I can’t speak for everyone in my generation, but I know I am not alone when I say I didn’t get taught about money in an open manner growing up.
When I grew up, my goal was to make a $150,000 salary. What did that mean? I didn’t really know. Maybe it sounded good? There was no meaning behind it, I didn’t associate that number with anything. So why did I feel like that number could help me?
The conversation around money growing up was always very confidential. No one talked about money, how much they made, or how much they spent. How could we really know what we wanted to achieve if we didn’t understand what was behind our desire to achieve it?
It was common to hear in our early adult years, “I am so broke,” “oh I can’t afford to go for dinner tonight.” Yet it felt taboo to say things like “I just got a raise for my hard work,” or “I am making good money with this job.” We openly discussed the bad, but talking about the good felt like bragging.
The more I learned about money, I learned to understand I had more control over how much money I made and how actually talking about money could have great benefits in helping each other make it. Money can mean different things for different people.
Now, before I truly get into this, I want to acknowledge that being able to think about money in this way is an extreme privilege that I do not take for granted. And with so many people in need, if you are in a position to think about money through this lens, I highly encourage you to consider incorporating personal donation goals into your lifestyle.
For some reason, the topic of money and salary can seem competitive. But in reality, it simply doesn't have to be that way. When we look at different jobs, we need to understand that there is no reason to compare what we make. Making more doesn’t simply equate to ‘better’.
When we look at similar jobs, knowing how much others make actually allows us to know what our worth is, instilling confidence in us to ask for more when we deserve it.
Want to know how to make the money you want? First you gotta get comfortable talking about it.
When we start talking to our clients about money goals, we start with two focus areas before we pick a specific number goal.
- What value can you offer?
- What strength or expertise do you have that could be valuable to others?
- Why do clients need this?
- What makes your services or product unique?
- How much do you want to work? Full or part time? Seasonal or all year?
- Will you be solo or have a team?
- What personal goals or lifestyle do you want? Luxury or minimalistic? Small cozy home or multiple vacation homes? Stay local or travel the world?
This exercise will help you align your financial goals with what your overall vision of your life is. We want to understand the vision before we can create the plan.
Image: Micheile Henderson
Once you’ve completed the activity of understanding your vision and offering, you can begin to set your numeric goals:
- How much money do you need to make to live your vision?
- Divide how much money you need by how much you want to work - this will give you how much you need to charge for your services.
- Does that price align with the value of the services you are providing?
If it doesn’t, you can re-start the exercise and adjust what works for you. Either your vision, the services you offer, or the amount you work might change. You can keep working through the process until it all adds up.
This activity will allow you to question your true values, what you want to do, and what you want your life to look like. It’s truly a great activity to strengthen your pricing, lifestyle, and to reach your goals.
Once you’re up and running, it’s important to keep coming back to this exercise to make sure you are still in alignment with your lifestyle and financial goals. In addition, you can continue to refine the role money plays in your life by working through the following:
- Increase your rates / prices
- Reduce your expenses
- Audit your expenses to reduce or eliminate any that are no longer serving you add
- Increase your revenue streams (i.e. new services or products)
- Find a passive revenue stream to help with cash flow while not taking your time (ie. record a webinar to sell).
Money may seem scary, but in reality it is simply a tool we use to trade for something in exchange. The more we understand about any topic, the more benefits we can receive. Rather than shy away from it, I challenge you to look strongly at your money and set real goals around it.