May 2, 2019

EP 203: Running Your Business By The Numbers With Tara McMullin

When I signed off on my taxes last month, it was the first time in 10 years that I didn’t owe any money to the IRS.



In fact, I got a refund.



Now, I’d love to tell you that’s because I was much more diligent with my financial planning. And,











When I signed off on my taxes last month, it was the first time in 10 years that I didn’t owe any money to the IRS.



In fact, I got a refund.



Now, I’d love to tell you that’s because I was much more diligent with my financial planning. And, that is partially true.



But the main reason I’m getting a refund is that I personally made a lot less money last year.



Not gonna lie: making less money was a big hit to my ego.



Worse, I realized how much my personal identity as a provider, a businesswoman, and a leader was tied up in the dollar dollar bills.



Let me clarify: I don’t define myself by how much money I make. I don’t think I’m worthless if I’m not rich…



What happened is that I had been using money as validation. I equated my ability to do my job with my ability to continue to grow the revenue my company generates.



So it wasn’t so much the money itself—but continuing to push the needle on that money that felt tied to my value as an entrepreneur.



Taking a deliberate step back to pivot, as well as develop a new product and marketing strategy, as I have over the last 2 years, just didn’t allow me to grow at the same rate.



But, instead of seeing that objectively, I responded emotionally.



I’ve recently learned something fairly obvious but nevertheless profound about myself: I define myself by my accomplishments.



Not just because my accomplishments tell others something about who I am but because I worry, deep down, that I don’t have much to offer. The more I accomplish, the more value I can believe I have.



Accomplishing that year-after-year revenue growth was a sign that I had created something valuable… that I was valuable.



In that way, money has been an easy metric for me to use to measure my worth and to calculate the exact value I’m creating in the world.



That means that when my paycheck took a hit, it felt like my credibility took a hit.



Of course, revenue is just one very small way to measure success or value. Thankfully, I can use it to pay my mortgage but otherwise it’s about as useful as a Facebook like or an Instagram follow when it comes to measuring my personal value.



While I’m personally working on not defining my identity or credibility solely by what I’ve accomplished, it has been helpful for me to look at what we’ve accomplished as a company outside of my self-imposed numbers game. I’m choosing to take pride in the process and enjoy the journey of refining my approach.



Today, my company produces this exceptional podcast that gives you behind-the-scenes access to how businesses actually run (no gurus, hype, or magic formulas).



My company hosts an exceptional network of small business owners having candid conversations about what’s working and not working in their businesses.



We’ve dialed in operations, honed our approach, and nurtured a community culture of constructive optimism.



My company facilitates small group masterminds that bring business owners together around a common goal. I’ve personally had the chance to level up my facilitation skills and learn how much I love this role.



Today, my company operates better than it ever has.

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