Money. Money. Money.
There. I said it. The word that brings up so much for each of us, and yet a different story for all. Stories of scarcity, fear, pressure, abundance, pricing, value, inequality…Money’s such a tough subject that I have barely ventured to write about it yet. Until I saw a few patterns around money (both in myself and others) that made me want to do some myth-busting around common money issues.
Why this money pep talk? Because I see you and how valuable your contribution is to this world. And, I want you to be rewarded for it. Pure and simple. I believe from the bottom of my heart, that you’re worth it.
Here are four money myths that I’ve identified, and best practices for how to turn those myths around into valuable truth (and money in the bank).
Money Myth #1: You have to have everything perfect before you can start selling. A female entrepreneur I know was closing up shop. She couldn’t make the money that it takes to live in the Bay Area and she was shutting down her business to take a salaried job for a tech company in the city. Listen, I get it…we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. But I wanted to understand what went wrong. “I just couldn’t make enough doing what I do,” she said. But, why?
She had amazing expertise, was an experienced consultant, had a sophisticated voice and point-of-view, had years of experience, and was certainly a thought leader in her field….so, what was she missing? Her business wasn’t producing enough revenue. I asked her a ton of questions. And the more she spoke about her business, it quickly became clear what was missing. She had avoided selling her work. She had named the company, created the website, created the opt-in to build her list, polished a list of services, created free content…she had done it all. Except selling…she had waited a whole year before she started selling her services and was reeling from a year with very little income. And there were all kinds of excuses for this…”I don’t want to be too pushy. I don’t want to be sales-y. I already told them how to buy from me, so they must not be interested,” to name a few.
As entrepreneurs, we have to flip the model…instead of being perfectly prepared and then selling, it’s imperative to make selling a priority, and then button up the myriad of other things on your to-do list later. In other words, sell EARLY. The website doesn’t have to be perfect, the offering can be a work-in-progress. But, flexing that selling muscle, and more importantly, telling your audience HOW to work with you and how valuable the results will be….that’s a critical step that can not wait until every detail is perfect. You need to start the exchange of value (money for the impact of your product/service) sooner than later, so that you can:
a) Learn what works.
b) Validate your offer.
c) Fine-tune your target audience.
d) Get a read on your pricing (too high/too low) for the time, energy, and value output.
e) Make sure you love it. By selling your work, you learn if this is the right project size for you, an audience you want to serve, the modality you want to do it in, etc.
f) Stay in business.
I’m not telling you to sell a sub-par product. But, in my experience, that’s not the danger to many entrepreneurs I meet. The pattern I see is that the product or service is READY to be sold, yet there’s a temptation to hide. Don’t hide your products or services. Put them right up front for your customers, so that the value exchange can begin.
Money Myth #2: I can’t set revenue goals until I’m making “real” money. A practical jumpstart for those that struggle with selling is to create a tangible revenue goal for next month. What do you want to make next month? Not next quarter, not next year, but within the next 30-45 days. You can create a monthly revenue goal based on your needs, and then work backwards from that number to create the action plan that will get you to your goal. It’s simple. Write your revenue goal at the top of a piece of paper. Write your products/offerings and their prices along the side. You’ll soon see how many sales you’ll need across your product mix to meet your revenue goal. And guess what? The universe loves it when you write things down. If you believe in manifesting (I do), start with the actual dollar amount that you want to see come in the door, and create the action plan to get there.
Money Myth #3: You can’t make money doing what you’re passionate about or what comes easy to you. Some of us have money blocks around how deserving we are of being rewarded when the work we are doing comes naturally to us, or flows freely. It took me over 40 years to realize that doing work that I loved and making money didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. My years as a dancer taught me subconsciously that making money meant I wasn’t a “real” artist. Well, guess what? I ain’t buying it. That thing that comes easy to you is a strong indicator of your zone of genius. And that zone of genius is unique to you. You’re the only one with the exact mix of passion, wisdom, experience, pain, joy, talent, and drive…thus, you’re the only one who can do it your way. When I’m mentoring someone on this concept, I like to remind them that if you withhold that magic sauce that only you have, you’re not just taking the opportunity away from yourself, but you’re keeping that value and expertise from the very audience that you’re committed to serve. In other words, if you can’t unleash your talent for yourself, then do it for us. We need what you have to offer.
Money Myth #4: Since I’m just starting this business, I’ll need to offer a lot of my services/time/products for free in order to gain credibility, customers, brand visibility, etc. Offering your services for free, or giving away your time in the name of gaining experience can go to far. Too often I see new entrepreneurs giving away their time and expertise over coffee for someone who wants to “pick their brain.” We often rationalize this by thinking that this free time will result in paid time down the road, or that they’ll recommend us in the future, or that we simply have to give away our time because we know the person asking for it (they’re a friend, colleague, family member, or friend-of-friend). Listen, I know that you’re gracious and hard-wired to serve…but let’s not give so much time away that we leave ourselves with little time to do the work, and be rewarded for it. Limit your “pick your brain” conversations to a short time limit that works for you, or a certain number of complimentary conversations per month. That way you can go on being your gracious self, AND know that you have the boundaries required to honor your expertise.
“Money itself isn’t the problem. Money itself isn’t bad or good. Money itself doesn’t have power or not have power. It is our interpretation of money, our interaction with it, where the real mischief is and where we find the real opportunity for self-discovery and personal transformation.”
― Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life
Today I felt compelled to lay the money cards on the table and dispel some common myths and patterns that I see occurring around money, especially from some of our newer entrepreneurs. Let’s continue the conversation around money and help each other as a community continue to honor our worth and respect the wisdom and value that each of us bring to the table. Because frankly dear community, I need to know that you are being rewarded for your work. And, I need you to challenge each other to hold true to the value that you provide. What are some of your hiding strategies around money? Or myths and patterns that may be holding you back from charging what you’re worth?
Want to talk more about the deeper meaning and soul work of money? You’ve come to the right place. On April 2nd, we will be welcoming Lynne Twist, bestselling author of The Soul of Money and Sara Vetter, The Soul of Money Institute Business Development Director, to The Hivery stage. Join us for The Hivery Circle: Soul of Money Gathering Tuesday, April 2nd.
p.s. Next up in the money conversation…let’s talk about raising your prices. Who’s in?