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Finance‚ Legal & Tech
Finance is a feminist act
For decades – if not centuries! – speaking up about money hasn’t been easy, especially for us women. Universally, we worry about how discussing the ‘M’ word may make us appear – too demanding, not demanding enough, overtly aggressive or sheepishly vulnerable – then seemingly evaluate that there’s no way to win as a female navigating her finances.
From negotiating rates of pay to tackling seed-funding investment, and eventually feeling so uneasy about pinning down our own personal accounts that we bury our heads in the sand for the foreseeable future, money talk can leave us so incredibly overwhelmed that we’d rather just keep quiet and carry on. But I’m here to tell you that not only is allowing yourself an economic education an act of empowerment, it’s near-enough-essential self-care, too.
Here’s how you can take your first steps in eradicating financial fear and claim back the control YOU deserve.
Financial liberation awaits!
Don’t delay! Take ownership of your business accounts
You’ll never know if you’re making the best decisions for your business if you don’t start owning what’s happening behind the scenes. Bite the bullet and get your finances in check – everything from monthly outgoings to staying on top of your VAT. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; a financial expert doesn’t have to be a regular spend. As Alice Gabb suggested when I spoke to her on my podcast, Conversations of Inspiration, you can hire an accountant on a one-off fee simply for a hand with your annual tax return. With a weight off your mind and a greater understanding of the numbers, you’ll have a better scope of what your next move should be.
Finances don’t have to be frightening! Take one step at a time
Believe me, I have been there! Once I got started I realised I had used up too much precious time worrying and procrastinating about ‘getting on with my finances’, much more time than the activity itself!
Keep it simple and if even a simple excel spreadsheet fills you with fear, go back to a good old fashion cashbook. All we are really trying to do here is add up what comes in and what goes out, with a rough idea of where the money is coming from or spend is going to. I also recommend setting aside some time each week and sticking to it. An hour a week is so much easier than staring at a big bag full of receipts or a bank statement 6 months after the event trying to remember exactly what that spend was for.
Once you get on this (not so scary rollercoaster) make sure to also use your time to review what this information is telling you. My spend is higher than expected, how come? Is there any action I can take? Am I on track with what I had planned? Do I need to change direction or take action?
If the above all sounds like a little too much at once, take it slow. Allow yourself to move one step at a time until the big decisions don’t feel so daunting anymore. You’ll be surprised how quickly you grow in financial confidence.
Experts are there for a reason, utilise them
As a founder, I know it can sometimes be hard to relinquish control. Although parting with some of your hard earned money to spend on, well… taking control of your money, can feel counterproductive, it can also free up some much needed headspace to focus on the more creative aspects of your business, like launches, exciting new projects and dream collaborations. With the help of someone in the financial field, you can define what will move the needle, and trust me; you’ll want every ounce of brain-capacity to focus on that next goal.
Challenge the way you speak to yourself about money
Sometimes, we’re our own harshest critics. The good news is, you probably already know more than you think! Remember, just because you’re a creative doesn’t mean that getting your numbers in order has to stifle your artistic mindset. Think of it as an extra string to your bow, and a way of keeping your eye on whatever your next big idea entails.
‘Once I got started I realised I had used up too much precious time worrying and procrastinating about ‘getting on with my finances’, much more time than the activity itself!’
Establish your own financial goals, then make them happen
Although you may think you don’t have the faintest idea about finances, you are likely to be the best equipped out there to detail what you need from your money. Don’t think so? Well, tell me – who else knows your business better?! From where you want to be in a year, to highlighting the outgoings (and incomings!) associated with your upcoming plans, you’ll start to hone in on where you can save, and which areas need more financial input. You’ll be surprised how much money you could free up in one area, by tightening your belt in another.
So you see, once you start breaking it down, nailing the business of all things numbers doesn’t have to feel like such an unobtainable beast. When your accounts are in order, you’ll be amazed at the extra minutes and hours – that, in turn, become days, months and years – you’ll have gained to focus on the good stuff. And I guarantee your time won’t be the only things you’ll see grow, as your confidence as a founder, female, and small business owner will flourish, too.