3 Take-Action-Today Money Mindset Tips for Creative Entrepreneurs
Although I'm in my (now third) year of business and have already more than replaced my agency job income (what the what?!), I wouldn't exactly say I'm the kind of person who's naturally wired for business. I know that's probably the last thing you want to admit as a business owner, but it's true. We keep it real here.
I'm a creative entrepreneur who's been learning entrepreneurship along the way.
I wasn't an entrepreneur from birth. It didn't sell gum on the playground. I didn't mow lawns in the summer for extra money. I once organized a lemonade stand in my neighborhood, but when I say organized, I mean I made the lemonade and gave it away to people who stopped by. One of the biggest reasons I didn't join team sports was to skip the door-to-door fundraising. Well, that and all the running I'd have to do.
Not only did I not want to think about money, but I also avoided numbers at all costs. Math and I... we didn't mix. As you can imagine, this didn't prepare me for the cut-throat world we like to call "the marketplace".
But I'm here anyway, building a business I love and still exercising my creativity.
All of this is to say that if numbers are your foe, you're not the only one.
But here's the kicker: numbers don't need to be your foe. In fact, they shouldn't be. Maybe we just need to fuse more of our creativity into them and reframe our mindset. When I decided 2017 would be the year of financial literacy, I had no idea how much it would change my business, future plans, and overall wellbeing.
Me, the creative, saying numbers changed my life... go figure.
Here are a few key money mindset tips I've learned in the past year of getting my ish together. I hope they help you on the path toward financial freedom!
01 // SET (AND WRITE DOWN) YOUR INCOME GOALS
I'm so serious about this one. I used to think I had income goals but then avoided looking at my bank statements. Face, meet palm.
Now I look at my income statement nearly every day, which I think is important in knowing how much you're bringing in (and what's coming out).
So how do you set income goals that aren't scary? The first thing is to not choose just one number. Of course it's downright terrifying if you only choose one! If it's too high, you'll feel like you weren't successful even if you did well that year. If it's too low, you may not push yourself to reach your full earning potential.
I usually set three different levels to save myself from only having one number in mind. Here's where I start:
- Floor goal: This income goal is the lowest amount you need in order to pay for your living expenses and all other basic needs.
- Desired goal: This income goal is determined by the lifestyle you’d like to live. It may not mean luxury, but it could allow you to take an extra vacation, meet friends for dinner every week, or invest in new equipment to add to your skill set.
- Reach goal: This income goal is the “dreamy” amount that you’d be over-the-moon happy with. While this goal is highly motivating, the other two levels ground us in reality so we know how to increase our profits over time.
If you want to read more about setting income goals and pricing, you can read through my post on How to Set Your Rates as a Freelancer on ConvertKit's blog. #client #oneofthebest
02 // UNDERSTAND THAT PRICING EVOLVES (AND WE DON'T ALWAYS GET IT RIGHT)
Some people operate under the "charge what you're worth" motto but that feels a slippery slope toward an "I am what's in my pocket" mentality to me. To take my identity out of work and money, I embrace another mantra: "No client should be excited to pay me."
Okay, that seems like a joke, but really. If a client can't wait for me to send them an invoice, it's a good indicator that I probably priced myself a bit too low. Everyone does this from time to time, even the freelance vets.
Usually I take this as my cue to revisit my pricing and understand where there's room for growth. It helps to always stay tuned in to the reactions of your potential and current clients when you send proposals.
If you're receiving multiple replies that say something along the lines of "we're willing to stretch the budget for your talent", you know you're in a good range.
Oh, and I said excited to pay me, not work with me. There's a difference there. A big one!
03 // INVEST MONEY WHERE YOUR PRIORITIES ARE
How many times have you bought something only to regret it a few days later? My mind immediately went to the untouched crop top hanging in my closet and an unlit candle I've had for 5+ years. Le sigh.
By determining what your priorities are, you're able to save yourself from impulse purchases because, as we know, they add up. First, write down all the things you enjoy spending money on. This can be a collection of things from your professional and personal life.
On the other side of your paper, write down the things you don't really care to spend money on. Maybe these things are nice-to-haves, but you don't have an immediate need or you've regretted the purchases in the past.
It's even better if you can align your priorities with your business goals. Let's say your top business goal is to grow your Instagram following. Buying a DSLR camera would help you meet your goal and would fall under your priorities category if you listed technology. Whatever your choose, make sure those stay top of mind as you invest in anything new.