Art of Earning, Big Thinking
I’m not the kind of person who wakes up early to exercise.
I’m not the kind of person who is outdoorsy.
I’m not the kind of person who makes a lot of money.
You have a story (probably many) about who you are and what you’re about.
Those 4 were some of mine.
Have a minute? I’d like to share more–but it’s personal.
In January 2016, I hired a personal trainer because I thought I needed someone to hold me accountable for exercising on a regular basis.
I didn’t like the way I felt, the way I looked, or the amount of energy I had. It seemed like a reasonable solution to the problem.
Guess what? I went to the first 2-3 sessions of the package I purchased and didn’t show up for the rest.
In January 2017, I decided I was going to set my alarm for 6am and start the day with a workout.
I’ve massively succeeded. I feel more comfortable in my body, I love the way I look, and I have pretty boundless energy.
The difference? When I hired a trainer, I told myself, “I’m not the kind of person who exercises on her own.”
When I got serious about changing my routine, I told myself, “I am the kind of person who wakes up early to take care of herself.”
And, now I am.
I moved to the coast of Oregon 5 years ago.
Every day, I felt like a “city person” in our small fishing town.
I loved spending time outside in the temperate rain forest, at the beach, or in the state parks. But I looked at Sean’s friends–who would hike up a mountain and then ride their bikes 20 miles on the beach in one weekend–with jealousy.
They were “outdoorsy” people.
When I moved back to PA 2 years ago, I grieved the loss of the wild outdoors. I wanted mountains, beaches, and rivers. But I realized that PA Dutch countryside, deciduous forest, and rail trails were cool too.
We bought a Subaru. We got a bike rack. I bought hiking shoes.
And we used them.
One day Sean said, “I think we’re becoming the kind of people who go hiking & biking every weekend.”
I said, “We already are.”
When I started my business, I set my earning goal at about $30,000.
That’s how much I had been making in my previous job.
After all, the person I am–the interests I have, the skills I have, the way of thinking I have–isn’t the kind of person who makes a lot of money.
Luckily, I met a lot of women (and men) who were exactly the kind of person I knew myself to be (smart, ambitious, values-driven, philosophically-minded…) who were making a lot of money running fabulous businesses.
I changed my mind: I am the kind of person who makes a lot of money.
Not only that, I’m the kind of person who leads a company that makes a lot of money.
And now I do… and now I do.
What I’ve discovered is that, quite often, when I say, “I’m not that kind of person…”
What I mean is that “I wish I was that kind of person. Too bad I’m not.”
What’s more, I’ve discovered that I can be any kind of person I really want to be simply by changing my story and taking action to make it real.
Now, left to my own devices I might have been perfect (dis)content to limit myself to my preconceived notions of who I am and what I’m capable of.
But I make a point to surround myself with savvy, fiercely intelligent, healthy, and happy friends. They’re business owners who are constantly improving themselves, their companies, and their craft.
They’re the members of CoCommercial–an online community of small business owners serious about making waves in the New Economy.
Yesterday, during CoCommercial‘s The New Economy & Your Money virtual conference, I asked our members to consider their money stories.
They shared the “kind of person” they believed themselves to be.
And many, many of them realized that the kind of person they believed themselves to be was only a shadow of who they truly wanted to be.
They realized that by shifting their money stories, their entrepreneurial stories, or their personal stories, they could change the action they took and the reality they lived in.
Think about the reality you’re creating with the stories you’re telling yourself about the person you are.
If you don’t like the “kind of person” you believe yourself to be, take action to change it. When you do differently, you become something new.
When you become something new, it might be the person you’ve been all along.
Interested in surrounding yourself with the kind of business owners who can help YOU make this kind of leap?
Art of Earning
Launching a new product isn’t likely to get you out of a slump.
Neither is having a blow-out sale.
There comes a time in every business when you need to generate revenue — fast. And it could be for any number of reasons — something didn’t play out as you had expected, unforeseen expenses, maybe you had to take some time away…
Your bank account starts looking a little lonely and you need to generate revenue quickly, and without resorting to coupons or deep discounts.
I always encourage my clients to look at their business as a money machine: it has different parts that may need to be added, greased up, or fueled, but once you get it working properly, you should be able to turn on the money machine and generate revenue any time you need to.
How do you reconfigure your business to be a money machine? A few dos and don’ts.
1) DON’T try to launch a new product.
Launching all the time, creating products all the time (even if you’re an idea person like me!), and selling all the time is exhausting. Beyond that, it’s not building a legacy for your business. It doesn’t give your prospects something to remember your business for.
But most importantly, constantly creating new offers doesn’t set you up for making more money in the long run.
Every time you launch a new product or program, you’re only tapping into a very small segment of your potential customer base (the Early Adopters). If you stop there, other customers might trickle in over time but most people won’t even know you have that offer available.
This is a great case study on this very topic by Jeff Goins.
That just puts your business back in the position of needing to generate revenue with another new product. It’s a vicious cycle.
2) DO send a sales email about your best-selling product or service.
Instead of a vicious cycle, your business needs a system for marketing, launching, and selling your best offers over & over again. And when that system also includes products that work together to create more value for your customers and your business than they could alone, it’s a Business Model.
When your business has that kind of system in place, revenue becomes predictable and more consistent. At the very least, you know when it’s coming. Best of all, you’ll find that your offers start to generate more and more revenue each time you enter a sales cycle because your customers are expecting them, planning for them, and eager to buy them.
What’s your No. 1 seller? There are people on your list who haven’t bought this product or service and likely would, if they knew about it. Even when we think “everyone” has bought our main product, there are people you’re connected to who still don’t know it exists.
Sometimes the best way to generate new revenue is to focus on old assets. What could you craft a fresh sales cycle for?
3) DON’T wait until you have the perfect “next big thing.”
I know you: you’re sitting on a great idea. You haven’t figured out how to make the time, find the money, or craft the sales process for that new product or program you have in mind.
Pro tip: don’t.
I’m not saying don’t make the thing, I’m saying don’t make the time. Because more time isn’t going to magically appear in your schedule.
Instead, write down everything you know about the first iteration of this product. Then write down all the reasons your best customers or most engaged audience members need it. Put those things together with a strong pitch and…
4) DO beta test a new product or service with a small group of hand-picked customers.
…present it to a select few you know will dig it.
In Quiet Power Strategy, we call this the Living Room Strategy, and it’s a simple way to test out a new idea on a few of those Early Adopters who will be thrilled to work with you. You’ll generate revenue while doing the work to create the product, instead of waiting for the product to be ready & waiting to get paid.
5) DON’T discount your prices.
It seems to me that whenever entrepreneurs need to generate revenue fast, their first thought is to discount — but really, that’s backward thinking. If you lower your prices, you actually have to sell more to make up the difference.
In addition, discounting, sales, and coupons train your customers not to buy. It tells them that if they just wait long enough, there will be a sale and they can pay less.
6) DO consider raising your prices or adding a bonus.
Instead of discounting, consider if there’s a way you can raise a price or add more value.
There are two ways you can approach raising your prices. If you’re regularly selling something that’s been on the shelf for a while, you can just raise the price to give you a revenue boost.
The other way to tackle this is by giving your customers a heads up on an impending price increase. There’s probably something sitting on your “shelf” that could use a 10–50% bump in price. Craft an email that lets people know the price is going up and they have until a certain date to get the item/program/service at a lower rate.
If you’re not ready to raise prices, you can run a promotion instead of a sale, and add a bonus to entice people to take action. Promotions are very different than sales, but they almost always motivate people nearly as much.
In almost every case, I encourage you to add value instead of subtracting from your price.
7) DO repackage and reposition.
Many times, businesses have several smaller products that can be repackaged as a bundle with more value. In fact, the repackaged product might be a more compelling offer than the individual products.
If you’re a jewelry designer, you might try to package up a necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings. Simple, right? But the result is a greater value than the sum of its parts; it’s now a night-on-the-town kit.
If you’re a health coach, you might try to package a recipe book, coaching program, and one-off session with you. Again, simple. And again, the result is a higher value than the sum of its parts; it’s now the method, the accountability, and the day-to-day information you need to succeed all-in-one.
8) DO reach out and find a collaborator.
You can also bundle your products or services with someone else’s to increase value for both of your audiences.
For example, a yoga studio and a massage therapist could come together and create a package deal to help people de-stress. A handbag designer could pair up with a clothing designer to do trunk shows. A copywriter could pair up with a graphic designer to offer a single price for a finished ebook.
The possibilities are practically endless if you look at what else your customer might need.
The best collaborations often start from very small joint ventures. If there’s someone in your network you’ve been dying to connect and create with, this could be the time to jump on it.
By your powers combined, you could whip up a workshop or small event that will have both of your audiences asking for more. You get the chance to test drive the partnership, your audiences get value that they couldn’t have gotten from either one of you individually, and you generate some revenue to boot.
The trick here is to keep the scope small and the expectations for each party well-defined. That benefits both of you… and your customers.
The truth is, once you get the pieces in place, your business should be able to generate revenue any time you need it. Of course, that doesn’t matter much if the prices you charge don’t support your growth. Enter your email address below to get my FREE “Price for Growth” course:
PRICE YOUR OFFERS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
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Interviews, New Economy
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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.
WorthFM 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.
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.
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.
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.