How Small Business Owners Can Cope With Stress Due To Money Problems
Has "payday" become an event in your life? That brings you happy times when you have the freedom to spend? Maybe you breath a sign of relief and feel successful managing expenses... for two more weeks?
If this is what money represents—freedom, happiness, and success—then money might be controlling you instead of you controlling it.
As a small business owner, you have to be able to cope with stress that money problems create, otherwise it will guide your life, instead of you keeping on top of it.
The way you communicate to yourself about money can have you experiencing it as either always available, or always lacking. But you have to make some changes to help view money in a positive way.
How Small Business Owners Create Money Problems
In the first couple of years working as a real estate agent, I was constantly chasing after my next commission cheque. I would check my bank account almost daily to make sure I was able to pay the bills, juggle the accounts, and pray for my next cheque to come through on time.
It's stressful waiting for that money to come in. The more we need money, the more we worry.
Having consistency in my income throughout the year was unheard of, and that's a real issue with many small business owners. The stress that it creates in the slower times makes us desperate to find ways to survive. We panic and spend more money on get-rich-quick tactics, that in the end, provide low results.
How Focusing On Money Has Us Making Bad Decisions
This way of living was so frustrating and I couldn't do that anymore. It felt like a constant battle to keep my bank account in the green. The final blow was when I did my year-end accounting and totalled just over $10,000 in interest changes. It became urgent to create a consistent income to improve my cash flow. My money problems were running my life, and I was making bad decisions because of it. I was looking for that easy way to get clients, and spent money on marketing and sales tactics that promised to give me results.
"As long as you see money as a scarce resource, you will continually inconvenience yourself in order to get it." Michael Neill, author and success coach.
When your focus is on making the next dollar and dependent on when the money comes in, you'll find you're chasing the clients more than attracting them. This is a never ending pursuit of the sale that makes you feel like you're always falling behind.
How Your Beliefs Influence Your Relationship With Money
Many of us have been raised experiencing the big spend on payday. The first and 15th of the month are when the banks were busiest. We'd load up on groceries, and make special trips to pay the bills. It was an event where our parents went from worry to relief.
Looking back at my childhood, this was normal. This was how money was handled and decisions were dependent on when the money came in. Between paydays if I asked for something other than a necessity my mom would say, "Money doesn't grow on trees." Then when the money came in, she would write out cheques for the bills and then I'd hear, "easy come, easy go," as the last of the money was spent.
Those beliefs about money stuck with me over the years and this is what my relationship with money represented.
Robin Sharma, in his book The 5AM Club, refers to this as "money scars"—"programs hidden deep within our subconscious that were placed there, unknowingly, by the messages from our parents and the teaching of other powerful childhood influencers."
Whenever I told myself that money doesn't grow on trees, it would have me believe that money is limited and the bank account won't be replenished. So I'd be vigorously hunting for the next client to make sure I had money for the bills that came along. This panicking would distract me from the good strategies I already had in place to create income.
Once I received the next cheque I would have a long list of things to buy. Soon enough that money would be gone, and it would leave my bank account as fast as it come in—easy come, easy go.
How to Change Your Money Mindset
What if you can change those messages you feed yourself around money? To no longer be controlled by your thoughts around money, but be in control of the money coming in and out of your life? Instead of thinking that money is limited, change your money mindset and begin to think of money as constantly flowing in. And instead of money being spent as soon as you receive it, think of money being there when you need it.
Shift your attention from money to opportunity.
By changing the way you view money—always flowing in and always there when you need it—doesn't instantly put cash in the bank. What it does is it takes the attention off of lack of money and lessens the control it has on you. This relieves the stress and you begin to see opportunities that create money.
Focus on what you can control, instead of what you can't.
With the stress lifted you're more in the moment and your mind is clear to see potential for new opportunity. You hear words that open doors to your next client, and being present makes you more approachable and engaging.
When money was controlling me, I missed so many opportunities for new clients. I would be in this cloud of worry and my mind was looking for the next sale, while the next opportunity was right in front of me. I was just too consumed with thoughts of how I'm going to pay the next bill. This worry and stress was picked up by those around me. It would create a feeling of uneasiness and concern in others, making it hard for them to trust me.
6 Changes To Cope With Stress Associated with Finances
To go from being stressed about finances, to being content and fulfilled, I made these six changes for how I related to money. I've passed these onto my clients and they have also seen a shift in their income and happiness.
Start viewing money as a continuous flow, because it is! As long as you have a business there's the opportunity for money to flow in.
Think of money as an unlimited supply—providing the government keeps printing money, you'll never run out. There's plenty to go around!
Have money surround you. I have a clear jar with change in it, and always have coins at the bottom of my purse or in my pocket, as evidence to remind me that I have money. There's a lot to be said about placing a dish at the door to drop your pocket change.
Start to see opportunity by being present in your life—be in the moment and not in your head. Don't let an opportunity pass you by because you have your head down while worrying about money. Opportunity comes in various ways—a new client, a manufacture's special pricing, reduced interest rates, and gifts to get you through the tough times.
Realize the abundance you already have in your life—buying more things won't make you happy, but gratitude for what you have will promote happiness. When you notice how much you do have, you won't be focused on what you don't.
Look for opportunity, not the sale—how can you help someone to make their day better? Reciprocity is a wonderful thing to experience. Soon enough people will be helping you in return.
The way you think about money has a huge impact on your success and how much money you maintain in your bank account. Once you change your relationship with money, you'll begin to notice how consistent your income has become. And how your life has naturally shifted to feelings of happiness, freedom and success.
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Christine Hourd, ACC is a certified professional success and leadership life coach in Calgary, Alberta. She works with clients, online and in-person, to remove obstacles and create strategies to increase sales and improve their quality of life.Talk to Christine and find out how the Success Mastery Program can help you reach your goals.