan or a line of credit (discuss with your accountant first) to help you through the lean times.

 

Are you ready to get into action now?

 

Today we officially opened applications for our Premium Group Coaching Program (PGCP), where we work with certified accountant, financial coach and all-round superstar Lauren Thiel to help you understand your business finances better. We’ll work with you to create a budget and help you understand the concept of forecasting future revenue. We also offer 1-on-1 Coaching sessions that you can use to really focus on building healthier habits around money.

 

An important part of the PGCP is our Accountability Program, where we assign members to small groups (3 or 4 members) to meet once a fortnight to set and review goals, including business/financial goals. This has proven to be the most popular aspect of the program, with many groups continuing on for years beyond the end of the program.

 

For a limited time we’re offering a special Early Bird Discount (save over $700).

 

BONUS ALERT: All Early Bird members go into the draw to win an exclusive 1-on-1 Strategy Session with me, face to face (in your own city) over a lavish lunch in a top restaurant. This is an opportunity to delve even deeper into your plans for the year ahead, placing you in a position to thrive. We’ll get clear on where you’re at currently, dig deep into your business goals, and (most importantly) review your financial targets.  


If I can leave you with one thing to consider, it’s the notion of investing in your future.

 

For many years I told myself that I couldn’t afford to do coaching, or pay for the top-of-the-line accountant. I was so focused on how I would be able to pay for it in the short term, I was failing to see the potential of what this new learning and support could deliver me in the medium and long term. Doing it on my own was bringing me the same results that I had always had, and they weren’t great!

 

I soon realised I couldn’t afford NOT to invest in the right team to support me.

 

Wherever you’re at in your business journey right now, I hope that your business is working for you, and not the other way around. As always, know that we’re here to support and assist you to be the best version of you possible.

 

Stay well, and always be kind.

 

Cheers,

Andrew and the TDC Team

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