If you really want freedom you have to do this one thing.

When I find myself doing Q + A (which is often because I love it), I’m frequently asked:

“How can I make more money?”

It’s a hot topic, no?

My answer is always some variation on:

“If you want to make more money you have to add more value.” (Click to tweet)

But it’s not always as simple as that.

Sometimes There’s a Ceiling

Take a single mom working full time to make ends meet. There’s a ceiling on the amount of money she can make at her current company. They require a graduate degree in order to move beyond her current position.

Paying tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for some letters after her name and the potential (not promise) of making a few more thousands per year doesn’t seem to add up. (Especially because she will have to take out loans that she’ll be paying back for years to get the advanced degree in the first place.)

This woman adds a TON of value in her life already. She’s an amazing mom. She’s great at her job. She spreads sunshine wherever she goes.

So what can she do?

The reality is this: most of us want to make more money because it will allow us to have more choices.

We don’t want to sit around with hundreds of hundreds in our hands. While that might be fun for a bit, the novelty would be sure to wear off pretty darn soon.

No. We want money because we want freedom. We want to be able to do, have, and be the things we want.

We may not want it all, but we want what we want.

The Ultimate Luxury

Back to our single mom. If I were having a chat with her (which I have, in various forms) I would tell her this:

If you want the ultimate luxury — choice — you have to have a business. (Or be independently wealthy but let’s assume that’s not the case for most of us.)

Working for someone else will never allow you to make as much money as you want and have as much freedom as you want. It just won’t.

Is working for someone else an amazing path for some people? Yes! And I’m all for it if it feels right to you. I had a woman write in on my Facebook page the other day that having a steady paycheck makes her feel free. That’s awesome. More power to you. Plus, not everyone is an entrepreneur. I get that and I honor it.

But when someone asks me how to make more money and they’re inside the box where someone else is going to be in charge of how much they can earn and how they can earn it, I often wind up breaking the bad news that the luxury of choice isn’t in there with them inside that box.

The Secret Sauce

If you really want freedom, the best way I know to create it is to start a business.

Of course, starting just any business won’t necessarily guarantee freedom. There are freedom-based businesses and there are burnout-prone businesses. If you want true freedom, choose a model that will allow you to create a system that brings in money whether you’re working or not. (Network marketing, membership sites, real estate investing, and selling digital products are great examples of these types of freedom models. For more on how to choose, click HERE.)

And it will require putting in some good old tender love and care up front. You may be far underpaid for the hours you’re putting in when you get started.

(But if you choose a business providing something that you love that adds value to others, you’ll be nourished in a lot of other ways. If that’s the case, a little less money at the beginning won’t matter as much to you.)

And when you do put in the necessary time, energy, and love, what you can create with your own business is limitless.

Unlimited freedom.

Unlimited creativity.

Unlimited income.

Unlimited value.

There are many paths to freedom. Meditation, travel, self-inquiry, and hanging with Mother Earth are a few I can think of.

When you free yourself financially, though, you have more time and energy to devote to emotional and spiritual freedom.

And these types of freedom are the freest of the free, in my opinion.

So if you want to make more money as an avenue to creating more freedom, start a business. Period.

I’ve never heard of a job that offers limitlessness like running your own show. Let me know if you find one. And in the meantime, start a business.

Over to you:

Have you taken the leap to start your own business? Do you feel more free than before you had your own business? If so, why? If not, why not?

Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Share the love:

If you really want freedom you have to do this one thing. (Click to Tweet!)

P.S. Even if you don’t consider yourself a business owner, if you are self-employed, are promoting a book, are a speaker, or are a freelancer of any kind, it’s time to starting thinking of yourself as a business.



  • Hi Kate,

    Thanks for this post because it is helping me realize that I am on the right track. I started my own business as a designer of spiritual love stories on beautifully crafted paper. I was hesitant that my passion would be well received as important, but I see that you have a thriving business while incorporating spirituality or rather higher consciousness into your model because it’s a part of you. Thanks for setting me on the right path.

    • Kate

      I love the idea of what you do and I’m going to check it out! YES – I think that the businesses of the future are those that make money and provide a service and bring forth our best selves. Sounds like you’re doing that with yours :)

  • Lovely Kate,

    I love your insights and your spirit-infused money tips! Everything you put out there is inspired and I can’t get enough!

    I recently started a business, as I am going through B-School grad, Tara Mullarkey (www.taramullarkey.com) Create Your Biz Mastermind calls. Although I love my corporate job, I long for flexibility to be with my 2 cubs when I want to be and also, with all the energy I put into work, not feel like “work”. That, to me, is ultimate freedom. When what you are doing is so fulfilling that you don’t even notice time go by…that is really free. Freedom is timeless. Even though in conventional terms, I am putting in long hours (with no direct payment as of yet) building this “cancer-coaching” biz right now, the process has been so fulfilling and fun (even changing direction 2 or 3 times)and most importantly, I feel inspired and in what yogis refer to as “the flow”. Here’s to flowing out there, everyone! I’m so grateful to be able to design my life, it is the ultimate freedom.

    Keep rockin out Kate,

  • Rain

    I have been successfully running my own business since 2006 and while, yes it is freeing, I feel trapped by my own success. As it is home based I had to move to a bigger home to accommodate growth which equals a bigger mortgage. Due to personal circumstance I have hired a full-time employee. This costs me alot of overhead because out of my business income I am covering an employee income, benefits, wcb coverage, and paying my appropriate employer remittances.
    When there is a financial lull in my business, operation costs come out of my own savings.

    Maybe it is my current business position but I fail to see the “And when you do put in the necessary time, energy, and love, what you can create with your own business is limitless.

    Unlimited freedom.

    Unlimited creativity.

    Unlimited income.

    Unlimited value.”

    I must be doing something wrong, somewhere…….

  • Kate,
    I am that single mom you spoke about and your words have reached me loud and clear. So many times the single mom is left out of the equation with the assumption that she is stuck – thank you, thank you, thank you for recognizing our worth and for including us in the realm of powerful women. We are a force to be reckoned with.
    In gratitude –

    • Kate

      Marni – yeah baby! I think what single moms do is one of the most inspiring jobs on the planet. Rock on lady – if you can raise kids solo you can do ANYTHING! xoxo

  • Kate I love your passion and your insights, and your book, it’s on my bedside table :) I am an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and workshop leader. I’ve run my own private practice for 14 years now and I love the freedom it gives me. The funny thing is I often work longer hours than I would if I worked for someone else, but I love what I do every day and it gives me the freedom to parent, take a day off if I need it, and create a business just the way I want it. I get paid in other ways than money – freedom and joy being my two other favorite currencies :) Thanks for your great work Kate!

  • I just came to this realization as part of choosing a theme for Lent. Again, the timing is spot on! Thanks for this!

  • Hey Kate

    I started my business two years back, however took me some time time ( 2years) to finally close the doors of corporate job which was good steady income. Steady income meant I could go out more, party more, shop more and save too. Only problem was I felt trapped in a job hence left it permanently. My business has picked up decently since then,that I can pay rent and go out sometimes.
    However my constant worry/fear is not making enough. I am still stuck in the poverty mindset (its hardwork which results in steady income)
    Funny thing with me is I am single, no debt, no mortage; but still I am stuck in the feeling of I dont have enough.

    • Kate

      Mandy – congrats on your business! Yeah that not enough mentality is a sticky one. I’d start a practice of writing down everything you’ve received at the end of the day. Putting your attention on that may help shift things. Report back!

  • As a single mom who started my own architecture firm I have truly loved it. My biggest issue is that as much as I would love to make my firm my full time job, the reality is that the income isn’t consistent nor enough to really support my family. Therefore I had to look for work to provide for my family. After looking, I did find a job that more than pays the bills; however, guess what? I got more projects coming in the first week after I was hired. (Great timing, right?) Now the challenge is to find a way to do both. Not being greedy but I want my business to succeed while ensuring that I have enough income to support my family at the same time. As you can imagine, I’m being stretched beyond reason and am worried that I won’t succeed in either venture by trying to do both at the same time. Suggestions?

    • Kate

      Congrats on getting all the projects! Yes – this may be the universe giving you a little tap that there’s enough work to make it work with your business. As you navigate this busy time I would also look at revenue sources and look at how you might be able to earn I come in your business in non-traditional ways. Check out Pat Flynn’s story – he writes at smartpassiveincome.com. Think outside the box – courses, online projects, consulting…things you can do while projects are slower or that you could set up to earn repeat income.

  • Hi Kate, after, oh, 10 years of dreaming, I started my own business a few months ago. Freedom was my #1 driver in every aspect – creatively, financially, geographically (being a New Zealander, US resident + a travel-lover), but especially because I feel it’s a key way to explore myself, to get to know and express myself more, and so I could make sure my health and well-being is at the top of the list. Dissolving my old (money) stories is a biggie, but the beauty of being in business now is that taking small, focused steps redirects that energy – and the cumulative effect is already, in just a few months, rewriting my money story. A work in progress, though! I struggle with honing in on what I really want to focus on, but I keep reminding myself it’s all part of the exploration (which I don’t always believe, haha). Thanks for your insights and tips; so helpful for us newbies, Lucie x

  • This is such a great article! I started my “business” (more of a freelancer type work) less than 6 months ago and it definitely gave me more freedom in the sense that I can decide when and where to work. But Im still not totally free because the money I earn is limited and Im not particularly loving the freelance jobs I do. Its better than being stuck in a boring corporate job but not yet the kind of business that Im striving for.

    So in a nutshell I think my biggest challenge is:

    Discovering what unique value I can add and then finding the right people to collaborate with (because I dont want to do this totally on my own).

  • Kate,
    Thank you so much for this post. It resonated greatly with me. When I was a single mom I wanted my own business because I lived in constant fear that I would get fired one day, and not be able to provide for my daughter. That fear was exhausting and led me to work tons of overtime, overdo, and overachieve. Living in fear was taking its toll on me. The best thing I did for myself and family, was start before I was ready. I took the leap, started my business, and thank the Lord I did. Not having that fear and dependence on someone else for my income was such a huge weight off my shoulders, and mentality! I could BREATHE again. I could LIVE again. Killing myself at work and being away from my munchkin was NOT living. Yes, I was providing, but at what cost? At the cost of missing out on those important first years of my child’ life. At the cost of taking years off my life because stress and anxiety is just killer to your health. I understand not all single mothers (or other people) can take afford to take the same leap that I did, but for my particular journey, becoming an entrepreneur was the right path for me to take. Thanks again for posting this!

  • Eva Lindroos

    Would love to do your bschool but this is early days for me financially. I haven’t got the money to do the bschool…yet! Does it only run once a year Kate?
    Love your work though, thanks! Gives me hope and now moralising. That is such a relief! Thanks, Eva

    • Kate

      Hi Eva – sorry for the delay on this but as you probably found out, yes, B-School runs once a year. Hopefully it will work for you next year!

  • Eva Lindroos

    Would love to do your bschool but this is early days for me financially. I haven’t got the money to do the bschool…yet! Does it only run once a year Kate?
    Love your work though, thanks! Gives me hope and no moralizing comments, just encouragement and hope. That is such a relief! Thanks, Eva

    • Kate

      Hi Eva – B-School only happens once a year. If you can figure out a way to make it work then go for it now, but if not next year is your year!

  • Hola Kate!
    After 11 years of marriage (now going through a divorce), two kids and a dog later, I’ve found myself a single mom, lost and not knowing what to do with my life. Then the most amazing opportunity came to me! I started my own business as an Independent Beauty Consultant and I am also a Certified Makeup Artist. I want to make an amazing and abundant life for my children and I. I’m now working on building my unit of team members and becoming an Independent Sales Director. Reading this only validates that what I’m doing is the right thing, so many times I doubt myself but reading this I know I’m on the right path! Thank you so much for your wisdom!
    Lily xoxo

  • Just launched my Beyond-Holistic Design Business! SO THRILLING! I’ve taken my education in FengShui, Vastu Vidya, Color Therapy, Holistic Design, BauBiologie and Psychology and tested them over the last 14 years to find the common truths. Understanding the whole person and the sacred space they call home leads me to transformational design.

    AND- I can complete consultations via Skype/FaceTime! (sounds crazy – but it works!)

    THANK YOU FOR THIS! You were speaking to me in this post. straight to the heart….finally found my passion, my calling. adding value and serving the greater global good!

  • Kaaaaaate!

    LOVE this post. I totes agree – having your own business means you can design your own life. It’s hard work where we are at this point with Addictive Daughter – but I LOVE every minute of it (or at least most!) because I know we are both creating something that we believe in, that serve people, and also that will one day in the not too distant future enable us to be financially free – which means that we can serve even more!

    GREAT post, so excited to meet you in the flesh on the weekend!

    Biggest love,

    Persia xx

  • Great post Kate, I love your straight forward, honest approach!
    This one made me think…. and I would have to say yes and no. I love being a woman entrepreneur right now. I took the leap many years ago from factory work to whole healing with dynamic medicine when I had babies. I let my practice grow organically and locally. It was all perfect, yet inconsistent. Now that my babies are teenagers, I am learning social media, and creating healing kits that can sell anywhere, anytime so I can enjoy my downtime with loved ones and not stress about not making money while on vacation! I agree with you that this is key!
    Now the trick is to get that golden ticket into viral stardom with my gifts…. : )
    So still struggling to figure it all out but feeling confident. Plus have been using your Money Love book to heal my old negative money beliefs!
    Thank you for all you do. xo

    • Kate

      Hi Andrea – so glad you’ve got your awesome business up and running. It’s not so much about the golden ticket to viral stardom…it’s about learning proven marketing techniques. You need less customers than you think…just dedicated ones. You don’t have to be famous for that…just to have a strong, dedicated following. Have you been studying marketing because I think that might be next for you!

  • I’m currently “in the box” but am shortly going to be busting my way out. I have moments of trepidation from time to time. Worries about health insurance, costs, etc. Then I realize that will all balance out if I have enough faith in myself to do what I know I am more than capable of doing. The first step is the hardest, but I’m almost there! Thank you for your uplifting presence!

  • Deona Aucamp

    Hello Kate and thank you for all your wise posts, they definitely strike a chord with me. And that is exactly why I am totally clueless now!!! I see the road to find the right business for me, but I don’t see the lanes yet, so to speak… With currency rates and ZAR as they are now, I have no chance of taking B-School or similar courses yet, but I have to start somewhere. Can you point my nose in the right direction to figure out how to find the business that will add value to people’s lives that only I can offer (to borrow Marie Forleo’s term broadly!)…? Love, Deona.

  • I am a single mom who did this – your story could have been about me. Thank you.

  • Kate,

    Thanks for the honesty about this! I used to work in a very comfy job in government public health. But there was that ceiling there for me, too. I had steady paychecks, GREAT vacation/sick leave, and fabulous health insurance. But I wasn’t thrilled about my work and I wanted to have the ability to make more money so that I could do more with my life! This past year, I got my health coaching business off the ground and running. Yes, it’s been a very difficult journey. Probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. But I know the only one holding me back from making more money in my business is ME (not my boss and not my degree).

    Thanks for the real talk, Kate!

  • Sophie

    I will just say one thing: THANK YOU.

  • Hi Kate,

    Thank you for writing this great post.

    I’ve started my own business, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming even if my gut, if it could, would scream out loud that it’s the right decision.

    I make ceramics, and my challenge is to design products that are less ‘hands on’, where I only have to do the work once. One plan is to make designs for online sites like threadless.

    It’s funny how things turn out. I never thought I’d start my own business, and try to make a living that way. But I just can’t see myself working full time anymore. I want something else out of life.

    All the best to you,

  • Dear Kate,
    I want your words to be true for me, and yet I’m filled with a chiseling doubt. What to do when you take the brave leap and you’re still falling? I launched my own business this summer (July 2015) and it’s slow. Too slow? Needs more time? Please, words of truth or encouragement or both.
    In gratitude,

    • Kate Northrup

      Most business take 3-5 years to get off the ground. Your business is in its infancy – be patient! And it’s OK to make income from a job in the meantime!

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