Our brains are tricky little suckers. If we believe something, it dictates our behaviour. So say you really wanted to quit smoking, but deep down you didn’t believe that it was possible. It wouldn’t matter what patches or gum you tried you wouldn’t be able to quit. Because right at the back of your brain there would be a tiny voice saying “this isn’t going to work”. And even though that voice is small, unfortunately it’s the one driving the whole bus. It’s called your subconscious.
Your conscious brain is responsible for about 10% of what you get up to. The other 90% is your subconscious. And here’s the salt in the wound, the subconscious mind is harder to change. And sometimes you aren’t even aware of some of those deep rooted beliefs.
You spent your first 30 to 40 years on this planet accumulating and interpreting information and experiences. Things that have happened to you have shaped your beliefs and attitudes. This is your map of the world. You’ve been drawing it as you’ve been going along. Now, imagine the destination you want to go isn’t on your map. How do you get there? You have to persuade your subconscious mind that it is possible and to do that you have to challenge it.
Is your mindset keeping up with your business?
Challenging thoughts is easy. Challenging beliefs can be like trying to push an elephant through the eye of a needle. But as your business grows, your beliefs about what you are capable of need to keep up.
What you believe about money and your worth can have a significant impact on your business. You might have money stuff going on that you weren’t aware of. Or maybe it’s as plain as the nose on your face.
Uplevelling in your business requires you to step into roles that you previously haven’t had to do. You might find yourself employing someone now as your business grows. Your brain has to catch up with your business to make it all work. Your mindset has to develop from that of a freelancer or a soloprenuer to that of CEO. And often your money mindset is a big part of that jigsaw because sat there in your subconscious are some tricky beliefs and questions that haven’t held you back up to now but which need to be dealt with to get from here to there.
My experience is there’s often a difference between what shows up for men and for women at this stage – men often have a drive to be a provider for their family, women to be a nurturer. The following questions and thoughts have all come up for clients and they were all holding those clients back from getting their business to where they wanted.
Am I being greedy or shallow for wanting more?
Many of us have been conditioned to believe that wanting more than you need is greedy. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a 6 or 7 figure business. Especially not if you have plans for the cash. I don’t know any successful founder who has that money sitting around doing nothing. They’re investing it. Using it. And spending it. There is nothing wrong with wanting an above average quality of life. If you were amassing cash to launch some evil plot to take over the world I might raise an eyebrow. The average business owner wants financial security, a nice car, a nice house, holidays and to be able to treat the people they care about.
Wanting more money seems materialistic
When people win the lottery everyone cheers and says “good for them”. When someone gets a promotion (and the pay rise that goes with it) they get a pat on the back.
But when someone says they want a six figure income from their business, well that’s just greedy. What? That makes no sense. The more money you have the more good you can do. You can’t help anyone if you’re living on the breadline.
I’m not saying that you have to give your money to charity as soon as you become successful. What I am saying is that when you succeed the people around you succeed too. Your success has a ripple effect. On the people you employ, and their families. In the shops where you do your grocery shopping and the small businesses you buy from online. You don’t need to become a philanthropist to have a positive impact on the world. You do that by paying your taxes and contributing to the economy. (I’m looking at you Amazon)
There’s often an undertone here where if people are honest, they feel this way because they see existing successful business owners and judge them for talking about their income or lifestyle. They see them as brash and materialistic. So they feel like wanting money will turn them into a clone of the person they are judging.
Newsflash. A higher income does not come with a compulsory personality transplant. You are perfectly capable of earning more and not being a dick.
How will it impact my relationship if I become the breadwinner
For many of my clients, they spent their early career on an even keel with their partner. One of them might have earnt a bit more, it might have switched about a few times. But overall there was an even contribution.
Then came a family and the dynamics changed. Their partner shouldered the bulk of the burden of financial provision. They shouldered the bulk of childcare and / or running the home. And the rules of engagement changed without anyone actually talking about it happening.
Being a breadwinner can become an identity that is hard to lose. It comes with status, with a sense of pride. It can also be an identity that is hard to take on because if you do that, you are shouldering everything. Or your partner loses it in order for you to gain it.
When they are truly honest with themselves, many of my female clients are putting the brakes on their financial ambitions for fear of upsetting the applecart or changing the dynamics between them and their partner.
If that strikes a chord, grab a pen and piece of paper and start getting it all out. What are you worried about in particular? What are you afraid will happen if you become the main earner in your family? What potential resentments could come up? Maybe, if you’re able to, have a frank discussion with your partner. Get those fears out in the open. Communication is key. Often, it just needs a period of adjustment
I feel awkward talking about prices / money
I used to think this only affected early stage business owners. But nope. This still comes up waaaaay down the line. People duck out of asking for prices they need to ask for, or from chasing up payments that are due, or from negotiating terms based on what their business needs.
The thing is, when it was just you, it felt personal. We have a habit of making things all about us. It’s not about what you’re worth. It’s about what the end result of the work you do is worth to your client.
If you’re an employer, those profits now have a much bigger job. Where they just paid you and maybe your VA, now you’re paying wages, possibly VAT and yourself. You have to put your big CEO pants on. It’s not just about you anymore, it’s about the business.
Elon Musk isn’t feeling all nervous and sick because he is asking people to pay a fortune for his electric cars. He doesn’t shy away from asking for a deposit or wait patiently for people to pay their finance payments. Tesla is a business, and it is run like one.
If you feel awkward about providing proposals, pricing or negotiating terms then do what your business needs you to do rather than dither about how you feel. It will get easier.
Comfortable is enough, aiming to be rich is ruthless
Are you selling drugs to kids outside the school gates or are you helping people solve problems by offering them a paid for solution? Integrity is everything. “Ruthless” implies deception or amassing wealth no matter the cost. Is that really you? Is that really how you feel? If you were truly ruthless you wouldn’t care what anyone else thought.
Rich and ruthless are not synonymous. Look around for examples of people who have great wealth and are doing great things with that wealth. Dolly Parton has donated millions to good causes. Bill and Melinda Gates have been giving money to charities and helping children get access to computers for years. Marcus Rashford has been using his wealth and his platform to help lift children out of poverty and protect free school meals. ( Not Kim Kardashian. Holding a birthday party on a private island during a global pandemic for a group of thirty doesn’t count )
What about the people who look up to you? What message do you want to give them? That just enough is good enough? That you can be too good at something? You can be too wealthy? It’s bad to want more than you need?
Where did your beliefs come from anyway?
If you have these or similar negative beliefs around money I want you to ask yourself something. Where did this belief come from? Is it yours or is it a belief you picked up along the way? Was it passed down to you from your Mum or your Dad? And finally, is it serving you? Is it helping you get closer to your goals or is it getting in the way? If it’s standing between you and your goals, it’s time to ditch it.
I’m a coach for founders and first time senior leaders. They aren’t fearless but they are brave. They want “more” but they’re a little bit worried about what “more’ looks like and means in terms of workload and emotional labour. If you’ve been in business a while now and you’ve hit an income ceiling and more money feels like more work, now is the time to do something about it. Start by booking your free initial chat – I won’t take your money unless I can help.