Be willing to invest in yourself. This was especially scary for me, but I had to learn how to invest in myself in order to grow my business to where it is today.
For me, this meant buying books and courses about online marketing and sales, joining a business coaching program, and investing the time and energy required to implement the new skills I was learning.
Each little snippet of information you learn can make a huge impact! If I had tried to figure everything out on my own, I would not have made nearly the same amount of progress.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charlotte Darr.
Charlotte Darr is a money coach and the founder of Save Live Thrive, a money coaching business that helps millennials save money, pay off debt, and achieve their financial goals without sacrificing the things they love in life. She strives to empower others to take control of their personal finances and stop feeling guilty about their relationship with money.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Growing up, I always had a love for music! I was in band all throughout school, was a drum major for my high school marching band, sang in choir, performed in musicals, and somewhere along the way fell in love with opera and classical singing. When it came time to decide what I wanted to major in in college, music was the obvious choice.
I decided to go to school for music education and vocal performance and started working on my college applications.
I always knew that I would be solely responsible for funding my college education. I went to different FASFA info sessions held by my high school guidance counselors and can vividly remember being told that “student loans are a normal way to pay for college.”
This, and many other bad pieces of personal finance advice, led me to blindly finding myself in $78,000 of student debt between primarily student loans, an auto loan, and a small amount of credit card debt by the time I was 21.
About two years before finishing my undergraduate degree was when I sat down and calculated my total debt. I remember being shocked, embarrassed, and slightly panicked about how I was going to graduate with so much debt while entering into a career as a music teacher and opera singer. In that moment, I decided to start learning everything I could about personal finance and how to pay off debt as quickly as possible.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle, or your middle to someone else’s end.” — Tim Hiller
It’s always tempting to start playing the comparison game with those around you, and this idea is incredibly relevant to me as a classically trained musician. In a world where your musical abilities are judged in a 10-minute audition, it’s easy to start comparing your career to people 5, 10, or 15 years ahead of you in their careers.
The same idea is true for me as an online business owner. When I first started working on my money coaching business, I found myself looking at the number of followers and client testimonials of other online businesses that had been around for several years longer than mine.
This quote has helped give me the perspective to focus on my own journey instead of someone else’s.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I love listening to Ruth Soukup’s Do It Scared podcast! This podcast is entirely centered around people that have overcome their fears and gone after their dreams.
Because, let’s be honest, changing careers can be really scary! When I first started seriously thinking about making the career change from music to financial coaching, her podcast was a huge source of inspiration and motivation.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before graduating college, I had a strong suspicion that I would not feel totally satisfied working as an opera singer or music teacher. I already had the chance to work on a couple of small entrepreneurial initiatives before graduating and loved the idea of being my own boss.
Despite these hesitations, I accepted a job as a K-8 elementary music teacher in the day, performed professionally in the evenings and on the weekends, and taught private voice lessons. I mostly enjoyed the work that I was doing but did not feel like my full skill set was being utilized.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
While I was working full time as a musician, I spent as much time as possible learning about personal finance. I started to become the “money expert” in my circle of friends and family and realized that my knowledge was having a positive impact on those around me.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I saw a large number of my musician friends lose their entire sources of income and with no financial backup plan. While I was talking with some friends on how to manage their money after this sudden loss of income, I began blogging about personal finance, and Save Live Thrive was born!
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
About two months after starting my blog, someone reached out to me asking if I worked with people individually on budgeting, saving money, and paying off debt. I knew that people were interested in learning more about personal finance, but this is when the wheels started turning about building a money coaching business.
Then, after my first client finished my 12-week individual money coaching program, and I saw the positive impact that I was making in people’s lives. My client was able to save over $1,500 per month and I was absolutely hooked!
How are things going with this new initiative?
Things are going really well! I have had the opportunity to help dozens of people take control of their personal finances through my money coaching programs and the information I share on social media.
While there always seem like a million things to do each day as a small business owner, I am excited to say that I am now pursuing my designations as an Accredited Financial Counselor and Certified Financial Planner. My goal is to help as many people as possible overcome their financial obstacles and stop feeling guilty about their relationship with money.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
As cheesy at it may sound, my partner, who works in financial services, has been a huge source of support throughout this entire journey.
Like I mentioned before, changing careers is scary for anyone, and especially intimidating when you are switching industries entirely. On the days when I was feeling insecure and thinking “does anyone really want to hear what an opera singer has to say about personal finance?”, his encouragement helped me keep going.
When he knew I was struggling with a particular aspect of my business (online marketing, SEO, etc.), he would send me any helpful information he would find during his down time. It’s really the little ways that people show support that can make a huge impact.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
The most interesting thing that has happened since launching my business is getting to meet so many different incredible people from all over the world! I have virtually met financial coaches and financial planners that live on the other side of the United States, and in other countries like Canada, Germany, and Australia.
It’s been a lot of fun to collaborate with other members of the personal finance community that I would have never met if it weren’t for social media! They say that some of an online business owner’s biggest supporters are the random people they meet online, and it is so true.
The online personal finance community is such a welcoming and supportive place, and I feel so humbled to contribute to it each day.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Every step counts (no matter how small). When you are starting down a new career path or building your own business, there always seem to be a million different things on the to do list each day. With so much to manage at one time, it can be easy to get distracted and not use your time efficiently. Remember that it is better to focus in and do one small, but effective task then waste your time doing ten ineffective tasks. Progress may seem slow at first, but every step you take will get you closer to the big results you are dreaming of.
- Build relationships. Get to know the people in your community! When someone follows you on social media, leaves a comment on your blog, or joins your email list, reach out to that person and say hello. In the online business world, it can become all too easy to forget that your audience is made up of actual people that want to get to know you too. The more time you spend learning about and nurturing your audience, the more value you will be able to provide them, and the more likely they are to stay engaged with your business.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others. I know I referenced this earlier, but it is really that important! When you compare your life to others, you waste so much energy thinking about what someone else is doing instead of focusing on those small, effective steps that you could be taking right now. In the first few weeks after starting my Instagram page, I found myself stuck in the comparison wheel. I would spend time scrolling through other personal finance blogger’s accounts and think “wow, their business is so much bigger than mine, I will never catch up” or “I wish I had as many followers as them.” As soon as I changed this thought process and stopped worrying as much about what other people are doing, I was able to redirect that energy into getting to know my audience and creating the content that suited their needs.
- Surround yourself with people that support you. Entrepreneurship is hard, and it’s important to surround yourself with people that will support and encourage you along the way. When I first started talking about building an online business, I heard a lot of surprising and unsupportive comments from my closest friends and family members: “You really feel like you’re prepared to start a business?” “I don’t think you can actually make money online” “You’ll probably give it up after a few weeks.” It was tough to hear this at first, but I quickly learned who I could and could not rely on when it came to talking about my new business. When you surround yourself with positive people, you are able to maintain a better sense of empowerment and motivation towards your goals. This is critical when you are starting down a new path!
- 5. Be willing to invest in yourself. This was especially scary for me, but I had to learn how to invest in myself in order to grow my business to where it is today. For me, this meant buying books and courses about online marketing and sales, joining a business coaching program, and investing the time and energy required to implement the new skills I was learning. Each little snippet of information you learn can make a huge impact! If I had tried to figure everything out on my own, I would not have made nearly the same amount of progress.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
First things first, I am a huge advocate for therapy. I’ve struggled with anxiety for a few years, but definitely hit a peak after the pandemic started. Personally, I meet with my therapist every other week, and it has been incredibly beneficial in managing my career change, stresses of living in a global pandemic, personal relationships, and more. I can’t even begin to describe how helpful it is to get a fresh perspective and feedback from my therapist each week.
Second, I like to get outside and exercise each day. I’m sure many people can relate to this, but when you are working from home, it can be easy to go 2–3 days without stepping outside! To combat this, I try to make exercise a priority (some days are definitely more successful than others), and enjoy taking a walk around my neighborhood in the afternoons.
Third, I try to pick a scheduled time to read and watch the news each day. I found that, on the days when I was constantly reading every notification that popped up, my mental wellness really took a hit. By picking a “news time” during the day, I am able to strike a better balance of staying well informed and maintaining a positive mindset.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
With my background in education, I would definitely want to make financial education a part of high school curriculum! The earlier people gain financial literacy skills, the sooner they are able to start using their personal finances to their advantage.
Sadly, there is a lot of misinformation out there, which is why I believe it is important that this information be included in school curriculums.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would love to meet Tori Dunlap from Her First $100K! She is an amazing advocate for financial feminism and has made huge ripples in the personal finance community. Not only has she grown an incredible business but has helped over 800,000 women take control of their personal finances.
Definitely one of my biggest inspirations!
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!