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Do you feel bad at numbers?
If you do, you’re not alone (insert statistic here).
Are you squeaking inside ‘how dare she say I’m addicted? Cheeky mare!’
Let me ask you a question.
Do you feel bad at numbers or do you need help with numbers?
There is a big difference.
It’s quiz time.
Sharpen the pencils.
(Any teachers reading this, please don’t shoot me. This can happen in even the best teacher’s class).
There are lots of reasons why this can happen:
Do any of these strike a chord?
You’re reading this far.
That’ll be a yes, then? 🙂
(It’s ok, no-one knows, it’s only us two here)
That’s personal to you.
It’s not surprising though that feeling bad at numbers is easier than admitting to yourself that you missed out on understanding numbers as well as you want to because of the dominating boys in your class and you feel powerless and unequipped to do this important thing for your business: owning your own numbers (and yes, doing your tax return and accounts).
Own that you CAN feel confident with numbers, whether you need help or whether you don’t, whether you’re naturally bad at it or you didn’t get the support you needed as a child.
You can own where you are right now, what you need help with, so you can take back control and feel confident.
Numbers are the foundation of your business so it’s an investment you need to make in yourself, taking back control.
Let’s get to the nitty gritty, why would you be addicted to feeling bad at numbers?
(and if you’re naturally not so gifted at numbers, this applies to you too)
Rosie has lost her mind, I can hear you saying to yourself.
Having a business is a big learning curve. It’s a time of lots of excitement, lots of uncertainty, feeling like you’re hanging off a cliff most of the time.
The thing is, the part of you that wants you to stay safe wants you to fail.
Dreaming big isn’t safe. Safe to your brain means what it already knows, and if you knew how to run a business with 100% success every single time, you’d be richer than the Forbes list put together.
Feeling bad at numbers is a great way to lose income, lose clients, lose enquiries, lose profits. It’s the numbers you see.
It has nothing to do with your actual ability. You can get help with that (and from someone who isn’t a patronising arse when you ask basic questions. Oh dear, did I say that out loud? Ahem).
So take yourself off to a nice safe warm cake shop, treat yourself to a slice of carrot cake or lemon drizzle, and ask yourself, where are you losing money in your business because you want to feel bad at numbers?
Let’s get aboard the procrastination train.
It’s a lot easier to say ‘I am bad at numbers’ than to do something about it.
We all do it about things we’re not sure of.
I’ll admit I use my complete incomprehension of the colour of plug wires to avoid changing a plug (the brown one being the LIVE one? Really?) I could be safe and only do it with a diagram in front of me. Instead, I avoid doing it at all.
So no need to feel bad or guilty.
On the other hand, get it sorted, hmmmm?
Stop procrastinating. When you feel the urge, pick an article on my website and read it and do one task that takes you one step further.
Bookmark for when the procrastination craving hits you:
It’s a lot easier to say ‘I don’t understand the numbers’, ‘I don’t understand what I’m meant to do with my receipts’, ‘I don’t know what I’m meant to be doing, I can’t do it, I’m bad at numbers.’
It’s a great procrastination strategy.
(If I’m sounding like a broken record, have you taken action yet?)
HMRC require you to ‘take reasonable care’ and that means good records.
Read my top record-keeping tips:
It feels like a big step to be more visible.
When your business income is small, when you are new, when you haven’t many people on your list, when….
It’s not about the numbers. You can have 1,000 people on your list, 10,000 people, or 10.
You can still pretend to yourself it’s not you, it’s the numbers.
There is always something you can do to be more visible and grow your business. It doesn’t need to be the terrifying-at-the-moment one, it can be the that’s-a-bit-uncomfortable-and-I-can-do-it one.
Say out loud what you want to happen, your best case scenario. You’d be surprised what can happen once you stop hiding. Your biz numbers have nothing to do with your visibility.
Be visible-a-bit-more-than-is-comfortable and stop hiding behind your numbers.
It’s easy done.
We all know what can often happen at school if you need help. You’re ignored, you’re teased, you’re made fun of and ridiculed.
It doesn’t help you understand and feel confident.
Experiences like that can stick with you.
It’s a good survival strategy to pretend you’re ok, that you don’t need help, or that you’re just bad at the subject.
It’s not your fault if you’re just bad at it, is it?
Like I said earlier, this isn’t the same as numbers naturally being your weak spot. If there are no emotional blocks that need healing, you’ll get the help you need, no bother.
It’s ok to need help.
Let’s start where you are and go from there 🙂
This is personal.
A lot of men expect women to be bad at numbers and crap at maths. You’re not female, a real woman, if you are confident. It doesn’t matter whether you’re good at them or you aren’t, it’s confidence you aren’t allowed to have.
It’s almost as if women aren’t permitted to be powerful and confident and take control.
It’s easy to miss the subtle signs of this one. You’d be amazed how often on TV (and media, social media, music, books, culture) women are punished and ridiculed around anything to do with numbers. It’s incredible how frequently it happens once your blinkers come off.
Be gently aware if you feel better when you avoid owning your power around numbers and money. There is some digging to do and no guilt trips.
If you want to trick your emotions, then be all femaley female and do your money and numbers practice in a vintage floral tea room with coffee and walnut cake and a cup of Lady Grey.
(It’s even tax-deductible if you meet your tax return coach in the tea room. Just sayin’).
Oh yes. You do, don’t you.
I know your secrets.
Like our little chap here, the idea of doing a tax return makes you feel like wrapping up in a blanket and doing an impression of Grumpy Cat.
Then you go all out and spend the afternoon watching funny cat videos and stuffing a black forest gateau in your face.
I know HMRC like to think they’re lovely, friendly, homely bunnies who are there to help hold your hand. (And to be fair, they’re pretty good for a tax authority).
That doesn’t help you if you feel clueless, ignorant, flat scared, and have no idea what the fuck you’re meant to be doing.
Instead, you’re ‘bad at numbers’.
Let’s be honest here, despite having probably the easiest tax return form in the world, that doesn’t help make the SO MANY BOXES any more approachable if you don’t feel confident.
It’s not you, honest.
It is pretty confusing until you know what you’re doing. I mean I know we can google these things but how do you know the results are relevant for you?
Feel confident knowing what to put where, which boxes to ignore and which are essential, and know what you need to know for you, a freelance business operating out of your sofa/desk/local coffee shop/beach/the commute to your job.
Top tip, the Tax Return Toolkit shows you just what you need to do for your tax return in plain English and easy-to-read lists (warning: may contain cake).
And explore my free downloads of income and expense spreadsheets, invoice template and more.
It’s all about numbers having your own business.
Being a successful freelancer means being confident of numbers.
Whether you have xkcd as your laptop wallpaper, dyscalculia, or just a bad time in maths at school, now is your time to own your own numbers.
Talk to me about no-judgment coaching or start with one of my free resources.