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Money is one of those things in life; when you’ve got it everything gets a little bit easier, when you need it everything is incredibly stressful. As a business owner money is even more complicated because it’s not simply a case of earning enough, you also have to:

  • Manage your budget.
  • Manage your cash flow.
  • Manage your investments.
  • Know your breakeven number.
  • Ensure everything gets paid on time (including yourself!).
  • Maximise the returns you see.
  • Make sure there’s enough to cover slow seasons.
  • Create a buffer so things don’t fall apart if something unexpected happens.

With all that to contend with, you’d be forgiven for thinking money itself is a problem, but more often than not it is your money mindset that’s causing the issue, not money itself. Transform your money mindset, and you can completely overhaul your relationship with money. Follow these fourteen simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to revolutionising the way you see, think about, attract, use (and abuse!) money…

#1 Build Awareness Of Your Money Mindset

Awareness is the key to any change. It’s difficult to transform the way you think about something until you understand exactly what you think about it, and why you want to think differently. Your money mindset is no different.

How do you perceive money right now?

What challenges are you facing where money is concerned?

Money mindset issues are often difficult to face. This can be because transforming an attitude that has been deeply ingrained (often since childhood) is tough. But more often than not they’re simply unpleasant to admit to; we don’t like to accept that we’re not dealing with money well, or that we harbour negative beliefs about what it means to us, our friends and family, and society in general.

For example, when we are uncomfortable with money we often avoid dealing with it at all costs. If you’re putting off lodging your tax returns, rather than efficiently taking care of it and setting it out of your mind, you’re just prolonging the agony. You’re also making it far more likely you have to rush the process, leading to a lot of unnecessary stress, the possibility of making a mistake, and the need to correct problems later or even pay fines.

Once you know you habitually avoid money as long as possible, causing it to become a problem you could have easily avoided, you can put systems in place to avoid repeating the pattern. But first, you need to be aware of the pattern.

#2 Recognise Limiting Money Beliefs

Money is one of those topics we often have odd beliefs about. All the cliched expressions thrown at us since childhood (‘money doesn’t grow on trees’, ‘money makes the world go round’, ‘nothing comes for free’, etc.) really stick in our heads.

The relationships our parents and other influential people in our lives have with money, and our own experiences with earning, losing, and struggling to have enough money, really mount up. We’re often not consciously aware of it, but all the interactions we have with money over the years form perceptions and beliefs about cash that can really limit us if we don’t deal with them.

Recognising your limiting money beliefs and coming to understand and overcome them is essential to moving forward in your relationship with money, and transforming your money mindset.

#3 Forgive Past Money Mistakes

One huge way we develop limiting money beliefs is through the mistakes we naturally make as we move through life. Nobody’s perfect. At some point you’ve screwed up when it comes to money. Maybe you got deep into debt, made a poor investment, or spent a completely unreasonable amount on an impulse buy you couldn’t afford, and never used.

Forgiving your past money mistakes can be a really tough step to take, but it’s incredibly powerful.

#4 Accept Your Present Money Situation

Just as important to transforming your relationship with money is accepting the reality of your current money situation. This is another one that can be difficult to face; reality is a real bitch at times. Whatever your current feelings are about money it’s important to be realistic about them and accept them.

Give yourself permission to react to the current state of affairs. Get it all out of the way. Sometimes you have to experience the full spectrum of emotions relating to something before you can fully accept it. For example, we often avoid dealing with debt because we carry a huge amount of guilt over getting into debt to begin with. This is a perfectly natural reaction to have, but by avoiding the feeling we avoid dealing with the problem. If you can accept the debt you’re in (and all the negative feelings that come with it!) you make space for thinking about the situation logically, and coming up with a plan to overcome it.

#5 Open Your Mind To The Possibilities Of The Future

As much as logic is essential to acceptance and positive action, it can also get in the way. It’s human nature to struggle to think beyond our existing experience. When you’ve never earned more than a certain amount, or never earned money doing a certain thing, or in a certain role, the logical left side of our brain tells us these things aren’t realistic future possibilities. You’ve never done them before, therefore they cannot be done. Useful as logic is, this can be a really limiting mindset.

Does any of this sound familiar:

  • I’m on a fixed income and that will never change.
  • That’s not a business, that’s a hobby; you can’t make money from it!
  • This can’t be a way to make money, if it were someone else would already be doing it!
  • Maybe other people can make money this way, but I don’t have the experience to do it!
  • My situation is complex, it is not easy to change or fix.
  • I can’t charge more as I want my services to be accessible to everyone.
  • You have to work hard for your money.

Start to build your awareness of thoughts like these when they creep in. When you notice yourself putting limits on the possibilities in life, try to upgrade your internal dialogue into something positive, which leaves room for more money in your future.

#6 Stop Comparing Yourself To Other People

The digital age has brought a lot of great advancements, but the rise of social media, celebrity, reality TV, and an often-overwhelming number of publications and online content has led to a new epidemic: comparisonitis.

We’ve fallen into the bad habit of constantly comparing ourselves to others. Our friends, family, mentors, and favourite celebs, we look to them and judge ourselves by their standard. In business, we compare ourselves to the competition and usually believe we’re lacking. Yet this isn’t due to a lack in ourselves, but the fact the people we choose to compare ourselves to are naturally more successful than we are; if they weren’t, we wouldn’t find them so inspiring! We shouldn’t expect to be at their level, because the whole reason we follow them is so we can reach their level.

Constantly comparing your level of success to other people’s is actually really damaging to your money mindset. It creates a false sense of inferiority and lack. No matter how much you have achieved, how much you have earned, or how successful you have become, you never feel it’s good enough, because it’s still not at that ineffable level occupied by all the people you idolise. It’s also really easy to forget that what we perceive about other people isn’t always accurate.

All that glitters is not gold…

#7 Practice Gratitude And Declutter

Rather than focusing on other people and everything you don’t have, shift your perspective. The world often reflects your own thoughts and feelings about it. When you perceive yourself to be a person lacking things, reality frequently reflects that. On the other hand, when you are immensely grateful for all you have and feel you are both wealthy and abundant (in spirit if not in your bank account!), you frequently find more coming into your life.

You can call this the Law of Attraction, or simply recognise that we’re more productive and effective in life when we have a positive outlook. Either way, switching your focus from an ‘only’ mentality (i.e. ‘I only have two people on my team’, or ‘I only have three clients’) to an abundant and grateful mentality (i.e. ‘Woooo! I’ve two fabulous people on my team’ Or, ‘Yay! I have three amazing clients!’) makes a huge difference.

However much you have, the odds are there was a time in your life when you didn’t have that much. In business, in particular, no matter where we are, it’s a hell of a lot further along than we were before we started! Be grateful for all that you have and all that you’ve achieved, rather than down on yourself for everything you’ve yet to gain and everything you’ve yet to achieve. The operative word there is yet; you’ll get there, you’re just not there yet.

It’s tricky to shift your beliefs and feel certain that you’re capable of achieving and having everything you want in life. It’s helpful to ‘declutter’ your life of the things that no longer align with what you’re trying to achieve. That might mean literal stuff – old clothes, worn out things, and budget items you bought because they were cheap, and not because you love them. That’s not to suggest you should get rid of everything that was inexpensive, but rather that you might want to remove the things you don’t like but settled for because they were all you could afford at the time. It can also be an emotional and intellectual decluttering.

Are you holding onto old beliefs and feelings that are holding you back? If so, it’s time to let them go.

#8 Change Your Story

What’s your money story? We all have one.

Maybe you’re the woman who’s always borrowing from your friends and family, or the guy who perpetually runs out of money before payday. It could be that you’re a shopaholic, or a notorious Scrooge. Whatever your story is surrounding money, if it’s negative, it’s time to change it!

The odds are, the way you’re portrayed in that story is not positive. If your story paints you as someone who is bad at earning money, useless at managing money, or regularly falls victim to scams and schemes, you will start to believe it’s true. Your story becomes inevitable. These stories often aren’t actually a true reflection of who you are, and what you’re capable of being. They are simply an amalgamation of your most notorious incidents involving money. And they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

When you buy into your story you do all the things the narrative dictates you will do, even when you don’t need or want to, because your story is telling you that’s what you’ll do. 

You will always need to borrow money, because you always have in the past. You’re bound to run out of cash before payday, because it happens every month. There’s no way you can walk past Harrolds and not buy something, you’re a shopaholic! But if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got. And you deserve a lot more than that!

It’s time to change the script!

Change your story. Tell your new story to yourself and whoever will listen:

  1. You no longer need to borrow money, you’re making plenty of your own.
  2. You’ve got money to spare in the bank at the end of every month, because <