Are You Confusing Your Self-Worth With Your Net-Worth?

If you are an entrepreneur, you have probably experienced the challenge of thinking that you aren’t providing enough value to your customers/clients. My coach calls it the “Imposter/Inferiority syndrome” where you look at your numbers, i.e. sales, subscribers, upsales, etc. and equate the business’s level of success or net worth with your own value or worth.

The plight of an entrepreneur is a difficult one. There are ups and downs that you have to ride out. When you are in the “downs,” it’s all too easy to go into a downward spiral of questioning yourself and your self-worth. And the problem is confusing your self-worth with your net worth. You justify the negative outlook with your numbers—you have low sales, your network is growing slower than you’d like, your conversion rates are down, etc. That then continues the downward spiral.

How do you stop it?

In her book, “Killing It: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart,” Sheryl O’Loughlin says,

“If we think about our business in a more holistic sense, everything we do has positive impacts. And we need to learn to value those positive impacts that are outside of most traditional metrics. Then we will understand that there is more to business than traditional metrics of profit/loss.”

As business owners, we are used to traditional metrics to measure how well we’re doing in our business. Traditional metrics are profit-and-loss, sales conversions and other financial numbers.

But, as Sheryl points out, there are metrics apart from net worth that we should be taking into consideration. For even if you separate self-worth from net worth, they still affect each other, and that’s why it’s important to broaden the metrics you are using.

Those metrics include things like what kind of impact are you having on your clients lives, what kind of impact are you having locally and globally, and what is the legacy you are leaving.

Nowadays there are business owners who measure their success based on their footprint such as how much are they not polluting the environment, how are they changing people’s lives with regard to lifestyle, family, and relationship. (Notice that this does not include money or financial gain). 

When we question our own value, many times it’s because we relate it to the value that we think we are or aren’t giving our customers or clients. But nothing could be further than the truth. This concept of separating self-worth from net worth inspired me to realize that my value is always there and I just have to make sure that I’m sharing that with my clients.

As Sheryl says, “Tap into the values that are important to you. What is the greater purpose in your work beyond just a monetary one? Having this bigger picture helps you feel good about what you’re doing beyond the ups and downs of business. It keeps your life aligned with your values, and helps you course-correct when you feel out of line. Having a greater purpose with your business reminds you that you’re a valuable person in spite of numbers.”

Sheryl predicts: “In ten years, there will be less room for companies that don’t think about metrics other than financial ones.”


Reading the book that night helped me gain a better understanding of the concept that I am a valuable person regardless of how my business is doing. I want to encourage you to not confuse your self-worth with your net-worth.

Find your value, look at the impact you are having on your clients’ lives, and feel proud that you are living your truth. Write out a mission statement for your business so you always know why you are in business. And keep that bigger picture in mind so you stay aligned with your values as you run your business and not get off track when you are thrown a curve ball.


This is an excerpt from my chapter in the 2018 book, “Coaching For Female Entrepreneurs: How Life Coaching Can Improve Your Bottom Line.” In my chapter I list several ways to overcome the self-worth vs. net-worth dilemma. Order your copy HERE.