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Aug 2023

Navigating Your Finances May Improve Your Mental Well-Being

9 min read

Let’s talk about something that hits close to home for all of us—money and mental well-being. These two seemingly unrelated things are like peanut butter and jelly—they just go together. As someone who’s been down the entrepreneurial road, I’ve experienced firsthand how money can expand your life but also how the lack of money can be overwhelming.

Financial Concerns Can Arise at Anytime, Don’t Judge Yourself

As creatives in business, we embark the wild adventure to run a profitable, tax-paying photography business. It’s both an exciting and scary journey. Hours of blood, sweat, tears, and heart goes into every single detail; in return, we expect that business will generate generous sums of money that would trickle down to our personal budgets.

Life would be blissful with a constant stream of happy clients who enjoyed their photography experience, valued pretty prints on their walls and craved having gorgeous albums on their shelves, they would show up year after year to recreate the experience and life would be full of joy.

newlywed couple running
But, as fate would have it; life happens.

Sometimes, it’s going well, and things almost feel perfect.
Sometimes, life is far better than you’ve dreamed possible.
Sometimes, we get every thing we want, plus all the extras.

But that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, we hit a wall.
Sometimes, it’s an unpredictable pandemic OR illness in the family.

Eventually and ultimately,  the financial challenges starts to rear their ugly heads. Sales aren’t soaring, expenses are piling up, taxes show up, and the pressure to keep the business afloat is getting real.

As the financial strain takes its toll, it doesn’t stop there—it has a sneaky way of infecting your mental well-being too. You may start to distance yourself from loved ones, weighed down by guilt and shame for not being able to provide the stability you had envisioned. What was once an exhilarating journey may have turned into a messy mix of stress and fear.

couple standing on rock

How Does Financial Stress and Burnout Effect Our Businesses?

Financial stress can lead to reduced creativity, diminished drive, and poor decision-making, all of which directly impact a photographer’s ability to deliver outstanding work. Over time, this strain not only hampers business growth but can also erode client relationships and personal health. Here are five ways your money may be effecting your mental well-being.

Decreased focus

When business owners are under financial stress, the ability to focus and perform optimally can be compromised. Constant worry about the financial health of your business can lead to decreased motivation, increased distractions, and difficulty concentrating on tasks. This can result in lower productivity levels and decreased creativity.

If you are in a financial crisis and find that instead of being motivated to make more money and “kill it;” you’re taking longer to deliver albums and photos or have no desire to book sessions, you might be in a mental health crisis.

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Financial stress can also impact your personal reputation and trust among customers. Difficulties in meeting financial commitments can result in delays on delivering promises which can erode trust and credibility. Negative perceptions about your business’s financial stability may effect customer loyalty, making it more challenging to maintain positive relationships and secure future partnerships.

Work-life balance

Money plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Financial stability allows you to take time off, spend quality time with loved ones, engage in hobbies, and prioritize self-care activities. When your business is struggling financially, you may find yourself constantly working long hours, neglecting personal relationships, and sacrificing your mental health in an attempt to save the business. This imbalance can lead to burnout, relationship strain, and a decline in your happiness. couple holding hands

Decision-making and clarity

Financial stability enables you to make decisions from a place of clarity and sound judgment. When you’re worried about money, your ability to think rationally and make strategic business decisions can be compromised. Financial stress can cloud your judgment, hinder your problem-solving skills, and increase the likelihood of making impulsive choices that may not be in the best interest of your business. This can further exacerbate mental health issues such as anxiety and self-doubt.

Personal and professional relationships

Money can significantly impact your relationships, both personally and professionally. Financial difficulties can strain personal relationships, leading to conflicts and arguments about money matters. Stress can spill over into your professional relationships, affecting your ability to communicate effectively with employees, partners, and clients. These strained relationships can contribute to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and added stress, negatively impacting your mood.

couple kissing

10 Tips to Manage Financial and Mental Well-Being in Your Photography Business

Let’s talk about 10 ways you can take control of your money and reduce anxiety.

Tip #1: Diversify your income

Branch out from just photography. Offer workshops, sell prints, provide photo editing services, or venture into stock photography. Diversifying can provide a more stable income.

Tip #2: Create a budget

Understand your monthly expenses, including gear, studio rent, software subscriptions, and personal bills. Prioritize necessities and trim any unnecessary costs.

Get clients. Get paid. Get happy.

Tip #3: Set clear pricing

Establish a clear pricing structure for your services. Factor in expenses, desired profit margins, and market research. Being confident in your worth can alleviate the stress of negotiations.

Tip #4: Have an emergency fund (and don’t use it for non-emergencies)

Aim to save enough to cover at least three to six months of expenses. This provides a cushion during slower periods or unforeseen crises.

Tip #5: Regularly review your finances and cost of doing business

Set aside time weekly or monthly to review and manage your accounts. Regular check-ins help avoid surprises and keep you in control.

married couple

Tip #6: Utilize financial software to keep things organized

Use accounting or financial tracking software tailored for freelancers or small businesses. This can help keep finances organized and simplify tax time.

Tip #7: Consider payment plans for clients

For larger projects, consider offering clients payment plans. This ensures steady cash flow and can be appealing to clients.

Tip #8: Seek financial advice from a professional

Consider meeting with a financial planner or advisor, especially one familiar with the creative industry. They can provide personalized strategies and investment advice.

Tip #9: Limit debt

Be cautious with credit cards or loans. If purchasing new gear, consider buying only what’s essential or looking into second-hand equipment in good condition. Renting is also a great option. Make money, not mistakes.

Tip #10: Focus on your overall well-being

Financial stress often intertwines with mental health. Adopt relaxation techniques like meditation, regular exercise, or seeking therapy. A clear mind can lead to better financial decision-making.

Here are 3 foolproof ways to make more money from current clients!

happy couple

The impact of financial stress on businesses is far-reaching and significant. It affects productivity, business growth, cash flow, decision-making, and even your reputation and trust. Recognizing and addressing financial stress is essential for maintaining a healthy and sustainable business.

You’ve got this!

Written by Prudence Rufus of Master Your Mint | Photos by Feel and Focus Photography


Apr 2023

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