15 Things To Do When You’re Tired of Being Broke

broke monopoly july 27 300x300 15 Things To Do When Youre Tired of Being BrokeI recently wrote a post called ‘I’m Broke (And I Don’t Care).’ It got well over 100 comments from readers on it and has been shared far and wide. 

I think it resonated with people because they’re tired of feeling like their self worth needs to be tied to the amount of money they make or that their choices to work with people with less money, or to take time off for fun are wrong. And maybe they liked knowing that someone they might have assumed always had money sometimes went broke. 

But since writing it, I’ve wanted to write this to talk about the other side of it: sometimes you are tired of being broke.

And that’s okay too.

Sometimes it can be fun to be reckless and a bit irresponsible and go on adventures, buy things we shouldn’t because it adds joy to our lives.

And sometimes there’s the aftermath.

There’s the non profit we wish we could give money to that we can’t. 

We aren’t able to pay rent or our bills and we feel mortified about it.

We owe money to dear friends who trusted we’d pay them back soon and we just haven’t been able to.

Our spouse or partner is breathing down our neck and needing us to pull it together. 

We’ve not taken growing our business entirely seriously, we haven’t gotten the help we really need to get and we find ourselves in debt, scrambling and feeling desperate. Even though we know that slow marketing is an approach that makes sense . . . we don’t have time for it anymore. We need answers and money fast. 

Being broke is okay – there’s nothing wrong with it – but, sometimes, you just don’t want to be anymore. And that’s okay too.

As easy as it can be to knock the constant barrage of teachers out there promising to help you get to six figures . . . let’s remember that six figures isn’t that much for a family. Depending where you live in the world, you may or may not have health care and most families are one major illness away from bankruptcy. There’s student debt, credit card debt, unexpected expenses, the mortgage, sending your kids to college and supporting them in their dreams and, of course, trying to invest in your business.

There’s nothing wrong with being broke, but there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to have your needs met and have your financial life feel sustainable and debt free. 

There’s nothing wrong with being broke, but there’s also nothing particularly noble about it. And I’ve seen so many friends almost brag about how broke they are because it gives them more anti-capitalist, social justice ‘cred’ but, in reality, they don’t feel good about it. It stresses them out. They’re constantly anxious about it. There’s a way that we can collapse about money and give up but we can also posture and pretend that everything is okay when it really isn’t. 

Being broke doesn’t make us more real, legit or ‘down with the people’. And having a lot of money doesn’t make us cooler, more successful or better. 

If you’re like me, you’re not interested in being a billionaire. Or even a millionaire. 

But I think most of us underestimate how much money (and creativity) it might take to responsibly create the kind of sustainable lifestyle we really want. I think because of our aversion to money most of us resist taking a real honest look at that.

Sometime we’re okay with skimming by and incurring debt – and sometimes it’s not okay.

And here’s another twist: making money can be fun. I just got off of a Skype chat with Mark Silver of HeartofBusiness.com who is one of the hidden gems in the marketing world. He’s got about 9,000 people on his email list (like me) and is poised to be a million dollar business based purely on his slow and steady approach to business. Neither he nor I are particularly driven by making money but at one point he said, “You know, I don’t need to make that kind of money but . . . it’s kind of fun.” 

Making money can become a fun challenge. It can be a game. It doesn’t have to feel heavy. It’s one (of many) metrics we can use to measure our business growth and challenge ourselves like some people do with mountain climbing, triathalons etc. It has zero to do with your self worth. And, ironically, the more you realize that the amount of money you make and your fundamental self worth have absolutely no relationship . . . the more fun making money can be, because you’re no longer taking the ups and downs personally. 

If you’re in a place where it’s stopped feeling fun to be broke, then it’s time to move into to extreme self care mode and treat it like the minor crisis it likely is. 

Here are fifteen quick thoughts on the way out of that situation (and I welcome your additions to it). This list is far from exhaustive but it’s a good start:

  • extreme self care practices: this is a time to get into physical shape, meditate, journal – whatever helps you feel stronger, more directed, more full – do it. When you’re in a financial crisis, it’s easy to cut your self care out but it’s actually the most important thing to boost. The better you feel about your self the better you can do all of these other steps. 
  • clean up your home and office: nothing signals fresh start like clearing out a space. Do a massive purge and clean. You will feel amazing and full of energy after you do it. You will feel energized about handling your money. And, every morning when you wake up and see it, your environment will inspire you to stay on track. Clean it and keep it clean. 
  • eliminate what’s draining your energy: this is huge. There are likely certain people, situations and dynamics that are draining your energy and, when you’re in crisis, having your energy drained is not an option. It’s time to say ‘no’ to anything that is sucking your energy. This can be a time where you need to take space from certain friends and family. There are things you are ‘tolerating‘ that take so much more out of you than you can imagine.
  • stop wasting time: do you spend too much time on facebook, surfing the net, watching TV? Consider going on a fast from those things or giving yourself a hard limit of 30-60 minutes a day. 
  • ask for any money that is owed to you: do you have friends or clients who owe you money? This is a good time to follow up on that.
  • get a part time job: for some reason, this feels like failure to a lot of people. But it’s not. Sometimes you just need to get a job to tide yourself over. And sometimes people realize that being an entrepreneur isn’t for them. Which is a huge relief. I’ve seen a number of clients let go of their ideas about being self employed, go back to a job and watched them experience an immediate increase in happiness, financial stability and overall well being. Getting a job when you need it isn’t failure, it’s self care. And sometimes it’s just a matter of timing and you need to get a job and slowly build your business on the side until it’s at a point you can invest more. 
  • get out of any commitments you can to free up time: this is also huge. Are you on a board or committee that isn’t 100% filling you up? Are you volunteering somewhere? Look at where you’re spending your time and eliminate anything you possibly can that isn’t a 100% ‘yes’ to you. 
  • set a goal and create a plan to make money (and start with the low hanging fruit): sit down with a pen and paper and give yourself an hour or two to really get clear on what your goal is around money and how you can best achieve it. Is it to get a job? Do a major promotion of some product or service? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
  • set aside chunks of each day where all you focus on is making money and growing your business: it’s easy to make a plan and then not do the plan. Set aside time (one hour a day, four hours a day or one day a week) where all you’re focused on is making your plan happening. Allow zero distractions during that time – cell phone off. Social media off. Lock the door. Focus. Most people are blown away with how productive they are when they do this.
  • get support: this is so huge. Maybe you need to hire a coach. Maybe you need to get a friend of colleague who you can chat with once a week to stay accountable. Maybe you need to get some kind of to do list manager. Maybe you need to read a marketing book. Maybe you need to trade with a friend for web design. Whatever support you need, it’s time to get honest with yourself about that and get it. And you might want to consider therapy around money too. If this has been a lifelong struggle, there’s a good chance there are some deeper issues worth facing. Dealing with money issues might just be the most powerful personal development work you ever do. 
  • brainstorm on how to cut expenses: can you move to a cheaper place? eat in more? ride your bike vs. driving your car? Where can you trim expenses in your life? Most people would be shocked at how much they can save with a little thought and creativity. 
  • stop working on creating more free content: unless they are a direct lead into your products or services. It’s easy to want to keep creating more free content (like me here on this blog when I should be working on my Niching for Hippies program (#doasisaynotasido)). 
  • focus: speaking of niching – pick one and focus on it. When you’re in a crunch is not the time to try and ‘reach everyone’. You absolutely need to focus on something in particular that you’re offering to a particular crowd of people. And it’s a good idea to focus on just a few marketing approaches and really work them. Maybe all you do is public speaking. Maybe it’s all virtual presentations and webinars. Maybe it’s networking events or hosting events. Whatever it is, I wouldn’t have more than three marketing tactics you’re using. When you’re in a crisis, you need to focus. 
  • create a higher end product: My colleague George Huang created a six figure income in 72 days using five simple steps to fill up his high end coaching program. You can read about them here.
  • connect with hubs: And how do you promote and get clients for your programs and products? You need a way to not only identify but then keep track of potential partners and hubs you come across. Unless you want to be stuck at the ‘cold’ level of marketing you must start thinking about your hubs. And then I recommend connecting with one hub a day getting to know them, what they do, how you can help them and how they might be able to help you. Just ask them out for coffee or to skype to chat and ask their advice on how you should grow your business. 

What other ideas and insights do you have here? If you’ve gotten yourself from being broke to having money, what did you do? 

About Tad

  • Accidental Cyclist

    This is a great article Tad! Sometimes when one is so burdened with debt, just finding a way to take the first step is often the most daunting.

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    too true. I think it’s why i list tidying up your environment as one of the first steps. it’s an easy win and reinforces the rest every day.

  • Nancy Boyd

    The hardest part of getting yourself out of a financial pickle is to deal with the “fear factor.” It’s real and you have to acknowledge it, or it will drive you to inaction and paralysis.

    The easiest thing to do is to just figure out what you can do with what you already have — and then just do it, especially things you’re good at. For instance, if you’re good at speaking, host a teleseminar and make an offer. Book yourself at 3-5 local groups to speak, and make offers to them related to the topic you’re speaking about. If you’re a good writer, start a new email campaign to reactivate stale lists (or good lists that are already responsive) with sizzling new products or offers they really want, perhaps packaged or bundled in new ways. And so on.

    The worst thing you can do is to allow yourself to get sucked down into a pit of despair or overwhelm. That’s when you need a strong support system of some kind, who know you and love what you’re about — to brainstorm with you, remind you where you shine, and to encourage you to take the actions that lead you out of the quagmire. (Mastermind groups are wonderful for this, by the way.)

    Just this week I ran into a temporary (and very unexpected) short term cash flow crunch that I needed to address immediately. I spent about half an hour in quiet meditation, to still my thoughts. After that, I considered my most responsive list and what might appeal to them. Right away I came up with a VERY attractive offer for a Limited Edition of a special product that is truly in short supply. Within an hour I had enough orders to cover the cash flow problem, and a little more. Sweet!

    But that’s what I mean about doing what you can with what you have. You need to be able to get creative. I wouldn’t have thought of that amazing offer unless I’d hit a sudden wall where I had to do SOMETHING immediately. (Maybe next time I’ll work on creating amazing new offers *before* I hit a wall! That goes into my action plan right away.)

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    i love that. there’s something here about seeing the cash crunch as an opportunity not just a problem. and i love the truth about getting quiet and meditating on it. so important.

  • Lucy Lambriex

    It is such an interesting topic and article. And such a killing thing for our flow and creativity when money is lacking for too long.
    Today I sent out my ‘Tips, tricks and Stories’ about my business, which is largely about myself as I am a photographer and use myself as a tool. The opening story is about how well I am doing. How many things seem to go right. And I concluded it has everything to do with trust.
    I know that the reason things, like money flow, go well is that I am more and more able to TRUST the process, to that what is happening is right. Whenever I do, good things happen after a while, because it changes my whole attitude, and the way I look at the world and even how the world interacts with me. As soon as I stop trusting, it all collapses quite quickly.

    So trusting that it is all as it is supposed to be right now, is really a great basis for change. Trusting what is, makes me relax and from there I can make the right decisions.

    It is easier said than done and I am very fortunate with my partner and friends who support me in many ways. But I know it works.

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    beautifully said. and so wonderful to have such support from your partner and friends.

  • Margaret Rode

    Terrific post, Tad! Sometimes when I’m broke, I find myself scrambling to come up with yet another offer/service I can give away for free to gain more exposure. It never feels right, in fact it smacks of desperation, yet I keep on doing it. Thanks for the reminder that there are better uses for my time.

  • Hilary

    I’m so glad I found you, thank you.

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave


  • JacquiGoguen

    Your post is so timely. Just within the last few weeks I have implemented more than half the strategies you list and have started to approach the others in my short term planning. I was doing this subconsciously though and realized while reading your article I need to take a more conscious approach moving forward. Thank you Tad.

  • http://www.erniezelinski.com/Bio-and-Contact.html Ernie Zelinski

    I suggest also reading “You’re Broke Because You Want to Be” by Larry Wingate. This is a great book, but only for people willing to take responsibility for their lives.

    These quotations apply:

    “Money will appear when you are doing the right thing in your life.”
    ~ Michael Phillips

    “Where is your focus? On money or spirit? Truth is, money is just a symbol. If you focus on the energy it respresents, you will attract it.”
    ~ Joe Vitale

    “The amount of money you have has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a good person. Being good with money is a little like being … good with cards. People who are good at playing cards aren’t better or worse than anyone else, they’re just better at playing crazy eights.”
    ~ Seth Godin

    “There is nothing mystical about how to attain prosperity. The Universe supports and rewards us for taking risks on things that matter to the Universe. When we remember this, the mysteries about prosperity disappear, and prosperity stands explained. Prosperity will then manifest itself easily provided the Universe agrees that we are doing the right things in our lives to deserve this prosperity.”
    ~ Life’s Secret Handbook

    As for me, I was broke and lived under the poverty line for many years, even though I did not consider myself poverty stricken. Then I decided to semi-retire when my net worth was minus $30,000 (due to student loans). Since then I have been able to work only 4 or 5 hours a day and earn close to a really low six-figure income for many years and create a net worth in the high 6 figures.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    International Best-Selling Author
    “Helping Adventurous Souls Live Prosperous and Free”
    Author of the Bestseller “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
    (Over 175,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and the International Bestseller “The Joy of Not Working’
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    Ernie! you’re a prince to comment. i often see you at cafes around edmonton. i will say hello next time. you’re an inspiration. you’re the original 4 Hour Work Week.

  • http://www.erniezelinski.com/Bio-and-Contact.html Ernie Zelinski

    By all means. I didn’t realize you are from Edmonton. I will give you a copy of “Career Success Without a Real Job” or “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” if I happen to be carrying one or if my car is near by.

  • Taryn Moore Pyle

    Great article. I am going to follow your advice and then come back and tell you what I did!

  • Sally-Soul Purpose

    Tad I really enjoyed reading this today. I have reached a critical point, where I ran out of money. I loved your comment about self worth not having to be attached to income. I needed to hear that today, so thanks!

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    <3 so glad

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    please do!

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    you’re a prince. see you soon i’m sure!

  • beachmama

    Excellent post! Clearing your desk seems so mundane but it really is symbolic of starting fresh. My husband is a very tidy person but his desk is always chaos . . . he hates paperwork. He recently cleared his desk when our nephew was visiting and wanted a space to work. Our nephew left a couple weeks ago and to my husband credit, he’s kept his desk clean, clear, and clutter-free. This may sound silly, but I see the difference it makes in how he approaches his day and his work. Such a simple task is so trans formative. On the other side, I’ve let my desk, that is typically clean, get cluttered all around me. It’s been like this off and on for months . . . just like my income . . . time to recommit to a clean slate. Thanks Tad.

  • Sarah Wilson

    I have found that worry and anxiety completely block the flow of money for me, and that setting clear intentions (i.e. placing my order with the universe) and trusting that my order has been received put me back in the flow. Tough to do when I’m under financial stress but also the most important time to remember it. Also when I judge others and what they are or are not doing financially, that cuts off the flow too. When I reclaim my place as the creator of my own financial life, I step back into my power. These are the places of stuckness that show up energetically for me, and when I address them first I line myself up for inspired action producing real, and usually miraculous results. thanks for the timely suggestions to get it in gear!

  • marie espino

    Thanks Tad. I felt great reading your article and inspired. It is very difficult when you find yourself in this situation. Many need to know that there is a way out. http://socialmediabar.com/onlinehomework

  • JenniferSummerfeldt

    Love it! Easy to read and great tips. I must say your writing and blogging is an inspiration to keep sharing what lives in the mind and heart.. even if for free. You offer tons of information on your blog Tad. Thank you :)

  • http://juliaaspinwall.com/ Julia Aspinwall

    Aaaah what a breath of fresh air! Love your approach Tad and the do-ability of these suggestions. I definitely notice that when I take a step it creates some momentum and then it’s easier to take the next one and the next one.

    Re: the “get support” item, I recently found this free site http://www.actionmethod.com + smartphone app for tracking action steps, projects, notes, etc. It’s laid out in a visually appealing way which works really well for me – and in some magical way it’s supporting me in completing the action steps!

  • Liz Wright

    Great article. I have found myself in a pattern of attracting success and money, and then losing it and starting over a few times in life now. I realized after much personal growth, that how we see ourselves inside, ultimately creates what happens on the outside. I had some subconscious beliefs going as far back as accidently swallowing money when I was a young child to losing a wallet full of babysitting money when I was about 12, which created the belief that I was afraid of losing money. So to avoid losing it, I would quickly spend it. I am changing this belief finally, and learning how to manage and invest my money and create long term wealth. I believe money only makes you more of who you already are. If you are good person and have lots of money, that just means you can do even more good with it. I have lived a very simple life, but just prefer the many options that having more money and abundance gives you. Nothing wrong with a “bridge” job either to help you accomplish and get to where you want to go. Just don’t settle, or let yourself get complacent. Always be taking action towards the bigger goal, and surround yourself as much as possible with other’s who also have those bigger goals. Awesome ideas Tad for getting out of that “funk” of being broke :) http://www.lizwrightnow.com

  • Naa Adjeley

    this is great !perfect for my current situation.

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    so glad! how did you come across it?

  • William

    glad i found your site time to clean house

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    how did you find it?

  • William

    I did a Google search on tired of being poor.

  • Nate

    googled tired of being poor

  • Jenn Deloach

    I am a stay at home mom and I have had tons of time to research and mess around online to try to find ways to earn money. I have found a few ways that actually work. check out my blog for tips and info.


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