As an entrepreneur running your early startup, you may find yourself in a similar situation that I and thousands of other early-stage entrepreneurs found themselves. Where is the money going to come from? How much will come in this month? When I started JTB Consulting, I never knew how much money would come in each month, but it always seemed to work out … and it still does. Still, the fear of lack of money woke me at early hours of the morning with a pressing feeling and knot in my stomach. The thought: “What if…”
It took me some years to discover a way to deal with all these worries about money.
I realised I couldn’t control the clients that might want to hire our consultancy, but I can control my mind – my personal view of money.
Even now, after years of practice, I believe that my relation to the idea of lack, not having enough, my relation to this fear, influences the flow of money in my personal life. A person’s relationship with and view of money has a lot to do with how they see themselves and will influence their decision making. I have lost count as to how many times new business owners told me that the major reason for starting a business is to get rich, earn a lot of money, create a lifestyle, blah, blah, blah. It still saddens me when I hear talented would-be entrepreneurs talk like this. They have a misconception of what it takes to become your own boss. I used to say it a decade ago, and I still say it today: “If you want to start a business to become rich and lead a comfortable life, then you are better off staying in a 9 to 5 job”.
Money is really such a big deal for a lot of people. Even those that have enough of it. Money is a mindset. A way each of us look at the world. And let’s be honest. Money is very personal. For some people, it does become an obsession. For others, it comes and goes like the new day.
So, where do you find the balance?
If you read some new-age viewpoints, you will read that money is an energy, money is love. Thank you Guru Whatever, I do agree to some extent that money can be used to demonstrate love, but I can’t pay my groceries this month with love alone. No matter how loving I am to the cashier, I doubt that she would let me leave Pick ‘n Pay with all my shopping just because I gave her a big hug full of radiant and positive energy.
Perhaps you have the following mindset, and absolute convincing believe in how the world of money works:
Since an early age, you have been told (and therefore conditioned) to survive this ugly, harsh world. You are alone. And you have to make it come hell or high water. You believe that money is scarce and you need to fight for every Rand or else, someone better, someone smarter, someone more conniving, someone more beautiful will take your share of the money, and leave you behind. You are constantly faced with negative media talking about another increase in the unemployment rate. Another company that is laying off hundreds of workers. Another increase in the price of petrol.
Or, perhaps you believe:
When I use my talents, follow my passion, enjoy the journey, find peace in what I am doing, and live out what makes me happy, I believe life will reward me. The proverbial pie is large enough to allow each of us to get a slice of it. In fact, I believe that there is more than enough money for all of us and when I start living from a place of rest, sharing my talents, my gifts, adding value to the lives of people, start doing my best in delivering only the best to a client, the money will flow to me as a fair reward.
At the end of the day, you need to decide what you believe about money. Is it your belief that there is enough money for all of us (an abundance mindset), or do you believe that there is not enough for all of (at least not for you)? You need to come to peace with your relationship with money.
From an early age, I started following the share market, reading the annual reports of companies and trying to figure out how companies make (and lose) their money. I started reading books on how to secure your retirement (although I was only 18 years old). Getting to know all the self-help tips on how to save a nest egg become my bedtime reading material. And then I started testing these theories for myself—limited knowledge. But eager to learn. Willing to make mistakes.
As an employee working for a boss, whatever bonuses I received, whatever extra cash I had available, I saved money for new experiences and I invested money for retirement and long-term goals. When I started my own company, whenever the company did better than expected, I saved and invested the extra cash. And soon, the concept of compound interest was no longer a foreign concept to me. I saw it work in my own life.
Yes, I lost money. I made money. There were months I never had enough to save. Months I had to delve into the credit card. But my life lessons become my capital.
But, saving and investing was not the magic formula for me to change my mindset about money.
As a rule, I tend to spend my money on widening my personal horizon, on reading material that make me expand my thoughts and perceptions, and on travelling to various destinations and connecting to people, I don’t know—immersing myself into an unknown culture. Their food. Their language. Their art. Their good. Their bad.
Sure, at the end of every journey, my bank account approaches zero but I do have amazing memories. I have loved. I have lived. I found ecstasy in sitting on a mountain in Europe, in the cold, with nothing more than my own thoughts and this inexplicable peace. And all the while, my focus was on enjoying what I do—enjoying interacting with and meeting new people. Networking. Laughing.
But life is not full of roses and amazing melodies. I have lost a few family members over a short period, including losing my mother changed a lot for me. The experience of death added to my believe in finding the art of living in the moment—a concept that I started to apply to my own life more and more.
I was confronted with the question: “Why would I save all my money for a future life/dream when that future life/dream can be taken away from me in an instant?”
When you have lost loved one, you surely may recognise this feeling. And I realise this can apply to even find yourself the times just after the ending of a relationship.
Death, or the pain of loss, strip away all the non-essential things in life.
The losses in my life moulded the innermost part of my soul and to this day, continue to contribute to my believe of living in the moment and finding all the joy I need in that sweet spot of merely just being here. In the moment. Being present. Interacting. Enjoying whoever is in the moment with me—soaking in the atmosphere that forms part of that specific moment.
In conclusion, I feel that the world’s mindset of the permanent lack of money. forcing us to compete for it is the root cause of most of our problems in this world. Dare I even say the root cause of all evil.
I have decided to step out of this belief system. How?
Simply by thinking differently! I have to believe and my heart tells me on a daily basis there is a much more beautiful world possible, one far better than the one we have created thus far.
At the core of my thinking is believing.
With my life lessons, my pain and journeys enshrined in the deepest corners of my soul, I have come to the realisation that there is no lack in my life anymore, there is only abundance. In the people that is part of my life. In the clients I meet. In those smiles you sometimes still get when you walk past a stranger. There are only blessings, even in between the heartache and pain that forms part of everyone’s life.
Don’t mix the amount of money people have with how abundant they are, how abundant they feel. Many people feel unhappy in their big palaces with security cameras and high fences.
When you reset your mind and believes about money, you may realise that there is abundance living inside you, deep inside you. If you make way for all the negative real estate you have allowed developing in you mind, and if you strip away the conditioned layers of fear, far beyond the voice of social media of a culture that imprint you with lack or shows you what success looks like, you will find an endless ocean of your own abundance. Your own uniqueness. Never miss a moment to swim in it as much as you can.
Life is more than just money. Starting a business is so much more than just chasing money (and success). Enjoying the entrepreneurial journey is more than seeing your bank account grow every month.
Change your mindset.