Freelance Money Insights From Money Coach Shell Tain

After attending the Conclave’s event with money coach Shell Tain last Thursday at Forge Portland, I’ve compiled some freelance money insights that I wanted to share.

The First Rule About Money


As kids, we learn from our parents that the first rule about money is: you do not talk about money. Consequently, we all have a guarded, childish relationship with money that prevents many (most?) of us from saving, investing wisely, and generally having a healthy relationship with money. Shell said plainly that we all have a 5-year-old running our money. She also said our clients have a 5-year-old running their money too. Understanding that, we freelancers can approach money/contractual conversations with them in a more informed and less stressed manner. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Once you realize you’re dealing with an emotional person (versus a rational one), you’ll be able to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing (potentially giving you a hard time about payment), and you’ll be able to communicate better, more calmly, and more productively with them.

The Land of Enough Versus to the Land of Plenty


A good percentage of people are stuck in Enough Land. Meaning we have what we need to get by and little else. Shell argues that we always have had enough (unless of course you’ve been homeless and literally literally not had enough). Enough Land is the place where we feel comfortable, complacent. Which is too bad because we could be living in the Land of Plenty! A land of milk and honey where we live in abundance and are free from fear. According to Shell, “fear is a distraction. It keeps us from being successful.” Instead of focusing on getting enough, she says, focus on having plenty. You’ll pass the Land of Enough on your way to the Land of Plenty. What’s plenty, you ask? Depends on you. Dream big, she urges.

Channel Cesar Millan with Clients


By understanding clients from a financial perspective, and by channeling Cesar Millan, we can become Client Whisperers. First of all, we know that clients are working with a 5-year-old mentality when it comes to money. Second, we need to manage our clients expectations instead of meeting them. For example, instead of putting “Payment due net 30” on your invoices, add a due date. And if the client is even a day late, call them up and ask with calm assertive energy (this is the Cesar Millan part), “When can I expect payment?” When asked why, Shell said, “If you’re late sending invoices, or you don’t follow-up to enforce them, your clients will assume you don’t care…and then they won’t care either. They’ll send your payment late or not at all.” By managing the clients’ expectations of what it’s like to work with you, you’re setting boundaries and creating a plan to get to the Land of Plenty.


It was a great event, and Shell has already followed-up with me for a free phone consultation. Whether you have a few money questions, or need some serious financial therapy, I highly recommend you call her for a free consultation. After that conversation, you’ll know what you need to do to overcome your discomfort around talking about money, focus on a mentality of plenty versus enough, and be a Client Whisperer when it comes to getting paid.

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