Get your finances in order. Things can get out of whack when we’re focusing on growing a business, especially our finances. If you’re someone who doesn’t know how to budget or is afraid to look at your money, this can wreak havoc on your business’s success and long-term profitability. Take the time to scope out a good accountant, financial advisor, and other means of personal support when managing your finances. Setting the foundation and creating positive behavioral patterns will save you costly mistakes and money in the future. Over time, you will understand the flow of your money and implement better systems that won’t put you in emotional overdrive.
Being a founder, entrepreneur, or business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How to Successfully Ride the Emotional Highs & Lows of Being an Entrepreneur,” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Morgan Blackman.
Morgan is a Do-It-Yourself Investor who started her wealth coaching company, Holistic Bucks, to bridge the gap between finance and wellness. Her passion is to help millennial women who tend to overspend and avoid their finances become financially secure and gain the complete confidence to live an abundant and limitless lifestyle. Her unique methodology of blending a magnetic money mindset with results-driven income-generating strategies allows women to finally learn how to have their hard-earned money work for them by investing and building generational wealth.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better before we dive in. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started? What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
I started investing at 22 when I was in my third year at University, and I never knew that I would have seen the amount of financial success that I’ve seen today. Over the past four years, I have seen an average annual R.O.I. of 36%. Unlike most wealth coaches who maybe started with restructuring their finances from the ground up — budgeting and saving — mine started with investing and then working my way backward. I realized that with investing, I needed to find ways to keep adding to my investments, and so I had to get the rest of my finances in order.
Over the past four years, I paid off all my debts, built up emergency savings, and built a net worth close to an average year’s salary. Most people my age usually don’t have it together in their finances or lack the confidence to make their own financial decisions. So, I wanted to empower other millennial women to make a change and show them that they could too if I could do it. I started an educational Instagram account last March 2020 and eventually started taking on clients by mid to late summer.
In your opinion, were you a natural-born entrepreneur, or did you develop that aptitude later? Can you explain what you mean?
My father has been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember, and I always remember him saying he never wanted to work under anyone. To this day, he still prides himself on juggling being a part-time accountant and real estate agent within the Greater Toronto Area. The freedom he has in creating his schedule and deciding how many clients he wants to take on was and still always is expressed in our household.
I always admired his ability to do what he does, but it also looked incredibly stressful as a young girl. As someone who grew up shy, I did not want to constantly put myself out there and interact with people like he did in meetings or on the phone. I was the girl locked away in her room reading books or listening to music — always avoiding being the center of attention and compromising my privacy.
This anxiety started to shift when I became more financially savvy around my college years and understood the power of being my own boss. I came back full circle and realized that I wanted to create something that allowed me to create lasting change in people’s lives. It wasn’t about having to constantly show up anymore or interact with people — as introverted as I was — but more about being of service to others and making a substantial living while doing so. The freedom to create my schedule, embrace a healthier lifestyle and take on aligned clients who make my work even more meaningful is how I could adapt and see the positives of becoming a fully-fledged entrepreneur.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
As weird as it is to say — the death of George Floyd inspired me. I was unhappy in my 9–5 job last year, and I just knew I wanted to make the shift into finance. I kept getting rejected for jobs, and I didn’t want to have to go back to school just to help others develop a more profound and healthier relationship with their money.
When George Floyd’s death and the race riots started happening, as a black woman, it reaffirmed for me why I didn’t want to work for corporate white America anymore — and for the rest of my life, to be frank. I didn’t want to be in an industry that prides itself on toxic hustle culture and office politics. I also didn’t want someone telling me what I would have to sell to my clients or how I was supposed to help them. I wanted to provide a genuine and authentic service to what my clients truly needed, and that allowed me to guide in a way that would be best — no strings attached.
I realized that what I was looking for in terms of a career in finance didn’t yet exist and that I had to be the one to start it. In reaction to this lack of opportunity is where my idea to begin finance coaching came about. I started an Instagram account educating people on their finances in March, and then by May decided to invest in a business coach to get my business off the ground and signed my first four clients.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Holistic Bucks started because I realized that many finance gurus out there — like the Dave Ramsey’s and Suze Orman’s of the world — rarely talk about money from a holistic and trauma-informed perspective. I always hear finance experts talk about these rigid 50/30/20 budget rules and taking advantage of matching your 401k. Still, nobody ever talks about why people who mismanage their money and struggle with their finances operate that way in the first place.
What about communities of color that have deep-rooted traumas around money and have to undergo systematic racial oppression? Who conditioned us into adapting certain limiting beliefs around money? What solutions can we provide from a mental health angle to ensure people can reduce their anxieties and stress around their finances? These are the questions that need answering, but nobody is asking. I realized that there was a strong need for someone to bridge the gap between wellness and finance and not just tell people what to do with their money but figure out why they’re even making poor financial decisions in the first place. Any change we want to see starts with us, and we don’t place enough importance on helping people make lasting behavioral changes, not only in their finances but also through the other important areas of their life.
The finance space is also heavily Caucasian and lacking any fair representation of women. Being a black woman, I rarely come across other black women in this space and not to mention being celebrated the way these other non-BIPOC women and male experts in the industry are. My company stands out because, for the first time, a black woman is talking about money and from a holistic perspective that speaks to BIPOC communities and our collective trauma.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
If I were to choose three character traits that were instrumental to my success, it would be that I am bold, ambitious, and caring. I believe I am bold because many times when starting a business, fears will come up. Constantly questioning whether you are worthy enough of teaching others, if others will ever take you seriously etc., are some common doubts entrepreneurs have when starting a new venture. To take a calculated risk despite any fears is bold because many people never go after what they want. They allow their fears and doubts to hold them back.
I also believe I am ambitious because I am constantly envisioning my future and strategizing what I need to do now to ensure I get there — and I always get there. Then, of course, a trait that’s not as badass as the others but has to be the most important is the ability to be caring. I care a heck of a lot about what I do and the lives I’m able to transform, and because I care so much about the state of the world and people’s relationships towards money, it keeps me motivated when I feel like giving up. If there is ever a time I feel like giving up, or I start doubting myself, I focus on all the significant progress I’ve made already, the benefits of being my own boss, and all the clients who will continue to benefit from my coaching.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about the advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
I don’t think I can remember any particular advice, but I do remember a guy I was dating tell me that most people don’t like their jobs and that I shouldn’t have quit my job so early to focus on my growing business. I find it ridiculous to tell someone to stay in something that energetically drains them and makes them miserable just for a paycheque and because of a “that’s just how it’s always going to be” type of thinking. I decided to hand in my resignation letter a month later because I would freeze at work and couldn’t get anything done. It was either sacrificing my mental health and going insane or putting 110% into my business that I love and know that the money will come when I’m doing something from that place.
I did have emergency savings to cover six months of expenses, which made me feel more comfortable leaping out into self-employment. However, I always encourage my clients to do something they love because no matter how much money you make — 20, 30, 40 years from now — it won’t mean a thing if you’re not happy with what you do. And, if you can’t find something that you’re happy doing, then that’s just because you haven’t created it yet.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
On a smaller scale, I recommend sharing productivity hacks that help teams to manage their time better and avoid periods of burnout. Content batching or setting a timer when you want to get things done (apps like Forest are great), and even taking interval breaks every few minutes are all great productivity hacks. Productivity hacks allow you to get things done but in a much more organized, timely, and sustainable manner.
If I were running a large fortune 500 company, I would ensure that people get extensive benefits and insurance coverage in addition to workplace trips, personal development opportunities, free gym memberships, flexible work hours, and extended vacation time. I remember my last job would have a day where they’d bring in therapy dogs or a masseuse to give us 30-minute massages. Ideas like these are crucial to maintaining your employees’ overall well-being or the people who work for you. My social media manager gets exclusive access to my online gym, a meditation app, and free financial coaching so that I can encourage her to always put her health and well-being first — while on the job or at home.
The companies that see the best performance usually prioritize the mental health and financial pockets of their employees. What would you advise other business leaders to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
I would advise leaders to show up on marketing and social media platforms as much as possible to interact with their followers/clients/customers. You would not have a business without them. Give them a glimpse of not just your personal life but who you are most genuinely and authentically. That is sure to lead you to sustainable success in the long run. Remember — people don’t buy a product; they buy the person behind it. Therefore, showing up on your I.G. stories, doing Facebook lives, and creating high-quality video content is the #1-way people will eventually pay you for your business.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
Social media is like the neighborhood of information for the entire globe. Businesses are no longer marketing to just people in their local area but can now extend their reach to people you’ll probably never meet face to face. It’s easier now than ever for someone in a whole different continent to find out about your business and purchase your products and services. The best way for you to market yourself and your business is using these social media platforms to your advantage so that more people can know about your business and so that you can have the necessary exposure to more significant growth over time than you otherwise would through just word of mouth.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen C.E.O.s & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
The biggest one I see is that many first-time business owners spend months or even years trying to figure out how to build a successful business independently. The marketing industry is evolving so rapidly that you need to consistently keep up with new algorithms, social media platforms, and advertising techniques. Not to mention, this probably is the reason why 95% of businesses fail within the first five years. I highly recommend that everyone invests in a business coach and do rigorous research before paying someone.
If it were not for me making that upfront investment in my business, I honestly don’t think I would have one client today. Coaches are great investments because they are there to hold you accountable and provide a form of encouragement you otherwise couldn’t get by sitting and reading a library of books on your own. Even if you may not have the capital to invest upfront in a coach, taking the occasionally paid course is integral to your business’s growth and success over time.
Another prominent mistake entrepreneurs make is the fear of hiring out instead of trying to do all the work themselves. As your business starts to pick up, it’s vital to start highlighting all the mundane tasks you don’t like that you could outsource to an expert in that specific area. In doing this, you avoid the burnout that kills so many companies amidst their growth. So, use the extra time you’ve gained back from outsourcing help to put towards other areas of your business that will drive more growth and profits instead.
The third mistake entrepreneurs make is not addressing their financial health and poor behaviors around managing their money. Suppose you’re already bad at handling your finances and have a lot of fears about working them. In that case, this mindset and lack of financial literacy can create great blocks in your ability to grow your business over time. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories of companies going bankrupt or making horrible investment decisions that completely wipe them out. In addition to hiring an accountant or finance manager, it’s essential to understand how money works and clear up any poor money patterns before starting a business.
Ok, fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights; let’s now shift to the focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride the Emotional Highs & Lows of Being an Entrepreneur. Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited because of your business? We would love to hear it.
Everyday. I am just so grateful for each day that my business is operating and performing well. When I get an email, new followers or fresh clients are coming in, I cannot help but get excited at what I’ve created. It shows me that what I am doing is working and that if I continue on this path, I’ll inevitably see more success. A defining moment in my career, though, would have to be when I signed my very first client. She was a woman with three kids who ran an online herbal store and community-not-for-profit on the side. Never in a million years did I ever think somebody would pay me money to coach them, and so to see the hard work I did to get the ground running in my business and getting someone to trust me so much that they were willing to invest in my services, truly meant the world. It was then that I knew I could do it — I was finally my own boss.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low and vulnerable because of your business? We would love to hear it.
I believe the only time I have felt somewhat low and vulnerable because of my business was when one of my clients decided to pull out of my 6-month coaching program after only one or two sessions. I usually don’t offer a contract buy-out unless it’s an extreme circumstance. Still, it ended up with her losing her job and having a ton of fear around not committing to any future payments. She had only put a deposit down, but I started coaching her before making any additional payments, which was a huge mistake and a good lesson to learn as a novice coach. When I told her that she still needed to pay me for the additional one-hour session (500 dollars), she said she couldn’t get the money to me.
For some reason, though, I initially took her wanting to back out of the coaching because I wasn’t doing enough during our sessions for her to feel like she saw results. I feel like I always try to provide the best service and even tend to overdeliver. When people doubt my services or don’t do the work necessary to see optimal results over time, instead of seeing it as their own internal conflictions, I blame myself.
Based on your experience, can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
I am always hard on myself when things don’t go the way I want them to, but I’m learning to trust the process and continue focusing on my mission of empowering women to be in complete control of their financial future. There wasn’t necessarily anything I could do about losing the client and some money, but I decided to make some adjustments to payment structures to work with clients ahead of them paying me to begin with. I quickly brushed the situation off because I knew there would be more clients coming my way and that next time, I would better handle a similar situation.
Ok super. Here is the central question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need to Successfully Ride the Emotional Highs & Lows of Being an Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- A goal without a deadline is just a dream, so make sure it’s S.M.A.R.T.
If you didn’t know by now, setting goals and intentions is crucial in realizing our dreams. A plan can be for the short term or the long term, but we must be concise and detailed in its creation. Most people do it wrong because it’s either very surface level, not detailed enough (without a step-by-step plan), and not written down when setting up a goal. While stating your intentions and putting out your desires into the world is good, you also have to ensure you do the work and have recorded written proof of you committing towards that specific goal, to hold yourself accountable.
Not just any goal either. Make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T. A S.M.A.R.T goal is a well-established tool that you can use to plan and achieve your goals. S stands for specific, the M stands for measurable, the A stands for attainable, the R stands for realistic, and the T stands for time. Breaking down your goals into sizeable and quarterly chunks is also best not to overwhelm yourself. Focus on getting just 1% better each day and not trying to go from 0 to 100.
2. Let go of high expectations and comparisons
We all think we’re going to build out 6 figure businesses. Not to say it won’t happen, but a lot of us expect to see it overnight. It’s essential not to set too large of a goal, have too many things going on at one time or hold onto a particular vision. When we work towards something and don’t get it, it can be a massive blow to our egos and motivation to keep going. Being flexible and willing to shift gears when needed is critical to the long-term sustainability of your business. Sometimes, when things don’t go our way, it’s for the better, or it’s just telling you to go about it differently.
Also, stop comparing yourself to others in your industry. You don’t know the amount of hard work, time, and sacrifices it took someone to get where they are today, and there’s enough space for you to also thrive in your business without thinking that somebody is ready to take your place. There is always enough space for you, and knowing that there are over 7 billion people on this planet, you may just be operating out of scarcity. Focus on your unique offer and what makes you you — and the rest will follow.
3. Work on removing any limiting beliefs (through meditation and E.F.T. Tapping)
I’ve probably mentioned this already, but one big reason why people can’t progress in life and keep finding themselves in similar toxic situations is because of their fractured mindset. We go through tons of negative thoughts and emotions daily, and sometimes these limiting thoughts over time can become limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in a false sense of being. Instead of looking inwards to see what can change, we look for external sources to justify our lack of success or even point fingers at others to keep the blame off of us.
I try to quiet my thoughts and anxious chatter by meditating and doing some emotional freedom technique tapping (E.F.T.). Both these tools allow me to reduce my levels of stress and create more calm throughout my day. Because of this, over time, I’m less likely to make impulsive and self-defeating decisions that will inevitably keep me back from living a more promising life and improving my overall sense of well-being.
Also, implementing a solid morning and night routine that allows you to prioritize your health first — and business second — is scary to do but will help with your business’s overall performance and sustainability. If you’re burnt out, you can’t possibly show up for your business and, even worse, it eventually can lead to health complications and death. Taking adequate work breaks, getting plenty of night’s rest, eating nutrient-rich foods, and getting some form of physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day are just some of the ways you can ensure an optimal state of health.
4. Get your finances in order
Things can get out of whack when we’re focusing on growing a business, especially our finances. If you’re someone who doesn’t know how to budget or is afraid to look at your money, this can wreak havoc on your business’s success and long-term profitability. Take the time to scope out a good accountant, financial advisor, and other means of personal support when managing your finances. Setting the foundation and creating positive behavioral patterns will save you costly mistakes and money in the future. Over time, you will understand the flow of your money and implement better systems that won’t put you in emotional overdrive.
5. Join an entrepreneurial membership community for support or find an accountability partner
Your network is your net worth, and who you surround yourself with will determine your outcome in life. Especially in your business’s formative years, it is important to find people that are going to support you on your journey and give you practical and tangible advice. Joining community networks focused on supporting entrepreneurs and business owners is key to not only being encouraged but gaining new connections that can help with the growth and visibility of your business over time.
The great thing about finding online communities is that everyone has been shifting to hanging out online with the pandemic, which makes finding specific and niche communities even more accessible and easier to join than ever before. Facebook would be a great place to start, and many business coaches and leaders have their communities to create a safe and motivating space for budding and O.G. business owners to thrive from. You can’t do it alone, so choosing collaboration over competition is crucial and helps stabilize those emotional highs and lows we all have when running a business.
We are living during challenging times, and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience to me is to keep going despite the obstacles in your way. No matter your struggle and upbringing, you know you have the power to create immense change in your life for the better. You don’t give up on life and the ones you love; you continue to face the hard lessons we are here to learn and come out a better person in the end. I believe that everybody is or can be resilient, but it first starts with your mindset and how you are willing to see yourself and the world. If you don’t think something is possible — then it will not be. Addressing your fears, doubts, and limiting beliefs are crucial to overcoming the obstacles life throws at us and remaining optimistic about the endless possibilities that lie ahead. Someone determined and strong-willed may find it easier to be resilient because they will not give up as fast and will not stray from their end goal.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
My parents did the best with what they knew, but they were not the best at managing their finances. They were always trying to stay afloat with their debt, and I witnessed lots of heated arguments due to the stressors and anxieties of not having enough money. We were not dirt poor, but we were not financially well off either. It was just enough to get by and enjoy the odd luxuries (all funded through credit card debt) at our disposal. I always knew growing up that I never wanted money to be a problem for me. I saw how people struggled with it and how not being financially adept has such a negative impact on their lives. I knew that I would have to find a way so that I would not always have just enough — but more than enough to get by.
I was fortunate enough to surround myself with intellectual and self-aware groups of friends who constantly challenged me to think outside the box. When a university friend told me about her trips to the bank to see a financial advisor to start to invest her money, I became curious to understand what it took to have your money work for you. At that moment, I knew that investing in the stock market would be my way out and inevitably create the generational wealth my ancestors dared to dream of.
It took me taking time out of my time to study how money truly works and the systems at play. I read tons of books and read articles on financial planning, assets vs. liabilities, the benefits of starting a business, and building generational wealth. I began to make small behavioral changes, created a resilient money mindset, and rugged myself of any limiting beliefs that held me back from budgeting, saving, and investing my money. I even started practicing trading and experimenting with the stock market until I was confident to give it a real go. Even when I made mistakes or didn’t understand something, I didn’t give up. I knew what my end goal was and that I was the only one that could get to it. I didn’t want to live a financially burdened life and was riddled with overwhelming anxiety about my next paycheck. I knew I was deserving of a larger and abundant life, and I was going to do everything in my power to get there and not repeat the cycles of my parents and their past.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during challenging situations? What helps you to do so?
I am human (so perfectly flawed), so as much as I’d like to be positive all the time, I know it’s unrealistic. There are plenty of times when things don’t go as I had planned or how I wanted them to, and I simply have to understand that that’s life. I try to focus instead on showing gratitude for what I already have and know that there is always another opportunity coming my way. My faith wasn’t always this strong, but I know that brooding on past situations that we can’t change or worrying excessively about the future will get me nowhere and may even hold me back.
I’ve done a lot of journaling and inner work over the years to delve into past childhood traumas and conditioned belief sets that warped my perception of the world and how I could live a more meaningful life. Self-awareness and self-reflection can be intimidating and take time to muster up the courage to do and to be honest; most people don’t do that inner work and hold themselves accountable for the life they’ve created. It’s so much easier to blame others for our misfortunes and lack of success.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can positively impact both their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
It is so easy for humans to become discouraged. The National Science Foundation found that an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative, and 95% are repetitive thoughts. If we repeat those negative thoughts, we not only think negatively way more than we believe positive thinking — but we begin to adopt limiting belief sets that inevitably stifle us from becoming the best versions of ourselves. I think it’s so important to have leaders who re-iterate positive thoughts and types of thinking towards their clients and team so that others can begin to think highly of themselves and stay encouraged to do good work. When people are praised, they are more likely to be more productive and see higher satisfaction rates in their work. When positive results are seen at an individual level, this impacts the others around them, and we start to see transformative shifts in the overall quality of life.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
Hands down must be from the most famous black female poet of all time — Maya Angelou. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
This quote is the only one I preach to my online following and clients because a lot of the time, we simply just don’t know any better. Many of us are just trying to live the best life with what we have and what limited information we know. That is why knowledge is power because when you take the time to understand how money works or running a six-figure business or how to foster healthy relationships — you will make better decisions over time. Of course, there are situations where people learn hard lessons but repeat the same mistakes. For that, you only have yourself to hold accountable. When I think of most of the population who were not taught financial literacy in school or within their childhood homes and are expected to make wise financial decisions — how can they do better if they simply don’t know? That is why Angelou’s quote will forever be my favorite, and its message becomes more potent to me over time and encourages me to continue doing the work of educating others on their finances.
How can our readers further follow you online?
Readers can follow me on Instagram @holisticbucks or check out my website and blog at www.holisticbucks.com.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!