Episode 026

My Journey to Half a Million Dollars

As you grow your business and become more visible, you will almost certainly attract more people who have thoughts and comments about what you’re doing. It feels uncomfortable to be bold and talk about money, but my hope is that by doing so this week, I’ll be able to help you on your business journey.

Throughout my business journey, I have had to overcome various obstacles and unknowns in order to reach the half a million-dollar mark. So this week, I’m sharing the journey I’ve been on and continue to be on in my business and showing you how you can use what I’ve learned on your own business journey.

Join me this week as I’m sharing the five biggest boulders I’ve faced in my business journey, and how to use these lessons in your own. Hear the story of how I knew it was time to leave my career in financial planning and start my own business, and how to decide for yourself whether it is time to do something different in your business.

If you would like to continue working on your relationship with money, I’m running a 4-day money alchemy training at the end of May and I’d love for you to join me. Click here to sign up and be the first to know when I launch the program!

If you want a flash of fresh financial inspiration and actionable tips to rewrite and master your relationship with money every week in your inbox, sign up for my email list! When you sign up, you’ll receive my free Money Mindset workbook that has been known to get people making more, investing more, and having warm, fuzzy, money conversations with their partners. I’ll see you in your inbox!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The reason women still feel as though it isn’t safe to show up, be bold, and be visible.
  • My recommendation for you if you are at a crossroads.
  • The importance of celebrating the things that go right along the way.
  • One of the main reasons I always get support with my business.
  • Why you have to be cognizant of doing the same thing over and over in your business.
  • How your nervous system is going to want to shut you down in times of uncertainty.


Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode #26: My Journey to Half a Million Dollars.

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.

Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast! I am looking forward to celebrating with you today as I share with you my journey to half a million dollars in my business. But before we get there, I want to update my listeners, those of you who have been with me since the beginning, who remember back in December when I launched the podcast that my parents were supposed be visiting me from Los Angeles here in Israel where I live, and because of COVID, they got shut out of the country.

Israel changed their visiting regulations back in December, and overnight, the doors to our country were shuttered, and my parents couldn’t visit. So I flew to Los Angeles in January, I came back, and they scheduled their trip for May. They were supposed to be here today, and it was the fourth time that they rescheduled their flight in the last 11 months, and then a week ago they got COVID.

Thankfully, they’re both feeling great, my dad and my stepmom, both of whom are in their 80s, they’ve taken this amazing drug called Paxlovid, which I understand if you take it at the very, very beginning of being diagnosed, it really, really ameliorates the symptoms of COVID. Thank God they’re doing fine, and we’re looking forward now to seeing them in the middle of June. So we’re all praying that the health situation globally is going to stay stable, and the next visit will be in June. Stay tuned to hear about the visit from the Gray family to Israel.

All right. Back to celebrations about my journey to half a million dollars. I have six big boulders. I’m going to call them boulders. If you’ve heard the metaphor, and most of us have, about “What are you going to put into your vase?” Are you going to put in the big boulders, then the rocks, the littler rocks, and then the gravel, in which case you can get the big things taken care of first?

Or are you going to start by putting in the gravel, then the medium‑sized rocks, and then at the very end of the big boulders, in which case we spend our whole life dealing with the little gravel, and there’s no room left for the big boulders? So on my website I have discussed my journey to $100,000, early on in the podcast I shared how I created $200,000 in my business in 2021.

Today I’m going to share the big boulders of creating a half‑a‑million‑dollar business. The first thing I want to share with you, and this is not one of my boulders, is that I’ve actually been in business for 14 years. I started out as a freelancer 14 years ago in financial planning. I was working with a couple of different colleagues, mentors, in their businesses.

And as I’ve discussed, along my journey working in financial planning, I came to the realization and awareness that people have triggers around money. They have intense emotional responses to money, and then I got my first coaching certification in money coaching seven years ago, and I added that little by little by little to my financial planning process.

And then I wanted to get more skills, so three years ago, I was already certified as an EFT tapping practitioner, and we’ve talked about this on the podcast, but three years ago in February 2019, I enrolled in Margaret Lynch Raniere’s coaching certification program called Tapping Into Wealth. And part of our certification process was coaching with a peer. We had weekly or biweekly peer coaching, we went through the program, we would coach each other, and very, very early on in the training, there was a module on toxic money.

I want to be very clear that I don’t have toxic money like I’ve witnessed with some of my clients in my personal history. I mean, we do have, and I’ve talked about this, the scarcity and deprivation as a family that was chased out of Nazi Germany landing in Los Angeles and having to rebuild our lives. I mean, that’s my grandparents’ story, that’s my parents’ story, and I do believe that it is programmed into my nervous system, it is something that I have worked on, I’ve worked with other professionals on.

And I do know, because of the teeny tiny bit I know about DNA and epigenetics, is that trauma can be wired into your nervous system from as far back as six generations, and I was pretty confident that it was something that I had. I definitely, definitely saw it show up in the way I was interacting with money.

I may have talked about it before, a specific situation where my husband bought a box of grape nuts, which in Israel cost way more than they cost in the United States, and I went ballistic on him. Just all of the sudden my scarcity, whatever it was, the scarcity in my nervous system was triggered and I jumped on him about this silly box of grape nuts.

Anyway, that’s part of my history, not what we’re talking about today, but like the battles around money, battles with family, battles with inheritance, battle over divorce around money, or people really being disempowered, and money being held as a weapon, is not something that I’ve experienced though, that’s not my story.

So I was very kind of curious and open when we got to this module on toxic money, like what are we going to uncover? And it was fascinating because what we did uncover was my staying in the financial planning practice where I was working as a freelancer, that was toxic for me because financial planning is one profession, and thankfully a lot more of the psychology or coaching skills and what we know about money is coming into the financial planning practice, but the things that I was doing in terms of my coaching and my tapping, that was a little bit edgy for financial planning.

And not only that, I was just keeping myself small and holding myself back; I was like, trapped in this financial planning practice with a very wonderful colleague I continue to refer clients or potential clients for, you know, people that I know and reach out to me and know me in that capacity, I continue to refer them to that financial planning company, but for me personally, I was not able to really shine my light, step into my brilliance by remaining in that financial planning practice, and so it was toxic for me. And that’s what I uncovered as part of my coaching certification.

Now, where boulder number one comes into the growth of my business is in that moment, I was very decisive that I have to get out of the financial planning practice, and it’s time for me to open my own business. I had a lot of fears around that, opening my own business, being on my own, not having this referral network, and the colleagues that I had, and dealing with the taxes because my colleague is the one who had been dealing with most of the taxes since then.

I was doing my bookkeeping, expenses, if you are a business owner, then these are things that you’re familiar with, but a lot of the accounting and taxation I had sort of outsourced to the business. So I had to, in that moment, decide that I was cutting ties, and I immediately made an appointment with my accountant and said, “Hey, it’s time for me to open my own business here in Israel. I’m leaving the financial planning, this is what I’m doing,” and I went forward.

And this is something that I’ve talked about on the podcast when we talked about low‑value versus high‑value thought loops, is that we can get stuck in going around and around and around in circles like, “What if maybe it’s not the right time? I don’t know, and maybe I need some more information, maybe I could do it a different way, maybe I should go get five opinions,” right? And that’s very low value. I mean, it’s going to be very specific to the situation, but being in a high‑value thought loop is, “Here is what I think, I’m trusting my gut, I’m trusting my instinct.”

Yeah, there is some information obviously I’m not just jumping 100 percent into the deep end like completely unknown; I knew there were people who were going to value this work. I had enough evidence from my colleagues and what was going on much more globally in the money coaching space and people that I was working with, so I trusted my gut and what I like to say sometimes to my clients is, “Ready, fire, aim.” Right?

Just get ready, fire, go for it, and afterwards we’ll tweak it, and we’ll get the aim right. And that’s what I did. And if you are at a crossroads with your business, my recommendation is just be decisive. Make a decision and go with it, and you can come back and figure out where you need to tweak or adjust things later, and you can get your aim right.

And there are several lovely phrases that we’ve heard about, right, the “Perfect is the enemy of the good. Action is better than inaction.” Whatever statement works for you, I encourage you to be decisive. Make a decision and go with it.

And it was really such a blessing because the moment I stepped into my greatness, into being visible as a money coach, people really did start signing up and they started working with me, and the rest is history. So this evolution of my business that has created half a million dollars started in February 2019, and I’m taking it to the end of April 2022.

Now, what’s fascinating is at the end of April this year, just a week ago, I uncovered an old journal entry that I had written, and I had at that time a goal of creating $250,000 in my business, and I wrote down in my journal, “How the hell am I going to do that? I must be out of my mind, and maybe this is never going to work, and I’ll be a failure.”

And I wrote what I was feeling in my body, that my eyes feel like they want to cry, and my stomach tightens up, and it’s such a beautiful thing to look back three years later where I was and just writing that down was the first step of creating the rest of my business. And that’s really boulder number two is setting a goal.

My goal was $250,000, and I don’t have a timeframe listed there, but my business income has doubled what I wrote down, last year I created $200,000 in my business, and this year I know that I will exceed $250,000; I’m already on track to make $300,000 in my business this year, which is my goal for this year.

So, setting goals, and we’ve talked about this before, setting goals is big boulder number two. You have to know where you’re going, otherwise your brain doesn’t know where it’s going to take you. We want to set our GPS, give ourselves a direction, and point your business in that way. Otherwise you’re just going to continue doing more of the same, and we also know that if you want to create a different result, you have to do something different.

So now we’re going to get to big boulder number three. I’m decisive, I set a goal for my business, number three is always asking myself where my growth is. And this is the process of continually evaluating what’s happening in my business. What’s working, what’s not working, and what do I need to adjust to keep going and growing? And in the summer of 2019, I launched a membership program. It was called Abundance Accelerators, and in that program, I supported ten women in their journey to heal their relationship with money and welcome more abundance into their lives.

Now, near the end of that one‑year period when the membership program was open, I was getting a new inkling, a new gut instinct that I needed to close down the membership program. There was other growth that I needed to have in order to keep growing my business, in order to be the best coach that I wanted to be for my people and how I best wanted to support them, I wanted to refine my skillset and my toolbox of how I serve my clients. So I closed down my membership and I went back to strictly one‑on‑one coaching because that was where I noticed that my growth is.

And for each of us in our business, it’s going to be a very individual situation. I mean, there’s some people who grow businesses just by doing group programs. There’s some people who grow their businesses just by having one‑on‑one programs. There’s some people who do a combination of both of them, and you have to be introspective in your business and decide where the growth is for you. And for me, in the summer of 2020, it was to close down my business and focus exclusively on my one‑on‑one clients.

So the next big boulder that I had in my business is to celebrate. And celebrating is something that we’re not conditioned to do. Right? We might, in school, have a test, we might get 100, or a 90 or 80, whatever, and we’ll maybe go home, and our parents say “Wow, great job,” and even one of my clients said that if she got 100, her father would say, “That’s what we expected of you,” and it was almost like you’re going to have this result, and anything less than this result isn’t worthy of celebration.

And when we’re growing our own businesses, it’s so important, like, our to‑do lists never seem to go away. There’s always more to do, more e‑mails to answer, more advertising, more media, more tweaking, more of our skillset that we need to work on. There’s always something else to do, maybe even a phone call or bookkeeping, accounting. We need to stop and wire in the celebrations into our nervous system. It’s so important. We have to really, really allow ourselves to, if you could see me now, it’s almost just like, reveling in or being in that luxurious space of knowing that we have achieved something remarkable.

Something that so many women and so many business owners haven’t achieved is the growth, every little growth, whether it’s today you put up your website for the first time and hit publish.  Today you sent the tenth e‑mail for your business that you’ve ever sent, and in the beginning the first e‑mail was just, you felt so vulnerable sending it out, but today you’ve already done it for the tenth time, and you are becoming the person who sends a regular e‑mail to your audience.

Wherever you are, if it’s the first thousand dollars, the first hundred thousand dollars, the first million dollars in your business, everything needs to be celebrated, and we want to wire those celebrations into your nervous system, into your body. And you could do a happy dance, you can open up, if it’s a big goal, you can have some champagne. When I launched this podcast, my husband bought me a bottle of champagne, and we celebrated. We’re doing big things. You and I and other entrepreneurs, we’re doing big things and we have to make sure that we have our own back and we’re celebrating our own success. If we’re not going to do it, we can’t wait for other people to do it. So that is big boulder number four, is that you want to be celebrating your success.

And finally, big boulder number five, and I think that this is the biggest boulder overall. And as I’m going over my list here, I was a little confused because I think I said in the beginning that there were six boulders, in the end there were only five, so sorry if I confused you with my math. Anyway, the biggest boulder of all is that I have my own support team for my mindset and for my nervous system. And that’s something that so many of us neglect.

We think that growing a business is all about strategy, strategy, strategy, like how can I write the better social media post? Where am I going to get clients? What’s the next program? What’s the next webinar? And we want to do all of the things. But as I was just talking about in celebration, especially as a woman and as an entrepreneur, it feels very uncomfortable to grow and to be visible and to thrive. And the bigger you grow in your business, the more you need to have a support team.

And what do I mean? If we look at the Millenia, until today, May 2022, it has never been safe to be a bold, visible woman. We can go back to the Bible, back to the very beginning, the story of Abraham and Sarah and when they went down to Egypt, and Abraham had to put Sarah in a box and tell Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister because if Sarah was his wife, the Pharaoh could take Sarah for his own concubine, and we know how that story would have turned out. Also in the Bible, we have the story of Dinah, the raping of Dinah.

These are situations that happened in the Bible, and they’re happening still today in 2022. We can look at what’s going on in the war in Ukraine and what’s happening to the women there when the Russian soldiers march into town. The women there are also getting raped unfortunately. It’s a really sad, horrible, like, heart‑wrenching, heartbreaking situation, and that’s just a part of the war that’s going on. We still have sex trafficking going on in the world.

Women are still physically overpowered by men, and it’s not safe for us almost in any place in the world to show up, to be bold, to be visible. We really feel very much in our bodies that we are at risk. And whether you’re sitting behind a computer and you’re not physically exposing your body, but you’re showing up in a big, bold way on the internet, on social media, your nervous system is going to want to shut you down. And as I said, these things are wired into our nervous system.

We could be carrying trauma from back six generations ago, and I know in my family history, that my mother was raped as a child, and I’m 100 percent positive that that fear of being vulnerable and being visible is wired into my nervous system, and that’s one of the reasons why I get support, because as I grow, as I’m more visible, as I’m more visible about the money that I’m earning, that that will attract more people who have thoughts and comments about what I’m doing. It feels uncomfortable to be bold and to talk about money the way that I talk about it.

So in the beginning, I had my support team with my tapping into wealth coach peers. About nine months into the creation of my new business, I hired a business coach who was business and mindset, and I was working with two different business coaches over the course of that year, six months, and then six months in 2021, I was actually working with a marriage coach.

And that was a beautiful experience because as I grow and change as a business owner, you know husband and wife, we do a dance. We have a dance step that we become familiar with over the course of our marriage. And thank God my marriage is beautiful, my husband Jonathan and I have been married happily for 32 years, but as my dance was shifting and changing, I wanted support to make sure that as my business was growing, my relationship wasn’t suffering. So that’s how I got support.

And just recently at the end of April, I hired a life coach who I’m going to be working with for the next 12 months. And she’s going to be supporting me on a mindset and a nervous system level, me, and my life, like, just focusing on me and my growth, and how I want to make sure that I maintain my work/life balance, and that’s going to be able to support me to grow my business, and to support so many other people with their money story, healing their relationship with money, and helping them to build businesses and to build wealth that’s going to be long‑lasting for them and for future generations.

So let me just recap, my friends. My five big boulders, sorry for that mishap in the beginning, was: Number one is to be decisive. Make a decision, run with it, and then you can come back and evaluate and to see what was working with that decision, what was not working, and where do you want to tweak when you are going forward.

The second step is to ask yourself where is your growth? And it’s sort of like a cousin to the second boulder, but as we grow and we want to move forward, we have to be very cognizant of doing the same thing over and over and over again, in which case we’re going to create the same results, or is it time to do something a little bit different? And that’s the way we’re going to grow.  And in fact, this podcast is a reflection of the fact that I asked myself where my growth was, and I had a podcast launched in December of 2021.

Boulder number three is to set goals for your business. Right? Because if you don’t know where you’re going, which path, you know, where is your growth, your goal is going to help you to choose what’s the growth path for your business.

Number four is to always celebrate all the things that are going right. Of course there are going to be things that aren’t going well. There always are. Nothing is 100 percent perfect all the time, or even any of the time. So we want to remember what is going well, because being in that space of welcoming in the good and celebrating it with a happy dance or a bottle of champagne or whatever it is, that is going to wire in our brain and in our nervous system, that growing a business is safe, that it’s good, that it’s fun, that it’s exciting, like all the stuff. And number five is to get yourself a support team. Again, be introspective. Look at your business, look at your money where you are right now and bring in that question. Ask yourself, “Where is my growth?” And you will know where your growth is.

My decision last month to hire a life coach was really based on the fact that it had been several months since I had been in a one‑on‑one relationship with a coach who was dedicated just to me and my growth, and I was really feeling myself a little bit slipping, and also realizing that I was growing my business that I needed that support for me to get to the next level. My goal that I’m aiming at now is to grow a million-dollar business and to support so many more female entrepreneurs on my journey and to help them to grow big businesses.

And before I wrap up, I don’t think I shared with you how much money I had made, like the exact number that I had made in my business. So when I did my books, and I only did this after finding that journal entry, and then I went back. I kind of knew that I was close to the half‑million‑dollar mark because I do run my numbers every month, but I had never calculated to the penny, so from the first of February 2019 to the end of April 2022, I had created $527,000 in my business.

And I really feel confident as I continue to grow and thrive and aim for my million‑dollar money goal, that I will be able to support so many other female entrepreneurs, and male entrepreneurs, I work with men as well, but on their journey to healing their relationship with money, to earning well and to building wealth.

Thank you so much for tuning in, for celebrating with me today, and for sharing my journey to half a million dollars. If you would like to continue working on your relationship with money, healing your relationship with money, at the end of May, I will be running a four‑day money alchemy training, and I invite you to sign up.

If you go to my website, debbiesassen.com/mindset, you will be signing up for my resource, your money mindset workbook, you will automatically be transferred onto my newsletter, and you will be the first to know when I launch that four‑day program, money alchemy. Thank you again for tuning in and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Bye.

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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