Unlocking The Psychology of a Small Business Owner

 

Joyce is a psychotherapist who has been practicing for 25 years and is an entrepreneur who built and sold “Urban Balance” which is an outpatient mental health company founded in Chicago.

 

“I began my journey with $500 cash, and 50000$ of student loans when I launched "Urban Balance". I started as a 'mompreneur' who is trying to earn more income, recruiting one therapist at a time. I provided the office space, the referrals, and the marketing services for other therapists, and it grew tremendously because we're insurance friendly, making therapy accessible and affordable for people. I was able to successfully sell the company a few years ago, for more money than I would have thought I will ever make in a lifetime."

"I love to share with people what I've learned through my clinical practice and my entrepreneurial experience, about the psychology of money, and how to leverage it to have a more prosperous life."

How Important Is Self-Esteem and Self-Worth for Small Business Owners?

“Self-esteem is the foundation of everything really. it's so important because our relationship with ourselves affects how we put ourselves out in the world. When we feel better about ourselves, we become more confident, more assertive. We negotiate for ourselves, advocate for ourselves, and we're courageous to expand our comfort zones and really put ourselves out there in a bigger way.” 

“Psychology is also important in marketing and business. I believe we unconsciously repeat what's familiar: We grow up in our families and our cultures, and we learn belief systems about the world and our place in it. Those beliefs shape our career & they shape our relationships. If we have any self-limiting beliefs or self-sabotaging behaviors, we can shift that. We have the power and control to change that and to emancipate ourselves from self-limitation, and that will help us grow our businesses.”

What Can You Say About the Relationship Between Mental Help and Financial Health?

“The answer to this question is very interdependent. I noticed in my therapy practice that as clients made progress in therapy, they started to earn more money because they were feeling better about themselves. When we are dealing with depression, anxiety, trauma, or relationship issues, which some of us may have been experiencing especially during the pandemic, that can negatively impact our work performance and our productivity, and even our morale or motivation. They're very interconnected."

“When we have financial problems, and sometimes financial traumas, like unemployment, a failed business, or maybe our home went through foreclosure, maybe we had unexpected health bills; that can really trigger strong emotions such as anxiety or depression, and that deeply affects many aspects of our lives”

 

What Is Financial Trauma and How Do You Recover?

“Financial trauma is actually very common. People who've grown up in poverty, if your parents were unemployed or unable to work or you didn't have what you needed, that is a trauma, and it affects your sense of safety in the world."

“In my business, when I went through some real challenges, I thought I was going to have to file business bankruptcy, and it was terrifying. It affected my sleep, I had moments of panic and overwhelm, I was really scared and quite embarrassed and ashamed to talk about it. I think a lot of times, we don't talk about our financial challenges or traumas because we're embarrassed or we feel uncomfortable of what other people will think."

"it's important to transcend the shame and stigma and to get help. I share in my book and story how I avoided seeking business and financial consultation because of fear. I was afraid that somebody was going to tell me that my business model didn't work, or that I was going to have to close my shop. I was stuck my in my head and that just caused more problems. It was when I hit rock bottom when I sought help. Help is always available, whether it's for mental health or financial help. Take all the advice that you can get, enhance your financial literacy, learn about money management, have the courage to look at your bills and your budget and know that you're deserving of earning more.

 

How Do You Find a Balance Between Spending & Saving and Create a Positive Flow of Money?

“Healthy self-esteem is midway between Diva and doormat. Dudes Can be divas too. The Divas tend to be kind of entitled and grandiose and they might overspend. The doormats tend to allow their boundaries to be compromised, so they might be under earners and have financial struggle in a different way.”

“You know you have healthy self-esteem when we show respect for ourselves, and others. we're not arrogant or entitled like the Diva, and we're not allowing people to stomp all over us like the doormat. We manage the flow of spending and saving as a way to take care of ourselves, both in the present moment and in the future. I know I'm a spender, so I've had to set up accountability systems for myself with my financial planner, with my husband, with myself, to make sure that I am staying financially conscious and grounded. Then I'm really taking care of my future self, by saving for retirement and making sure I have that emergency fund.”

 “I know it can feel very daunting, but even cutting back on small spendings can allow you to have financial peace by having a cushion of savings for yourself.”

 

What Do You Think Are the Most Difficult Things or Issues Small Business Owners Tend to Deal With, Psychosocial and Mental Wise?

"When I just started as a new business owner, I dealt with what is called imposter syndrome, which is the feeling that you are not competent. it's the worry that any moment now the people around you will  find out you are a charlatan, and realize you are not who you 'claim' you are. This phenomenon is more common among younger people. I remember I felt like my business was fake. I just made it up and gave it a name, and I was basically telling people that I was working for “Urban Balance”. I think that's really normal and understandable to feel that way, even though In most cases it’s probably very far-fetched. just by recognizing that everyone feels that way and talking about it, the more it sort of decreases the power of the imposter syndrome.”

“Then just remember not to compare yourself to other people. We're all at different points in our trajectory. People who are further along the path have learned a lot and what I've discovered is that those people, who are successful in business, have had a lot of failures, myself included.”

“You need to remember that having mental and financial resilience is part of being a business owner. You need to cultivate those skills, both financially and emotionally so that you can weather any challenges and come out stronger. It's a process, and entrepreneurship brings so many blessings, so much empowerment, creativity, learning, and opportunities for growth. One of my favorite things was having a better work-life balance in terms of being your own boss. You can take time off when you need it, you can be there for your friends and family, you can have time for your leisure and hobbies.” 

“One of my mistakes was not accessing the business and financial support that maybe I needed. So I think coaching, counseling, financial advising, getting involved in small business groups, anything where you're going to learn and be lifted and supported by others, is fantastic."

 

If You Could Tell a Business Owner One Advice Before HeIs Going in His Own Way, What Would It Be?

“I always advise my clients to imagine that they have a magic wand and ask them: what would you want your life to look like, and to aim high, imagine your biggest dream.” 

"Don't set ceilings for yourself. blow the ceiling off that, imagine that you're going make millions a year. I used to call my little, tiny one single office, our global headquarters. Having that kind of abundant thinking manifests a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you stop that self-limitation, you start to imagine that anything is possible. You start to make your dreams a reality, which is part of taking care of yourself. When you love yourself, you want your dreams to come true, you don't want your life to be small.”

I always recommend planning your career in the context of your life. I am a recovering workaholic, so I always need to work at creating boundaries for myself around my work so that I can be a great mom, a great partner to my husband, have time with my friends, and most importantly, have time for myself. I love making vision boards, and this year, I made a manifestation list of everything that I want to achieve in 2022. It might sound a little grandiose yes, but that's how we grow, by dreaming bigger and knowing that it's possible. We must believe it's possible for it not to be impossible for us."

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