Some astute readers may have noticed that while I talked about self-employment (and specifically my lack of experience) when asking who is responsible for your income, I also have links to a site where I offer financial counseling. That’s self-employment, is it not?
Indeed. Offering financial counseling is one way I am pursuing self-employment. How did I come up with this service? Mainly by trying to match my skills and desires with what I have perceived is an ongoing need.
Counseling is in my blood. My family is full of people who work in various counseling fields, and so this comes quite naturally to me. A desire to help people, to sit with them, to hear them talk, and to help guide them to greater happiness, is not so much of an interest as it is a compulsion. I can’t not do this.
Success with money may not be in my blood, but I’ve put it there. I grew up feeling a lot of family anxiety about money, and because of this I’ve (over-)compensated by being very diligent about managing my own finances. I also never really had a lot of money myself when I was growing up, so it felt like a necessity. I’d like to think that I was able to take a childhood trauma and turn it into something constructive.
I’ve been a counselor for people for a long time (friends, family; like I said, I can’t not do it) and I found that a string running through many people’s personal issues is that of money. Problems with a partner? Often, it’s money issues. Problems in a career? Can also be money issues. Problems in one’s personal growth? Even here, could be money issues. (Lest you think I’m equating personal development with getting rich, you can’t move up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs without dealing with the basics, and money is what can help you achieve the basics.)
We are not taught how to handle money. I was never taught financial literacy in school (adding to the list of important subjects that passed me by) and that seems like a skill that approximately 100% of people could benefit from. If my parents, bless their hearts, gave me any lessons in financial literacy, they were indirect at best. I don’t blame them, though; I don’t think they were ever taught either.
There’s a bit more than just my “desire to help” at work here. I have years of accumulated fear surrounding money issues. When I think about this, and when I multiply that over everyone else who is having these types of fears, I get upset. I think about all the sadness having to do with money, and I ache to find a way to make a dent in this. This affects everyone of us, and solving our money problems is a prerequisite to solving any of our larger interpersonal (and sociological) problems. I even think that issues like community rebuilding, food insecurity, climate change, whatever, all can only be tackled when we collectively manage our anxieties, and our anxieties often surround money.
And it continues. When I look around and see how much of our system is designed to not just be okay with our financial woes, but actually benefit from them (predatory lenders, casinos, everyone selling things you don’t need), then I don’t just get upset, I get mad. I get howling mad.
On the flip side, when I’ve sat down with someone and helped them navigate through some difficult issues, when we’re able to connect the dots together, to make progress toward goals, that is one of the most satisfying feelings ever.
So in short, it seems that everything is pushing me toward offering financial counseling. It’s just one way I can think of to help, while at the same time it’s one way I can think of the stick it to the man. And the fun part is that I’m still learning, still improving my skills, and still getting better in my job at helping people. This lights my fire, and everyone wins.
So while I’m new to the mechanics of self-employment, the actual work of financial counseling is something that I have quite a lot of experience with. The mechanics will come in time.
But enough about me. What lights your fire? And what are you doing about that?
Note: I will be offering a free counseling session to some lucky person or persons in the coming weeks. Want to get in on this? Sign up for the Ex-Velleitiers list on the right side of the page and send me a note introducing yourself, and you’ll automatically be considered.