Happy Halloween! It’s the time of year when we dress up, watch scary movies, and tell stories of all those things that go bump in the night. But what about that thing that makes the register go cha-ching? I’m talking cash money, babes.
I know, buzzkill, right? But if you run a business, your cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. It’s the thing that helps us attract new customers, create better products, support our employees, and sustain operations during slow times. Money is not the root of all evil; it is a tool we use to take care of things in life. So why are so many people afraid of asking for it?
The way we act with money comes from something deep inside, likely your first experiences with money. For some, this may be a poverty mindset, feelings of guilt, or even limits we place on ourselves unconsciously. If you are uncomfortable with money, your customers can sense it. And if you don’t believe in what you are charging, why would they pay it?
Several years ago, I worked with a property management company that was upgrading a selection of apartments and raising rents on those units. The new units were gorgeous but came with a significant price difference compared to the standard apartments. One of the high performers really started to struggle with selling the new units. When we worked through this, I learned that he felt uncomfortable because he personally could not afford what he was selling and therefore felt uncomfortable asking other people to pay it. This limit he had placed in the selling process was from his own beliefs about affordability, and it was killing his confidence in asking for the close. He could not see how his mindset about money was impacting his ability to make money, and he was stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy!
Being uncomfortable about money is not good for business. But I’ve got your back with some tough love talk and three steps to help you move from being a “people pleaser” to a courageous entrepreneur.
The first step is to recognize your money fear. Have the courage to look it in the face…you can’t address what you don’t acknowledge. Being uncomfortable asking for money is not uncommon but, you didn’t land on my page because you are ordinary. Your badass spirit is begging you to aim higher!
When you hesitate before telling someone how much something costs, say "I’m sorry," or avoid eye contact when asking for payment, what signal are you sending? If you don’t feel confident in the cost, you create doubt in your customer’s minds.
Think about the times that you are uncomfortable asking for payment. Is it for certain high-end services you provide? Is it specific clients? Is it labor-intensive work that people don’t know is labor-intensive? Identify all the instances that make you uncomfortable when you request payment.
Step two, put yourself on the therapy couch. Why does asking for money make you uncomfortable? Think back to your first memories of money. What messages did you learn from your parents or your peers?
The most common afflictions I hear are guilt about money and fear over lack of money. Let’s talk about guilt first. Was money a source of guilt or shame in your household? If you grew up having more than other family members or friends, you might feel guilty about money. Guilt needs to be addressed by reprogramming your feelings to accept that you are worthy of money.
It’s ok to be a mission-driven or heart-centered business. But to do that, you must have more, not less. If you are broke, how are you going to take care of someone else’s problems? Your business is not your charity unless it is profitable enough to do that. It’s kind of like putting on your own oxygen mask first.
Volunteer in your spare time as a way to share your wealth. Or increase your revenue so you can offer scholarships or giveaways to people who you would like to serve but are unable to afford your services. The more money you make, the more easily you can contribute to causes you care about.
On the other side of the coin are the feelings of money that come from the perception of having less. Maybe you have a poverty mindset that stems from experiencing a genuine lack of resources or an environment with adults who felt stressed about money. We attract what we focus on. So if you are preoccupied with your lack of resources, you will continue to see and experience a lack of resources. You need to reframe your thinking and look at what you do have in abundance.
Getting through challenging situations is about a positive mindset. Think about it, if you think the cards are not in your favor and you are down on yourself, why would you feel inspired to look for ways to aim higher? You can’t. Here is a great article I read on this very topic this week: What If Entrepreneurs Flipped the Script and Operated From Abundance?
The emotions associated with money create a powerful imprint on us that we usually carry into adulthood. You must unmask this to move forward.
Number three, do your homework. If you are uncomfortable taking money because you don’t believe in your skills or what you are charging, it’s time to do your homework. If you are not confident in your skills, take a class or hire a business coach. If you are unsure about your pricing, do your research. If no one ever taught you how to ask for money, practice the close! Or, create ways that make it easier. For instance, instead of saying that it will be $500, say, “will you be paying by credit card or cash today?” to take the money ask out of the equation.
Realize that not everyone can afford your services. It is ok if the other person doesn’t want to pay what it costs, you don’t have to work with them. There are plenty of people who will appreciate your services enough to give you exactly how much they are worth!
Now it’s your turn. The goal here is not perfection but progress—where are you in this process? Let us know what helped you be less frightened to ask for money!