Money. We all want it. Some people have it by the truckload. Most of us could do with a little more in our pockets.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in the same boat as the rest of us. So, how do we get into that big, gold-plated boat over there instead?
A Money Mindset = More Money
Back in 2010 when I started my business, I discovered there’s actually a certain type of mindset that you need to have if you want to make more money.
Most people believe their income is determined by external things that are outside of their control. We make excuses for ourselves like, ‘I can’t find the clients’, ‘I don’t have the time’, ’The economy is weak’ or ‘99designs are killing the industry’.
Every single successful entrepreneur – creative or otherwise – knows that really it’s our internal dialogue, our internal mindset, that determines what we get paid.
Want to get paid what you deserve for your creativity? Learn how to create your money mindset with my free money mindset worksheet here.
Of course, acquiring this mindset isn’t instantaneous. It takes time, and it takes practice to figure out. Some people can do it overnight, but for most, it’s an ongoing process.
Today we’re going to start that process for you.
Step 1: Get Clear About What You Want
One of the reasons you’re not making the money you want is that you don’t actually know how much money you want.
Do you know EXACTLY how much income you need or want?
The best most of us have is a general idea about our income and expenses. We aren’t clear on what we want. The first step to making more money is to get clear about how much more money you want. Here’s a little exercise you can do to help figure that out:
Figure out where you want to be
Grab a piece of paper (or you can download my Money Mindset worksheet for free here) and write down the answers to the following:
What are your monthly expenses? What are your expenses and what would you like to put into savings, set aside for taxes, investments etc. Write down everything you can think of and add them up.
Now, write down what would you like extra money for. Is it for education? Travel? To expand your business? A second home? Whatever it is, write it down how much you’re going to need every month to have those things.
Take those two numbers and add on another 10% for unforeseen and emergency expenses. Now you know exactly much money you want. Simple!
Figure out where you actually are
Now, what are you ACTUALLY BILLING in your business monthly?
If you don’t have this number to hand, you need to ask yourself why not.
If you don’t have a proper book-keeping and tracking system in place, you need to get one together, and fast. Your expenses can add up incredibly quickly, especially if you’re not keeping an eye on them. You need to know that you are making money in your business.
Not getting paid what you deserve? Use my free money mindset worksheet to start creating the income you want.
If you don’t have that expense report in front of you on a regular basis, how are you going to know where you can improve? An expense report doesn’t need to be complex software – a spreadsheet will do.
Now you have a bit of clarity on your finances, you can take some action steps.
Step 2: Save 10% – no matter what!
Your first action step is something everyone should be doing, business-owner or not; saving 10% of your income.
Whether it’s a $2,000 invoice or a $20 invoice, once you get paid, stash away at least 10%, somewhere you can’t get your hands on too easily. In a matter of months, you’ll have a nice little financial cushion in your back pocket (not literally!).
You’ll notice that as your savings grow, your mindset around money begins to change. When you feel you have money to spare, it helps to create a mindset of abundance. It’s this feeling of abundance, instead of the stress and worry that you’re aiming for.
As you give yourself a little more space financially, you’ll start to notice that the way you’re thinking about money changes too. This is something you want to encourage.
Change the Way You Talk About Your Money
You may have heard an old saying that goes something like this: “Your thoughts become your words, which become your actions, which become you.”
This is so powerful because it’s true. The words you use to think about money are actually influencing your financial reality. And this goes beyond just finances.
Start paying attention to the way you’re talking to yourself and to those around you about your situation – financial or otherwise.
Start paying attention to your thoughts and you’ll be surprised how much else will change. This happens because most of the stuff in our heads is not terribly helpful; it’s where we find all our worries and fears. The first time I consciously listened to my train of thought it was a bit of a shock – there was some pretty unhelpful stuff going on there!
We walk around all day with all this chatter going on in our heads, telling ourselves what we can and can’t do…
If you’re telling yourself you’re bad with money, or that you can’t afford something, or you have too much debt, or not enough time, you’ll end up being right. Henry Ford memorably described this problem: ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.’
So, think about the language you’re using. With every thought try to ask yourself, ‘is this helpful to me?’. You’ll find that a lot of it is not. The rest you know you can act upon.
How do you start creating a money mindset? Use my free money mindset worksheet – you can download it here.
When you’re constantly focusing on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T, you’re constantly refocusing and redirecting your efforts for growth. Which brings us quite neatly to the final component, visualization.
Feel Your Success
All the top athletes know that success isn’t just a matter of training, or attitude, or luck. Continued, repeated success requires feeling into it.
Champions like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt know this well. Of course, they train hard and have a great biological platform. But that doesn’t account for the kind of success they have both attained.
There have been many studies around training, which have demonstrated that, not only does visualization activate the same neural pathways in the brain as performing an actual exercise, it can also activate the muscles.
In fact, that same study shown above demonstrated that visualization had an equal impact to physical training. Why? Because your brain can’t actually tell the difference is between reality and imagination. Children take advantage of this all the time without realizing – it’s part of their learning process.
Think about that figure you wrote down earlier – the amount of money you’d like to be making. What would it feel like to have that money coming in? What would you be able to do? What would your life be like?
Who do YOU need to BE to have that money coming in? How do you dress? How do you talk? How do you approach a problem?
When you concentrate on where you want to be instead of revisiting where you’ve been, you’re moving yourself into that reality.
Want to start getting the income you deserve from your creative business? download my free money mindset here worksheet to start changing your mindset about money.
Here’s an exercise to help you get started:
Imagine bumping into a friend 5 years from now and telling them what your life is like, and all the things you’ve achieved. It might sound silly, but promise me you’ll try it out – you’ll be surprised at what comes out, and how it makes you feel!
This is the key: once you realize that having that peace of mind, feeling financially secure, and feeling empowered, is something that you project on the world, rather than be subject to, you’re starting to move into a money-making mindset.
This isn’t just about money either – this works for anything. Imagine you’re going on holiday. Imagine you’re buying that second home. Imagine dinner at the Ritz-Carlton.
You choose. You’re the creator of your reality – what are you going to create?