As I mentioned in a previous post, for those of us with chronic pain and disability, being self-employed may be our most viable work option. Since my early 20s, I have been self-employed in an informal, scrappy-assed, punk rocker chick, DIY (do it yourself) kind of way, and it’s worked just fine for me, thank you very much.
But now I’m all grown up and playing with the Big Girls, formally launching a company and doing everything that comes with it — filing a fictitious business name, setting up business bank and credit card accounts, writing a formal business plan, applying for business loans, and all that other fun stuff.
Within the span of three months, I have gone from a gal who could barely balance a checkbook to one who can whip out a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow projection spreadsheet without batting an eyelash. And dance in my seat while doing it.
If the thought of launching your own company scares the bejesus out of you, I feel ya. That’s why I decided to pass on what I’ve learned, to help you get started and let you know that there are a ton of resources out there to help you. In this blog post, I address what I see as step one to launching your own business — learning the basics of finance.
Here are three must-have reads for your book shelf. Getting informed is the first place to start, especially if you’re terrified!
1. A Woman’s Guide to Personal Finance, by Virginia B. Morris
On my 36th birthday, I took my ass into a Barnes & Noble book store and asked for help finding a good personal finance book. Preferably one with pretty colors and lots of pictures, because the very thought of reading anything to do with anything remotely connected to dollar signs intimidated the crap out of me. I barely knew what a bank was.
After tearing through every book way above my head (you know, every book in the damn section), the sales clerk pulled out the perfect book. Now I’m passing it on to you. Even the index page has pretty colors and artistic font! Everything you need to know about personal finance is broken down for you in a basic, friendly, cute-as-all getout fashion — accompanied by photos that are bigger than the text. Score.
2. A Girl and Her Money, by Sharon Durling
This book provides guidance on rethinking and reframing our relationship to money. In my case, money was the cause of a big fat buttload of arguments and chaos in my childhood. In addition, Jews have been demonized for having or spending money, and women have been taught that money is unfeminine to want or use. So I had a whole slew of reasons for my dysfunctional relationship to dough. I had to do the internal work and make peace with money before I could accomplish anything with it.
3. Life or Debt by Stacy Johnson
The next step in healing my screwy relationship to money was learning the basics of how to track it and (not) spend it. This book helped me reframe the way I thought about spending, helped me think about saving, period, and otherwise got my brain into financial gear.
I do have to say that as someone with chronic pain and disability, numerous save-money tips did not work for me. With this condition, there are a million scenarios where spending money is the most cost-effective measure in the long run. (For example, if I walk instead of take a cab, I may end up in terrible pain, which will impede my ability to function for weeks.)
But overall, the book helped change my thinking and my spending habits. With a few tweaks here and there, it was exactly what I needed as the final step in my basic personal finance reading.