How many times have you wished you had enough money to quit your job? Or maybe enough money to inject a bunch of cash into your business start-up?
Many of us have grown up hearing things like, “money doesn’t grow on trees,” or “the rich get richer.” Let’s not forget the big one, “money is the root of all evil.”
As we grow up we begin to say them ourselves. We teach them to our children. After a while, these beliefs define our experience with money.
Money and Freedom
When I worked in my corporate job, spending became a way for me to feel like I’d accomplished something in my life. Buying whatever I wanted, when I wanted (even though it was on credit) made me feel powerful.
It was exciting to constantly get new things, new packages being delivered, accumulating more possessions. After I opened the box, I’d put the item away–sometimes never to be worn. All that matter to me was the high I got from getting the new thing!
On one hand I was empowered by money, on the other my spending made me a prisoner to my job. Without a steady paycheck, how could I continue to maintain my “lifestyle?” For years this pattern kept me from moving out of the corporate world and into my own business.
Money and Value
Often business owners will struggle because they don’t know how to value themselves and set their fees accordingly. Sometimes it’s tied to self-esteem. Or it’s a leftover from our time in the employee world, the place where we learned that hours worked = value.
When you work hours for dollars, you don’t look at the value you bring by being able to solve a problem or fill a need. You look at time spent. If you’re building widgets, maybe that will work. If you’re bringing experience and skill to the table, not so much.
Money and Beliefs
If you believe money is evil, will you feel comfortable making a lot of it?
If you believe that rich people are selfish, would the idea of being rich make you feel comfortable?
If your family or friends believe that money is limited (or only in the hands of a few), will it feel good having more money than they do? Probably not. You might even be afraid that they’ll reject you if you did.
Money is not good or evil. Just as with many other things, it can be used for good intentions…or for destructive ones. Feeling guilty about having money won’t lead you to get more of it. Instead, you’ll end up doing everything not get it–whether consciously or unconsciously. Things like charging less than your work is worth, or believing that you don’t have a right to ask for what you deserve, or having contempt for money because focusing on it means you’re “selling out.”
By the way, the quote about money being the root of evil is incorrect in more ways than one. The actual quote is this: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (New American Standard Bible)
I don’t mention this quote to make any statements about religious beliefs, but to show that one of the most devastating sayings about money has been misquoted to begin with!
Money itself is a tool, nothing more. If we believe that having it is bad, then we’ll always stay stuck in conflict with our desires–and with reality. We need money in order to buy what we need to live and to function.
When we take an honest look at our money beliefs, we can start to get clear and make better choices. Many business owners want to be of service and help others. But how helpful can we be to ourselves or others if we’re struggling to pay our bills?