Creative Entrepreneurship + Money Maps

written by Bari Tessler March 4, 2014

Welcome to Part Three of a 3-part series on Money + Creative Entrepreneurship. I’ve alluded to the “money work” of being an entrepreneur many times. But now, for the first time, I’m sharing a full picture view of money work just for you entrepreneurs — including insights, practical wisdom, and the very best of my own behind-the-scenes business money story. Be sure to also check out catch Part One: Money Healing and Part Two: Money Practices.

Deep Breaths. Big Visions. Guiding Stars.

Welcome to the deep waters of Money Maps. Here, we zoom out to wider perspectives: visioning, soul purpose, long-term goals, big pictures, and the ever-unfolding nature of our evolving journey. This is candles and vision boards and long-term strategy.

What dreams + values twinkle as the lodestars of your business? Guiding your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly money interactions?

I know so many of you in my community will feel right at home in this phase. For some, it comes naturally and playfully. And for others, this is edgy, unknown territory. It may conjure childhood sadness, remind you that you got “too busy to dream bigger,” or that life got in the way of your most cherished hopes.

Allow for gentleness, here. And as much curiosity, wonder, and joy as you can.

But let’s back up for just a moment — to an even bigger picture. For those of you new to my world: I teach conscious money work in three phases: Money Healing, Money Practices, and Money Maps.

I love teaching them in this order, too. The emotional work of Money Healing creates a clear and empowered foundation for the practicalities of Money Practices. In turn, the nuts ‘n bolts, number-crunching of Money Practices provides us the raw data we need to then zoom out, see what’s working and what’s not, and attend to our Big Questions in Money Maps.

Then the answers we find in Money Maps push us a level deeper in Money Healing. And the guiding visions we identify in Money Maps serve as North Stars through our regular Money Practices.

Truth is: all three of these phases are always happening — within us and within our businesses. These three phases intertwine around the Maypole of your business, in and out, over and again, unfurling and interweaving. It’s just a question of which phase most needs our attention at the moment, and where we feel called to place our energy.

Don your scuba gear. Let’s go deep sea diving.

Money Maps is the phase where we zoom out and view the big picture of your business. What phase is it in? How is it unfolding and evolving? How does that fit into the big picture of your life and goals and dreams?

It’s so easy to overlook this within our ultra-busy, day-to-day work! And in the early days of a business, we often don’t even have time to consider these bigger questions.

But by opening ourselves up to the bigger picture, we create space for new possibilities. And after all, creating new somethings out of nothing is so deeply aligned with the heart of being an entrepreneur!

For me, I’m especially interested in using Money Maps as a bridge between heaven and earth. As a way to marry grand meanings and feet-on-the-ground practicality. Consider this phase a sacred space for crafting your own integration of why and how, of deep values and the everyday.

In my own business, I am constantly fine-tuning. Digging in, then taking a step back, and returning, recharged. Tuning into my gifts and whether they’re calling for new or different outlets or offers.

Business is such a crucible for personal growth. It grows us, it works us, it transforms us. And we, in turn, grow and work and transform our business. It’s an evolving, intimate process — and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Questions + Lessons for Entrepreneurial Money Maps

1. Visioning + Goals.

What are your gifts/superpowers/genius? Are you sharing them with the world in a way that feels wonderful? This is so essential to creating a successful, sustainable business.

What’s working, and what’s not? What products or services are most (and least) profitable? Enjoyable? Aligned? What do you want your year to look like? What do you want to share with the world? What do you want that to feel like, and what do you need (tools, team, and lifestyle) to make it happen? What phase of life (and business) are you in, and what lifestyle do you want to experience this year — in terms of time, energy, finances, etc.?

In the Money Practices article, I mentioned how essential it is to have regular (daily/weekly/monthly/annual) “Money Dates.” And those are just as key for Money Maps, too! Take the time to zoom out and review, on a regular basis. Are your numbers aligned with your intentions? Are your values supported by your cashflow? And: is your cashflow supporting what you most cherish in the world? Make the time to review, check in, and pivot if needed.

2. Create a 3-Tier Money Map of Intention.

I love revamping dry “budgeting” in fresh, playful, meaningful ways. One of my favorites is the 3-Tier Map of Intention. I’ve placed a link below with a full how-to, but here’s the quick gist:

  • Identify 3 Tiers of your Money Map (“budget”): Basic Needs, Comfortable, and Ultimate Lifestyles.
  • Start with how each of these will feel, from the inside, out. Then decide what you’d need in your life to feel that way. Then, finally, assign numbers. (The inside-out approach works so much better than outside-in for this!)
  • Remember: you’re the boss, here. Nobody but you can decide what each lifestyle level will feel like, look like, and include.

I recommend doing a 3-Tier Money Map of Intention for personal and entrepreneurial finances. As you apply this to your business, for each tier, here are a few things to consider:

  • Does this mean changes or additions to your support team? Bookkeepers, accountants, assistants, partners, etc.?
  • Does this mean working more hours or less? How many hours? How much more (or less) do you want to charge?
  • Which of your products and services best supports each tier? Do you need to create new ones? What might they feel like/include? (Remember: start from the inside here!)
  • What about philanthropy? Are you in a phase of business where it feels wonderful to give back and support causes you care about? How much? Be honest and intentional about what you can (and want) to do, here.

3. What Phase are you Growing Into?

Now that you’ve completed your 3-Tier Map of Intention, take a look at which tier your business is in, now. (No judgments here — just compassionate reality.)

Now: what phase are you growing into? How long do you think it will take to stabilize there? What do you need to make that happen? Perhaps there’s a money ceiling you’re itching to break through — and you need to shift your business model to make it happen.

Please keep in mind: it doesn’t always have to be about expansion. Some years, it’s time to create a healthy plateau — or even to consciously pare down and simplify. Over the years, I’ve gone through expanding and simplifying phases — I’ve raised my private fees and lowered my group fees and restructured numerous times. By making these choices consciously, you take the reins of your life and business.

4. Cashflow.

As entrepreneurs, we go through different cashflow phases, as well. There are early-on, up-and-down phases, where money ebbs and flows and we bootstrap the best we can. (Money practices help, here!) There are transition phases and leveling-up phases as we craft and refine new business models. And are phases when we just need to take a moment and enjoy a healthy, abundant plateau.

Once you’ve done regular money practices, you can ask yourself: what needs to happen for me to create the consistent cashflow I want? Would trade help? Do you need a line of credit to grow? Is it time to open up new services to support you through a cashflow dip? Or is cashflow so up-and-down and unpredictable, it’s time for a bigger shift in your business model?

5. Savvy Business Models.

Business models are the framework of how you structure your services. The living bones. Are you offering 1-on-1 sessions, group work, mastermind programs, online products? How do your clients pay you? Do you have short-term clients and need to keep finding new ones, or do you have ongoing relationships? Does cash flow in steadily, or in big chunks that need to last?

Zoom out to look at your business entity from afar. How can you come up with a model that’s more sustainable for your cashflow? I know this can feel overwhelming, but from the right state of mind, it can be so empowering. Open into wonder: how can your business support your creativity and happiness better?

6. Business Resources

What’s nourishing your business and giving it the support it needs to grow? Is it time to welcome some support? An assistant, a team? Could your business use more visibility (marketing)? Does it need a makeover (branding)? Is it time to move online (or offline)? do you need some training or consulting to get clarity here?

7. Opening to Outside Perspectives

This is such deep, personal work. I highly recommend getting quiet and alone for much of it. And yet: sometimes we can’t see beyond our own limitations. This kind of visioning may nudge you against the very edge of your comfort zone. It may confront you with your own blindspots. And it may introduce you to growing edges where you could really benefit from the support of someone who’s already walked down a similar path.

So ask yourself: is it time to ask for some support in visioning and manifesting? Would you so love to work with a business coach, a consultant, a Tarot Lady, a developer or designer or copywriter or candlestick maker? Listen for the answer as it comes, and know that it’s all OK. Maybe it’s, “Heck, yes! And I can afford to do so this week!” Or: “Ooooh, I want to — I’ll start setting aside money for that.” Or: “Nope! It’s all about honing my own intuition and savvy here — and standing on my own two feet.”

Please understand: sometimes, we simply don’t have the space for this work. It’s so common in the first 1-2 years of business to live in a “throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks” mode. And that’s OK! Your big picture will evolve — as will your ability to relate with it.

My Fave Tools for Money Maps:

A Peek into My Own Money Maps

I take a stand for creating a livelihood that truly serves you and supports you — and I believe it’s crucial to get really honest around whether it’s a time to expand or a time to simplify.

In my own business, I’ve experienced every inch of this spectrum. I’ve had years where I took huge, expansive leaps in my income and busted through money ceilings. Other years (like when I had my son), I consciously pared down my business, so I could work less. Expand, simplify. Inhale, exhale. With conscious, loving intention.

I’ve also evolved through many iterations of my business model: from solo show to group practice back to solo show, and now with a focused team. I’ve gotten savvier about my business model every year. Now, I’m working with my absolute favorite business and teaching model. It’s sustainable, we’re growing, and we’re growing our profit margins. All of this has taken focused, careful visioning and mapping — over and over again. 

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