Understanding your relationship with money is important for you personally, but also for your business.
You may be overcoming a real, deep, entrenched fear of money right now. Perhaps it’s stemming from the trauma of being a kid or a young adult dealing with bills that could never get paid, a steady stream of collections notices… all the stressors that come from not having enough to get by. So now your go-to move is to quadruple-guess every financial decision; rethinking and ruminating until literally any solution could probably feel justified.
You fear whatever success you’ve created could vanish in a flash.
You’re not alone. Complicated relationships with money can be fueled by lots of things, not the least of which is what life was like for us as kids. We tend to go one of two ways as we grow up —
1) step right in those footsteps and mirror behavior we saw or
2) revolt against it and show up in entirely the opposite way (eg: your parents never spent or enjoyed money their whole lives, so you decided that’s no way to live.)
There are 4 relationship archetypes to consider when looking at your relationship with money. Which of these four relationship archetypes do you relate to?
As always, let us know if you find any meaningful insights (or have more of your own to add!) in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
This relationship is easy to spot, but can sometimes be confused with Status. A money worshipper is someone who loves all things money–thinking of how to get it, but also thinking of how to spend it! You tend to believe that money is the solution to all of life’s problems, so you’re likely to throw money at a situation to make it go away quickly. Money is easy come, easy go to you. In your business, as the company becomes more complicated, the problems that need solving come with bigger and bigger price tags. You’re growing but somehow the bank account isn’t.
Your strength: You have good instincts about making money and accumulating wealth. Lean into that side of your money personality!
How to support yourself: Because you can tend to throw money at situations quickly, set a budget, and work with an accountability partner (a spouse, friend, business partner) to hold yourself to it with regular reporting and feedback loops.
Do you find yourself ignoring your bank balance until the bank is notifying you that there’s an issue? Money avoiders don’t like the idea of money, don’t like talking about it, don’t like tracking progress toward money goals. (There are plenty of creatives that fall into this category–though we have some great ideas about ways to help you out of this thinking! AND why it’s better for your creativity in the long run.) As long as there’s a little in the bank, you’re fine and would rather think about literally anything else. This means in your business you’ll find yourself starting projects that you’re not able to follow through with or hiring people only to realize you have to let them go months later.
Your strength: You don’t associate your worth with the size of your bank account and that’s both really healthy for you in general and means you’re more likely to donate, support other causes and efforts, invest in other entrepreneurs. So keep at it!
How to support yourself: Since you don’t like to think about money, it’s helpful to find a financial planner and a CPA (these are usually different people), who can help you understand how money fits into your life story and can help you connect a financial plan with some life goals you probably have.
Of all four personalities, this one is the most likely to have accumulated significant savings! Hell, you’re probably debt-free and have a plan for literally every penny you’re going to earn from now until your retirement. Money vigilance looks like watching every penny like a hawk. And often that’s related to this fear that it’s too good to be true, or it’s all going to go away any minute. So you plan, and plan, and plan, and watch, and plan. And you’re the least likely to use money in your business, even when it would be really efficient to do so. “Why fix that printer? All you have to do is open and shut the drawer an extra time after you click print and it works!”
Your strength: You have a great sense of financial responsibility and planning. Stay with that side of it, and use it to be very intentional about your spending.
How to support yourself: You likely have an exaggerated sense of the “good” that the saving is doing for you relative to other things to do with that money. So let your analytical brain put some real numbers behind your arbitrary beliefs! Go make a new spreadsheet tracking all of your savings and investment activity and calculate the rate of return you’ve realized over whatever period of time that is. Then take a look at the rate of return your business is generating. For MANY entrepreneurs, they can make more money investing in their own business than they ever would in the market. If that’s not true for you, that’s fine. But at least let your decisions be based on real analysis.
While like the worship personality, you too really enjoy money, the difference here is that you believe that money is the ultimate scorecard in life. You feel like, at the end of the day, people will judge you (and your value to society) based on the wealth you’ve accumulated, the cars and boats you have, etc. You’re likely to stash it up, but also sometimes inclined to use your money in flashy ways too–like risky investments, helicopters, etc. Your business is often the source of much of the wealth you enjoy, but you’re likely to pull more of it out of the business for yourself and less rewarding the team that helped you get there.
Your strength: You have good instincts in business that create some real value in the world. Stay focused on following those instincts, even as they evolve to new ideas or opportunities.
How to support yourself: You’re the most likely to need a strong #2 in a COO or CFO capacity. Someone who can help hold down the business decisions and to make sure the business stays appropriately resourced to keep creating the success you’ve enjoyed so far.
Has your relationship with money affected your business?
Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!