With the economy the way it is, lately I’ve heard a lot of comments like, “I want to start a business, but I just can’t afford it right now,” and “I want to invest in learning how to start a business, but I don’t have the money to put into it.”
This is a legitimate, honest concern, but this kind of thinking could destroy your business dreams and sabotage your success. I’m going to show you how to make a small shift in thinking so you can stop the “scarcity conversation” and start an “investment conversation” that will transform the way you see your finances and your business.
“The scarcity conversation,” is a term I picked up from a client, who once said to me, “I’m scared to death because I know in my heart that I should start this business, but I don’t know if I can spend the money to do what I need to do to make it succeed. I’m having a major scarcity conversation with myself.”
First, I want to tell you that I’ve been there. I had times when I was living paycheck to paycheck, barely getting by, praying nothing would go wrong with the car or the furnace. And once, in a single day, I received $3,000 in bills that I didn’t know how to pay. I’ll never forget those moments of abject fear and panic, wondering where I was going to find that money. I’ll never forget wanting to do things I didn’t think I could afford, needing to buy things and knowing I couldn’t.
What is a “scarcity conversation,” anyway? A scarcity conversation is the dialogue you have in your head (or sometimes with other people) and you hear any of these words cropping up with regularity: “I can’t afford….” “I don’t know how I’m going to pay for….” “I wish I could ______, but I don’t have the money for that.”
Why is a scarcity conversation a problem? If you’ve read my blogs and e-zines, you know that I approach business in a way that’s different from most other startup experts. I have a hybrid approach that brings in all kinds of disciplines, including psychology and personal growth – because I know that your mindset and not just what you’re thinking but how you’re thinking have a massive impact on the level of your success. So the first reason why you want to get out of the scarcity conversation is because it constantly hammers away at the mindset you need to succeed. The scarcity conversation is all about fear. It’s about uncertainty. It’s about self-doubt. And you absolutely must get out of those thinking patterns to be able to make decisions as an entrepreneur, without doubting everything you do.
The second reason to move out of the scarcity conversation is also mindset-related. The “I can’t afford it” mentality locks you into a way of thinking that you’ll find extremely difficult to get out of, and that becomes a real issue in business. The “I can’t afford it” type of scarcity conversation has a way of growing and spreading so that it starts applying to anything, even things you need to grow your business. You won’t put your dollars in the right places if you have “I can’t afford it” floating around in your head.
My company would never have become the success it is today if I hadn’t gotten out of this mindset. I forced myself to stop thinking in terms of scarcity at a time when my business wasn’t growing and I needed help. It would have been the easiest time to let “I don’t have the money for that” become the scarcity conversation in my head, but I took another path. I thought, “What does my business need to grow and thrive?” and that’s when I hired the consultants and attended classes and seminars that made the difference. If I had said, “I can’t afford this,” I’d still be back where I was, when finding $3,000 bills in my mailbox was panic-inducing.
The point I’m making is, if you spend your life focusing on what you can’t afford, things won’t change. But if you change your focus, everything will change. If you focus on putting your money- investing it- where it can bring you back the most return, your life, your business, your mindset will transform.
Instead of having the scarcity conversation, have an investment conversation. And I don’t mean stocks and bonds. I mean a conversation about what you can invest in that will make the difference for you. It’s like that old adage, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” For you, that can be transitioned into “Find a consultant who can give you a fish, and you’ll invest in a nice fish dinner. Invest in a consultant who will show you how to fish, and you’ll be able to feed yourself for a lifetime.”
Figure out what classes, workshops and consultants will teach you how to fish – not just give you the fish for now – and invest in what they have to offer. You’ll be making a wise investment that will take you to a place where “I can’t afford it” will be a thing of the past.
Incidentally, that client I spoke of at the beginning of this article, the one who said, “I don’t know if I can spend the money to do what I need to do to make it succeed”? She went on to invest in her business. She invested in designing a business that would work for the lifestyle she wanted, and got trained on how to create a unique brand with a clear target market, how to create and launch new products, how to let the world know she exists, and how to establish herself as an expert. And her business is thriving. She no longer has the scarcity conversations because she knows now that each time she invests her money in her business, it’s going to come back, multiplied.