Financial freedom doesn’t begin when you hit a money milestone. It starts with what’s in your head.
It takes a certain mindset to walk away from a cushy full-time job to start your own business. It takes creative thinking to come up with a non-traditional approach to deal with crushing debt. It takes self-awareness — and a dose of bravery — to move beyond the status quo.
As these four women discovered, changing your mindset about money is one of the most impactful things you can do to grow personally, professionally and financially.
“I turned my financial burden into an asset.”
More than a decade ago, author and coach Kelly Hayes-Raitt ran for public office… and lost. The campaign left her deeply in debt and struggling to pay her mortgage.
Instead of selling her home, she flipped the financial equation: She upgraded the abode to make it more attractive to renters and cut her own housing costs by hitting the road and developing a house sitting business. “Once I stopped thinking about my home as a huge financial drain and realized it was truly my biggest financial asset, my entire life changed,” she says.
Today, Hayes-Raitt is a full-time housesitter (she’s writing a book on the topic), traveling through Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.Not only is her cost of living significantly less but she’s happier and more hopeful about her future, both in and out of her bank account.
(Got debt? HerMoney can help you deal: Here’s how to strategically manage different types of debt.)
“I stopped letting my finances be ruled by fear.”
For the first few years she was in business, Megan Driscoll was ruled by fear. Scarcity, not abundance, had been her norm, which led the founder and CEO of the marketing firm EvolveMKD to constantly worry about her company’s financials.
Angst, however, is not a sustainable long-term business strategy. And the intense focus on the balance sheet blinded Driscoll to other aspects of growing the business. So Driscoll made the conscious choice to change her focus; to “look at the world through a lens of opportunity.”
The mind shift freed her to channel her energy towards personally — and financially — fulfilling opportunities. “If you are really fulfilled by your work, the money side of things, while always important, becomes less of the main accomplishment and more of a means to an end,” she shares.
“I learned to trust in my professional abilities.”
Leaving a job with a steady paycheck (and benefits!) to become a full-time freelancer requires faith in your abilities to make ends meet. For freelance consultant and writer Katherine Conaway, taking that scary first step into the solo-preneur life was the shock to her system that she needed to move forward.
“I was fairly anxious about money and insecure about my value,” she says. But as freelance jobs came in, her confidence increased. The virtuous circle has continued as her work — and her earning power — has grown.
“I still live on a reasonable budget, but the daily anxiety is gone and the sense of my value is there… it’s about putting in the work and being patient for the payoff,” she continues.
(Want to take your side hustle or job to the next level? Hear what career coach Ali Brown told us to do on the HerMoney podcast.)
“I did a 360 on my hiring practices.”
Stephanie Smolder, founder of Tourist Exclusive, swore by the strategy of hiring cheap talent. Her company was able to hit its financial goals by keeping payroll costs down. But after two years, the approach stopped working.
Smolder had to challenge her old way of thinking and embrace a quality-over-quantity business model. The staffing makeover required downsizing her team and investing in employees she could entrust to support the business. (See five other financial lessons female entrepreneurs learned the hard way.)
“The moment I invested on my own financial mindset and started to invest in myself and others is the moment my business started to grow again,” she says.
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