This isn’t easy for me to talk about if I’m being honest. I never knew I had a messed up money mindset.
I guess I kinda thought everyone did? I’m not sure. But I’m gonna admit – I did, and God wrecked it.
(Yes, this is definitely faith-based coaching, so if that’s not your vibe you’ll wanna move on!)
Now – this is NOT prosperity preaching. Please don’t get that confused.
I don’t believe in telling you that if you follow God you’ll become rich.
That’s not what I’m saying, and if that’s all you get from this – well, you def missed the point.
What I can do, is give you the truth: a real, raw story of my very own on how God wrecked my view on money, (and not just my view on money, but on who He is and what He actually wants for me and my business.)
And honestly? It’s a heck of a lot easier to act like I have my life together and not even bother speaking on this topic, but I don’t believe that’s what God wants from me. So here I am, being vulnerable and showing up with my real problems and messed up mindset – in hopes that you’ll be cured of it if you suffer, too.
I heard a few things about money mindset here and there, and with each resource I read, the more I realized: my money mindset sucked, and I needed to do something about it, (or forever be a victim to the limiting beliefs I had.)
However, I can’t jump into sharing my limiting beliefs with you without sharing WHY I had them in the first place. So, here’s a little background.
I grew up with AMAZING parents. Literally incredible. And I was so blessed to have been born into a family that worked very hard their entire lives in order to provide me with the life I lived. I never went without, and I was (and still am,) blessed far beyond what I deserve – and for that, I am eternally grateful.
However, growing up in the South, (or at least where I grew up,) I always heard the words “money doesn’t grow on trees,” or “that costs money,” or “it’s important to learn the value of a dollar.” And while I believe ALL of these are beyond true statements, and I completely agree with them; it’s the tone in which they’re usually presented, (more times than not,) that carries a negative connotation with it.
I’d always viewed money as something we all needed more of and something that we’re all desperately trying to get, and that we’re constantly working hard to receive – in order to make ends meet. This is life for most of us, right?
My photography business beginnings:
After graduating from high school in 2012, I went straight to college and worked hard for four years to receive a bachelor’s of science in Mass Communication and Marketing. While I was in college, I decided I wanted to try to start my own photography business and dabbled in learning all that I could, (while I wasn’t studying for college.)
After shooting several family sessions and senior sessions, as well as my first wedding, I’d decided. This was what I wanted to do. Whatever I needed to do to make it happen, I was going to do. So I launched my photography business Facebook page, set my prices, and started charging. I’d never been more excited for my future, I’d finally found something that lit me up when I did it.
A year or so into owning my business, I remember hearing through the grapevine that some people had said I was too expensive, and that that’s why they didn’t book. (Please know this is actually totally okay, because not everyone is meant to be your client.)
But, I remember someone saying to me, “Do you really have to charge that much? Some people do it for less so that everyone can afford it. There are good people who want those kinds of pictures, but can’t afford them. Don’t you want to be that for them?”
And it got me thinking, “Is God upset with me for what I’m charging? Am I wrong for charging for my work? I know that God has given me this talent, so am I actually supposed to be doing it for less, where everyone can afford it?”
(HINT: We know as Christians that the devil LOVES to lie to us. It’s his favorite thing to do. He loves to tell us that we’re unworthy and unqualified; that we’re not good enough or smart enough, and especially not talented enough to be paid what we deserve for what we do. Please know that whatever the limiting beliefs are that you have towards yourself; they’re sent straight from the father of all lies himself.)
So I prayed and prayed, and I didn’t feel conviction for my pricing. I continued to grow in skill and in talent, and raised my prices to match, (as well as covering my costs of actually running a BUSINESS, not an expensive hobby.)
I graduated from college in May of 2016, and had about 6 months where I was working on my business and preparing to move to Florida in December after Clayton and I got married. As planned, after we got married, I moved to Florida with him and we prepared ourselves for the big move to Japan in May of 2017.
During the time I’d graduated college and was preparing to move to Japan from Florida, I wasn’t able to work on my photography business the way I’d wished, (as in actually being creative and shooting.)
Instead, this preparing season led me to focus on the back-end of my photography business, (the stuff that nobody could see.)
Therefore, I was spending more money investing in my education than I was making from shoots, (and that’s okay, but I believe this was the season of my life that the scarcity money mindset started to take root.)
I hadn’t known what it was like to not be profiting in a long time. From the moment I started my business, it took off – because it was different than what anyone around me was doing at the time, (this was in 2014-2015.)
But then, after all of the popularity my business had attracted, God had me take a backseat and build up a foundation that would be able to withstand what He would bring to it in the future, (although I didn’t know it at the time.)
Back then? It was hard. And I didn’t understand. I was angry that I had built my business to a place where I had clients pouring in, and was pumping out killer images with raving reviews to match, yet I was going to have to uproot everything and start over again. Then, it felt like moving to Florida, (and only staying there for six months, then having to move to Japan,) was wrecking it all, and I was SO hurt.
But God had a plan.
He knew what He was doing. And He also knew the hard seasons that were yet to come. (Those are another story for another time.)
Fast forward a few years, and God has brought me from glory to glory, time and time again. He has always been faithful.
I’ve also never stopped working on my business, (in some form or fashion,) regardless of what season it’s been in. Every single day, for the last five years I’ve poured my heart and soul into building this very brand that you’re now interacting with from somewhere else in the world.
This past winter was a slow season for my business. It was weird. (We all get them, although I can’t say I’m a huge fan of them.) 😉
But in January, I was confused as to why things were so slow. I know now it’s because God has called me into a season of serving and stewardship, (one in which I’ve been in for about a year and a half now.) But in January, I was burnt out. I was tired of working SO hard every day, and serving every day, and not seeing in return for it what I’d dreamed of. (I got BIG God dreams ya’ll.) Granted there was totally stuff coming in in return, I just wasn’t seeing it the way I needed to.
Here’s actual proof of this season, and how I was feeling back in January:
Yup. I’m always transparent about what I’m going through with you guys, and this was tough in January.
The next day, after I’d gone out to the field (literally) to go talk to Jesus, I came back into the house, got something to drink and went upstairs, sitting down at my desk with a loud exhale.
Clayton was playing his Xbox, and looked over because he could tell I was troubled.
He told me he wanted to tell me a story.
When Clayton was a kid, he used to help his Dad out on a farm. His dad would farm crops, which meant that in each season; he was doing something very specific in order to eventually reap a harvest.
One season called for tilling the soil. They had to prep the soil, and that was their one and only goal during that time. They were prepping the soil for the next season, where they would plant the crops. (Meaning, there wasn’t anything financial coming in during this time.)
One season called for planting the seed. They had to plant the seed, and then wait for the next season.
One season called for simply waiting. They were still waiting on what they’d planted to grow.
One season was the harvest. All of the hard work was now visible, and they would reap the benefits, (physically and financially,) of all of their hard work throughout the year. They would harvest it at the right time, and the cycle would repeat itself year after year.
One season called for rest. There wasn’t much work they could do during this time, so they rested and they waited for the next season in which they could do the next thing, (which was prepping the soil for the next harvest to come.)
We go through seasons in not only our lives, but in our businesses too.
By the time January was coming to an end, I was back in Japan and was digging back into my business workflow. I was finding areas I could cultivate and grow in order to (hopefully) make the season change come quicker.
Something I hadn’t done was set super strategic goals for my business each month. And I don’t just mean “make more money, or “book more shoots”, or “grow my email list.”
I hadn’t been setting revenue goals.
But worse, I hadn’t even asked God to help me make “x” amount of money.
Why hadn’t I asked him…?
Well, for some reason I thought maybe he didn’t care how much money I made. I don’t know. For some reason, it felt like I couldn’t go to Him and ask him to increase my revenue. I didn’t want to bother Him with that. It felt selfish and kinda un-Christianlike.
(When I say it aloud, I’m like DUH JESS, you know better than this.) But for whatever reason, I was subconsciously brushing off going to Jesus about it.
I was in group coaching in a program called Revelation Wellness, and boy, did God have me in it for such a time as this. My sweet, sweet friend (and pastor,) Heidi said that she had a word for one of us, and that she didn’t know who it was for, but the word was simply this:
God is not holding out on you. What He has already done is enough.
I immediately started crying. I knew that Word was for me, I felt it deep in my bones.
I’d been living and believing that God had been holding out on me; that He was holding all of these blessings from me until I was “ready.” I believed I had to do more, strive more, and please Him more; to be as obedient as humanly possible before He’d decide to give the blessings to me.
Friends, this goes against everything I believe and stand for as a Christian.
… But the devil knew if he presented it to me that plainly- that I’d catch on. He knew he could hide it with something as simple as money.
- “For we are no longer under the law, but under grace.” – Romans 6:14
- “For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
I didn’t have to strive for it. I simply had to ask for it, and do the work on my part while waiting for the harvest, believing in FULL FAITH that He would do what I asked.
- “You have not, because you ask not.” – James 4:2
- “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7
- “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24
- “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7
The devil wanted me to not even bother asking God to bless me. He wanted me to believe it was selfish and “un-Christian-like” to ask God to bless my business financially. What even is that!?
I remember sitting down and contemplating the entire concept of asking God for an increase in finances… and this verse came to mind:
“So it is with your prayers. Ask and you’ll receive. Seek and you’ll discover. Knock on heaven’s door, and it will one day open for you. Every persistent person will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he needs. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door.
Let me ask you this: Do you know of any father who would give his son a snake on a plate when he asked for a serving of fish? Of course not! Do you know of any father who would give his daughter a spider when she had asked for an egg? Of course not! If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when his children ask him.” – Luke 11:9-13
If I have an earthly Father who would do everything in his power to make sure that I succeed at what I do, and who would give me anything that he had that I needed – how much MORE will my Heavenly Abba Father be capable of helping me!?
I SERVE A GOOD, GOOD FATHER. His plans for me are GOOD. He only has plans to prosper me and give me hope, and an abundant future containing much, much more than I can ever think, ask, or imagine.
One day while I was working at my computer, I heard:
“Do you want to continue building your business – or are you going to let me do it?”
Guys, could I do this by myself? Maybe. But would it go where God wanted it to? Maybe not.
And I didn’t want to have to find out the hard way.
So I decided to stop having such a messed up money mindset. I decided to stop feeling like God was holding out on me and my finances, and that He didn’t want my business to prosper in the ways I dreamed of. I decided to believe that He wanted more for me than what I could even imagine, and that it WAS coming.
After the money mindset switch, a few things were on my heart to implement. There were some things I wasn’t paying close attention to, so I started there.
Some things I’d been neglecting in my business:
– Truly being a good steward of my finances (canceling unnecessary business subscriptions, stopping buying useless things or things I “want,” but don’t truly “need” to run my business, setting a business budget, etc.)
– Setting intentional/strategic revenue goals
– Asking for God’s help with every single thing in my business
These were things I could do on my end for the time being, and I knew they’d be beneficial to my long-term success.
So I went for it.
At the beginning of February, I decided to set strategic/intentional revenue goals for my business.
But I didn’t just decide to set revenue goals, I set strategic revenue goals. (Yes, there’s a BIG difference.)
For the first time, I walked through a process for how I would make “x amount of money by x date.”
So, I set an overall revenue goal, like “I will make (insert amount of $ here,) by April 1st.” (I set my revenue goals by the month, so ideally I’ll shoot to achieve them around 30 days from when I set them.)
But the goal didn’t end there. I took it a step further.
I then said HOW I was going to make that amount of money.
So my “how” usually looks something like this:
“I will make X amount of money by selling x Mina Marlena preset masterclasses, booking X photography sessions, getting X HB signups, and booking X mentoring clients – through utilizing my Instagram, facebook, email list, blog, and Pinterest strategies.
Guys. I don’t know if you realize how much this changed the game for me.
How could I expect to increase my revenue if I wasn’t even setting goals to work from!? GEEZ.
But even still, the goals didn’t end there.
I dove in and built a strategy for how I would meet each “mini-goal” inside of that over-arching revenue goal. So, there was a strategy for how I’d sell those shop products and book those sessions, etc.
Then, there was a tactic – which was one of the things I’d do in my “day-to-day” to-do list that would help me reach that strategy, which would then help me reach that goal.
So in total, there was:
- The overarching revenue goal
- The strategy for how I’d meet that revenue goal (the individual services/products that would help me meet the overall number)
- The tactics I’d implement to reach their prospective goals (for each individual service/product)
However, it’s important to note that the final, and MOST IMPORTANT part of this process – I prayed over the numbers.
I prayed that I would make the amount of money that I set out to make and that Jesus would help me to do it. That God would bring me the sales and the inquiries – and most importantly, that each one would change each person’s life, in big or small ways. I prayed that I would be able to meet my goal, and then be able to tithe from it – and give it back to whom it belonged to in the first place – Jesus.
I made Jesus the center of the goal… changing people’s lives the focus of the goal… and money the means to do it with.
Therefore, money was now just a means to an end, instead of the end result.
Money no longer holds the weight, or the power – it’s just a transaction.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wake up to several new random sales and inquiries THE VERY NEXT MORNING after I sat down and ironed this stuff out.
Ya’ll… I hadn’t even had the time to implement the goals, strategies, or tactics I’d set!?!?!?!?
The only thing I did have time to do…?
Decide what I needed, pray about it – and go to bed.
Can I get an amen!?!?!
God showed up and showed out THE VERY MOMENT I decided to hand the reins over, humble myself, and tell Him I needed His help.
Why do I think He did it before I had the chance to implement anything…?
So He could show up and say, “I’ve got this. Trust me. You can put in the work, and please do – I encourage you to. I want you to work, but know that the harvest is only coming because I’ve sent it. And I WILL SEND IT. Stop worrying, child.”
Sometimes the issue isn’t with your actual finances, but in your money mindset towards them.
By mid-February, money was pouring in and it was on my heart to truly be a good steward of my finances.
I went through and paid very close attention to the following:
- Every single transaction going in and out of my business account, (and that had gone in/out over the past year)
- The subscriptions I paid for, (and determined whether or not they were truly necessary, being sure to cancel those that weren’t)
- Tracking every single income/expense in a Google sheet spreadsheet, (to be more mindful and involved in my numbers)
By keeping a close eye on these, I was able to truly see the ROI (return on investment,) for the new marketing strategies I was implementing, (the ones I had created from my revenue goal breakdown.)
I had a conversation with Jesus, and told Him that WHEN He brought the harvest this month, I wanted to send the first actual tithe from my business. (Instead of the time to time donations I’d been doing up until this point.)
I could go on and on about financial stewardship, but we’d be here all day.
In short, I got a hold on my money and started honoring God with it.
By March 1st, not only did God send the harvest and help me to actually ACHIEVE that over-arching revenue goal… He allowed me to surpass it, and see a 300% INCREASE in my revenue from end of January to end of February.
I’m still processing how He did it, and I’ll probably never know in full.
But, I can tell you I’m going to continue praying over my finances and setting strategic revenue goals for a long, long time.
… And I’m never going to feel like I can’t ask my Abba Father for help again.
If you need help building, growing, and/or systemizing your photography business, totally reach out and book a free strategy call with me. Helping you flourish is what I do best. 😉
If ya liked this little gem, you’ll LOVE this guide on how to create a photography business with zero competition. (Cause that’s what we all want, right!?)
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