Changing Your Mindset About Money

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’.

time is ticking watch face close up

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?

someone counting a stack of dollars close up

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.

laptop compter with reporting data on it

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.

are you still begggin for money for you business? homeless signs

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.

athletic runners starting a race in black and white

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.

man throwing arms in the air in victory

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?

 

 


Photos thanks to Agê BarrosSharon McCutcheon , Lukas Blazek,  Matt Artz , Japheth Mast  and Braden Collum  on Unsplash.

How to Create Remarkable Client Relationships

Unremarkable Experiences Are Everywhere

When you think of the companies you deal with, are they remarkable – in a good way?

It’s probably easier for you to remember which companies are unremarkable. There are many successful businesses that have frankly awful relationships with their customers.

Cable companies are a great example of this, as I recently discovered when I stayed at my parent’s new house in Florida. I couldn’t sleep because of all the electronics in their spare room, so I unplugged it and got my solid 8 hours.

I woke the next morning to a household in absolute pandemonium. It turns out that I hadn’t just unplugged the Wi-Fi, I’d unplugged the whole house. The electronics was their SmartHome Hub. Everything was down: the air conditioner, phone, internet, TV, security alarm, washing machine – the lot.

unhappy customer -painted faceThe whole process of dealing with the cable company was painful; ridiculously long account numbers, getting passed between departments, long periods on hold. I’m sure many of you can empathize. Finally, I’m informed that they’ll send an engineer out to restart the system…in 6 days.

6 DAYS!

After a lot of back-and-forth, they finally agreed to send an engineer the next day. It was an uphill battle just to get a basic service from a company we were already paying. I was left stressed out from a simple phone call.

When it comes to business relationships, this was definitely at the low end of the scale! But really, you don’t see a lot of really remarkable relationships out there – at all.

Think about it. You’ve definitely had an experience that makes you remember it, in a positive light.

woman-remembers-great-experience-on-phone-smiling

Those are the companies that you recommend, the times you think of when someone asks you about your experience. Have you ever said to a friend, ”Oh, use these people, I had the best experience with them…?” I’m sure you have…

Use my free worksheet to start creating remarkable relationships with your clients – download it here!

What’s a Remarkable Client Relationship Anyway?

When someone goes out of their way to create an exceptional experience, you’ll remember it. Here’s a story I heard recently about exactly that:

My friend, Bob, gets in a taxi to catch his flight home from Houston airport. As soon as he gets in the cab, he notices a copy of the Wall Street Journal on the seat. The driver turns around to Bob, greets him formally, points out that the newspaper is his to take on the plane if he wishes, and invites him to help himself to a cool drink from the cooler.

new-york-taxi-cab-meter

This quickly turns into the best taxi Bob’s ever had. When they arrive at the airport, the driver helps him out, directs him to his check-in desk, and hands over his card, saying,

“I’d love to be your driver, whenever you’re in Houston. Whenever you’re here, give me a call and I’ll pick you up at the airport.”

Thinking about the experience later at home, Bob Googles the average cab driver’s salary in Houston. It’s around $20k. So, he emails the guy to thank him and commend him on his service and asks him how much he makes. It turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that this taxi driver makes $150k a year! All of that from regular clients, who call him when they’re in town.

So, this clever taxi driver is making 7x the average salary, simply by providing a great service and building remarkable relationships with his clients.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Even A Little Goes a Very Long Way

Creating a remarkable client relationship doesn’t mean you have to perform some back-breaking client service. Far from it. Less can often be more

Take one of our BA members, who was dropping off his car at an airport carpark. All the stresses of finding a spot to park, along with the general travelling woes we can all get, was making the experience pretty awful.

But then, when the shuttle arrived to take them to the airport, all these were completely mitigated by the attitude of their driver. She went so far out of her way to improve the experience of her passengers that it changed their entire trip. She even hugged everyone as they got off the bus, wishing them a safe flight and a ‘see-you-soon’.

cool-sparklers-memorable-experience (1)

Now, that’s a remarkable experience. And if you think about it, it really didn’t cost very much at all, apart from a bit of energy and love. Those little extras really can go a very long way. How often do you find yourself talking about an airport car park in a positive light?

Southwest are excellent at doing this exact kind of thing. They take it as a matter of pride to hire people who are exemplar at customer service.

And when this naturally creates remarkable moments with their customers, they’re great at talking about it too. Even something as little as one of their pilots waving back at a little boy becomes a life-long memory (and a great viral marketing video!):

 

How to Create Remarkable Relationships With Your Clients

What does an exceptional/remarkable experience look like for your clients?

With my own business, I try to create systems that make it easy for my clients.  It used to be that everyone would be looking for the Zoom link before a group call. Then I started sending reminder notes with the link the day before. Problem solved. That’s just one point of contact but there are many.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Commit to Creating an Amazing Experience

Try to write down what kind of experience you want your clients to have with your company. Write this down and fill in the blank: ”I want my clients to have an amazing experience that…” You decide.

freelancer-business-meeting -handshake

From this vision, you can start creating a system that you and your team can follow, to help ensure your customers have the best experience.

Whether that’s a birthday card, a ‘welcome kit’, a ‘feedback survey’, or simply reminders to touch base regularly with clients, it all helps. If you’re unsure of where to start, examine each stage of your customer’s journey and ask yourself, ‘how can I make things easy and even fun for my clients here’.

Once you’ve committed to a vision of a great experience, and put systems into place behind it, you’ll be well on your way to creating remarkable client relationships.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Create a Memorable Client Onboarding Experience

One of the most important processes for creating great client relationships is you on-boarding; how your clients are initiated as customers.

woman-client-onboarding-creaative-agency-meeting

You want to start thinking about how you can make it easier for yourself and your team make every client interaction memorable, creating a great relationship from step 1 onwards.

Start with a ‘touchpoint’ analysis for your business. What are the touch points for your business? Can your prospects and clients find you when they want to? Can they call you? Are you creating an easy and comfortable customer journey?

Sometimes bad clients aren’t bad, they’ve just never worked with a creative before and need you to help you guide them. To remedy this, you could create a project schedule, so they understand where the project is and where it’s going at all times.

Often you may find things you think they know all about, they actually know NOTHING about. Take the time to explain the work and the process and they will really appreciate your honesty and transparency. Maybe even let them glimpse your working process, and they may appreciate the skill what you do even little more.

open scheduling planner book agenda (1)

Create Real Connections With Your Real (Human) Clients

Sometimes, just reaching out to people on a human level, genuinely being interested in their lives and listening to what they are actually saying is remarkable.

Even if you’re not going to end up taking on a project, it can’t hurt to take 5 or 10 minutes to help someone out. Giving your advice and taking the time to engage with people and figure out what they need is memorable. You’ll probably find that approaching your prospect meetings like this gets you referrals, even if it’s not from them!

man and his client having a casual conversation

The most important thing here is connecting with your clients on a human level. I always phone or Skype when interacting with my clients about anything remotely important. Not only can they reduce the confusion and time taken on a task, they also help to make the relationship real, as opposed to just a business one.

Once your clients are ‘through the door’, think of ways you can do something unexpected for your clients, things that make them enjoy working with you – things that make them say, ‘wow’.

Even something seemingly small and un-businesslike can help build these relationships. When you take the time and thought to send someone something, even a card, sharing an article, asking after their family, you’re creating that remarkable client relationship.

Get As Much Feedback As Possible

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, and implement it! Embrace all your negative feedback because it will help you to improve. Pay attention if things get a negative reaction. What can you do to make it a better experience? Often those that give negative feedback which is resolved turn into your most satisfied (and vocal) customers.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

 


Photos by Andre Hunter, Kinga Cichewicz, John Cobb, rawpixel.com, Tim GouwCollin Armstrong, Eric Rothermel and Anna Vander Stel on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Why Smart Creative Entrepreneurs Make Plans (and how to make yours for 2018)

If you’re like most creative business owners, you’ve been too busy getting the work done to be worrying about planning for next year. Creative minds thrive on improvising their way to success. If you made it through 2017 without a plan, consider one for 2018?

Most successful creatives eventually learn that it’s the structure and routine of a plan that allows you to be truly successful.

set aside some time for 2018 planning

Download the 2018 Strategic Planning Workbook here

Take the weekly groceries, for example. Whenever I drop into the store to pick up a couple of things, I end up spending $60 on things I definitely didn’t need.

 

However, when I plan the meal and make a list, I spend less money and use everything I bought.

It’s never too late to start planning. You might even enjoy coming up with new processes or strategies to try, new product ideas to test out, or new ways to  get clients.

The hardest part is getting started, right?

One of my favorite lessons from ‘The E-Myth Revisited’, by Michael Gerber, was that planning is the difference between working in your business and working ON your business.

One of them is going to lead to 70 hour weeks and a permanent migraine from the stress. The other leads to greater freedom and more money. Which would you choose?

Planning simply means looking forward a year (or two) and trying to assess where your market is headed, decide where you would like to go, and whether you have the right resources in place.

Planning is your big creative ‘what if’, that helps you figure out what you’re going to be doing the rest of the year. It’s your blueprint for creating a successful and stable business over the next year or more. When you break down your goals into daily tasks, processes or routines, your plan is your ‘how’. But a great plan is so much more than that too.

Download your 2018 Strategic Planning Workbook here

A great plan is your shining light at the end of the tunnel. It’s your reason to keep plugging at something when all seems lost. When you wake up in the morning and ask yourself what could possibly be the need to go to that meeting at 8:45…your plan will be there to remind you of the ‘why’.

‘Hows’ are very easy to come by, but ‘whys’ are much harder to find. Once you have your ‘why’ though, suddenly every decision you made has been made for you. When you have to decide whether to take on a project, or tricky client, or any decision at all, just think back to those yearly goals, your ‘why’ and ask, “Will this help me reach that goal?” You’ll soon know what to do if it doesn’t. How to say NO to a client. 

Your Why should be beyond making money. For example, my Why is to build community and inspire creative entrepreneurship.

Once you decide to start the process, it can be surprisingly fun. It’s a time to do two things you rarely do as a business owner. To really let yourself imagine or dig deeper into your vision for what you really want the business to be. The second, and this is the art and the challenge for most people is to figure out how much of that vision you can realistically expect to achieve and by when.

One of the most useful aspects of a great planning session is that it’s often the first time a creative entrepreneur sits down and actually looks at all the aspects of their business as a whole.

So, great planning starts with a good understanding of your current state of your business.

Download your 2018 Strategic Planning Workbook here

This process is mostly creative.

It can definitely be tricky to stay grounded in the day-to-day of your business and simultaneously critique and envision a better future, but a plan doesn’t have to be set in stone. The more often you come back to reassess your plan, tweak it slightly, change this aspect, reassess this area, the better you’ll become at it.

And if you’re really stuck, you can always book a call with me 🙂