You are a good writer and a hard worker. You write books, you’re a self-publisher, and you may even have clients who pay for your guidance. You work long hours—longer, in fact, than most people you know. But for some reason, all of the hard work and long hours do not translate into the level of income they should. The question is, why not? The answer is because of your money story.
You may not even be aware that you have a money story—a set of beliefs about money that were formed many years ago. Whether you are a saver or a spender, frugal or extravagant, a risk taker or overly cautious, you can trace the reason back to what you learned as a child about money.
Even if no one sat you down to spell out the financial facts of life, your parents didn’t have to tell you that money was tight for you to get the point. If your mother clipped coupons, only bought things on sale, and watched every penny she spent, you intuitively sensed an environment of scarcity. If your father made sure that you put 10 percent of your allowance in the bank, week after week, you learned to save.
What’s important is that this money story is still with you and has everything to do with your success, or lack of it, as an author. It doesn’t matter how many books you read on how to grow your business, if you don’t shine some light on you deeply held beliefs about money, you may never achieve the success you deserve.
It’s not easy to dismantle attitudes you can’t even see because they’re buried so deep. So, the first step is to examine your feelings about money. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Does thinking or talking about money make you feel uncomfortable?
- If you have clients or are ghostwriting a book for someone else, do you charge the industry’s going rate?
- If as client thinks your fee is too high, do you reduce it or stand your ground?
- Do you charge what you are really worth or what you think the traffic will bear?
- Do you think you deserve to have a lot of money?
If you answered these questions honestly, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out your story. If the subject of money makes you uncomfortable; if you charge less than you’re worth; and most important, if you don’t think you deserve to be wealthy, your money story is one of deficiency.
Your earliest messages came from your parents, and this one is no exception. Whether they talked about it or not, they were living their stories. My parents were both children of immigrants and survivors of the Great Depression. People who experienced the Depression maintained a certain mindset for the rest of their lives. They knew what it was like to worry about money, and inevitably they passed that attitude on to my generation.
Once you are aware of your money story is and its origins, you can began to rewrite it by logically questioning every sentence. First of all, realize that it isn’t even yours. It’s a hand-me-down from another era and set of circumstances. Your parents may have lived through the Depression, but you didn’t. In those days, money was a taboo subject rarely discussed in front of the children. When parents don’t talk about money, children don’t learn its true value or how to manage it. If you were lucky, you learned these things later on in life; if not, your parents’ attitudes remain yours, even when they no longer reflect reality.
If you still find the subject of money mystifying, do what writers do when they want to learn something: Research it. Read a book about it. Take a course. Talk to an expert. Learn to see money for what it is—a means of exchange for goods or services. By itself, money has no intrinsic value. It’s just paper. Isn’t that a liberating thought?
Finally, there is the matter of whether you deserve to have it. What you do and the time it takes to do it have value. It’s up to you to determine how much these things are worth. If you are a new writer or an aspiring author with lots of talent but very little experience, it may take you a while to grow your self-confidence, as well as your earnings. But if you have been in this profession for any length of time and have built your credibility and reputation, your apprenticeship is over. You have earned your professional standing in a demanding field. Professionals are paid what they’re worth.
Just for good measure, you might try reminding yourself of that every day. Post this little reminder on your computer desktop, your bathroom mirror, and your refrigerator.
I am a financially successful author. I am paid top dollar for my work. I have enough money to live a full, abundant life. And I deserve every penny!