I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of our beautiful house in Kent, with almost 5 acres of land and our alpacas in the garden (a dream come true for me, watching them from my office window as I write!).
But have you ever noticed something about the pictures themselves?
If you check out my website or look on my social media, you’ll see me standing outside in the sunshine, enjoying the alpacas and the glorious views and the rolling Kent countryside.
What you don’t see is the other side of the dream.
This is England. It’s winter. It rains – often relentlessly, for days on end – and that means lots and lots of mud and soggy animals and neverendingly wet clothes.
Animals don’t take days off or weekends or holidays. You don’t see us out feeding them at 6am, in the pitch darkness and freezing cold. You don’t see us mucking out the barn or any of the less glamorous sides of our rural idyll.
Don’t get me wrong, the life we’ve created here is amazing! But it’s hard work doing all the things we need to do behind the scenes, to make it work.
And let’s be honest:
Most of us curate our social media, to some degree.
Most people tend to show their best side to the world. It’s not that it’s fake exactly, as the things we share on social media are real. It’s just that it’s not the full story.
You see beautiful photos of people on fancy holidays or fun-filled days out with their kids. You see pictures of perfectly decorated homes or the whole family gathered together on Christmas day, looking like they’re having the time of their lives.
Like I say, it’s not fake. That moment in time is real.
The problem is that even though we KNOW it’s not the full picture, on a rational and logical level, it can still make you feel like everyone else has got their life sorted and the happy family and the thriving business.
Nobody posts on social media when their dog throws up on Granny’s antique rug, or their children decide to wreak havoc in Sainsbury’s. Well, I mean, some people do but on the whole, you only see the positive side of people’s lives. And we’re all trying to build this dream. We all want to make sure that we’re creating this amazing life and business for ourselves and our families.
What I really want to talk about today, is making 100% sure that we’re dealing with those things behind the scenes, that reduce the risk of our dreams going wrong.
When we talk about this kind of financial planning concept, we often talk about accepting a risk, reducing a risk or eliminating a risk. You can apply this principle to most of the choices that we make in life.
If you take something straightforward like crossing the road, the risk is that you could get run over by a car or a bus or whatever. So to eliminate the risk, you could choose to not cross the road at all and stay where you are. To reduce the risk, you could use a pedestrian crossing and wait for the little green man to flash that it’s safe.
Or you could just accept the risk – glance both ways, run across the road and hope for the best.
Now this is a bit of a flippant example, but it’s the same when it comes to all your money stuff.
As a business owner, one of the things we pretty much all experience is fluctuation in income. Some months you make more; some months you make less. Maybe some months you make nothing at all.
If you want to be able to pay yourself a regular amount of money each month – so you can pay all your bills and outgoings at home, without feeling stressed – then you’re going to need a strategy to minimise or eliminate the risk of you not getting paid.
What kind of strategy?
Well firstly, it’s about having enough income coming in from multiple sources – so that even if your business makes nothing one month and you can’t draw any money from it, you have enough to pay your bills.
Quite honestly, I can’t think of anything that matters more, when it comes to feeling safe and secure and wealthy (and way less stressed). Because it means that whether your next launch is a huge success or a total flop, or whether you make any sales this month or not, everything still gets paid and you KNOW you’re ok.
One way to reduce the risk of not being able to pay your bills is by having a combination of products within your business – maybe some that pay monthly; some that pay quarterly and other big cash injections – because it means the chances of you having no income in a month are dramatically reduced.
Some people like to do this by building up that level of recurring income from payment plans and memberships but it doesn’t need to be that way. There are (of course) a thousand different business models and things you can do in terms of sales and sales cycles, to help ensure your income is more level.
When it comes to accepting the risk… well, you don’t necessarily have to.
But if you’re not going to structure your business in a way that means that there is always income coming in, it might be prudent to make sure you’ve got some savings, because you’re going to need some income to draw on during those times where things are up and down.
This is where you can look at creating a pot of savings within your business to pay your salary or dividends and costs. Or you can look at some sort of insurance that will pay your payroll for you (like if you’re sick and unable to work).
What this really all comes down to is proactively looking at what the risks are for YOU, so you can work out what steps you need to take to eliminate (or at least reduce) them. Because ultimately, to have the house and the garden and the alpacas and the sunshine means dealing with the mud and the rain and the 6am starts. And no matter what level of income you’re making right now or how successful you are, part of business is to deal with these things behind the scenes.
They’re not necessarily fun and they’re probably not the glamorous things that we want to share on social media…
But they are SO important to make sure that we keep the business and life we’ve created safe, that it’s standing on firm foundations and that things don’t become too rocky and stressful.
If you know you’ve got some work to do around getting your business and life on firm financial ground; if you know there’s a risk you won’t be able to pay yourself what you need, or if you’re not sure how to structure your income streams and investments so they really start working for you – maybe it’s time for us to have a chat?
We can talk about what you want life to look like, where it is now and how we fill the gap, from the big picture stuff to the tiny steps that stack up to make a real difference.
There’s a myriad of ways we can work together, depending on what you want, what you need (and of course, your budget).
Just click here to get in touch now and let’s chat about how we can make this happen for you!
Until next time,