Before you can pay yourself, you should figure out two things: 1) How much you need to pay yourself and 2) how much your business will need each month to operate.
What do we want? Gratification!
When do we want it? Instantly!
We live in a world saturated in instant gratification. We can contact our friends through multiple channels at any time of day, from anywhere in the world. We can have the city’s best sushi or a even just single lime delivered to our front door. The amount of entertainment we have access to at our fingertips is a number that my brain cannot actually comprehend. And we can generate a rush of dopamine in the time it takes to write a caption for a photo.
It’s no wonder why we give up on the things that require more than a few minutes of focus. We have so many other ways to feel instantly good and to distract us from the real work we could be doing. But real work takes, well - real work.
I’m just going to come out of the closet and say this: I actually hate budgeting. And I think so many of us have sucked at it because it actually inherently sucks. A budget is the harsh fluorescent light the morning after, revealing all of our past personal mistakes. Not being able to stick to a budget highlights just how out of control we are in our daily lives, like how we are powerless to marketing that connects with us emotionally or how the market or an employer dictates what we can afford and ultimately, how we live our lives. On the surface, a budget is a bunch of numbers, but at it’s core, it forces us to confront ourselves.
No one taught me how to budget. Not my parents, not my undergrad financial planning professor or any of the professors who were teaching the personal financial planning courses that went towards a personal financial planning certificate. In my memory, there was at most, a short chapter on it, with a fugly, useless template and advice that was certainly a total unrealisitic crap pile.
When I got a job assisting a financial planner, my boss, who had been a financial planner for 7 years, asked me - a zygote in the professional world - what I thought is the best method was for budgeting. And that’s when all the failing started.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this fundamentally human thing: negative feelings like fear, worry, stress, overwhelm and how it relates to our financial lives.
Financial progress is often analogous to weight loss because it takes time for a true transformation to take place. You make a plan, work away it, live life, reflect on your progress, maybe stray from the course and then get back on track. Rinse. Repeat.
Sometimes, even when you have a plan in place, your amygdala won’t shut up. Your fears hijack your brain and take you out of the present moment. Doubt creeps in. Progress feels far. There’s so much to do, how could you waste time doing anything else?
When you’re at a bar at 1am; you’re not drunk, but not not sober, surrounded by a bunch of friends, the last thing you want to do is load several heavy, oddly shaped items into a car only to have to unload them shortly after. This is the worst part about playing in a local band; you have to do everything yourself… but it’s just part of it. It comes with the territory.
To my freelancer friends and small business buddies who hate selling or pitching or talking about the money part of things. I get it, it sucks, but too bad. It’s the trade off for being able to spend your working life building something you believe in. It’s the cost of mostly being in charge of your life. Talking about money doesn’t have to suck. You can stop hating it, but you have to do some work to change your own perspective on it.
Here are some ways I think about selling. I hope some of it will light up your brain and help you power past some of your limiting beliefs around selling and talking to customers about money.