By Sherri L. McLendon
January is the stuff dreams are made of, Sam Spade, the anti-hero of “The Maltese Falcon,” might say. So while we’re wishing one another a prosperous new year and setting our intention for health and happiness, there’s no sense in forgetting about wealth. Most of us wish for wealth, too.
January’s designation as “Financial Wellness Month” highlights the state of our personal finances, just as we enter a new turn of Lady Fortuna’s wheel of the year. Those of us who follow the Laws of Attraction know the rules of the game, whether sourced from Abraham-Hicks or Collier’s “Secret of the Ages” or the popular video version of the book “The Secret.” We focus clearly on the attraction, and when it comes to dirty old money, we just roll the wheel and wish for the highest and best outcomes.
But do we actively create our desires, or do we do the same things year after year and get the same results?
Come on, be truthful. When’s the last time you had a real handle on what’s happening with your money, personally and in your business? Has it been a month? Six weeks or more? Do you say things like, “I wish someone would just take care of that for me,” or “I’d be fine if I didn’t have to worry about the money,” or “My vocation is too important for me to think about anything mundane?”
January is the time to get right in your relationship with your cash flow. Consider money in terms of life force energy. How much of your life force energy do you spend at work, and how much of that is reciprocated financially?
If you’re not sure what I mean, consider:
• How many times in the past year have you used credit cards instead of cash in your business, but then not paid down the balance at the end of the month
• Do your operating costs for your business exceed about one-third of your gross revenues?
• How far behind is your bookkeeping?
• Do you need to file quarterly taxes?
• Do you have a “bucket list budget” for your business which includes line items for future directions, coaching or personal growth?
• When is the last time you had date night with your money to review income and expenses?
• What is the dollar value of your barters or trades?
When it comes to money, I’m no less fallible than anyone else. But despite past mistakes, I’m a planner as well as a doer.
Like any resolution, you have to commit and take decisive action consistently over time. In January, consciously create business building money habits to see improvements weekly in the health and happiness of your business – and yourself, as you grow increasingly confident and competent.
1. Prepare your taxes. Many of us get refunds, so getting a head start on the documentation needed to do the paperwork creates a sense of peace, completion, and promise for the New Year.
2. Hire a bookkeeper. It costs less to pay for help than it does to pay penalties and interests during tax season or for late payments and payroll errors.
3. Open a savings account. Even $50 or $100 a month leaves a tidy sum for thoughtful gifting. And a good “bucket list” helps you plan your business infrastructure for future growth.
4. Leverage something you know or do by creating a one-day retreat online for individuals or a small group – paid in advance. (You can also create an up-sell at a great value to your clients.)
5. Use the lull after the holidays to review contracts, agreements, and work flow to make adjustments in your favor for the coming year.
6. “Plan your work and work your plan” is an old Covey-era catch phrase. There’s a reason it’s still around. Working now on your marketing plan will ensure you can grow your income in 2014.
7. Raise your rates on Jan. 1. Most entrepreneurs undercharge by about 20 percent on average. To decide if that’s you, list all your costs of doing business – including your fee for doing the work – and multiply by three. If you’re charging less than that number, your business likely costs more than you make – and may be headed for trouble.
8. Show gratitude. In some small way, let your clients know how much you care, and how much you appreciate their presence in your life.
9. Hold yourself accountable. Track your income, set your monthly marketing goals, and hold a weekly date night with your income and expenses to create comfort and joy 52 times over in the year ahead.
In parting, I’d like to share a simple insight from 2013. As women, we pretty much always understand our money as a reflection of our value and worth in the world. In truth, money can be a mirror for how we spend our life force energy. It can flow like water into deep pools of contentment or slip through our fingers like quicksilver. Most of us want the feelings of freedom, peace, or affirmation the ease and grace the flow money can provide, but few of us ever come to understand how to work consciously with money once we attract it. It’s my hope that this column dedicated to Women, Spirit and Money will continue to serve each of you throughout the New Year, and that you have more money than you need to create the life you want for yourself and those you love.
Wishing you a Happy & Prosperous New Year 2014! May abundant blessings follow wherever you go.
Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., owns and operates Professional Moneta International specializing in mindfulness approaches to marketing public relations and feminine leadership. Join her 2014 virtual “Women, Spirit, and Money Mastermind” a 9-month virtual, experiential program designed for spiritual women working together to create breakthroughs in their relationship to money, business and life. Learn more at www.professionalmoneta.com.