Putting The P In Profit: Money Lessons From The New Economy

Putting the P in Profit

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Welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit., I’m your host, Tara Gentile.

Most weeks, I take you behind the scenes with a New Economy business owner and expose the nitty-gritty of what it really takes to successfully run and grow a digital small business today.

This week, I’m going to take some extra time with one of our 3 P’s: Profit.

When my friends at CreativeLive and I started this podcast over a year and a half ago, we were determined to get real about the money stuff that comes from growing a company you love.

When you set out to build a company you love, it’s easy to put all the emphasis on doing the work, loving your customers or clients, and spreading your mission to the masses. But without getting clear about how the money works in your business, any progress you make in those 3 areas is sure to be short-lived.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of money issues over the years.

And it all started with my very first post-college job at the now defunct Borders Books & Music…

I worked my way up from a summer time, minimum wage job, to cafe supervisor and then on to sales manager for our $5m per year location. I was in charge of visual merchandising, events, bookseller training, even scheduling & HR.

For these responsibilities and the 50-60 hours per week I was expected to be at work, I was compensated $28,000. Now I had a lot of mixed feelings about this amount of money:

First, it was the most money I had ever earned week after week.

But second, it evaporated very quickly and made it hard to start my journey to financial independence.

Still, it seemed like what I deserved: I had a BA in Religion. I’d quit grad school before it started. I’d never worked on employable skills… I should be lucky to even have a full-time job!

It was that story that would plague me for years: I was earning what I deserved.

You see, about 5 years after starting at Borders, I gave birth to my daughter Lola and decided to figure out how to make working from home work. I figured that if there were other women out there working from home, I could do it too.

That’s when I discovered the New Economy and digital small business.

I saw coaches, consultants, social media experts, makers, designers, and writers earning a good living, doing work they loved, and staying home—either with the kids or on their own.

I was ready to claim my piece of that pie.

So I started my business with a local arts & crafts blog and hung up my shingle.

I earned some initial traction and that gave me the encouragement I needed to plow ahead. I bought a second website 6 months later and, thanks to getting creative with selling advertising, I started making more than I earned at Borders.

It was a huge victory.

But it wasn’t the revelation I ultimately needed to experience.

You see, between earning “what I deserved” at Borders and telling myself a story about how much I could ever hope to earn in my life as someone who had chosen work I loved over work that paid well, I had created a personal earning ceiling for myself.

When I started to “think ambitiously” about my goals, they topped out at about $40-50,000 per year.

All of the decisions I made about my business were based on those numbers: how much I could afford to spend on web hosting, how much I should charge for my time, how much I should invest in my own training…

Luckily, I got exposed to some amazing money mentors like Amanda Steinberg and Danielle LaPorte—more on them in a bit.

Through both their personal and internet guidance, I could start to envision earning more.

When I set a much, much bigger target on my business—$100,000—I learned my first big New Economy Money Lesson:

Setting Bigger Money Targets Exposes Bigger Problems

Maybe that doesn’t sound helpful to you—but I can assure you it is!

You see, when you set a much bigger money target, not only do you start to make new decisions about how much you charge, who you hire, or how you invest in new tools, but you start to see the structural and systemic challenges lying dormant in your business.

You realize you’ve run out of advertising inventory (my problem), or that your sales pipeline is nearly empty, or that, if you hit your target, you couldn’t handle the customer service demands.

You realize that your lack of earning ambition has limited your capacity as a business—and that means that you’ve limited your ability to make an impact, do the work you love, and love up on your customers!

If this story sounds familiar and you recognize that your limited goals have limited your business, I’d recommend going back to my interview with Corey Whitaker & Parker Stevenson from Evolved Finance.

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In that interview, they talked about the importance of having a budget that you’re working toward. In other words, it’s not enough to have a sales goal—you also need to know how you’ll spend that money.

By considering how you’ll spend that money, you’ll uncover the structural and systemic issues in your own business. You’ll see where you have opportunities to invest and sure up existing systems.

Most of all, you’ll start to see how the revenue you earn in your business can be used to grow your business… which leads us to our second lesson:

Separating Your Finances Isn’t About Saving Yourself From The IRS

I learned this lesson later than I should have which is probably why it feels so profound.

We all know—I hope—that we’re supposed to be managing our business money separate from our personal money. You have a separate bank account, separate credit card, and separate check book for each.

This makes your accounting easier and it offers some personal protection should anything go wrong.

But here’s what else it does: it reminds you that your business is separate from you.

When your finances are separate, you start to see how the money your business earns can be put to good use. Every expense, team member, or training opportunity isn’t less money in your pocket, it’s a chance to earn more down the line.

Now, that doesn’t mean I recommend investing everything back into your business! But it does help you become more objective about what’s yours and what’s the business’s and that will help you grow a more sustainable, stable, and wealth-building business in the long-run.

Now let’s shift gears a bit for our third lesson:


I am no master negotiator. I would much rather rely on simple price tags or tables to tell me how much something costs. I would also rather reply on a simple sales page and buy now button to tell you how much something I’m selling costs.

But I’ve learned to embrace negotiation—and if not the art of the deal, at least asking for what I want.

The first person who got me excited about negotiation was Kari Chapin. In fact, I interviewed her on exactly that subject early on for Profit. Power. Pursuit.

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The secret to negotiation, from in this novice’s perspective, is simply realizing that every day you are presented with an opportunity to ask for what you want: whether that’s brussel sprouts instead of fries, blue instead of orange, or 15% instead of 10%.

Stop feeling disappointed about the way things are. Recognize the opportunity. And ask for what you want instead.

Be polite, respectful, and detached from the ultimate outcome of your ask.

Also, know when it’s a deal breaker and when it’s not.

There are sometimes when it’s nice to get a few extra percentage points and there are times when it’s the difference between saying yes and saying no.

The more you practice, the better you’ll get—and the faster you’ll be able to spot opportunities and make decisions.

Also, check out friend of the pod Vanessa Van Edwards CreativeLive course: The Power of Negotiation!

That brings us to the fourth money lesson:

Cultivate An Investment Mindset

If, like me, you grew up in a household where money was tight, it’s likely that you didn’t see “investment” modeled as a way of getting ahead, building wealth, or tackling your mission.

My mom—now my COO—taught me that you could always find what you needed for the things that mattered most. But we just didn’t have the opportunity to plant seeds for future financial growth.

So I operated my business in the same way for a long time. Instead of looking at high-ticket expenses as planting seeds, they just looked scary and hard to overcome.

When I met Megan Auman, back in 2009, things really started to change. Megan grew up in an entrepreneurial family and she had seen what an investment could turn into.

So when the opportunity to spend thousands of dollars on a tradeshow booth presented itself, Megan didn’t bat an eye. She’s used savings, credit, and sales windfalls to finance big leaps forward in her business and it’s paid off handsomely.

Instead of evaluating every expense through the lens of “can I afford it?” what if you first asked yourself what the results of investing in it would be? Could you earn more? Save more time? Propel your business forward?

Not every investment pays off. And not every opportunity to spend money on your business is a good investment. But it pays to cultivate an investment mindset.

The fifth money lesson is:

Money Can Be Creative

Invite money into every aspect of your business. Don’t silo it away from the part of your business that’s authentic, connected, spiritual, or mission-driven.

Money is a reflection of or a stand-in for value. If you can’t connect to money or make it an authentic part of how you show up, you’ll have a hard time connecting to the value your company creates.

Embrace money and all your ambition around it so your whole business becomes more integrated.

I mentioned that learning from Danielle LaPorte has been a huge part of this lesson from me. As you can hear in my Profit. Power. Pursuit. interview with her, Danielle never shies away from speaking about currency and connection in the same breath.

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Her ambition is self-expressive and so is the way she plays with money.

And that leads me to our sixth and final money lesson for today:

Don’t Let Anyone (Including Yourself) Put Limits On Your Potential

And with this lesson, we come full circle. Whether it’s an old boss, a well-meaning but unhelpful parent, a partner, or your own anxious psyche, don’t let anyone put limits on the amount you can earn and the ways you can show up.

I talked about the dangerous ways limitations can affect our actions with Amanda Steinberg in my second PPP interview with her. And I talked about the more personal limitations that affect the ways we reach for our goals with Nilofer Merchant. Both interviews are must-listens as far as I’m concerned. They’ll help expose the limitations that are all around you so that you can consciously and intentionally bust through them.

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Bottom line: constantly evaluate what you think is impossible, not for you, or “too much.”

These have been just 6 of the money lessons I’ve learned over the years, through trial & error, through mentorship, and through the insider conversations I have right here on Profit. Power. Pursuit.

Learning about money, how we each engage with it, and what stories we tell ourselves about it is a continual and continually important step on our path to creating a real impact in the communities we operate in.

If you fail to get a handle on money or you fail to revisit your assumptions about money, your business will never have the impact it otherwise could.

That’s why I’ve set aside June 1, 2017 to examine how we talk and think about money as business owners.

We’re hosting a virtual conference, The New Economy & Your Money, over at CoCommercial, the business association for digital small businesses.

If you’re using the internet, social media, or any other facet of the New Economy to grow your small business, this conference is for you! The best part? You can participate absolutely free.

All you need to do is start your FREE 30-day all-access trial of CoCommercial today by clicking here.

Then, on June 1 you can join in the conversation with Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth & WorthFM, Mark Butler, founder of Budget Nerd, Jaime Masters, host of Eventual Millionaire, Jacquette Timmons, author of Financial Intimacy, and, of course, me!

We’ll be talking about:

  • How to create a business budget that helps you grow
  • How to make your money choices truly personal
  • How to have tricky money conversations with people you love
  • How to avoid overspending as you grow your business
  • And much more!

Again, you can participate free of charge in this all-day virtual conference just by starting your trial of CoCommercial.

Go to CoCommercial.co/money — that’s CoCommercial.co/money

Setting Business & Personal Financial Goals with Worth It Author Amanda Steinberg

Setting Business & Personal Financial Goals with Worth It Author Amanda Steinberg

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The Nitty Gritty:

    • How the founder of DailyWorth and author of Worth It uses a two-prong approach to set financial goals that are ambitious.
    • Why failure is an opportunity for learning and growth and you shouldn’t be afraid of it.
    • How you view your identity and feelings of self-worth impact your ability to create financial goals that get you to the life you desire.
    • How having a little “Steve Jobs” in you isn’t a bad thing. Just ask Amanda who established the roots that gave her wings!

It’s easy to assume that Amanda Steinberg, the founder and CEO of DailyWorth, the leading financial media company for women, and author of Worth It, has super powers when it comes to setting business and personal financial goals. But in this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast she shares with us that while there were times when she appeared to outsiders to have it all together—$200K annual salary, $700K home—she wasn’t experiencing the “exhilaration of affluence.” So, she reset and can now teach you what she learned.

Two Approaches to Setting Financial Goals

It’s not about the speed of our growth, but about the unit economics. That’s what investors want to see. How much do we have to spend to acquire one customer? What is our profit margin on that customer? That’s actually more important for me to master and perfect…

– Amanda Steinberg

Whenever Amanda is setting financial goals there are two strategies she always takes to planning: a top-down and bottom-up approach. In top-down planning you look at your entire market and assume there are no limits on your marketing, capital, and talent resources. Once you have a framework for the possibilities, you bring it back down to earth to assess the possibilities through the realities you have. How many people are on your team. What you know about your sales ability. What capital you have.

You find a number that is both really ambitious and realistic relative to your resources.

– Amanda Steinberg

Battle the Imposter Complex when Setting Financial Goals

Oftentimes entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, struggle with self-worth when setting financial goals. We don’t set an audacious goal, because it feels like it’s bigger than what we can do. We worry about how we will be perceived—too aggressive, “She has a lot of Steve Jobs in her, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing,” (how Amanda was described once), or a failure if we don’t achieve the goal. Amanda learned something as a video-game playing kid that she suggests you employ as an adult when you fail:

“Treat it like a game. Then failure doesn’t feel like a reflection on you it’s just a normal part of the learning process.”

Set goals that feel a bit uncomfortable to you. In her book Worth It, Amanda explores the Good Girl to Lady Boss transition women are in the midst of and explains how to facilitate your own identity transition to create your life and your money on your terms.

Learn more about Amanda’s journey and what you can do to create more financial security in your life by establishing three crucial roots that then give you the wings to live the life you desire.

We’ll be back next week with another inspiring entrepreneur, but in the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the Profit. Power. Pursuit podcast on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

Why You Must Consider Your Personal Brand–Even If You’re Building a Company


Personal brands aren’t just for celebrity entrepreneurs.

Take my friend Amanda Steinberg.

Amanda has built 3 companies, including DailyWorth which delivers financial advice to over 1 million subscribers every day.

She has poured her heart, sweat, and tears into her brands. But for her latest project, she needed to consider a new brand…

…her personal brand.

Amanda, as we discussed when I interviewed her for Episode 16 of Profit. Power. Pursuit., is writing a book called Worth It.

Companies–and the brands they embody–are great at fulfilling a message.

But when it comes to sharing a message, keynotes, books, and op-eds rule.

Company brands don’t give keynotes, write books, or pen op-eds. People do.

And, if you want your message to have the chance to be heard, you’ll want to work on your personal brand, as well as your company brand.

Your company will give you credibility but your personal brand will share the message and make it human.

Contrary to what many believe, personal branding is not a popularity contest.

Even Amanda said, “the personal brand marketplace is getting crowded inside a torrent of social media one-upmanship.”

Your personal brand isn’t about having the best looking office on Instagram or the most popular hangouts on Facebook Live. It’s not about who can be the pithiest on Twitter. It’s not even about who can drive the most traffic to their blog.

Your personal brand is what makes you most compelling, most effective, and most unique.

That’s your Quiet Powerto use my own parlance.

Your personal brand and Quiet Power inform your company brand, too. So working to understand what your personal brand is all about will serve you very well in the long-term of growing your business.

You have a message that needs to be heard, an idea that needs to be used, or a movement that needs to be started. One of the key ways you can do that is to be recognized.

  • Amanda wouldn’t have been able to tell her story and be preparing to change the money lives of so many women through Worth It without cementing her personal brand.
  • Being Boss wouldn’t be such a beloved podcast without Kathleen and Emily having strong individual personal brands.
  • Heck, Apple wouldn’t be the kind of brand it is today without the personal brand, message, and collective work of Steve Jobs.

So what should you do if you want to better understand your personal brand and how to use it to your advantage? Answer these questions:

1) What really makes your blood boil?

The things in which we most passionately believe are the language in which our brands are written–to paraphrase the inimitable Anne Lamott.

Tap into what gets you ranting and raving and you’ll be well on the way to discovering a key piece of your personal brand.

2) How would you want people to introduce you to someone else?

The words you want them to use point to your most deeply held personal values. Those values shape the message behind your personal brand.

3) How do you want to make people’s lives meaningfully better?

Forget the work you want to do. Forget the value you offer.

Hone in on how what you do or the value you provide makes people’s lives meaningfully better.

Once you have the answers to these questions, make sure you’re utilizing them. Sometimes, you can do it explicitly–like in an About Page. Other times, you can hook people in and help them get to know you more covertly–like in the opening story to a talk or webinar.

Just knowing your answers and keeping them top of mind while you’re crafting content, being interviewed, and sharing your perspective will help to solidify your personal brand…

…and give you the platform to deliver the message you most want to deliver.

Another person who has worked hard to build her personal brand–in addition to playing a key role in the growth of many companies and organizations–is Debbie Millman–my guest this week on Profit. Power. Pursuit.

Debbie is the host of the first and longest running design podcast on iTunes!

She’s interviewed some of my personal heroes like Seth Godin, Dan Pink, and Alain de Botton.

We talked about how she’s used podcasting to build her personal brand and create a platform for her best work.

We also talked about the 10 to 12 hours she puts into interview prep, how she started with just a phone line back in 2005, and the opportunities that have come her way thanks to the podcast.

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Click here to listen to the podcast or read the transcript.

What Comes After Hitting 1 Million Subscribers? Interview with Amanda Steinberg

Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth & WorthFM, on Profit. Power. Pursuit. with Tara Gentile

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With an audience of over 1 million subscribers and the ear of major financial institutions, my next guest for Profit. Power. Pursuit., Amanda Steinberg, might seem to have it all. But her financial education company, DailyWorth, has continued to evolve and explore new opportunities, like the newly launched WorthFM.

Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth and WorthFM, on Profit. Power. Pursuit. with Tara GentileWorthFM is a digital investing platform targeted to women. The face of financial management is changing. While women have long been the checkbook balancers and monthly budget keepers, men have continued to manage big picture financial decisions like investing, retirement planning, and asset management.

With WorthFM, Amanda aims to help women achieve greater autonomy when it comes to their nest eggs.

Why? It’s a road Amanda has been down herself.

When she originally started DailyWorth, it was because she had a realization about just how much she didn’t know about money, its role in our lives, and how to protect herself for the future. Amanda changed her own money story (she always thought of herself as a spender, not a saver) and then set about learning everything she could about how to put her money to work for her.

Of course, there’s a lot to learn about money and financial management. Amanda suggests you start with a goal of clarity.

You can’t make good decisions or even apply what you learn until you have financial clarity about how much money is coming in and just how that money is going out.

This is an important episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit. because, as business owners, we can put so much emphasis on earning more while ignoring the imperative to be good stewards of our wealth. Good financial habits should be a trait of all entrepreneurs, not just the frugal or the super wealthy.

Of course, I didn’t just talk to Amanda about managing money. I also talked to her about how she grew her business and how she manages it today.

Amanda spoke about her personal money story, the opportunities in the financial management market, why she’s chosen to partner on this new venture, the role of mentorship and teamwork in her success, and the unconventional financial advice book she’s writing.

Click here to listen to the interview on iTunes.

Click here to take the MoneyType quiz Amanda mentions in the episode.


Tara: Hey, everyone, welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit.  I’m Tara Gentile, your host, and together with CreativeLive, we explore the unique strategies that creative entrepreneurs use to take control of their lives, profit from their passions, and pursue what’s truly important to them.

My guest today is Amanda Steinberg, founder and CEO of DailyWorth and WorthFM.  DailyWorth is the leading financial media company for women, and Amanda is a pioneer on the topic of women and money, working to advance women’s financial confidence and wealth.  Her new venture, WorthFM, is an investment platform that will launch in 2016.  I spoke with Amanda about how traditional investment media is primarily geared to men, and how DailyWorth is helping empower women to take control of their big picture finances.  We also discuss how to set your priorities for money, unconventional financial choices, and how mastering savings is the most important thing you can do.

Amanda Steinberg, welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit.  Thanks so much for joining me.

Amanda:  Thanks so much for being here, having me here.

Tara:  Yeah, absolutely.  So you are passionately pursuing financial education and empowerment for women.  It’s kind of your bag.  Why do you think women need different education about money than what already exists?

Amanda:  You know, I started the company seven years ago because, you know, even though I was raised by a single mom and I was really taught from such a young age to be financially independent, I realized that when I turned 30, I’d gotten really good at earning money, but I had no idea what to do with money after it came in, and therefore was having a very difficult time saving and investing it.  So it wasn’t necessarily that I thought women needed specific advice, it was that when I went out to all of the big resources on the internet, like Yahoo Finance and Market Watch and Money Magazine and stuff like that, they were all… I knew enough working in the digital space that how to look up the details of who reads them, and I noticed that it as like 90% men, and I just thought that that was really weird, you know?  It was like why would financial advice be only appealing to or attracting men.  And so it was less that I thought women needed special advice, as that I knew that women weren’t reading what was out there right now, so it just gave me a sense that women weren’t even getting this information, and it needed to be packaged differently.

Tara:  Why do you think women weren’t reading what was available?

Amanda:  Well, I think that when it comes to financial advice on the internet, you know, anything on the internet, in order to sustain itself, definitely when it’s a company, has to sell advertising, and so if you look at the financial advice you should follow, it’s actually really boring, and therefore, financial media, rather than publishing financial advice that is about, you know, prudence and increasing your earnings, and buying and holding investments for the long-term, you know, they kind of do the opposite.  They talk a lot about tradings and markets and where kind of all the lines go up and down, and I know in particular, women, at least this day and age, aren’t really interested in being traders or being active investors.  You know, we’re more interested in kind of the comprehensive life picture and how money fits into that and how to think about money.  So I think that women … I think just the way financial advice had been delivered online before we came along just didn’t resonate with how women thought about money, which is much more in the context of their life, not about kind of what stocks do you buy and sell.

Tara:  Mmm, I like this idea of the comprehensive life picture and using … and women kind of using that as their focal point for financial planning.  Can you tell me about your comprehensive life picture?  What is that you are wanting to create in your life that’s directing your financial decisions right now?

Amanda:  Well, it’s funny you should ask, because at DailyWorth, we just launched something called, “What’s Your Money Type?” and you can go to either DailyWorth.com and click on the banner, or you can go to MoneyType.me is the URL, and when you answer this assessment, it tells you what motivates you about money, what your unique personality contributes to as far as your strengths with money, your fears about money.  It’s just like a Myers-Briggs test, but we made our own with a psychologist, and you know, what that reveals is kind of how you frame money in your life, and for me, I actually got 100% score, which is ridiculous, on the Visionary Type, which is that everything about my financial life is about my passion for my work and my contribution in the world, and everything kind of stems from how do I use money to, you know, in my own mind, in simplistic terms, help people, but I guess in terms of money is … Money to me is an expression of how much impact I’m having in the world, and how I’m not only supporting myself and my family, but those far beyond us.

Tara:  That was also the score that I got.  Or I shouldn’t say the score, that was the type that I got.  I don’t know what the score was, but I’m also a Visionary. 

Amanda:  Surprise.

Tara:  Yeah, and we’ve been friends for years, so yes, I think that there’s a reason for that, and it might be that we’re both Visionaries.  So what questions were you asking that kind of led to your initial conception of daily worth?  What is it that you wanted to find the answers to?

Amanda:  You know, what I really wanted to find the answers to with DailyWorth was, you know, traditionally, at least in the United States, this is different outside of the United States.  Women focus on kind of the day-to-day household budgeting and spending, and men tend to have been the ones to manage the investments, and the bigger picture, and that to me just didn’t seem fair.  Because I thought, you know, it’s the long-term that really provides security, and if women aren’t engaged around building their own security, then they’re dependent on men, and so … But when I went out into the world, publishing DailyWorth to now more than a million women, I saw how many women with advanced degrees, doctors, lawyers, etc., still delegated, almost blindly, their long-term finances to either a spouse or a financial adviser, and I’ve just been fascinated with why and how do we change that.

Tara:  So what kind of money lessons did you have to personally unlearn as you got older, as you got more savvy, as you better understood that vision that you are creating for your life, what did you have to change about what you learned about money originally?

Amanda:  I think what I had to change what I learned about money was really two-fold.  The first was the story I told myself about money until I started DailyWorth, and the story I told myself about money was that I’m a really good earner, but I’m not a saver.  I would say to myself, “I’m not a saver, I’m just not good at it.  I’m a spender.”  I identified with the word, “being a spender,” but I worked under this false assumption that one day, my earning would magically outpace my spending, and poof, there, I would have savings, and you know, obviously, this is illogical once you realize how easy it is for your life cost to increase, but you know, we don’t always think through the thing … We’re not always aware of the stories that we tell ourselves that drive our lives, and so the really big thing I had to unlearn was calling myself a spender, and I really worked, even though it felt ridiculous at first, I decided to just call myself a saver, and you know, you can prove to yourself that you’re a saver simply by creating a pretty jar and putting the coins in it, and go, “See, I’m saving,” and then setting up a different emergency fund and transferring, you know, I transfer once a week, you know, 1/8th of my checking account or something like that, you know, a safe amount that I’m not going to feel into that emergency fund, and so it’s almost like I decided who I wanted to be instead, and then I trained myself in order to be able to prove that it was true.

Then the second thing that I really had to learn about money is that, you know, we call this at DailyWorth your four things, and I learned this from DailyWorth investor and board member, Michelle Smith, who’s a financial advisor. When she works with all of her clients, she asks, “What are the four things that are absolutely non-negotiable in your life?”  And for some women, you know, that might be the house that you live in.  It might be how much you spend on clothes.  It might be travel.  It might be the car that you drive.  It’s four things that are, like, are … You just … You can’t give those up.  And then for the rest of them, it’s how do we make lifestyle adjustments so that we reduce the amount that you’re spending on those, in a way that doesn’t really infringe upon your lifestyle, but also doesn’t mean you’re mindlessly spending in those categories.  So I’m oftentimes thinking about what are my four things, and then what are my … And what are all the … How can I make adjustments everywhere else since I really don’t care about those items as much?

Tara:  Ooh, that is such a great exercise.  Can you tell us what your four things are?

Amanda:  You know, they’re actually in a state of flux right now.  I’m teaching money clarity, which is the online class we teach every quarter, so you know, I can give you a sense of what they are.

Tara:  Mm-hmm.

Amanda:  So one for me is travel.  I need to be able to travel at least four times a year, which means, you know, my partner travels all over the world for his work, and I love to be able to go with him, so that is a non-negotiable.  Another one is going out to dinner at least once a week.  That is really important.  The other one is paying extra for really, really, really good child care, because I travel a lot, and making sure that I am leaving my kids with someone who I know they love is worth so much to me.  And then finally is the private school that I send my kids to.  It’s … They both … You know, we’re all a little ADD in our family, and myself included, and traditional environments don’t always serve us, so I send my kids to an expensive school, but I know that if they were in a traditional school, that they would be as miserable as I was growing up not being able to pay attention.

Tara:  Mm, I think one of the problems that we have with money is that our priorities for it can be so overwhelming, and I think, you know, reducing your priorities down to the four non-negotiables might be a little stressful, a little anxiety-inducing for people.  Do you have any suggestions for how we can go about, or exercises to figure out what those four things should be?

Amanda:  Yup.  So I think it’s really important to remember that the goal here is clarity.  It doesn’t mean your life is going to change overnight.  Those are very … Just because you decide something doesn’t mean it needs to manifest in your life right away. The idea is that you give yourself the space to dream and to play with ideas without them suddenly thinking your life has to change overnight.  So for example, when I got divorced four years ago, I was living in a really large house that we had bought that was so expensive, and I knew that I couldn’t afford that, and so because of our separation, I was able to move into a tiny apartment, because the size of the house that I live in actually doesn’t really matter to me at all, and I can be kind of … There’s always so much stuff around that it’s easier for me to clean smaller spaces anyway.  So but like not everyone can like move out of their house.  You know, if you suddenly decide your house is not important to you, it doesn’t mean you can just put it on the market, so have more fun playing with the ideas, and then understand that it may take a few years for you to unravel those things that aren’t as important to you.

Tara:  Hmm.  So that kind of brings up the topic of things that we think we’re supposed to do or things that we should do, things we should care about, things we should be spending money on, versus things that are actually important to us, and you and I have had conversations about that quite a bit over the years, because we’ve both made unconventional financial decisions.  Can you talk a little bit about separating the shoulds and the supposed tos from the things that we actually want to be using our money for?

Amanda:  Absolutely.  And it’s interesting, that’s the whole idea why we build the Money Type platform.  Again, that’s MoneyType.me, is because we have a sense, based on your results, those shoulds that are baked into your story already, and we’re going to be able to help you through that, give you actual financial advice that’s targeted to help you combat your fears directly.  So for example, if you’re a producer, if you end up getting the producer type out of the money type, that means you’re someone who’s really organized and really planning oriented.  That’s also someone who probably thinks they absolutely must keep a budget, and that that’s the only way to be successful with money.  Now, the truth is, is that budgeting is really hard, and doesn’t work for all people.  So what’s important there is that you don’t get so attached to the system that you forget that you’re not supposed to conform to the system, the system’s supposed to be there for you.  So if budgeting doesn’t work for you, which everyone thinks that they’re supposed to be good at budgeting, that maybe you need more of a bucketing system.  Which means maybe you simply need to know how much it is you can afford to spend on everything outside of your bills every month, and move that onto a debit card that’s a separate checking account, and that way, you’re just checking the balance of that debit card when you’re spending money, and then when you run out, you know that you’ve spent too much, and then you don’t have to worry so much about a budget, because you’re aware more of what your overall spending is and can adjust accordingly. 

So you know, I think it’s … a lot of the … those shoulds are all very, very, very different for a lot of people.  Some of it has to do with personality.  Some has to do with what you’re taught.  Some of it has to do with, you know, traumatic childhood experiences where you’re like, no matter what, for me, it was, you know, I needed to make sure I was financially independent no matter what.  It’s more just remembering that the ultimate, at the end of the day, what’s most important is that you save money.  That is the greatest protection against more, more debt.  You know, it’s the greatest things you’ll have against paying down existing debt.  It’s your greatest security in the world is not just making great pay check, but learning how to be … learning how to save small amounts when you can, so that you have a cushion there when you need it, and everything else, other than that, I believe is gravy.  It’s really about mastering savings, first.

Tara:  Nice.  So I mentioned unconventional financial choices, just a second ago.  Can you tell me what some of your unconventional financial choices have been?

Amanda:  Oh my God, I don’t think I’ve ever made a conventional financial choice in my life, so I’m not sure I’m a great model in that on those specifics, but I think the greatest unconventional choice I’ve made is that, you know, I became a computer programmer at age 21, and by age 28, I was making $200,000 a year, and I had a very successful web agency that was growing, and I could have continued to turn that $200,000 a year into much more, but instead, I realized that there was so much I had to learn about money besides earning, and that I saw the potential of DailyWorth to be so enormous, that I shut down my web engineering company and I launched DailyWorth and raised capital for it and went down to $90,000 a year, which I know sounds like a lot of money to a lot of people, and it is a lot of money, but it was far less than I’d been making, and I stayed there for many years, and still probably earn far less than what my quote-unquote market value, but that’s because I believe in the value of DailyWorth, and I know that it’s going to pay off for me enormously in the long run, but it’s a huge risk to essentially take ten years of your highest earnings and invest yourself in a business which could fail.  I mean, any business can go out of business, so that is a very unconventional thing that my mother really did not understand for a long time.

Tara:  Oh, our mothers.

Amanda:  I know.

Tara:  Yeah, I think your unconventional money choices make you a fantastic role model, because it’s your unconventional choices paired with that aggressive attitude towards spending that I think most people think you can’t accomplish.  You can’t both be a saver and make unusual choices, and I love that you’re proving everyone wrong on that.

Amanda:  Thank you, and the other … The other unconventional one I actually want to mention is that my partner, Jordan, and I have been together for four years, and we have very consciously decided not to live together, not to get married, not to combine finances, and to really remain independent as people, but together in relationship, and everyone, including my mother again, is going, “When are you going to get married?”  And it’s amazing how much it seems to make other people comfortable, more comfortable if we would just get married and move in together, but it’s not likely to happen for many, many years.  So … if ever.  So it’s very unconventional, but one that is no doubt in my mind, at this stage of my life, right for both of us, and he agrees.

Tara:  Yeah.  So you mentioned that you’ve grown DailyWorth to over a million subscribers, which I think is probably mind-boggling to many of our listeners out there.  Can you talk about some of the …

Amanda:  It’s mind-boggling to me.  Yeah.

Tara:  Yeah.  Can you talk about some of the strategies that you used to grow DailyWorth to that type of platform?

Amanda:  Sure.  You know, it’s a few things.  It’s, first, it’s finding a big hole, you know, I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life.  It’s really hard to find things that people haven’t done before.  I spent 10 years searching for an idea that I knew was enormous that no one had done that was actually valid, and it took me 10 years to figure it out, and they don’t happen every day.  So first is it helps to, if you want to grow really, really big, it helps to be the only one doing what you’re doing while also solving a real need.  That’s a big part of it.

The second was I was extremely focused on email, and I ignored almost everything else, including social, for many years.  I know social media is all the buzz, but I find email to be a much more impactful way of communicating with a targeted audience, so I made everything about our website to be about signing up for our email, and that to really get the goods, you had to get the email, and that, the website itself even was secondary.  It was really about concentrating on your inbox, because that’s where we spend most of our time. 

So the third thing that I did is I found someone who had done it before.  I made a lot of calls to people I didn’t know to find the best person in the business at growing an email subscriber list, and I came to Hillary Feder, who has been working for me now for seven years, and I didn’t know anything about how to grow an email subscriber list, or not much anyway, but she had already grown IdealBite.com to 500,000 subscribers when I contacted her, and then it was really just a matter of figuring out how to pay her until the business had revenue, and there’s a variety of ways that you can barter or equity or etc.  So yeah, so that’s how I grew it to over a million subscribers.

Tara:  Yeah, let’s talk more about that people piece of the equation, because I think this is another thing that you have done so magnificently in growing DailyWorth.  You have brought in amazing heavy hitters in the world of finance, personal development for women, you know, I’m thinking about people like Barbara Stanny who are just huge in this field, how do you go about finding those people and building those relationships so that they’re as on board with your vision as you are?

Amanda:  Yeah, you know, I think it comes from the fact that I have a really, really clear and big, big vision about how I want to shift things for women in general, and money is really just an element.  It’s not even really about the money at the end of the day.  It’s about women feeling ownership of their lives and being able to create their own security, and I guess I’ve been able to create these relationships in that I’ve … not perfected, but I think that they feel and see not only the strength and potency and uniqueness of my vision, but also as a computer programmer, my ability to execute, and I think it’s the combination of those two that people, that powerful people like Sheryl Sandberg and others who I’ve collaborated with on various things over the years are attracted to is that unique combination of a really potent vision along with a proven track record of being able to know how to scale something and really build it.

Tara:  Yeah.  You mentioned collaboration there.  What are some of the different ways that you figure out how to use those relationships, or to partner with people, because I think a lot of people out there, you know, they’re capable of building relationships, they’re capable of sharing their vision, but then the question is always like what now?  What do I do?  What do I ask for?  How do you figure out how you want to collaborate with someone?  What the product of that is going to be?

Amanda:  Well, I think it’s really … Here’s how I did it, and I did it … I don’t think I did it intentionally, but then when it happened, it was very clear what I had done.  So the first thing is, and this is critical, find people in your peer group who are at your level, not people who are way ahead of you or even way behind you.  So find people who, if you’re building a media platform and if you’re building an audience, who have an audience size that is similar to you but isn’t directly competitive to you.  And the reason why I said media for … in this case, is because that’s what I was building, so I found a lot of other people with media properties, and so for example, you know, it’s seven years ago now that I became friends with you, and Gabriel Bernstein and Marie Forleo and Allie Brown, and a lot of … Well, Allie was already huge, but you know, Gabby Bernstein was just getting started, and Marie was … she was definitely ahead of me, but they felt kind of like, and then there were guys.  Like Lewis Howes and Ramit Sethi who also had online communities that felt like my peer network, and then we kept it informal.  I made sure that, I mean, I wasn’t doing this intentionally just because I wanted access to their lists, obviously.  I wanted a peer group of we were all trying to do the same things and I knew we could help each other, so that then, when you know, the more … hopefully it becomes like an I scratch your back, you scratch mine, but you’re never going to do this contractually with these types of informal networks, but they have done enormous things to promote me, and I’ve done enormous things to promote them, and therefore, we’re all cross-pollinating to a certain extent across each other’s audiences, and that really helps us all go.

Tara:  Yeah.  Now you mention Ramit and Marie and Gabby and they have all chosen to build lifestyle businesses.  When you started DailyWorth, you chose to grow it through outside investment and take on venture capital.  What do you … what kind of doors did that open to you that might not have otherwise opened? 

Amanda:  You know, I don’t know if I was to do it over again if I would raise venture capital.  I didn’t really understand what Marie and Ramit were doing at the time, and I thought, I had come out of the computer programming world, so all I saw was venture capital, and I knew that our audience was so big that we were a venture-worthy business, but I think that … I just think it changes what you’re doing, really, at the end of the day.  Because when you raise venture capital, ultimately, those investors are looking for a major payout, so the amount of scale you have to produce and the amount of revenue you have to produce in the tens and twenty of millions is far more than any of they need to produce in order to live a great life relative to their business.  So it has opened doors, you know, the fact that I’ve raised capital from Google chairman Eric Schmidt and some other big names means that when it comes to forming partnerships with TIME, Inc., you know, and Yahoo Finance and all of the big guys that I started out trying to be the opposite of that we now collaborate with is a lot easier when you’ve raised venture capital.  It also, for me as now a single mom, it allowed me to pay myself a more, a healthier salary earlier and stress less, so that I didn’t … even though I was going to take longer and it was ultimately going to be much harder because of the expectations that come with it, it allowed me to do it right because I had money and I didn’t have to scramble and stress out all the time.  I could really do things strategically and hire people.  That … I could afford to hire people instead of having to do it all myself, which is huge.

Tara:  Yeah, absolutely.  All right.  Let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about your brand new project, which is WorthFM.  Can you tell us what WorthFM is and why you’re getting started with it?

Amanda:  Absolutely.  So WorthFM is a new business that we just launched.  WorthFM stands for Worth Financial Management, and it is an actual registered investment advisory, regulated by the SEC, where you will be able to open up an account with, you know, $100, and either open up a retirement account or a general investing account or a savings account, but the difference in what we’re trying to do is we’re stripping out all the jargon, we’re taking out all of the options that you might find if you go to a more complicated place, like Etrade or TD Ameritrade, and we’re making it as simple as we possibly can, but then what’s special about it is that when you log in, rather than just showing you your account balance, we’re actually going to show you things that can help you understand your investments, or help you understand your savings, or help you understand should you saving more into savings or should you be saving more into your investments, and those are all complex calculations that we all know how to do and financial advisers know how to do, but most individuals don’t know how to do.  So we are launching an actual saving and investing platform to really fulfill on the mission of DailyWorth to empower women to build net worth and future security by building a tool, an actual investment service that is like nothing that is out there, because we know what’s out there is really not helping people.  It’s really just confusing them further.

Tara:  Yeah, well, let’s talk about that.  What are some of the problems that people run into with traditional financial management or just trying to DIY it themselves?  What are some of the problems that they run into and how is WorthFM going to address those thing?

Amanda:  So the first problem that people run into is they don’t really know who to turn to?  Do they call a financial adviser?  Do they call Fidelity?  Do they just stick with their 401k?  And those … the answers to those questions are so individualized through unique circumstances that while someone may need a financial adviser at some point, it’s more important that they have a basic grasp of investing first, that they know what they’re hiring for, and they’re not just blindly delegating.

The second thing that is really important for everyone to know, which so many women don’t know is the difference between active and passive investing.  When most people think about investing, they think about active investing, which is picking stocks or even having a financial adviser pick the mutual funds and securities and bonds that your money goes into in order to grow for the long-term.  Active investing is what all of Yahoo Finance and Market Watch is about, and when you think about Wall Street and brokers, etc., they’re mostly talking about active investing.  What everyone is doing in active investing is they’re trying to make the maximum amount of money they can on their money that they are investing.  As a result of that, it requires a lot of human time, and therefore the expense that gets charged related to that human time, and to make things more complicated, there’s study after study that shows that if you look at an active investor versus an investor who’s just putting their money in an index, and I’ll explain what that means in a second, then there’s a 50% chance that they’re actually going to do more poorly than the market growth itself versus if they had just put their money in an index fund.  So I am not a strong advocate of active investing, even though it’s what most people think of investing when they do it. 

We, at WorthFM, are only offering at this time passive investing, which means that we create portfolios for you where you don’t have to choose what goes into them.  You don’t even have to know what goes into them, but of course we’re going to take steps to teach you about it.  Where it’s … where they’re widely, widely diversified ETFs.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what that means.  The only thing you need to know is that when the combination of the S&P and the Dow Jones goes up, so does your portfolio, and when the market goes down, so does your portfolio, and you kind of … if you’re looking at a 10 year or 20 year or 30-year horizon, there’s going to be some years that it goes down and there’s going to be some years that go up, but you can pretty get … the, the market’s never not gone up before, and it’s grown for the last 100 years at 10% per year.  People think we’re in a slow growth time so it’s probably only going to grow 5%  per year.  On average, if you’re looking at least ten years out in terms of your long-term savings, but we’re going to charge you is somewhere between 1/2 a percent and a full percent difference in those fees, so … and you don’t even have to really worry about what it’s in, because you’re just tracking the market.  So that’s the really big difference is we’re not focused on what you are buying.  We’re handling all of that for you in a really, really simple safe way.  What we’re focused on is motivating you to save and invest more money in a way that’s comfortable for you.

Tara:  Yeah, from the moment you told me about this new venture, I was incredibly excited about it, because to me, WorthFM is about empowerment even more than it is about financial returns, although I want those, too.  But mostly, I want to feel empowered with my money, and even, you know, for someone like you, who’s really good at making money, you know, I often feel disempowered when it comes to what to actually do with it.  I feel like I was missing some big piece of financial education, and it’s probably not a matter of feeling like that.  I’m sure that I probably was.  So how is WorthFM going to, or what is your mission with WorthFM to get people feeling that empower?  What are you going to be providing people that’s going to leave them feeling more confident about their money?

Amanda:  You know, I’ll start by just telling you a few stories.  The first is about my friend, Steph, who was married for 17 years and opted out of her investment banking job for nine years after her kids were born and then learned that her husband was living a double life, and not only when he left did he … Was there that horrible shock, but he said he also couldn’t afford to pay child support.  So not only had she not worked, but she was alone to raise boys.  So that’s one example. 

Another is, I won’t use names, but I think of some of my female friends who’ve gotten married and are really unhappy in their situation, but they powerless to change it, so they are … They fell just incredibly stuck in their lives.  For me, it was I bought too big of a house ten years ago, and ended up spending tens of thousands of dollars on windows that drove me into debt and other things that, you know, I really didn’t see coming because I had no consciousness or awareness of savings and connection to money.  So I think when it comes to our mission, you know, I’m using a lot of extreme examples, and this is very much for happily married people as much as not.  It’s really around the sense that life is full of huge curve balls, and more often than not, it’s women who del- … it’s more women than men who have delegated those and end up in really hot water later in life, because they thought they weren’t interested in money, but then found out it’s really interesting.  So I think the mission is really from a gender and socialization standpoint to finally bridge the gap between women and their confidence and their knowledge around money, and so we are … We’re actually measuring in our system what we understand to be both your knowledge and your confidence, because they’re different.  And then taking steps within the way our platform works to increase your confidence by highlighting the things you’re doing really well, and the actions that you take, and your knowledge by literally feeding you in very tiny, tiny bite-sized polls and stuff, and videos, information about your very specific life situation and portfolio.

So we believe that if we can increase women’s confidence and knowledge about saving and investing that we can have an extraordinary impact on her life.

Tara:  Yeah, that reminds me of what you said toward the beginning of the conversation about even just changing your identity personally from being a spender to being a saver, and it sounds like your mission really is to help change women’s identities around how they handle money as well, and to give them concrete tools to be able to do that.

Amanda:  It’s true.  I’m working to reprogram women into power money people, I think.  It sounds a little freaky.

Tara:  I love it though.  I love it.

Amanda:  Yeah, it’s … but at least I’m being clear about what my intentions are, right?

Tara:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  Well, I mean, the name of the podcast is Profit. Power. Pursuit.  So we’re not afraid of these things.

Amanda:  Awesome.

Tara:  Yeah, so, uh, you’ve got a partner on this venture.  Can you tell me about the partnership?

Amanda:  Oh, my God.  Can I tell you about my partner.  So Michelle Smith is a financial advisor who has had 30 years on Wall Street managing money.  She has a firm called Source Financial Advisers, where she has $600 million of other people’s money that she is responsible for safeguarding and managing with them, but what I love about her and the reason why we are introduced is it just so happens that 95% of her clients are affluent women.  And I’ll explain why I differentiate them as affluent in a minute.  So you know, when we talked, we realized that we had both been in this really specialized area of helping women with money, and we knew all the exact same things, but we were doing it from very, very different places, and the reason why I was looking for her was I as … as an entrepreneur, I don’t … I may seem powerful to a lot of people, but I don’t yet have the power to move the mountains I want to move, and so I knew I needed someone really powerful and established from the Wall Street culture to be an investor and partner from me in order to really take things to the next level and be taken seriously. 

And then for her, she was only, because of the way financial advice and advisory and money management has worked for the last who knows, 50, 100 years, is that financial advisers in Wall Street, it’s true, they can only cater to the 1%, because that’s how all the pricing is structured, and if you try to work with folks who only have, say, $100,000 in their retirement account, then you find that because of the way prices work in Wall Street that you don’t actually make any money, and you can’t even afford to pick up the phone and call them, because it’s not … It just doesn’t work in the business.  So she had been looking for me, because she was really … Felt frustrated that she was so bottlenecked into only being able to serve women with over a million dollars, and when I came to her, she was like, “Wow, you’re going to really help me help a lot more women out there.”  And so it was like a perfect partnership.

Tara:  Mm, I love that.  Yay.  So we know WorthFM is kind of what’s on the immediate horizon line for you, but I also know that you’re working on a book.  Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re trying to accomplish with the book?

Amanda:  Oh, for sure.  So the book will actually be published in January 2017.  It’s called Roots and Wings, and I called it Roots and Wings because it’s … My mom always said to me … My mom was always really bizarre in that she never put any rules or restrictions on me.  It was like, “Mom, aren’t you supposed to?  Isn’t that like what moms do to kids?”  And she said now, “I really just believe I need to give you roots and wings and that you’ll figure out the rest,” and in retrospect, I actually think she was right.  It’s … Her idea was that I need to help you build roots, which is you know, security, knowing that you come from a stable place, and then wings, which is the confidence to do whatever you want, and when you give younger children that level of freedom, you know, we end up getting really bruised and knocked around in a lot of life circumstances, I’m sure.  You know, I grew up in downtown Philly, and I’m sure there were, I got into situations, being a child of urban life that were not entirely appropriate for the age, but you know, it really turned me into a tough, strong, independent person, and I’m so grateful to that, so I’m taking that wisdom from her, and I’m turning it into a financial advice book specifically, but really digging deep into the core of where do we get our self-worth from?  Why do women have this self-confidence gap?  Where did that come from?  Is it genetic?  Is it social?  I believe it’s mostly, if not all, social, and cultural, not genetic.  And then you know, roots, in the case of this book, are how to build assets, which is should you have an investment account?  Should you buy a house?  Should you start a business?  There’s so many ways you can build equity in your life, so what’s the cost-benefit analysis of doing one, two, three, or zero of any of them, and then wings is about income and cash flow and having enough money right now to live the life you want.  And it’s everything from what are your four things to what’s a curveball account to should you separate your spending from your sustain to how do you much make as much money as humanly possible in a way that, you know, feels good to you.

So that’s the book.  It’s going to be, you know, a real call to arms for women.  I hope that … My favorite book right now is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me.  It’s actually a book on racism, but I think there’s a lot of interesting parallels between racism and what women have had to encounter over the last 100 years, as we used to be property and now we can finally own it, hallelujah. So I’m really … I keep reading his book over and over again.  It’s a bestseller right now, and then also, just a really intelligent and entertaining financial advice book that doesn’t just tell you to budget, because that’s boring.

Tara:  Amen to that.  Everything I’ve heard about the book so far, I’m incredibly excited about, and I think that, you know, if people are enjoying some of the unconventional wisdom that you’ve shared so far in this interview, that they’re going to enjoy the book as well, and I’m sad that we have to wait a year for it.

Amanda:  I know.  Me, too.  Trust me.  It’s a … It’s a lot of work.  We’re working as hard as we can.

Tara:  I totally understand.  Well, Amanda Steinberg, thank you so much for joining me today.

Amanda:  It is my pleasure, and I hope everyone goes to WorthFM.com and signs up for our wait list so that you can hear about it when it’s ready.

Tara:  Find Amanda Steinberg at DailyWorth.com and WorthFM.com.  Take the free money type quiz to find out how you use money at MoneyType.me.  On the next episode, we’ll sit down with Vanessa VanEdwards, an author, a behavioral investigator, and self-proclaimed recovering awkward person to talk about the profile she uses to better understand her team and her customers and the weirdest experiment she’s ever conducted.

That’s it for this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit.  You can download other episodes of this podcast and subscribe in the iTunes store.  If you enjoy what you heard, we appreciate your reviews and recommendations, because they help us reach as many emerging entrepreneurs as possible.  Our theme song was written by Daniel Peterson, who also edited this episode.  Our audio engineer was Jaime Blake.  This episode was produced by Elizabeth Madariaga.  You can catch up on older episodes in the iTunes store, where new episodes are added every week, and you can learn more by going to CreativeLive.com.

The Promise of the You Economy: It’s Not About You

There’s a bit of a misunderstanding about the promise of the You Economy.

It’s not all about you: your self-worth, your passion, your personal brand.

It’s about your power to create and offer something of lasting value. It’s about your ability to contribute to things that are bigger than yourself. It’s about your access to the machinations of commerce.

My friend Amanda Steinberg, who is also the founder & CEO of the financial education company you simply must subscribe to, wrote recently of the proliferation of personal brands in the wake of the solo entrepreneurship craze.

She describes it–and I squealed when I read this–as a “torrent of social media one-upmanship.” It’s a race for the funkiest website, the hippest photos, the most profound tweets, the cleverest pins, the most raw Facebook updates.

Stand out, or stand down.

And she’s right. It’s a mess.

The You Economy doesn’t promise that you can get paid to be you. It doesn’t guarantee that you can make money & follow your passion.

The You Economy promises that you have the chance to create something that makes others lives meaningfully better.

You can harness your passion, your personality, your pizzazz to realize that imperative but those things are no substitute for stick-to-your-ribs value.

If you’ve found yourself in the one-upmanship game of personal branding or the race to social media stardom, it doesn’t mean your business is doomed. But it does mean you need to stop–today–and evaluate the value your business is creating.

Escape “digiphoria; the cold, joyless comfort of softly glowing screens.”

Venture into the pursuit of something real.

Click to tweet!

What are you pursuing? What keeps you up at night? How does that drive you to serve? To create? To question?

The You Economy has asked you to show up. Not just as you are, but in pursuit of the solution to a problem, the answer to a question, the fulfillment of a desire.

Will you rise to the occasion?