This month’s challenge is Better Budgeting. Money tends to be a taboo topic, but it’s so important. Today I’m featuring Ashley Feinstein, the founder of The Fiscal Femme. Ashley is a certified money coach, she helps her clients navigate money and personal finances. She offers one-on-one coaching, workshops, and a 30 Day Money Cleanse. Ashley and her work have been featured on Real Simple, NBC News, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, DailyWorth, Learnvest, Levo League and GoGirl Finance, among others. Ashley worked in the financial services industry for more than five years as an investment banker and then in corporate finance.
What inspired you to start The Fiscal Femme?
It happened pretty organically for me. I was 25 years old, working in my second finance job that I didn’t love, dating the wrong men and generally was feeling pretty lost. First, I realized I was spending my days working on companies’ finances but knew nothing about my own. I thought, if I know nothing about personal finance and I majored in finance and have been working in the financial services industry for 5 years then others probably don’t know about this stuff either. I started blogging about my money journey in a fun and accessible way on the Fiscal Femme, which is still my blog today. At the same time, a friend of a friend was training to be a life coach and asked if I wanted to try it out to help her get her required hours. As cheesy as it sounds, it completely changed my life! I decided I wanted to spend my life helping people the way that she helped me and I enrolled in a coaching training program. The Fiscal Femme was born!
How would you explain The Fiscal Femme in a few sentences?
I am out to demystify the world of money and personal finance. Plain and simple. I work in partnership with my clients, whether they are 1:1 clients, workshop attendees or readers to create a harmonious relationship with money that maximizes their happiness, defines a vision of success and achieves results beyond what was once thought possible. It’s a community that inspires and supports a new language around money.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start her own business?
Do something! I’m a big believer in action. I’ve noticed women especially have a tendency to want to be perfectly ready before we start something. We want to be prepared. Believe me, I get it! But there is no book or article that can prepare you better or more quickly than learning by doing. You don’t have to see the entire picture yet, just make sure you are taking steps forward each day. This goes for the young professional women as well!
What is a typical day like for you? Walk me through a day!
Oh how I love my days! I wake up around 7:30 am with a lick to the face from my adorable puppy, Simi. We have our little morning routine and then I grab my coffee and we head down to my office (yes, in my basement… it’s amazing). The first thing I do is read my business charter out loud which is basically the mission statement for my business. It’s my vision for what I’m out to create. I’m most productive and creative in the morning so I’ll typically reserve that time for writing or working on a new project. This morning I worked on my new Savvy Investor course that I’m launching soon. Then, I typically go to a Pilates, barre or spin class around 12 or 12:30, come back and have lunch and get back to work. I’ll typically have clients in the afternoon (some mornings as well) and then will run a workshop, have my 30 Day Money Cleanse program or do something non-work related in the evening.
What are some of the best things, and on the flip side the most challenging things, about starting your own business?
One of the best things about starting my business is that I get to wake up everyday and do what I believe I’m meant to be doing. It’s just incredible! I’m inspired by the people I work with, I’m constantly challenged and the impact I make from my work is immensely fulfilling. On the flip side, it’s all on me! As a solopreneur (for now) I wear all of the hats of my business. I’m the head of operations, marketing, finance, accounting… you get the picture. I have a great team of professionals supporting me in all of these roles but deciding where to focus and managing my time have probably been the biggest challenges.
You previously worked as an investment banker. What gave you the courage to take a leap and start your own blog and business?
When I quit my job to run my business full time, most people thought I was insane. I’m sure many still do. I grew my business on the side for over a year and my original plan was that it would be profitable before I even quit my job. I found that there came a point where I could grow my business so much faster if I just had more time to dedicate to it. Circumstances at work changed and I just knew it was time. I was shaking when I told my boss what I was doing but everyone was really supportive and excited for me. Before I made this leap, my coach helped me work to redefine my “they.” When you worry about what “they” will think, really think about who that “they” is. Are those actually the people you care most about and who have your best interest at heart? If not, it’s time to redefine your “they.”
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
That it’s okay to fail. I was so scared of making mistakes that it kept me from taking on bigger projects and opportunities to grow. I stayed small so I could master the tasks I was doing. Since starting my business, my relationship with failure has been redefined. I’m failing all the time and have realized that failure is just a milestone in the process towards success. If I had known and lived that early on, my experience starting my career would have been very different.
What is the biggest money mistake you think people make?
Generally avoiding it. Many are so scared to look at their money lives because they are afraid of what they’ll find so they completely ignore it. Not only is this bad for your financial wellness but it also causes a tremendous amount of stress and shame that pushes them even further from where we want to be.
What is on your desk right now?
I went on a huge spring cleaning kick this month so my desk is looking pretty clean! Right now I have the printouts for my Finance Your Dream Life workshop tomorrow, a jar of peanut butter, my landline (yes, I have one and love it) and a couple of lamps. On the wall in front of me I have my coaching certification hanging up, my business charter and my brand color legend for easy formatting reference.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
Books and quotes. I love reading all kinds of books on everything from organization and happiness to investing and budgeting. Right now I’m reading MONEY Master the Game by Tony Robbins and MONEY A Love Story by Kate Northrup. I’m getting so much from both. I love books so much that I have a monthly book club on my blog with an accompanying book store.
What is your favorite quote?
Two of my favorites right now:
“What makes most people just dreamers versus those who live the dream is that dreamers have never figured out the price of their dreams.” – Tony Robbins
“Our degree of resistance around money is proportional to the degree of power available to us on the other side of that resistance.” – Barbara Stanny
Thank you, Ashley!