Kumiko Love: “As you grow your business, you get pulled in ten thousand directions. The one thing that should always remain constant is YOU”

Always stay true to who you are. Hold onto your beliefs and values. As you grow your business, you get pulled in ten thousand directions. The one thing that should always remain constant is YOU. As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kumiko Love, The Budget Mom. […]

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Always stay true to who you are. Hold onto your beliefs and values. As you grow your business, you get pulled in ten thousand directions. The one thing that should always remain constant is YOU.

As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kumiko Love, The Budget Mom. After becoming a single mom, Kumiko (Miko) struggled to manage her finances which really bothered her since her professional career was in finance. Miko tried all the budget plans and systems she found available but all of them failed in one way or another. Miko was determined to gain control of her finances so she created her own which helped her pay off $77K in debt in 8 months. Now she empowers women to build a life they love on a budget they can understand and afford which helps them budget their money, pay off debt, save more, and crush any financial goal.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It all started when I graduated college. I was dealing with a lot of negative feelings over my student loan debt on top of credit card debt — I came out feeling kind of lost and alone. There were a lot of nights when I was scared or stressed.

It took me six months to write out my first budget. It was in Excel, and it was probably horribly wrong. I had no idea what I was doing.

It’s funny: I graduated with a finance degree, but my education had to do with corporate finances. I never learned personal finances, either in school or at home — you know, the saving, paying off debt, how to handle my own paychecks. So I spent more than a moth trying to figure that out, searching for answers online. One of the things that frustrated me most was that while online resources told me how to budget and gave me examples, they didn’t answer a burning question: Why? Why are you making the decisions you’re making? What are the emotional, psychological forces driving you to make these choices? I want to know why it’s a good choice and why I should apply it to my own life, and no one ever got me that far.

Then, boom: I got pregnant. It was an unplanned pregnancy, and suddenly, it was no longer about me trying to figure it out. It was a must — I had to figure it out. I was a first-time mom and knew I’d have this itty bitty human being completely dependent upon my decisions. That was very scary for me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

I think one of the most interesting things that has happened to me since running my business full-time is not be prepared for the fear I felt leaving a stable income. For most people, the dream of working for yourself is just that, a dream come true. For me, it came with a lot questions.

I have dreamed of working for myself for years, but as the time got closer to this becoming a reality, the realization of being fully dependent on my business was a fear I was not expecting.

Not only did I have to spend time preparing myself financially, but emotionally as well. You have to believe in yourself 100% and have a true passion for what you are trying to accomplish.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think the great thing about life is that we can often look back at a situation, which at the time seemed completely serious, and laugh at it later. I laugh at myself all the time.

When I first started recording video for Instagram, I had no idea what I was doing. I uploaded one of my first videos, and back then, I didn’t know that Instagram had a “mute sound” button. My volume was turned down on my phone, so when I uploaded my video, it appeared to have no sound. I was doing a video tutorial, a silent tutorial, and I was completing the video, I was singing to myself…outloud. I uploaded the video to Instagram with my captions, only to find out from a reader that I had no clicked the “mute sound’ button.

At the time, my following was too big on Instagram, but a few thousand followers learned that day how bad my singing voice really is.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think one of the things that makes me different is the relationship I have with my followers and readers. I started The Budget Mom to show my real story of what it looked like to use a successful budget in everyday life.

Sharing my real numbers with my readers not only makes me relatable, but it inspires them to make decisions they normally wouldn’t make. It’s important to me that my readers not only know how to make smart financial decisions, but to fully understand the reasons behind WHY they are smart financial decisions.

Sharing my financial journey allows me to do that.

I didn’t just want to be another company. I wanted to be someone that people could reach out to when they were feeling alone on their financial journeys. I wanted them to feel and discover hope, as well as confident in their decisions as they learned how to manage their money successfully.

This is a huge reason why I answer all of my messages and emails personally. It’s my way of showing my readers that I care, and that I am there for them when they feel like they have no one else.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We just launched the physical, shipped edition of my Budget-by-Paycheck Workbook™. Up until this point, The Budget-by-Paycheck Workbook™ has been completely digital, and my readers would print it off at home and put it into a binder themselves. It’s 240 pages and walks people through my entire Budget-by-Paycheck Workbook™ method. If you take 240 pages to a place like Staples, it’ll cost about $80 to print. I have been getting feedback from many readers who didn’t have access to a printer or extra money for ink, and I thought to myself, there has to be an easier, affordable way for me to create physical copies in bulk.

So, I found it! And we launched the new Budget-by-Paycheck Workbook™ on April 1 of this year. It’s been such a huge success — it’s crazy. We sold out by April 4. Now I know that physical copies of the workbook are in high demand, so we’ll issue another shipment in October, and we plan to offer another round of shipments every October.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Always stay true to who you are. Hold onto your beliefs and values. As you grow your business, you get pulled in ten thousand directions. The one thing that should always remain constant is YOU.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Constant communication is a must. Without, there is no team.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. 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?

It took a long time for me to feel comfortable letting go of the control as a business owner. When I share the story of finding my website developer, Grant, I explain it as “finding gold.”

I found Grant on a website called Upwork in a desperate attempt to have some technical issues fixed for my website. I thought he would complete the job, and then I would never speak to him again.

Here we are over a year later, and Grant is still by my side. He has come to my rescue in so many situations, from my first product launch to my launching my second website, and everything in between.

He has acted as my assistant, my graphic designer, and my website coder. He is an employee that wears a lot of hats, and I am lucky I can count on him.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Before The Budget Mom, I was never in a financial situation to give back the way I would have liked. I worked long hours, was a single mom to my son, and ran my business. So having time to volunteer for the causes that were important to me just didn’t happen.

This year, I am so proud to say that a portion of every sale on my website will be going towards charity.

The Budget Mom Gives Back Campaign is something that is a huge part of my heart, and I am excited about all of the work we will be doing.

I have had the chance to work closely with Cybersmile, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness to online bullying and harassment. I have been able to dedicate my time to Spokane Humane Society by volunteering at my local animal shelter every week, as well as sponsoring my first child through Unbound.

I have also been able to help my local community. This year will be my first year sponsoring Spokane Hope, a local non-profit organization that provides early intervention auditory and language therapy to children with hearing loss during the early years of rapid brain development.

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