We all have a lot of ingrained beliefs around money that can be really limiting, and we often don’t even realise it. When you have beliefs that are unsupportive of any area of life, it can be really tough to make any headway, and this is just as true for money as it is for relationships and personal development of any kind.
These beliefs tend to run deep, and come from the way we’re raised, the culture we grow up in, social conventions, and our own personal experiences.
The problem with having limiting money beliefs is that they are really detrimental to the big dreams we have for our businesses, and for our lives, as they keep us stuck.
If you’ve plateaued in your income and are struggling to grow your revenue or profits past a certain point it’s usually because you’ve hit an upper limit.
This is a result of the limiting beliefs you hold around money, your relation to it, your ability to generate it, and your worthiness to receive it.
To combat this it’s really important to be aware of your limiting beliefs and develop a positive money mindset. This is often easier said than done and it takes consistent work to improve your money mindset and develop a positive success mindset, which opens you up to the possibility of more money and a different way of relating to wealth.
Part of that is understanding your personal limiting beliefs about money, and the upper limits they are creating in your life and business. To help you get a handle on it, here are some common limiting beliefs around money and how to overcome them:
“I can either do what I love or make money.”
When you’ve watched your parents working hard in unrewarding jobs because they have to support their families it’s understandable that you would develop this perspective. Add to this the career advisors who lead you away from creative outlets because there’s no money in them, and you begin to see why it’s such a prevalent belief. There are also the stereotypical portraits of impoverished authors, artists, musicians, actors etc. who love their work but can’t make money from it, which reinforces at a cultural level the sense that doing what you love can’t ever lead to money.
Yet the real difficulty in following your passions is earning money from them when you’re first starting out. It can be a real issue, but then starting any new business can be difficult in the early stages as you’re building momentum. Even so, it further reinforces the perception that there’s no money in doing the things you love (unless of course you happen to have a burning passion for practicing law, being a plastic surgeon, or some other high-powered and high-paid career).
You may have accepted that in order to get by in life and be comfortable you were going to have to knuckle down and do a job that was less than enjoyable. It’s called work after all, it’s not meant to be fun.
Or you may have gone the other way (and if you’re an entrepreneur I’m betting you did) and decided to live with the low income for a while so you can keep doing what you love.
You almost don’t mind, it feels like the price you have to pay for a job you adore.
It’s an understandable belief but it’s incredibly limiting, let’s see if we can’t reframe it:
“I can make money doing what I love; my passion will lead to profit.”
Passion translates to enthusiasm, authenticity, and innovation, all of which is highly seductive and will draw people to you. You’re also be more creative and focused when it comes to things you love, and you will be more capable of pouring yourself into creating the products/services you will sell. They’ll be more dynamic, more effective, and more appealing as a result.
You also tend to know your ideal client far better than you would otherwise because, at some point at least, you were your ideal client. This gives you a powerful brand story of how you transformed your own life using the very thing you’re now offering them, to transform their own. It makes you relatable, trustworthy, and genuine.
Contrary to popular opinion you absolutely can make money doing what you love. And if you’re an entrepreneur, doing what you love and loving what you do is actually the key to growing a successful business – following your passion really will lead to profit!
“I have to work hard to make money.”
Similar to the ‘I can’t earn money doing what I love’ mentality, this one is another belief we tend to grow up with as a result of watching our parents working hard to earn money.
When we’re older we see that the successful and high-paying careers like lawyers, surgeons, stock brokers etc. require a lot of hard work, stress and insane hours. Most of them require an extensive education or multiple degrees just to qualify.
We’re raised on the concept of being paid for our time, and almost everyone starts out working on a time-for-money model, with an hourly wage, or a set salary that requires working set hours. To make more money you have to work longer hours.
This is an ingrained belief that the majority of people have and it’s really detrimental for entrepreneurs because it quickly leads to burnout.
Worse still, when you’re overworked you don’t do your best work. You miss things, make mistakes, are late finishing work.
In addition, any time-for-money business model has a built in upper limit because there are only so many hours in a day. You physically can’t work more than a certain number of hours, so unless you increase your hourly rate exponentially to a ridiculous level, your profit level feels limited.
So how can we shift this belief? Let’s start by telling ourselves this little gem of an affirmation…
“I love and excel at what I do. My passion and skill solve real problems and will lead to great profits.”
The biggest reason we feel like working hard is required for earning money is that we can understand the tangible worth of hard work. If someone puts the hours in they deserve to be compensated. If they put more hours in, the deserve to be compensated with more money.
It’s all about worth.
By developing your self-worth so that you feel you are worthy of charging higher prices, you will find you can increase your hourly rate to a level that allows you to earn more for the same amount of work. Beyond that, it’s important to consider the inherent problems with hourly billing, and the alternatives that are available.
By investing in your self-worth and consistently growing your self-worth to create business success, you can turn this limiting belief on its head.
“Money is the root of all evil.”
This is another big one and it’s largely cultural. This is actually a quote from the bible (1 Timothy 6:10 if you’re wondering) and is a prevalent theme in many religions.
Not only that it’s a cultural stereotype. Think of the ways we’re presented with the link between earning a lot and greed, through the portrayal of ‘fat cats’, and the notion that rich people become rich by keeping poor people poor (Scrooge, politicians, etc.).
Isn’t it time we had a different way of looking at it?
“Money is merely a resource that can be used for great good.”
Money, like any inanimate object, is neither good nor evil. It is the will and actions of the person wielding it that dictates whether it will be a force for good or evil.
Having more money allows you to care for your friends and family, ensuring a quality of life for yourself and for them. It also enables you to donate to charities, start charitable foundations of your own, and develop programs that help people.
More than that, by doing what you do to earn money you are providing necessary services that are genuinely needed. So not only does the money you earn allow you to do good, the way you earn it is also helping people.
If this is a belief that bothers you focus on working ethical factors into your brand and marketing, and creating built-in ways of helping, such as a percentage of profits from certain products or services going to a charity that is relevant to your niche and ideal client, or has personal significance to you. Offer scholarship competitions to enable a set number of people each year to complete any training or educational programmes you run for free.
To quote Ricci-Jane Adams, “It’s very much about being unafraid of making money, as it directly affects my ability to serve on a larger scale.”
“I have no control over whether I become wealthy.”
A lot of income feels arbitrary and dependant upon other people – bosses setting your salaries when you have a 9-5, and clients choosing whether or not to buy from you once you have a business. We pin our hopes on luck and windfalls, winning the lottery, or finding that magic bullet.
It makes becoming wealthy feel like someone else’s choice, or something only achieved by magic.
When you have no control over something you can’t take action that leads to a particular goal or end, because the outcome doesn’t rest with you. As a result, you become paralysed by the perception you have no control, and never take the action needed to create wealth.
This reinforces your belief that you have no control over things, because you never reach your goals or create the level of wealth you want.
But what if we flip that perspective…
“I can create the life and wealth I want as long as I take consistent, proactive action.”
Get really clear on exactly what you want to achieve in terms of income and the lifestyle you want to live. Then, figure out how to make it happen – make a plan and take consistent, proactive action towards your goals.
Celebrate every win – even the small ones – and keep reinforcing the fact you are in control, because you are already creating change and bringing yourself closer to your goals.
“Money doesn’t buy happiness.”
There is another cultural view that wealthy people are often miserable as a direct result of their wealth and the accumulation of that wealth. Again this is reinforced by the image of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, and other similar stereotypes.
Money can be isolating and separate you from people, especially if your existing friends and family aren’t particularly wealthy. You may worry that money will take you away from the people and things you care about most.
More than that though, people with a spiritual or religious side will probably have been counseled at some point (and may deeply believe) that happiness cannot be tied to material possessions or money. Happiness comes from being good, doing good, and having good people in your life, while spending your time on worthwhile pursuits.
The accumulation of wealth is not considered ‘worthwhile’ by a lot of religions, and is frequently frowned up. Religious and spiritual figures frequently forgo wealth and all worldly possessions, choosing to live simple lives. There’s the image of Jesus wandering as a nomad with no possessions or wealth, and the buddhist monks who give up all their possessions. The latter can’t even buy and prepare their own food, instead relying on others to provide for them as part of their faith.
It’s easy to understand how the pursuit of wealth came to be seen as the antithesis of happiness and spiritual well being by a lot of people. Happiness is an elusive concept that runs a lot deeper than simply having money or things that can be bought with money, therefore money doesn’t buy happiness.
The flipside of this is that money actually makes you miserable, depriving you of happiness.
“Money can buy the resources and choices to create a good life for myself and others.”
There is a certain logic to the notion that money can’t buy happiness as, technically speaking, money can’t buy a feeling. But contrast the Christian view of poverty as piety with the Jewish views of money and you can see a stark difference.
Jewish beliefs concerning wealth are that poverty is as a bad thing, which should be avoided whenever possible. Choosing to live in poverty is not pious, or beneficial for spiritual purposes. On the contrary, raising yourself from poverty and helping others to escape such circumstances is viewed by Jews as an extremely positive, spiritual achievement.
It’s all a matter of perspective!
Money can buy the resources required to help you create the feeling of happiness considerably more easily.
It can buy you the choices and freedom needed to enable you to do the things that will make you happy.
It can ensure financial stability and a great reduction in the stresses and troubles that come with a lack of money.
It can enable you to create a good life for yourself, which will in turn enable you to pursue happiness without having to sacrifice your quality of life, or worry you are letting people down.
Crucially, money also allows you to provide that same level of security for others, so that they might pursue their own happiness.
“It takes money to make money and build a successful business.”
Another overriding perception is that you need to have money in order to make money, especially in business. It goes like this: you need cash to fund a startup, money to fund advertising and marketing campaigns, and even more money to grow your business.
This is a really strong belief and it can prevent people from starting their businesses, or launching new products and services, because they don’t believe they can complete a successful launch without money for marketing, PR, and advertising.
We often have an inflated sense of how much we should be spending in order to create profit, and because we don’t have that magic number sitting in our bank account, we’re paralysed and never get anything done.
If we do get things moving, we end up spending far more than we need to, leading to us creating far less profit than we could have done because we’re overspending.
If you’ve ever noticed that your expenses and outlays increase in proportion to your income you have experienced this limiting belief in action!
So let’s deal with it shall we?
“Building a successful business is the key to earning money and creating financial freedom.”
While there is a certain amount of money required to keep any business running, the creation of your business is the portal to your financial freedom.
Your business can and should be profitable from the start.
This may seem impossible, but (like many of these limiting beliefs) it’s simply a matter of perspective. If you prioritise profit and ensure your expenses never exceed the amount you can afford to spend while still earning the profit you want, your business will always be profitable.
Likewise, growth and expansion don’t need to require massive outlays or funds in place before they can happen. Organic ways of growing your business are entirely possible and should be your focus.
“I never have money to spare.”
This is similar to the concept that you need to have money to make money. A lot of people find their expenses increasing as their income increases, so that they are always balancing on the brink of not having enough.
They cover all their expenses, but no matter how much they earn, there is never any to spare.
This often leads to the belief that there is never going to be enough money for you to have money to spare, for treats and luxuries, to save money, or to invest it.
As a result, you panic a little if there is money left in your account at the end of the month, and feel like you’ve neglected to do something important. After all, you ‘never’ have money to spare, so if there is money to spare it must be because you haven’t spent it on something important.
The problem is there is no room in this belief for you being good at managing money, so…
“I manage my money effectively so I can create even more.”
Effectively managing your money ensures that you always have money to spare, that you are setting money aside for treats and luxuries, and that you are building your savings. This is another shift in perception, as you have to stop seeing ‘spare’ money as money that serves no purpose.
When we see anything without a purpose it’s our natural response to try and give it purpose. To give it meaning.
We quickly allocate our spare money to something else and feel better, because we’ve put it to work – it’s doing its job.
The word ‘spare’ is the problem. It makes it sound like there’s no purpose it, and that is really demoralising when you’ve spent so much time and effort earning it. But think of it this way – it’s like the spare tyre on your car. It has a purpose, and a function. It’s there to rescue you in the event of an emergency.
Spare money is much the same. At a basic level it’s there to provide extra cash in the event you have an unexpected expense. But at a deeper level, spare money is there to keep you safe. To help you create a lifestyle that is healthy and balanced, with plenty of time off to relax and do things you love. It’s there to enable you to further grow your business in the future, to expand and create even more profit.
‘Spare’ money actually forms the most important function of all – it’s your safety net and ticket to health (both professionally and personally). So stop thinking of it as spare, and think of it as having a different and totally necessary purpose.
For more help in shifting your perceptions of money to give you a more abundant focus, book a curiosity call and we can talk about what money mentoring can achieve for you and your business.
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