Fall In Love With Your Numbers.
I used to be the girl who cried looking at a spreadsheet full of numbers. Truly. It was the very LAST thing I ever wanted to do… somewhere just above a root canal and almost on the same level as a mammogram. It wasn’t the spreadsheet itself that caused me stress, of course. It was what the spreadsheet full of numbers always seemed to represent: goals not met, money not present, complicated systems for achieving results, a need to be detail oriented, & a feeling of being in over my head.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling because I’ve spoken to so many of you about your “number feels” and you say similar things to me like:
I’m not good with numbers
I hate budget trackers
What’s a projections tracker???
I’m super financially disorganized
I have no clue what my profit margins are
Wait… what’s a profit margin again?
This all amounts to a general sense of not wanting to dive in to the numbers and, in fact, a deep desire to avoid them at all costs. The problem with that, when you own a business, is that the cost is actually too high. It’s not a price you want to pay. Being connected to your numbers in the right ways will give you so much power and freedom but I know that right now you don’t believe me.
That’s okay though. I’ll show you what I mean. Take my hand and listen carefully to what I’m about to say:
When you know where you’ve been and where you are NOW financially then you can figure out how to get to where you want to go. You must understand the past AND the present to create the future.
Yes, even IF you have a sordid past! YES, even if you discover you have more debt than you realized. YES, even if you made zero profit so far. YES, even if you haven’t paid yourself yet or are behind on your bills or have no clue what you made last year. Yes, even if you are on the verge of bankruptcy or closing your doors.
The truth will clean the slate for you. It will bring you up-to-date and give you power because you’ll KNOW. When you collect all of the information you have, then and only then, can you make informed decisions that lead you to a more powerful place. As long as you are in the dark about the past and present you will not be operating effectively for the future and you’ll remain stuck. Sure, you can wander around in the dark hoping for the best and, by accident, get it right from time to time, but you won’t be leading from a place of clarity - in the light.
It’s kind of like remodeling a kitchen or decorating a room. You have to know what’s there first - what couch is staying or leaving - which plants need to go, etc. - You have to know the square footage and ceiling height… You have to gather the details of the current situation to be able to create something new that works.
The first thing I had my V.I.P. 2.0 students do was “The Audacious Audit”. They had to go back to the start of the year and find out how much money came in and out for each individual month all the way up to the current one. They also had to audit their websites, social feeds, systems, customer service, and more. We began with this because every plan we made together from that point forward had to be rooted in reality.
If we find out, in our audit, that the most you’ve ever made in your business is $2,000 in one month then we know where to start! We will start by repeating a $2,000 month. We’ll create from what’s already occurred as a starting point and then we’ll build from there. If we don’t know the biggest month you’ve ever had then we’re shooting in the dark. The facts give us power. We have to look back, grab that information, and then use it to help us grow.
Once we reach $2,000 (with intention) then we’ll up it by around 20% and then reach that number twice and then up it again. We’ll keep upping it until we reach your monthly goal and then, it’s likely that you’ll create a new monthly goal! You can’t get to your dream of $8,000 a month (for instance) by starting with that goal. I SO wish it worked that way, but it usually doesn’t. It’s like hoping to run a marathon when you’ve never run a mile! Start with a mile. Then maybe 3. Then 5. Then 8. Then 10… I don’t know how it works. I’m not a runner. But I do know that you have to increase your endurance slowly and with intention and it’s the same with reaching money goals!
If you want to get to $8,000 and you have only ever done $0 then we’ll start with $1,000. We’ll nail that twice and then we’ll move up.
Ok - now the next piece of the puzzle is figuring out HOW you are going to get these numbers for yourself in terms of products. What have you been selling? How much of those things have you historically sold? What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? These are the sorts of questions we have to dive into to gather the critical information necessary to get a plan in place for your revenue streams (aka: products you’ll sell to make money).
Example: If you’re a photographer and you’ve only ever sold 2 packages a month then we’ll decide if you can reach your monthly number with two packages. Probably not or you would have done it repeatedly already. This means we’ll need to consider your products and decide on one, two, three or all four of the following things:
1) Do we need to raise the price?
2) Do we need to sell more (and how many more)?
3) Do we need to hire someone to help carry the load of “more”?
4) Are we missing a revenue stream (money-making product/service)?
Once we’ve decided on your revenue streams, their pricing, and the quantity we need to sell to reach your monthly money goal then we are more than halfway there! We are now operating in an empowered way and have to create a strategy for marketing and sales to get us to the numbers. This strategy is the fun part! It’s the part where we begin to act creatively each day to share our passion with the world (marketing is sharing) and then invite people to be a part (invitation is sales)!
In order to gain financial momentum & power we have to start by auditing the past:
Go back to the start of the year and list out what came in money-wise and what went out or ask your bookkeeper to provide you with this information so you can see it simply in front of you.
Know where you’re at for the current month you are in (how much has come in and gone out so far this month).
Know the biggest month you’ve had and your average monthly expenses. Find your average by adding up all expenses since the start of the year and dividing them by the number of months already past within the year. Example: $10,000 in expenses January-June should be $10,000 divided by 6 = $1,667 a month/average expenses
Accept “what is”. Be willing to start from where you are.
To begin to create powerful goals for moving forward you’ll need to:
Look ahead to your dream 1 year financial goal (say it’s $60,000 gross revenue or total income before expenses when you first start your business) and break that number into a monthly goal by dividing it by 12. In this example you would have a monthly goal of $5,000.
Look at your biggest month as the starting point for growth unless there’s a reason why that month is a total outlier (or random) example. If you only did $10,000 in one month because you had 10 markets to sell at that month and it was Christmas time (your biggest season) then we may not be able to use that as a fair starting point. Does that make sense? Otherwise, in the absence of an outlier, we go with the biggest month yet. If that number is $3,000 then we go with $3,000 and set ourselves up to make $3,000 next month and the month after. Once that goal is reached twice then we up it! We keep upping it until we get to your desired goal of $5,000 and meet that twice! At that point we can up your “dream goal” if you want to!
Survey your current revenue streams and use the 4 bullet points above to make sure you have the right revenue streams at the right price to get you to your goals. Oftentimes we don’t do this work in advance and much later we realize we didn’t set ourselves up for success because we had one $100 product and that $100 product is never going to get us to our consistent $10,000 months! It’s just not! We need to up the price, add more products, or market in a completely different way to reach our goal.
As a side note, the two most important spreadsheets you need are:
A Budget Tracker (or a bookkeeper using Quickbooks who can send you a summary each month) - this looks at the past (what came in and what came out)
A Projections Tracker - this looks at the future (what we are about to create!)
In my humble opinion, anything else is “extra” in the beginning. Master the art of tracking the past and planning the future - one month at a time - and you’ll be light years ahead of many of your peers.
Glossary of terms for those who need TLC:
Gross Revenue: all the money before you take any out for anything
Gross Profit: literally the exact same thing as gross revenue
Net Profit: the money that’s left after you remove all of your expenses
Expenses: all of the money that comes out to support the business
Revenue Stream: one of the products or services you sell to make money
Profit Margin: the percentage that’s “profit” (or leftover) after your expenses come out
This process is a slow one that takes courage. I’m here to tell you: I SEE YOUR COURAGE! Most of us have old ideas about money that came from our childhoods and we’re still holding on to them. It’s emotional. It’s not intuitive. Let’s start by releasing this idea that we are not good with money and all of the shame that comes with that and begin to embrace a new & more empowered thought, “I am learning to be great at money!”
I can tell you from experience that I am someone who created HUGE stories about being terrible with money and never having enough and feeling endless stress as a result of those stories. I have actively changed that story over the past two years through my business and doing the hard work of addressing my money mindset and being ruthless about looking my numbers in the eye. Over time the whole process of planning around and generated money becomes an absolute joy. It doesn’t stay stressful forever. As long as you are brave and willing to dive in then you will find that not only can you swim, but the water is so beautiful! it feels good and powerful and happy to have control over your money and know where it’s going and when it’s coming and how to spend it wisely.
This morning my bookkeeper emailed me the below message and I had a moment where I realized I’ve kicked my scarcity mindset in the ass and am now actively embracing abundance in my business and if that’s possible for me then it’s possible for YOU.
I’m sharing this with you because I’m committed to de-stigmatizing money for women. I want to show you what’s possible because I am not someone who has loved this stuff my whole life. I truly have not. I went to business school and I LOATHED finance courses. It overwhelmed me and made me feel intimidated. I am over that story though because that story held me back. That story kept me small.
What I would love so much for you to walk away with from this blog post is: I CAN LOVE MY NUMBERS TOO! There is joy on the other side of the initial audacious audit. And by the way, there’s a reason I called it the “audacious” audit.
a willingness to take bold risks.
"her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency"
synonyms: boldness, daring, fearlessness, intrepidity, bravery, courage, courageousness, valor, valorousness, heroism, pluck, recklessness;
It all starts with being willing to take bold risks. Be daring. Be fearless. Be brave. Have valor. Dive into the deep end and figure out the numbers. You can do this. I promise you can. Your business needs you to step up. YOU need you to step up.
We can do it together.