6 Ways Money Talks & How it Influences Our Communication Styles
by Connie Vanderzanden
Can you remember the moment you realized that money influences when and how others communicate with you? I certainly can and SPOILER ALERT! It was not my finest moment. 🤦♀️
What do I mean by influence?
I’m talking about the intersection between another person’s expectations and boundaries, and our own. Perhaps you’ve already recognized this in your spouse, family, or friends — but what about your team or your vendors?
The topic of how and when their team gets paid is something I discuss with the majority of my clients. As employees, we were certainly never asked what our boundaries and expectations around getting paid were (or I wasn’t, at least!) — we were told when, how much, and how frequently payroll would be run and we simply accepted there was very little wiggle room for negotiation from there. So it’s no surprise that when we make the switch from being employed to owning a business, asking our team about their thoughts around money isn’t something that crosses our minds!
And yet, it is one of the most important conversations you can have with any coach, consultant, or team member you hire! As I mentioned at the start of this post, it’s a lesson that has stuck with me over the years.
Thankfully, no blood was shed in the conflict my team member and I faced, but I was definitely caught off-guard by the conversation! And of course, the interaction triggered my own money issues. When our money issues are triggered we are less likely to lead. Instead, we flip into “reaction mode” and let’s just say, that first time I did not handle it well. 🙈
I don’t know many business owners that took the time to do their inner mindset work around money BEFORE they started their business. Nope. Most stories involve being at the bottom of a deep dark hole, wondering how to best find their way out of it. Or at least that was the moment I realized I needed to do my own internal work. Only then do we have the awareness knocked into us that we have been letting our inner child determine how we use and interact with money in our business, rather than our adult selves.
So let’s say you are somewhat new to being aware that your inner child is running amuck with your finances. Not a problem. You don’t have to spend an entire year working on your mindset before moving forward (and YES I did that, and DO NOT recommend that to anyone). A great first step is to set boundaries around how you interact with money in your business. I recommend establishing some written processes and implementing a cash handling system to help support those processes.
Let’s shine a light on how money influences our business communications.
Below are some common requests or interactions from vendors that I’ve seen trigger money issues — both in myself and my clients. Read each one carefully and pay attention to how you react to each statement. Further down I’ve provided some solutions in the event you find yourself in one or more of these situations or conversations.
- A consultant sends you their invoice and in the very same email asks you when it will be paid.
- Despite having an established boundary for when you process team payments, a team member asks for an exception or special payment – “just this once.”
- A service provider complains the check you sent in the mail last month took longer than normal to reach them. They make a comment that feels passive-aggressive about how it was probably “just” the postal service being slow but wonder how you can pay them more timely.
- Every vendor wants to be paid differently – Venmo, Credit Card, PayPal, Square, Online – and when you put some boundaries around the payment methods you’re willing to use, some of them go silent.
- A consultant bills you late and still expect or even demands to be paid on time.
- A team member wants you to pay via PayPal using the “friend and family” option because they don’t want to pay the handling fee. Or even better, they ask you to refund that fee when you send it business to business.
Some of these situations are definitely examples of how we can hold our boundaries better or establish a set process for paying our team members — which is exactly what I helped one of my clients do recently.
Here’s an example of a vendor payment process:
- Establish due dates for invoices to be received in order for payments to be processed on time. (Most common is monthly, but it could be weekly or any other frequency that works for your cash flow — it’s your business, so YOU decide how often you want to pay your team.)
- Create a Google form for an onboarding process to collect W9s from all your vendors. Require the W9 to be received before processing ANY payments.
- Offer team members the choice of one of two payment options – online bill pay OR credit card (no multi-step processing though, one link only, and the team member adults-up and pays the handling fee).
- This is tied in to step number 1 above: give yourself enough time in your bookkeeping process to review your invoices before paying them. No more last-minute, day-of payment processing!
You can earn extra credit by requiring your team to complete a subcontractor agreement/contract that will outline agreed-upon terms for the project, the total amount paid, when payments will be made, and expected deliverables. It is a CYA extra step that clearly states this is a business-to-business relationship and not an employee-employer relationship. Your attorney can help you draft a template.
Did you catch the most important thing?
It’s your business. YOU decide what this process is.
Granted, when we were brand new baby businesses we might not have had a say or felt like we had the option. Or your industry has certain expected processes (like restaurants tend to pay at the time of delivery). By avoiding the money conversation, at whatever level of business you are in, you technically are still opting-in and allowing someone else to call the shots when it comes to how money is used in your business.
Since having a therapy session about money with every potential team member is likely not in the cards, the one thing you can do before starting any working relationship is set a firm boundary for the business that works with your money needs. Here are my recommendations to SLOW the process down!
STOP paying your team immediately upon receipt of their invoices, and stop working with people that ooze “urgency” energy around being paid. You’ll recognize that energy when they send emails that ask when they will be paid, even though you have already clearly stated the process. Or they ask for special treatment, just this one time. Yeah – it won’t be just a single request. Time to level up who you are working with and attract a team member that has better control over their money stories.
Let money BREATHE and allow it time to appreciate hanging out with you and others like it. It’s an energy thing, but once money realizes that you want it to hang around you’ll find it easier to attract and keep it!
YOUR business, YOUR money, YOUR choice.
How people treat us is ultimately our call. In addition to creating a payment process, like the one above, you also must communicate it to each team member in the early stages of the relationship. If a team member insists on a different payment method, rather than be reactive, consider it and negotiate.
Craft the CULTURE you desire. Think about it, when you have a team member who leans into the energy of LACK and their personal sense of urgency around money lurks behind every corner, how does that affect your energy? Do you tend to draw clients that live in that lack area, too? Once you let lack thinking into your business it infects other areas. Is this leaking into your business? Time to fill the holes!
What about that cash handling system?
When you have time to dive into The Big Why of Cash Handling, click through to read that post. For the shorter version, when you slow the flow of money down and put some intentional use behind it you build in the support systems for the process you outlined above.
It will be easy to say – “We pay our team twice (or once) per month on these days. You need to follow the process above to ensure we have enough time to review and process your invoice so that you are paid in a timely fashion.”
Plus the cash handling system allows you time to make sure revenue has been collected or is available to make those payments to your team members. If revenue isn’t coming in on time, guess what, that means you need another process in place to lean into and look at uplevel how you get paid. (Which was the best thing I ever did in my business.)
Unless you’re like me and already have a background in the accounting world, most business owners find creating a money process (or cash handling system) for their business challenging. It can be helpful to have a Business Mentor like me working with you to design a process that fits your unique needs.
I’d love to have a free 30-minute call with you to explore your needs and how I can help you. Click the button below to get on my calendar!