As a small business owner, your personal lifestyle may be intimately integrated with your business. When I work with business owners, I work with them on their personal finances because there’s almost a flow from their personal finances to their business expenses.
The instinct works the same with personal finances. You start to feel anxious or stressed whenever you reach your inner threshold. If you don’t like the stress associated with your particular spending style, be it negative, zero, or positive, then my suggestion is that you identify which style you are. Once you’ve identified that, you can actively move your instinct by will and through creating new habits. You can do this is by actively monitoring your money, every week, using whatever accounting system you prefer, online or offline. (For online, there’s www.mint.com, or QuickEnd, or QuickBooks, or Peach Tree, or Microsoft.)Apply categories to every single area of your spending. I suggest no more than 20 big categories because it’s hard to keep more than that in your head. If you don’t have enough categories, then you don’t know what you’re spending on.
Every week, see what the biggest single spending category is, then the next biggest, then the next — potentially up to 5 categories. Where you’re spending your money is where you’re making a statement about your values, nature, and interests in life. Identify where you go, “whether I have money or not, I’m going to spend on this” and then reserve for it, intentionally. Work out a budget so that you can have the space to spend intentionally on what you’re passionate about. That will help to adjust your instinct level by making it feel heard and will relieve you from the stress and self-beatings. But just the act of observing your instinct will also start to shift the pattern, even if you don’t budget for it. So between observing and reserving for your instinct, you can start consciously moving yourself forward, especially if you have an accountability partner. The more you keep them updated, the better and faster your progress will move.
How does this relate to business? Your relationship with your business will operate exactly the same way. There will be a category inside your business that you’ll always feel like that you have to spend money on, whether you have money for it or not. Find out what they are and then you can make a difference.
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