You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 67. Today, we’re talking all about setting money goals. You ready? Let’s go.
Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach Olivia Vizachero.
Hello, hello, hello. How are you? I hope you are doing well. I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve talked to you. I’m so excited to continue the Money Mindset series that I started. This is the last episode in that series. Before I dive into that, I just want to give you a little life update and talk about what’s been going on in my summer because I love to just take you with me along with my travels.
I’ve actually been traveling a decent amount for pleasure, not for work. Most of the travel that I do is for work. I decided to just take a chance to catch my breath, and take some time off, both before, during and after the Fourth of July holiday. So, I went up north to Lake Huron, on the east side of the state of Michigan, and rented the cutest Airbnb right on the water. It was absolutely amazing. I did that before the Fourth of July.
Then, I just got back from going up to visit friends of mine at their cottage in Baldwin, Michigan. If you’ve never been to Northern Michigan during the summer, or just Michigan in summer, really, I can’t rave about it enough. You’re absolutely missing out if you’ve never experienced the Great Lakes. Put it on your bucket list, your travel to-do list. It is really, really incredible here.
Every time that I get to one of the great lakes, or even the lake that we go to in Baldwin, which is called Big Star lake, it always blows my mind how magnificent Michigan is. I know that there’s been an influx of people from the West Coast, buying up property in Michigan because it’s pretty inexpensive comparatively speaking. They’re seeing what all of the magic is about. It is really incredible here.
Y’all know I don’t like being cold, and I don’t love Michigan winters, but summer in Michigan is truly magical. So, if you’ve never experienced it, put it on your list. Make sure that you make it a point to get here. If you want recommendations reach out, I love talking travel tips. That’s what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve really just been giving myself a chance to catch my breath.
I have had a really full 12 months since I kicked off The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. My first round of that was the end of June last year. So, it’s been a full year, and a little bit extra, that I’ve been creating them, putting them together, hosting them, selling them, marketing them, all of that stuff. So, it feels like it’s been a really full year in that respect because I added that component to my business.
I’ve also just had a little, I don’t know, emotional turmoil is probably the best way to phrase it, having lost one of my pets. So, I just gave myself a chance to decompress, catch my breath, and spend time with people that I really, really, really love. I’m wishing you the same if your summer hasn’t included enough of that yet. I hope you make time for it.
If you want help making time for it, then you’ve got to binge this podcast because I talk a ton about how to make time for yourself and what’s important to you. You can also take this work to the next level by working with me inside The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. But I highly encourage you, if you don’t feel like you have the freedom to spend your time the way that you want to spend your time.
That’s a skill that you can learn to develop. It’s a skill that I teach you inside my program. So, I want to make sure that you give yourself that gift, and have that opportunity. I’ve been taking advantage of it. It’s a skill I had to learn how to develop, and I’ve been able to do that.
Now that I’ve had a little bit of time off to catch my breath, we’re back. We’re in full swing recording this podcast episode for you, and getting ready to really dive in deep to the last two weeks of open enrollment for the mastermind. So, I’m ready to kick it into full gear again.
But it’s really good to have that ebb and flow, and to be able to tune in and check in with yourself and pay attention. What do I need in this moment? How can I give that to myself? Taking advantage of the freedom that you have to give yourself. Whatever it is that you need to meet the moment.
So, for me, it was a little fresh air, getting out in nature, getting up north, and now we’re back at it. Without further ado, let’s dive in to today’s episode. Like I said, we are continuing the Money Mindset series that I started.
We’ve talked about money habits that you have, overspending, underearning, your money mindset, and the thoughts that you have about money. Shame around spending money was what we talked about in the last episode, and I’m concluding the series with setting money goals, okay?
I’m really a huge advocate of setting money goals. I watch a lot of people have drama about setting money goals. People avoid it. They don’t do it. I wanted to make sure I address this head on because it’s really hard to go somewhere quickly… And when I say go somewhere, I mean, achieve a specific goal. It’s hard to do that intentionally if you’re not intentional about setting the goal in the first place.
It’s much harder to arrive at a desired destination if you don’t decide where you want to end up on the front end, right? Think about driving somewhere. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s going to be really hard for you to end up at a particular location. So, we don’t want you setting out and embarking on money goals haphazardly.
We want you to be really intentional. The reason that we want you to be intentional is because it’s going to help you arrive at your desired destination when it comes to your money goals, so much faster than if you just fly by the seat of your pants and wing it.
This is not an area in life that we want to wing, we do want to be intentional when it comes to setting and achieving the goals that you set for yourself when it comes to money. Now, a big reason people don’t like to set money goals is because they’re afraid to fail at achieving them. This is where your perfectionism really pops up and makes an appearance here.
So, if you’re resistant to setting money goals, if you think about setting it, and then you avoid actually picking a goal and working towards it, it is likely because you have a fear of failure. You’re afraid to set a goal and not hit it. I was recently working, in person, with my business coach; we have breakout instructors. The coach that is in charge of my breakout room, her name’s Lindsay Dotzlaf.
One of the things that she said, which was really jarring to me… Because I tend to not use the word “failure.” I truly believe that you can always only be winning or learning, and that you have to quit in order to fail, because failure requires an endpoint from which to measure. That’s my philosophy on failure.
Her philosophy on failure was a little bit different. She said that she loves to fail. That was such a different way than I think most people think about failing. It really struck me and opened my eyes that you could actually fall in love with failing.
The reason she said that is because she learns so much when she fails, that she really does see failure as the path forward to achieving what she wants to achieve. She just wants to fail as quickly as possible, to learn from it, and then leverage that learning in order to improve and get to her goal more quickly.
Now, most people don’t adopt that mindset, they don’t have that mindset. Then, when they think about setting a goal, they freak themselves out. They worry about not hitting it, instead of not using it as a weapon against yourself, but using it as a way to learn, evaluate, audit, adapt, and continue to improve until you get where you want to go.
People also like to say that having a money goal doesn’t make a difference, that they will make the same amount whether or not they set a money goal. Or they’ll save the same amount, whether or not they set a money goal. I want to encourage you to explore the truth behind that. My guess is that is likely not true. Actually, I’ll go so far as to say that’s just not true. I don’t even need to guess. That’s not true, and that’s really just your brain protecting you from that failure that becomes possible when you set a goal.
So, you want to make sure that you’re not letting your perfectionism drive the bus here. All right? Allow yourself to get out of your own way and focus on setting a specific goal that’s measurable, objective, and attainable.
Now, the reason that it’s important to set a goal, one that’s specific, measurable, objective, and attainable, is because you get so much more intentional when you know what you’re working towards. When it comes to money, money is a math problem. I like to say that with money and time, there are two different categories.
There’s the math, and then there’s the mind drama. The mind drama is the thought work, the mindset, the thinking, and the feeling, that drives action that you take and produces the results that you have. So, that mindset is one category, and that’s where coaching comes in.
But with the math, numbers don’t lie. So, you want to get clear on the math. When you’re not clear on the math, because you haven’t set a goal, it’s so much easier to lose sight of the progress that you’re making, to get discouraged, to get frustrated, to get confused about how to get where you want to go.
You really want to make sure that you will eliminate all of that, as much as you possibly can, by just setting an intentional goal. So, I’m going to give you some examples of goals that you can set, and how to set them specifically enough to where you get really clear on the math.
Okay, so the biggest goal that I think people make when it comes to money is making a certain amount of it. You want to be clear on the math here, all right? There are multiple reasons why you can’t just say, “I want to make more money,” and leave it at that.
Number one, as you make progress, and as you make more, your brain is going to get in the way and it’s going to discount the progress that you make. So, you will end up being underwhelmed or feeling unaccomplished. Like you haven’t made enough, that you haven’t made enough progress, that you haven’t gotten where you want to go, because you were never clear on where you wanted to go in the first place.
In order to keep track of your progress and to feel accomplished, to just even enable yourself to feel accomplished, you want to make sure that you set a specific money goal. How much more do you want to make this year?
Then, once you’ve got that number in mind, you’ve got to make the math work. So, you have to get clear on how exactly will you make that amount. What do you sell? How much of it do you need to sell? What’s the price that you sell it at? You need to come up with all of those specifics.
How frequently do you need to sell the thing that you’re selling? How much of it do you need to sell? It’s a specific math equation that ultimately adds up to whatever your money goal is. So, you have to make sure that the math works.
If you’re like me, at least in part of my business where I do one-on-one coaching, I have a finite amount of time that I can sell. I am still in the space where I’m exchanging time for money. That’s very true with most of the lawyers that I work with, as well.
There’s a specific number of hours that they’re likely to bill, or they have a goal for the number of hours that they want to bill, and they have a billable hour rate. That’s a mathematical equation that comes out to a certain number of dollars that you’re going to make each year. At least when it comes to the gross amount that you’re going to create from the bills that you send out to clients.
Same thing if you do flat rate work. You’re still essentially exchanging time for money. Because the flat-fee work takes a certain amount of your time, and then you’re maxing out what you’re charging for that flat-fee arrangement.
What you’re making, with the time that you spend, it’s essentially still a billable hour model, even if it doesn’t feel like it. You’re going to be capped on the number of hours that you can work to deliver that flat-fee service.
So, when you set a specific goal, you can get clear on whether or not your math works. Now, if you’re also like me, which this is the second part of my business, you have a scalable business model. So, my group coaching program, The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind is a scalable program, which means I don’t exchange time for money.
That group can just get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, without me needing to devote more and more and more time at that same exchange rate. Okay? That is a scalable offer.
Most attorneys that I work with don’t have scalable offers unless they have a legal subscription service. Which is more of a newer type business model that is becoming more popular in the industry as of late, because it is scalable, and it doesn’t require you to exchange time for money.
So, if you have that, you still need to make the math work because you need to be clear on what can you expect to make, how many people can you expect to sign into whatever program it is that you’re offering. Are you just picking numbers out of thin air?
I see that happen a lot, especially with newer business owners. They just pick numbers that sound good rather than basing it off of what they can expect; past data, their experience, what it’s taken them to sell thus far, how much they’ve sold in the past, whether they’re likely to repeat that in the future, whether it’s likely to increase, by how much is it likely to increase.
Those are all data driven decisions that you’ve got to conduct some experiments in order to gather the data in the first place. But then, once you’ve got that data, you can use it to inform the projections you make and the goals that you set moving forward. You want to make sure that you’re being realistic. Otherwise, you’re going to set goals, not hit them, and it’s going to feel terrible.
This could have all been avoided, but you set a bad goal to begin with. So, you want to make sure they’re specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. I recently had a conversation with someone, and they were just getting ready to start a new business. I asked them what their goal was for the year. They gave me a number that was in the multiple six figures by the end of the year.
I’m not saying that that’s completely impossible, but I coach a ton of people, both in my own business and in the contract work that I’ve done for several years now, helping brand new entrepreneurs make their first dollars in their business.
What I know to be pretty common, is the ramp up period that it takes when you’re marketing yourself in a new business, marketing a new offer, or selling a new service. It’s going to take time for people to come to know you. For them to come to trust you in order for them to work with you. You have to account for that ramp up time.
You also have to figure out, what am I selling? How much of it am I likely to sell, when I’m being brand new in a business? I just realized that the number that this person had chosen was wholly unrealistic, for where they were at in their entrepreneurial journey.
So, when you’re starting out, if you’re brand new at whatever it is you’re selling, rather than setting a lofty money goal, I suggest that people start with much smaller increments. Because you just need to learn how to create money in the first place. Okay?
I learned something sort of similar from my business coach when I first joined her entry level program. She has a program that’s called 2k for 2k, and she teaches you how to make your first $2,000. I know $2,000 may not sound sexy to someone, but this is what I’ll tell you. If you learn how to make it once, you’ll know how to make it again. That’s the whole concept, you just want to learn how to create those initial dollars.
You want to learn how to make your first sale. You want to learn how to sign your first client. So, if you are doing family law services and you do flat rate divorces, whatever amount that you charge in the very, very beginning, rather than setting $100,000 or a $250,000 monetary goal for the year, I would just focus on making whatever that first flat rate is.
Let’s say it’s $5,000. I would just focus on making your first $5,000, and then I’d see how long it takes you to make it. Then, I would set the goal to make it again in half the time, or to make double that in the same amount of time. Okay? I like to set the goal of never doing more than double what I did previously. It keeps me out of hustle, and it keeps my business feeling very calm.
So, if you made $100,000 one year, the next year, make your goal $200,000. Or make $100,000 in half the time. But either way, you’re learning how to grow at a pace that is sustainable, and it doesn’t break your business model.
When you get into a situation where you can scale, whatever it is that you’re offering, if your business or your practice is set up that way, then you’re in a little bit of a different boat. But if you’re exchanging time for money, you’re either increasing your prices to do double or you’re increasing your workload to do more than double.
So, you don’t want to exceed that. It just gets you into a place where you’re likely to overwork and be at risk of burnout. Now, like I said, when you’re just getting started, start with that smaller monetary amount. You can set that goal, “Oh, I want to make this amount in a month. I want to make this amount in a week. I want to make this amount in this quarter.” But start small, that way you don’t overwhelm yourself and get discouraged.
What I typically see people do, is they’ll embark on a goal, it doesn’t go the way that they want it to, they get frustrated, they get discouraged, they start to feel inadequate and confused about how to get to where they want to go, and then they abandon the goal rather than staying curious and sticking with it.
So, you don’t want to weaponize really lofty goals against yourself. I’m all for dreaming big, but your big dreams need to make sense. You’ve got to be clear on the math. Like I said, you want to make sure that your goal is measurable, that you’ve got a specific monetary amount, that it’s specific, and it’s objective and attainable. Attainable is really important here. You have to make sure the math works.
You’ve got to figure out whatever your equation is, to make sure that you can sell enough of the services that you provide, in order to hit that monetary amount. If you don’t have the time available, you don’t have enough hours in the day, in the week, in the month, in the year, in order to hit your goal at the current rate that you’re selling your time or your services at, something’s got to change.
You either need to increase your prices, you need to reduce your goal, or you need to work more. But obviously, time is finite so you’re going to eventually cap out. You want to make sure that you’re not setting yourself up to fail right off the get go because your goal isn’t attainable, because the math doesn’t work. Make sure you get clear on the math.
Then, from there, once you’ve set the goal, you want to manage your mindset. You’ve got to do a thought download. Get clear. What are all of your thoughts about your ability to reach your goal, to achieve your goal? Are your thoughts positive or are they negative?
If they’re negative, you’ve got to clean up your thinking. You can’t reach a goal with negative thinking; it’s not going to work because our thoughts create our results. So, you want to get clear on what is it that you’re currently thinking, and then, the better question, what do you need to think instead, in order to achieve your desired result? In order to make the money that you decided to make?
Now, this should go without saying, but I will just reiterate it here. When you’ve gotten clear on the math, you should have come up with a plan for how you’re going to achieve your money goal. But if you have not come up with a plan yet, if getting clear on the math didn’t involve any planning, you’ve got to come up with your plan for how you’re going to get across the finish line.
How exactly are you going to create that money? Do you need to market yourself? Is there something that you need to do? Do you need to increase your rates? Do you need to stop underearning in all the ways that I talked about a few episodes ago?
You’ve got to be clear on what it’s going to take for you to achieve your goal. And then, you’ve got to put that plan into action. Remember, whenever we’re setting and achieving goals, we’re really just conducting a big experiment. So, you’re going to try and achieve your goal by implementing your plan. But it’s just a hypothesis.
You’re going to also evaluate. Once you’ve started to implement your plan, figure out, is it working? What’s working? What’s not working? Is there anything that you need to do differently? If you do need to do something differently, rather than getting discouraged and quitting, you want to stick with the same money goal. Don’t change the goal. There’s nothing wrong with your goal.
If your goal is specific, measurable, objective, and attainable, it’s a perfectly fine goal. Don’t change it and move the goalpost, move the horizon. You don’t want to do that. Stick with the same goal so you learn how to create that amount of money. All right?
If you need to audit and adapt and make changes, tweak your hypothesis, and give it another go, do that, stick with it. That’s how you achieve money goals. You’re not going to achieve the goals that you set for yourself if you constantly keep changing them. So, set the goal, set it once, and leave it alone. Then, just get to work on finding new ways to solve for how you cross the finish line with whatever goal you set for yourself.
Okay, so that’s what you need to know when it comes to setting money goals, when it comes to creating money. There are also some other ways that you can set money goals. Let’s talk about those briefly. I think they tend to be easier. Probably the most complicated type of money goal is where you’re in the money creation process.
Now, other ways that you can achieve money goals might be with paying off debt. You want to make sure that your debt payoff goals are also specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. I need to be able to come in and measure the progress that you’re making. So, it can’t just be to have less debt.
Be specific; how much debt do you want to pay off? Do you want to be debt free? When do you want to be debt free by? How much would you like to pay off this year? What type of debt are you paying off? Is it credit card debt? Is it your mortgage? Get specific. When are we going to do it by? Include the time element here so we know we can run that math equation and get clear on the numbers.
How much do you need to pay off each month? You can measure your progress. Are you on track? Are you behind? Are you ahead of schedule? Also, you need to make sure it’s attainable. So often, what I see is that people will want to pay off debt at a rate that is not consistent with the amount that they earn.
Then, they feel discouraged that they still have debt. Well, of course, you’re still going to have debt. You can’t pay off as much as you want to pay off based on your current earning capacity, your earning ability. So, you have to make the math work.
How much money do you need to live off of? You net a certain amount in a paycheck, or in the money that you create in your business and your practice. Your take-home, what comes out of it?
There’s going to be your non-negotiable expenses, the ones that you’re going to incur every month, and they’re not going away. You can’t cut that spending, or if you could you don’t want to, so it’s pretty static. What is that amount of money? What else do you need to live off of? Are there other things that you need to put money towards?
Then, after that, you’re going to have money left over. Based on the money that you have left over, what can you devote to paying off debt? You want to make sure that the amount that you decide to put towards your debt payoff strategy doesn’t exceed the amount of money that you have available. Again, we have to make sure the math works. We have to make sure that the goal you’re setting is attainable.
Sure, it might sound lovely to be debt free by the end of the year, but you have to make sure that you have the financial capability to actually achieve that. Otherwise, you’re going to feel really discouraged and frustrated.
The same thing is true about saving money. So, you want to make sure it’s specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. It can’t just be ‘I want to save more money.’ How much do you want to save? In what time period do you want to save it? What is it going to look like? How will you save it? Where will that money go? Is it possible for you to save at that rate?
Again, it’s a mathematical equation. There’s a certain amount, divided by the time periods. So, per month, per year, per week, whatever that is for you. But you’ve got to make sure that you have that money available to you in order to achieve the goal. Again, get clear on running that mathematical equation so you can set yourself up for success.
Now, another big way that perfectionism pops up here, especially with paying off debt, saving money, or investing. If you want to invest in the stock market, or invest in retirement accounts, or any other type of investing that you want to do. People will often get discouraged that they’re not able to make as much progress as they would like to make.
Instead of proceeding anyways, and just being a little underwhelmed by the progress that you can make and moving forward regardless, people will choose to not move forward at all. They won’t pay off debt. They won’t save money. They won’t invest any of it. Because it’s not sufficient, it’s not “enough,” they don’t get started at all.
That is, as they say, ‘penny wise, pound foolish.’ Don’t do that to yourself. That’s your brain really being committed to all-or-nothing thinking. It’s a very perfectionistic tendency to want to do that. To want to be in that all-or-nothing, black-and-white space. But don’t allow yourself to indulge.
Getting started and making progress is better than not getting started at all. Even if it’s underwhelming, even if it’s not what you want it to be, you will be so glad that you moved forward in spite of your discouragement, or your disappointment or your frustration that it’s not “enough.”
So, be on the lookout for that. Future ‘you’ will thank you for gagging and going through your frustration and disappointment, and just getting started. Even if it doesn’t look like exactly what you want it to look like. You’ll be okay. It is fine for you to be slightly dissatisfied with it not looking exactly like what you want it to look like. All right?
So, check in with yourself now. We’ve gone through why people don’t set money goals. Why you want to make sure that you do set money goals. Then, how to set them. You want to make sure they’re specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. So, now check in with yourself.
What do you want your money goal to be? I don’t want you to leave this episode without one. It doesn’t have to be the “best” money goal ever. Don’t give yourself a lot of time to indulge in this. Also, don’t allow yourself to say, “I don’t know.” You do know.
It doesn’t have to be the “right” answer. There is no right answer to this. It’s just arbitrary. You just get to pick the number that you want to pick. So, pick a number, whether it’s with creating money, paying off debt, saving money, or investing. Pick one of those four. You don’t have to pick all four, just pick one for now, and set a money goal.
Pick the number. Pick the first number that pops into your mind, if that’s what comes up for you, if that’s what’s easiest. Get out of your own way. Let this be easy and just pick the number. Now, once you’ve picked the number, check and make sure that it’s attainable. Check and make sure the math works.
How will you get to that number? Does it work? It’s a quick, easy, little mathematical equation. I think I’ve said this once, but if not, I’ll reiterate it just to be safe and sure; you are not allowed to say that you don’t like math. I hear that all the time from attorneys. We’re not going to repeat that anymore.
What I like to say is, “If you don’t like math, you don’t like money.” My guess is you probably like money or you want to like money, and you want to have more of it. So, if that’s the case, you have to get over that limiting belief that you’re not good at math, that you don’t like math; that’s got to go.
You want to like math, so you can like money. You want to like math, so you can have more of it. Run the mathematical equation. What are you selling? How much of it do you have to sell? In what timeframe? What does that look like? Is it feasible? Is it possible? Can you get there?
If it’s saving money, paying off debt, investing, how much? In what timeframe? At what frequency? What’s that going to look like? Where do you want to be by the end of the year? Where do you want to be by the end of 2024?
These are really fun things to think about. So, take a second and just give yourself permission to decide what is your current money goal. If you need to pause this episode and take a second before I wrap up, go ahead, and do that. But I want to make sure that you’re very clear on what it is that you’re working towards, from this point forward.
Then, once you’ve got the goal in your head, you can figure out exactly, what’s my strategy in order to achieve that goal? What’s my plan? Come up with that plan and put it into place.
Now, I will just say this, if you need help coming up with a plan to get yourself across the finish line that you just identified for yourself… If you want to learn how to be better with money, how to save more money, how to reduce the debt that you have, how to pay off debt, how to earn more money, how to create more money, if you want help with all of that…
If you haven’t been great at hitting your money goals in the past, and you want to learn how to do that effectively, I am the person to help you. This is exactly what I teach people how to do in The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. So, make sure, while enrollment is still open… It closes July 21… Make sure you go to TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind and apply to join the August 2023 class, all right?
We will work on getting you across the finish line when it comes to your own money goals. We’ll identify them together if you need help with that. We’ll formulate the plan that you’re going to implement, in order to achieve it. Then, I’m going to support you every step of the way as you implement those plans, in order to earn more, save more, and have less debt. Really get you to where you want to be when it comes to money.
The time of you not having a money goal is behind you. No more of that. We’re going to get intentional when it comes to making, having, earning, and spending money. That starts now. Like I said, if you want my help, that’s what I’m here for, all right?
That’s what I’ve got for you this week, my friends. I will talk to you in the next episode. In the meantime, have a beautiful week.
Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.