Yup, as of last night I officially became a money coach after having my first (paid) session with a client :) And as you can probably assume ‘cuz we’re all money nerds here, it was fun as shit to help her, haha… You think looking over your own money is fun, try diving into another person’s world!
I had been playing with this idea of helping people one-on-one for a while now, but really hadn’t pursued it much outside of talking to a few coaches/advisors that do similar things and learning how it all works (see shout outs down below). I quickly learned that you don’t need a fancy pants degree or anything to help people out either, at least in the “coaching” world. If someone wants to pay you to help them out with a problem, it’s all good! And this one just happens to be relating to money, just like my coaching on blogging or business, etc. Also without any degrees. (Though street cred helps ;))
(NOTE: Advising people with money does get murky with investing, however. I can’t advise on a stock or fund or any of that type stuff if I’m getting paid for it, but luckily that’s not my specialty anyways. As evident w/ my all-in-one lazy Vanguard strategy, haha.. which, I might add, is doing pretty well!)
Anyways, over the past couple of months I had two readers of this blog reach out to me and ask if I’d like to take them on as my first clients. The first guy was all gung-ho and we literally chatted for hours before setting up our first official session together (he had all types of issues going on, but fortunately all fix-able!), however he dipped out the second we got serious about diving in and I literally never heard from him again. It was the weirdest thing, but I guess he just wasn’t truly ready to face the facts and get dirty.
Then came potential client #2, who we’ll call Lil’ Kim since we both share the love of hip-hop ;) She too reached out on this blog as a casual reader, only she was serious about getting her money on track once and for all. She knew she had a lot of problem areas to work out, but she was eager and ready to get right to it and needed an “accountability partner” to help motivate her. So we did our (free) intro session to see if we were a good fit (we were), and then last night we had our first session WHICH WENT AMAZINGLY. Not only because we get along so well as people, but because she wasn’t afraid to divulge every last debt and monthly expense she had going on for the greater good of the project: HER LIFE. I could tell it wasn’t easy for, but I let her know it was a “judgement free” zone and the more we rip off the band-aid the better. And that she did.
We talked about what all these numbers meant, and what to look for/ think about over the next month, and then we’ll be having a follow up call come end of August. And potentially each month going forward until we get her money on track – which, if I do my job right (and she does hers!), should be sooner than later. An interesting twist on side hustling when your goal is to kick them out in the end! :)
Being that I’m so new to all this though, I thought I’d share with you what we’re working on together, and what our future goals will be. Maybe you have some insight and have done this before yourselves? Or maybe this will help YOU directly? I honestly don’t know how it’ll all play out, but I DO know that if anyone followed this no matter what stage they’re in, they’d be SOOOO much farther ahead with their goals. The hardest part with this stuff is simply *starting.* Which basically means admitting to yourself that you suck with money right now and you’re ready for a change.
These are the first steps we’re working on with Lil’ Kim (and future clients of mine as well, hint hint):
- Getting an overall snapshot of her money (ie. calculating her net worth). This sounds basic because most of us reading this right now already know how to do this AND we all do it (I’m literally updating mine after I post this up), but when you’re starting from scratch it probably hasn’t crossed your mind. And to me this is the main # we focus on so we can track progress every month going forward, whether the mission is to cut expenses or increase income. It all gets reflected in this number, and you need a baseline to compare results to so you know how you’re doing.
- Getting an overall snapshot of her expenses (ie. putting it all down in a spreadsheet). This will also sound basic, but you’d be surprised how many people have never done this! Whether in a spreadsheet, or paying attention to an online service like Mint.com, etc. And the only way to know how you’ll be able to reach your goals is to figure out just how much you have leftover every month to play with. You can’t pay off your debts or save for retirement/new home/etc if you’re constantly breaking even, or worse, losing money every month. You need to know what your leftover $$ is so it can be applied to your goals appropriately!
- Breaking even every month. I call this Phase I where all we’re trying to do is get everything organized and on track with the purpose of at least breaking even every month. Then, once we get that humming along nicely, we work on trimming fat and bringing on future extra income as well. But not until you get a snapshot of everything and understand how it all comes together.
We did steps #1 and #2 last night (she loved my google doc I made for her cuz she had never put stuff down like this before :)), and her homework is to try and break even for August while also paying attention to areas she can cut later (the numbers show she should be able to do it, but of course the real world is always different). She’ll also be automating a handful of bills that had been slipping through the cracks (this seems to be a recurring problem from the few people I’ve talked with – they all *mean* to pay the bills but for whatever reason don’t?) so this alone will help decrease the stress and smooth things out more going forward. Plus, she knows she can reach out to me anytime throughout the month with questions or guidance anytime she’s stuck – similar to a concierge service ;)
Here’s the excel version of that Google doc btw if you’re interested in it – it’s super simple.
Future tasks for us to tackle will be:
- Widening the gap between income and expenses
- Setting up a nice cash cushion in savings (ie emergency fund)
- Setting up a buffer in checking so automated payments don’t mess anything up in bad months (I like to keep $1,000 in there if possible)
- Paying off her debt more strategically (looking at the terms, interest rates, calling up some places to negotiate, etc)
- Getting back to investing more (for retirement)
- Challenging, and shredding, more expenses where applicable
- Coming up with more ways to bring home income – both at her job, and on the side
We’re still in the early stages here, but so far we’re off to a great start :) She’s happy to finally be DOING SOMETHING about her money, and I’m happy to be along for the ride and helping motivate her. The hardest part is facing the facts and learning exactly what you’re up against with this stuff, so I applaud Miss. Kim for taking the time to stare it down and get to crackin’ once and for all. Again, it’s hard to make progress when you don’t know *truly* what you’re dealing with, so I can’t stress enough how important it is to put it all down on paper and start soaking it in. You always think you know what the deal is, but you never do until you actually have it all there in front of you. I made that mistake myself 6+ years ago and will never again!
The fun part is that I’ll also be learning as we go too :) What may work with her might not with another person, so I’ll have to learn to go with the flow and really pick up on the clues to make sure the advice is being matched up appropriately with their goals/situation/etc. I already learned that “you don’t mess with a black girl’s hair” in my first session with Kim, haha, so I’m sure there’s other expenses off the cutting table as well with people… Didn’t see that one coming!
Needless to say I’m pretty excited about this new venture. And if you think I could be of help to you too, please do let me know. With Kim we’re focusing on the early stages of managing money, but I’ll be looking to help others in the other stages of the game as well. So shoot me a note if you’re interested and we can take it from there.
And since I know y’all are wondering just how much I charged Lil’ Kim, I’ll satisfy your curiosity: $50. Which technically is for a 1 hour one-on-one session via phone, but really is like 3 hours when you factor in the intro call and me reviewing stuff and then going over by a half hour on our call, etc… But always better to under promise and over deliver, right? We’ll see how the rates look going forward (I’m told $50 is “way too cheap” as others charge $100, $200 and even $500+ ), but for now it feels about right. I’m not in it to become rich, but I do have to be cognizant of my time and value.
This also means my total jobs I’ve done in my life now equal to 39, haha… But at least the last few have been focused on stuff I enjoy and am somewhat decent at ;) Always easier to make money in those ares of life than others, so keep that in mind when you’re off starting some hustles of your own…
Hope you guys got something out of this! Whether you’re in a similar position as Lil’ Kim, or if you’re considering getting into the coaching biz yourself… If you enjoyed this, let us know in the comments below and I’ll continue sharing how this stuff goes in the future.
Have a blessed weekend, everyone :)
PS: Speaking of “blessings” – the other thing I loved about Kim outside her musical taste is that she still tithes despite not having all that much money right now. To the tune of 10% of her (gross!) income too – amazing. “If it weren’t for God she wouldn’t have anything,” she told me. Which you can’t help but admire whether you’re a religious person or not. In fact, it got me to revisit my own charity goals as well, which has been less than stellar ever since ending Love Drop… So going forward I’ll be setting aside 10% of my future side hustles too to try and get back on track :) It’s not 10% of my entire income, but you gotta start somewhere!
PPS: HUGE shout out to all these beautiful, and smart, people who chatted with me on what it’s like to coach, advise, and manage other peoples’ money. Y’all helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do in this area, so thank you so much!
- Alison Salisbury of Fiscally Fit (daily money manager)
- Cindy Lail of Checks & Balances (daily money manager)
- Shannon McLay of Next-Gen Financial (financial trainer)
- Sophia Bera of Gen Y Planning (certified financial planner)
- Matt Becker of Mom And Dad Money (certified financial planner)
- Leah Manderson (money coach, and now certified financial planner too!)
- Stephanie Halligan of Empowered Dollar (money coach, cartoon extraordinaire)
- Todd Tresidder of Financial Mentor (money coach for high net worth individuals)
[George Washington doodle by Flannel Guy]