By Nicole Cooley, Contributing Writer
Managing your finances and building a business can be boiled down to one thing: Good habits.
If you want to change something, change your habits. If you want to pay off debt, stop binge shopping and cut up the credit cards. If you want to build a business, get off social media and make the sale. Habits evolve with us and change over time. But they are always there, driving the results of your life.
In my twenties, I developed some bad habits that put me on the credit card rollercoaster. So when I started my business I had been-there-done-that with the credit card debt. I knew how ashamed and constricted being in debt made me feel and I knew the discipline required to get out of it. I also knew how liberating it was to pay if off and that is where I wanted to stay.
That journey inspired me to launch my Money Coaching business to help others feel the freedom that comes with learning and practicing good money habits. It felt right to build my business organically, with no debt.
I used my day job to help fund my initial business training and expenses so I could start my business debt free. I wanted the safety net of my paycheck while I was testing the waters with my business. That felt good, and smart to me. When I had my son, I quit my corporate gig and focused on being a mom and building my online business full time.
When my business lost the support of the day-job paycheck, my habits again had to evolve. I buckled down and started running the business as a self-sufficient entity. I analyzed every new expense because every dollar is important in the growth stage of business. Google is my business bestie and I have DIY’d a TON. My favorite quote from Marie Forleo has served me well, “Everything is figuroutable.”
I strive to run my business, from my services to financial decisions, in a way that is in alignment with my values. It is also what I work with my clients to achieve with their own personal finances. I believe when you choose to treat your money this way, it feels better in your gut, and builds a strong foundation for your life. Maybe my business growth is slower than it would be if I poured a ton of money into it. But it feels great to have the peace of mind that comes with minimal bills to pay and no debt payment looming over me.
But make no mistake! My old habits sneak up on me from time to time. They include shiny object syndrome “new fall boots!” and the “THIS tool will change everything in my business” temptations. I don’t think old habits ever leave us for good, but what changes is how quickly we rebound from them.
When I recognize I’m falling back into old spending habits, I first consider the true drivers of what is causing me to spend excessively. This takes quiet contemplation and a journaling session or two, to get the root of what is really going on. When I have the answer, I’m able to carefully consider the best way to meet the needs that I have uncovered and build an action plan to get back on track.
For example, maybe you have a conference you really want to go to in your industry, but you don’t have the money for it just yet. After consideration, you realize your main motivation to attend the conference is to connect and network with other business owners. Armed with an answer, you can find a few local events that are within your current budget and help meet your business need for connection. The conference will be waiting for you when your budget allows for it.
Building new habits, and resisting the old ones, is a practice that never ends. Nurture the skills and habits that get you where you want to be. When things go awry, look inward to help get you back on track as quickly as possible. As we become masters of our habits we start to see our dreams unfold before us. Remember that your financial habits are never mastered and the journey is never complete. These are the lessons I continue to teach, and learn, through building my life and my business.
Nicole Cooley is a corporate drop out and momprenuer currently obsessed with sleep schedules, produce delivery and binge watching The Good Wife. Her company Money With Moxie teaches women to be powerful with money and use it as a tool to design their ideal life. She does this by exploring limiting beliefs and value alignment, while building tangible debt and savings plans.
Click here to learn more about her upcoming free challenge Money 101: Rebooting your Finances.