Getting Past Financial Anxiety in Business with Mikelann Valterra
Getting Past Financial Anxiety in Business with Mikelann Valterra

Getting Past Financial Anxiety in Business with Mikelann Valterra

Money is a big source of stress for many people, business owner or not. We have habits we learned in childhood because of how our families handled money, and many of those aren’t habits we’d want to pass along to our own children. And let’s not even talk about the dreaded “B” word. You know the one, “If I could only stick to my budget…”

Money can hold us back in business, and I don’t strictly mean the lack of it. If we’re not comfortable dealing with the emotions that come along with money, we’re going to struggle to find abundance in our life and business.

This week on the podcast, I’m talking to Mikelann Valterra, money coach for women who want to transform their relationship with money. In this episode, we talk about mistakes we make with money in our businesses, why we need to replace the word “budget,” how to let go of some of our money stories, and why we need to start talking about money more.

Mentioned in This Episode Podcast

About Mikelann Valterra

Mikelann is an author, keynote speaker, and money coach who helps women transform their relationship with money to create a life they love.

For over 20 years, she has been a thought leader in the field of Financial Psychology. Her strong background in emotional intelligence, paired with her practical money strategies enable her clients to consciously design their life while escaping financial stress and anxiety.

When she’s not working with clients, you can find Mikelann on the dance floor, indulging her love of Argentine Tango.


Abby Herman 0:00
Hey there and welcome to episode 227 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for service driven business owners who know that content is important, and that there’s so much more to marketing and business growth. Here we talk about showing up for your audience in a way that they want to hear and in a way that sustainable for you. This might mean publishing a weekly podcast or blog. But it also means paying attention to your email list, leveraging other people’s audiences, building relationships, and getting over the limiting mindsets that often hit when we’re reaching for the next level in our business.

Abby Herman 0:43
I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and podcast manager for business owners who want to make their marketing feel easier and more streamlined, so they can get back to serving their clients and making those sales. I’ll show you how, or I’ll do it for you. While you do business in a way that works for you. I can help by supporting you through building a content and marketing strategy, taking care of the podcast management for you, or giving you the tools and resources to take this on yourself. Money is a big point of stress for a lot of business owners. For a lot of humans in general, we need to make money because this is our livelihood. For many of us, myself included, we are the only income in our households, a successful business is a non negotiable, but we’re afraid to charge the quote unquote, right amount, whatever that means are we beat ourselves up because of past money mistakes, or maybe we just avoid taking care of our money altogether, and we ignore it, and secretly obsess about it constantly. And then there’s the not really knowing how much we need to make at all.

Abby Herman 1:51
I can tell you that I have been in all of these situations, and many more, which is why I was so excited to talk to this week’s guest, Mikelann Valterra. Mikelann is a money coach. And we get into all of this and more. And it’s not just for those who are challenged when it comes to money. This episode is for those who are making good money too, because maybe you feel bad about it or don’t know what to do with it. Let me tell you a little bit about Mikelann before we get into the interview, Mikelann Valterra is an author, keynote speaker and money coach who helps women transform their relationship with money to create a life they love. For 20 years she has been a thought leader in the field of financial psychology. Her strong background and emotional intelligence paired with her practical many strategies enable her clients to consciously design their life while escaping financial stress and anxiety. How good would that feel? When she’s not working with clients, you can find Mikelann on the dance floor indulging her love of Argentine Tango. Here is our conversation.

Abby Herman 3:03
Hi, Mikelann, thank you so much for joining. I am so excited to talk to you today.

Mikelann Valterra 3:08
I am so jazzed to be here. Hello from Seattle.

Abby Herman 3:12
Hello. Before we get into the episode, can you share with listeners what you do and who you do it for?

Mikelann Valterra 3:19
I would love to so I am a money coach. And you know, it’s funny Abby, a lot of people still haven’t heard of money coaching. I don’t do taxes or investments. It used to be though, that people could either see an investment plan or if they wanted to talk about that, or credit counselors if they had debt issues. You know, I find Abby that most people have both most people want to build their net worth business owners, especially right like we’re talking about today. And of course, a lot of us are struggling with debt. That’s such a pain point, particularly for business owners. But neither of those fields is really equipped to deal with the emotional side of money. So I do both. I look at both the practical side of money and the emotional side of money. So people come to me to learn how to manage their personal and small business finances, how to manage their cash flow, you know how to get out of debt, how to plan for all sorts of expenses that are coming like computers and vacations that tend to throw people into credit card debt. But all throughout many coaching we always look at an honor the emotional side of money because you know anyone that says money is not emotional. They’re a robot. You know, and you know, the last question Who do I love working with? My heart is drawn to working with women. And I attend to say women in midlife that are rocking it that are just doing so many wonderful things. But money is the stressor.

Abby Herman 4:50
Yes. I think that you have the right audience here today. Myself included.

Mikelann Valterra 4:59
Yeah. Alright, bring it on, right?

Abby Herman 5:01
Yes. So I definitely want to talk about the emotional side. I want to start there. But first, what does it look like to work with you? How do you work with clients? And how does the way that you’ve structured your business help you to live the lifestyle that you want?

Mikelann Valterra 5:17
Oh, my gosh, good questions, what it looks like to work with me people work with a money coach on an hourly basis. So it’s very similar. I know a lot of your listeners have probably worked with other coaches, or they’ve worked with psychotherapist. So I work with clients on an hourly basis, usually over a year where we really dive in and learn about all this stuff. You know, how to plan your spending, I coach people on how to deal with all the expenses that come up, and how to stay out of debt, how to structure their savings. And, you know, I would say a third to half. I’m trying to think about how many of my clients are self employed Abby, but a fair amount. So we’re doing all that for the business also. Right. It’s like how it and I think that one of the big questions is, how much do you need to make? is probably some of the stuff we’ll talk about today. And how do you how do you really enter into what I personally call a nourishing spending plan process? So that believe it or not, you are never stressed about money? And you always know what’s happening around money. I mean, it’s just huge. And I have been doing this, believe it or not, 25 years. So it’s, um, I love it. You know, my mom says, Oh, you do such high and holy work, you know, because I mean, she knows how stressed people are around money. And it has helped me create a life that I love. I mean, I I’ve been self employed for so long, running private practice, I don’t even think I’m employable anymore. I don’t think I can go get a nine to five salary job because I’m, I’m so used to running my own ship, which you and I know, there’s a lot of good and a lot of craziness in that world. But I’ve been living it for so long that I’ve created life the way I want to.

Abby Herman 7:07
I agree. I I’ve been doing this full time for 10 years. And I say, you know if I got a job? I don’t think I would last a week. Fire us. Exactly. Exactly. I’d get fired for wanting to do things my way. And you know, yes. So let’s talk about the emotional piece here. What do you mean by the emotional side of money? I have ideas in my head. And I’m sure I’m off base, but it involves logging into your bank and crying for because of what you see what I used to do, I used to do that a little bit. What does it mean?

Mikelann Valterra 7:47
You are not off base? It’s I mean, we have a lot of feelings around money is really where you’re going, right? I mean, we have so many feelings around money, we want to feel peaceful and happy. And many people don’t they feel icky and angsty and stressed. So, you know, the emotional side of money is really looking at why do we feel the way we feel around money naming those feelings and looking at what are the beliefs underneath the feelings because we have so many emotions, but it’s thoughts that create our emotions, right. And a lot of our you know, let’s call it our mini programming. That’s the maybe the other way to talk about it, you know, your programming around money. It really does come from how you were raised around money. And that’s not the entire enchilada. I mean, we are complicated people, right? So part of it is like Joe, I’ll just give you a quick example. If if you’re raised here and your parents fight about money, it’s that’s very stressful as a little kid, you may not quite get what money is, but you know, it’s important, you’ve picked up it’s for survival. And you know, it’s making mom cry, or dad yell or whatever it is. And so, you know, these early experiences that we have around money, we grow up and we often will have beliefs connected to them something like, okay, money is bad money is negative money is to be avoided. Don’t talk about money, money hurts relationships, money will cause conflict. And, you know, again, we’re smart adults, we don’t walk around consciously thinking that but what happens is it comes out in our behavior, where we may have a hard time talking to our loved ones about money, or anytime we log in and look at our money at online banking. We chest our heart starts pounding and we just feel queasy. I mean, literally, before we’ve even looked at the numbers, right. So it’s, it’s very emotional. And you know, it’s not all from early childhood. I talked to a lot of people that have a lot of very big intense money, stories, things that happen to them about money in there. I 20s Because that’s when we’re very first on our own right. And there’s a lot of twists and turns that affect people emotionally around money. And there’s a lot of financial trauma that people go through it could be, could be bankruptcy, you know, I think you and I know that one of the most common financial traumas that women go through, is divorce. And obviously, men go through financial trauma. Also, I mean, I’m just speaking a little bit more to women today. But it’s very traumatic, in terms of how it affects us around money. And so people come out of that. And they feel scared, they feel scared around money. And we know it’s not always rational. We may even know we have quote, enough. But it doesn’t stop us from having our heart pounding. When we really start digging in and looking at this.

Abby Herman 10:51
Yeah, especially when you go from a two income household to a one income household, and you’re trying to provide for, you know, children, for me a child and not being able to do that in the way that you want to be able to do that. You know, and yeah, so yeah, absolutely. For me, there was a whole lot of stress early on, in my divorce, which was many, many years ago. But when my daughter was little I, there were times more than I would like to count, or I’m standing at the grocery checkout with my debit card thinking please let it go through please let it go through and not knowing if it’s going to or not. So, yeah, it’s very scary. And yes, I agree.

Mikelann Valterra 11:33
So it is I was my son was nine when I divorced. And oh, my gosh, same. You know, it’s very stressful to become a single provider, we thought for probably a decade that the whole future was based on something different. Yeah.

Abby Herman 11:48
Yes, absolutely. So you talk about you talked about the feelings around money, what are some of the most common things that you see in your business? And I would love to hear about both from like, the place of lack and the place of abundance, because I think that even when we’re in abundance, we still don’t talk about it. It’s still a taboo subject to talk about.

Mikelann Valterra 12:14
Yeah, that’s so true. I think that oh, gosh, I see everything. I mean, sometimes there’s a lot of fear that people won’t have enough. I mean, for sure, right. There’s a lot of fear, almost this belief that, of course, there won’t be enough whether it’s based on anything or not, could just be based on how we were raised. Right, right. Sometimes I see this fear or belief that it’s somehow not okay to make money, that good people don’t make money. And again, that is usually not said or even fully conscious. But that keeps people from sometimes charging enough. That might be one example of how that comes out. I, you know, it’s interesting to me, I have a lot of clients that actually make enough money or plenty of money or good money. I mean, everyone’s gonna use a different way to describe it, right. But they feel foggy. They feel like they’re in a money fog, they don’t know how much they’re actually spending, and they’re just afraid that they aren’t going to be able to manage it. They’re afraid that they’re not going to be okay, in the future, they’re afraid they’re not going to make it count that they’re somehow not doing it right. With money. There’s like this nagging sense of guilt. And I think that the other thing I see is, whenever they do spend money on something like a big vacation or something, they always second guess. Should I have done that? Oh, my gosh, did I spend too much Oh, who am I to beat say that I’m gonna go to Rome for a week. And you know, so it’s interesting. So they’ll make, they may do with it, but they’re stressed, they’re anxious, they’re guilty. And then you know, half the time it ends up on a credit card, and then they really beat themselves up. So I mean, there’s there’s just so much in this isn’t there?

Abby Herman 13:58
So how do you get past that? So I mean, if you Yeah, what are some of the things that you work with clients on to help them get past some of those feelings of the fogginess and the, I guess regret that they might have after spending money?

Mikelann Valterra 14:14
That’s the million dollar question. So what the short answer is the act of planning your spending is the act of planning your life. The act of planning, your spending is the act of planning your life. And so where I start with clients, is we look at how do we simplify things because people tend to have, in my opinion, often too many accounts. So it’s very hard for them to see where they’re spending their money, what’s going on business or personal. And then we start looking at okay, where’s the money going? And how do you learn how to start directing where you want the money to go? How do you create for example, a monthly spending plan some people will call it a monthly cash flow plan, but I mean, I am telling you Abby, it is the top top thing that you can do to relieve your anxiety around money, your stress around money. And I think that, you know, entering into a really nourishing and spending plan process where you really planning where you want your money to go. Not only does it take you out of stress around money, but over time, you literally can create the life that you want. It’s it is a I mean, it is the number one thing that’s changed my life to allow me to do things I never thought would be possible, just this, it sounds so simple, right to plan where you want your money to go. And yet, how do you do that? And what does that mean? And how do you get in there? And that, you know, I think that’s, that’s one of the reasons why people often like, you know, reading a book about it or working with a coach or having some, you know, having some help because it is emotional, is emotional. The moment we look at where our money’s going, it brings up a lot of feelings.

Abby Herman 15:59
I noticed you did not say the B word.

Mikelann Valterra 16:06
That word yes, you oh my god, you’re so smart. You totally caught it. And he’s the budget, let’s just say A, B. That one of the reasons why I hate the word budget is it’s got such negative Juju. That’s a technical term for a lot of people. And it sounds very diety people assume if you’re going to budget, you’re going to go into money diet. And that sucks. Like, nobody wants to feel like they’re on the money diet. And I think that sometimes the fear is, okay, we’re gonna look at what I owe everyone. And now what’s leftover for me? Yes, I’m living life on leftovers, right. And the other thing, the other reason why I hate the word budget is it people tend to focus a lot in the past in the future, meaning it’s all about planning debt payments, and getting out of debt, which is important. I’m not saying that’s not. And the future savings and retirement are hugely important that is, but what gets missed is we don’t live in the past or the future. We live in the present. So how do you design the life that you want now? And if you can give yourself happiness and joy now, it makes those other things that much easier to take care of? Because otherwise, if you go to extreme in debt reduction, or only only save, save, save, most people burn out? Yeah. And it’s just, it’s just not sustainable.

Abby Herman 17:38
So what does that look like to create this this spending plan cash flow plan, where you’re living life in the present, and you’re taking care of all of the financial things that you need to take care of?

Mikelann Valterra 17:51
Well, let me use me as an example. So you know, you and I are recording this in February. No, it’s not going to air right now. But like, for example, at the beginning of February, I did a business spending plan. And I first I did a February business spending plan. And I do the February personal spending plan. And you know, my February was a very, very interesting month i On the personal side, I went away for a huge Tango festival. And I’m planning I know, it was so fun. And I planned in my February spending plan. I let’s just say it planned a lot of fun things like I knew I was gonna buy more than one pair of tango shoes at this festival. They’re like, they’re really expensive. So I planned all sorts of stuff, including, you know, the 60,000 mile tune up on my car, I mean, some boring things, right? Life is life. And within that, yes, I did plan some of my money that goes towards my investments, right? Depends on the different types of debt that people have. That’s all in my plan. And then I took that, and I went to my business spending plan, and I made sure that I was paying myself enough. And within my fit your business spending plan it that brought up all sorts of stuff. I’m like, Okay, what does that mean? Right? Does that mean I have enough clients? Does that bring me back to really given me some incentive around marketing? You know, I mean, because ultimately, it has to work right? The money that we spend has to be less than the money that we earn, otherwise we do go into debt, right? I mean, that sounds simplistic to say it that way, but it’s, you know, it’s this puzzle that we’re all putting together so but but the art of planning your spending, it is an art and it takes people a while to really kind of enter in and actually enjoy putting their plan together because I’m talking about a month. But the other piece that I also coach people on is all of this has to fit within an annual income and spending plan because you know, as I said to my clients, many times, you can make anything work in the month. You can pull money from savings and credit cards and use all sorts of things. From a cash flow perspective, you can make any month work. But does it work within the year? Are we fundamentally in balance, because when we are in balance in the year, it just it feels so good, right? We just feel like we’re doing what we want to do. And it makes us feel responsible. It makes us feel free. And it makes us feel secure when it comes to money.

Abby Herman 20:26
So when you’re creating your spending plan, for business and for personal, you’re making adjustments on a month to month basis, then so if so you knew that you were going to be spending more money personally than you typically would. So you were able to adjust your pay in order to account for that, like I had. So explained to me how this works on a year long basis, while being able to tweak things within each month.

Mikelann Valterra 20:56
Oh, you’re you are so getting an injury. This is so good. Yeah, I can tell you have such a good business mind. Because you like claim it. How does this work?

Abby Herman 21:04
Because I don’t do that. I mean, I pay I have a salary I have, like, So personally, I have a set salary that I pay myself, right? I use a payroll system. I’m an S corp. So I just enter in that it’s time to pay me and it’s time to pay my team and boom, it all happens. And I never, I shouldn’t say I never change anything in my payroll system I do. Occasionally I’ll give myself a raise, but probably not enough. But yeah, I’m curious how that works on a month to month basis with your spending plan.

Unknown Speaker 21:34
It depends because I actually do very similar to you. I do adjust once a year, my salary and I look at because the advantage of working at the annual level is that I literally look at how much money I need for the whole year. And I do a personal annual spending plan first that actually planned Tango festivals, and planned shoes and planned car repair. I can’t predict everything. But I have a pretty darn fun, interesting personal annual spending plan. And then I use that to create my business spending plan for the year. And that helps me look at my salary, and how much I need. And I do, generally speaking, take the same amount of money every month. However, one of the things that happens that people get really frustrated about is we spend different amounts of money every month, and people get very frustrated with that, right? It’s like, we get it we have the same salary. But we spend different. So how does that work. And one of the things that happens is people end up with a lot of debt for the months that they you know, aren’t going on their vacations or whatever. Or they just don’t go on vacation because they feel deprived. And so it really more has to do with how I teach people how to use savings, I have people save every month for what I call periodic expenses, it’s their vacations, it’s their car repair, it’s their home repair, it’s their property taxes if they’re not in escrow, right. So that when you have those months, like the month I just had, where I spent a lot of money, you know, and some of it was super, super fun, I pulled more money from my periodic savings. Now, there are some business owners, particularly when you’re in newer business, and when you are still a sole proprietor, where you do pull and can pull different amounts of money each month as your draw, because most newer business owners aren’t at the level where you are or I am or they’re not LLCs yet, they’re not on. Right. So, so we are looking at it month to month. And initially, that’s okay. You know, for new business owners, we literally are looking at this month, you need to pay yourself six grand, or whatever the number is, right. But But over time as people become LLC s or s corpse and they really move into payroll, you know, again, that I love that it really helps calm things down. But it doesn’t change the fact that you spend really different in different months. And so how do you handle that?

Abby Herman 24:05
Yeah. So something that you’re talking about is figuring out what that number is that you should be paying yourself? How does how does one get to that number? So we were talking before we hit record and you’ve said that you know something that is a challenge for a lot of business owners is they don’t know how much they actually need to make and bring into their personal accounts. How do you figure that out? And and why do you think we make that mistake?

Mikelann Valterra 24:35
Oh my goodness, that is another super good question. So when I’ll give you what I call it, Michael lens cosmic number, if people universally underestimate their spending by 25%. Universally, and and and part of it is and you and I’ve seen people do it. I call it back of the envelope budgeting and I’m going to use the B word on purpose where people start off and they go okay, what Do I spend? What do I spend? And so they come up with this sort of cosmic list of monthly expenses. But you know, isn’t it interesting Abby, when they’re looking at what they spend, and they’re coming up with their monthly spending? And they as if it doesn’t change, right, because everyone’s in denial that they spend differently different ones. Notice that that month that they write down in there, maybe if they’re got a cup of coffee energy in their Excel spreadsheet, and like, what do I spend every month, they never use December. Right? They never use the month that they went to Hawaii. They never used the month or the expense where they had to do their 60,000 mile car repair. And they certainly don’t put into their monthly spending plan that they bought two pairs of bloody expensive Tango shoes, right? You know, they just don’t do that. So, so people end up coming up with how much they think they spend. It is way too small of a number, it’s a really lean number. It doesn’t have any of those. Some people use the term variable expenses, some people use the term periodic expenses. I mean, there’s lots of different ways you can talk about it. But you know, there’s a lot of expenses that we have that are not monthly, right. And some of them we love, like vacations. And some people love the holidays. Some of them we hate, nobody likes car repair, or this or that, right, but they’re all non monthly expenses. I think that the other reason, though, why people underestimate what they need to make is, I haven’t mentioned how much we need to save for retirement for and you know, there’s different ways to save for retirement on the personal side of the business side. But you know, that’s another number that needs to get added in. And then if you are carrying debt, let’s say consumer debt, credit card debt, or lines of credit, or the demographic that you and I talked to a lot, the number one thing that they’re carrying, is student loans. Right? For years, and years and years. So we have to put that number in. So there’s, there’s when you add all that up, it makes sense when we’re saying it out loud, why people are an underestimate how much they need to make. And I think emotionally, we’re often afraid to see the real number because we’re afraid Oh, my house is just gonna be so big, you know? So we just, we, you know, we lowball it and a part of us knows, knows it. And then we really hope that of course, we make more.

Abby Herman 27:25
Yes. And I think a lot of the value in sitting down and figuring out how much you really need to make is you’re able to prioritize different things, and maybe reduce some expenses in some areas so that you can increase in other areas, like, let’s get rid of the 18 streaming services that we have and only have two because that’s all we’re actually using. And then maybe put some of that extra money towards debt reduction, or that super vacation or the tango shoes or whatever.

Mikelann Valterra 27:58
So I call it plugging your money leaks, right? It’s like there’s this pipe that we all have, where money’s coming in from clients or our paycheck. And we were we love all the money flowing through this pipe. But there’s all these pinholes in the pipe. Yeah, he’s like you just said all of so many subscriptions we don’t use or, you know, we just blow money and things we don’t care about. Maybe it’s too much takeout. And I always ask people, What do you want to protect? What is important to you? What is your Do not touch this expense? This gives me happiness. This gives me joy, right? And I believe you can do anything you want. You just can’t do everything you want. happen to you. How do you discern that and dive into that?

Abby Herman 28:43
Mm hmm. I was just thinking about this last night as I was I was sitting on the couch watching something on Netflix or somewhere and going through the different and I hardly ever watch TV. I very rarely sit on my couch. I’m usually reading a book, I don’t really watch that much TV. And I was like, I’m literally paying for five or six streaming services, and I don’t use them. My daughter uses them maybe you know, but she doesn’t live at home she can pay for her own school.

Unknown Speaker 29:18
There was a time when they made SAP. Yes, right. Yes. Time goes by so fast.

Abby Herman 29:23
And it just doesn’t make sense anymore. Yeah. So I want to talk about like the business side. So on the business side, so we need to make a certain amount of money in our in our business in order to help pay for our lifestyle for the things that we need personally and the things that we want personally, what is the biggest challenge that you see business owners make when they are they know what they have to make? And now they’re in their business and they have to make this money. Where’s the breakdown? What are the mistakes that you’re seeing?

Mikelann Valterra 29:56
Well, I think that um, you just in general, calm admit that women tend to undersell themselves more so than men. And, you know, the research shows that that’s that’s about 25 to 30%. And it’s a lot. And of course that brings up well, oh my gosh, why? And, you know, there’s, I mean, it’s complicated. There’s a lot of stuff, but I think part of it is, women tend to fall prey to perfectionism more so than men do. And so we think, we can’t charge what we really want to charge or may see other people charging, because, and then they’ll come up with a list because we’re new. Because we don’t have as good of a website, because we don’t have that many client testimonials yet. Because, you know, and a lot of it is like, Well, are you good enough right now to charge what you’re really worth? Because as you and I know, Abby, people really only care about results, like your clients are paying you if you can help them. But we we often hold ourselves back. And I think that one of the things that I always say to women is we really talk about this with your tribe with other business owners, because one of the things that helps women not under charge, is a way to do the research and actually see what other similar practitioners are charging. Because never ever set your fees in a vacuum. Never set your fees, because that’s what happens. People go, Oh, what am I worth? What should I charge, and then we come up with a number that’s too low, right? So when you do the survey and see what other people are charging, that really helps us charge more, but I also think that women more than men are affected by external feedback, meaning we really do well when we have a support supportive team around us so be careful who you share this with never share it with the naysayers, you know, with the Debbie downers goodness, don’t don’t tell them what you’re charging. But you know, for for the wonderful powerful women around energy that really have your back and and the wonderful men in your life, who really see how stunningly awesome you are, you know, these are our colleagues and our friends that we want to get that support from and say, Hey, this is what I’m thinking of charging, you know, what’s your thought. And that really helps us not undersell ourselves.

Abby Herman 32:25
And I think that there’s a lot of misunderstanding from non business owners about what it looks like to develop pricing. So for example, I have a, I have a friend who became a personal trainer, and she was talking about what they charge their, their there, they being the company, what the company charges people to do personal training with this person. And it was something like $35 for a half hour. And that’s $70 an hour. To me, that seems really low. And two other friends in my friend group that seemed really high. Because I know all of the backend stuff that goes into a business and to being a business owner. And it’s not just like, I’m not just going to get that $70 an hour, I have to take that $70 And I have to pay team members, I have to pay for subscriptions that I use in my business, I need to pay for them at the time outside of working with clients that I spend on marketing. And they think that there’s kind of a disconnect when you’re talking to people who are not business owners about what your fees are.

Unknown Speaker 33:35
I am so glad you said that. Thank you for saying that. Because I should have added try to not talk to people. I mean, that’s not their fault. They don’t know. I mean, right. They they know things that we don’t know. Right, right. Absolutely. It’s it’s all good. But business owners get it? I mean, what have you said it is? I can’t even say it better. I mean, if you’re fine getting paid $70? Well, that’s fine. But I got a lot of expenses that I need to pay on that I don’t get to just keep $70 Right. In fact, a general rule of thumb that that I use Abby with service providers, I call it the 50% rule, you know, Michael and 50% rule, where we actually tend to net take home about half of our gross because, I mean, we’ve had a lot of expenses that we have to pay out of what people give us, including taxes and retirement funding. But you know, I have to buy my own paperclips and my favorite pens and all my service people. I mean, it’s a long list of expenses, right? My cell phone so on and so forth.

Abby Herman 34:46
Even with, even with a low overhead, you know, I work out of a home office and I have very few physical expenses but there are still a lot of other other expenses and the marketing piece and yeah Yes. So what do you say to people who come to you? And because there’s a lot of shame around talking about money, I think, especially if you’ve made mistakes in the past, especially if there’s debt involved, there’s, it’s really difficult for people to talk about money. What do you say to people who come to with that shame, with that, you know, maybe trying to hide things in their bank accounts that they are embarrassed that they’ve done, they don’t want other people to see.

Unknown Speaker 35:37
talking about it starts to just solve that. It really does. I mean, we need to be thoughtful again about who we’re sharing it with. But, you know, I mean, I’m a money coach, a financial counselor, and a big part of that initial work, is talking through somebody’s story, right, because it helps to share it, it helps to dissolve that, like you said, the pain and the shame around it. And what I always say to people is, everybody has a Money Story, it’s just that nobody talks about it. So we’re not aware of everyone else’s story. Right? Right. But I mean, your money story is probably worthy of a blockbuster movie script, right? Because it’s full of so many interesting twists and turns and ups and downs. And I always say to people, this is normal. You know, I mean, it’s so unusual to have a boring Money Story. We don’t, we don’t reach, you know, our 50s or however old we are with just like, oh, this perfect life around money. I mean, that’s just weird, right? I don’t have anybody like that I’m sure there are, I’m sure there’s somebody. But you know, part of it is is normalizing it, knowing that it’s normal to have all these ups and downs, it’s normal to have made tons of financial mistakes. That’s how we learn. And then really talking about financial forgiveness. Because if we don’t forgive ourselves, for all of our many mistakes, it really starts to affect us, it affects it affects us spiritually, it affects our physical health, our emotional health, we get depressed, we beat ourselves up. So, you know, entering into this financial forgiveness piece, I think is really important. But we have to be able to talk about it first, before we can shine that light of forgiveness. And I say self forgiveness, right, forgiving ourselves. I think that that the other piece, I would say is really viewing it as a journey. Because you’re all on a journey. We’re all in this money journey. And we’re all looking at how to continue developing a healthy relationship with money. And it’s like all relationships, it takes a while to really renew our relationship, get to know money enter in I mean, it may even sound weird to talk about the idea of a relationship to money, right? But but to enter in, and literally be able to talk to money, learn from money, it is part of the journey. And you know, and I think that it’s important that that people have a lot of hope, because it’s very, very normal to get to where we are and have had a lot of ups and downs I I get frustrated sometimes looking on the internet with different things people, right, like they just beat people up, I go with you too late, or you should have saved this much by this time. You know, that’s written for a small minority of people that have done. Most people are what would be considered behind to the point where it’s just normal. Normal. And so it just helps to be able to talk about

Abby Herman 38:39
what what would you say is one thing that people can do to help them on that journey of forgiveness? Like, what does that look like?

Mikelann Valterra 38:48
I would say one thing, besides finding someone that you can talk to many talk to about money? Is writing down your money story, journaling, journaling, what was the I’d say three good questions would be what was your first memories and experiences around money? And then what did you learn or observe about your mom and money? And what did you learn and observe about your dad and money? And how did what you observed about your primary caretakers? In your opinion? How do you think that’s affected you? And those are those are big, those are big questions to kind of noodle on and journal on and people a lot of people are just have never asked that because money and conversations around money tend to get left out of therapy. A lot of events have done a lot of therapy. It’s very rare that money in money issues or stress are addressed in therapy. At any level.

Abby Herman 39:52
Yes. How do you talk to your son about money?

Mikelann Valterra 39:57
Yeah, oh my gosh, it’s tough. So funny being the kid of a money coach,

Abby Herman 40:02
I bet you by the way, so

Mikelann Valterra 40:04
he’s he’s 23 he is finishing his college degree and in very special Navy program. And he’s got a very funny sense of humor. So he’s always post really funny memes about money. Knowing that I’m a money coach and I kill it kill posts, really funny things you find out about credit cards, and we’ll say, Don’t tell my mom, you know, don’t don’t do this, right? Like I remember. Just this is like classic The problem with like raising a kid and talking about money all the time. I’m wandering through the living room, and I’m like Xander, my son’s name Xander. I really need a new purse. I hate this purse, I need a new purse. I’m going shopping. And he looks at me says Mom, do you need a new purse? Or do you want perhaps? Right, like needs and wants? You know what, right? What do you do first? Or do you want a new purse? So it’s an I think that with kids, it’s normalizing always being able to talk about money. It’s not just once a year conversation, it’s not flimsier conversation when he was looking at buying a car a couple months ago, you know, he called me and said, Mom, I want to talk through what the banker said, I got a couple of options, but I just just need to talk about I love that. And that’s Yeah. And it’s not like anyone is sitting with any magic answers, right. But to be able to talk about options out loud, I think is a huge, wonderful gift that we can give our children around money.

Abby Herman 41:34
Yeah, well, there was a time when my daughter was young, shortly after I left my day job where the money was super, super tight. And so I literally printed out a budget and I said, the B word sorry. I sat down and I showed her this is how much money I make. This is what the bills look like. And this is why, you know, I’m going to have to say no to a lot of things right now. And we went through that, you know, for a couple of months, because I wanted her to see what it actually looked like. Because I was feeling really guilty for saying no all the time. And now, you know, she just got her first credit card. At her age, I made a lot of mistakes with credit cards. And she had she has a plan. Like she knows exactly what percent of her income she can spend and put on her credit cards that she can earn bonus points. And then she has a plan for spent for paying it off. She even has it automatically set up so that it will auto pay for her so she doesn’t have to remember so I’m super impressed with her responsibility around money that I did not have at that age.

Mikelann Valterra 42:40
I love it when honestly I think Abby, it’s because you talk with her about money when she was growing up. So she could it wasn’t this big secret taboo. Yes, it was like yeah, she was able to talk about it was a normal life topic. It was just a normal thing that over time she was able to think about and talk about it wasn’t that big of a deal. Yeah.

Abby Herman 43:02
Yes. Well, Mikelann this has been so great. Such a great conversation. Where can people follow you and get more information about you? And I think you have a freebie for listeners too, if I am not mistaken.

Unknown Speaker 43:16
Yeah, thank you so people can find me at I’ve got plans all over the United States and actually outside the states but what I would recommend is that people go to the website and grab a free discovery call with me if if you are a woman that’s resonating with any of this then just book a call and I talked with you for 20 minutes and help you figure out what’s the number one thing that is stopping you from feeling wouldn’t control a night for people that are not into booking those good old free discovery calls. Then I have a 20 page ebook on how to stop stress, stressing about money that you can download and it’s all on the site so you have a money coach and in terms of social media It’s Seattle money coach in you know in Facebook and Instagram all I’m everywhere but I’m not on Tik Tok sorry. Dance so, people call me the dancing money coach, and they’re like, oh, you should do tic tock, but I’m, I’m not ready for that.

Abby Herman 44:23
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for being here. This has been really just such a great conversation. I think it will help a lot of people.

Mikelann Valterra 44:30
Thank you so much. I hope it does. I just I love your show. And I’m so glad we’re talking about this topic. Thanks.

Abby Herman 44:38
So much great information, right? I have to agree that talking about money and not ignoring it or hiding from it is the first step and feeling more secure about where you are. And I can speak to that from experience. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. I’ve included a link to Mikelann’s ebook in the shownotes, as well as all of her website links and social media links. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. You can tag me at thecontentexperiment and tag Mikelann at Seattlemoneycoach or head over to LinkedIn and connect with us there. Be sure to let us know how you found us that it was on the podcast when you’ve sent the connection invitation. The more you share this podcast with others the more we can get it into the earbuds of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care.

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