“I deserve to be rich.” These were the words uttered casually by financial guru Natalie Johnson as a statement of fact while speaking to an audience on Clubhouse. It’s an uncomfortable and controversial statement, but Natalie has developed it into a mindset at the heart of all her teachings. Through her work as a financial consultant, business coach, and banker, she believes that the biggest obstacle to financial freedom is the mindset. Knowing that millions of people think that wealth is unachievable or something that only a lucky few can attain, Natalie is determined to change people’s perspective on money. Join your hosts, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen, as they talk with Natalie Johnson about the wealth that you deserve. After this session, she’s confident that you will walk away believing that you deserve to be rich, too.
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Elevating To The Wealth You Deserve With Natalie Johnson
In this episode, I am going to assume Whitney’s favorite parts of doing this show is not only the broad diversity of perspectives, expertise and guests we have on here, but the pre-show banter is always a wonderful point of the show. When the mics go on, maybe we creep a little bit into professional mode, but before the mics go on, it’s always in a window into intimate details about a person’s life that maybe we don’t necessarily get to in the show.
Our guest, Natalie Johnson, welcomed us into her home and we got to know a little bit more about her, her soon-to-be husband, their adorable relationship and their beautiful energy. Natalie, we met you and became familiar with you through Clubhouse. That’s where you and Whitney connected. Whitney gave me your website and your Instagram handle. I had a chance to dive a little bit deeper into your work in this world. I’m sure we’re going to go in the deep end with no floaties with you because you’re ready. I know your game for this. Before we do that, I want to set a little foundational framework on what you do as you build wealth for black women, people of color, helping them to find their wealth mindset, all the great work you do.If you believe there is always more, you won't settle for less. Click To Tweet
The first thing that I dug into when I got to your website was this phrase that apparently has blown you up on Clubhouse, “I deserve to be rich.” When I read that line, it did a few things to me. I literally said it out loud and there was a part of me that felt uncomfortable saying that out loud. I sat with it and went, “Why am I so uncomfortable saying that phrase?” I want your perspective on that. As we do sometimes, these become therapy sessions and I’m like, “I didn’t know I had that belief system holy crap.” Before we unpack the uncomfortableness of the power of saying that or the discomfort of saying that. How do you define rich? How do you define wealthy? What is your framework on that, Natalie? I feel like when we talk about wealth, riches, abundance, people can have wildly different answers. How do you define rich? How do you define abundance and wealth for your life?
Abundance is the antithesis of scarcity. Abundance is believing there is always more. If you believe that there’s always more, then you won’t settle for less. If you believe that there is a plethora of well-paying and fulfilling jobs, you won’t work a low paid crappy one. If you believe that there are attractive, handsome, intelligent, honest, monogamous, photographer men out there, then you won’t deal with lying cheaters. If you believe that there’s always more money coming, you won’t take problem clients or what I call dumb money. That’s abundance. It is believing that there is more, that I have options and I get to choose. I’m the author of this destiny and I get to decide how much I have. It’s having a never-ending basket of fries on Fridays. It’s never-ending apps. It’s, “I don’t like how these chicken wings taste. I’d rather have the potato skins,” and they bring them at no charge. It’s abundance.
Rich means I have a lot of money. It is a very superficial type of thing. Lottery winners are rich. Pro athletes with no financial literacy are rich. I like to use that word because it triggers people. It’s funny that it does because it’s so binary. It’s literally cut and dry. There are rich and poor. You can draw a line of distinction, whatever that line is, $1 million, $10 million or $100 million, whatever your definition is, but it’s flat out. It’s a very shallow and superficial type of wealth. Wealth to me encompasses richness, but it also encompasses wellness, physical health and also a lifestyle. It is the difference between going on a diet and changing into a holistic practice of yoga, healthy eating and sufficient sleep. That is the difference between rich and wealth.
Wealth is a lifestyle. It is a mindset and a belief system. Because you believe these things, you start to attract them. The next thing you know, you have the right clients. You have programs that draw people. You have more money. You’re getting more sleep at night. You have more sex with your spouse and you’re fulfilled. That is wealth. It is not just a dollar amount. Wealth is money you can’t outlive. Wealth is rest and not feeling weary. Wealth is not having that anxious feeling in your stomach when you have to go back to work because you love your work and your work loves you. Wealth is the goal but rich is what people think they want. That’s why it’s not “I deserve to be wealthy.” It’s “I deserve to be rich.” I get to challenge people on that hot button word. Rich is not what gets people. Deserve is what makes people uncomfortable in that sentence but I digress.
To me, wealth is the penultimate. It is at the ascension of the top of the mountain where you can go in life. It’s not just about money, but even the Bible says that money answers all things. It’s interesting to me how people will twist themselves into noble poverty, “I’m a good person because I don’t have a lot of money and I’m going to spend a lot of money.” I know a lot of mean poor people. I would never try to attach those things like I don’t attach goodness and wealth. People just like rich because they’ve convinced themselves that rich people are evil and thus the inverse must be true, that poor people are good and downtrodden. To become rich, you have somehow stepped on poor people. That is why people have a problem with rich, richness and riches because they are under the false belief that rich people have somehow trampled upon poor people to get there. Some of them have, but I have been slighted, wronged and mistreated by poor people far more often in my life than rich people because I know more poor people. They’re more numerous. It’s a mindset shift. The rich and wealth continuum is the difference between a keto diet fad and living a vegan plant-based diet, where you look like Nia Long in your 50s. It’s the Olsen twins versus Nia Long.
The analogies are so fun and spot on. I love the distinction that you made between wealth and riches, where the numbers in your bank account are not indicative of the vibrance, the health, the relationships, the connection with your family. One is a very singular thing and I love the distinctions you had where broadening it to wealth encompass all these things. It’s important because one of the things that Whitney and I talk a lot about in many different iterations is the more toxic side of the hustle culture in our world which is like, “Get the paper, get the paper.” You ignore your relationships, family, sleep, health and eating.
I love that you brought it full circle into a broader approach of, “You can have all this money but if you’re sick, you’re not sleeping and you’re disconnected from the people you love, you’re not going to enjoy that money.” That’s a huge distinction. I love that you press the red button on the word deserve because that is the word for me. When I read that phrase, it wasn’t rich. It was the word deserve. When I hit that and I looked at it for myself, I was like, “Deserve?” I started thinking to myself, “Does that mean that this is my birthright. This is my God-given opportunity to empower myself with riches.”
When I think about having a lot of money, it’s not so much the ego validation of looking at my bank statement going, “Look at all those zeros.” What does money represent in my life? The word I always go back to is freedom. If I have this money, I can donate it, I can pay for my friends’ film project, my friends who need emergency surgery that don’t have insurance, I can pay for them. I can buy my mom a house. I can go on a vacation. I can donate to nonprofits, whatever it is. For me, rich represent freedom and choice. The deserve thing was “Is this a birthright thing?” That it is the word and it’s a deep thing. I’m actually still reflecting on it. Does that mean that I believe that God, the universe, life however people’s belief systems favor certain people and not others? Is that part of my belief system I need to dismantle? God is keeping score like, “You’re going to be rich but you’re not?”
Claiming deserving to be rich almost seems to me that what you’re saying is there’s an even playing field and that you can claim it. Maybe there’s not an even playing field. Maybe you have to have determination and belief. Do you believe we are all on the same level of the playing field? Based on where we came up in terms of being in a poor family, rich family, race, color, religion or gender, is the playing field even or are we coming from different places? What’s your belief system on that?
I’ll start with a quick vignette. I’ll tell you about a little black boy who grew up in the Marcy Projects. He was born on December 4, 1969. His name is Shawn. He had two siblings, a single parent and a father who was absent. A mother who was going to school in the evenings and would be gone. She didn’t make enough to make ends meet. Him being one of the older children and doing what the children in the projects will do, he started selling drugs. One night, he was mugged at knifepoint and it scared him. He went home and told his mother what he had been doing. His mother said, “I don’t need you to die in the streets. I got this. I’m the adult. You just keep your head in your books. You go do something for yourself.” He said, “Okay.”
Hip-hop culture was prevalent in this period of time. It’s the ‘80s. He’s in the boroughs in the Bronx. It’s becoming a thing with the B-boy culture. He couldn’t dance. He decided “Maybe, I’ll be the emcee.” He released a mixed tape that was not well received. He went to record labels and was turned away by four different record labels. Eventually, he created his own label and signed an artist. That gentleman is Jay Z. He was able to propel himself into becoming a billionaire. A billion is 1,000 million, and a million is 1,000 thousand. There is no statistical reason. There is no logical rationale. There is no explanation when I look at the census data about black people, it is impossible that Shawn Carter accomplished what I just told you he accomplished. How did he do it? He trained his brain. He believed that he could get out of the projects.
He believed it first. He visualized. He saw himself walking into offices and walking out with a check. He saw himself being famous. He cultivated his craft. He spent hundreds of hours. I’m a poet. I can tell you firsthand, performing in front of strangers is nerve-racking. Me as a public speaker, I will admit I have not prepared one word of what I will tell you all in the next two hours. I’m literally that impromptu. Speaking, prose and poetry, I spent hours, I craft, I learned and I memorize because the cadence has to be just so. It’s a different type of performance. It’s imperative. If Jay Z had decided that selling crack was okay, he’d be dead by now because somebody would have stolen his crack and killed him.
If Jay Z had decided that the projects weren’t that bad, he would have mirrored a little project chick and had babies there. Jay Z is 51 years old. He’d have grandchildren in the projects by now if he was still alive. He decided he didn’t want to live in the projects. If Jay Z had decided that he had no marketable talent or skill that he was tall but not athletic, lanky, ugly as society likes to call him. They call him a camel. They talk about his lips. You’ve never heard about the attractiveness of Jay Z ever. That’s not what people talk about. As a matter of fact, they say he’s rich. The only reason he got Beyoncé was because of the money because he was an ugly man. That’s what society has put on Jay Z. He’s an unattractive man with money. The only reason they don’t call him flat-out ugly is because he’s black and that would look in poor taste.
Why is he so successful then? Why is it? If it wasn’t because he believed the statement, “I deserve to be rich,” then I don’t know what else it could be. I don’t have a better answer. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that there’s no racism because I’ve experienced it. I experienced it earlier. I’m not going to tell you that the playing field is level. My mother has two master’s degrees. I started off better than some white people. Arguably, a lot of them in the middle class. My father is a Vietnam vet who had a challenging life. He’s hospitalized and thinking back on how things have been for him has been tough for me. My mother believed, “My child deserves better, I deserve better. I’m going to leave this marriage so that my child can have a safe peaceful home.” What if she would have deserved differently or felt that way? How would I have turned out if had a different type of parent? A parent who believes that whoever you marry is who you’re stuck with, whether they’re good, bad or indifferent. If he got to sell drugs or run the streets and be an alcoholic or sell your child to the sex trade, so be it.Abundance is the opposite of scarcity. Click To Tweet
There are people who think that. Why is my mother so successful? She decided to be successful. Yes, I think we are all level short mental illness. We are all on a level playing field of being able to decide whether we want more or whether we’re content with what we have. Everyone’s going to have different hurdles to jump to get past the deserving. The mindset piece, that’s where people are trapped. That’s the whole crux of the issue. If you decide that you will make $50,000, it’s going to challenge your belief. You’re going to have to start thinking, “$50,000 is a lot of money. Natalie is nuts. I can’t just decide to make $50,000. Why did we invite this woman to the show? We are never getting another lead off of Clubhouse. What a crazy woman. I see why they got rid of affirmative action, we’ll have to try something else next week.” If you believe that, “No, she’s not crazy. Crazy or not we’re going to go for it. Crazy or not we’re going to do it. We’re not going to make an excuse, $50,000. What do we have that we could sell for $50,000 with the podcast?”
What’s the monetization on YouTube? I’m not Jason Derulo, that’s probably not going to be $50,000. Maybe we could teach a course on how to podcast? That’s it. Our podcast has this many views. People don’t know how to do it. They’re entrepreneurs and they love it. Maybe we could sell a $47 content on what kind of equipment to buy? What kind of tech gear? Maybe we could run a contest in our Facebook group where we give away a Yeti or something. Maybe we’ll do one on one coaching and we’ll charge like $10,000 each. Who’s going to pay $10,000? I don’t know, let’s get on Clubhouse. Natalie’s selling a lot of stuff, let’s try them out. Let’s host the room on how to make $50,000 a month podcasting.
You draw people in and then suddenly you have people DM-ing you to pay you which is what’s happening to me by the way. It’s not crazy because you then get on a sales call and say, “We’re doing a beta. We were going to charge you $10,000, but we’ll charge you $5,000.” Somebody says, “I’ll pay you $5,000 in full.” You see the Stripe notification and you’re like, “We made $5,000. We’re 10% there. We just need to do these nine more times.” Your brain is a solution machine. We keep ourselves in purgatory because all we talk about are problems but your brain wants a solution. If you’re hungry, eat, cook dinner or go out to a restaurant. Your brain starts coming up with solutions once you say, “I’m hungry.”
Say, “I deserve to be rich” and watch your brain start to come up with solutions for the problem. Tell your brain, “I have a problem. I have a poor relationship with money. I want more money.” I want to be able to take care of my dad who even though he served two tours in Vietnam is not worthy in this country of insurance that will get him a home health aide. When he gets tired or sleepy, if he falls asleep without his CPAP, if he forgets a dose of his Lasix, he’s back in the damn hospital. He gave his life to this country. He’s not worthy of a home health aide. Do you know how angry that makes me? Guess what? I have money. I’m going to fly to Arizona and I’m going to hire somebody. I’m going to pay him out of my pocket. While I’m there, I’m going to find somebody who can deliver food that’s low sodium for his heart condition. I’m going to fly back and I’m going to take care of my clients.
Tell me how you do that poor? You can’t. I don’t think everyone’s on a level playing field because I think some people are complacent. Some people are perfectly happy with where they are. I don’t think that we are as oppressed as we have been. My mother drank out of colored–only water fountains. My cousin, Yvette Matthews was the first black person at the University of Alabama. She desegregated a college. A blood relative of mine. I’m one generation away from swimming in colored only pools. Maybe my mother can say, “No, Natalie, there were things I absolutely could not do.” She doesn’t say that to me. She looks at me and says, “You can do anything.”
Even with the outpouring of different political beliefs in the swing of presidents that we have had, you must admit, when Obama won, there were cheers from all races of people. It did show that we had made progression in this country. We elected someone who didn’t look like the first 40 something people we have elected to this position and that is monumental. I’m not going to use my skin color as a crux and say, “I can’t do this because I’m black.” That gives my power away and that says other people have the power of what I get to do and I rebuke that. If I want to make $20,000 this month, then I’m going to do it. Does that mean that racist people will be my customers? Absolutely not. I believe racists are in a slim minority. They’re just vocal as hell. I don’t think that’s the majority of people. If I did, I wouldn’t leave my house.
Most people are good people. They see me as a wise, intelligent, sage and they respect the hell out of me, color be damned. I would be remiss to say racists are going to keep me poor and give away my power. No, I don’t think that everyone’s on a level playing field in their mind, but I think that if more people challenged themselves and said, “I’m going to hold myself to a higher standard. This is the last year I’m going to be below the poverty line. Whatever that looks like, if I have to work 2, 3 jobs, create a business or sell plasma. I’m going to make it happen.” It would happen more often, but you can’t win games you don’t play. A lot of us aren’t playing the game. We just aren’t in the game. Hopefully, that helps.
One of my big questions for you Natalie is, have you always been this way? You’re what I perceived to be confident, self-aware, passionate and knowledgeable. Clearly, your parents had a huge impact on you. What is the journey from being raised with such a strong mother and it sounds like a wonderful father as well? What was your path from there? Have you been studying money and business? Was that something that you pursued in high school? Did you go to college? Where is that journey for which you started to educate and grow from here? Was this a natural progression or did you have a turning point in which this part of you started to develop?
I love that you asked me this because I had to ask my best friend this question because I didn’t know. You don’t feel it when you’re in it. I’m in my own life and I’m not as aware of the changes as someone on the outside. I have always been this confident. I was a confident kindergartener. I had incessant affirmation. My mother read to me in utero. My grandfather called me a genius every day that he saw me until the last day that he lived. I always felt like I had a superior intellect. When I was young, it was very isolating. I was chubby, acned, crooked teeth, a teacher’s pet and a straight–A student. With a mom who was a school teacher, a grandfather who was a retired school teacher, and a great grandmother who was a retired school teacher, all in the same school district. Everyone knew my parents and grandparents. The teachers who had been taught by my grandfather and the students who had been suspended by my mother. I was entrenched in the school system. If your mother suspends your friends, they aren’t your friends anymore.
I was a tattletale. I wanted everyone to follow the rules. I liked the rules because when I follow the rules, I got an A. I didn’t realize at that age that you could fail and follow the rules because I didn’t. I succeeded when I followed the rules so I was a rule follower. I have always been into money and I was entrepreneurial as a child. My mother sold everything melaleuca, Tupperware, Amway, cars, cooked meals, jewelry, wreaths, gift baskets, chocolate turtles, that hodgepodge, there’s nothing. Life insurance, she still sells it. I won’t tell you my mother’s age but she was Black Panther in Oakland in the ‘70s. My mom was a Black Panther. She owned a bakery called Tough Cookie and the shirt was pink with a buff ass cookie like an Arnold Schwarzenegger cookie with big crazy biceps on it. Her slogan was, “Get the hell out of Oakland,” as the actual hell, like the hellions.
She taught me early, “Don’t be dependent on a man’s income and don’t be dependent on one job.” Always have another iron in the fire, whatever that looks like. Coming up, I made little jewelry, little spring bracelets and I sold them at school. My mom said, “You could sell more if you had a bigger audience and if you could get them in a store.” She took me down to the uniform store who was owned by a black man whose last name was also Campbell. In Mobile County in Alabama, everyone wears uniforms, all the children in public school wear uniforms. Lots of kids came through and I would weave these bracelets in the school colors and he let me sell them there for $1. He didn’t take any of the money and I come by once a week and collect them. I was probably in the second or third grade. That did not seem unusual or atypical to me. In hindsight, I realized that very few children are running successful profitable businesses at eight. When your mom is like Annie, everything seems normal.
I did go to college. I got a regular old vanilla business degree. I pivoted from finance because it seemed hard at the time. It was boring, corporate finance, formulas. I don’t know if I’ll ever use this business management. I get out into the world with my little shiny degree and realize nobody cares. Everybody thought business management was the same as business administration, which is a fallacy. Management is different. Management is the function of managing people. It is very similar to human resources. It deals with project management and logistics. It is very different from Business Administration. It’s hard to describe that to people who are in business.
I said, “I’ll go get an MBA,” I get an MBA and my MBA is in HR. I found out that you have to have experience. I couldn’t even get a $30,000 a year HR intern gig without years of HR experience. Tell me how you get the experience if you need the experience to get the experience? Here I am, all shiny with six figures of student loan debt, a $1,200 a month payment, and a new job at the bank, paying $34,000 a year. I think to myself, “I’m a schmuck,” but at least I finally got on at the bank. I’ve always wanted to work at a bank. This is big and exciting. It’s a large bank and then the scandal broke. Some people have been doing some unethical things that got us in the news for several years. We lost our CEO. Our new CEO went to Capitol Hill. They put restrictions on our company and how big it could grow. I thought to myself, “This is bad, this isn’t going to end well.” It’s almost like COVID. It keeps going and going and you start getting fearful that maybe this isn’t going to end.
I started thinking to myself, “I sure miss when I got to help people.” I used to work at what people call the bad branch, the poor branch and the ghetto branch. I had clients with negative checking accounts, bad credit in the 500s. They’d sit down with their little taped-up wallets and they tell me their stories of woe. I’d look at them and tell them, “It’s going to be okay. I got you.” I didn’t judge them. I didn’t ridicule them. I didn’t ask them ridiculous questions like, “Why is your checking account negative?” It’s demeaning when I can see the exact charge that brought it negatively, is it not? I started to feel I was helping people and then they moved me to an affluent branch. They gave me a promotion. It was significant. It was $15,000 a year which percentage-wise is huge.
I was able to comfortably make my student loan payment. I was still working a second job. Frankly, I didn’t even have to anymore. I was doing good until I realized I was the only black person at the branch. I had to borrow the white privilege of other coworkers to get stuff done like, “Let me bring this gentleman in the office in my meeting so you can see that we’re adjacent.” They wouldn’t do the deal with just me. They would need some comfort that there was like a white man around supervising. I realized, “Maybe finance isn’t my thing so what am I going to do? I’m going to create a free Facebook group. Facebook is going to fix all my problems. I have 3,000 Facebook friends. I’ve been putting tips about credit and financial literacy for years, that’ll cheer me up. I’m going to create a group. That’s what I’m going to do,” and I did.
I started posting these tips and I started getting all these messages, “Natalie, you helped me save on my car insurance. Natalie, you helped me get life insurance. Natalie, you told me that I could make more money so I applied for a better job. When my boss found out about it, he offered me a $2-an-hour raise to stay.” I’m like, “Do you know that $2 an hour, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year is $4,160?” Do you know that one of my free posts in my group net somebody $4,160 a year? It’s because she asked. She wasn’t any better. She didn’t have to move. She didn’t have to change who she was, nothing.
I said, “This is what I miss.” I’m missing being able to help the underdog and change the trajectory of people’s lives. The truth is if you have $2 million in your brokerage account, nothing I say one way or the other is going to change the trajectory of your life. If I convince you to bring money over from Charles Schwab and you’re wealthy, you’re going to die wealthy, you’re already wealthy and I get it. That’s not shooting off on wealthy people. I want to elevate people to wealth, not shuffle wealthy people’s wealth around. That doesn’t feel as impactful. I guess you could say, I’ve been on this journey a long time. I just don’t think I knew I was on this journey a long time. It’s something that I have been doing intrinsically for so many years. For me, it’s normal.
If you friend me on Facebook, you can go back 7 or 8 years and find credit tips and budget tips. That’s what people come to know me for. They friend me for that reason but I maxed out my friends. I said, “Let me create the group so I can impact more people.” Everything happens for a reason, I only started public speaking because of the bank. I was not a public speaker. I had nothing to speak about. I worked in a call center for Verizon selling iPhones, quite poorly, I might add. I am tech illiterate, Zoom is difficult for me. I am the worst, least technically literate Millennial ever. I’m an embarrassment to people born in the 1980s. I’m the absolute worst. I’m an 80-year-old woman on a computer and it drives Dave nuts.
I think you just have to be aware but even if you aren’t aware, just be consistent. I haven’t known I was helping people all this time but by doing what I’ve been doing consistently for so long, I have been helping people all this time. Now that I’m going to strike out on my own, I’ve got hundreds of testimonials that I didn’t have to pay people for. I didn’t have to beg people for. I didn’t have to work hard. When you’re doing your purpose in life, what God puts you here to do, it’s not work. It would be work for me to not teach financial literacy. It would be painful for me. I would leave social media altogether if you told me that I could no longer post financial tips to help people. That would be hard for me. The internet would lose its usefulness. If that is what someone would have told me.When you're doing your purpose in life, it's not work. Click To Tweet
There are two things in my mind I want to dig into and they’re totally different. I’m going to leave with the first one. You talk about financial literacy and it’s something that not just behind the scenes but on the show. Whitney and I have talked a lot about our personal approaches to paying down debt, our approaches to building more revenue streams individually and for our business, Wellevatr, and the podcast. First of all, it’s something that I reflect on. Growing up in school, I was not taught any of these things. It wasn’t something that was taught in terms of the implications of compound interest or compound debt or any of those things.
Being in school, my formal education was not hip to the intricacies of debt, compound interest, investing, leveraging real estate. This was all stuff as an adult, I was like, “This is a whole world I had no exposure to.” The interesting thing is Whitney and I have mutual friends that are pro athletes. One in particular who comes to mind is John Salley. He played for the Detroit Pistons, my hometown, Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers. He told me a lot of stories about guys who he would play basketball with, who would come into the league and they would make millions and millions of dollars. The next thing you know, they’re buying all these houses and buying Ferraris and Mercedes for themselves and their family. They get out of the league in 4 or 5 years and they’re completely broke.
They had tens of millions of dollars but because they didn’t have that financial literacy. You hear stories about these cats that are homeless. He was telling me a story about there was this guy named Fennis Dembo who was a rookie on the Detroit Pistons championship team. I’m a huge basketball fan by the way. I randomly asked him about Fennis. I was like, “John, did you keep in touch with Fennis? What’s up with him?” He’s like, “He had to pawn one of his championship rings and last time I talked to him, he was working at a carwash.” This is a dude who won a championship with the Detroit Pistons who was paid millions and millions of dollars.
My whole point is I love the fact that you’re not just talking about how to gain more riches and wealth. You’re also talking about becoming literate in maintaining and growing wealth and that’s absolutely crucial. Because so many people get rich and they lose the whole damn thing. We don’t hear one or two things. That’s a cautionary tale that comes up over and over again in our society. Do you find that the people who are following you on social and the clients you work with started from ground zero? In terms of like me, I was never told about compound interest, debt management and real estate investing? Does that comprise the majority of people? Are you starting from an elementary level in teaching financial literacy?
I’m in two buckets. My free Facebook group is the elementary. It is where you go if you’ve never had a budget. You don’t know what a high yield savings account. You don’t know what annual percentage yield means or why it’s important. You don’t know what it means when I say the feds raised or lowered rates. You don’t have a conventional bank account maybe you use prepay. You’ve never filed your own taxes or you’re one of those people who live off that tax refund. You look forward to it all year because it’s the only time of year you’ve got enough money to actually get something done.
I would say those are the people that are normally in my group. I don’t monetize my group in any way, I don’t solicit the people in my group. I don’t want anything from them. It’s there for informational purposes, but that’s not who I coach. What I have found interesting is that what I thought I would coach people on is not the help they need. You can’t budget your way out of poverty. If you have a business that’s making $2,000 a month and you lose your job, what is the most useful thing to you? Me teaching you how to budget? Me opening you savings account with Ally? Me talking to you about the different types of IRAs that are open to you as a self-employed individual or me showing you where you need to 10X that $2,000 a month?
I usually step in and say, “Why aren’t you making more money?” It’s usually a limiting belief. People have a ceiling of how much money they allow themselves to have. It’s back to that deserve thing. Maybe they think $100,000 is a lot of money, that’s a good living, and that’s a good amount, then that’s usually where they will cap themselves. That person will have $7,000 and $8,000 months and never elevate above that. They can’t figure out why they plateau? It’s because you’ve told yourself that $100,000 is enough. You’re not going to make more than that. You can’t. Your brain is not going to let you move past that upper limit that you set for your own self. It’s worse than the glass ceilings. It’s like a concrete ceiling. My job is to raise people’s concrete ceiling or jackhammer through their concrete ceiling.
You can make more money and by making more money, it opens up the opportunities to fully fund your self–IRA. Open up a traditional or Roth, have six months of living expenses saved, liquid, have CDs or a 529 plan for all of your children. Be able to afford a very large life insurance policy that creates an immediate tax-free estate for whoever outlives you. If I got to talk to you about how you going to make $2,000 a month, it’s going to be a very short tale. I don’t think it would be enough to constitute coaching. It’s more like a scolding. It’s more like a brief reprieve. It’s like a skit, “Once upon a time, there was a poor little business owner who thought that she needed a coach. She actually needed to make more money. I sent her revenue-generating activities to have a wonderful life. Bye-bye now and they all lived happily ever after.”
I have found, it starts from earning more. That’s the hurdle. Budgeting is easy. Budgeting is just telling your dollars where to go. Budgeting gets a bad rep. Budgeting is every dollar has a job. Some of Natalie’s dollars keep her fed, keep her house, pay for her Lexus, bought clothes, keep her entertained and paid for her life insurance. They know what to do. They have jobs and they’re happy because they have jobs. They’re like little Sponge Bob’s. They are ready to abolish my goals. They love accomplishing. They’re real people. My dollars are real people. Maybe your dollars are inanimate objects. It’s very sad for your dollars.
My dollars do what I tell them to do. They are soldiers and they march into battle unabashedly. They are ants. Have you ever stopped trying to stop a damn ant? That thing is ferocious. Ants lift twenty times their body weight. They walk in a straight line and you got to kill an ant to stop them. Ants are little terminators and their exoskeleton is tough. I have a bank account full of ants and they swarm my goals. That’s what you got to get. When you don’t budget, you cheat yourself because now you got dollars that don’t know what to do.
If you’ve ever been in a job and had a crappy boss that wasn’t great with direction, you know what I’m talking about. If they don’t tell you what to do all day, you don’t get much done. It doesn’t matter how good an employee you are. If you have a boss that does not define your role or give you any type of task or direction, it is impossible for you to be a good employee. You can’t because you don’t know what to do so you just kill time. That’s what dollars do. They runoff. They are like little horny teenagers. They sneak out the window. They stay late at prom. They’re nuts.
These dollars are sneaky. They buy candles in Bath & Body Works. They buy ugly Louis Vuitton purses. You got to watch these dollars. These dollars are like rogue agents until you give them defined roles and then they’re your best friend. They’re the employee of the year. They’re magnum opus. They’re the best ever but only when you give them a directive. I would say quite a few of my clients are doing well. My best performing was making $40,000 a month before she met me. We’re going to scale that to $83,000 so that I can say I have a client who I scaled to a million because then the price on that only goes up. My stock is going up once I say I turned the 28-year-old black woman into a seven-figure company in a year.
In the meantime, I work with anybody. It doesn’t have to be women, just people in service-based industries or who have a product-based industry but want to pivot into service-based industries. They want a digital product. They want to workshop. They want to course. They realize that their trading time for dollars. Their time is finite. They want to scale. It’s hard to make more than $20,000 a month without some type of digital offer or group offer. If you’re a coach, even if you’re charging $5,000, how do you coach twenty people a month? How do you scale that? If I sign up four people this month, four people are manageable. What if I signed up four people next month? That’s what I got to do to make the same $20,000 again. I’ve got eight people and that’s a little rough. What if I sign up four more people that third month? Now I’m coaching twelve people. What if it’s a six-month program. You’re going to bottleneck.
Around a month 3, 4, 5, you’re going to get to a point where you can’t take on another client. It’s not that you can’t get clients to agree. You don’t have the bandwidth to serve them. You got to coach them, remember them, learn them, talk to them, send them recaps, replay action steps, be at their beck and call on Voxer. Even if you set boundaries, you have to remember these people. You have to take copious notes. You have to have a Google Doc. It is not as easy. People think, “All this is luxurious, Natalie, you coach people.” Are you kidding me? That’s a job.
I like helping people. I help winners win big and that’s not to say that people starting off aren’t winners. It’s undetermined because I don’t have data. I need data to be able to help you. I need you to tell me how much you charge. I need you to tell me how much you earn. I need you to tell me how you make your money. How do you get your clients? How are you set up? Our first coaching call is foundations. Do you have a business license in your state, city or county? Do you have to remit sales tax? Do you know how? Are you paying your estimated quarterly taxes? What are you doing for bookkeeping? What are you doing for an accountant? What are you doing legally? Do you have an EIN number? Do you have a business bank account?
Many people missed out on PPP money, not because their businesses weren’t legit but because they were running them out of personal bank accounts. The big bank said, “No, we will not put PPP money in a personal account.” They didn’t care that they were running these personal bank accounts for ten years until the government released all that money. Black and brown people and women were hurt disproportionately as usual because a white man is more likely to have that business plan and formation upfront when he starts his firm. Whereas people who are thrust suddenly into entrepreneurship, typically women or people who’ve lost their job. It’s more likely to be people like me, the people like Jason, statistically. Maybe we didn’t know to meet with a consultant. Maybe we didn’t even know there were small business consultants. Maybe we didn’t think we could afford it. Maybe we actually can’t.You can't budget your way out of poverty. Click To Tweet
There’s a reason why these things happen. I just want to be the impetus. I like to start with the foundation then we tackle the mindset. What is your upper limit belief? What is the most money you think you deserve to earn and why? I’ve had people go and I asked them that question. I have a questionnaire and one of them is when I say the words, “I deserve to be rich,” how does that make you feel? I force it. It’s a required question. I make them answer that. I’ve never gotten a positive answer. It‘s usually ambivalent, “I don’t know about deserve” or “I don’t know how I feel about it.”
I had one person tell me flat out, “No, I don’t deserve it.” Never have I got an, “Absolutely, sure do.” Never, not once. It’s just me. I’m the only person out here who feels like that. Here’s my argument. If not you then who? If not you, then who does deserve to be rich? We have a negative connotation about the rich. If you feel as though you’re a good person, an honest entrepreneur and you deliver what you sell. You sell cupcakes, they’re delicious. You do hair, the hair is beautiful. You care about the health and integrity of their hair shaft. You rebuild the keratin. You frame their face. You look at the shape of their eyes and you make a masterpiece. You’re an excellent stylist.
If you don’t deserve the money, who does? Sit with that for a minute. “I don’t think anyone deserves to be rich.” “You think everyone should be poor?” “No, I don’t think everyone should be poor.” “Which is it? I can’t be rich, I can’t be poor. I should be middle class? Define middle class. How much money is enough money?” In California, $100,000 in certain parts is nothing but here, you can buy a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home, brick, two-story with a pool for $200,000. Your mortgage payment is $1,400 a month for that. You can make $6,000 a month and be living on top of the world.
I forced people to come to terms with the fact that all of these things are made up. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. It’s just a preconceived notion. It’s how they were raised and how they were brought up or how their parents were. None of it is true. While I understand that being rich doesn’t solve all your problems, being poor solves nothing. Nothing has been accomplished from not having the resources to pay for health care, not having the resources to live in a safe home, not being able to send your children to the best school. There’s no merit in that. I don’t know why people would fight for that. It’s interesting how people champion poverty.
They’re like, “Those rich people are bad.” At least their needs are met. I’m going to call a spade a spade. I will rather be a rich unhappy person than a poor unhappy person. If I had to choose to be unhappy one way or the other and morality has nothing to do with it. I’m a Christian and I treat people well, hard stop. I’m not going to steal, I’m not going to lie and I’m not going to abuse you, no matter what. The dollar amount in my bank account is not going to change who I am. If it did, I was never the good person I claim. I just didn’t have the resources to be a crappy person. That’s all that is. I just wasn’t able to be mean and rude because I didn’t have any leverage. As soon as I got the leverage, I was awful like I was me the whole time. I was nice because I needed you. I was a user and that’s what happens.
Money doesn’t change people into bad people. They were bad people. They just had to masquerade as nice guys. Do you ever meet somebody who needed a place to stay and they wanted a place to crash? They’re really nice until you let them move in and then they show their real character. They don’t cook, they don’t clean, they don’t really like you, and they call you names. This doesn’t happen to me because my home is off-limits but I’ve seen it happen. People are nice and they get what they want. That doesn’t mean that they changed. It means that they put on a force, to begin with. Sometimes we need to accept that we got duped and stop blaming the money. The money didn’t make them bad people.
Money doesn’t have that power. My money does because my money’s like fancy. In real life, the money in your bank account. It doesn’t have the power to change you as a person. It wishes it did. Money wishes it has. It’s similar to politicians that we’ve had lately. They wish they did everything the press gave them credit for. No, absolutely not. Money does what you tell it to do not the other way around. Money didn’t tell you to be an awful person. You were an awful person and no one caught it. I push on that deserve and I asked them, “If not you then who? You’re a good Christian decent person. If you don’t deserve it who does? The evil people? Does Beyoncé deserve it? Why? Because she works hard. You don’t work hard? She’s beautiful. Aren’t you are beautiful?” “That’s not what I’m saying.”
What are you saying? Why does Beyoncé deserve to be rich and you don’t? Because if you find a Beyoncé supporter, they ride hard for B. That beehive and dangerous. They’re nuts. If you can’t tell I’m a super Jay Z fan. Nothing Jay Z is more famous than Beyoncé. When people call Jay Z, Beyoncé’s husband, my brain literally sets a flame. He’s fifteen years older and he was rich when she was a child. How on earth? I sound like I’m a fan of patriarchy so I calm down. She is Beyoncé’s husband. That’s actually not untrue. Let me chill. You don’t hear people argue that Beyoncé doesn’t deserve to be rich. Most people are appreciative of her work ethic. They like her. They love her and they’re a fan. If they could take money from her, they wouldn’t. Why is that? What does Beyoncé have that we don’t have? That’s where I usually lead it. If people tell me that they don’t deserve it, who does deserve it? Does Beyoncé deserve it? Does Warren Buffett deserve it? Does Bernie Sanders deserve it? He’s a millionaire. Who does? They do, but what do they have that you don’t have? They worked hard. Why don’t you work harder?
It sounds like you’re saying, “I don’t feel as though I have put in the work to be rich.” Why don’t we change that? Why don’t we put in the work if that’s what you’re saying? For some people, that is how they feel. They feel they’re not established enough. They are not old enough. They aren’t wise enough and they don’t know enough. Maybe there’s some validity there. Let the world limit you. Let the world tell you what you can’t do and fight that. Why limit yourself? That seems odd. I’m going to beat myself up and I’m going to pump myself up. I can do everything. The world’s going to come at you with all kinds of crazy stuff about what you can’t do. Why would you push your own self down? Isn’t there enough criticism and critique and evil in the world already? Why would you jump on the negative bandwagon? It’s just weird. People are weird sometimes.
I’m thinking back to when I first heard you speak on Clubhouse, which I have on record because I messaged you while you were speaking. It was on January 26th, 2021. I was probably on Clubhouse for 3 to 4 weeks. You had a room called Charging Your Worth. I was drawn to that. I loved what you were saying about money and business. I wish that I had a record of it because I remember there was one sentence you said in particular and I was blown away by it. One thing that you said that you were going to send to anyone who was listening to you was this ￼Instagram post and the title of it is How to Say, “Sorry, I’m Not Doing That For Free.” This is what resonated with me and what drew me to thinking about how hard it’s been for me to figure out my worth. Worth ties into this conversation around what I deserve.
As you’re speaking, I’m sitting here reflecting and I wonder where I fall on this spectrum. If you had that questionnaire and I was filling it out. If we hadn’t had this conversation, I’m curious what I would write. It’s hard to say now because of everything that you shared. I probably do have some struggles around worth and what I deserve, especially because I have said yes to plenty of things for free and especially because I have a hard time figuring out my rates as a coach, a consultant, all the different work that I do. I do some influencer marketing. Sometimes Jason and I have sponsors in this show. I bring in income from a lot of different sources. One of the hardest things for me is figuring out how much I should charge. I get incredibly uncomfortable setting a rate. I get uncomfortable asking for a rate. I immediately start to think, “This person is going to think I’m charging too much. Maybe I should bring it down a little bit so that they’ll say yes.”
I also have a tendency, which I’m working on right now, to not do things for free. I found that it’s a big undoing. It’s an unraveling. As you were talking about your history with money, Natalie, you fall into a minority of people who have that mental privilege of being raised. The emotional experiences you had are rare. I don’t hear many people sharing what you have with your parents. That’s a remarkable thing. It’s remarkable that you have the purpose of helping people with these things. I’m fascinated by the psychology of money and the mindset of money as you’ve been talking about. What does that lead us?
As a woman, there’s that side of it where women have often struggled to feel worthy of finances. Statistically, women get paid less than men. There’s ageism and racism. There’s every-ism you can imagine for somebody being discriminated against. A lot of people feel like, “Let me do this for the opportunity. Let me build up my experience. How do I get these big jobs?” Looking at these tips that you have, I’d love to summarize a few of them and then hear some of the things that you’ve probably learned a lot at Clubhouse since we met a few months ago.
Number one is you can say, “Thank you for thinking of me. That sounds like a great fit. Can I check whether this is a paid opportunity?” I love having that language, first of all. That’s such a gift that you give, Natalie. I wouldn’t have even thought to phrase something that way. When I read that, I feel empowered. I feel like, “That makes sense to me. I can send this.” It still makes me a little nervous and uncomfortable to ask sometimes. To your point, Natalie, you often don’t get something unless you ask for it. A lot of people are uncomfortable asking.
Number two, “This sounds like such an interesting project. Here’s the link to the current services I offer. I think blank would be the best fit. Here’s a copy of my media kit, which includes my rate card.” On another side note, I struggle to put together media kits and rate cards. I second-guess everything. I’m trying to work on that. It’s been tough for me. Number three, “Thank you so much for considering me for this. Unfortunately, I’m unable to take on any unpaid projects at the moment. If that changes in the future, I’d love to get back in touch.” I love that one. That’s me right now. I cannot take on unpaid projects. We’re reading that out loud, Natalie. I’m like, “I’m going to use that soon.”
Number four, “Thanks so much for your inquiry. Out of respect for my paying clients, I’m able to give detailed advice via DM. Here’s where you can book a consultation. I have a wealth of free resources here.” Honestly, reading that list, Natalie, I feel empowered. I want to thank you for that. Revisiting it months later, it’s like, “Wow.” First of all, is that your original post? Is that something that you made? Are those all your words? I imagine it is because it doesn’t have any watermark or anything. I would love to hear any perspective you have over this time on Clubhouse.If not you, then who does deserve to be rich? Click To Tweet
I imagine there are so many people like myself who have gone into your rooms and felt moved and shared their stories. I imagine it’s been a big data mine where you’re learning so much about people’s psychology around money and what they’re challenged with. I must be in the majority. I’d love to hear if I’m wrong about that. Are the majority of people like me where we’re struggling with finding our worth and saying no or positioning ourselves properly? What are you finding people’s states of mind?
You are normal. You are in the majority, 98% textbook.
Isn’t that shocking that 98% of people are having these struggles? My question is why? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with us. I don’t want to make our mindset worse by putting shame on it. My big curiosity is how do we get here and how do we move through it? You are the best person to ask this question.
I wouldn’t say 98% of people, but 98% of women, for sure. One that I’m going to say the reason for this is because women are typecast as nurturers. We are trained from childhood to help people. They’ve done experiments with small children. If you have two boys and they’re playing on the monkey bars and one of them falls, the child who did not fall is more likely to say, “Get up and get back up here,” than he is to say, “I’ll climb down and help you up.” If you get a boy and a girl and the girl falls, the boy is more likely to say, “Are you okay? Climb back up here so we can keep playing.” If the boy falls, the girl is most likely to climb down and help the boy who fell.
If it’s two girls, the girl will usually sympathize with the girl who fell. Not only will she climb down to help but she will mimic the behavior of the one who fell. If she’s crying, the sympathetic one who came down will cry as well. We’re training our children early, young, 5, 6, 7 years old that as a girl, they are expected to tend, care, watch out and nurture people. Even people they aren’t are related to, friends, neighbors, colleagues, a woman walking down the street. If you’re pushing your cart in the grocery store and you see something fall out of a woman’s purse in front of you, what are you going to do? “Ma’am, you dropped this here. I didn’t want you to lose it.” It could be a penny. That’s what society tells women that we are tasked to do. We are forced. We must.
This is what encompasses your femininity, helpfulness. Even the Bible talks about it, being a helpmate for man, helpfulness. For some reason, women think help is free. Even I had never been able to figure out that correlation, I’ll be honest with you. The help thing, I get it. I help Dave every day. I cater to my man. I don’t work for free. That’s a strange one. I’ll admit, I haven’t gotten down into the psychology of working for free. I’m still working on it. I’m formulating some things. I will say this much, we ought to outsource things we’re not good at. You’ve been struggling with this pricing, you and thousands of women. Hire someone to set the prices for you. It’s simple. It seems crazy.
Me and tech support, I don’t build my websites. I don’t handle my email. The only social media I do is my DMs and that’s because I send a lot of voice messages to encourage people because my voice is my gift. I will never outsource my DMs. I don’t care if it’s 1,000 DMs a day. I answer my DMs. That is what I do because no one’s going to sound like me. I like being in real-time. I love being able to give people feedback and keep them going one more day. One more day of doing your gift might be the difference between you quitting and you not quitting. I don’t want to outsource that. Everything else, outsource it. Pay somebody.
We get hung up on, “How much should I charge?” It’s personal. You know how much work it takes to run a podcast. I don’t. You would be much more equipped to tell me how much these costs. You have time. You have all this expensive equipment. You have your opportunity cost. You could be cooking dinner. You could be having a leisurely stroll. It’s still daytime in California. You’ve lost something by being here with me. There’s a cost. You know better than I do what that cost means to you. It’s not that we don’t know how much to charge. It’s that we don’t feel comfortable saying the number because we equate sales to bad. Being a salesperson is bad. Being pushy is bad. People don’t want to be sold and that’s a lie. People love to be sold. They want it. They expect it. They’re disappointed when you don’t do it.
Whitney, you have two beautiful pieces of artwork. When you saw that artwork, you thought, “That is cool. I wonder if I could buy that. I wonder how much it costs.” If the owner would have come out and said, “That is not for sale?” How would you have felt? Are you telling me you would have felt good that you couldn’t buy that cool piece of art? You would have been relieved that you couldn’t buy the art. Would you have been mad? No. You wanted to buy it. You gave him money. You were happy about it and you got home and you hung it proudly on your wall where it still stands. You have no remorse about it. You wanted to buy it.
That whole when you sell people something, you’re hurting them, harming them, taking their hard-earned money, being mean, being guilty, you’re being greedy, God has blessed you so much that you don’t even need the money, what is that? All of that is false. It’s completely untrue. Our country has a negative savings rate. Let me put that in English. In America, adults spend more money than they have by the use of credit. Let me try that again. If a person earns $100,000 a year, they’re spending $105,000. You’re going to tell me that sales are bad and that people don’t want to buy things. Why is our savings rate so low if people don’t buy things? I’m thinking about facts here.
The fact is people want to hire you. People like success. People like the experience of dealing with a professional. People enjoy spending money. It gives them a dopamine hit and an adrenaline rush. They’ve done CAT scans of people spending money. It’s equivalent to sex. For some people, it’s equivalent to sugar and drugs. That same money you’re afraid to ask for, they’re giving it to somebody else. It’s not that people don’t like sales. It’s not that people aren’t buying stuff. It’s not that people aren’t happy about it. You just aren’t getting your fair share of it. That’s my argument with all the women who say that they’re afraid to charge more money.Money doesn't change people into bad people; they were just masquerading and nice. Click To Tweet
Whitney, if I told you that I can do a competitive pricing analysis, give me two hours and I will assess all of your streams of income and your business model. I will put it up against similarly situated peers. I will do market research on your target audience. I will charge you $5,000, but then I will show you where you could increase profitability in your company by $200,000. Would you pay for it? I’d pay $5,000 at a chance at $200,000. I’d pay $5,000 even if it only nets me $10,000. I still won. As long as I get my $5,000 back, I’m happy.
The problem is that people don’t want to invest because of that fear. That negative feeling about taking money from people, we also have a fear of paying people. We are afraid to invest. It’s twofold. When I come in and say, “You can pay me and I can help you make more money.” The fear is, “I don’t know if I can make more money. I don’t know if I deserve more money. No one’s going to pay me more money, Natalie. No one’s going to pay these high prices that you’re talking about.” How do some coaches charge $50,000 a year for coaching? How do they stay in business if no one’s paying them? Explain. There are $50,000 coaches. There are $100,000 masterminds. They exist. Someone paid for it. If you don’t ask, how do you get to it?
If I tell you, “Whitney, I heard you on Clubhouse and you talked about how pricing was difficult for you. I would like to offer you a free discovery call. I normally charge a small fee because people are tire kickers. For you, I like you. You vetted me. I vet you. Let’s hop on a call.” We hop on a call and you start telling me about Jason and how long you’ve been running this podcast and how well it’s going. I’ll say, “I can help you. I have good news for you because I have some availability for the week of May 10th, 2021. I know you’re thinking that’s a few weeks out but that’s going to give you some time to do some homework. I can hone in. It’s a six-week program and it calls blank and it does blank. It’s X amount.” I’m confident as shit that it’s X amount.
You’re going to think, “This girl is on it. This girl is on top. I thought she was sharp on Clubhouse. I can tell she has an MBA. If anybody could fix my problem, it’s Natalie. Her confidence makes me confident in her abilities. I don’t see how a person who talks this talk could not be the real deal. I’m going to take a chance. I’m going to pay it and I’m going to pay it in full. I’m going to step out on faith.” That’s what happens. When you are not confident, when you stutter with the number, when you say, “I’ll get back to you.” You don’t let people off the phone on a sales call without a number. It’s a sales call. That’s like going to a restaurant and they let you leave without feeding you. It’s cruel.
Think about the person who asked you for that media kit. Think about the person who asked you for that press kit. Think about the person who asked you for an invoice. Why would I ask if I wasn’t going to pay you? I want to pay you. For everybody reading, if I can dig those few things into your psyche, people like to buy. People enjoy the process of spending money. That’s why they earn it. People go to work to be able to afford vacations, cars, shoes, luxury homes, eyeglasses and artwork. That’s why they go to work at jobs they hate so they can spend all the money on crap. That’s why they got to work.
The idea that you’re harming them somehow by solving their problems and asking for money in exchange is ludicrous. They want to give it to you. They just don’t know they want to give it to you yet because you haven’t told them how awesome you are. You just have to express it. That’s it. You’re like the artist that hasn’t painted it yet. You’re the artist in front of the blank canvas. There are people who want the art and you got to paint the art. I want you to think, one, you could outsource this. That’s for anybody reading. If something is a pain point in your business for more than a couple of months, it’s a choice. That’s a decision. That’s not a pain point anymore. You’ve decided that you’re going to make do and that’s probably not how you become a millionaire.
Two, we have to get around this help for free. Free is problematic. Free harms people. If you are a single mom and you are poor and I walked up to you unsolicited and say, “I’m a coach and I think that every woman should have a small business. I’m going to coach you for free.” What have I done? I’ve demoralized you. I’ve typecast you. I’ve stereotyped you. I’ve shown you a sympathy you didn’t ask for. I’ve told you that I don’t believe you can pay for my services. I don’t think you have any resources. You need my help and I’m going to do it for free. That may feel altruistic on your side, philanthropic even. How does the person receiving it feel? How would your target market like to know that you think they’re too broke to afford your service at full price? That’s what you’re saying.
When you say, “I know my service is worth $10,000 but I’m afraid to sell it at $10,000 because people won’t pay $10,000.” Why won’t they pay it? Did they have it and won’t give it to you? That sounds more like positioning or a marketing problem than a sales problem. Are you saying they don’t have it and that’s why they won’t give it to you? Also, they’re poor. They can’t afford your services. These are bad tropes to fall into. Let people decide what they can afford. That’s not your job to make a decision about other people’s pockets. People don’t transform for free.
Everyone who will be listening to me has a folder of freebies. They have a folder in their email of free content they signed up for with some throwaway email addresses of five tips to fitness, two tips to pay for trips to Europe with credit card points. It runs the gamut. We got thousands of them. When do you read them? When do you implement them? When people give you books for free, do you read them? Your brain doesn’t value something you didn’t put a commitment towards. You don’t have any skin in the game when people give you free. It doesn’t resonate. Your mind doesn’t sense the significance. If your brain doesn’t feel it significant, it won’t act on it.
This means when you coach people for free, they don’t treat you as an authority. They don’t listen to your coaching and they don’t do what you told them to do. If they paid you $10,000, I bet they would listen. You rob people of a transformation when you charge them too little and you do things for free. You shortchange them and you burn yourself out. You create a business that makes you resentful. I would be resentful of a roster full of clients who paid me 25% of my market rate. I’d be mad at myself for doing it. I’m trademarking the phrase, “Don’t price yourself into poverty.” It was my first workshop. It was impactful. It will become a book and a keynote speech. It’s strong because people think their clients are the reason they’re broke. Ask a person who’s not making enough money in their business and they will somehow come back to blaming the customer, “I have customers who can’t pay. I have outstanding invoices. I don’t know enough people. I haven’t met them.” It’s the people, world and society. It’s not them.
Very few people have come down to terms with the fact that they aren’t charging enough money. Their business idea isn’t viable. They aren’t doing it at a rate that’s sustainable to pay all their bills and build a legacy. Who has the privilege of setting prices in your business? You do. If the prices are too low, you did it. Hire someone in finance who can do a competitive analysis and price your stuff. Get you an accountant that’s a strong tax strategist. Hone in on your goals. Talk to your husband. Meet with a financial advisor. Do something. Give a number that you need to make, break it into twelve and ask yourself, “What can I do to make that amount?” It then becomes clear that the answer is, “Charge for my expertise.” It’s glaringly clear when you do it that way.
I would say stay away from free and don’t twist in the wind about it. Sometimes you have to make an investment. I have invested a scary amount of money in business coaching. Coaches have coaches. I invested pre–revenue. I put money in when I had nothing at all but it panned out for me. You have to lean into your strength and my strength is being persuasive in speech. If that’s not your gift, that’s okay. You have to figure out what it is and lean into it. My fiancé is one of the quietest people I have ever met but he takes the most breathtaking and stunning photographs that I have ever seen. I don’t say that because I’m biased. It doesn’t matter if he’s a powerful orator. He’s an expert in his craft. When he talks to people on shoots, they get comfortable. He puts them at ease and they take a natural, beautiful photograph. That’s a skill. If he can sell that skill, he’s golden. You got to figure out what your skill is and sell it. Hopefully, that helps.
Natalie, as we get closer to the finish line, I do have a question about identity and our sense of self-related to how much we earn. I want to use this as an example from the exploration of my mentality around hustling, making more money year after year, and all those things. A few years ago, I had a TV series on the Cooking Channel. I had my first cookbook came out. I was doing a lot of stuff and I was making the most money that I had ever made in my entire life. I had a couple of years where I was like, “Damn.” I remember feeling into my sense of who I was based on how much I was earning.
This is a sweeping generalization. For the most part, women or people who identify as female, their worth in our culture is generally based on their appearance and their sexual attractiveness on a baseline. Men or people who identify as masculine, generally, based on society’s values, are based on their ability to generate material wealth, “How much do you make?” It’s what you’re saying about Jay Z, the judgment about Jay Z, “Beyonce wouldn’t be with me if I wasn’t that rich.” I’ve experienced my version of that where I have dated certain people that were evaluating my worth as a person and a man based on my net worth.
I have had to do a lot of work around unraveling my sense of worth as a person and a man based on those numbers in my account saying that. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to earn more but I’m careful not to judge how I perceive my sense of who I am and the depth of my value in this world based on those numbers in the account. It’s a slippery slope for a lot of people in the sense that if I make more money, I’ll feel better about myself. The danger is if some crap goes down or that money goes away, their sense of who they are is too attached to it.
Natalie, on maybe a psychological and a spiritual level, my question is how do we engage in this aim of generating more wealth and riches in our life so we have the freedom to do the things we want to do? It’s like you supporting your dad and paying for his medical expenses and like me supporting my mom as she ages. Whatever it is we want to do but not conflate the pursuit of wealth with the sense that we are a better person as a result of it. Can you break that down and maybe your psychological and spiritual framework around that?
I agree with your sweeping generalizations. They’re almost fact. It’s unfortunate that we have attached dollar signs to morality or value with people because they’re completely separate. It’s a strange thing that we’ve done to conflate these unrelated attributes, in my opinion. I judge myself based on the number of people I help. That is my basis. Years ago, my goal was to make three people laugh per day and I have not missed a day yet. I have had financial problems and that’s what people don’t always recognize. I have been broke before. I’ve had to sleep on a friend’s couch before. I’ve had to move out of my apartment to get away from a potentially abusive partner. Thank God I left before what I think a catastrophic event was coming. I filed for bankruptcy. That’s traumatic as a business major. It’s taken me 8 or 9 years to be able to say that and not cry.
We have to get to a point where we help people first. God will reward my helpfulness. By being a servant to my community and a friend of mankind, I will get material wealth as a byproduct but I’m not out to solely get the money. That’s where people err, “I want to be rich and I’m going to trample on people to get it. I’m going to lie, cheat and steal, whatever it takes, make an inferior product, make untrue claims, scam, scheme, lie on my taxes, do PPP fraud because that’s what gets my bottom line up there.” A fool and his money will soon part. If you get it the wrong way, you will lose it.
When I think about the women who have been able to leave an abusive relationship because now they have the financial means to do so, when I think about the parents who were able to open 529 plans, my student loan payment is $1,200 a month. We need to talk about that in society how crazy that number is. It’s more than my mortgage in Cardinal combined. I need people to understand, in Alabama, that is a crazy number. My mortgage is $908 and my car loan is $285. It’s nuts. If I can get a woman to a revenue goal that we’re after taxes and her owners draw and she can fund the 529 plan for her child, that means her child won’t go through this. Her child will not have that debt. I have broken the chains off that child. That is generational wealth. That’s the legacy we’re talking about.
It’s not about, “She paid me $2,000 and I coached her.” No. That is what I hate for people to harp on. Don’t focus on that. There’s a teeny sliver of the story that should be told. The story that should be told is how a woman was able to enlarge her territory and grow her business by serving her customers, and price herself competitively. Stop trading time for dollars so she can spend quality time with her child like my mother did with me and have a try and be able to affirm her child. Why? Because she’s affirmed. How do you raise a whole balance and rich children when you’re struggling in poor? You can’t. You’re going to speak negativity into their child because you’re speaking negativity into yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I’ve changed the trajectory of that family. That whole family is different now. They’re on a debt-free journey. They can put their child in the best school and never have to worry about student loan debt.
I was able to convince a young woman to get life insurance on a relative who passed less than two years later. Instead of setting up a GoFundMe account, which is what happened at the last murder in cold blood of a black man in Minneapolis that I donated to. She got a $100,000 check instead of setting up a GoFundMe and selling fish plates. I don’t care about the money per se because it’s coming. I’m in an abundance mindset. I don’t believe in scarcity. The money is out there. It’s everywhere. We call it a currency for a reason. It flows like a current in the river. It’s all around me all the time. It wants me and it loves me. I don’t have to be laser-focused on that. I hope that people don’t say, “Natalie is a valuable person because she has money now.” I would hate that. That would be a waste. Most of my value is in my intellect and my emotional intelligence. That’s where the bulk of my value lies. I do think I have some value in generosity and I do think I’m quite funny. I’m also a hell of a dancer.
Whatever quality you’d like to choose is fine but I don’t want to be known as Natalie the snobby millionaire, “Natalie has so much money now. She’s too good for me.” My hope would be that people never found out how much money I had and that I was that sleeper millionaire that pays off layaways at Walmart. The sneaky guy who puts $10,000 in a kettle for the Salvation Army every year. The sneaky guy who somehow slips $10,000 in an envelope in a slot. Every year they can’t catch him. They’ve been trying to catch him for decades to tell him, “Thank you.” How you get a wad of cash that thick down in that little slot is gold. That’s what I want to do. I want to be known as a liberator of people who feel like they are in chains.
My grandfather lived for 92 years. I took it hard because he picked me up from school and kept me while my mom worked a second job from kindergarten through tenth grade. I saw my grandfather every school year day in all of my formative years. When he passed, I don’t remember much of the funeral because I was far too traumatized to have been there. They read a poem called The Side of the Road and it talked about a man who lived below his means intentionally so that he could be a friend to mankind and live in his small home by the side of the road.
I thought to myself, “I’ve been thinking my whole life that my grandfather was austere. He grew up in 1925 and was a product of the Great Depression. Are you telling me he could have something nicer but he chose to stay in this community on this small street in this unimpressive home to help people?” I had to sit with that. I wasn’t prepared for that. It’s important that we do not get too attached to money. Money is a tool to get you more freedom, more time, more impact to help more people. If you’re coaching for $49 an hour, you can only coach so many people. You’re not giving your clients the time and effort they need because you have to coach 50 of them to pay your bills.
If you had a group coaching program that was priced accurately, you could help more people, make more money, make the program better because you have the resources to do so, and change the lives of the participants. I don’t want people to think, “Natalie wants me to make a whole lot of money so I can be popular.” You noticed that I never talk about being popular or famous or buying a whole bunch of crap. Pay off your debt. Buy life insurance. It’s non-negotiable. If George Floyd had had a $1 million life insurance policy, it would not have brought him back. The insurance companies would start getting involved if we got gunned down and million-dollar checks started getting cut, something would happen.
We can’t say our lives matter if we’re living below our gift. I’ve heard that phrase, “What’s more expensive, living beyond your means or living below your gift?” Many of us have so much talent and we’re afraid of rejection so we’re pricing it low. We’re afraid to speak up because we don’t trust our voice and we’re fearful. What if you were bold? What if you could change one person? What if there’s one person who will read this and think, “She’s right? It’s me. I’m going to get on my next call and I’m going to crush it not for the money because my people deserve it. I’m going to get in that Clubhouse room. I’m going to raise my hand and I’m going to add value. I’m going to go on Facebook Live with MaskMe and I’m going to look how I look. Maybe I’m not thin and maybe I’ll put on quarantine 20 pounds, but I have important information that the world needs to hear and I’m going to try it. Maybe I should start that podcast. I’ve always wanted the podcast. Maybe I should write that book. I’ve always wanted the book.”
If one person nudges a little bit closer to their destiny because of something I see, I won. If it never translates into multimillion dollars, that’s fine. I want to have wealth, not rich. I want to be able to help a few clients, do a couple of speaking engagements at my leisure, come home to Dave, layout on the couch, watch TV, read a book and not worry, “How are we going to pay the mortgage?” We don’t fight about housecleaning. We hire a housekeeper. That’s something we can afford now because we’ve prioritized how we streamline our businesses for profit and not burnout. Why would I spend 1.5, 2, 3 hours cleaning when he could be doing a shoot and I could be doing a coaching session? We’re losing $1,000 an hour trying to clean our own house when I could pay her well. It’s not crappy wages that people who clean homes deserve. Pay her well so that she could create wealth for her family. It’s cyclical.
I get my groceries delivered on Instacart. I tip the amount of the groceries so she can say, “I love Instacart. I’m going to keep doing this. This is great.” She has a strong incentive to pick the best, healthiest-looking grocers for me because nobody is tipping like that. Hopefully, that keeps her going another day, whoever my shopper is. That’s what it’s about. It’s not money for the sake of money. It’s not money for the hell of it. It’s not money to buy a Lamborghini. It’s money to impact the community in which you live. I’ve done that and I’m going to keep doing it.It's called currency because it flows like a river. Click To Tweet
If God gives me 59 more years, I will be that person with the house on the side of the road. I’ll always have this home. I’ll always think about it. That’s why I admire Warren Buffett. He’s been living in that house for 30 years with the same wife, same house, and same kids. He’s stable. I’m a fan. We should focus on what brings us joy. That’s your gift and lean into that and stop chasing success for the sake of success. Stop convincing yourself that rich people have wronged you because if you make $50,000, you probably don’t hobnob with as many rich people as you might think. Until I started working at the bank, I didn’t know wealthy people, to be honest. They don’t hang out in my circle, capeesh. We’ve let the news and media convince us of how strangers feel about us and how we should feel about them. Maybe disconnect from media. Turn your TV service off for 30 days and see how much more clearly you start to think. I know we’re running low on time, but I had to preach and I appreciate you all giving me a platform to do so.
We appreciate you being here, Natalie. In the beginning, Jason said that he anticipated this being therapeutic and that’s absolutely how I felt. It’s been moving, inspirational and educational. I’m honored that you took the time to share that not just with us but with the reader. It’s a ￼true gift. I am grateful that we have a transcript because I’ve been over here furiously taking notes on some of the gems that I felt. For the readers, they can copy and paste. They can share this. They can tag you on Instagram, join your Clubhouse rooms and continue the conversation. Maybe join that Facebook Group.
You provide so many phenomenal resources for people. First and foremost, it’s your words. You truly do have a gift with words and as a speaker. I’m glad that you have pursued that and shared that gift because it would be a big disservice if you didn’t. Thank you so much for taking all this time and for sharing it all. We’re grateful that this has been recorded so you can share it too and maybe help other people next time they say, “We need some advice.” You’ve got another resource to share. Hopefully, not something that sits in somebody’s inbox. I love that you said that too.
The amount of knowledge that’s out there for free that I have not implemented is astounding and we’ve noticed that many people take it in and then they move on to the next thing instead of implementing. We hope that you, the reader, take the time to reflect on this. To your point, Natalie, that cue to disconnect from the news and media for a bit to reflect on what you read. If you want to see the resources and find Natalie, that’s all at our website, Wellevatr.com. That’s also our ￼social media. The word Wellevatr comes from elevating your wellness. It could even be elevating your wealth, which will probably be the title of this episode. Our aim here is to put you on that elevator to go up and give you the tools from incredible people like Natalie. Thanks again, Natalie, for being here. We look forward to seeing what you do moving forward.
Thank you. This was awesome!
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- Natalie Johnson
- How to Say, “Sorry, I’m Not Doing That For Free.” – Instagram post
- Instagram – Unapologetic Wealth
- Facebook group – Unapologetic Wealth
About Natalie Johnson
“I deserve to be rich.” These were the words uttered casually by financial guru Natalie Johnson as a statement of fact while speaking to an audience on Clubhouse. Though the phrase initially began as her personal mantra, it has since developed into a mindset at the heart of all her teachings. Through her work as a financial consultant, business coach, and banker, she discovered that the biggest hindrance to financial freedom is a mindset. Realizing that many people erroneously view wealth as unattainable or something simply for “those people,” Natalie has the ambition to shift the perspective of everyone she meets by encouraging them to improve their relationship with money. And, after just one session, she’s confident that you will walk away believing that you deserve to be rich, too.
Growing up in one of the poorest states in the country, the Alabama native witnessed first-hand how the impact of financial illiteracy and economic desperation can have on a community. Determined not to become another statistic, Natalie worked tirelessly to establish herself as a go-to guru for all things finance. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Management, MBA in HR, and PhD in “Getting to the Bag,” Natalie is equipped with both the tools and cultural competence to walk in any room and leave a lasting impact. She has helped hundreds of clients establish a solid financial foundation, increase their net worth, identify their ideal clients, and improve business efficacy. With the rate of Black, female business owners booming, Natalie aspires to be a beacon of light in the dark, uncharted terrain of financial resources catering to the modern Black woman.
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