Tag Archives: partner

Your Business Is YOUR Partner!

Have you every wished you had a business partner in your solopreneur business?  What if the business itself could be that partner? If you are an entrepreneur, if your pay is ‘commission’ based, if you are self-employed — your business is your partner!

One of the pitfalls of having an independent business is that it’s just you, right?  You make all the decisions.  Sure you may have some outside help for things like accounting and keeping all the technology going.  Hopefully you also use some outside support around marketing.  And at the end of the day it’s just you.

I’d like you to consider a radical idea, one that will actually improve your business!  Think of the business itself as an entity outside of you!  Even imagine it as a person.  First allow your mind to dream her up.  See her there about three feet in front of you?  What does she look like?  What is she wearing?  What is her name?  Is it the name of your business or something else?

Imagine what it would be like to have a partner and ally in your business that you could talk to.  Someone you could brainstorm ideas with.  Someone that is right there with you every step of the way.  Frankly most of us ‘talk’ to ourselves anyway — what would be the value of purposeful conversation with your business?

When you start thinking of your business as a person or entity things shift.  It allows you not only to give different attention to your business, but to also have a clearer separation between it and your personal life.  That’s a very good thing!

It’s very easy for us to get tangled in having the feeling that our business is personal—that people’s response to the business is to be taken personally.  And that’s a trap.  Clients see the ‘business’ you differently than friends and family do, right?  You need to have some separation between those different roles in life to keep sane!

I have had some clear personal experience in this area.  As the Money Knot Untangler, people naturally associate me with money.  That’s a good thing for business.  However, when you find people backing away from you when you are introduced because you represent that scary money thing, you start to worry that you might smell bad!  I’ve had that experience many, many times.  My ‘Business Babe‘ part laughs at that and thinks it’s great.  Personally it took some getting used to in order to stop feeling like no one wanted to dance with me at the school dance.

In case you are thinking this is just weird and woo-woo, allow me to remind you that even our government thinks of Corporations as entities.  Just sayin’!

How about having little meetings with your business?  Asking what it needs?  What’s working well? What needs improvement?  Oh, and together you both might actually gather some data about what’s going on by looking at the money stuff.  Money’s job really is to provide information.  The twist here is that your business may see and interpret the information in a different way that creates new opportunities, or smooths out rough spots.  It’s worth a shot, right?

By creating a real relationship with your business you will make both of your lives easier, and may actually get a level of support you just haven’t found before.  Give it a try.  At least these days when we talk to ourselves out in the world folks just assume we are on our cell phone, so no worries there!  Remember that you are still the President/Owner of the business, and this ally is here to help you.  See what you two can come up with.  And if you need a bit of help mediating the difference between what you want and what the business wants, I’m here to help!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

Let me know if you’d like help creating a relationship with your business.  Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.

Money Talk: Personal Life

“What?  Talk about money.  Oh no.  I can’t do that!”  I know that we were all raised not to talk about money.  It is, after all, the great taboo.  Even if you weren’t explicitly told verbally not to talk about it, you were ‘told’ by the actions you saw.

So here you are, an adult, and some sort of entrepreneur*: what do you do with that ‘don’t
talk about money’ thing now? personal

* The odds are really strong that, if you are reading this, you are self-employed, commission based, or an entrepreneur.  The explanation of why that is true is yet another blog…so back to the issue at hand.

Let’s make some distinctions here. Talking about money in our personal lives is different than talking about money in our business lives.  And since it’s such a big place, it’s going to be several blogs over several weeks!  So there!

Money Talk: Personal Life

Simply isn’t done, is it?  You’ve been trained that it’s rude or even crass to talk about money in your personal life.  Ironic, isn’t it, since we use it every day.  Additionally, there is so much emotional baggage around money that we feel weird even trying to talk about it.  This creates a genuine mess for most couples.  Another irony about this, from my perspective, is that money doesn’t actually create the emotion; we do.  Money has no opinion.  Ask money “how am I doing?” and it will say “you have $ 5,432.16”.  It won’t even engage in whether that is good, bad or indifferent.  We do that all on our own.

It’s a challenging thing to change this money talk stuff in our personal lives.  There is a great deal of cultural pressure to not talk about money.  And I think there are two places where you want to throw ‘caution to the wind’ and talk about it.  With your partner or spouse, and with your children.  Yep, you got it, with those people closest to you.

There are both emotional and practical reasons to talk to both your partner and your kids. When couples have money issues, it’s mostly about that the other person doesn’t see things the way you do.  Which, oh by the way, is actually one of the things that attracted you to them.

At the end of a talk I gave, a lady came up to me and said:  “Your talk was really great.  I need you to fix my husband.   He does all these really detailed, weird spreadsheets and wants me to track my spending.  Isn’t that just ridiculous.  I mean really!”  Seems pretty clear they are on different sides of a giant money chasm.

It’s tough to talk about money, not because money is so tough, but rather because what we make up about it is.

Think of it this way: most of us really do want more intimacy with our partner.  If we talk about money that will happen.  We will learn a lot about who they are, what they fear, where they need support.  And they will learn the same about you.

Here’s how to start. Ask about how money was when your partner was young (under 10).  Just be curious.  Try and understand how it was to be living in that world.  Have empathy.  The truth is that your partner is still in that world as far as their money thinking is concerned.  Then, some other time, tell your partner about how money was when you were a kid.  Go easy and slow.  There is a lot to learn here.

What about the children?  For many people, talking to their kids about money is even scarier than talking to them about sex.  You want to talk about money in ‘age appropriate’ ways.  The stock market isn’t what to talk about to a 5 year old.  I coached this guy once that just couldn’t save money.  He couldn’t save money because of what his parents had done.  One day they had broken open his beloved piggy bank and taken all the money.  He decided it wasn’t safe to save.  What actually had happened was that his parents had indeed broken his piggy and taken the money.  They took him and the money down to the bank and deposited it.  He ended up with this little blue book with numbers in it.  Here’s the problem; he was too young for this.  It wasn’t age appropriate.  He didn’t understand the silly old book or the numbers scribbled in it.  He’d had real coins and now he had a book.  Yuck.  Where’s his money go?

You can see that the parents were well intended, but they both went above what he could understand, and didn’t actually talk the whole thing through with him.  He thought his money was gone.

Here’s a caution about money and your kids.  Don’t get your money angst and emotion on them.  If you feel bad because you don’t have enough money for what they want, you are tying emotion to the money, and they will feel that and take it on.   The biggest thing your kids react to and internalize are the emotions you feel or express.  And they tie them to the thing you are feeling about.

Talking to your kids about money is not so much for now, as for the future.  They could have a relationship with money that is better and more effective than the one you have, if you can frame money differently for them now.

Please do start talking to your partner and your children about money.  Let’s change this taboo for the sake of having money be able to actually do its job, which is to tell us how we are doing.

Stay tuned to this Bat Channel for next week’s topic of talking money in business!

Ka-ching

Shell