Money. Everyone wants it. No one wants to talk about it.
Back in May, I attended Shanna Skidmore Consulting’s Intentional Finance workshop here in NYC. When I first heard about the workshop, it was a no brainer to sign up. In fact, I signed up for the same reason I decided to go through B School this year: I don’t know it all (big thank you to Hilary Rushford for bringing that fact to my attention). What that means is, though I majored in Business Administration in undergrad, since then I have had no formal training on being a small business owner. And when it comes to finances, I knew I could use some help.
I’ll admit, I’ve always thought of the word “budget” as having a negative connotation, as requiring penny pinching and a lot of restrictions. But as Shanna explains, it’s not necessarily about limiting your spending as much as it’s about spending only what you have and being intentional (conscious or aware) of the things you are spending your money on. For example, one of the workshop attendees has an event planning business and she loves spending money on gifts for her clients and other vendors. Shanna’s advice to her was NOT to spend her money on something else but rather to make sure she budgets for the expense and then sticks to that budget. Shanna’s goal is to allow you to spend money on the things you want as opposed to spending it on more traditional channels, like advertising. For this event planner, the concept of client and vendor gifts IS one of her marketing strategies. For me, I saw a similar concept in the styled shoots that I organize. To date, I haven’t given myself a budget each year for doing styled shoots, but now I 100% realize that I have to. Not only to keep me from spending money without limit, but also as a way to help me really analyze which shoots will help me grow my business.
The other key concepts I took away from Shanna’s workshop are to create a budget so that you can pay yourself a salary, to ensure what you charge (for those of us in more service based businesses) pays you for the hours worked, and to segregate money for savings, retirement, taxes, etc. so there are no surprises.
There is no way that one blog post could capture all of the breakthroughs and epiphanies that occurred for the attendees of Shanna’s workshop that day, but if I can convey anything to all of you, it’s to take the time to really look at your finances and determine where your money is going. And even if you aren’t able to attend one of Shanna’s workshops or hire her company for help, it’s critical that you DO get some help in this arena. After all, most of us are creatives and the number crunching aspect of running our own business isn’t exactly second nature.