Taxes & Fear Go Hand in Hand for Women in Business

Why do women in business make themselves so crazy with the fear, avoidance and resistance to paying taxes? We know they’re due a year ahead of time. Yet, we procrastinate up until the last day. A hundred years ago if you didn’t pay your taxes you could be hauled off to the poor house. While that’s not the case any longer, as April 17th approaches I notice a strong whiff of anxiety as I’m out networking and talking with women business owners. It’s hard to not get caught up in fear when it’s so prevalent. But, of course we don’t talk about that feeling of fear in the air. We put on a game smile, pretend as if everything is just FINE and struggle in silence because we think others know so much more or are doing so much better than we are.  Not the case.

As a life and business coach talking to women in business every day a couple of things are clear. One – when you’re self-employed the goal has to be to SAVE enough over the year to be able to pay your tax bill at the end of the year. But many don’t. They’re caught up in daily survival, often are just making ends meet and don’t know how to develop a longer-term perspective.  Others get caught in the vicious loop of paying BACK taxes, which makes it doubly hard to pay this years taxes. Ow! And then you have folks that earn plenty, but don’t save a thing because they just don’t manage their money well. As Robert Kiyosaki, of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame says, “It’s not how much money you make. It’s how much money you keep.”  That comes home to roost as we get older.

Second, the economy has wounded the heart and soul of many women (and men) in business. Losing a house, having to file for bankruptcy, downsizing your life and expectations takes its toll. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine things getting better. But imagine and work towards this, we must.

So then the question is – how do you deal with money fears that create avoidance and exaggerate money troubles? I know you’re not going to like this but the answer is to courageously look at the facts as they relate to your money situation and create a plan to deal with it. Get help if necessary. Women in business: we get past fear by confronting what makes us afraid and by taking the daily right action necessary to stay conscious of what’s happening with our money. As Suze Orman says: “Every money challenge can be solved by the person you see in the mirror.”

Women in Business: Work Backwards Formula to Achieve Bold Money Goals

Now that you’ve set your Bold Money Goal for 2012 and have it in writing (see previous blog: Set a Bold Financial Goal for 2012 /blog/  you'll want to use The Work Backwards Formula to make sure you get the results you want.

To Re-Set your Money Speedometer, which may have been stuck on the same old number for too long, means you have to examine WHY you want to make the amount of money you set for yourself. Your WHY tells you what your motivation is. (To know why your WHY is the most important thing you can do as a woman in business go to this youtube clip in the TedSeries by Simon Sinek:  The Golden Circle

Now, I know the economy has dampened, or for some, even smashed the ability to dream and envision. But we have to take our power back and stay focused on what we want (financial peace & freedom) vs. what we don't want (more financial struggle)  

To Start - Here are some questions to explore your WHY: This is where you get to dream and in order to be the most successful you must stay in touch with your dream and your purpose!!

Next, write down your BOLD Goal for 2012 :  $75,000 Gross

I want to make $_______ so that I can ________.

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 The questions you answered above are part of your vision and dream that will pull you towards your goal.

Now fill in these Work Backwards questions:

1)    How much do you charge your clients? The average bodyworker, for example, depending on locale, charges somewhere in the neighborhood of:   $75.00 an hour  Your hourly fee:  _________

2)    How much do you need to earn a month to earn $75K a year? $6,250 (75 divided by 12 = )

3)    How much do you need to earn a week to earn $75 K a year? $1445.00  (6,250 divided by 4.33 = 1436. Rounded up)

4)    How many clients a week do you need to see to earn $1445?  19 clients a week at $75.00 a client = $75,000 Gross Income

Now you have your work-backwards formula to earn $75,000 gross a year.  

Women in Business: What's Your Money Speedometer Set At?

If you're a woman in business you need to know what your money speedometer is set at. For example, are you stuck at a certain income level and don't know why? Usually it's because of stuck places within our emotional relationship with money we're completely unaware of.  Bob Burg, author of The Go Giver says: “Our relationship with money is like an iceburg: only the very tip is in plain sight.”  How do you find out what's under the surface of your money obstacles? One way is by figuring out where your $$ speedometer is set and re-setting it.  Here's how to do so:

First: Where's Your Money Speedometer Currently Set:* Most self-employed women's monthly income is up and down so take the 5 highest grossing months over the last 12 months and add them together and then divide by 5.

For Example:  Feb 2,000 March 2,200  July 5,000 Sept 3,500 Dec 1,200 = TOTAL 13, 900 divided by 5 = 2,780

This woman’s Speedometer is set on: $2,780 That means when she starts earning more than this a month she probably gets uncomfortable. That's ok, but she needs to understand why (This is where Money Coaching's 4 step system pulls back the covers and connects the dots between childhood messages and current adult money behavior -

Re-set your current money speedometer by creating a BOLD Financial Goal for 2012. This number needs to be uncomfortable enough that it makes you STRETCH, yet not so distant that it seems unreachable. 

For example my BOLD goal for 2012 is $84,000 gross sales. That’s not a number I pulled out of the air, but by looking at what I earned last year, and planning activities I would need to do to earn $50,000 net income minus estimated expenses.

Write your Bold Goal _________.  Then create a plan of action steps and strategies for how you’ll reach your Bold Goal by working backwards.  I’ll show you how to do that in an upcoming blog. By taking ahold of our money goals and knowing how to chart our financial future we create financial peace.

(* adapted from Kendall Summerhawks Money Speedometer work)

Women in Business: Keep Your Foot on The Gas Pedal!

 The 1.6 Billion Dollar woman in business, Facebook’s second in command, Sheryl Sandberg says “women need to keep your foot on the gas pedal and aim high.” Ms. Sandberg who was recently speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and her subject was women! Should Facebook’s launch go as planned Ms. Sandberg will be worth approximately 1.6 billion.  She’s one of a very few self-made women billionares. Go girl!!

Sheryl Sandberg is to the promotion of women in business as Steve Jobs was to the promotion of Apple. Her focus on women makes perfect business sense for her role in Facebook as 71% of daily fan activity and 62% of all activity is driven by women*. Women need role models who aim high and are super successful. Young women flock to hear her speak because she’s so passionate about empowering them.

All high profile people generate some backlash and there are those that say her wild success is because, as a woman in business, Ms. Sandberg has had luck and advantages others don’t have. It’s true, most women in business don’t attend Harvard or Harvard Business School. But she’s noted to be “super smart and savvy,” has obviously put to good use her business education, training and “luck,” and she’s dedicated to supporting more women into upper echelon positions.  Here’s a link to a YouTube video where Sandra talks about why women don’t make it into top positions and what to do about it. Excellent.  (*NY Times, Feb 5th 2012 The $1.6 Billion Woman, Staying on Message)

Women in Business Don’t Take Enough Financial Risks

Is it true that women in business don’t take the financial risks necessary to get ahead? We know that women still earn only 78 cents on the dollar compared to men and though there are plenty of women middle managers, there are dismally few at the CEO level. According to Lois P Frankel, author of Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich, these are symptoms that reflect the social training girls and young women receive about “doing good and being nice” over getting ahead. Making money and being the good girl, wife, or employee can be in direct opposition to a path of power and women will often pick the path of least resistance. Though understandable, this is not a great strategy for your bottom line, (and I don’t mean the bottom you sit on). This is especially true as women move into their retirement years.

What are the risks women should be taking?  To name a very few: 1) starting a new business or 2) investing in real estate or the market or 3) NOT giving their adult children money to bail them out of self-induced situations. This last one is a huge money mistake for women and pops up all the time with my Money Coaching clients.

Women in Business: Here are a couple questions to think about to give you Financial Peace:  1) Where do I sit on the risk continuum? Am I fairly conservative, risk aversive and so need to work for someone and get a steady paycheck? Or am I ready to leap tall “start my own company” buildings, and get sound business help to do so? 

2) What risk am I willing to take in 2012? It could be as simple writing down all your purchases for thirty days. As Ellen the talk show host says in her new book: Seriously, I’m Kidding, (paraphrasing) “Stretching is more than doing yoga, it’s taking risks.”