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Why We Avoid The *Simplest* Part Of Our Business And Justify Our Madness

And how you can turn it around with one simple mindset.

By Ellen "Jelly" McRaePublished 15 days ago 10 min read
Image created on Canva

I'm not someone who likes telling other budding solopreneurs the key to success is passion. Or that it's motivation. Or even consistency. 

Even though I believe in those concepts, and spend my time making sure those concepts work in harmony, they aren't anything without one thing. 


When I started on my solo business journey, back in 2015, I had some money. A little that I had saved from working full-time. I had some clients too, having already moonlighted as a website designer in my spare time. I thought I was the queen of the world. I had it all figured out, and I had some money to back me.

For some of you, it's going to be easy to guess what happened next. But for the people with a romantic view of business, here's the reality.

It takes a long time before you stop chasing the dollars you need to survive.

And part of the chasing process involves keeping your head out of the sand and in your bank account, instead.

But how would I have known that? 

I didn't do my finances. I didn't care to know what was going on with money, making it, or how it was coming into my business. 

I avoided the most important, essential, and, for some, the easiest part of doing business. 

This avoidance was irrational. Let me explain how I could justify it, though. 

I didn't intend to suck at money

By trade, I'm creative. Yeah, I'm one of those people.

Numbers and I aren't friends. I don't remember numbers well, they don't excite or interest me. I did maths all the way to my final year of high school, but it didn't come naturally to me.

I love money, and I love seeing the bank account rise. Who doesn't, am I right? But this whole reconciliation between incoming and outgoing pushed my expertise when I first started out.

It's not that I don't understand basic accounting. I had actually had quite a good grasp of bookkeeping in general and its purpose. 

But when you find things uninspiring, you tend to neglect them. 

This was me; a walking cliche.

Where is my money coming from? Really?!

Being vague in business doesn't work. Yet, vague and living with your head in the sand goes hand in hand.

Whenever someone asked me where my earnings were coming from, and what my highest earning sources were, I couldn't answer them. Sure, I could throw a dart at the wall and land a pretty good guess. 

But as for specific, quantifiable answers that meant something to my business, I had none.

Good thing for my denial that no one really asked me. 

Aside from my boyfriend, now husband, enquiring about my progress, no one was auditing my finances or business dealings. No one was grading my abilities to be an entrepreneur. 

I didn't have a teacher, a mentor, or a coach.

Overcomplicating something simple

Now before you go accusing me of being this airhead, a reckless businesswoman in the beginning, I have a defense. As a newbie, there was a lot to keep track of. 

More income sources than I thought possible to have.

When you go solo, this is one of those shiny things you become distracted by. You try to harness every possible option to make a dollar. You end up with a list that looks like this:

  • Invoices to your clients
  • Bank account transfers
  • PayPal transfers
  • Stripe (and alike payment avenues)
  • Traditional credit card
  • Cash
  • Payments made out from platforms - social media earnings, job websites
  • Online sales - products, courses, services - and how they get processed to you

For me, I had almost every one of them going at some point. Talk about making life hard for myself. I didn't enjoy the finance side of things here I was making it harder for me to track.

When it's all hard, it's easy to fall into this habit. Who cares if you have one hard thing to deal with? You might as well have multiple.

As you can, denial and I were best friends.

How much am I making? 10k, 100k, 1 million?!

It sounds stupid to say now but I didn't really know what I was making each month. More so, I had no idea what I was making each year. 

Do you know when people talk about yearly earnings like it's a salary? I couldn't do that. I just lacked any concept of how my earnings translated into this type of figure.

What I knew was how much was in my bank account at any given time. I couldn't determine:

  • How much I earned versus what I spent
  • How much I was spending on growing my business
  • How much return this spend was yielding for my business
  • How much I could save or contribute to my personal life (a salary)

I knew I wasn't making a million dollars by the way. But this head-in-the-sand attitude doesn't just affect those with small earnings. 

It can infect anyone at any stage of their business. It's not a "poor person" problem, I assure you.

It's an approach problem. Everyone has the possibility to get the approach wrong, to have a misguided attitude.

Please I don't have time for this

And when you're building a business, it's very easy to convince yourself and the world around you to avoid tasks that aren't so important. 

Doing my finances was always one of them. 

I had better things to do, I would tell myself. I have to do marketing, client work, product production, content, the list went on. 

I could justify cleaning my desk or doing the food shopping as higher priority tasks than my finances.

The problem with this attitude is that it can be true. You only have so much time to give to parts of your business, so you can't always do everything when need or want to. 

You do always have time for everything you need to do and some things do get neglected.

When I learned this about business, I immediately put finances into that section of my life. Easy fix for the task I feared the most.

I have a tech allergy

Everyone kept talking about Quickbooks or MYOB or some new, cool, and complex bookkeeping tech that I had to use. 

If I was a true businesswoman, I would be all over them. That was adding some pressure to me I couldn't handle very well.

And then I would start a free trial of one of these programs and I saw the problems mount. I would discover:

  • I needed more time to learn how this program worked
  • I needed money I didn't have to pay for the program or access the functionality I needed
  • I needed the knowledge to understand the complexities of these "simple" programs

What I didn't need were these obstacles. It made what seemed like a hard task an impossible one. It gave me more justifications for backing away from it. I could tell myself I was right by avoiding something hard.

Don't ask me to look at my nonexistent money

And the final nail in the coffin, my final justification for ignoring this important task had everything to do with failure. 

  • You might know this failure in other forms. 
  • You don't stand on the scales because you don't want to see the number.
  • You don't watch the end of the football game because you can't bear to see if your team won or lost. 
  • You avoid things that you know will be tough to face.

I didn't want to look at my finances because I knew I wasn't earning a million dollars. I knew I wasn't earning a hundred thousand dollars. To look at my finances and confront my reality wasn't something I wanted to do. 

I didn't need anything to suck my dedication, motivation, or precious self-esteem.

Two whole years went by before I started acting like a grown-up

Ok, I will stop being so harsh on myself. 

But I did have a moment in my career when I gave myself a wake-up call. You need to figure this out. Understand, managing money and being in control of my finances has to happen. It's part of doing business.

Sure, I could keep wishing it wasn't part of a business. That thought wasn't going to get me anywhere, though. 

The time had come to dig deep and face my neglected task head-on.

When you're facing something in your business that challenges you in this all-encompassing type of way, I have one piece of advice for you.

Keep your plan to overcome what scares you ridiculously simple.

Let's take managing my finances as an example. This is what I did to make my finances something I could do every day and turn the concept into something I didn't avoid.

These were the best things I did (in no. particular order):

  • I made plenty of time to do my finances - You have to find time, more than the time you need, to change your attitude towards fear. I gave myself scheduled time in my routine, with each session longer than I really needed. If I needed the time to learn and get my head in the game, I had it.
  • I didn't buy into tech I would regret - I could use Excel well. Thank you school for that education. So I went with that. Though the professionals of the world would turn their noses up at me with this decision, I didn't care. I had to use what worked for me, what I could afford, and what I would continue to use. I kept reminding myself the people who wanted to judge me didn't work in my business. They didn't have a choice over what I did, nor did they know my choice.
  • I simplified the process to be step by step - Checklist. I put together a checklist that I could follow blindfolded. No matter how tired, unenthusiastic, and not in the game I was, this checklist would offset any hesitation I had about doing my finances. Sometimes you have to be your own obstacle to stop yourself from finding other ones to put in the way. My checklist did this for me.
  • I found parts of the process I enjoyed - I loved the information that came from my stats. What was working, what I could do better, and where I needed to spend more time. This type of information was gold, and I looked forward to finding it out. It was a result worth pushing through the fear.
  • I focused on why doing my finances would change my life - I relished doing something scary and took pride in overcoming fears. And I also enjoyed how much I was doing to help my business. It was like being my own doctor. Here I was saving myself. That feeling of self-accomplishment fueled my motivation.

I don't live in regret

I wished I focused on my finances more when I first started. But let's be real; that's a regret. Wishing I could turn back time and change things. It all lives in wishful thinking.

I can't regret this gap in knowledge and inaction in my behaviour. Going through this life lesson the hard way taught me the importance of challenging myself to face the things I find tough. 

It taught me the value of finance as a concept in my business. It also taught me I can do anything if I truly want to. And it taught me I need to make mistakes to truly learn a lesson.

There will always be scary aspects of running a business. That's never going to change. But we can't avoid them forever. We know we won't become successful with our heads in the sand. 

I'm not pretending facing fears is easy, either. Yet, sometimes we have to decide what we want more; the wins for us, or the fear to win. 

I know what I want more. Do you?


About the Creator

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

Writes about romanceships (romance + relationships) | Loves to talk about behind the scenes of being a solopreneur on The Frolics | Writes 1 Lovelock Drive | Discover everything I do and share here:

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  • suman mohan15 days ago

    Very interesting!

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