How best-selling author Jen Sincero went from being flat broke to earning seven figures
Check out highlights from our podcast with the funny, fearless author of You Are a Badass at Making Money
In our most recent Jobsessed podcast, we took a look at the big green monster that motivates so many of us, but also scares the crap out of us at the same time. No, not jealousy—we’re talking about money, honey.
To help us conquer our fears, we invited best-selling author and success coach Jen Sincero to talk about her new book, You Are a Badass at Making Money. She shared how she turned her life—and her bank account—around.
Check out our podcast to find out how Sincero did it, and read an excerpt from our conversation below.
Monster: You weren’t always a badass with money. Tell us what life looked like before you turned things around.
JS: Basically my entire adult life, I had a really crappy relationship with money. By the time I was in my 40s, I was a freelance writer and musician living in a converted garage. I really subscribed to that struggling artist mentality that I would be a big sellout if I didn’t focus on the art and focused on the money.
I also had this strange belief that money was for other people, somehow. I would see someone with a private jet and I would be like, “That isn’t even the same species of creature that I am.” Not that I want a private jet, but it seemed like money was available to other people and not to me.
Monster: In your book, you talk about taking the emotion out of money, that it’s just a transaction.
JS: Money is one of the most loaded topics out there. We tend to judge the rich. When you say you want to make money, we automatically assume that you’re going to do things that are illegal and immoral—and that’s such garbage. If you say, “I’m going to go make more money,” eyebrows will raise. It really is about getting a handle on this inner terror of being judged by others and by yourself.
Monster: Can you tell us about the money mantras you used to put a more positive spin on your relationship with money?
JS: With a money mantra, you want to get clear on what you want to change. For example, my broken record was, “I can’t afford it.” I didn’t care what you said to me, that was my answer 90% of the time. So my mantra became, “Money is all around me, and I receive it joyfully.” Even though I wasn’t seeing the results of that right away, it shifted my energy. Because when you have a mantra, be it good or bad, it has an energy to it.
Think about it. When you’re looking for a place to rent, suddenly you notice all of these “for rent” signs. It’s because you’re focused on it. They didn’t suddenly pop up all over the place. Your awareness is there. It’s all already here. It’s where you place your focus.
Monster: But how do you shift your focus when you’re unemployed and feeling really down about your finances and job search?
JS: First of all, I am not a believer in the Pollyanna “You’ve got to think positive thoughts and turn that frown upside down” mentality, because it makes you feel like an even bigger loser—because not only is your life not what you want it [to be], but you also suck at positive thinking.
I am all for temper tantrums, feeling sad, letting the anger out. But the problem is that we stay there and we decide that’s how things are and what we actually do is we feel self-righteous about it: “I have a right to be angry. I have six kids and this job sucks and my boss is a jerk.” We become identified with it, and that’s where we get in big trouble.
So catch yourself. Feel what you feel and don’t be the Pollyanna, but then make a decision to choose a better thought.
Everyone listening to this has so much to be grateful for. Even if you hate your job, you have a job. It’s giving you money. You are learning things there. If you got that job, you can get another job. It’s a stepping- stone. You have no idea who you’re going to meet. And when you go into that office, whatever your attitude is like, you’ll start to attract and be attracted to different things. If you’re a grouchasaurus, they’re not going to want to work with you or offer you anything.
Monster: You talk about “bum rushing your fear” that fear keeps a lot of us stuck. How do you get out of the fear rut?
JS: It’s a perspective thing. Often, we’re like, “There are no opportunities. There’s nothing I can do right now. There are no jobs out there. I’m stuck.”
But maybe there’s somebody who’s a friend of your mother who’s totally scary and mean who’s a real high up in some company who hates you. That opportunity you don’t even look at because of that relationship with that person.
When you’re not screwing around and you make a decision, that scary opportunity suddenly becomes real. And you’re like, “I’m baking a damn banana bread and bringing it over to their house and asking them for a job.” So it’s doing those scary things.
When you decide in that no-nonsense-hell-bent-for-glory way that you’re going after what you desire, it opens up a whole new slew of opportunities. They’re all going to be things you do not want to do because they’re outside your comfort zone. If it’s in your comfort zone, you’ll do that all day long: Fill out applications, make phone calls to easy people, send your resume around. Not fun, but not scary. It’s when you’re scared that you’re doing something right.
Monster: Do you have any advice for people who are about to negotiate a new salary?
JS: First of all, get really clear about how much you desire to make and what it’s for. And it depends on if you’re experienced or starting out. But the bottom line is you don’t want to be resentful when you’re at work because you negotiated poorly.
Remember that you’re not taking anything from anybody. You’re actually giving them something in exchange for this money. A lot of times we get really weird about money because we don’t want to seem too pushy or too grabby. Like, “I don’t want to ask for more than I’m worth.”
Get clear about what you’re bringing to the party. Get into the specifics of it. Imagine yourself doing an amazing job for these people. Walk in with all of those reasons and [be] excited to give to them as opposed to get the job [from them]. Flip that perspective around.
Monster: At a certain point, you wanted to earn more and you were working with a coach who told you to double what you were asking for.
JS: That scared the hell out of me. It’s an intuitive thing. How much money is a chair worth? It could be worth $5, it could be worth $500. Money is just the medium of exchange, but value is in the eye of the beholder, so you want to behold a whole lot of value in yourself before you go into a job interview.
Do your homework and get clear about how much you want to make and how exciting that is and then listen to your intuition about what you’re going to charge.
Monster: Do you feel like you’re a different person than you were 10 years ago when you were still struggling financially?
JS: Totally. Of course I’m still the same in so many ways, but as far as my understanding what I’m capable of, hell yes. Because truly, for me, I was in my 40s and totally scraping by. So the fact that I could be making seven figures, I’m a different person. It’s like I’m in a different body. And I really understand that if I can pull that off, I can do anything.
We’ve been raised to believe that only really lucky people get to have fun while making money. We completely devalue our beautiful gifts and talents because they come easily to us. Meanwhile, that’s where you can make the most money, from the stuff you are naturally good at, that’s fun for you, that lights you up. So going towards that is a hell of a good idea if you want to make money.
There’s this saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow,” which I think is really setting people up for some disappointment. Do what you love, figure out how to monetize it, and the money will follow. You’ve got to focus on the money. We’ve made it a dirty thing to focus on the money. So do what you love, but also focus on the money, for sure.