Seeking wealth is one of the key drivers of any business – and sometimes it’s the only driver. But what does ‘wealth’ actually mean? Really, wealth is about having freedom, freedom to make the best choices for you and your family.
These freedoms all intersect and are dependent on one another, but understanding the kinds of freedom you could be working towards will help you prioritise your goals. Maybe making more and more money isn’t the right path for you. Maybe you’re best to define how much is enough money, with more weight being placed on your other freedom goals.
This is the obvious one – and something most of us only dream about. It’s not about being rich – it’s about have the money you need to make the best choices. It means having the comfort of knowing you can cover the basics – pay your staff and yourself enough to cover clothes, food, mortgage repayments, travel. You should also then have some left over to invest (in your business or in yourself and your family) or indulge.
While more money can also buy a bit of time – hire a cleaner, buy convenience foods or a second car, fly to your holiday rather than driving – there’s a limit to how much time you can buy. Your time is still your most finite and therefore most precious commodity. There should be a point where you say, “Enough money, I need to protect my time.” Financial freedom is also about being able to be a bit hedonistic, if that’s what makes you happy.
That’s where our clients at the Creative Refinery were coming from. To them, financial freedom was the ultimate goal, and that looked like something shiny with four wheels – a Jaguar for each of the directors.
If you’re like many of our clients when they come on board with us, what you’d really like is some proper downtime. That might take a couple of forms – a true holiday where you don’t take your work with you, evenings when you’re 100% focused on your family, partner, hobbies or yourself, weekends where you don’t feel the guilty pull of work, and nights where you can drift off to sleep worry-free.
Achieving mind freedom is a bit more complicated than financial freedom. It requires your business to operate efficiently and profitably, so you don’t have to work all hours of the day. Once that’s in place, mind freedom is a habit you have to form for yourself. It’s about disciplining yourself to let go, to trust that your business is stable and healthy enough to survive without you. That’s often easier said than done. The good news is, the more you do it, the easier it will become.
When we started working with Words for Breakfast, the company was busy and profitable, but director Helen Steemson felt like she hadn’t had a true holiday in years. For Helen, it was the lack of business oversight that was preventing her from achieving mind freedom. Would she make pay roll this month? Was she charging enough? What tax bills was she going to be surprised by next? We helped her establish systems that would give her far more clarity, so she could really check out when she needed to.
Coming hand in hand with mind freedom is time freedom. It’s about working smarter not harder, focusing on the outcomes, not the time you spend, and allowing yourself to commit to things other than work. Some of our clients want to spend more time with their kids, others have a sport they’re passionate about, or they’re planning further study. Whatever the activity, being free to choose where to spend this most precious commodity is the ultimate in wealth.
That’s where our clients STS Electrical got to. We started out by helping them achieve significant growth, increasing profits and growing their staff by 300 percent. But after much thought, husband and wife team Scott and Cheryl realised their goals had changed – they wanted more time away from the business and decided downsizing was the right way to achieve that. Their time, they felt, was more precious than the extra money that was coming in.
Success means thinking beyond the financial
The key to achieving your dreams is accurately defining the goals that will get you there. While financial freedom is something we all want, when it comes down to it, it might not be what you need right now. Be clear on what you value, and what you want from your life. Thinking beyond the idea of just generating wealth for its own sake is the path to true success – and freedom.