ProfitFirst_BooksI am so excited!

Now, “common-sense” marketing tells me to share what I learn only long after I learn it, so as not to publicize in real time any of the mistakes that I, a card-carrying human, am bound to make as I implement my learning.  Well, then, to common-sense marketing, I say “pish tosh!” I am about to share with you what I learned and why I am excited about it – right now! – the very minute I am feeling the energy rushing through my veins.

Today I am excited because I have implemented a new habit in my business.  Not just thought about it.  Started it!

Here’s the background.  Earlier this year, at the same time as I participated in a powerful spiritual development course, I chose to counterbalance that experience with a highly grounding business activity.  That’s when I first read Profit First, by Mike Michalowicz.  The Amazon write-up promotes this book, Mike’s third, as “the profoundly simple yet shockingly effective accounting plug-in that will transform your business from a cash eating monster into a money making machine.”  It’s a quick, light read about better business accounting practices.  That may sound oxymoronic, but it’s true.  I highly recommend it.

While reading, I felt fired up.  I made notes. I thought about my bookkeeping practices. I saw the value of making small changes. I told my team about what I learned.  I finished the book!  And then I promptly did nothing about it.

The basic premise of this book says that we business owners must pay ourselves first.  Before we pay our team members, vendors, creditors, etc., we have to pay ourselves.  Bottom line – to get there, we have to raise our revenues (duh!) and/or cut our expenses.  But Mike understands human behavior.  So he teaches that rather than WAIT to pay ourselves with the leftovers after all our business bills are paid, we must pay ourselves immediately and regularly so that we  feel motivated to keep running our businesses.

Although this premise sounds like “common-sense” accounting (please note there is way more to this book than I’m sharing here), Mike confirms that most small business owners (I can confirm I’m included) pay themselves last (translation: some months not-at-all), and as a consequence they typically feel dragged down by their work rather than energized by it.

Woah.

I’m a brilliance-based businesswoman, and the vast majority of my community members have either a brilliance-based business or a brilliance-based career.  In other words, we are excellent at and passionate about our work.  Therefore, “common-sense” psychology tells us we should feel highly motivated every day.  Yet, most people I talk with report they often feel like they are drowning in financial struggle and/or activity burnout.  Do you?

This week I’ve taken action on two of Mike’s fundamental suggestions.

Yesterday, I found a Profit First accountability partner.  Shout-out to Paula G!

Today I opened a Profit Hold account at a new bank, away from the personal and business accounts at my main (previously only) bank.  (Local peeps – Leader Bank is a community bank based in Arlington, MA that offers no-fee checking and savings for a minimum deposit of only $10!)  I deposited into that new account 1% of all the revenue connect2 Corporation has collected year-to-date.  And going forward, I will be transferring 2% of all revenue from my business checking account over to my Profit Hold account.

Beginning in early July, Paula and I will meet after the end of each quarter. At that point, in accordance with Mike’s wisdom, we will each withdraw 50% of the funds in our respective Profit Holds and allocate that amount to something fun.  (Mike emphasizes it’s key not to reinvest this withdrawal back into the business because that defeats its fundamental purpose  And the other 50% builds in the Profit Hold account as a Rainy Day fund.)  Now, beyond the opportunity to make a difference for my clients, I am further motivated to work because I have my very own incentive bonus plan!

I realize we’re talking about relatively small amounts of money here.  But whether it adds up to a special dinner or a beautiful handbag or a family trip, I am going to start feeling supported by my business.  My new habit is a symbolic and practical reminder that I am committed to working to live, not living to work.

Have a tip for staying motivated at work?  Please share it in the comments below.  Feeling like your motivation has waned so much that you need more than one new habit to jump start it?  Let’s talk about how you and I can strategize to get you pumped about your work again.