Episode 082

How to Create Abundance Around Money with Dr. Azi Jankovic (Part 1)

Today is part one of a two-part interview with Dr. Azi Jankovic talking about all things money and business. Dr. Azi Jankovic is on a mission to inspire and guide people to unlock their potential, actualize big visions, and make their greatest impact in the world. She guides entrepreneurs to start and grow impactful businesses while creating more work-life harmony.

Dr. Azi hosts The Inspire by Purpose Podcast and she’s the founder of a new startup called Custom Created Clips, whose mission is to amplify the voices and increase the revenues of purpose-driven businesses. In part one, we’re discussing family-of-origin stories around money, limiting beliefs, beliefs about poor people, rich people, how much you can charge, and a lot more.

Tune in this week to discover the power of money shame, healing your nervous system, and setting revenue goals. Dr. Azi is sharing her tips for setting revenue goals, leveraging time in your business, operating in your zone of genius, and getting started charging for your services as a business owner.

If you want a coach to help you with your nervous system work, so you can change from the inside out and bring a different version of you into the world that’s calmer, more grounded, centered, and calmer, reach out for one-on-one coaching!

There are some changes coming to the podcast and they’ll be hitting your ears in June 2023. Sign up for my email list to learn about what’s coming!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The money beliefs that are stopping you from creating abundance around money.
  • Some of the fears around change that stop people from going after what they really want.
  • What a flexible business startup and growth model is and how it fits into abundance.
  • How to operate from your zone of genius as an entrepreneur.
  • Why bootstrapping your business is the most expensive way to build a business.
  • How to set revenue goals for your business.
  • Why two different belief sets can create different outcomes in business.
  • How to get started charging for what you do as a business owner.


Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode 82.

Welcome to Mastering Money in Midlife, a podcast for midlife women in business to overcome financial anxiety and make more money without burning out or sacrificing their families. Join Certified Life and Money Coach Debbie Sassen, as she shares practical business strategies and mindset shifts that help you dissolve the money blocks that keep you stuck in a cycle of underearning and undersaving, sabotage the growth of your business, and prevent you from building the wealth that you desire.

Well, hello, my friends and welcome back to the podcast. I have for you today an amazing interview with a lovely guest by the name of Dr. Azi Jankovic. Today is actually part one of a two-part interview. We had a lovely interview a couple of weeks ago. We spent so much time together on Zoom, talking about all things money and business, and everything in between, that it was impossible to condense this episode into one podcast episode. So, you’re getting part one today. And part two week.

But before we jump into the podcast, and even before I introduce Dr. Azi to you and tell you a little bit about what we’re going to talk about, I want to do with you a little bit of financial housekeeping. Because as this podcast drops, I am actually in the United States. I recorded this interview a couple of weeks before I flew. And then a few days before I flew, my husband and I were reviewing our financial accounts together.

Because if, God forbid, anything should happen to me while I’m traveling, my husband needs to know how to access all of our money, all of the accounts, where are my pensions, how does he get into my business bank account. There are so many different aspects of our financial life as a couple, and then my financial life as a business owner, and my husband needs to know how to access that in case, God forbid, something happens.

My husband and I are a lovely team. My husband is a scientist, he’s an engineer, he’s actually the Chief Technology Officer at his company. And part of what he does is quality control, and making sure that all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. He is a very detail-oriented person. And I’m the optimist. I’m always thinking everything’s going to be alright, it’s going to work out, don’t worry.

And so, sometimes there is this beautiful, loving tug-of-war between us, where I’m like, “Stop being so detail oriented. Stop making me sit down and do the work.” And then I go have a shower. I know that he’s right, and I sit down and do the work and make sure that he knows how to access all of our financial accounts. Because as the saying goes, “people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”.

And really, I wouldn’t want him to have to go through that really exhausting, emotionally heavy experience of having to look up information and getting accountants and lawyers and notaries, et cetera, to help him out because I was remiss in not making sure that he had access and all the passwords were up to date. And I even added a new pension account to my business last year that I haven’t written down for him, and I have a new business credit card, et cetera, et cetera.

Your financial life, as well as mine, is probably changing from time to time. And you want to make sure that your significant other or anybody who might need to step in your place, an agent who might need to act on your behalf, if you’re not able to do that, you want to make sure that that person has the most up to date information that they can have.

There is a resource on my website, it’s called The ICE Binder, the in case of emergency binder. It’s also sometimes called the family emergency binder. I will put a link to that resource in the show notes. I’ve talked about it before on the podcast. It is the only resource for which I’m an affiliate, because I believe in this resource so, so strongly. That is my financial housekeeping for you today.

Now, let me give you an introduction to Dr. Azi, and what we’re going to be talking about today on the podcast. So, Dr. Azi Jankovic is on a mission to inspire and guide people to unlock their potential, actualize big visions, and make their greatest impact in the world. She guides entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to start and grow impactful businesses while creating more work life harmony.

Azi is the hostess of the Inspired by Purpose podcast, and the founder of a new startup CustomCreatedClips.com, whose mission is to amplify the voices and increase the revenues of purpose-driven businesses. In this half of the interview that as he and I did together, we talk about money, like all things money, also business.

But we start with family of origin stories around money, limiting beliefs about money, beliefs about poor people, beliefs about rich people, beliefs about how much you can charge. We also we also talk about money shame, healing your nervous system, setting revenue goals, leveraging time in your business, and you being in your zone of genius. Why I think that bootstrapping your business is the most expensive way to build a business, and we’ve talked about this on the podcast before.

And finally, how to get started charging for what you do as a business owner. Sit back, enjoy the podcast. It is rich, rich, rich, with value and information. And I want you to make sure that you are getting everything you can out of this episode.

And of course, make sure that you tune in next week, Tuesday, June 13, when part two of this interview is going to drop. If you would like more money resources, and you haven’t yet been on my resource page on my website, I want to make sure that you download my Money Mindset Workbook. DebbieSassen.com/mindset. It will help you uncover the limiting beliefs you have about money that are showing up in your business and in your home life, as well.

So, without further ado, let us jump into today’s part one of the interview with Dr. Azi Jankovic.

Dr. Azi Jankovic: Hey, hey, hey everyone. I’m so excited to be here. This is Dr. Azi Jankovic. Today, I’m speaking with the one and only, Debbie Sassen, who’s a business coach, and money mindset mentor. She’s the host of… Want to share the name your podcast?

Debbie Sassen: Today, it’s Mastering Money in Midlife. But there’s a rebrand going on, so stay tuned.

Azi: That’s so exciting. We have so much exciting content for you and value for you in this episode. We’re going to be airing this on both of our podcasts, for maximum, maximum, value for all of you. And today, we’re talking about how abundance in your business and abundance in your life is possible. And how that can help you in your life, and how that can help you in your business.

So, with nothing further, I’m going to go ahead and introduce myself. I am the host of the Inspired by Purpose podcast. I am also a purpose-based life and business strategist. And I’m founding some new companies, too. So, we’re going to talk about all of that. Debbie?

Debbie: I said, before we started, I just love watching you, and all of the things. You’re like, “Oh, we’re founding some new companies.” Little secrets are coming out of the bag. I’m Debbie Sassen. As you said, I’m a business and money coach for Jewish entrepreneurs. I help my clients create consistent $5,000 – $20,000 months. I have a group coaching program. I’m the founder of Wired for Wealth. It’s a business foundation, or business academy, for entrepreneurs. And I also am the hostess of what is currently called the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast, and a former financial planner. So, I’ve got all of the practical money stuff down pat.

Azi: Unbelievable. I am such an admirer of your work, and this is going to be so exciting. So, we’re going to be getting into three things today. We’re going to be talking about beliefs. We’re going to be speaking about a flexible business startup and growth model, and how that fits into abundance. And then, we’re also going to get into some of the fears around change, in life and in business. Let’s go. Let’s do this.

So, why don’t we go ahead and start off around beliefs. Debbie, can you share with us what are the challenges around creating more abundance, when it comes to beliefs, that you’ve seen with your clients?

Debbie: We all have money beliefs. Most of our beliefs we inherited from our family of origin. And we could talk about inherited traumas, but maybe we’ll do that another time. But they’re like beliefs that live inside our nervous system. But most of us heard messages from our parents around money.

And when we were little and were pretty much blank slates, we downloaded those messages into our mind or subconscious mind, and even into our body. Right? “Money doesn’t grow on trees. Oh, people on the other side of the tracks, they make money, but we don’t make money. We’re spenders, not savers.”

We don’t know how to do money. “Money is complicated. I don’t understand the stock market.” We just have messages, sentences, that live in our minds that we’re not even aware of. That will stop us from believing that more money, more income, even giving more charity, what we call in Hebrew “Tzedakah”, is even possible for us.

I recently did an exercise with the women in my coaching program, and I asked them what are some of their thoughts about rich people. And one thing that came out was, “They’re lucky.” It was just interesting. And when we stop, and we pull back a little bit, and say, “Wait a second, is that true that rich people are lucky?”

Yes, some of them are lucky. Some of them were born into a family, a family with wealth. And you know what? Some other rich people, however you define rich, because that’s also not an objective term. For some people rich is having $100,000 income, and some people it’s having $10,000 in the bank or in their retirement fund. So, it’s also whatever your mind is calculating as rich.

But some people worked from the bottom up. “Oh, but the they had lucky breaks.” But maybe some of them didn’t. It’s just the ones we see in the newspapers and the media, those are the ones that are really front of our mind. And we’re like, “Oh, yeah, they had all the luck. But me, I don’t have all the luck. I don’t have the right connections. I don’t have the right parents. Can’t be for me.”

Azi: I really hear all that. And I want to also add to those list of beliefs, something that I’ve heard, which is money is the root of all evil. That’s a big one. In terms of these beliefs that you’re sharing, why is it not a fact that if I didn’t go to the right college or I didn’t get the right degree or I don’t come from wealth, they don’t have opportunities? Why are those not fact? Why are they beliefs?

Debbie: Well, let’s say there is someone who went to Harvard Business School. So, they have a bunch of connections, right? That is a fact. And if we wasted our time doing research about all the graduates of Harvard Business School, we would probably find some that weren’t so successful in their lives. They just didn’t take the circumstances that they were given in life and create everything from it.

And there were some people who started with nothing. In my personal life experience, for example, I am the direct descendants of Jews who were kicked out of Nazi Germany. They left everything behind. My father’s father was forced to sell his business. They all arrived in Los Angeles with nothing, barely spoke English, didn’t go to the right colleges, for sure. I don’t even know if my grandfather went to college, come to think of it. But if it was, it was not Harvard Business School.

One of my grandfather’s became a bookkeeper; he ended up middle class. And one of my grandfathers started his own company, and he became very, very successful in his business. So, there is fact in my life that that I can see firsthand.

It doesn’t really matter. If you decide that there is more available to you in the world, then it’s your responsibility to, if you want, to figure out how to go and get it.

Azi: Well, I love that story so much, because it clearly illustrates how two different belief sets can create two different outcomes. So, the first person and the second person may have all of the same available resources, background, heritage, all of those things that are existing as a fact in this very moment. And yet, there’s still a choice to look at the facts, and then create change.

Debbie: Correct. Yeah. And something that just came up for me, in terms of beliefs, let’s just go down and get a little bit more granular. People have beliefs around how much they can charge. Like, “I can’t charge that much, or people will never pay my prices. There’s no one in the world who will…” fill in the blanks. And those are, again, just sentences in your mind. Those are not facts.

If we look at what you do in your business, all the different variations. If we look at what I do in my business. There are people in the world who are doing similar things to what you and I are doing, and some are charging less money and some are charging more money, right?

We just choose our prices based on what I call your “financial setpoint”. This is where I feel comfortable, maybe a little bit stretchy, outside of my comfort zone right now. And then, I can continue increasing my prices over time.

Azi: Yeah, I really appreciate that. I mean, I think there’s so many beliefs that I’ve seen come up for my clients, whether they’re starting businesses, or they’re growing businesses, anything. I’ve heard things like, “Well, I’m not a creative person. This is the only thing that I can do. This is my skill set. I don’t, I can’t do other things.”

I hear from people all the time, “Well, I’m not a technical person, so there’s no way that I could set up a complicated website. I need to keep this simple. There’s no way that this business can grow because it’s reached its ceiling.” All kinds of beliefs. And ultimately, from where I’m sitting, it’s so important to become conscious of those beliefs.

One of the things that I like to do in my own life, and I like to guide people through, is sitting in silence and noticing. A lot of people struggle with sitting in silence. It’s no secret that this is one of the hardest things to do. Doing nothing is hard. And why is that? For most people, sitting in silence is hard because of regret. Looking back and thinking of any mistake that has been made. Or any piece of guilt or sorrow brings up a lot of shame.

But if we can accept ourselves for who we are, right now, in this moment, and really relinquished any shame about the past, we can also notice any thoughts that are coming up, whether they’re hopeful, or whether they’re dreadful. And really take an honest inventory of what they are, so that if it serves us, we can then change that.

Debbie: 100%. In fact, I’m just going to dovetail off what you said about shame. I was recently doing some of my own inner work, and my coach asked me, “What are you ashamed about?” Just out of the blue, like that.

And I had this fire rise up inside me from something that happened in my 20s. Okay? We’re talking a few lifetimes ago. It was an invitation for me to go and clear that. And because I have my own tools, because I’ve been doing mind-body work for a long time, I didn’t need to go deeper with a coach. I was really able to clear it on my own, in terms of various breathing techniques and orienting and tapping, and then rewriting and rewriting in my journal, and really just looking in the mirror saying, “I forgive you.”

It took three days, and then it was gone. But I focused on it, and I wasn’t able… Because what you said was, we can just let go what we did when we were our younger selves. And part of me wanted to go straight to, “Oh, Debbie, you were a 20-year-old then, of course, you did that stupid thing when you were 20.” But my body was holding on to it.

So, I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around what was happening in my body. My body was not having any of this. So, I just allowed myself to do it. I did the work. And it’s really, really gone. Maybe it’ll show up again in a year or two years when I do some deeper work. But I’ll just deal with it again.

Azi: It makes a lot of sense to me that this process is holistic; it’s mind, it’s body, it’s psycho-spiritual. I’m curious to hear from you. So, you mentioned a few tools. You mentioned tapping, and you said something about orienting. For anyone who’s not familiar with some of the steps that you mentioned, can you share a little bit more about what those are and how we do them?

Debbie: So, when I orient, I will… And there are different ways to do it. But I’ll just look, take a 90° turn of my head. But basically, you just pan the room, letting your eyes focus on things. It shows your brain that you’re safe. And it lowers the stress response in your nervous system.

Because when you’re stressed about something, or ashamed, your body will go into a trauma response; fight, flight, freeze or fawn. Right? I’ll look at my little roses back there, and then I’ll pan the room the other way. And then it just calms my nervous system down.

Azi: Alright, so let’s all try that.

Debbie: I’ll go back 180°, but really, really super slowly. And just like you said, we’re not used to sitting in silence, because of, it could be regret. It could be because we’re uncomfortable sitting in silence. And the urge to up  and grab for your phone is so strong in 2023, when we’re recording this, that our minds will think there must be something to do. It could be the laundry, it could be the kids, it could be the business, it could be the emails, it could be the phone, let me just go scroll.

Learning to feel our urges and not answer them is very powerful for so many things. It could be an urge to yell at your spouse or your kids, or eat food when you don’t want to really eat food, or the urge to stay in bed when you really want to go and exercise. The urges that are coming up and to then calm them is very, very empowering.

Azi: You know, it’s so interesting, it makes so much sense to me. Because what we know from research is that the number one key to success is the ability to delay gratification.

Debbie: Yes. That’s also in business. I know we’re going to talk about doing things quickly, which may be delayed gratification, because you want all of the accolades right now. But to be able to build something, and to believe in what you’re building, and start and then wait for the returns to show up. It could be three months, or six months, or three years or whatever. But things do take time.

We can, for sure, collapse time, and make it happen more quickly if we’re not afraid of, so much, failure, which I guess we’ll talk about. But yeah, delaying the gratification to having all the results now, and to stay in belief that it’s going to happen, is a huge asset that you can bring with you on your journey to building a business.

Azi: Huge. Let’s talk about the person who comes to us and says, “You know what? I see that success is possible for other people. And I see that other women can become seven-figure business owners. But let’s just be honest, I don’t have what it takes.” This is what they say. They say they don’t have what it takes.

And again, they didn’t go to the right school and they don’t even have money in the bank, so how would that even be possible? They are so clear that that seven-figure business is for her and not for them. What then? How do we shift that belief? How do we shift it?

Debbie: I don’t think you’ve shift it. Again, let’s go back to the shame cycle that I was in a few weeks ago. You don’t shift it top level, like, “Oh, it is available for me.” I mean, you can start with what I call “benevolent brainwash”. All right? You start brainwashing yourself in that maybe you don’t feel like a million-dollar business is possible for you, but you start believing that you’re…

That’s how I work with my clients. First, we’re going to create the consistent $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000. We’ll decide together when is the right time for you to start scaling your business. And you start believing that you’re a $5,000 a month earner today. That’s $60,000 a year. And then, once you start seeing that happen, you’re $10,000 a month earner today.

Your brain doesn’t know the difference between the future and the present, so you start believing it and feeling it in your body. That’s one way to start shifting it. If I believe that I’m a million dollar a year earner today, my brain is going to be like, “What are you talking about? That’s so far out of my reality or my comfort zone.”

Four years ago, I was doing a visualization exercise with one of my peer coaches. We were visualizing, I was visualizing, a $600,000 a year business. And I saw myself pushing away the money. That was part of the visualization, because it was too far out of reality for me. But now, it’s pretty close. So, my brain and my body don’t push that away.

But even before we get there, I just want to know why. Why is someone believing that it’s possible for her and not possible for me? Because there we can find the limiting beliefs, the what I would call “financial traumas.” It could be big T, little T, traumas. But we can find things that your body is holding on to that you’re not letting go of. That’s really stopping you from showing up bigger and bolder, and believing that it’s possible for you.

So, let’s just figure out why. More whys, and what else? And what else? We just see the tip of the iceberg. But let’s just go down under the water and find out what are the other limiting beliefs that are stopping you from believing that a million-dollar business is also possible for you?

Azi: Okay, so I’ve heard a couple of things recently, and one of them was from a product, a product-based business. The entrepreneur owns a business, and she has incredible, incredible products that I’ve used personally. And she said something to me, like, “I want to keep this business small. I really want to keep it small. I just can’t handle having a big business.”

And I heard something from someone else recently, where she was asked, “How is your work going?” And to that question, she answered, “Well, the bank account is really not growing.” And so, in the conversation, her friend replied, “Well, I didn’t ask you about your bank account. I asked you about your work.” She internalized that. And she thought to herself, “You know what? My work is going amazing.” And she said she doesn’t need the financials to go along with that.

So, what I’m hearing in both of those cases, someone who says they don’t want to grow their business, or that the financials don’t matter. Is it, on some level, they’re pushing abundance away?

Debbie: I love that. So yes, and no. First of all, let’s just allow people to build their businesses how they want. But for the first one, they might have a limiting belief, or a belief that says, ‘what does it mean that I can’t handle a bigger business?’ That’s when we have to get curious and be like, “What does that mean?” Does it mean that, “I don’t know how to hire people. I don’t know how to manage people. I don’t know what it would look like. And what the steps are?”

Let’s just pretend that her business, her beautiful product-based business is a $100,000 business. And now she wants to grow it to $200,000 and she’s like, “I can’t handle it.” What? You don’t understand taxes? You don’t understand what that’s going to mean?

When you’re making $200,000, you could do it by doubling your prices, and keeping your sales the same. Or it could be that you have to increase your product line. Or you have to bring in a CEO; maybe you or someone else, who can be a manager of people or production lines or whatever you’re doing.

What are the small steps that are getting in your way? And where is your belief in yourself to be able to handle it? Because she’s also figured out a lot of things to make her successful in what she’s doing today.

Azi: Yeah, absolutely. I really agree with you about the choice that everyone can be the CEO of their own business, that they decide, and if there’s really honesty about what they want, with every fiber of their being, that is great. Some people want to have side businesses, or some people might want to have little businesses.

I think that the issue arises when there’s not necessarily this synchronicity between what they say they want and what they really want. So, you know what’s interesting, Debbie? My background is in education. I’m an educator-turned-entrepreneur. I have three degrees in education. And if there’s one thing that I can impart on myself, or on you or on anyone listening today, is that our greatest asset is our belief in our ability to learn.

So, that anyone, at any point in your business, if someone doesn’t feel capable, they might say something like, “Oh, well, it’s just not who I am.” That needs to be challenged. Because if you’ve ever heard of the growth mindset… A little background on this term “growth mindset”. It was developed by Carol Dweck.

Dr. Carol Dweck was a researcher out of Stanford. She began doing research on children. And she noticed a pattern that many of the very gifted, highly gifted students who tested very highly in their younger years, were actually having trouble later on in school. She brought the students into the lab, and she started giving them impossible problems to solve, very difficult problems.

She found that the students who were confronted with something that looked too difficult or impossible, if they had been told that they were smart, they would not even attempt to do something challenging. Now, why? If you’re listening to this, and you’ve been told you’re smart, and part of your identity is that you’re smart, you’re capable, or you’re brilliant, or whatever you’ve been told, there is a very good chance, if you’re holding yourself back it’s because you don’t want to challenge your identity.

If you were to go ahead and do something challenging or hard, and there’s any risk that you don’t do it right or well, that’s going to challenge your identity, and who you think you are. So, I think that definitely brings us into this idea of failure, fearing failure. And we’re going to get into that, as we go over the systems and the fears next.

But I want to make sure, Debbie, is there anything else you want to share about beliefs before we move into systems?

Debbie: I want to touch on the other example that you that you gave.

Azi: Oh, yes, thank you.

Debbie: “That my business is doing well; I’m helping a lot of people, serving a lot of people. And my bank account is pretty skinny at the moment.” That’s a question of, is she setting revenue goals for her business? This, again, comes back to relationship with money. I have done this work with my own clients, and on myself.

But many women, in particular, have a belief; it’s a sneaky belief. I’ve worked with wealthy women, women who aren’t so wealthy, women in all sorts of different situations. But, “Money is a man’s world. The men understand money. The men know how to deal with money.” And again, it’s some yes, some no.

But it’s interesting, because I did this exercise recently, again, with my clients in Wired for Wealth, and it came up regardless of what their financial situation was at home and in their business today. We’re talking about younger women in their, 20s. We’re talking about older women in their 50s.

Because I would have thought that, for people in their 50s, which is my age bracket for just a few more months. Because God willing, I’ll be 60 in July. That our mothers, our role models, were predominantly teachers, nurses, social workers. That was already like a little bit beyond, it was it was a stretch, but secretaries. My role models, my mother, my stepmother, were not women business owners, go-getters, make a lot of money.

I sort of believe that I’m the first generation of women who was told you can have it all, which is how I ended up working on Wall Street and believing that I was going to be the first partner, female partner, at Goldman Sachs. But then, I decided that’s not what I wanted to do with my life, and moved to Israel. And then, they became a public company, so it never happened.

But it was always in my mind that there was something possible. Women and men need to set revenue goals for your business. If you have a for-profit business, money is the way you’re measuring the financial success of your business. Again, we’re not talking about how many people that you’re serving in the world. I want to help 10 people, I want to help 50 people, that’s beautiful. I don’t want to take that away from you.

But again, you’re in business to make money. That’s what businesses do. Set a revenue goal for your business, and now figure out how you’re going to do it. And if you want to help a lot of people, that’s beautiful. Create a $200,000 business. Which is a little over $100,000 after you pay taxes and maybe some expenses and whatever.

So, it’s really isn’t that much money at the end of the day, once you tab your take-home pay. Let’s just put that out there. Right? It’s just not, it’s just really not a lot of money. I mean, $200,000 of income is a beautiful amount of money. But once everybody gets their fair share of it, and I believe in taking good deductions where you can, and expensing things legally where you can, but it’s not so much money.

Especially for those of us who are in dual tax situations, and we might have to be paying lots of people. But figure out how to make $200,000 in four days a week, and leave a fifth day a week to do pro-bono work and help a lot of people. That’s already giving 20% of your time to charity.

Help all the people who are in need during those times, but take care of your family. Make money, put money away for your kids to get them married, to take care of your retirement, and make sure that you have health care and other medical assistance when you’re 85 or 90 years old, and don’t want to be getting out of a wheelchair or rocking chair to go and make money.

Azi: Yeah, absolutely. It’s interesting that you mentioned this number. And certainly, depending on where you live, and how big your family is, or what your expenses are, $200,000 may not even be able to cover your expenses. All of that being said, I think that one thing I can share with you, that I’ve seen firsthand, is that there are so many different business models where there are lots of ways to contribute to everyone and help everyone at different price points.

So, I’ll give you an example of someone who I really admire. I have incredible role models. One of them is Tara Brach, Dr. Tara Brach is a meditation teacher. Now, she has a podcast that is completely, completely free. And she has meditations that are completely free. And those are listened to by millions of people every week.

Now, she could very well charge for those, or she could even run ads on those. But she makes a conscious choice not to do those things. However, she mentions at the beginning of every episode, “To join my email list, visit TaraBrach.com.” That’s a part of her business model. She could be a volunteer, and that would be fine. And if she’s able to do that great. But if she sets her income goal, and if she needs to fuel her work with money, she has choices.

So, a choice that she might make is to then collect those emails. And she offers all kinds of things, paid meditations, trainings, and retreats, and all kinds of things. What’s so interesting to think about, in the case of someone like her, is that she can then take all of that money and she can have, for example, a producer come in and share that podcast on every platform, and on YouTube, and translate it into different languages, and make books out of them.

And whatever is needed to even reach more people, if she would like to, for free. So, what I want to say is that money provides flexibility and freedom to amplify what you want to do, to help and to serve at any price point.

Debbie: Cosigned. I don’t have anything to say. It’s like, listen, you and I are here on this podcast, both of us are paying to produce our podcasts. And you do it probably in-house. I have a podcast production company who produces it, so I’m taking money that people pay me, I’m passing it on to my podcast production company who does exactly what you say. They put it out on all the platforms and YouTube, and they write up the show notes and things like that. So, 100%.

And people listen to it, and tell me they’ve made changes in their lives, changes in their business, by participating in my free webinars, by listening to my podcast. They’re finding free value. I do believe that if you want to create bigger change, then paying somebody to do it, a coach, a strategist, mentor, or something or other, will help you to accelerate your growth and accelerate your income.

Azi: Certainly, and I can identify with that. Personally, I remember when I was first shifting from educator to entrepreneur. I had this idea that I wanted to be as generous as possible with everything that I ever learned. I started hosting these Zooms where I would guide people through meditations ,and making different personal transformations.

That evolved, and I realized very quickly that even organizing those events and publishing those events took time. And at some point, time becomes an issue, right? We all have the same amount of time. And so, either I can invest my time for free and do what I could do. Or I could bring someone in to help me and I can make things happen more efficiently. If it’s part of that plan.

And so, certainly I’ve learned over time, that bringing in, whether it’s freelancers or employees or whatever it is, can be a really powerful way to divide and conquer. I think that we all need to be honest about taking an inventory. What resources are at my disposal, both time and money? And how am I going to invest those? Which I think is the perfect segue into what we’re talking about next.

Debbie: Okay, well, I’ll just give you my little spiel on that; the time and money. Bootstrapping your business, like doing it all in-house, is the most expensive way to grow your business. Because time is, as you said, we all have the same amount of time. It is the only resource that is nonrenewable. And we don’t know when our time is running out.

So, if you can collapse time and hire someone. Yeah, I know we don’t all have tech backgrounds, and we have the limiting beliefs about, “I can’t do it.” And we need to be lifelong learners, et cetera. And if there’s somebody who’s like really quick with tech, and can take my podcast and figure out how to get it up on my website, and I don’t have to do that, and I can use my zone of genius doing the things that I do? Then we have just made the world more abundant.

Because then, money comes to me serving my people. I pass on money to other people who doing what’s in their zone of genius. And I’ve also collapsed time, because now I get things done much more quickly.

Azi: Sure, sure. And I want to I want to clear something up and offer this idea. You mentioned something that I might be producing my podcasts in-house. And I’ll tell you that when I started doing the podcast, again, I thought it was a hobby. I thought it was me being like benevolent and sharing wisdom with the world.

But I quickly realized, by doing everything myself, a couple of things. Number one, I’m an extremely efficient, discerning person in everything I do. So, I got to the bottom of this podcast production process, and I turned it into an unbelievably efficient process.

Now I record on an app, it automatically uploads to an editor, I have AI editing. A lot of things were boiled down to a very efficient process, which I really appreciate, because now I can have a VA. Someone with a pretty basic skill set, by way of technical producers, that can do this work for me.

So, I think in my own experience, for me, it boils down to this give and take;  how many things in my business do I need to get granular and know everything about? And how many things am I just going to trust? And I think that boils down to the facts, right? How much time and money do you have? And what is your business plan?

And that is why I developed this model, which I call the Flexible Startup and Business Growth Plan.

Debbie: Okay, so tell me about it.

Yes. Okay. I’ll share a story, that when I decided to make the shift from educator to entrepreneur, I had this idea. And the idea was that I would start a website, a platform, and it would sort of solve this problem of “okay, well, if it’s not googleable, and I want to just ask someone, could I then hop online and click a button and have access to the exact person who can give me that information?”

So, it’s kind of like ChatGPT, but the human version, okay? So, this was the idea. And I thought that I knew what I was doing. It was my first venture. I read a really cool book called The Lean Startup. And I believed that I was doing the minimum amount available, in order to launch this business. I learned so many lessons in the process. That was in 2017.

Now, I put that project on hold, and everything that I learned and I realized about that, I then applied to all of the work I’ve done moving forward. So, I want to talk about how I sort of adapted that lean startup idea into this flexible idea. And here’s what it is.

All right, so you’re starting out with time, which is, we all have the same amount of time. And money, which varies according to where you’re at and how much you’re willing to invest. The Flexible Startup Model is one that you take as much as you’re willing to invest in the beginning, and I recommend starting with as little as possible. So, I’ll share a story with you about how to apply this, real world, in a couple minutes, for $0.

Two weeks ago, my daughter announced to me that she’s going to Italy for her 12th grade graduation trip. I was so excited for her. And she mentioned that she would like to get some extra pocket change in order to really enjoy her trip. She was planning on doing some babysitting.

So, I said to her, “Hannah, I think that’s a great idea to get some extra pocket change. And babysitting is so wonderful, and you’re so good at it. And let’s also think about ways that you might be able to double the income that you’re making babysitting.”

We had a conversation, we talked about her different skill sets; she’s a great photographer, and she’s a great organizer. So, we decided, let’s put some feelers out and see if anyone locally might need some organization. “You organize your room to a tee. I know you can do it for someone else.” Okay, great. Let’s do that.

I made a post on Facebook, in a local group. My daughter, Hannah, organized my house. And now, she is going to be opening up her services to a few lucky customers. Bam! She got paying clients; more than double what she was making babysitting.

Now, she started at a price point there was irresistible, it’s lower than the professional organizers in the field. So that that will ensure that her customers will lower their standards a little bit and realize, okay, she’s not a professional organizer, yet. She then has the opportunity to make that customer satisfied.

This is number one here, we want our clients to be satisfied. So, her job is then to go into the home, to do her work, and to really keep her eyes and ears open about how the customer is experiencing that process. How do they feel about the results? Are they satisfied? Do they have any further requests?

Making sure that they are such a raving customer that they will then review her online, share her work to a friend, and her business will then automatically have this very powerful marketing happening; which is word of mouth marketing.

She can collect testimonials and share them, she has all these different ways of growing her business simply by offering something at this irresistible rate, making sure her customers are happy and collecting feedback. Okay. So, that’s it right there. Right? That’s the starting point.

Now, what’s next? She only wants to take on a few at the beginning, because she also wants to get really clear on her process. What’s involved? How many minutes does it take for me to make that post on Facebook? How many minutes does it take for me to follow up with the people interested? What do I do next? Do I collect their phone numbers? Do I collect their emails?

What are the exact steps I’m going through? I’m driving to their house. I’m actually doing the work. This is how I do the work. Every single thing about her process, the time, the routines, and all of it. So that, after she has feedback from a few clients, and she gets a sense for the time and the process that goes on, she can evaluate.

Okay, now I put seven hours into that. I thought it was going to be three for organizing, but it actually turns out to be seven, because I had to go shopping for the supplies. And I had to do the back and forth for the planning. So, I’m going to adjust my price to reflect what I need to make in my business. And now, she has her next offer. Maybe she wants…

Debbie: I did the exact thing with someone yesterday, who was doing something for free. And I said, “Let’s just start with a package of $500. You’ll go ahead and you’ll test it. You’ll see how much time do you really spend doing this. And what’s the feedback? And how many Zoom calls do you really have to have with your clients? Let’s just figure it out.”

But you have to start somewhere. And she can see that $500… because she’s been doing it for free until now, it was a reasonable price. It was a little bit outside her comfort zone, but she could see that there was value.

And I said, “We might find out that you’re spending way more hours than you’re really getting paid when you calculate your time; $40/hour or $20/hour. And then you’ll be like ‘No, I’m not going to do it at that price. And it’s way more valuable to my clients.’” But we have to get started somewhere.

Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode of the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast. I know that that episode was filled with value. If you want to go back and listen to it again and again, I am sure that you will just get deeper and more value out of the episode.

I’m going to put two links in the show notes. The first one is, as I mentioned at the beginning of the show, the link to the family emergency binder. I want to make sure that you are also taking practical steps to make sure the loved ones in your life know how to take care of you and your money, or the family money, in case somebody in the family can’t do it. And people really, really need to know how to manage the money in your absence.

The second resource that is going into the show notes is your Money Mindset Workbook. It is a free resource on my website, DebbieSassen.com/mindset. And this is your invitation to uncover the limiting beliefs that are stopping you from charging more money for the services that you do. For building a bigger business, for building a bigger brand, for taking care of more people through the work that you do, and making a bigger impact.

This interview was all about making an impact in the world. And let’s uncover the limiting beliefs that are standing in your way. I look forward to seeing you next week on the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast, where you will get part two of the interview with Dr. Azi Jankovic. Thank you very much and see you next week. Bye-bye for now.

Thanks for listening to Mastering Money in Midlife. If you want more information on Debbie Sassen or the resources from the podcast, visit MasteringMoneyInMidlife.com.

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