April 1 marked the first quarter of the year and that means I’ve survived — possibly even thrived — the first three months of the year as a solopreneur/CEO of my Life/Boss! Hurray!
One thing that has surprised me the most over these months is my ability to (somewhat) quiet the money noise. By money noise, I mean all of the stress surrounding finances; worry that I’m going to be late on a bill, etc. Like I said, I haven’t eliminated it, but I’ve nearly shut it out.
I should also explain that money is one of the things that has always given me the MOST anxiety. Even when I had a 9-5 salary job, I have always had jobs on the side because I was never paid enough to meet all of my bills and other financial wants.
During my first few days as a solopreneur, I was terrified to do anything that would cost money. Heck, I was scared to even light a candle in my apartment, because I felt like maybe I should save it for a time when I really needed it… yes, I know that likely sounds insane. But it’s true!
But then, I sort of snapped myself out of it and reminded myself that burning a candle, watching TV, or even eating the food in my fridge was not going to affect whether or not I could pay my rent.
So, I at least got over those types of things. I’ve talked a lot on here about having faith in yourself, and having faith in the universe that you’re where you’re meant to be and things WILL work out.
If I don’t have faith that I’m going to have the means to pay my bills, ultimately that boils down to me not having faith in myself. It’s saying that I’m not going to do enough work to make the money, and that’s simply not true.
Having faith was also a large part of my decision to MAINTAIN my quality of life. For 2018 and 2019, I have made it a point to raise the standard. This means raising the bar in terms of who I let into my life, how I spend my time, and also allowing myself to buy quality things for myself.
That doesn’t mean run out and buy a designer handbag, but it does mean that if a quality skincare item really makes me feel great, then I’m going to buy it and not feel guilty.
Maintaining my quality of life means that I wasn’t going to cut things out of my life just to save money — cable and HBO, Sirius XM, yoga membership, dance membership, etc. Those things, to me, are part of my mental health, my happiness, and they all bring me joy! I know these are often the types of things people cut when they need to save money, but I was (and still am) determined to live the exact same way — if not better — than I ever have.
Yes, there have been several times when I’ve thought, oh man, there’s bills due in a week and I’m not sure if I’ll have it, but once I sit down and look at the payments coming in, it has always worked out.
I’m not saying you can just lay in bed or vacation 24/7 and tell yourself to keep the faith — I wish! There are a few things I do that are a little more tangible.
For starters, I make sure I stay busy. If I don’t have 6-8 hours of work for the day, then I busy myself with things that may (or may not) bring in revenue. That could be looking for more work, working on my blog, or following up with old clients to let them know I’m working full-time as a contractor.
I also have a separate business account that I pay myself from. At my old job, we got paid every two weeks. I made a similar pay schedule for myself, basically paying myself the same amount I made at my old job. And I only pay myself on those days. This way, I have enough money to pay my bills, but I also keep my spending in line.
I have always regularly balanced my checking account using the old school paper register, and with the separate accounts, I can see how much is in my checking, while also looking to see how much is in the business account for my next pay day.
One weird thing I do… is that I mentally designate the money coming in for certain things. I have a few regular clients and the money they pay goes toward my rent, and only that. I know it sounds weird, but it helps me understand where I may need to pick up extra work.
That’s also how I as able to go to London and spend freely — I calculated a number in my head of how much money I wanted to take with me and I found a job that would pay me exactly that.
The last thing I do, and I’ve only had to do it once, is that I try to stay on top of my clients in terms of payment. Since a majority of my work comes through Upwork, I’m guaranteed the money, but if a client disappears, it can take up to two weeks to get paid. If it looks like that’s going to happen and I need the money fast, I’ll look for more work while I wait to get paid.
I hope this all makes sense. I know money can be a tricky thing to discuss, but I also know that several of my readers are looking to take the leap and make the jump to working for themselves some day, and I hope at least something that I offer here can help.
Even if you’re not looking to quit your salary job, maybe these tips can help. One thing I’ve always realized is that having a side hustle or working for yourself, has always made me feel a little more in control of my money. Of course, I can’t control if clients hire or pay me, but I can control how much work I pick up and ultimately, how much money comes in.
I’d love to hear how you deal with money stress or even ways you spend money — are you a spender or a saver? Do you stick to a budget? Treat yourself? I’d love to know!
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