I was listening to a talk the other day about money mindset, and I realized that I have a lot of preconceived notions around money that I wasn’t even aware of. These are things we are taught from an early age. This talk was really eye-opening for me, and I thought I would share this with you.

Within this past year due to the coronavirus, many people have lost their jobs, or lost their ability to sell at outdoor markets, or have had to adjust their businesses around outside circumstances. Many people are out of work. Many small businesses are suffering. That’s why I’m a firm believer that we should all strive to have multiple sources of income.

Wouldn’t it be comforting to know that if you lost your job, or your sales were down, that you had other sources of income. This could come in the form of a side gig, or investments, or rental properties, or even passive income. There are many ways outside of being an employee or having a business that does one thing, that we can make money.

This article is not about how to make money. It’s about the mindset we have about money.

I think sometimes we can’t imagine a life outside of a job and being an employee. Not that there is anything wrong with having a job. But it’s not the only way we can make money. We don’t need to have our livelihood dependent on someone else paying us a set amount of money in return for labor or services. You can create your own sources of income. Even if you have your own business where you sell products, there are other ways you can make money in your business outside of those physical products.

Our Mindset and Beliefs Around Money

Here are some of things we were taught about money, and let me know if any of these statements ring true for you.

You have to work hard for your money.
Money doesn’t grow on trees.

How often have we heard these statements from our parents, teachers, books, the news. These statements teach us a notion that it’s not easy to make money, or it shouldn’t be easy to make money. If you’re not working hard for money, then you are going about it the wrong way. Or you’re getting money in a sleazy way.

Yes, you can work really hard for your money. But there are some people who make money in easy ways, like inheritance, for example. No judgements about this either way.

Sometimes we see people who start a side business and we think, “Oh sure, her husband pays all the bills. So of course she can just start a side business.”

Or we see someone who takes time off to write a book or work on a special project, and we think, “Well they probably have family money and don’t have to worry about bills.”

We pass judgements like this all the time because we’re taught that if you’re not working hard for money, you’re doing it in a dishonorable way.

We have to let go of these judgements, because we end up turning them on ourselves, and judging ourselves in the same way. This can lead to us not going after our dreams.

Money is the root of all evil.
This is the idea that somehow if you have a lot of money, you must have done something dirty to get it. Or that money is going to corrupt you. This notion of evil is so outdated. Money is not evil. Money is just a thing. It’s just a number.

Wanting to have more money is not a bad thing. But we have all these prejudices around money. And yes, there are some evil bastards out there who have a lot of money. But there are a lot of people who do great things with their money, who are charitable and kind and use money to help solve problems.

What we do with our money, how we obtain our money, can be legit or shady, but money itself is just a thing. It’s not evil in and of itself, and it’s not necessarily going to turn a good person into an evil person.

Money doesn’t buy happiness.
It’s true that money won’t wave a magic wand over your life and solve all your problems. But money can help you pay off those terrible debts that we all accumulate, put a roof over your head, put healthy foods on your table, allow you access to the best healthcare, allow you to send your kids to the best schools, etc. While money may not take away your problems, it can sure make them easier.

I was just watching a documentary about billionaires, and it had an interview with Mark Cuban who said, “You know what’s the worst part of being a billionaire? … Nothing.”

All of these preconceived notions about money lead us to:

  • Have guilt around earning money, that somehow we’re doing something bad, or we’re taking too much. We can sometimes feel that if we earn a lot of money, somehow we’re taking it away from someone else. Or even worse, what if we, as women, start earning more than our spouse, how would they feel? There’s lots of guilt that surrounds our thinking about earning money. And it’s really not necessary.
  • Have guilty feelings around spending money, especially on ourselves. There can also be guilt around showing our money. I remember when I was little, my parents ran a very successful small business. My oldest brother and sister bought my mom a fur wrap for Christmas. She loved it, but she couldn’t bring herself to wear it because she thought people would judge her. She was all about not putting on airs, as she would say. She also feared that people would stop coming to our store, because they’d feel that we were getting rich off of their money. People do act that way, unfortunately. It’s their negative money mindset showing through. I think she wore the fur wrap to my brother’s wedding and that was it. She was uncomfortable showing her wealth. And why? My parents grew up in a very different time, which led to their beliefs around money, and we’ll get to that in a minute.

These preconceived notions about money can creep up in unexpected ways.

  • Maybe you are keeping your prices too low, because you’re afraid people will think you’re being greedy.
  • You may think that something you made with own hands can’t be worth more than what you find in a store.
  • You may believe that your product can’t be worth a lot of money because it’s something you enjoy making. Or your services aren’t worth a lot of money because you enjoy doing it.
  • Or maybe you are basing your asking price on the cost of your ingredients, instead of factoring in your artistry and your talent.

These limiting beliefs can hold us back in many ways that we don’t even realize. I’ve heard so many stories about people selling products at a market or a show, and someone comes up and says, “$10 for a candle? I can buy 5 candles for that amount at Target!” That’s their preconceived notions about money causing them to pass judgement on your product. They can’t imagine spending $10 on a candle because they never have. They don’t understand the time and talent and exotic scent blends and quality glass container that goes into a $10 candle.

Meanwhile, there are some companies getting $100 for one candle. That person can’t imagine being worth buying a $10 candle for themselves, let alone a $100 candle. These people are not your target market. The Target shopper is not your target market. But there are other people who have a positive money mindset who are willing to pay money for a candle, because it’s worth it to them. So, don’t let anyone with a negative money mindset convince you to lower your prices. If anything, raise them, and aim your target higher.

The same thing can happen with our services. When I was studying to be a life coach, part of the training was to give away 50 free hours of coaching so that we gained experience. When it came time for me to start selling my services, I didn’t know what to charge because I had been giving away my services for free. I couldn’t imagine anyone paying for them. I’d see other coaches charging $997 for a program, and I couldn’t imagine I could ever create anything that people would pay that amount of money for. That’s just me putting limits on myself. I have a lot of offer. But my limited beliefs about money — and that you have to work hard for it, and you shouldn’t be greedy — held me back from charging what I’m worth. I got over it. But it was tough. I still have work to do in this area, which is why I’m writing this article.

A Different Time

My parents and perhaps your grandparents grew up in very different times. Some of them remember clearly the experience of living through the Great Depression, and thus have a very different view about money. Money was scarce — really scarce — in a way that we can’t even understand today. My parents were against credit cards and would never buy something until they saved up for it. Being in debt to them was scary. Back in the day, there was a thing called debtors’ prison. If you couldn’t pay your debts, you could go to jail. Fortunately, we don’t have that anymore, so we’re not as afraid of debt as our parents and grandparents were. But they are the ones who are passing along their notions about money to us. It’s just something we need to understand.

How do we let go of our limiting beliefs about money and learn to have a healthy relationship with money? We’re going to create a positive money mindset. Because the way our economy looks right now, I think we have to take our money matters into our own hands.

I know it’s possible to earn money by having my own business because I’ve had proof of it in my life. My parents ran their own business. A lot of people in my family are business owners, so it’s not a new concept to me. But some people can’t image earning money outside of a job that comes with a paycheck. And there is nothing wrong with having a job that comes with a paycheck. But I think we all should have alternate sources of income, multiple sources of income, because you never know what is going to happen to the economy or in our own lives. This year’s pandemic came on suddenly, and for some people that paycheck went away just as suddenly.

I know that when I started my own business, I set money goals based on the salary I had at my last job. I wanted to replace my income. It never occurred to me to dream bigger, to set a larger goal. I had no experience with making more money than that.

We have limited beliefs based on our experience. If you’ve only ever made $50K in a year, you can’t imagine making $100K. And you’d probably think that you’d have to work twice as hard to earn twice as much money. But that’s not the case. That’s just one of our beliefs about money.

So how do you get there?

You get there by creating a positive money mindset.

How To Create a Positive Money Mindset

1. Let go of any past mistakes.
We’ve all gotten into credit card trouble or had a hard time paying down student loans. I remember going wild when I got my first credit card (fortunately it didn’t have a very high limit) but then I got hit with the bills. These past mistakes don’t necessarily mean you are bad with money. I think a lot of us — based on our previous track record with credit card debt — believe that we are bad with money. Maybe I was a little foolish with my first credit card, but I learned from my mistakes. Just because you may have gotten into some debt trouble in your past, doesn’t mean you are going to be bad with money for the rest of your life. Handling money is something we have to learn. It’s not something they teach in school. We need to learn to have a healthy relationship with money. Forgive ourselves for whatever happened in the past, and move on. You don’t have to pay for your past mistakes for the rest of your life.

2. Understand that how you think about money is how you will handle money.
If you think you are bad with money, you’ll continue to be bad with money. If you think you don’t have the ability to earn a lot of money, you’ll never earn any more than you do today. If you think money is going to change you for the worse, then it will. Start to think positively about money and all the good things it can bring you. Think of all the ways money can improve your life. Don’t let anyone convince you that wanting more money means that you’re greedy or selfish. Because it’s not true. People are always there to judge us, based on their own preconceived notions and limited experience. Change your beliefs about money, and you’ll start to treat money differently. There is nothing wrong with wanting money.

3. Stop comparing yourself.
We can very easily fall into the habit of comparing ourselves to our friends, family members, celebrities, and people we follow on social media. Everyone is showing a rosy picture of themselves to the world. I don’t put anything on social media without putting it through a pretty filter. Every picture I post of food, of myself, of flowers, of anything — I put several filters on the picture to make it look better, brighter and more colorful. We’re all so used to looking at life through social filters that we forget what real life looks like. You may see a friend with a Gucci bag and wonder why she can afford it and you can’t. But maybe she is in a massive amount of debt that you don’t know about. So don’t get caught in the trap of thinking you have to create a certain image. Those images we see of others are false. And that Gucci bag isn’t going to make you feel any better about the amount of money that is in your designer wallet. Money is a tool. It’s nothing more. We have to stop focusing on what others have, and concentrate on what we want to build in our own lives.

Which leads me to…

4. Don’t be afraid to look at your money situation.
Know your numbers. Be brave enough to take a look at where you are currently. Look at the amount of money you have. Look at your debts. It can be hard when times are tough. We just want to close our eyes and not deal with it. We don’t want to see that number in our bank account. But it’s just a number. Try not to judge it. You need to know where you are now, to be able to decide where you want to go.

Here’s an exercise for you: Decide where you want your money situation to be in 10 years. Do you want a million dollars? Do you want 10 million dollars? Do you want to own your own home? Do you want to make $100,000 a year? Your money goal is up to you. Don’t judge what you want. Just decide on a number. Then think about what type of person has that amount. How does a woman who has a million dollars behave? What are her habits? How does she feel about money? What does she do to earn that amount of money?

Here is the best part: You can start acting like her right now. Start developing the habits of a million dollar woman. Start acting like a woman who owns her own home. What is her relationship with money? How does she treat her money? What are her spending habits? What are her saving habits? How does she make her money? Start acting like that woman now. That’s how you become the woman who has her own home, who has a million dollars.

You can’t get there by behaving the way you do now. You have to start creating those positive money habits in order to get there. Those positive habits will compound over time.

Let’s Recap

  • Get rid of any negative ideas you may have been taught about money. Let them go. They are just judgements.
  • Create a positive relationship with money and good feelings about money. Money is not bad or good. It’s just a tool.
  • Start building good money habits now so you can reach your money goals in the future.

I hope you found the topic of money mindset helpful and it was as eye-opening for you as it was for me. I still have some positive mindset work I need to do around money. Hopefully, this article will move you in a positive direction as well.