Excerpted from Chapter 5 of my new book~"Budgeting & Getting Clear"
"The budget is your friend.
The budget is your friend.
The budget is your friend.
This is what I say to clients who are getting control of their money. So many people seem to think the budget is a horrible thing. They huff and sigh whenever we do budgets in class, and moan and groan when I bring up the subject in coaching sessions. Dave Ramsey, one of my money mentors, describes 2 financial personality types: The Free Spirit, and The Nerd. For the nerd, a budget is automatically fun. For the free spirit, it is often torture.
I have been a free spirit for most of my life. Until recently for me a budget meant: strictness, living on bread and water, denying all pleasure. Just. No. Fun. Growing up, my parents were strict budgeters, and while they did spend money on themselves for fun, that was done quietly, without a lot of fanfare. Because I didn't see them doing a lot of giving or fun with their money, I interpreted that as suffering. I vowed that I would have fun with money as an adult. I would always say "yes"!
And I did! I said "yes" a lot! I have always used my money to bring pleasure to myself and others, and as a result have been able to do incredibly generous giving and build a business doing work I love. Unfortunately, I often didn't know where to stop, and often had my lifestyle expand beyond my wage! I didn't know how to say "no", either to my wants, or to the wants of others. And so my budget often showed expenses higher than income. I was continually playing catch up with myself, which was incredibly stressful.
Now I'm all about balance. The balance between "yes" and "no". The balance between wants and needs. Through regular budgeting, I am now debt free, with an extra cushion in savings. I have the balance that my budget brings me. I feel an incredible peace of mind, as I know my needs are amply provided for, and my savings for my wants are growing steadily. My hope is that your budget can be an empowering "balancing" tool for you too!
Money loves to be paid attention to. It tends to grow in the presence of attention. When we do not pay attention to money, it disappears. How can you pay more attention to your money? With a budget. Contrary to popular belief, a budget is not a set of handcuffs. The budget is your friend! It helps you choose where your dollars go~to giving, saving, lifestyle & fun. Are you consciously choosing where your dollars go or are you frittering them away unconsciously? It’s your choice."
chapter 4~"A context of giving"
“It isn't a matter of giving a lot or a little, of giving anything at all. It is simply a matter of giving oneself.” Daniel Odier
Giving, or "tithing", is the practice of giving 10% of your income to places that inspire you and who do charitable work. Historically this practice came from the Babylonians, who passed it to the Hebrews, who passed it the Christians, who passed it to the wider culture. In modern society giving to spiritual teachers has gotten separated from charitable giving, when they used to be one and the same. The temple would honor the priests AND feed the poor. So I recommend both.
When I first learned about tithing, in 2005, I started giving right away. My income increased from $8,000 a year as a stay-at-home mom to $50,000 a year with a thriving business. 5 years later I was making $100,000. Tithing works!
Tithing changes you immediately. Generosity makes us wealthy instantly because it affirms that we have something to give. When we give away something we formerly thought of as scarce, we reframe our experience of it to be something of which we have plenty. When we give, we open up space to receive more of what has been given. This works on a very practical level. If you give chocolate, you get more chocolate. If you give money, you get more money.
"The act of giving restores a harmony and balance in both mind and body that results in happiness as well as prosperity. When your life gets out of harmony, you need to give in order to restore balance and abundance."
It is a powerful practice to give where you are inspired, to give back in gratitude. Give to people and places that keep you in alignment with your highest self. These are people and places which encourage you to be more generous, responsible, powerful, and loving. These are people and places who lovingly call you on your shit and lovingly call themselves on their own shit, and keep going.
I see in myself and others the urge to call charitable giving enough, to just give to a need. "I'm giving to the food bank, and my local school, isn't that enough?" as we learn to be more generous, we are called upon to give more to others, and this is good. And I see that this alone does not work to prosper me, not in the way giving to my source of inspiration does. When we give only to a need, we are not feeding our soul. When we give out of gratitude to where we are nourished, we are truly fed.
Who inspires you?
What work calls you on your shit?
Who aligns you with your source?
What work supports your life purpose?
Who stays with you and your intentions?
Giving is only ever your choice. If someone tells you to give to them, run away! The tithe is a freely given gift of gratitude for what has been received. It is not a payment for a service or product.
Some places that people have historically given:
Ministers & Rabbis
Churches, Synagogues & Spiritual Centers
But they have also given to:
Musicians, Authors & Inspirational Speakers
Counselors, Coaches, & Healers
Artists and those who Protect Nature, etc.
So, basically, anyone who is doing work that inspires you and helps you grow!
The way I recommend to start or upgrade a giving practice is to give to the locations of your choice for 1 month, and then keep a journal of all the blessings that come your way for that month. See if the tithing practice is working for you to uplift you and help you prosper. If it is a “downer” with few positive benefits, at the end of the month you can decide if you would like to shift and change the locations of your giving.
Some benefits people report from tithing:
Freebies & discounts
Things working out well
Have fun starting or upgrading your very own giving practice!"
chapter 2~"Your big why"
"“When your WHY is big enough you will find your how.”
― Nelson Millard
What is your “Big Why”? Your Big Why is the reason you want to build wealth. The Why has to be big, and it has to be strong.
Because if it is not, you will not be willing to do what it takes: work more intensively, budget and save, let go of unnecessary spending. Who wants to do that? No one! Unless….your temporary sacrifice will lead to a good result.
My Big Why when I started this journey was to buy a house for myself and my children. I wanted security, and a place to gather and nest, that could not be taken away from me. This was my burning desire. It kept me going through days when I felt discouraged, months where there was no margin, and seasons of not much progress at all. I just kept going, knowing that overall, I was getting closer to my goal.
It can help to ask yourself, “If I had a million dollars, what would I do with it?” Your first answer is your Big Why. Would you fund a foundation or give to charity? Would you buy that family home for yourself and your children? Would you travel the world on a sailboat? Would you quit your dayjob and become an artist/healer/stand-up comic? Would you support your aging parents?
Your Big Why could be related to security. After the Coronovirus hit, many people are saying “NEVER AGAIN will I be without an emergency fund!” The Big Why can motivated you to put a buffer between yourself and life.
The Big Why can clarify your purpose. Sometimes we become aware of how we are in a dead-end job, that is soul-sucking. We suddenly realize, we want to change careers, to move to something more meaningful. If you already have work of heart, meaning and purpose and know your Big Why, then this book will help you get the money to fulfill that vision. If your work is not satisfying to your purpose, then your Big Why can help clarify what your purpose is.
Simon Sinek says, in his book Start with Why, that the Why preceeds the How and the What. I agree. When you have your Why, suddenly the process of how to build wealth and what to do become clearer. You become guided about how and what to do. And the day-to-day difficulties that can arise with wealth-building take second place to your driving motivation, your touchstone, your why."
CHAPTER 2~"MONEY BLOCKS"
"If building wealth with a step-by-step plan is do-able by even a single mom, why isn’t everyone rich?
Because there are obstacles to wealth, both internal and external. Even if you start with the same resources as someone else, there are forces within you and outside you that will attempt to slow, or even stop you. These obstacles may come up before you start your journey, or they may show up as you are working the wealth steps.
Be aware…BEWARE….and know this is normal.
Your blocks will come up. But hopefully you can recognize them, so that they will not define you.
Typical Money Blocks
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”
― Robert Anthony
The Money Fog
Many people struggle to save, get rid of debt, and invest because of not having a tracking system for money. They don’t know how much they make and how much they spend. Even though they make good income, there never seems to be enough. They live in the “money fog”, with a vague sense of fear and anxiety. And if income is affected during the pandemic, the fog is even more distressing and painful.
The impact of the money fog is a high level of stress! Relationships are strained, and they work non-stop chasing their own tail. “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!” They make more money, only to have it disappear. The debt always seems to grow back, savings is minimal, and you lose investment opportunities due to not having cash.
All because of the money fog.
They say, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. So ignorance itself can be a block. The money fog keeps us from knowing how much of a financial mess we are actually in. Clarity, and having a tracking system for your money, is actually the answer."
The Belief that Money is Evil
Many people believe that money is evil, tainted, or somehow beneath them. This attitude leads them to call out executives and company owners who abuse their wealth as examples of how money corrupts.
The oft-quoted phrase, “Money is the root of all evil” is actually a misquote. The true biblical phrase is “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil”, meaning that if one prioritizes money over all else, they lose their goodness. However, I would argue that refusing to deal with money at all can be irresponsible and evil. Unless one is part of a religious order or disabled in some way, not dealing with money at all creates an unhealthy dependence on others.
It is impossible to build wealth if you hate the wealthy. If you find yourself sabotaging your own results, perhaps this block is affecting you. The answer is in shifting your mindset to one of giving, which has its very own chapter in this book! Giving erases guilt, by helping us feel more deserving of more wealth, which enables us to give bigger. And the more of us who incorporate giving into our habits, the more we create a culture of generosity which benefits everyone.
Making more money makes us more of who we already are. If we are a stingy person, and we build wealth, we will continue to be stingy. And if we are naturally generous, wealth enables us to give even bigger.
The same goes for poverty. There are ill-intentioned poor people, and there are generous, good poor people. Given good character as a basis, would you rather have wealth or be poor? Your choice. Money itself is neutral.
Some of us are in denial about how broke they actually are. We may own a home or have some assets, but have an equal amount of debt, which leaves us with a zero net worth! Or we may lead our life like a party, never thinking about the future. “I’ll get my act together someday” we say, until they turn 40, 50, 60 or 70 without any assets or plan for retirement.
Denial is common. Most Americans do not like to talk about their money problems. Nor are we taught about how to manage money and build wealth in school. In addition, for small business owners, denial is often true ignorance. How many of us got the manual on “How to Run a Profitable Business”? We don’t know what we don’t know. Admitting our real money problems also makes us look bad, which leads us to the next money block: Keeping Up with the Joneses."
CHAPTER 1~"Losing it all"
Excerpted from my new book on wealth-building coming out FALL 2020~
"You’d think I would have been happy. I made $100,000 that year. The year I got divorced. I had moved my kids from a very lovely, but very quiet, rural community to an artsy tourist town with great opportunities for my work. My business had done well, and I had also received a settlement from my ex-husband.
I was trying to look good. I had built a successful business in the healing arts & money coaching, using mindset prosperity tools such as giving & tithing, positive thought, and integrity practices. I knew how to make money, just not how to manage it. And I was afraid to look bad. How could I let the world know that I, a money coach, didn’t have my money act together?
So I rented a home in my new town, not understanding that to keep the lifestyle I had as a former wife in a 3 bedroom home I would have to pay an arm and a leg
Due to the inflated real estate market. I kept going into debt in my business, and did emotional spending to assuage the pain of my divorce. I was bleeding money all over the place.
In my rental house I had all the externals of prosperity: sheepskin rugs, the most expensive organic food, a thriving business…I kept my business going and never thought twice about how much my business expenses were eating up my
But underneath it all I felt frightened and powerless. Like a deer in the headlights. I fed my kids and arranged playdates with a quiet desperation. My shame about being a broke money coach stopped me in my tracks. Behind the scenes my debt was out of control, and I had no plan for my spending.
My dream was to purchase a home for myself and my children. But that was not to be. Even though I was current on all my bills, the debt load was too high. I brought in $100,000 that year but had very little profit after business expenses. The lenders denied all my requests.
Then my income did a freefall, and I ended up having $1500 net monthly income, with $300 of that being food stamps! The prosperous couples who had wanted to work with me when I was married slowly fell away. I began to attract a new crowd of single parents, who unfortunately had little money to pay for coaching. I kept coaching and teaching them, but I had to hustle and work side jobs to actually bring in money.
Little did I know that this low point was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
I went on a journey to understand my feelings, and to understand how to manage money. I saw a counselor, and began to take on new mentors and
Guides. It felt like I was drinking water after being in a desert feeling thirsty for so long. At last! The help and information that had been missing in my life! Instead of having just 1 money mentor, now I had a whole team! I felt empowered and grateful.
I learned that wealth is not just about making money. That is half of the equation. Wealth is also about what you do with the money once you have it. Are you managing it generously and wisely? I learned that if you do not give, you are stingy. And if you do not save, you are stupid! New patterns and habits emerged in my life that brought balance.
But I had a lot of work to do. There was a mountain of debt to pay off, a shattered
Income to rebuild, kids to raise, and empty bank account to fill. I started where I was, as a working single mom, and began plugging away. The goal to buy a home for myself and my children was my motivation. It kept me going, through 5 years of intense work on myself and my money situation.
Fast forward 5 years to the present: My life has completely changed. Yes, I am off of food stamps. I am debt free, have a large emergency fund, own a home, give 10% of my income away and save 30-50% of my income each month. My kids earn their own money, and give, save and spend out of what they earn.
My new husband and I invest according to our values and watch our nest egg continually grow. We run profitable businesses that actually cash flow, instead of drag us down in debt. We are able to give to spiritual organizations & charities a regular percentage of our time & money~even through the Coronovirus!
So how did this turn-around come about? The short answer: through a balance of giving and saving. The long answer: through 7 powerful steps to wealth building I will unpack throughout this book. If you stay with me, you will see step by step how to overcome your own obstacles and build wealth while doing good and changing the world!"
"I accept the reality of this situation, but not its permanence." ~Toni Stone
Last week I hit a wall.
For the first part of the Coronovirus Pandemic I had been relatively happy, considering everything.. I had been in awe at the shitshow of world events, but personally not too affected.
The first month I realized the privileged position I was in, to have savings/investments and reliable income. So I freed up some time to help start a homeless advocacy group. I gave away 20 free coaching sessions to entrepreneurs who were struggling.
And I was happy to do it! Giving away time, talents & treasures is part of my ongoing philosophy.
The second month the fact that my husband was not able to work started to take its toll. I still had income and thankfully our savings and investments keep us secure, and we always give 10% of our monthly income away. That hasn't ever stopped.
But nonetheless I started to feel the strain, and total exhaustion from actively "doing" 24-7.
There began to be some drama at my property management job, and cooped up family members started to get on each other's nerves. My work situation continued to deteriorate, as more and more people kept asking me for free information, advice, and help, and I was working around the clock as the primary breadwinner.
I began thinking, this is just a taste of the stress that the average American feels right now. Unemployment is at 25%. Most small business owners have been hit hard. I was insulated from it in the beginning, but I started to feel it.
I felt a loss of purpose, and depression started to creep in. I wondered, "who am I? what am I doing here?" I wondered how many people are asking themselves these questions, especially if they are out of work or their business has been shut down.
I started to feel pretty sad and depressed.
Until I realized the wall wasn't going to disappear.
It was simply there.
What I was doing was not working.
I saw that all my "doing"~giving, serving, acting, organizing, was not getting me happiness or easing my stress.
Something had to give!
I realized I hadn't budgeted in a few weeks. Budgeting is always a grounding activity for me. Back to basics.
(If you want to know how to budget like a single mom, see my previous blog post, PILE UP CASH! OR, If I Could Save $40,000 as a Single Mom, You Can Survive the Coronovirus!)
And as I balanced our budget, I felt lighter and more empowered. "This is like a game!" I thought. Let's see if we can make this puzzle work, make this budget balance.
Once I did the budget I felt freer, and more creative. I started to dive deeper into writing my book, a creative project I had been working on for a few months. I reached out to friends who could help me with it.
I started leaning into more self-care: taking walks, getting chiropractic care, spending quality time with my husband. We started a vegetable garden.
I began to let go.... of the work drama and some coparenting issues I could not control. I began to let go of my desire to have things go back to normal immediately.
In my business I set some boundaries with my clients on how many "freebies" I could give. I offered some affordable ways people can participate with me so that my time is honored.
I feel better now. More in control, but not in control, at the same time.
It helped to admit there was a wall.
Just as there is for many of us~the wall made up of external limitations due to the Coronovirus that are out of our control. The wall of job changes and economic challenge. The wall of physical distance and separation. The wall of stress and strain.
May we all find a way to deal with "the wall" in the way that works for each of us.
For me it has been the Universe's way of telling me "NO."
No to the busy-ness.
No to extraneous "doing".
No to too much giving.
No to trying to fix things that are out of my control.
I am reminded of the serenity prayer used often in recovery work. It seems appropriate for this Coronovirus time:
"God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."
It is March 2020, and we are in the middle of the Coronovirus outbreak. State and federal governments have shut down restaurants, gatherings over 10 people, and discouraged travel. People are “social distancing” to reduce the spread of the virus until hospitals can accommodate the sick that they anticipate will flood in.
The problem is: it is rocking the economy. The stock market is down 29%, worse than the busts of 1987 and 2008. Many of my friends and colleagues who are small business owners have lost half, if not all their income due to social distancing requirements. Folks are struggling to make ends meet. And sadly, 75% of Americans have less than $1000 saved.
Panic and fear have been rampant, with people buying up all the toilet paper in stores, and fighting each other for hand sanitizer online. Not having enough puts us into the fight-or-flight response.
Our hearts race. We feel dizzy and panicked. We watch the unpaid bills pile up with dread.
In times like these, do you see why savings is essential?
Savings allows you to keep a mortgage/rent payment, keep buying healthy food, keep stability for your family despite economic fluctuations. Savings helps your peace of mind
I used to have ZERO savings. For years I thought if I just “was positive” then emergencies would not happen to me. When shit hit the fan, and I needed a big car repair, or had a large business expense, I would just hustle and scramble and get the money together somehow.
This was empowering on one level~yes, the universe ultimately always helped me win. But was I helping the universe, or making it harder on myself? I was always stressed out.
I chased my tail for years, working my butt off in order to clean up the messes I left in my wake. “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go”.
With no savings and no plan for my spending, I just kept accumulating debt.
I would pay it all of, only to have it grow back.
Finally I started to slowly see that dips in the economy, or in one’s personal life, are not just theory, they happen. Statistics show that each of us will have at least 1 major negative financial event(divorce, death in the family, car replacement, health challenge, job lay-off) every 10 years.
I myself went through a divorce and became a single mother.
And the pain and stress of this was too much.
I finally got off the roller coaster.
Even though I was only bringing in $1500 a month, I knew things had to change.
I was DONE with the stress and said "NO MORE!"
So, even though I had a low income.
Even though I was scared.
I rolled up my sleeves, and attacked my expenses, grew my income with hustle, heart & grit, and turned my situation around.
I paid off the debt, and built a fully-funded emergency fund. I had raised my net worth by $40,000.
And my life was forever changed!
I was able to go on to join forces with my new husband, save an extra $150,000 together, purchase a home, and start investing.
But the transformation started when I was a low-income single parent.
Now you may be thinking, this is great, but how do I begin to save if I am in crisis?
You do it like a single mom with a low income.
You start small.
You stop being a victim, and blaming others.
You take responsibility.
And build from there.
THE SAVINGS STEPS
1. STABILIZE YOUR HOUSEHOLD
If you are low-income, or in crisis, I recommend you start with the 4 Walls. Start with taking care of your castle first. Then you can start giving and saving. The 4 Walls are: food, shelter, transportation and utilities. Place all debt payments on hold if you need to as well.
Talk to your landlord/mortgage company if you need to defer payments. Most reasonable people will work with you. Go to the food bank if needed. See if you can carpool or reduce your transportation costs. Talk to your utility company so you can keep the lights & water on.
Once your household is stable, then you can fight your way through another day.
2. $1000 FIRST
After your household is secure, the first saving step is to accumulate $1000. This “baby” emergency fund will help you deal with small emergencies and keep them from destroying you. Sell stuff online, take on a side hustle, cut out all unnecessary bills, etc. (More hustle ideas in the "how to" section below).
If you are an entrepreneur, manually transfer money from checking into savings at the end of each month. If you have a regular job, you can have your savings automatically deducted from your checking account and transferred into savings.
3. DEALING WITH DEBT
After you have your $1000 I normally recommend you eliminate debt entirely. Shift your savings each month to paying off all consumer debt: credit cards, student loans, personal loans, car loans. If your income is stable during this crisis, you can continue to do debt elimination.
However, if your income is unstable during an emergency such as the Coronovirus epidemic, pause the debt snowball. Pay your minimums if you can. PILE UP CASH! Then, once the emergency has passed, you can go back to paying off your debt.
3. FULLY-FUNDED EMERGENCY FUND
The next step is to accumulate 3-6 months of expenses in savings. This bigger cushion will be the biggest gift you can give yourself. Believe me! Once I had this fund, as a single mom, I relaxed in a place I didn’t even know I was tense! I finally felt peace of mind.
My clients report that they have fewer “emergencies” once they have built the emergency fund. Rather than being a negative attractor of danger, the fund seems to repel problems. And when problems arise, they can be handled with a lot less drama.
"HOW TO" SAVE WHEN TIMES ARE TIGHT
So how do you build savings when your income is down? For those who are in economic hardship, the thought of trying to save money is hard, but not impossible.
REMEMBER I raised my net worth by $40,000 as a single mom bringing in $1500 a month!!
Savings in a crisis does take focus, and dedication.
You need the 3 Big Money Tools: Acting Your Wage, Being Willing to Work, and Using a Budget.
A. Act Your Wage.
This was the most important step for me as a working single mother AND as someone knee-deep in debt. I had to let go of “keeping up with the Joneses” and cut my lifestyle drastically to turn things around.
Acting your wage means not pretending to be wealthy, when you are actually in debt or have minimal savings. This time I was willing to not look good for a while, in order to get my financial house in order. I rented out a room, stopped ordering takeout, looked for sales, and started using coupons. I said, “no” to my kids a lot, and made them earn their own spending money.
Anyone can do this. I got food stamps and state sponsored healthcare. Remember this is a temporary sacrifice, for a lifetime of financial security.
Where could you cut the fat out of your lifestyle, in order to free up cash for saving?
B. Be Willing To Work.
The second thing I recommend is to be willing to do whatever it takes to generate the cash flow needed to progress along the Baby Steps. I recommend dropping the “poor me” attitude, and just getting down to work. Can you take on a delivery job? Work at a grocery store? There are jobs available if you are willing to hustle.
As a single mom I took on a side job at a housewares store, made calls to get extra music gigs, and networked to keep my coaching business strong. I sold stuff around the house. I applied for grants for my business. If I can do it, you can do it.
Also there is no shame in looking for free money, discounts, and grants such as Dreamsavers. There are many free resources out there, from free food at the food bank to business grants.
Stop the whining! Your work ethic and willingness to do whatever it takes are an essential part of your success. Even if you deliver pizzas, you can make an extra $1500 a month! Having more cash to build savings helps keep the ball rolling!
What can you do to bring in extra money right now?
C. Do a Monthly Budget.
The third thing I recommend is to have a monthly written plan for your money, aka: a budget. The cash flow planning form on www.daveramsey.com is great, as is Dave Ramsey’s free budgeting software www.everydollar.com. I have used both.
Having a written plan means you are conscious of where your money is going each month, and you give every dollar an assignment. This also helps you have margin to save, and shows which categories in your budget are out of balance. I talk to a lot of people, for example, whose housing costs are 50-70% of their income. And they wonder why they can’t get ahead!!
The ideal percentage for housing is 25% of your take home pay, leaving enough for debt repayment, saving, and living a good life. When you see how you are giving, saving, and spending, you begin to feel more in control. A budget is empowering!
How soon could you start or upgrade your budget?
So what are you waiting for?
Start piling up cash! It is possible, even in a crisis.
You will get through this. And hopefully this will be the time you say "never again" to being in debt with no savings.
But for now, keep your attitude positive and keep looking for the silver lining. Stay in touch with those who cheer you on and want you to succeed. And let me know when you have your $1000 emergency fund complete!
Bye bye fight or flight!
We just bought our 3rd mobile home to flip. It was so ridiculously easy, I couldn't believe it.
I had been talking with the owner for a few months, and she had it listed for $19,000. She was very motivated to sell, and we negotiated buying it for $8000 cash.
We will be able to do some repairs and resell it for $25,000-$35,000. Woo hoo! After realtor fees and capital gains tax, we will make $10-$15,000 profit.
And voila, there is an affordable home for someone.
We love using 100% cash for these side projects, and seeing that cash grow.
It's called building wealth organically.
We started small, buying our first mobile for cash and then rolling the profit from the sale into our savings and then the next mobile, and then the next.
Using cash to grow cash is very liberating!
For years I was in the debt cycle. I would accrue large amounts of consumer debt that would outweigh the value of my assets, then pay it all off, only to watch it all grow back!
7 years ago when I lost my clients due to a move to a new town, I felt the pain of debt. Even though I had experienced a downturn, my high consumer debt payments kept marching along.
Until I paid them off, I was not able to get ahead.
My mistakes back then:
*Relying on debt to fund lifestyle & my business rather than real cash.
*Overspending each month because I had no plan.
*Not saving at all for emergencies or investments because debt payments ate up all my income
*Constantly chasing my tail to make money just to make the debt payments
When the cycle became too painful, I finally woke up.
I decided "NO MORE!"
And then I learned practical tools to build wealth organically, and started using them with myself and my clients:
To Grow Wealth Organically:
*Completely eliminate consumer debt!
*Use a written plan for your money each month
*Live on less than you make
*Work on upping income
*Save a percentage of your money each month
*Invest, and watch your money make more money!
I paid off $40,000 in debt, saved a fully-funded emergency fund, and saved another $100,000 in 3 years. We bought a home, and then started piling up cash for investing.
The power of cash is amazing! Do you know when you pay cash, you are secure? If the economy tanks, or the real estate market goes sour, or you lose your job, you actually have real assets!
Investing in a home and/or rental properties is the only kind of debt I recommend, because with those you have a real asset.
Just don't do it until you are out of consumer debt and have an emergency fund!(I've seen too many people buy a house without savings and have thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs!)
We know our investments will just keep growing and growing, as we leverage our cash to build wealth.
Whether you invest in the stock market, a business, or real estate, cash helps you grow wealth without risk.
And who knows....
Maybe you will become a mobile home mogul too?
Kathy Kali is a Certified Financial Coach and Business Advisor. She specializes in helping entrepreneurs and working families to build wealth using practical steps. Kathy has a passion to help heart-centered entrepreneurs(healers, coaches, teachers & leaders) build wealth so they can change the world!
For more FREE wealth tips for Conscious Business Owners including "Money Mondays" trainings feel free to join our Wealthypreneurs Changing the World facebook group.
Do you know that it takes the average person seeing you 7 times to sign up as your client? I run a trade show for health & wellness practitioners, and find that sometimes people think one form of networking is enough to fill their books with clients. Not so.
So I figured some basic networking review can't hurt. The standard phrase is people need to "know, like & trust" you before they will buy from you. Trade shows work great only when they are 1 of the 7 ways you network your biz!
Here are my free/low-cost tips on WHERE to network(compared to "high-cost", such as print advertising, which tends to run $1000 and up):
This is the strategy I used that helped me have a $1800 day at my coaching booth at the last Conscious Living Fair! ***FYI the folks who signed up had seen me multiple times in the community, and my Fair booth was just the clincher.
1. Make a GREAT BOOTH at a trade show, with lots of color & products/services and clear signage so folks know exactly what you are offering!
2. SHARE A BLOG or WRITE AN ARTICLE for an online or local publication that features your wisdom & expertise!
3. Share FREE PRODUCTS & SERVICES with your email list/social media as a way to generate goodwill.
4. Give FREE/LOW-COST TALKS locally such as at the public library, or online via facebook live or Zoom, this builds your credibility.
5. Join a LOCAL NETWORKING GROUP such as the Chamber of Commerce, Women Entrepreneurs, or Business Networking International.
6. POST FLYERS on community bulletin boards about your offerings. Be sure and include a call to action, such as a date-specific special or discount, or a class with a particular start date.
7. NETWORK AT SOCIAL GROUPS such as parties, gatherings, or even your local church or synagogue.
IF YOU DO 7 THINGS TO NETWORK, I PROMISE YOU, THE CLIENTS WILL COME!
Some final thoughts on HOW to do networking....
*Have fun networking your way. Only do networking that is enjoyable for you! Some introverts may find smaller groups or 1-on-1 more appealing, for example, than large group events. Some of you may love online networking, some of you may prefer in-person connections.
*Don't overspend on networking. Make sure you follow the 70/30 rule for your business, and keep operating costs(including networking!) to 30% of your gross income, or pay for networking out of savings. This is important so you have margin to run your business AND have a decent lifestyle/be able to build wealth. As you build your cash flow & net worth, you will be able to afford higher cost opportunities.
*Give it time. Gardens do not grow overnight. Your business is a garden. But if you plant seeds of connection, and water them consistently, over time they will become a harvest. It took me a year of being involved in 1 particular networking group for folks to "know, like & trust" me, and then business started pouring in.
Have you helped people make big changes?
Are you someone people go to for help and inspiration?
Do you make good money for your services?
I used to be someone who charged "by the hour", until I had a track record of big results. It became really clear to me that I was under-charging, based on the results I helped people get. Then I changed my pricing to reflect more of my work's true value, which is the RESULT.
I started small, which was good for a beginner.
14 years ago my coaching business started as something I did for anyone and everyone who would work with me. I was grateful to get clients for $50-$75/session, and I worked long and hard for many years to walk with people and their goals. I helped people of all walks of life grow their positive mindset, learn to be grateful & generous, and to set and achieve goals. I helped small business owners grow their income streams, pay off debt, save and invest.
This was perfectly natural for someone starting out. I needed experience, and was willing to work. My classes were very affordable for the average working person($50/month), and were a very small percentage of the results I got for them, 1%-3%, in fact.
The average client in my classes paid off debt/saved $5000 in 3 months! And the average small business owner in my classes had a $10,000 result in 3 months!
Tracking these results helped me have more confidence, as I realized that FACTS don't lie. People were becoming wealthy under my guidance. And I was happy to help them succeed!
While this was good for a while, eventually I outgrew this model. I personally use a "tithing" model in which I give back 10% of my results to the places that have helped and inspired me to get big results in my life. Only 1 of these people whom I had helped build wealth gave back to me in any way. And of course it would be unethical for me to demand that gift. I was just shocked that none of them were grateful enough for their results to give back.
This "under-valuing" came to a head for me with the following:
*A couple who already had $100,000 in investments upped their net worth by $100,000 working with me and gave me $200.
*A woman wanted to get free coaching and was not willing to pay even a small fee, after she had just bought a brand new car!
*A client making $100,000 year paid off $10,000 in debt within 1 month of working with me, and wanted to pay me less than 0.3% of those results, $27 to be exact.
*An entrepreneur wanted free advice on a regular basis, but was not willing to pay for a class, even though they had invested thousands of dollars in another personal growth project.
What a wake-up call!
And I realized...none of this was anyone else's fault. It was my own need to value myself and my results more highly! The "proving myself" period of a decade of coaching & teaching was important for my growth, and for me to see how I could truly help others. Now it was time for a new phase.
I began to seek out new mentors, people who charged rates based on results. I calculated the "tithe" amount for the average result I got for people: 10 % of $5000-$10,000 more in the bank in 3 months would equal $500-$1000 in 3 months. I began to see how I could shift my pricing to reflect more of my true value.
And new clients who valued RESULTS started showing up!
I enrolled high-level clients in classes & private sessions. Because I value my time so highly, I now reserve private client work for the highest paid clients. My programs are chock-full of content and support, but in a group teaching context.
I lost a few people. And that is fine! The people who want everything for free, or who undervalue me, are not my ideal client anymore.
My current clients now really value my time and expertise. They tend to also be more personally motivated, and to be working diligently on the materials I provide.
I still do some "charity" work as part of my own giving practice. I recently gave away 10 sessions to local people in need, and that felt great! I give away plenty of free content in this blog, and in my Wealthypreneurs facebook group, with 100% free information, resources & "Money Monday" video channel.
But I don't give away everything.
If people really want to work with me, they are willing to pay for it. And my fees are still under 10% of the results they get. If folks can't afford to pay 10% of what they want to get, then they are not my ideal client.
What kind of results do YOU help people get?
Are your rates high enough?
What could you charge that would work for your clients AND help you feel more valued and respected?
Good luck with value-based pricing, and feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions below!
Coach. Teacher. Author. Speaker.