I honestly just like giving people practical strategies to make enough money to live the happiest, freest, funnest life they can.
Hey rule breaker!
I’ve got a little surprise for you today that’s a bit different from my usual blog post.
In today’s video I’m interviewing Denise Duffield Thomas from LuckyBitch.com. And I’m asking her YOUR burning questions about women, money, and making a full time income from your business.
Haven’t heard of Denise? You’re in for a treat!
Denise is a money mindset mentor for women entrepreneurs. Essentially she helps you to uncover, declutter, and overcome the sneaky mindset programming that’s keeping you stuck so that you can have an outrageously successful life and business.
Denise is the ONLY entrepreneur who I have been following for the past five years (yes, five!) Her books are two of my favorite of all time and is the only ones that I’ve read more than once (I’ve read Get Rich, Lucky B*tch nearly 5 times).
It is truly a full circle moment for me to be able to share this chat with you. In the interview we talk about:
37 Lessons from A Self-Made Millionaire (affiliate link)
Join Denise’s free Money Mindset Workshop APRIL 2018!
Courtney: All right, everyone. Today we have a really special video for you. In fact, this is the first time we’ve ever done a guest invite interview on the blog, and so this is pretty exciting, and I get to share with you Denise Duffield Thomas today, who is a … If you’re not familiar with her, though, I mean, if you’ve been following me for a while, you probably should be by now. But if not, that’s okay. You’re in for a real treat. Denise is a Money Mindset Mentor. Say that three times fast. For-
Denise: I know, right.
Courtney: Yeah. And she runs a program called Money Bootcamp that I’ve been in, she has excellent books, and I have lots of resources for you from Denise. But today what we’re going to do is, I’m going to ask Denise some of your burning questions about the beginning of business, the genesis of your business, and that phase where maybe you’ve been in business for a while and you’re feeling frustrated. And maybe secretly like you want to give up. There might be some money blocks in the way there, huh? So-
Denise: Oh, yeah.
Denise: Absolutely. And that’s a really juicy time. I’ve been there many times, and so I just want to say that right off the bat. And that’s business. There’s going to be some ups and downs and everyone has that fear, and everyone has those moments. There is goodness on the other side of that.
Courtney: You just have to get through it. Just don’t give up.
Denise: Don’t give up. That is really, it’s the consistency, the persistence. Like that’s the only thing because there’s tons of ambitious people out there. You don’t need more intelligent, you don’t need more certificates, you don’t need more ambition or energy, or work harder. It’s, honestly, it’s usually the mindset stuff and just not giving up. That’s it.
Courtney: Absolutely, absolutely. So I know that I found you back in 2012.
Courtney: Yeah. I was just a little baby. Back when you had, were doing a promotion for Get Rich Lucky Bitch. And I had just taken B School, and I downloaded your book, and I was like that sounds funny. I’m going to download that. I heard, and Denise has an awesome video on her blog, I can link to below, as well. Where you talked about changing your brand, and sometimes the gimmicky thing, it catches peoples eyes. I think that totally got me. And I was in a rough place.
I think it might have been, it was a low moment because I technically was an entrepreneur, but I was also working at a coffee shop, and I was living in this like dirty, old studio apartment with my boyfriend, and it was just embarrassing and shameful. And I know that reading your book was a changing moment for me. And so this is a really full circle moment for me now, to be able to be on the other side of that. Have a six-figure business, be doing really well, upgrading all kinds of things in my life. This is my brand new office. It’s actually my first day working here.
Denise: Oh, congratulations.
Courtney: And now I get to share some of that with people who might be feeling like that right now, and they’re not alone. So I know the fact that you have this multi-million dollar business is so exciting, but it can be really intimidating to people who are in that place. Can you take us back to the early days and talk to us a little bit about some of the rough moments you went through and what it was like in the beginning?
Denise: Sure. So six years ago, I was probably exactly where you just talked about. Hubby and I were in a very small apartment. I had this shitty, shitty car that like the ceiling sagged down. I couldn’t put the air con on because it would make like this big squealing noise. But I was running these goal setting workshops, and I would get in my shitty car and go because I had a message and enthusiasm that I wanted to share with people. And I mean, that first year, I also did some work on the side. I did some location scouting for a TV show that was in my town, which is really weird.
But even if you go beyond that, like before that, because a lot of us have our stories, when we really kind of felt like we’ve started our business. But many of us have got like failures, or attempts even further back, and I’ve been attempting to be in business for a long, long time. And I spent probably a good seven years going in and out of jobs, and business, and back again, and that is the worst, too, when you do that because your family are like, “Oh, so you’re going back to work? Or, are you starting another business?” And that’s really hard to get over that.
Courtney: And you feel like a failure and a fraud.
Denise: It’s the worst, and a lot of those practice business I’ve found, people go into areas that they’re not really experts in because they’re too scared to really go for that true calling and true passion. So I did a whole bunch of stuff. Like in 2004, I released an eBook, which was really new at the time, right. You couldn’t just publish your own eBook. I remember finding an eBook publisher, who would do all the payment processing, and stuff like that. And it was internet dating tips for men. And then I started a business called Raw Brides, because I was into raw food and I was getting married. I was like, “I don’t know what to do as a business idea. Why don’t I just mash these things together?”
Courtney: Right. The kind of like superficial niche thing, where it’s like, “I need a niche. I’m going to blend two random things together, and that’ll be the business.”
Denise: Exactly, and some of those things, you’re in a season. Like I see tons of people starting a business around having a baby. Or, something that doesn’t have longevity. But all that stuff is really great experience. And all of that stuff has led you to where you are. And maybe some people listening at the moment, you’re doing your business on the side of a part-time job, and that’s great because you’re starting, you’re in business. And all of those experiences are leading you to the next thing, the next thing, the next thing. So yeah, there’s going to be some embarrassment.
A little bit of shame around, “I’m not really an entrepreneur,” but you kind of got to see beyond where you are. Have one eye where you’re at right now, “This is the action I need to take now,” and one eye to the future of like, “I’m doing this because this is going to be my full-time thing. Or, this is going to be my calling. Or, this is going to support my family.” And even I think six years ago when I was in my little apartment, I was saying to Mark, “I’m going to retire you one day.” And it took years to do that, but now hubby works in the business, and it’s like those things take time.
And I know that people around you don’t always understand. But that’s okay because you’ve got the vision, and you have to be the keeper of the flame of that vision, beyond the temporary awkward conversations you have to have around money, or the temporary embarrassment of your uncle Bob asking you if you’re successful yet. That’s what it’s going to take.
Courtney: Yeah, totally. What kind of money blocks do you think are holding you back, way back then?
Denise: I think it was that feeling of like I have to work really hard to make money.
Denise: So I always, and I see this in people, they discount like easy wins because it’s too obvious. Like I actually resisted becoming a coach, a life coach for a long time because I had this story, that it was like a really wanky profession, like a made up profession. So I resisted doing that. I resisted doing things that were easy for me because I was like, “Oh, that’s not a real job. People-
Courtney: It has to be hard.
Denise: Yeah. It has to be really hard. I actually remember my first year I got paid $500 for a speak at like a government away day, right. And it was like so not my target audience and they were like, “You’re talking about manifesting?” But I remember I got paid $500 for it and that was a massive deal for me.
But I felt really bad about it because my mom, at the time, she was earning that a week, working in like an old peoples’ home, wiping old peoples’ butts, literally. And it was just like, “That doesn’t seem very fair-
Courtney: Like how dare I earn more than my mom, who’s putting all this time, and all this energy, doing just crap stuff, and then-
Denise: Yeah, she’s working for her money.
Courtney: Yeah, totally.
Denise: So I think I see a lot of people hold themselves back from opportunities. Like if you weren’t afraid of easy money, or if you weren’t afraid of making more money than other people in your life, or whatever it is, because we’ve all got our own blocks. You probably … There are opportunities out there that you’re probably not taking advantage of because there’s this thing holding you back, the resistance holding you back. And I know, for me, I could have made $500 doing lots of different speeches, but it was just like, “This feels icky. This feels wrong,” and so I procrastinated, or I slowed my growth in a lot of ways.
Courtney: Do you think that’s necessary? Like I know you talk a lot about incremental upgrades, so that you almost need to ease into like, “Do the one speech, and then I’m not going to do 10 of those. I’m going to do one a quarter, and then I’ll feel more used to it, and then maybe I can do more.”
Denise: Yeah, for sure. I think that it is important to like only take on as much business as you can handle. And sometimes it is slow growth for some of us because the universe is like, “Honey, you ain’t got no customer service people. We can’t send you 5,000 people in your first course. You will die of burnout.”
So sometimes it is like, it is kind of good to go slow and steady. But what the problem is that a lot of people don’t do consistency, so they don’t even grow slow and steady. They stagnate.
Courtney: Yes, and then it becomes these peaks and valleys.
Denise: Yeah, absolutely. And that doesn’t work. You can’t get traction if you go away for three months, and then you come back, and you like write a blog post every day. It’s too much, and it’s not that consistency. And you learn so much from consistency. Like those, my Raw Bride’s business, my Green Detox blog, my Nise’s Movie Reviews business, all those things, they taught me consistency because I went, “I’m going to write a blog post every week no matter what.” And then I refined it. I was like, “I’m not talking about that again. Oh, I’m not talking about that again.” And I just refined.
But if I just sat and waited for the perfect blog post to come to me, that was going to be the thing, that like made my business, I’d still be waiting. Because if you go and look at my Google Analytics, like it’s increased overtime. But it’s been like I’ve never had a time where it’s been like, “Oh,” and suddenly like I’m a millionaire. It’s just been like [inaudible 00:10:46].
Courtney: Do you mind telling for our listeners how many years you have been blogging consistently every week?
Denise: Probably 2009-
Courtney: So like eight. Nine, that’s nine years. I can count.
Denise: Yeah. Yeah. And like I realized after a couple of months, I was like, “I don’t want to write about weddings anymore. I don’t want to write about raw food anymore.” But it didn’t matter. It was the discipline. When I first started my blog under my own name, which was about six years ago, I had … I remember the front page of it, I had like nine little boxes. And they were like all the topics I talked about. And it was like, “Goals and success. Health and vitality. Finding your soul mate.” All these things.
Courtney: And puppies.
Denise: Totally, right. And then I was like, “Oh, I’m not going to talk about soul mates anymore.”
Denise: And then I was like, “Oh, I’m not going to talk about getting a raise at work anymore. I’m going to focus on entrepreneurs.” But you only get that through-
Denise: The action.
Courtney: Yes, and you see over time, what you like. And I did the same thing. I was like, “I want to talk about happiness.” And then happiness was like culture, and food, and travel, and business, and resumes. And then I realized, “Okay. People are getting lost here.” And then you realize what you like and you just keep doing it. You get better and better. It’s like a muscle.
Denise: Absolutely. And then you get traction because then people are like, “Oh, she’s known for that,” instead of being the go-to girl for everything. And then like now, people go, “Oh, Denise. She’s the Money Girl.” Because I’ve had to like force myself over the last couple of years, to be consistent in my message, and just show up every week.
Denise: And some weeks you’re like, “I don’t think anyone’s going to like this,” and that’s the blog post that people love.
Courtney: And they love it, yeah.
Denise: And then, other times, you’re like, “This is going to be a winner,” and it’s crickets. But that’s okay, because there’s another one coming next week, so it’s okay.
Courtney: Right, so no one of them is like the make or break. It’s just do it all the time and it’ll be good, yeah.
Denise: Some people do have those big breaks. For me, it has not been that. It has been trickle, trickle, trickle. But, I mean, it starts to get its own momentum, right. I was just looking at my list size, and I was like, “When I launched my first book, my list size was 1,600 people.”
That was in 2011. Right, when I first launched my first book. The second book I launched, I had 8,000 people. That was in 2013. That was a big jump. But then, I was like, “Now I have a 100,000 people on my list.” And so the list size has gone like this, but it’s like, it’s been through that consistency-
Courtney: It’s because of all the work you did then and it’s all adding up.
Denise: Yeah, it starts to grow its momentum, but at the start, it doesn’t.
Courtney: Yeah, no. And that’s the painful part. I think that’s where a lot of people give up.
Denise: Yeah, they do.
Courtney: So I want to talk about women, and I know you’ve been talking a lot recently about feeling in the last nine months or so, this deep questioning and also calling. And I’ve like absolutely, I resonate with that, and a lot of your audience is resonating with that. I think a lot of our listeners right now are resonating with that.
So I’d like to dive a little bit into why women and what do you think are some of these money blocks, or problems women face in business, in particular, that maybe aren’t being served by the typical messaging and education that we’re getting from men?
Denise: Yeah. Okay, so the thing that I’m hearing a lot from women is, “I’ve got this big calling. I want to change the world in my niche. I want to change health for women. Or, I’m going to change children. Or, whatever.” But a lot of us are feeling that it’s going to come at a cost, a major cost for us.
Because some of us have got kids, we’ve got a family, or daughters, or friends, and we think we want this, but maybe it’s going to lead to me having to be out of my comfort zone, or my boundaries, or it’s going to come at a cost. Because that’s what we’ve seen, right. It’s like to be successful, you have to be working really hard, and you have to screw people over, and you-
Courtney: And you have it all or not, yeah.
Denise: Exactly. And so a lot of women are feeling like, “Well, I have this calling. But actually I want to work less, and have more richness in my life, and like go to the fucking beach occasionally, and like be with my kids, and maybe even have kids.” I’m sure there’s a lot of people in your tribe who haven’t even had kids yet, and they’re like, “I can’t have both. This is going to be horrible.” So-
Courtney: I could never have a child, given like the way that things are going right now. I can’t even support myself. How could I ever do that?
Denise: Exactly. Especially if you’re working 50 million hours. So I think the calling at the moment for us women is, we’re looking at the world how it is, and a lot of us are going, “I don’t agree with what’s happening in the world. I don’t agree with what’s happening politically. I don’t agree with the structures that don’t work for a lot of people. I don’t agree that some countries are rich and some people are poor in those countries.” So we’re seeing this grade inequality, but it feels like to step into that, is going to require every ounce that we have. And it’s going to come at a major cost to us.
And the calling now is for us to find a new way of serving, that doesn’t require that. It doesn’t require to work hard or to give up our ethics, or whatever. And I used to get really angry about what men have done to the world, and I’m like, “They have really screwed it, screwed it up. Like, as leaders, they suck at making the planet good for everyone.” Then I went, “You know what? They’ve created, largely, all of the infrastructure that we have on the planet, right. But they’ve created it with massive gaps.”
And that’s our job to fill those gaps. To come in and to also be powerful around money so we can have, we can make decisions. We have, literally, buying power if we have more money, and we do give more money to other women. We do spent our money in ways that enrich our communities. So we have to kind of use the infrastructure that they have created for us. Including all the tools available to us as entrepreneurs, by the way. And use that to create and shape the world the way we want it. And money shapes the world. Money does impact the world. And we need more of it in the hands of women, like us. Not-
Courtney: Just even develop the skills, if anything. It’s half of the population, and the men are necessary, too.
Denise: They are. I think of even when I started my business. Like we didn’t have Zoom, that we could have had this conversation on.
Courtney: No, Skype. Skype is so buggy.
Denise: Skype. Didn’t have PayPal. Like I was talking to someone the other day, and she said, “I used to have to give my bank account to people and say, can you please deposit this, and then I’ll email you the information, my eBook.”
Denise: We’ve got so much infrastructure. That was largely created by men, and I know there are women in tech fields, and I know there are women inventors, but they’ve created a lot of those structures for us. Now we can use those tools. We don’t have any excuses.
There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. Especially a female entrepreneur, and we can use those tools for good, and we can use those tools to create abundance for ourselves, and our communities, as well. And our families.
Courtney: Awesome. Yeah, that’s great. I think that’s a great pep talk. Because I think sometimes it does come from an angry place, which anger can be useful, absolutely. But in the long run, it’s not sustainable, and we need both halves of our population. Not just one is better than the other, or have some gender wars. And I think I see women who have so much to bring to the table, but they’re hesitating because, like you said, we wonder, “Do I have to give up my family, or relaxing, or going to the beach, in order to create this empire?”
And I don’t think that’s necessary. But I’ve heard you say, “Maybe we need to be our own role models, and that it’s our daughters, and their daughters who are going to be able to embrace that even more, and perfect it over time.”
Denise: Oh, absolutely. So but what I see though a lot of women at the start of their business, they’re making up stories about why they can’t be successful, and sometimes there are internal ones. “I need another certificate. I’m not ready.”
Denise: Sometimes it’s external ones. “Oh, clients wouldn’t pay for that. Or, the economy’s bad-
Courtney: Yes, I get that a lot.
Denise: Yeah, absolutely. And I met someone the other day who’s like the most talented interior designer I’ve ever met. And I hired her house for a shoot, and I said to her, “Do you ever come to my town?” And she goes, “Oh, I decided I’m not going to do it anymore.” I’m like, “Why?” She goes, “People won’t pay.” I’m like, “Oh, yes. They do. They will.” So I see these beautiful, talented women who are holding themselves back.
She might only have to take on one or two clients a year to feel like a success and feel happy, but she’s cut it off completely because she cannot receive money, or she cannot set boundaries, or she cannot just put a value on what she does. So she’s just cut that off, that supply off. And I think it’s not even just what that would impact for her and her family. Her being able to receive money for what she does. Women hire other women. That’s like-
Denise: A future assistant that doesn’t have a job because of that. Or, clients who upgrade their own lives enough to feel confident about going out and doing things in their own lives. Every time a woman embraces her power and money, it has a ripple effect throughout the planet. Even if I think of all the women that I hire in my business, not, I’ve got one full-timer. But contractors, because I’ve got a success enough that I can have a ripple effect-
Courtney: Yeah. Its own economy, that didn’t exist before, and now all these people are employed, and it’s all, it’s a machine. And it can just get-
Denise: It is a machine. And I’ve had people even criticize that. They say, “Oh, it’s like a false economy, all these women hiring each other.” It’s like-
Courtney: That’s so funny, [inaudible 00:20:54]. Well, then what’s the real economy?
Denise: Exactly. Its real money. Its real money that women are earning and spending, and hiring other women, and that’s paying for real stuff in our lives.
Courtney: Yes. It is. [inaudible 00:21:07].
Denise: So we’re smart.
Courtney: [inaudible 00:21:08].
Denise: Yes, we’ve created our own economy. I actually read an article the other day, that women of color are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the States. And I was thinking, and all of this, and anyone who’s a woman of color listening to this, those women are going to want to have business coaches, and VAs, and-
Courtney: There’s a need.
Denise: And bloggers. There’s a need and people want to see people like them-
Courtney: So if anyone needs any business ideas or niches to conquer, you haven’t found your calling yet, there are needs out there. This is a great example of needs that are not being fulfilled. Because I think people often think, “Everything’s been done. Why would anyone hire me?” The fact that people don’t have everything they want, means that there’s a need. So find the people you want to help, and they definitely are going to need something, and that’s how the economy runs.
So I just want to do a couple quick, we’ll try to make these rapid fire, as much as possible. We have a couple of questions from my students. The first I have is from Heidi, so Heidi wants to get a little bit into the nitty gritty. So she says, “I’m curious what numbers Denise tracks in her business and how often.” I’m kind of wondering how that’s changed over time.
Denise: So one daily habit that I’ve had from day one, is I track my income every day. When I was starting out, I would track every transaction, like on a piece of paper. Now I use a spreadsheet, so like if I’m in a launch multiple times a day, I’ll go and look at my PayPal account, and then just update the balance on my spreadsheet.
So that is a non-negotiable, and that is a discipline that has served me very well from that side of my business. Because if I had to write down a zero, I’d be like, “Tomorrow I’m not writing down a freaking zero. I’m going to send out an email. I’m going to create an offer-
Courtney: So like so many zeros you can put up with.
Denise: Absolutely, but if you don’t know, if you’re not tracking that. And actually this month, I was like, “Oh, you know …” And can I just say the numbers? Like this year every month, we’ve done over 200,000 every month. And we’ve had a couple of 250’s. And like a week ago, I was like, “Oh, I hadn’t tracked for a couple of days.” I was like, “Oh, really? Like 50,000 for the month.” Like, “Okay, we need to suck this up.” But that same discipline did the same thing for me when I was like, “Oh, I made $97 today. I wonder if I could make 150 tomorrow?”
So the discipline is the same, the numbers are just different. The only thing I do differently now that I’m much better at is I get monthly reports from my bookkeeper, and I go through all the expenses, and make sure that they’re all okay. I want to upgrade that to be like, “Okay, I really want to look at the expenses. Like where are we spending our money? Was that a useful expenditure for us?” Because I can still be a little bit, like I’m like, “Oh, yeah. That sounds good. Let’s spend it.”
Denise: And I was like that at the start of my business, too. So that’s just a personality trait that I need to watch.
Courtney: Yeah, no. That’s really helpful. I think that answers Heidi’s question. I’m going to pick one more. And the one I’m going to pick here is from Devon. And Devon says, and I know this is kind of a big one, but we’ll try to do it quick. “How do you know when you have limiting beliefs around money? How do I know that I have that? And what is one small daily action you can take to start shifting your mindset towards more?” I think that’s a great way to wrap things up.
Denise: It is. So some people come to my work knowing that there’s something there. They’re like, “I’ve got this resistance and I know I’ve got something that’s stopping me.” Other people come to my work and they go, “I’m just going to have a look and see. Like maybe, she’s got something to teach me.” And I often then get people go, “Oh, my God. I had no idea about these beliefs that I have around money, and these blocks that I have around money.” So the clue is, if you’re human, you probably have blocks. You probably have blocks around money-
Courtney: That fear eliminates my entire audience [inaudible 00:25:00].
Denise: Exactly. If you’re a woman, you probably have even more blocks around money, I’ll be totally honest. If you’re someone who has like a massive heart, and you’re a real nurturer, you probably have some blocks around money. And/or if you’re just not making all the money that you know that you have the potential to make, you have blocks around money. And I make a ton of money. I still have blocks around money that I’m working all the time.
Actually had a session with my kinesiologist yesterday. And we’re still working on the same block that I’ve had for years, which is you have to work really hard to make money. It just comes up in different ways for me now. The numbers are different, the block is the same.
Courtney: The block always finds like the way [inaudible 00:25:38]. There’s always-
Denise: Definitely. So it comes out different ways now. In terms of a small daily action, I think there’s a couple of things you can do. I love anything that’s a pattern interrupter. So I love emotional freedom techniques, as a pattern interrupter. The other thing is you have to surround yourself with people who are open-minded to this conversation. If you’re in industries that collude in keeping people small.
Like, “Oh, did you see what that bitch is charging? Like I can’t … Who does she think she is?” You need to be in … You need to surround yourself with people who are positive around money. And I know, obviously, our Money Boot Camp really helps with that. And I know Courtney, you are a partner of ours, and I’m sure you could tell your tribe all about it.
Courtney: Yep, definitely.
Denise: That’s important because if you have that daily, like example of what can be possible for you, you’re more likely to act in different ways yourself. But if you are colluding with people who are staying stuck, you will justify staying stuck yourself because you’ll be like, “Oh, everyone else is like that’s okay for me to do it, too.” It’s like, “No, you have to see something different for yourself, and you’ll start to believe it.”
Courtney: We’re all … There’s so many of us out there doing this work, so come find us.
Courtney: And yeah, there’s so many women having this conversation. So if you feel like you don’t have that, I promise you are out there. You just have to start kind of dropping hints and we’ll find you.
Denise: Exactly. And Courtney will tell you all about my Money Boot Camp.
Denise: And I know she’s got a ton of links to share. So I would love to see all of you in there. I’m super passionate that all of us, it’s our time to rise together, and to be really, truly powerful around money. And it’s our time.
Courtney: It’s definitely our time. Thank you so much, Denise, for chatting with us today. I know everybody is going to love this so much. And I’ve got lots of great content coming up. I’m going to have so many links below, so there’s plenty of ways to learn more about Denise. And we’ll see you around.
Denise: Okay, thanks, hun. Bye.
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