One of the most frustrating things I ever experienced as a business owner was the awareness that the most I’d ever paid myself from the business was almost exactly equal to the maximum salary I was paid at my old corporate job.
It drove me crazy that no matter how much I increased my revenues, there seemed to be this invisible personal salary threshold I couldn’t seem to move past.
For instance, I have a service-based business, and when it hit the $100k milestone, it was a symbolic victory, but I couldn’t pay myself enough of a bonus to even do something nice to celebrate. This was true of subsequent revenue milestones as well.
Another frustration for me was the cash flow roller coaster I was on for years, which would create intense anxiety and stress. No matter what I did to improve the situation – such as make changes in my business model – I seemed to circle back around to “the cash scramble.” It didn’t matter how much more money I brought in, either. The pendulum would just swing back the other way even more.
I can tell you from dozens of conversations with 6- and 7-figure business owners over the years that I wasn’t alone in my frustrating relationship with money.
I’ve heard stories like:
“My product launch brought in $500,000 but I was so burned out by the end I could barely take care of my kids, and I cleared only $20k after expenses.”
“I started my business so I could have more freedom, but I’m working more hours than ever.”
“I can’t believe I sabotaged myself again! I feel like a part of me doesn’t want to actually be financially abundant. What is wrong with me?”
“I never had money issues when someone else was paying me to do something that I didn’t even enjoy. What is going on?”
Especially if you’re in the business of helping others, having a business amplifies the cracks in your money foundation and brings to the surface your beliefs about the relationship between money and purpose.
In the past year I’ve made huge changes in my relationship with money.
I’m not in money nirvana by any means, but since a year ago, I’ve broken annual and monthly revenue records, and I’ve raised up the baseline average in my business as well by around fifty percent. In other words, the highs have gotten higher and the lows have gotten higher, too. There are still some ups and downs but I’m in a much more even-keeled financial experience.
Most important to me, I have kept my business super simple, and the past year was the most joyful business year of my life. I also took more time off than I ever dreamed possible (about twelve weeks total) and simultaneously increased my revenues by 15 percent. My money profits remained flat (still decent) but my time profits skyrocketed, because I worked so few hours to create the same profit.
I’m convinced that most of us are making a major error when trying to transform our financial life: we think if we just “heal our money energy,” OR take external steps like being better at managing our money, everything will change.
Maybe for some that’s true, but in my humble opinion, it takes a concerted effort in five key areas to create sustainable change.
Here is my advice for improving and even transforming your relationship with money in your business:
1) Fix the inside, and the outside will reflect something better back to you. You may have heard that you are really just a big ball of energy, and you may have even heard of the concept of “money blocks” – that if you have a limiting belief or you have something in your energy that’s out of whack, you can block prosperity.
I had heard this esoteric concept for years, but I finally learned how to actually transform it from Cindia Carrere, an intuitive energy healer I work with who has helped me create real breakthroughs in my relationship with money. (There are many avenues to healing internal financial dysfunction, by the way. This one worked for me.)
Cindia is a gifted intuitive and can actually see your personal Energy Grid – and see where it’s blocked and where it’s damaged, not just about money but about any area where you feel blocked.
She has a process she walks you through to actually change it and fix it.
One of the first things Cindia noticed intuitively during our work together was that I was addicted to inconsistent income. Addicted to it like a drug, so I kept recreating circumstances to fuel a cash flow scramble.
Solving intensely stressful cash-flow problems every few months created an endorphin rush for me, and I got to be the hero. Every time I thought I was in the clear, though, I’d find out I was wrong … that the change I’d created wasn’t sustainable, and I’d end up in another scramble.
During one of our first sessions, when Cindia identified my addiction to the cash flow roller coaster, she saw a gigantic ball of gunk in my Energy Grid, sitting at the base of my spine. (She could literally see it.) She guided me through a process for removing it.
Want to hear the freaky part? I’d had debilitating back pain in that spot for 18 months.
Cindia and I always met on video conference, but she never knew that each time before I turned on the camera, I would hobble over to the chair, bent forward in pain. (I never mentioned my back pain because that wasn’t something I hired her to solve.)
When we removed the ball of gunk related to money issue, poof, my back pain was gone. It was that fast and that simple. Needless to say, after that experience I was convinced that Cindia was right — people really have an energy field and it can get messed up, and our bodies hold the emotional crap and the energy of our recurring thoughts.
2) When it comes to money, focus on profit, not revenues. Money profit, time profit, energy profit. If you don’t get clear on what you want your business to do for you, you’ll keep focusing on revenues. In fact, I’ve noticed that many business coaches market themselves by talking about doubling or tripling your revenue. Revenues are not profits. Targeting revenues also doesn’t take into account the amount of time and energy you will spend creating those revenues, or the amount of money you will have to spend to create that growth.
Bottom line: Higher revenues won’t necessarily bring you the freedom you might be seeking. Scrutinize every idea and project in relation to the potential payoff vs the time, resources, energy and money it will cost to create it.
3) Understand your money values as they relate to your business; then, honor them.
For example, I value a simple life. I have no desire to own a mansion or a fancy car. The idea of managing a big house and yard (or the people I would hire to do that), being extra careful with an expensive vehicle or filling up my day with appointments seems like complication to me.
While at this stage of life, most of my peers are buying bigger houses, I’ve actually simplified my life down to a studio apartment. I gladly pay for a stunning view out my window — something I value highly. But I live in one large room, and this is how I like it. I drive a Honda Civic. I don’t worry about every little scratch or ding, and the insurance premiums are low. I just don’t value cars enough to worry about getting a nicer one.
In addition, I am a happy hermit. I value having tons of space and free time in my day so I can have alone time and create, or read. I want to be able to paint in the middle of the day if I feel like it, or take a nap if I feel tired.
On average I work about 15 hours per week. Some weeks more, some weeks fewer. The rest of the time, I write music, paint, read, work on my book, hang out with friends, travel, think up new business tools to share with my tribe and whatever else I feel like doing. Any changes I make in my business model will need to allow me to sustain my high-freedom life, not just create more revenues.
Last June I broke a record with my revenues and also spent two straight weeks reading a trilogy of novels … during the work day. I had traveled in late May and early June and needed to go into a cave to recover my energy. So I did.
How did I accomplish this? By following the 22 Principles of Alignment. Alignment creates unparalleled efficiency. I can create far more business income with far less money, time, resources and energy than anyone I know. But I want you to be able to do it, too!
4) Transforming your relationship with money will require you to change not only your money energy, but to change in other ways, too. If you fail to do this, any change will be only temporary.
Buckle up and get ready for a new adventure.
When you fix the inside, there will still be a gap between the old and new; between who you were about money and who you want to be.
How big the gap is will be in direct proportion to how messed up you were on the inside. It will require a change in mindset, in skills and if you have a long history of money dysfunction, creating sustainable change is going to feel like a part of your psyche is holding on for dear life … it is. If your ego had created an identity around being financially less-than-optimal, it will be faced with what it perceives as annihilation as you dissolve your old money identity in favor of one that is better for you.
When it comes to sustainable change, I often use the example of a trapeze. You’re swinging on the old trapeze bar and you’re really good at it by now. You know how to step off the platform and swing out and back. The only thing is, that trapeze bar is getting old; you’ve been swinging on it a long time and it’s rickety and not really supporting you all that well.
You can see another trapeze bar ahead, and the new trapeze bar looks prettier, sturdier and more pleasant all around. You know you want to be there, but to get there, as you swing forward, you’ll first have to let go of the old bar. There will be a few moments when you are suspended mid-air between the old and new trapeze bars. This is “the gap” and it is a place of pure possibility.
Lots of things could happen in the gap. You could chicken out and try to grab the old bar. Maybe you’d be able to grab it, maybe you wouldn’t. You could successfully grab the new bar. You could fall and land on a safety net. You could fall and crash, if you didn’t think to put the safety net out. Lots of things could happen, but if you have enough momentum, and you’ve really decided you’re going to do it, you can grab the new trapeze bar. People do it all the time.
When you decide to transform your relationship with money, you have a set of old habits, thoughts, beliefs and skills that served you really well in creating your old outcome.
When you heal the internal part, you’ll create a gap. You’re no longer in the old (like my ball of gunk that was no longer there), but you’re no longer solid in the new yet, either.
So to increase your chances of creating sustainable change, you’ll want to immediately grab onto a new set of skills and habits to build your confidence. Do this right away; don’t delay. You might even want to outsource part of it to someone who is really good at these skills, if you don’t want to learn them or don’t feel confident you’d be even proficient at them. For example, you might want to hire a financial advisor or financial planner.
What I did was hire someone to create some custom spreadsheets that allowed me to do a much better job of forecasting my sales and expenses. I began tracking my revenues much better and I understood the timing of my expense needs much better so I could plan my cash flow. I tallied my debts and created a plan for paying them off. In other words, I needed to develop some of the skills of a CFO until I could hire one, instead of operating in chaos, like I did so much of the time before.
Developing new skills built my confidence around money and instilled a belief that I could be a good steward of more money, and gave me the wisdom to know that I could always outsource something that wasn’t in my core financial talents. I’m still not perfect at it, but I’m a whole lot better at it than I was before.
5) Put your money where your mouth is through faith-based action. One of the most powerful changes I made – that quickly created evidence of transformation – was to start giving the first ten percent of my gross personal income away to wherever I received spiritual nourishment. This is called tithing, which translates to “tenth,” and it is not in any way meant to mean church donation in the context I’m using it here, although if that is where you get your spiritual nourishment, that may be where you choose to tithe.
I first heard about the concept of tithing sitting in church as a young child, listening to the minister beg for money by quoting scripture. (I later realized that was probably the chosen sermon each time the church was running low on funds.)
My understanding of tithing has changed so much since then, through reading Edwene Gaines’s The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, an excellent book.
When I first read the book, my reaction was, “Are you crazy? I can’t give away ten percent of my earnings; I can barely pay for my basic needs right now! When I make a little more money, then I’ll start tithing.” (But tithing doesn’t work that way.)
I guess I wasn’t ready to put my money where my mouth was yet. I talked a good game about how the universe was abundant and that I believed anything was possible, but if I truly believed that, why was I feeling like there was never enough and holding on to every dollar for dear life?
My first tithe, last April, was to author and punk rocker Patti Smith. I ran up to her after a lecture she gave and handed her a letter telling her how her book Just Kids inspired me to re-pursue an old creative project, with $80 enclosed.
Then one Sunday in May, instead of scrounging $20 from my purse to give to my spiritual community like usual, I dropped $350 in the offering plate. It felt so weird, and generous and different. The next month was the month I broke a record for revenues and spent two weeks reading a novel.
I’ve tithed to famous wisdom leaders, to an acquaintance who helped me see what forgiveness really is, to the novelist whose books I devoured last summer and to many others.
Twice, I got off track with my tithing. I fell back into financial chaos and lost track of things. Sure enough, within a short time, I was back in the scramble.
Both times I got off track, as soon as I had an awareness that I’d missed the chance to tithe, and made the situation right, within hours unexpected income arrived. The first time, someone sent me a $250 referral thank you out of the blue that very afternoon. The second time, someone asked if he could purchase something from me for several thousand dollars.
The amounts aren’t important, but more so, that tithing creates a flow of money because only someone who believes more money is coming is willing to let go of money.
Tithing grounds your intention of having more prosperity through matching up your actions with your words.
Interestingly, Biblical scripture states that whatever you tithe will be given back to you ten-fold. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that last year, the increase in my business revenues was exactly ten times the amount of my tithe.
And I also don’t think you need to practice any particular religion to benefit from this practice; it’s just about aligning your actions with your intentions.
Let’s get you some clarity so you know what action to take next on your money journey. Rank the five areas below in the order of which you suspect they are causing problems in your relationship with money, with 1 being the most troublesome and 5 being the least troublesome.
Here they are again:
___ Money blocks in your energy
___ Focusing on profit vs just revenue (including time, money and energy)
___ Knowing and honoring what you want your business to do for you
___ Developing new skills and habits that match your intention
___ Grounding your intention through faith-based action (such as tithing)
What do you think of these five suggestions? What are your tips for helping someone transform their relationship with money? Share away in the comments below … and if you want help, here are some suggestions:
For help with money blocks, you can learn more about Cindia Carrere’s work here.
For help getting clear on your business values and honoring them with your choices and business model, click here to explore working with me.
For information about tithing, read Edwene Gaines’ book, The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity.
For help applying the 22 Principles of Alignment, see when my next Focus on Alignment program is starting by going to this page.
If you aren’t familiar with the 22 Principles of Alignment, click here to learn about them and download a PDF.
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