In the past, when I was in college, I would often say to myself, “I’ll wait until I’m out of school to start a business, so I won’t have to worry about money.” As I continued on my journey of starting and growing my business, I’ve learned that many successful entrepreneurs have taken the opposite approach.
We’ve all heard the phrase “Money can’t buy happiness”, but this is an oversimplification. After all, money talks! If you’re reading this blog, you probably care about your finances and you want to improve your financial situation. So is there a correlation between the two? Yes.
There are multiple paths to success. There are millions of people who have failed at achieving their financial goals in life. Each year it seems the bank accounts of the rich get larger and the accounts of the more recently rich get larger. The question is, why?
Establish a healthy relationship with money (so it’s not always about the money). Look at your numbers, review the stories and beliefs you tell yourself about your value, commit to incremental savings and align your finances. To listen to the full interview with Chioma Njoku, visit the Home Practice channel with Halle: Yoga tools for every body on your favorite podcast platform. To learn more about Chioma’s work, follow @mindfulchioma or check out her services on The Mindful Bookkeeper. Hall : Hey, guys. Today I was in the company of Chioma Njoku, long-time practitioner, yoga teacher, accountant and founder of The Mindful Bookkeeper. Chioma, welcome! His service, The Mindful Bookkeeper, aims to help service businesses, such as yoga studios, increase their profits by linking their why to their finances. Can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to do this work? Chioma: In its most general form, it was a journey of realization that the mind and emotions associated with money are as important as the skills. I am a qualified accountant with a Masters in Accounting and an MBA. I even ran an accounting department once and always lived from paycheck to paycheck. I often thought I wasn’t doing enough. Later I realized it was a behavior conditioned by emotions related to money. I thought I’d reached the glass ceiling. I also felt like I wasn’t contributing to the community. I worked my way up to being a yoga teacher, and then I started hearing too much about money. Making money is not yoga. For you, it’s about money. They should charge a small fee or no fee at all. I had completely forgotten what my purpose was, why I wanted to be a teacher. Eventually I started doing what I do now – helping others have a healthy relationship with money, so it’s not always about the money, but about doing what I love and making a difference. Hall : I appreciate you bringing up the fact that making money or money from teaching yoga is somehow antithetical to yoga itself. How did you overcome this? Do you work with clients who believe this? Chioma: On the last question: Yes. When I work with clients, part of the collaboration is to overcome this problem. Without this healthy attitude towards money, you will not be able to budget. We’ll find ways to get rid of the money. We are unaware of this and think: Um, where did the money go? As for me, I had to be where I was. I’m an accountant, so naturally I turned to skills-based books. What changed my game was the book Profit First, which allowed me to set up a system and a structure. This book showed me how to organize my finances. I realized that in the thirteen years I had been with the company, I had never really paid attention to the creativity of the financial organization. I had to give up almost everything to realize I could get my finances in order. This book showed me that I can transfer a certain percentage from my checking account to a savings account before I pay my bills. I started out with only 1% to move. I would get my paycheck, put 1% in my savings account, and that was it. Then I began to face my emotions: How did I get here? How did I get here? Why are other people here? Hall : Raising awareness and progressive savings seems to be a good first step. What other steps are needed to change your attitude toward money? Chioma: It is important to be aware of your surroundings. This includes what you consume on the news or a TV show, what you see on Instagram, what you read, the friends you have, what they talk about and how they say it. When you start paying attention to the money language that we hear all the time…. as I watch Real Housewives, I’m not ashamed to talk about it [laughs], and there are so many great lessons on what not to do! There are episodes where they make fun of the practical housewife who throws a pizza party for her child. They said: Why didn’t you take the ponies or close the roads? It showed me that television programs us with expectations about how we should manage our finances. Here’s an example: pay attention to the stories you hear about money. I like keeping a journal, it’s another step. Ask yourself: What beliefs do you have about money? And be brutally honest. When you put pen to paper, your thoughts begin to flow, which means you will read what you really believe and recognize your subconscious programs. Anything you are aware of, you can change. Be aware of your thoughts and pay attention to your surroundings – start with these two things. Hall : You get objections from customers who say: All I know about money is that I don’t have enough to make a difference. What should the first step be when it seems very difficult to earn a living? The first step is easy to say: Can I make money? Do you think mentality also plays an important role? Chioma: That’s it. When they first tell you: I can make money, I bet you don’t believe that. But the first step is the willingness to take a step towards a new outcome. And step two: Are you looking at your numbers? The answer is often: No, I’m scared. What you need to do is prove to yourself where the money is going. They control the inflow and outflow of funds. We allow people, things and circumstances to tell us that we are not in control, but we are not. Become aware of the beliefs that drive you to act. It’s work, but it’s not that hard to change. Hall : What are specific and affordable ways for a yoga teacher or yoga business to keep their finances in check? Chioma: We’ve talked about incremental savings, such as saving 1% of each salary, unemployment benefit, or income from your business before you pay your bills. For some people, the 1% figure is frightening. If you don’t think you have the money to save, no matter what I say, you won’t take the next step. But you won’t be short three or twenty dollars a month. Then look at your bank accounts. Reconnect your money. If we only focus on coffee and dinner when budgeting, we’re not talking about the other things that really eat up our money. We ignore penalties for late or untimely payments. We’re not taking into account the other 60 streaming devices we’re paying for now during COVID. We don’t know anything about the students or customers who didn’t pay us, or who paid us but there was a technical error and the money wasn’t transferred. Instead of cutting back on coffee and dinner, take it a step further and see where your money is really going. Develop expectations for your money. I don’t know why a yoga teacher is so broken. We must be determined and confident in what we want and need. There are so many judgments about greed and materialism in the world, and we need to get past that. Gratitude is very complete, and it brings you more possibilities. Hall : Many people in the yoga and wellness industry open yoga studios because they love yoga and want to help people, but they don’t necessarily have much business experience. What are the most common pitfalls you encounter when you start working with professional clients? Chioma: I see lots of freebies and discounts. Freebies and discounts aren’t bad if used correctly, but studio owners and yoga instructors project a scarcity mentality onto their students. My professional clients have told me that they have developed the habit of only buying course packages on Black Friday and always looking for the discount. Clients admitted that they did not believe in the value of their work and thought that the only way to attract people was to make it cheaper or free. Hall : Can you tell us how you relate your why to your finances? Chioma: I’m just asking: Why are you in business? I often don’t get a straight answer. And that’s good – it’s a good start and it’s fair. At that point, I check their numbers and say: I can tell you don’t know because your spending is not consistent. And then I ask them some questions: Do you know why you, for example. B. spend money on Mail Chimp (a messaging platform)? And they don’t know or hear that they should use that. I’m asking: Do you know why you use Mind Body? And they say: I don’t know, everyone uses it. The money has to flow. The money goes to maintenance and we need to rebalance where the costs go. This exercise helps clients get into their why. The main question is: Why do your students come to you? And if they don’t know, I say: Ask your questions! This is a good place to start. When you look at your numbers, make sure that everything, both money and expenses, supports what you serve. And as we get closer to that point, that’s when the real magic happens. Hall : What resources can you recommend to those who want to learn how to manage their money? Chioma: Some of the skill-based books I recommend are Profit First by Mike Mihalovich, Complete Guide to Money by Dave Ramsey, I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, and I have to mention our former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren – she and her daughter wrote All Your Worth: The ultimate money plan for life. Another note for the Australians: I highly recommend the book Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. Contribution of Hall MiroglottaWhile it might seem counterintuitive, research suggests that people with lower levels of self-esteem are more likely to have financial problems. While it might seem counterintuitive, research suggests that people with lower levels of self-esteem are more likely to have financial problems. They tend to have more self-doubt, less perseverance, and a weaker grip on reality. They are more likely to see themselves as victims and to feel disconnected from their financial situation.. 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