Episode 127

How to Build Your Business as the Mom of a Large Family

How do you build a business that makes money as the mom of a large family? Many of my clients are building profitable businesses alongside having large families in which they play an important role, and this is something I’ve achieved as well. I’ve distilled this process of creating a profitable business despite your other commitments into five simple points and I’m sharing them with you today.

Even if you have a small family, or no children at all, the lessons in this episode still apply. You’ll always have things going on in your life that take up your time and energy, so listen in this week to learn the ins and outs of building a profitable business when you’ve got other important demands on your time.

Tune in this week to discover how to build your business as the mom of a large family. In this episode, I discuss how to save time by getting clear on your ideal client, show you how to set goals and expectations for your business, and you’ll learn how to create the separation between life and business that is required to make a profit.

If you want to make six or multiple six figures in 2024, my group coaching program Wired for Wealth is just for you. This is my lifetime-access coaching program designed for coaches, creatives, and service providers who want to create consistent high-income months with a small audience. Wired for Wealth is now open for enrollment, so click here for all the details!

If you want more information, please attend my free masterclass: 5 Pricing Myths You Need to Bust to Make More Money and Keep It. It’s happening June 6th 2024, so stay tuned.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How to stop wasting time focusing on the wrong type of client.
  • Why it’s vital to be crystal clear on your values system as an entrepreneur.
  • How to organize your time as a busy mom and entrepreneur.
  • My tips for creating a plan for your marketing and connecting with prospective clients.
  • How to see where your life is encroaching on your business.
  • Ways to make time for your business, as well as the other important things in your life.

Resources

Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode 125.

Welcome to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast. I’m your host, Debbie Sassen. I went from being a financial adviser, author and chronic underearner to building my business to six figures as a financial planner and money mindset coach. And then, on to multiple six figures as a full-time money and business coach.

I help entrepreneurs create money making businesses and build wealth, using sales and money mindset strategies in alignment with authentic Jewish values. Now, let’s dive in to today’s show.

Well, hello, hello, hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. Today, I have a very special episode for you. It is an episode that has been simmering away in my mind for a little while. And, it was finally time to create this episode. I am going to be speaking about my mom on the podcast.

I think I rarely, or if ever, have spoken about her. I have mentioned my dad, and some entrepreneurial things that I’ve learned from my dad. He was an entrepreneur. But I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about my mom. We are just now celebrating her 10th yahrzeit; she died 10 years ago. I am recording this podcast between the English date of her passing and the Hebrew date. She passed away 10 years ago on April 7th, and the Hebrew date is the seventh of the month of Nissan.

I’m already getting a little bit teary as I record this podcast, because 10 years is a long time, and memories are memories. It’s hard sometimes to go back and remember the good times. And even though I sat down and I really thought, I gave it some attention, and wrote down some notes… and who knows if I’ll even look at my notes while I am recording this podcast for you… I felt it was important to give this tribute to my mother.

She’s obviously 50% of my DNA, 50% of my upbringing. And as a money coach and business coach, I know that so much of our relationship with money is created in our formative years. It’s what we witnessed. It’s what we saw. It’s how our parents interacted with money. It’s how our parents interacted with each other around money.

When we’re young we’re blank slates, and we just see what’s going on around us. We witness things. We observe them. For little kids, whatever they observe is the truth, they don’t know any different. They don’t have any filters.

I just know that so much of who I am today around money also has to do with my mom. My mom was a very different personality from my dad. They ended up getting divorced. They were separated when I was in fourth grade, and my dad ultimately remarried when I was in seventh grade. I always say that my dad was the entrepreneur, I take after him. He’s the go getter. I am the go getter.

My mom always called me her peripatetic daughter, because I roamed around the world, went to university on the East Coast after growing up on the West Coast, and I worked in New York and London, and made my way to Israel. And still, and yet, I know that part of the way that I interact with money is from my mom.

So, as part of this series that I’m doing, Mastering the Money Game, this is part three. These are the lessons that I’ve learned from my mom, and I’m going to share them with you right now. The first thing that we have to talk about is really what I observed growing up as a kid. Because as I just said, the way we interact with money comes so much from our family of origin.

The house that I grew up in was… We were middle class; nothing stand out. Nothing fancy. Certainly, the house that I grew up in… We called it “The old house”. There was the “old house” and the “new house”. My dad still lives in the new house after my parents separated. My mom and all of us four kids stayed in the house. And then when my dad, and my stepmom brought her son into the family, we were five kids. So, my mom moved out and my dad moved into the house.

That new house, that new house that we moved into when I was six years old, is still the house that my dad lives in with my stepmom, Diane. They should live and be well to 120, in the new house that’s a little bit not so new anymore, even though it’s been redone, renovated, refurbished, etc. over the years.

But when I was growing up in the old house, that was a more middle class neighborhood. And I just remember things being very simple, very easy, carefree. We played outside on the sidewalk a lot. And I don’t know if I’m remembering it actually, or if I’m remembering it from pictures, but I definitely have in my mind pictures of me playing on the sidewalk and the grass.

Down on the corner there was a lamppost, and we used to play superheroes. My brother, who’s two years older than I am, he was Xander; I guess it was like a Spider-Man. I was Rose Girl, and my younger sister was V for Victory.

That’s where we lived. We played outside a lot. In fact, all of my upbringing, we played outside a lot. I think that life was different then, it was simpler. It was safer for children to play outside. I’m very thankful that I live in Israel, where my kids also grew up playing outside and being on their bicycles.

And of course, the weather’s good. My sister lives in Arizona, and it’s boiling-schomoiling hot in the summer… Hi, Lisa, if you’re listening. That’s my sister. It’s really, really hard to let your kids play outside when it’s 116 outside. I remember visiting her once, and we could not even be outside in her pool after nine o’clock in the morning because it was just too hot.

But I digress; I did not grow up with a pool. Not in the old house and not in the new house, we did not have a pool. As I said, we were more middle class, and it was definitely an upgrade when we moved to the new house. To the house in West L.A. and Brentwood, where my dad still lives.

One thing that I know for sure, is that in the new house… because I was almost six when we moved, so I don’t have a ton of memories from when we’re younger… But I do know that fancy living room furniture, fancy bedroom furniture, fancy dining room furniture, that was never, ever part of my upbringing.

In fact, I don’t even think that we had a dishwasher when I was growing up. I have this vague recollection that when my dad and stepmom got married, that’s when we got a dishwasher. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. We really did have a pretty middle-class, simple upbringing. We would shop at bargain stores. I remember shopping at Sears, that’s where we got a lot of our clothes. Not JC Penney’s, I think that was just a little bit lower grade than Sears, if I’m not mistaken.

My dad’s mom, my grandmother, I remember her taking us shopping at JC Penney’s. But not my mom, we would go to Sears. I definitely remember being very frugal. I would get hand-me-downs from my older brother. I would get his T-shirts, and anything that he grew out of that was suitable for a girl and that I could wear. They definitely went from my older brother to me.

There was not a lot of extra money floating around the house when I was growing up. But I never, ever felt that I was at a loss. I attribute a lot of that to my mom, the way she took care of us. What I do remember most, was we had so much fun. We spent a lot of time outside, as I said, and we had a dog. We used to take our dog, Heidi, into the canyons. In West L.A. there are canyons all over the place.

We would go for trips, I guess mostly on the weekend. We would go on trips with our dog, Heidi, and we would walk. I remember just collecting rocks, and my mom was always so fascinated. We would look at the rocks and see if there were pretty colors and pretty shapes, and if there were crystals. Obviously, not real crystals, not gemstones. But there was a fascination there. There was, number one, being outside.

When we moved to our new house, that’s when my younger brother was born. So, three of us were born in the old house, and then my youngest brother, Jamie, was born when we lived already in the new house. Yeah, we would go out, and we just did a lot of outdoor activities. Of course, that’s not expensive.

I definitely remember when we upgraded my mom’s station wagon. There was an old blue, medium blue, Ford station wagon. And then we upgraded it to a Country Squire that had wood paneling on the sides. So 1970’s, the Country Squire, with the wood paneling and the seats in the back. We still love sitting in those. It wasn’t a fancy car, but it was fine. It was sufficient. It was just enough for us.

We used to spend the time outdoors hiking, walking, and exploring. My mom loved to explore. We would also go to flea markets; that’s an inexpensive place. In England, they’re called “car boot sales”. I learned that from my husband when we got married.

She would just take us to the flea markets. It was a great way to entertain for children. I guess in those days you weren’t worried about kids getting lost, or abducted, God forbid, in large outdoor activities. But we used to just walk up and down the aisles. I don’t know if we had allowance money or birthday money, but I do remember occasionally buying a secondhand stuffed animal from the flea market.

It’s possible that we even sold things so that we had some money. Maybe we put down our own blankets and sold things; I don’t really remember. But it was definitely a way that you can inexpensively entertain a family with four kids, and also give us as children some power and control, responsibility and ownership over money. Because we had to make choices with our money.

That was something that I think a lot of children don’t have. They don’t have that awareness that money has a value, and that you have to make choices. I know that I got an allowance from my daddy. When I think about my money memories, once a week, my dad would give me 20 cents. I remember seeing, and I can see it in my mind’s eye right now as I’m talking to you, four shiny nickels stacked up; and he would hand me those nickels. It wasn’t a lot of money.

And that, I guess, is how I was able to save up enough change to go to the flea market and buy myself some secondhand stuffed animals. I can even see in my mind, there was a faded pink, stuffed, animal toy that I bought. And when you’d shake it, I think it rang a little bit like a bell. But that’s one of the things we did, and we had a lot of fun doing that. I always remember that that was such a fun activity.

Another thing we would do, is we would go to Rancho Park, in West L.A… if you know the area that I’m talking about. All my L.A. people, just say hello, send me an email. Tell me that you remember Rancho Park; a big park. Again, that was a place that we would take our dog, Heidi, and it was an outdoor activity.

My mom was so much fun. She loved sports. When she had been younger, teenager, whatever, she was a swimmer. She was always very, very athletic. She would get out there and throw the football with us. She’d throw balls to our dog, and the dog would go chasing, down the park, and go running after the ball. She was quite the athlete, my mom. They were just so much of my fond memories.

So, it wasn’t a fancy upbringing. It wasn’t a fancy childhood. We would go to summer camp in the summers. There were a couple of summers that I remember that we went away as a family down to Vacation Village, in San Diego. I’ve heard that the name has changed since then. I think my sister and I once Googled it to find out what it was called. But we would go with my mom’s brother and wife and their two kids.

That was my childhood upbringing, and it was always so much fun. We would also go with that family to the amusement park once in a blue moon. We went to Knott’s Berry Farm or Disneyland or Magic Mountain. But it wasn’t an everyday activity.

What I also remember, specifically from my childhood with my mom, is how responsible my mom was with her money. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was learning through osmosis the importance of balancing a checkbook. Because I know that every time my mom wrote a check, every time she went to the bank… and I have memories of going with her to the bank.

I also know that I opened a bank account. I don’t remember if I went on my own or if my mom went with me, but I know that I got that passbook savings account. I loved going to the bank, depositing my money, and watching the numbers grow. It was so much fun. Still is fun, watching numbers grow in my bank account.

But I remember my mom being very fastidious about balancing the checkbooks, and that was such a good life skill that I didn’t even realize that I was learning. I remember when I opened up my first bank account, more like as an adult, when I got a checkbook; probably when I was in college. When I was at Smith I probably got myself my first bank account with a checkbook. It definitely wasn’t when I was a kid and I had that passbook savings account.

But I knew how to balance a checkbook. I knew how much money was in my bank account, how much money I was spending, and how much money was left. This, of course, was in the 70s. I went to college starting in 1981. It was before credit cards became a thing. It was not a commonality to be able to go into debt. The banking structure in the United States changed, and then all over the world it changed, so that you could very, very easily take on debt with a credit card.

Nowadays, it is much harder to manage your money. I mean, now there are apps so you can actually keep track of things, and there are programs like YNAB; I don’t use YNAB. But there are other ways that people do keep track of their money. But it was just so clear to me from observing the way my mom handled money, that you just mark everything down and you know where your money is.

That was very, very [inaudible]. Sorry, that’s in Hebrew, if you don’t know that word. It was just very clear to me that you write everything down, you know how much money you have, and you don’t spend money that you don’t have.

I will also say that as a young girl I was in Girl Scouts. We sold Girl Scout cookies. My mom was also one of those moms who stayed at home; she was a stay-at-home mom. She had trained to be a nurse, but when she was pregnant with my older brother she got very nauseous and could not stand all the smells she was encountering as a nurse, so she just dropped out of nursing school and she became a stay-at-home mom.

She was always very involved in our school activities. I remember her driving that Country Squire with the wood paneling on the side. She would take a bunch of kids and drive us on field trips or down to the beach, or something like that. She was involved in our school activities. And she was such a supporter of mine when it came to selling Girl Scout cookies.

That was important to her, important to support me, important to… It wasn’t, I guess, an entrepreneurial endeavor, but going knocking on doors, I guess that was one of my first introductions to marketing and selling, because I had to go. I mean, it’s easy to sell Girl Scouts, it’s easy to sell cookies, it’s easy to sell a good cause, but still, you have to overcome any embarrassment or fear of rejection or fear of judgment.

My mom had my back from a very young age. So, I kind of think of my dad as my role model for entrepreneurship. But I’m sure it was my mom as well, because she gave me that backbone that I needed so much to develop. And thank you, Mommy, for that. I just kind of realized that right now, while I’m sharing with you the money lessons.

So, we’ve talked about having a simple middle-class life but not feeling in any way deprived. I didn’t feel any lack whatsoever. And learning the skills of being responsible around money. Both in terms of the choices that I could make with my allowance money, and being taken to places where we could spend small amounts of money, like the flea markets. And then, just watching my mom’s habits with balancing her checkbook.

I think that those are very strong foundational skills that children can benefit and thrive so much, if they have them. Now, let’s fast forward a little bit. I want to talk about when my mum and dad were divorced, and my mom lived on her own.

She moved into an apartment not so far from us, and I was able to ride my bicycle to her house… I was a good bicycle rider back in the day. I think I’m still not a bad one, but I prefer hiking… and maybe it was 20 or 30 minutes away. But as a child, I was very active, I guess. I did get a little bit of that athletic side from my mom. My dad is also athletic.

I would ride to my house. She had a piano; I took piano lessons. But I had to ride to my mom’s to practice the piano. So, my piano lessons didn’t last for very long. But when my mom was on her own, each one of us would have a day of the week that we would sleep over at her house and then she would take us to school in the morning.

Some of the things that I remember was, number one, my mom was always, always an avid reader. There were so many books in her house. She loved books. And, she could read them so quickly. In fact, after she passed away, there were so many books, and my sister, God bless her, really was in charge 99% of cleaning out my mom’s house, and she had to deal with all of the books. My mom loved her books, couldn’t give any of them away.

But when we were with her, each one of us on our days, so again, she would take us sometimes to buy food. We’d make food for dinner and for school lunches the next day. We’d go to the supermarket sometimes. Sometimes we would go out to eat, but again, it was never an expensive, fancy meal.

I remember the first time in my family history that we had a fancy, expensive meal, the kids. It was when I graduated from ninth grade, from junior high school. And I think one of my siblings must have been graduating from elementary school. It wasn’t my mom; it was my dad, my stepmom, and the five of us then, who went out for fancy meal.

I think it was my stepbrother who was graduating elementary school the same year that I graduated from junior high, the first time I remember going to a fancy restaurant and getting dressed up to go to the restaurant.

But otherwise we went to the family-friendly restaurants, as kids growing up. So again, we never were big spenders, even when we were with my mom. We would spend time at her house playing board games. I’ve spent hours with my mom playing Scrabble and Rummikub and Triominos and Yahtzee. Yahtzee was an old favorite that I never played with my kids.

But we had good, wholesome family time, one-to-one time, with my mom. And those are really my memories. I think that that’s so important. These days, in 2024, when I’m recording this, we think that our children need to be entertained, they need fancy activities, we need to wow them all the time, and every activity has to be more impressive and better than the next. I just didn’t grow up that way.

It doesn’t need to be part of the relationship that you create with money, and that you create with your children around money, where they’re believing all the time that you have to do something bigger and better than the time before. We can actually sit down with our kids and we can play board games.

My mom also loved jigsaw puzzles. When she passed away there were so many jigsaw puzzles in her house that she’d done, and probably had done them over and over again. There were even a couple of jigsaw puzzles that she had been saving up, that she hadn’t opened up yet, because she so much loved those.

That, I think, she got from her mother, my grandmother. Because my grandmother was also an avid jigsaw puzzler… Is that how you say it? A jigsaw puzzler? I don’t know… She loved to do jigsaw puzzles.

So yeah, I think that’s something that’s really important. And it might be a lost art, in these days where people spend so much time scrolling and they’re on their phones. And rather than connecting and being with each other, they’re all in their own worlds. That’s such a shame. So, I really appreciate that my mom spent the time with us and played with us and played games with us.

She also loved to dance. She would put records on the record player. Do you remember what records and record players are? This was pre music on Spotify. This is pre music on YouTube. This was pre CDs, pre Walkman’s. If you remember, Walkman’s. We had a record player, and my mom would put records on the record player, and we would sing at the top of our lungs and we would dance around her apartment.

That was really so much of our fun. It was just really family oriented, simple, wholesome activities. And that is so much of what I remember growing up. Now, my mom has always, always been very simple in her taste of clothes. In her later years, after she left Los Angeles and moved to Arizona, as a result of the big earthquake that happened there 31 years ago around Northridge, my mom’s apartment was condemned.

She ended up moving to Arizona, where my sister lives still today. She was near my sister. But she was always a simple dresser. Actually, I think I have to ask my sister about that, if she was, if I’m just remembering that. Because at the end of her life, she was in Arizona, she was taking care of dogs. I think one thing that we can say about my mom is that she put her money where her values were.

We’re going to talk about her handbag fetish in a moment. Because that’s where… She was a simple dresser, but she loved fine, leather designer handbags. And she also loved animals, in particular, German Shepherds. When we lived in the new house, we had dogs, we had German Shepherds. But when my mom moved to her apartment there were no pets allowed.

So, when she finally moved to Arizona, and she was able to buy herself a house… Not outside of the Phoenix area, it was probably a 40-45 minute drive to my sister… but she had land and she was able to breed purebred German Shepherds. And that was such an important value to her. I think it was also a lot of animal therapy.

My mom, who grew up in a family of Holocaust survivors… Her parents weren’t actually in the Holocaust per se, they weren’t in labor camps or concentration camps per se, but they did escape from Nazi Germany in 1938 and fled to the United States. My mom was born there in May of 1939. So, she did grow up a child of Holocaust survivors, of sorts, and there was the trauma in her family and other stuff around rebuilding their lives from nothing, to where it came to in the end.

So, my mom, I think, being on her own, being a single woman… She never remarried. She did have some boyfriends at various times, after my parents separated and divorced. But when she was in Arizona, she was definitely alone, isolated… As I said, about 45 minutes from my sister… and she bred animals.

Dogs had always been a love of hers from her childhood. She gave her heart and soul to her German shepherds, to her dogs. I mean, she had what we would call today, a hobby business, because she never made any money in her business. She definitely lost a lot of money in her business, but okay, I think it was cheaper than therapy.

But it was really, really important for her to breed top quality dogs, and she loved them so, so much. It was really something that was so much in her heart, so important. And she loved selling them to people, and having them be so happy with their new dogs. She really hand fed them, and trained them up as much as she could.

I guess you give away your puppies when they’re about eight weeks old, if I’m not mistaken. Don’t ask me, I’m not a dog breeder. But maybe you are. She gave such explicit instructions to people who would buy her dogs. She just loved them so much, the dogs; she didn’t know the people. But she had brought up these puppies since they were born. Also, she took such good care of the moms.

And when people would complain that the puppies weren’t doing what they were supposed to do, in terms of the training, it would infuriate my mom. Because she gave them explicit instructions on how to train the dogs. It would it really frustrate her if people weren’t taking care of the dogs properly.

Something that she told me, and this was right before she passed away. I think it was the last time that I saw her. I went to visit her; it was just two months before she passed away. I happened to have made a visit, Thank God, thank the Good Lord, just at the right time to Arizona.

She said one of the things that she was most proud of was raising these purebred German Shepherds. She gave away many of them to the Seeing Eye’s foundation; I guess in her area, in Arizona. That was also something that I learned from my mom, was the value of giving and the value of caring.

After my parents divorced, she volunteered. She volunteered with underprivileged children. That value has stuck with me very strongly. I guess it harkens back to the Girl Scouts, and supporting the Girl Scouts. And that giving was always a very strong value, in terms of time, energy, and money, that I learned from my mom.

But as I said, she invested a lot of time and energy and money in her German Shepherds, they were very important to her. Because she did that for about 20 years of her life, she really had a capsule wardrobe. She wore the same kind of jeans, the same kind of T-shirts. And in fact, she didn’t like to spend any time or energy thinking about her wardrobe.

If she found a pair of jeans that she liked, she would buy five of them. If she found a Tshirt that she liked, she would buy 10 of them. So, she could just be wearing them, working in them, getting dog hair all over them, sweating in them, getting them dirty, throw them into the laundry, and she would just be able to recycle the same clothes. She would never have to worry about mix-and-match.

You could always find my mom in jeans and a white T-shirt. The white Tshirt could be bleached, so it was never a problem any of her dogs’ muck getting onto her T-shirts. That was the way she lived. And that’s the way I remember.

Also, her shoes, they had to be comfortable. Especially as we age… ask me how… we know our shoes have to be comfortable. But she didn’t invest a lot of time or energy in her wardrobe.

But let me tell you about her handbags. My Mommy, of blessed memory, loved her handbags. It had to be good, fine leather. Like, the best. It had to be a designer handbag. And, the shape was so important. She had an artist’s eye. She was a painter also. And she was a phenomenal piano player.

I mean, she really was like a renaissance woman. We’re talking about her athletic capabilities, her artistic capabilities, she could sing, play the piano, and she cared for the dogs. She was really a renaissance woman in so many ways. She didn’t worry too much about how she was dressed, but her handbags were super-duper important to her. And she had quite a collection of handbags.

When I went to Arizona many, many years ago already, long before she passed away, I guess I mentioned to her about wanting to get a backpack. It was important for me, as a mom of many, that I would be able to carry all of my things in my backpack. That way I could go to the supermarket, and my wallet, water bottle, and the kids’ diapers, and whatever were going to be in my backpack. So, she took me to the Coach store, and she bought me a beautiful leather backpack, that I love to this day.

Recently, when I was in Arizona… this is already a couple of years ago… I wanted to replace my wallet. Because when my mom passed away, I took her wallet. I said she liked handbags; she had a Bally wallet; fine, fine, fine leather. After she passed away I took that, because that was one small thing that I could take back from the United States to Arizona.

It had memories for me. Because I just remember my mom and this wallet, and the checkbook, balancing the checkbook, and this was just so much of who she was. But after I’d been using it for about 7-8 years, after my mom had been using it for however many years, the stitching was already falling apart. So, I told my sister, “Let’s go to Coach.”

I know that my Mommy would like it if I would invest in a wallet from Coach, because she took me there however many years before to buy me a backpack. And so, now I have a new wallet. It’s already almost two years old. It took me, I have to say, nine months after I bought it for me to use it, because I didn’t want to let go of my mom’s wallet. It was just too dear to me, and too important to me.

But I invested, and it’s so much the memories, it’s my mom, it’s who she is, it’s what she represents. And it was her handbags, her purebred German Shepherds. She had an artistic eye, and my mom loved jewelry, like fine jewelry. That was something else that we were always doing. Anytime we were with her, when she and my dad had already divorced, we would just go window shopping in jewelry shops. Look in the window, she’d go in, she’d try things. She would, yeah, here and there, she’d buy something.

But it really wasn’t until after my grandfather passed away, and my mom got an inheritance from my grandfather, that she was finally able to treat herself and to buy herself some fine jewelry. It was really important to her. She loved dressing up in her jeans and her T-shirt, and she had gold jewelry that she absolutely loved and adored. I was fortunate when she passed away that my sister and I, and my two brothers, we split some things.

So, I was able to inherit things. I have a few things from my mom that I was able to bring back with me to Israel, and a few things that I was able to give my daughters; beautiful memories. Her love of fine jewelry was such that there was one time, I guess it happened more than once, that I was speaking to my mom on the phone. I was living here in Israel already. It must be at least 20 years ago already.

I was complaining about my watch. The watch battery wasn’t working, my watch had stopped, and I had to go and get the battery replaced. And she told me, “You’re not getting good batteries in Israel, you’re probably getting those cheap Chinese batteries.” I hope I’m not saying any bad words about anybody.

But it was very important to my mom that I had a good quality watch. So, she bought me a Rolex watch. A secondhand watch, because we don’t have any problem going to flea markets and buying anything secondhand. But she bought me a Rolex watch that doesn’t have a battery. It’s the one of the ones that self winds when you move your arm. Because she wanted me to have a watch that I never, ever had to worry about buying a bad quality battery again.

So, that’s the watch that I wear all the time. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry. If you ever see me in person, I’m not bedecked in jewelry. And even now, as I record this podcast, I’m not wearing my watch, I’m not wearing my wedding rings. If I didn’t have necklaces around my neck… If they weren’t there all the time… I never take them off. I never change them.

I did not inherit my mom’s love of jewelry, but I have my watch. And it’s another thing that reminds me of my mom. It reminds me that she wasn’t a spender on all the things, but she focused on the values. She focused on what was important to her; fine handbags, fine jewelry, fine animals, and that’s where she put her money.

I think that that is such an important lesson in anybody’s life. That we can have the things that we really want and desire. We just can’t have all the things that we want and desire, right? So, choose the things in your life, financially, that are important to you and buy those, invest in those. Again, pace yourself, like my mom paced herself.

We went to the flea market, and I had to learn, from my allowance, how much I could buy and how much I had to wait till later. I don’t think any of the four of us grew up to be spendthrifts. We do have different personalities. Some of us like to have more material goods. Some of us are fine with less material goods.

I’m definitely one of the siblings who is fine with less material goods than some of my siblings. I’m okay with that, and I do attribute a lot of that to my upbringing. It was just not something that was important to me. I’ll also say, I’m just remembering this as I’m closing here, earning a living and earning money was something that my mom, my dad, they put value on that.

I was babysitting my neighbor’s kids from a very young age. I enjoyed the power that I had, the responsibility that that I had. Learning how to make my own money, it was something that my parents let me do. I think they encouraged me to do it, if I’m not mistaken.

I mean, I definitely had a lemonade stand. I took lemons off of our tree that grew in the backyard. I took sugar from the pantry, and the Dixie cups, and made my own lemonade and sold it on the corner. I took the card table out of the house. So, my mom, my dad, they definitely invested, as it were, in my first business ventures.

I think that that was something that they also encouraged. They encouraged us to go out and try things, get jobs. I worked with my cousin; my cousin managed an electronics store. And from the age of 14, I was working in that electronics store in the winter season, the Christmas seasons, and the summer vacations.

My brothers and sisters were also working in ice cream shops and in clothing shops. We were all brought up to be responsible and get summer jobs. We were not brought up to believe that our parents would give us everything. And that was an important value I’m so grateful that I received from my mom, from my dad, from my upbringing.

Then I was able to give over to my children. Because we also made them, my husband and I, both made them, encouraged them to be entrepreneurs from a young age. I really need to thank my Mom, of blessed memory, and my Dad, for just being such sensible role models around money.

I don’t remember my parents ever fighting about money. My dad is still, to this day, a great couponer. When you’re raising a family with four kids, or five kids… after he remarried there were five of us… just being smart and sensible around money was something that my parents always, always taught us. I have so much gratitude to them for giving us those beautiful life messages.

So, let’s just recap the things that I learned from my mom. Number one is, that I think we just didn’t spend more than we earned. We lived simply. We were fine being middle class. We were entertained as kids, number one, by being outside, which, I think, is just the best; on your bicycle, run around the neighborhood.

We used to walk to the park together, my brother, sister and I. We used to create in our heads so many games. That role playing that kids do, and the superheroes, that creativity that comes out because we were just able to be loose on the streets. Back in the day it wasn’t dangerous. I don’t know what it’s like now.

There are definitely a lot of homeless people in Los Angeles, in the neighborhood where I grew up, or nearby, and some kids might be frightened by that. I definitely go walking around the neighborhood that I grew up in when I go back to visit my dad… But simple, wholesome pleasure. Doing a lot of walking, and doing a lot of physical activity, and being outdoors in nature are just such beautiful lessons.

And then, there’s no shame in buying anything secondhand. No shame in buying at discount stores, or the lower price department stores. There were various levels of department stores that we went to. But we always grew up going to the lower price shops. My mom did enjoy window shopping, whether it was a jewelry store…

Or we’d go into Beverly Hills and stroll along Rodeo Drive, some of the fancier shops. She did have that; she did have that appreciation of finer things in her DNA. She just enjoyed it, the jewelry, the handbags. And she put her money towards the things that mattered to her.

Not to the furniture in her house. We also, my sister and I, just laughed and made so many jokes about the furniture in my mom’s house. First of all, there was dog hair that was all over it. I think the furniture had been with her for 30 or 40 years when she passed away.

It wasn’t even worthy of giving away to anybody. I think it just went right into a garbage heap, a garbage dump, because it was just too old. My mom didn’t invest in furniture, it just wasn’t important to her. But her dogs were, her handbags were, and her jewelry was.

I want to thank you for listening in to this podcast episode. It was just so beautiful for me to be able to share with you on the 10 year commemoration of my mother’s passing, to share with you some of the money lessons that I learned from her growing up. I want you to think about the lessons that you learned from your parents growing up.

We all learned the positive things and the negative things. And certainly when it comes to money, we were sponges in our parents’ house. Our family of origin is so impactful in how we see money and view money today.

And I know that, even if you don’t know, that whatever you witnessed and heard and observed growing up, it’s affecting you and your relationship with money. So, being able to do this walk through memory lane for me, and just being nostalgic, I just feel so much more grounded and strong that I had a beautiful, solid upbringing. That my parents, my mom, as I’m remembering now, was just so responsible about knowing where her pennies were, in balancing her checkbooks.

If those weren’t the gifts that you got from your parents, it’s okay because you can change your money story now. You can rewrite your story and become, if you’re not as responsible, if you’re not as on-the-ball, if you don’t know what’s going on in your bank accounts, it’s okay because you can start right now.

Just checking in with your bank accounts, and learning what you need to learn, so that you can become a much better master of money, and you can master the money game.

Alright my friends, thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you for letting me share with you some little snippets of my mom and my childhood. I look forward to seeing on the podcast next week. Bye.

Thanks for listening to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast. If you want to stop underselling and underearning and close more sales, you need to clear the limiting money beliefs that are sabotaging your business growth.

Head on over to DebbieSassen.com/mindset and download my free Money Mindset Workbook. Uncover and dissolve money blocks, like hundreds of other entrepreneurs who are now building six-, multi-six-, and seven-figure businesses and creating true financial freedom.

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