When it comes to business storytelling, the type of stories you can share goes beyond your brand and product. I believe we can change the world with our stories, which is why we should cover the entire spectrum of the entrepreneurial journey: including stories about money.
Entrepreneurship is sometimes so romanticised that we forget to talk about money. And I will repeat the word money often throughout this post, so we can get used to talking about it and accept its role in our business lives.
The money story that can hurt you as an entrepreneur
More than a decade ago, as a fresh journalism graduate, I was advised to “work for free”, “be grateful for the unpaid internships”, “focus on getting bylines” even without getting paid. And although at the time it seemed like a piece of reasonable advice, I started to see the negative effects when growing as a business owner.
All that gratitude, low payments, free work insinuated into my mentality. And it took me a long time to learn to shake them off. What that meant in real life is that I finally started asking for what I was worth instead of settling for what I was offered.
The more I was asking, the more I was receiving, the more I felt valued for my work. Because one thing I realised is that money really is a way to express to other people you appreciate their time, knowledge and value.
And I wish I’d learned that sooner in my entrepreneurial journey, I wish more entrepreneurs were sharing their stories about: money, earning the right amount, setting up prices, investing.
3 Reasons Why You Should Share Entrepreneurial Stories about Money
1. Demystify the Money Topic
The more we talk about money, the more we feel comfortable about it. And we need to feel comfortable about the money because we are running a business. As much as it is a purpose-driven business, it is still supposed to make a revenue. Not because we want to get rich (but if you also want to, that’s totally fine!) But because money is the way we value people’s knowledge, time, experience and help. The more we talk about money, the more we share stories about it, the more we can ask for what we are worth. This is especially true for women, women of colour and in general underestimated people.
2. Educate Fellow Entrepreneurs
Up until the end of 2019, I was the founder of an Italian-based social enterprise which I decided to close because it was exclusively sucking money out of the bank account. And it was doing that because I never really focused on the revenue of the enterprise but solely on the purpose. Which as noble as it sounds, is not wise. However, as a young entrepreneur following other purpose-driven entrepreneurs I hardly see business owners talking about their money issue, investment, pricing etc. We need those narratives.
3. Inspire others to do the same
Look, I’m not saying we should become money-talking people whose only objective is to have more money. Absolutely not! However, we need to normalise the conversation around money to the point we feel comfortable talking about it. And if we feel comfortable, other people will too. And hopefully, they’ll start sharing their own money stories.
Two money quotes I love
Thanks to Denise Duffield-Thomas, I realised the one thing we are often told about money is that “it’s dirty”. So I want to share two quotes I particularly like and that are helping me when it comes to thinking about money:
“Money is never a problem”, a friend of mine years ago.
“I became the money” Arlan Hamilton in her book It’s About Damn Time
What’s the one money story you’re ready to share?