I was one of those kids who had a weird family dynamic growing up. My mother was a young, single mom who struggled to make ends meet, even though she worked two jobs. She couldn’t afford to support me on her own, so we lived with my grandparents until I was old enough to move out and go to college.
My grandparents were hardworking, blue collar folks from the Midwest who would give you the shirt off their backs, even if it was their last one. They taught me the value of doing things yourself and the satisfaction of a long day’s work. But they also (unintentionally) taught me some pretty toxic beliefs about money…beliefs that sabotaged my business and led to a financial crisis.
Toxic Money Beliefs
Growing up, I had a front row view of my grandfather working away from home for weeks at a time as a truck driver. I never knew when he’d be home or if he’d have enough energy to show me around his garden or stay up late watching Tales from the Crypt during the brief times he was home. The time he spent working far outweighed the time he spent with his family, which taught me that I’d have to sacrifice time away from the people I love in order to make a good living. (Psst. That’s toxic money belief #1.)
My grandmother was no different. She had the luxury of working from home, but she still worked all the damn time. She ran a home daycare and often started her work days at 5 am when the first kid got dropped off. When the last kid went home at 6:00 pm, she’d start sewing pool skimmer nets for her second job. She’d work into the night, long past my bedtime, but she was always the first one up in the morning. She taught me that I’d have to work long, hard hours to get ahead financially. (Toxic money belief #2.)
Not only did my grandparents work ridiculous hours, but they never hired anyone to do work for them. They always did everything themselves. Sink needs fixed? No need to call a plumber because they’d take care of it. Car broke down? They’d spend two full days trying to figure out how to get it back on the road rather than pay the mechanic for an hour of labor. I needed a costume for the school play? It was cheaper to sew one themselves than buy one, so that’s what they did. I learned that it’s irresponsible to pay people to help you and I better learn how to do everything for myself by myself. (Toxic money belief #3.)
Hustle & Grind Culture
The toxic money beliefs that I picked up from my family stayed with me most of my life and led me to become embedded in the hustle and grind culture we hear so much about these days. I worked two to three jobs while in college but still didn’t have a pot to piss in. Even though I was working fifty hours a week and going to school full-time, I made time to detail my car myself and crochet my own scarves…because what would my grandparents think of me if I paid someone else for those things?
When I got my first “grown-up job,” it was no different. I worked on-call and never knew when I’d get stuck at a hospital overnight working on a case. The unpredictability of my job made it hard to have a social life, but I assumed that’s the way things were supposed to be. I’d seen my grandfather away at work all the time, so I thought sacrificing my relationships for a paycheck was normal. But working ALL THE TIME made me burn out fast, and I started resenting my job. Was it too much to ask to be able to go to happy hour with my friends on a Friday night and not worry about getting paged by work?
Working “for the man” really sucked. I didn’t have control over my schedule (or my life). I didn’t have the freedom to work in the ways I wanted to, and I was constantly being micromanaged by my high-anxiety boss. I felt desperate to break free from the hustle and grind so I could actually have a life. So, I decided to go into business for myself by starting a private counseling practice.
I felt sure that having my own business would allow me to get filthy rich while working part-time hours. That’s what I’d seen other successful entrepreneurs do. So, I hit the ground running by investing a boatload of money into my new business so I could grow it big and fast…and then sit my butt in the sand while money rolled into my bank account.
Building a profitable business wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I worked just as many hours in my own business as I did working for someone else but gave up the steady paycheck and benefits, which seemed like a raw deal. I’d invested a ton of money in my business to get it off the ground, but the money didn’t come rolling in like I thought it would. The only thing that came in consistently were bills.
I started to panic when my bills exceeded my income. How would I keep my business open if it wasn’t making any money? How the heck could I support myself if I was working for FREE? The money drama I experienced kept me awake at night as I tried to think of ways to make more money…and fast!
What were those successful, six-figure entrepreneurs doing differently? How could I get the same results in my business? I needed to increase my profits, but I didn’t want to resort to sleazy sales tactics or invest any more money in advertising. Desperate for the answer, I went to Google and searched “how to make more money.”
How to Make More Money
Much to my disappointment, the answer to my money problems didn’t pop up in an Internet browser. But after a lot of reflection on my early memories with money and the toxic money beliefs I’d developed throughout my life, I started to find clues that would lead me down a better financial path. Then I started experimenting in my business and made some surprising discoveries about how to make more money (without the hustle and grind).
Here’s what I did to make more money in my business (and what you can do too):
Become the best you can be at what you do.
Be so good at what you do that people can’t ignore you. Deliver on your promises. Offer products and services that you’re super good at. Be known for being awesome at a couple of things instead of doing anything (or trying to do everything) mediocre.
Deliver incredible value to clients/customers and charge appropriately.
Think about what other people struggle with that comes naturally for you and capitalize on your gifts. Make yourself irreplaceable to clients/customers by offering the solution to their problems in a way that is heartfelt, genuine, and personalized to meet their needs. When you do this, you can charge whatever you want and your clients will eagerly hand over their money.
Give clients/customers an out-of-this-world experience that they won’t soon forget.
Treat every client/customer like solid gold. Wow them. Pay attention to the little details. Make them feel special and loved up on. When you make clients feel cherished, they become raving fans of your business and tell everyone they know about their exceptional experience. That’s free advertising for you! (And it feels amazing to add joy to someone’s life.)
Keep learning and honing your skills.
Be a lifelong learner and keep advancing your knowledge and skills. As you learn and grow, you keep adding more and more value to your clients/customers, making it possible to charge more for your expertise. Pay raise, baby!
Connect with others and offer genuine value to them without asking for anything in return.
Invite a colleague to a virtual coffee date with you and offer to support them in some way. Extend a piece of advice that might change someone’s life for the better. Spread the word about someone else’s business so they can gain new clients. Whatever you give to others will naturally boomerang back to you tenfold and lead to financial success…and these things can be done in very little time.
Eliminate any and all expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary.
It’s not about how much money you MAKE; it’s about how much money you KEEP. Keep your business expenses at a minimum so the money you earn can be profit that goes into your pocket, not someone else’s. The less money you spend, the less money you need to earn, and the less time you need to spend working. (Take that, hustle and grind!)
It might be hard to believe that you can make more money in your business without working a bazillion hours a week or without buying expensive Facebook ads, but I’m living proof that it’s possible to make more money without the hustle and grind or sleazy sales gimmicks.
After doing the inner work of transforming my relationship with money and the outer work of earning money in new ways, I was able to grow TWO profitable businesses. And I’m doing it all while going on vacation with my husband, raising two, smart daughters, and taking leisurely walks with my favorite furry friend, Clover. No more sacrificing time with the people I love just to make a buck.
It takes time and dedication to make more money while actually doing less, but it’s totally worth it.