By Sherry Lutz Herrington
Time and again I watch as my clients struggle with their money blocks and I struggle with how to help them. I believe we all have them from time to time. The hard part is recognizing why we are having financial difficulties and figuring out how to overcome them.
Since my role is accountant and business consultant, I focus on the numbers, what they say, and how to improve them. But if there are emotional issues holding someone back it’s not really my place to point them out. If I were a trained coach (I’ve had some training but am not certified to coach) or a licensed therapist, and that’s the reason the client was coming to me, then I’d be within my scope to help. Instead, I have to find a way to work around the blocks and I’ve found that hinders my ability to help people really grow. Sometimes, depending on the situation, I’m able to inject some coaching type feedback and if the person is receptive, then I feel like I’m helping them on a deeper level.
What I realized recently was that my own money block was keeping me from accomplishing my business goals, and I was totally stuck.
That was a bit of a shock, given that I see them so easily in others.
Luckily, I was able to recognize it for what it was and figure out how to overcome it myself.
Time and time again I read articles about how people (especially women) struggle to charge what they’re worth. I even talk frequently about this and encourage people I meet to examine the true cost of their work and make sure they are charging enough to cover not only the cost of creating the product or service, but of also running their business. Too frequently business owners price their wares too low to be sustainable.
Personally, I feel like I overcame this issue a while ago and feel confident that my services are a great value at a fair price.
However, as hard as it is, I have an Achilles heel that I’m going to fess up to.
I struggle to raise prices on existing customers even when I’m not charging for all the time we work on their accounts. In fact, I am horrible about following up and evaluating whether we are able to complete the agreed upon work within the time I’ve allocated and am charging them a fixed rate to do.
Whew, that was hard to admit.
Yep, even though I advise people on how to run their businesses, I had a huge money/time leak going on right under my nose.
I finally faced the truth: something was blocking me on this issue.
Uncovering a money block can be done in a variety of ways and, as I mentioned above, I’m not really qualified to advise on how to do it; I had to figure it out for myself. So allow me to share.
Personally, journaling about something often helps me to figure out what’s going on. For me, that means pen and ink, but if you prefer a computer or other means then feel free to use what works for you. Meditating works, too. Perhaps talking it through with a friend would work for you.
I like to just “brain dump” everything that’s running around in my head making me crazy. If I just let the thoughts flow onto paper, I often unearth the issue behind the issue.
In this case, the issue I was blocked on was reassessing existing clients service agreements. Seems straight forward. I asked myself, why are you stuck on this, Sherry?
But that wasn’t the issue behind the issue. As I wrote and wrote and went off in this direction and then in that direction, seemingly not figuring it out, it suddenly struck me that I believe I have to work HARD for my money. That if I “overwork” a situation, that’s okay. If I take twice the time I am charging my clients for, that’s okay because it’s not supposed to be easy.
EXCUSE ME? What?
Yes, that’s a money block. My clients don’t expect me to work for half price, to not make enough money to sustain my business or pay my employees. Why do I think they expect that? Or, maybe that’s not it, maybe the real question is why don’t I value myself enough to see that I charge a fair price and that my clients respect and value that?
In this case, the block wasn’t in my upfront pricing like we are warned about frequently. It was in allowing the time creep to seep into my preset service packages, so that I was spending twice as much time as I was being paid for; essentially giving away time for free.
Once I had recognized the issue, then it was simply a matter of clearing this long held belief from my system. Again, there are several ways to do this and I’m not an expert. For me, writing it out helps, as does coming up with new affirmations that I say daily to address it. Generally, uncovering the issue goes a long way to fixing it. Whatever your method, I’d encourage you to figure out what works for you and do that.
I’m happy to say that once I figured out the root of the block, I was able to face the problem head-on and reevaluate those situations where I was losing money by spending too much time and not charging fairly for the work I was doing.
Because it is easy to raise prices, I don’t have to work HARD to make more money; I have to understand that this is my issue and that my clients, while not wanting to be overcharged, don’t mind paying a fair price.
Overcoming money blocks can shift the way you are doing things in your business and allow you to reach new heights without struggling.
It’s not always as simple as raising your fixed rates. Sometimes it’s more of a back-end issue, like a hidden time leak causing major hemorrhaging where you don’t think to look.
If you feel like you’re constantly pushing a huge boulder uphill and not making any headway, I’d suggest that maybe you’re dealing with a money block and it’s time to take a look at the emotional side of your business. Not everything is in the black and white numbers reflected in your accounting. Sometimes we have hidden messages influencing us in ways that are not obvious.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.