The whole idea of ‘money blocks’ might strike you as a bit too ‘woo’? Isn’t it just a convenient excuse to say that what’s stopping us from making more money is our subconscious beliefs?

Fairly obviously, I’d say, our beliefs are not the entire reason for the success or failure of a business. We need to have a clear vision of who we can help and how, and a business model which matches. We need to be able to express clearly in sparkling copy exactly why our potential clients should choose us. And we need to be taking consistent action, and constantly evaluating and tweaking what we do.

Why your mindset may be a bigger part of the problem than you realise

However, more often than not, when I work with my ELT freelancer clients, I find that a good percentage of what is holding them back is actually their mindset. This might be about confidence, or a tendency to people please, or fear of judgement or attack, but very often it centres around money.

Our mindset isn’t just about what we consciously think, but often goes much deeper than that, and can subtly impact what happens.

We tell ourselves that we can’t make friends but we avoid actually getting out there and trying to meet people or we go but don’t talk to anyone and decide that no one talks to us because we’re unlikeable- without considering that maybe they were also hoping someone would talk to them?

Or we don’t get offered work, and feel rejected but conveniently forget that we haven’t actually been in contact with anyone to ask for work. Or if we do ask, we phrase it in a way which means the other person either doesn’t realise we actually want it, or they miss the fact that we’re even asking. Or we keep meaning to get round to updating our Linked in profile and connect with a few people but somehow we never do.

The same things apply to money. Now, I’m not saying that someone starving in a war torn country just needs to think more positively and the money will flow in, but I do think it’s true that our deepest beliefs about money are very often self-fulfilling prophecies.

Decluttering your money blocks

Denise Duffield Thomas suggests that we can uncover some of these subconscious money blocks by journalling about our memories associated with money, starting with our very earliest memories, and focusing on those which have strong emotions attached.

I recently did this, and it was really enlightening. For example, I discovered what strong beliefs I have around the idea that making money has to be really hard work, from being brought up by a single mum, who sometimes worked two jobs.

I also discovered a massive well of anger and resentment about many jobs I’ve had within ELT where I’ve not only been exploited (that bit I was aware of) but also subtly and not so subtly told that I shouldn’t expect more, that I’m not worth more, that I should be grateful to have anything at all.

I don’t know if that’s ringing any bells for you, but I think it’s a horribly pervasive message within ELT- along with ‘you’re not a good caring person if you care about money, you’re selfish and greedy.’

Running our own businesses gives us the opportunity to step away from giving other people the power to decide what we’re worth, but only if we don’t still have those voices in our head.

And the first step towards getting rid of those kinds of voices is to become aware of them. So, I recommend that you have a go at that task yourself. Just free write about all your money associated memories, especially the ones that bring up negative emotions such as fear, shame, humiliation, anger.

Let them see the light of day and they’ll stop having such power over you, and you’ll find yourself better able to set prices that truly reflect the value of what you do.


If you’re an ELT freelancer/business owner you may feel a bit overwhelmed by all the business advice out there…

Should you start a podcast or a YouTube channel, a mailing list, a membership? Is it a good idea to keep things as simple as possible, or should you be looking to diversify? What does scaling even mean, anyway?!

Would you like some clear step by step advice tailored to your stage of business? 

Look no further. Click the image to answer six simple questions and I’ll send you a detailed PDF game plan for your next steps.