I love talking to my clients about how they got into business and hearing the “why” behind starting their business. Almost every single one has something to do with freedom. Freedom to live life on their terms without answering to a boss, freedom to spend more time with their family, freedom to provide for themselves or for others in ways they couldn’t in their 9-5. It’s part of why I started my business nearly 5 years ago too. I wanted to live life with intention and build a business that would give me time to enjoy life and focus on the things that really matter.
And yet, it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of running a business and forget why you chose this path in the first place. If you are not intentional about it, your business it can easily start to suck up all of your time, often MORE of your time than if you’d stuck to working in a 9-5! Once you get sucked into that hustle mode, it’s hard to step away. It often takes something big to snap us out of it.
In December of last year, some things happened in my personal life that unexpectedly took me away from my business. It made me realize just how much my business had taken over every area of my life. I realized I had stopped being intentional about carving out time for the things that really matter to me. I was spending more and more time in my business, and I was living in a way that totally went against my reasons for getting into business in the first place. I knew I had to step back and reevaluate what was important to me and how I wanted to live my life.
It’s ironic really because I talk about this with my clients all the time as we’re working on their bookkeeping. As we set financial goals, prepare budgets, and calculate pricing, I always ask my clients to think about how much time they want to spend in their business, how many hours they want to work, and whether their financial decisions are realistic with the lifestyle they want to live.
I love helping my clients see the big picture of their business so they can make better decisions and run their business in a way that supports rather than consumes their life. Connecting bookkeeping to living with intention might seem like a stretch, but when done right, bookkeeping is so much more than a record of credits and debits. It can show you which areas of your business are most profitable, which areas are the biggest drain on your time and money, and what you could do differently to increase profits while making a bigger impact and working less hours.
Many of the creative entrepreneurs I work with are hesitant to make business decisions based on “cold hard bookkeeping data” because it feels impersonal, or they’re afraid it will take away their creative freedom. In reality, the opposite is true. When you know your numbers, you have the info you need to evaluate where you are now and make decisions that lead to higher profits with less drain on your time. Which ultimately brings more freedom into your life and business.
I won’t lie, it was tough for me to face the way I’ve been running my business and realize I’d been neglecting the things that truly matter to me. Thankfully, my diligent bookkeeping meant I had the info I needed to make informed decisions about what was and wasn’t working. It didn’t take long to identify changes I could make to free up my time without hurting my bottom line. For me, that meant hiring someone to take over some tasks that felt draining to me, and cutting out a few things that I realized were no longer working.
Bookkeeping gives you the full picture so you can make those informed decisions and free up time and space for the things in life that really matter. For you, it might mean expanding your team, changing your marketing to focus on your most profitable offer, or dropping a service that drains your time without bringing in results.
The best part is you don’t have to wait for a life changing event like the death of a loved one to start making changes. You can start running your business with intention and making shifts toward working less and taking time to enjoy life today.
What’s one shift you can make in your business that will help you live with more intention?
These resources will help set up your bookkeeping systems so you can see the big picture of your business and start making decisions that create space and freedom in your life.
If you’d like more support, check out my DIY Bookkeeping Program, where I walk you through the steps to creating a bookkeeping system that shows you the big picture and helps you make informed decisions in your business.