It may sound strange to say that my first business was not about making money. Yes, I wanted some shiny coins in my pocket and yes I sure did have bills to pay but I also rarely checked my bank account or chased up payments that hadn’t been made. The money would flow in and, of course, flow out of my business account. It worked. There was nearly always money in the kitty for what I needed but the truth is, it just wasn’t what turned me on.
In Australia wages are sensibly high and award wages mean that I would most likely have earned more dough making half hearted telesales calls or serving steaks (which I did). So if I wasn’t in it to line my pockets, why bother with those long hours, working 7 day weeks and answering emails at 3am for that sweet customer in Germany whose parcel went walkabout?
What got me excited was working with and for actual real life human beings. Sure I worked alone a lot of the time but through the many aspects of running a small business I got to interact with some damn fine individuals. My customers sent me the kindest thank you notes and even gifts! They came to me for something special and in return I thought they were special and tried my best to treat them as such.
I thrived on creating newness: new products, new packaging, Instagram content or market displays. I loved that I was swimming in the deep end and growing through finding ways to stay afloat. Walking an untrodden path is as exhilarating as it it terrifying.
Learning that money doesn’t flick my switch was something I felt I had to keep secret. When I confessed to my very patient account that I couldn’t accurately tell her what I’d earned I felt like I must be doing it all wrong.
So, assuming I do need money (which I do, kids aren't cheap!) how do I make it rank higher in my personal “important stuff” rankings? I found the key is to re-frame it, to trick myself by seeing it from another perspective. I want to be able to live in my happy home with my family, I want my son to have new socks to replace the ones he keeps unravelling and want to travel, back home to England and to inspiring places. I want to ease the panic that hits me when I am asked how business is doing or when my Dad asks what I’ve earned this year. I am not earning money. I am earning freedom.