Jun 13, 2016

Life is a P & L

By Claire Gibson

This week, it’s safe to assume ad agencies in New York City are pouring over profit and loss statements, hoping to end the year in the black. Have you ever seen a P&L? They’re pretty boring documents at first glance — a few lines of revenue, a long list of expenses. But things get interesting when you dig into the details.

We’re a creative marketing agency, so people are often surprised to find that we come to the table with a financial mindset. At BLKBOX, we’re committed to driving the P&L. We believe the most creative marketing strategies are pointless if they don’t fit into a larger strategy and ultimately lead to profit. To us, making money is the most creative endeavor of all.

The great thing about a financial statement like this is that it becomes wildly apparent when things are out of balance. With the facts before them, businesses can adjust. When things in your life are out of balance, it’s just as important to make a change. And we don’t just mean financially. Maybe you’ve saved more than you spent this year. But what about your physical, mental and emotional life? What about your relationships?

Life is a series of inputs and outputs. Every day you gain time, energy, love and, yes, money from other people. And every day, you’re pouring out your own resources, too. When you take stock of your life like a P&L, it becomes harder to ignore the deficiencies and easier to celebrate the victories.

Did you end the year in the black?

People who live in the black tend to be revelers, takers, confident go-getters. If you’re ending the year full—in every sense—you’re feeling the positive benefits of all of your hard work. But you haven’t done it alone. Don’t forget: people have generously poured their time and energy into your physical, emotional, and professional growth. Thank them for it.

And beware. Businesses don’t like to end the year too far in the black because taxes on that income can be brutal. In the same way, if you’re ending the year with tons of energy, money and time on your hands, perhaps you’re not giving the way you could to the people who mean most in your life. Where could you give back in 2016, in return for all you’ve been given?

Did you end the year in the red?

People who live in the red tend to be givers, people-pleasers, to-do-list tacklers. If you feel like you’re ending the year with an empty tank, you have a lot to be proud of. Chances are, you have supported, loved and cared for a lot of people through difficult times in 2015.

But you’d likely be the first to admit your P&L is off-kilter. When you’re giving out more than you’re getting back, you’re not able to live at full-speed. What can you do this year to protect the time, money and energy it takes to take care of you? Where do you need to go to refill?

How to find out:

If you’re a startup business and need to calculate your P&L, here’s a google doc that can help you through. If you’re up for the challenge of a Life P&L, well, we’ve created a little cheat-sheet to help you too. Copy the document into your own google drive, and get started. Let us know how it goes and what you discover.