Are You Friends with Money?

I thought I was friends with money.

I thought I had a good relationship with money because I worked with numbers, and I did – other people’s money!  I was able to detach my emotions and clearly “see” what drama a client was acting out through their business.  (And my guess is you probably can do the same thing.)Friends

But when it came to my own personal relationship with money, I wasn’t doing so great.  I had challenges around so many aspects of my relationship with money that ran the full gambit of emotions from feeling guilty in my 20’s about making more money than both my parents combined, to discounting my hourly rate (and then the package rates) and STILL providing premium work, to paying myself last or not at all and everything in between.

My relationship with money, like most people was emotionally charged and as the owner of my own business I had no choice but to take a closer look at it or go back to the corporate world and find a job.

One of the things I learned is that there is no difference between your spiritual worth and your monetary worth and that my bank account was an expression of how I was feeling on the inside.  Yikes!  I had a lot of work I needed to do around my relationship with money!

A mentor of mine asked me this very important question:

“How do you treat the person you call your best friend?  Then ask yourself, if money were your best friend, why aren’t you treating them that way?

This was an eye opener for me and I learned that in order to consistently manifest money in my business/life and begin to really claim my value, all of the following MUST be in alignment:  feeling, thinking, speaking, and action.

So here’s an exercise you can do to begin to help you explore your relationship with money:

Take out any denomination of paper money and place it in front of you.  Look at the bill and ask yourself these questions and write down your answers:

  • Money, how do I really feel about you?
  • Money, how do I treat you?
  • Money, how can I have more of you?
  • Money, is there anything else you would like to tell me?

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.  Your answers are exactly the right answers for you.  The purpose of this exercise is to create awareness around how you feel about money.  Your feelings about money have a direct impact in the way you feel about the services you provide.  I encourage you to be in conversation with money – you will be amazed at what you learn about yourself.  I know I was!

Bookkeepers STOP Providing Free Services

Fellow Bookkeepers it’s time to STOP providing services for free!

As freelance bookkeepers we are often prone to providing too much information in the quoting process because of our inclination to be helpful. It’s natural for you to respond with how to fix each problem as the client tosses things out during the initial consultation.

However, you very quickly realize that with the small things you say in conversations during those meetings, you’re giving them ideas that they can take and implement. You’ve spent time figuring out solutions and they haven’t paid for them, but now they may think they don’t need you.

How can freelance bookkeepers keep your working relationships with clients in balance? The solution – do a paid bookkeeping evaluation before providing solutions to client problems.

It’s proper that freelance bookkeepers get paid to evaluate the books and records. Every other profession gets paid upfront just for making the trip out. For example, a car mechanic will not fix your car without looking at it. They don’t know what’s wrong with it, but if you have it towed to them, you pay for the tow.

However, you may be wondering, “How can I show them I know how to solve their problems without actually solving them?” Freelance bookkeepers can do this by following these four steps to getting a paid freelance bookkeeping evaluation:

Step One: Listen to their concerns, but don’t give any answers. At the initial conversation, ask them, “Tell me about the challenges you’re experiencing.”

Step Two: Repeat their concerns back to them to ensure you understand them. If they are not expressing themselves clearly, this is when you can nail it down. You can say, “If I understand you correctly, these are the problems you need fixed.”

Step Three: Focus on the benefits but not the solutions. How will their lives and business be better? Rather than saying “We do this and this,” ask them, “If this were fixed, what would it enable you to do?”  Remember, when you get your car fixed you aren’t thinking about the new belts and gaskets, you’re thinking, “That’s a relief to have my vehicle. I can pick up my kids on time. I don’t have to worry about finding someone to do that.”

Step Four: Offer to do a paid evaluation by saying, “We can help you with that. Would you like to learn about our services?” Without making a huge commitment of time or money, your clients can, at a fixed price, learn what the solutions to their business problems are. And it gives you a chance to establish a working relationship with them

Many freelance bookkeepers are uncomfortable with implementing this new way of doing business. I’ve helped 1,000’s of freelance bookkeepers stop trading hours-for-dollars and get paid for the results they provide and implement a PAID Bookkeeping Evaluation into their bookkeeping practice. Checkout my Bookkeeping Business Tool Box.

 

Are You Portraying the Image of a Successful Professional Bookkeeper?

Many freelance bookkeepers want to increase their income so that it reflects their true worth. That process starts with picking a reasonable, specific dollar amount to aim for. However, you can’t stop there. You need to stay focused on that number every day, asking yourself, “Am I being and doing the things a six-figure business owner does?”

When envisioning your life as a professional bookkeeper, go beyond a dollar figure and include the number of clients, type of office, and position in your community. Also envision the house you’ll live in, the vacations you’ll take, the charities you’ll contribute to, and the college your children will attend. To make something happen, you need to be very specific about what you want to happen and then keep that in front of you every day.

It’s not about what’s waiting for you in the future. If you want to be a six-figure professional bookkeeper, you have to be in alignment with that in your thoughts and actions right now.

It starts with your business image on a day-to-day basis. Rather than thinking, “I’ll dress a certain way when… I’ll have that great website when…” Your image is how you dress, how you show up for events, how you talk on the phone, how you talk to your staff, how you talk to your clients, how you interact in social media and how you behave with yourself NOW.

If you’re still thinking of yourself as a business owner who only makes $10,000 per year, then it will be hard for you to get up to $100,000. You need to think about what a six-figure professional bookkeeper would do in this situation. You want to align your thoughts to that vision. Now this doesn’t mean spending money you don’t have right now. It does mean that you start being the professional bookkeeper who has $100,000.

Be the professional bookkeeper that you envision. Carry business cards with you. Don’t mindlessly send e-mails or responses. Read them through first to ensure they exactly deliver the message you want. You can sharpen the way you talk to someone. If you work from home, get dressed as though you could see someone at a moment’s notice. Being ready will make you feel different and give you a higher energy even if you’re only doing calls.

You might enjoy a certain gourmet coffee. Allow yourself the luxury of enjoying it rather than settling for the store brand. Or when you tip someone, do you only give 10%? Then splurge a bit. See what it’s like to give 15% or 20%. Start doing little things that are no cost or low cost as though you were a six figure professional bookkeeper.

Look at your number every day. Ask yourself, “Am I being a professional bookkeeper? Am I in alignment with my desired dollar amount?” That will focus you. In The Bookkeeper’s Club, we’ve been filling in an i’mage’ profile that you need to portray for a six or seven figure professional bookkeeper. If you’re ready to transform yourself and your business, why not join us there?

Be the Copernicus of the Bookkeeping World

People used to think the earth was flat.  Some people were imprisoned, and even executed, if they suggested the earth revolved around the sun rather than everything revolving around the earth.

What does this have to do with you, the freelance bookkeeper?  Antiquated thinking can keep you from venturing out to find your fortune at the very least.  At its worst it can kill your freelance bookkeeping business.

It used to be the accepted practice to trade hours for dollars.  That’s how everyone did it.  But that antiquated thinking can cause you to burn out, working yourself to death.  And really, is it reasonable that, as you increase your skills and do the work faster, you get paid LESS for those valuable skills?  It’s time to be like Copernicus and challenge antiquated thinking.

When you trade dollars for hours you aren’t being paid for the value, expertise and skill you bring to each client. On top of that, you’re opening the door for clients to “question the number of hours you worked on their account” and having to “defend” or “justify” the work performed.  What a waste of energy! But quite often, fear keeps most freelance bookkeepers from switching – fear that they’ll end up providing more services than they’re being paid for, or simply the fear of the money conversation with their clients.

Imagine how much more confident you will feel using a proven formula that allows you to form a profitable foundation for establishing your flat rate fees.  Imagine basing the price upon what you are worth and not what you think the client can afford. And let’s not forget the biggest benefit for your client – it helps them to establish their monthly cash flow budget, thus gaining better control while still maintaining the same level of quality services.  It’s a win/win.

Copernicus was a mathematician and astronomer who studied the heavens closely and saw how things really worked.  His discovery that the earth travels around the sun was extremely controversial, and not widely accepted for many years.  But time proved him true.

In the times that we live in, trading hours for dollars just doesn’t make sense any more.  It takes courage to stand up and do things differently or battle your own fears and insecurity. Learn exactly how to do it by attending my “How to Create Packages that Keep You Profitable” Webinar on May 16thClick here to learn more and make sure to reserve your spot.

Bookkeepers – Do You Need to Talk to Clients About Rate Increases?

When you read that headline, did it hit you in the pit of your stomach?  If so, you’re not alone. It’s hard to talk about money because there are a lot of issues surrounding money.  It expresses where we are in your relationships with clients, your family, friends, objects and yourself.

There are two things that make it especially hard to have this “money conversation” and tell your client you’re raising your rate.

First, the stories you tell yourself.  When you want to raise your rates, you need to become aware of the stories you’re telling yourself about money. What are the negative voices or limiting beliefs that you hear?

One of the voices I heard was, “Who do you think you are wanting to raise your rates?” As a child I would always say, “I’m going to be rich” even though I didn’t understand what that meant. My aunt once said to me, “Who do you think you are that you’re going to be rich?” I was about five or six years old, and I remember that to this day.

Second, the assumptions you make on behalf of your clients. You might think, “My clients can’t afford that. If I have this conversation with them, they’ll want to look for someone else.”

When you’ve convinced yourself that the client won’t agree with a rate increase, resentment might start to build. However, you need to recognize that you made a decision for the client that they couldn’t afford it. If you resent them because you don’t think they’re paying you enough, you didn’t have that conversation with them.

A freelance bookkeeper can overcome the dread of increasing rates in two ways.

First, recognize your own money triggers and learn to detach. When you qualified your clients, you determined they were a good fit.  So you’re not driven by desperation of needing the money.  That mindset allows you to see that raising your rates has absolutely nothing to do with your clients. You don’t have to justify it to them. Women especially tend to feel they need to, but it’s okay to tell them that the cost of living and providing the best services means your business must raise its rates.

Second, reset your money speedometer. We’re all set at a certain income level that we’re comfortable with, just like we set a car on cruise control.  To earn more or increase your speed can be scary.  You need to become comfortable earning a higher dollar amount. You can do this by asking yourself two questions: What level of money am I comfortable making now? How much do I want to increase that by?

What is your average monthly earning? That is where you are currently set, operating unconsciously, automatically. Now change this setting by deliberately focusing on a new goal a bit outside your comfort zone. You might double your earnings and ask yourself if you believe you can do it. If you believe you can, focus on that every single day. Tell yourself, “I’m a business owner that makes (insert new amount) per month.” If your new goal excites you, your behavior will rise up to match it, and it will become a reality.

After doing your internal work, you’ll be able to announce, “As of this specific date, the fee for my freelance bookkeeping business will be XX.”  And you may be pleasantly surprised when they say, “It’s about time.  You provide a valuable service I really appreciate.”

Would you like an easy formula for informing your clients of the increased rates?  That’s something we’ve been discussing in The Bookkeeper’s Club.  Why not join us so you don’t miss any of the nuggets we’ve been sharing?