One of the things I tell the folks who attend our life-altering Creative Wealth Train-the-Trainer workshop is that I need them not to put me on a pedestal. It might seem like a strange thing to say right off the bat, but here’s why I say it…
I want them to know that we all make mistakes and it’s OK to make them. That I am no different and I am the person I am because of those mistakes and what I’ve learned from them.
I want them to know that their best work will come from mistakes they have made and lessons they have learned.
I want them to know that they will become better teachers when they learn to teach from a profound place of authenticity and honesty…no matter what the topic.
I want them to know my background, that I’m not perfect, that I’m still learning and that that’s all there really is in life…learning and growing (well, in addition to love and chocolate, of course).
I couldn’t agree with him more! After all, how do you think we all get good at what we’re good at? We had to learn, just like the next guy and we were prompted to learn by mistakes, lack of education, missing pieces, emotional or physical pain, and a whole host of other motivators that move us to take on the challenges we take on.
So I was sitting here pondering what to share with you today and what came bubbling to the surface were the many lessons I have learned, and am STILL learning, about money, and especially, business. So if you’ll humor me…here goes.
Lesson #1: Never, never, never fall in love with your idea.
It WILL morph many times and what ends up working may not look at all like what you started out with.
Lesson #2: Get advice.
Get LOTS of advice. And then get MORE advice after that.
Lesson #3: STOP with the too many projects thing!
This is one of my biggest challenges. I am delighted and fascinated by so many things and the thing that I am best at and love the most is creating. My mind never stops thinking up new ways to do things and the projects that are on my ‘back burner’ could fill up the ARK!
I am challenged by this almost every day and it is difficult to put my creative juices ‘on hold’ simply because I need to focus on marketing the amazing programs and products that already exist.
What I do to force myself to focus now is to remember that unless millions of people and children experience our unique brand of financial education, I can’t make the difference I truly want to make in the world.
Oh, and I have developed a ‘to do’ list system that keeps me focused. I guess that’s lesson 3A:-)!
Lesson #4: Finish what you start.
Need I say more?
Lesson #5: You can never do enough planning.
Budgetary planning, marketing planning, PR planning, packing for camp planning, future planning! Even though I teach children and adults about setting goals, and know they are important for many most, it’s important to understand yourself in relationship to goals in general.
I set goals often for myself (I do practice what I preach:-) but the idea (and ability) of setting LONG term goals has always alluded me. I’m great at setting short term goals deadlines and completing projects on time; I just don’t ‘get’ the long term thing. Never have…never will.
What I want to share with you about goals is this…what has helped me is learning a long time ago that some people are goal-oriented and others are process-oriented. I am a pure process-oriented person and once I understood and accepted that, I was able to joyfully wrinkle my nose at the idea of setting long term goals. I’d invite you to do the same if you are a process-oriented human. Your life will instantly become more enjoyable.
Note: There’s a great book called Goal Free Living that you might enjoy. It brought me peace and sanity!
Lesson #6: Make sure you ALWAYS and forever listen to your gut.
In the beginning, when I started the first Money Camp for Kids program in 2002, I chose to go the nonprofit route. And I always had this sensation that something just didn’t jive for me there. After all, here I was teaching kids to start businesses, be little (and BIG) entrepreneurs, be their own BOSSes, create passive income vehicles and there I was, writing grants (which I never did very well because I could barley stomach the idea) and doing programs for less than they were worth. I had fallen into what I call the “Non-profit Myth”…that’s the myth that because something is considered ‘doing good’ in the world, it somehow should be given away and not paid for. YUK.
Two years ago I switched gears to build an empire for ME because after all, I was teaching kids to be responsible for themselves and being one of the most responsible people on the planet, I wasn’t able to do that for myself with the nonprofit. My gut feels much better now running it as a for profit corporation. I will make it or fail as a result of my own doing…it’s not dependent on anyone giving me funding for this or for that. I prefer it this way.
Note: the nonprofit does still exist, however, as we use it to collect scholarships for low-income families. This is how it SHOULD have been used from the beginning. (Hidden lesson:-)
Lesson #7: Outsource MWA’s (minimum wage activities).
Oh, how I wish I’d learned this earlier. I’m one of those who knows how to do it all so…I do it all! Stupido beyond belief. Don’t do that. There are so many people around the world willing and wanting to do all myriad of tasks for you for very little so you (I) can do what we should be doing: working ON the business and not IN the business. I’m praying I didn’t learn this lesson too late.
Lesson #8: Don’t put all your financial eggs into one basket, or your business.
I teach this. I practice it with my retirement accounts. I’ve learned many financial lessons over the past several years the hard way. Lessons like:
Don’t buy real estate in Arizona when the market is high (I was naive and didn’t know what questions to ask…I was trying to do what I was taught…real estate is a great investment, right?) and especially don’t buy it when your best friend says, “You know, there’s something about this deal…”
Don’t assume your financial advisor WILL get you out of the market on time. He didn’t. I took all my money back and invested it in stocks that I knew and understood (I’m an Apple girl…what can I say:-). What he lost in a heart beat I have made back in a year. I like being in charge of my own investments.
It’s important to pay yourself something out of your business and know how long you can go on how little before you find yourself looking for ‘work’ in order to keep the business going. When the business needs cash to grow, like Creative Wealth does now, it’s important to understand your own limits. I’m examining them now. We should all examine our own limits on a regular basis.
Lesson #9: It’s perfectly perfect to enroll those who have come to your programs, loved them and taken away value to help you with projects in the future.
My best friend and partner, Steve Gordon (the impetus behind our new coloring book) has told me for years to ask previous attendees to help volunteer at events, help with marketing and more. And I’m happy to say that I have learned this lesson well and that many of you show up and help regularly. Thank you for that. And thank you Steve for continuing to suggest it until I ‘got it’!
Lesson #10: Know when to quit.
You know the saying “Winners never quit and quitters never win”? Well, I’ve been pondering this saying for a long time now, and I’ve even talked about it before in articles. I think it’s ‘bullpucky’ as they say and here’s why…
Winners–people who accomplish things they set out to accomplish–quit all the time. However, there’s a big difference between quitting because you just don’t want to work hard anymore and choosing to quit because you realize an idea just isn’t going to work and to continue pursuing it would be financial, emotional, spiritual and mental suicide.
Quitting can be the exact right thing to do.
One of my favorite passions (I have so many of them…see Lesson #3) is to invite people to ‘think differently’ about things. To ask them to question WHY they believe what they believe and to inquire within themselves as to how a particular belief serves…or rather DOESN’T serve…them. More often than not, the context through and by which we live our lives isn’t a context we’ve consciously choosen for ourselves. We’ve inherited this context from our parents, our friends, the media, our teachers, our culture and more.
So what have I REALLY learned since starting down this path to teach myself, as others, about money, personal finance and wealth?
- That when you do something that helps other people, it’s hard to call it work and at the same time, that work can take over your life and is not necessarily the best thing for you in the end.
- That the only thing that really matters is that we consciously, with full awareness, learn to choose how to SPEND our days here on earth. How are you SPENDING yours?
- That it’s OK to ask for help when you need it.
I’m going to end this with a reminder that as I am just a girl who had an idea and acted upon it and has learned lots of lessons and continues to do so. And YOU are just a guy or girl in the exact same place. I enjoy it. I hope you do as well.
Just something to think about…