What is your relationship with money? Do you live in scarcity mode or do you have an abundance mindset? Either way, we need to get better at talking about money if we ever want to be better at managing it, and eventually having more of it. Well, our new series, The Money Files is set to change all that by helping women become masters of their own finances so they can manage their money and their future.
Imagine having to work eight extra months just to earn the same pay as your white male co-workers. This is the likely reality for Black women in the United States as we marked Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on August 3rd this year. According to the National Women’s Law Center, on average, Black women are paid $0.63 for every $1 their white male counterparts earn. That equates to $964,400 (nearly $1 million) in lost income over a 40-year career.
In honor and support of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we spoke with Rachel Rodgers—who’s leading the conversation around social injustice and Black wealth—about her mission to change these statistics and close the pay gap. Through her company, Hello Seven, and her recently published book, “We Should All Be Millionaires,” she is empowering other women to hit seven figures by changing their relationship with money, stop procrastinating, and start making million-dollar decisions.
How do you become a millionaire? What does it take to hit seven figures?
These are questions most of us have asked ourselves at least once in our lifetime and while you might think it’s a pipedream, Rodgers is here to tell you that it isn’t. The author, intellectual property lawyer, business coach, CEO of Hello Seven is on a mission to help other women hit seven figures without sacrificing their family or sanity. Over the past eight years, Rodgers has worked with New York Times-bestselling authors, tech startups, coaches, consultants, doctors, accountants, nutritionists, and so many more to take their business to the next level by creating and protecting their own intellectual property to scale their businesses to a million-dollar (or more) enterprise. (She outlines her four steps to becoming wealthy in any climate over on our Ask an Expert series on IGTV.)
In addition to her work at Hello Seven, Rodgers is also leading the conversation around social injustice and Black wealth with her Anti-Racist Small Business pledge. Instead of calling them out, Rodgers is calling companies in to have an honest discussion about racial justice and to help them determine how they can and should be part of the solution—that pledge has been signed by 2,200 businesses and counting.
So, do you want to learn more about Rodgers’ strategy for how to become a millionaire without sacrificing your family or your sanity? It’s time to stop procrastinating and start making million-dollar decisions by investing in yourself to build your dream life.
“One of my s’ heroes, Madam C.J. Walker, became America’s first female millionaire back in 1906,” Rodgers explains. “She was born to slaves. She was poor. She was Black. She was oppressed. She had every obstacle you can imagine and more. All the odds were stacked against her. Yet, she became fabulously wealthy. She launched a haircare company, built her fortune, and provided dignified jobs for hundreds of people. She bettered herself and the world. If she could do it then, you can absolutely do it now. And you can start today.”
Of course, there is no magical solution to gaining wealth but there are fundamental objectives that can help you get there. In the words of Rodgers, “Instead of obsessing about how to trim your budget down to the bare bones, focus on exponentially expanding your income.” And you can start with as little as $100 (or less). Are you ready? Let’s go!
The sooner you start building wealth, the better.
If you’re struggling to motivate yourself to make and save more money, the main thing to remember is that having more money is never really about “the money.” It’s about the people you love and the causes you care about.
Here’s an example: A few years ago, I was traveling out of town for work, and I received a phone call about an emergency situation happening at home. I was immediately panic-stricken. All I could think was, “I need to get home now. Get me on the next flight home. I don’t care what it costs.”
I booked a super-last minute flight with three layovers and it cost $1,700. An outrageously expensive flight, but I didn’t care, and it didn’t matter. I could afford it. No problem. Done.
A typical American does not have an extra $1,700 laying around for emergencies or pleasure or any other reason. And this is a problem.
You need more money because money provides more options for you. The option to fly home immediately if you need to. The option to send your kids to the best school. The option to leave a bad relationship without worrying if you can afford to live by yourself. The option to donate to causes like Black Lives Matter. The option to live as you choose, in freedom, in peace.
Again, if you’re struggling to motivate yourself, remember, it’s not about the money. It’s about the people you love. It’s about the lifestyle you want. It’s about having options instead of limitations.
Look: do you want options, or not? If you do, then get after that coin!
Like so many things in life—jogging, cycling, twerking—investing may seem intimidating at first, but you just gotta dive in and start!
Start small and keep it simple. I love the app called Mint which is a great way to get started with investing. You can start with $100 (or less) and go from there. Once your $100 investment brings you an extra $20 that you didn’t have before, you’ll be like, “Omg, I just made $20 bucks! Yay, free money! I love this!” and you’ll be inspired to keep going!
If you want to start earning more money than ever before and build serious wealth, these are the three fundamentals:
1. Stop making broke-ass decisions.
A broke-ass decision (a.k.a., B.A.D.) is any decision that steals your money or steals your time, energy, peace, joy, or power, and therefore, blocks you from becoming wealthy. For example, allowing your spouse (or child) to interrupt you 15 times an hour when you’re trying to work from home, thereby making it impossible for you to concentrate. That is a broke-ass decision. Stop doing that.
2. Start making million-dollar decisions.
A million-dollar decision is any decision that brings you more money, and/or more time, energy, peace, joy, and power. It’s a decision that makes you feel rich—financially, emotionally, or both! Investing in a new blazer that makes you feel like a CEO instead of a shlub? Yes! That’s a million-dollar decision. Raising your hourly rate? Yes. Starting a side-hustle so you can start earning an extra $5,000 per month? Yes. Fueling yourself with high-quality food? Yes. Exercising daily? Yes. The path to millionaire status is paved with million-dollar decisions.
3. Surround yourself with people who are doing it.
Fact: You are heavily influenced by your social circle. For instance, one study found that when low-performing students start hanging out with straight-A students, the low-performing students start scoring higher grades too. Success is infectious. It’s true with grades and it’s true with money, too.
If you want to become wealthy, start hanging out with ambitious people who are already wealthy, or, who are committed to the same goal.
That’s why I launched my Club, a place for women who want to make serious money. Because when you hang out with millionaires and millionaires-in-the-making, the golden-money dust rubs off on you!
To me, “investing in yourself” means doing anything that makes you feel powerful. Because the more powerful and confident you feel, the more money you’re gonna make.
There are infinite ways to invest in yourself, and it looks different for every person.
You can throw out your stained yoga pants and invest in a new wardrobe that makes you feel like a boss. You can invest in hiring a part-time personal assistant five hours a week so they can clear 1,000 tedious tasks off your plate and free up your mental bandwidth. You can invest in education, training, coaching, therapy, or all of the above. What’s going to help you feel your best? Whatever it is, do that.
Many people, especially women, are told, “You should go on a diet,” and, “You should cut back on your spending.”
Both of these statements are deeply offensive to me because what you’re really saying is, “You should shrink and make yourself smaller.” “You shouldn’t reach for too much.” “You should find a way to be satisfied with much less.” “You shouldn’t take up too much space.” “You shouldn’t want too much, have too much, be too much.”
Boo to that oppressive patriarchal nonsense!
I take the opposite stance. I say, “How big do you want to live? What’s your dream life?” and then, “Cool, so what’s your plan to make that happen?”
Try this: get a piece of paper and write down everything you would love to have. Your ultimate dream life.
Do you want a three-bedroom house in the best neighborhood in town? Do you want a full-time nanny? A tutor for your kids? A new car with all the latest safety features? Make a list of what you truly want.
Then, take your dream-life-list, head to Google, and find out how much each item costs. Crunch the numbers. Find out what it would cost to have your ultimate dream life. It might not be as much as you think. You might realize, “Huh, okay, my dream life costs $10,000 per month,” or $20,000, or $30,000, or whatever it is.
Once you have this information, it’s empowering, and it leads to new questions. Now you can ask yourself, “Well, what’s it going to take to earn $10,000/$20,000/whatever amount per month so I can have my dream life? How can I pull this off?” Get creative and write down 25 different ways you could earn more and make it happen.
I do this exercise with my clients and it’s fascinating to see what they come up with.
Instead of obsessing over how to trim your budget down to the bare bones, focus on exponentially expanding your income.
Stop stressing about debt, and instead, just focus on earning more money. It’s really that simple.
Start a side hustle. Ask for a raise at work. Double your hourly rate. Text your cousin and tell him it’s time to pay back that loan. Focus your attention, time, and energy on one question: “How can I bring more money in the door?” Focus on that. Get that cheddar. And before too long, you’ll be able to pay off whatever debt you owe.
Taking a risk really just means, “doing something that’s going to change your life in a positive way before you feel totally 100% ready to do it.” And guess what? You are never gonna feel 100% ready. If you’re waiting for that moment of perfect readiness to arrive, it never will. So you might as well take the leap now.
Part of becoming wealthy is learning to trust yourself. Trust your instincts. Trust that you will always land on your feet, one way or another. Trust in your creativity and resourcefulness. Trust in your ability to get things done. By taking a tiny risk now, and thriving, you build a little more trust in yourself. You gain evidence that it’s okay to take risks. This emboldens you to take bigger risks later on. So, start with a tiny risk today and build from there.
I’m all about multiple revenue streams! In terms of how to do this, step one is, you need to leverage your intellectual property. Leverage your what, now? This just means, take something you’ve created (a system, method, process, formula, system, secret recipe, etc.) and package it so that people can purchase it 24/7 even when you’re asleep.
A great example is, let’s say you’re a dog trainer. You have a unique training process that your clients love. They get amazing results and always rave about you but you can only see 10 clients per week so that’s limiting your income.
So, you decide to create an online program (with tutorial videos) so that people all around the world can learn your special process. You sell your program on your website. Cha-ching! You just turned your intellectual property (a.k.a. your unique process) into a cash-generating product.
You might be thinking, “But I don’t have any intellectual property!” but that’s not true. You do. Almost everyone does. You probably have some blind spots and you’re not seeing yourself clearly. Chat with a friend, hire a business coach, or join my Club and you’ll quickly see, “Oh, wow. I’ve been sitting on a million-dollar idea, and I didn’t even realize it.”
What’s a one-million-dollar decision you could make today? One decision (big or small) that would bring more money, or, more time, energy, peace, and power into your life?
Do it. Make that decision. Then another. And another. This is how you will build wealth, and enjoy the freedom and options you want. “Other people have done this, and I can do it too” needs to become your new daily mantra. It’s the truth. And the more fiercely you believe it, the sooner it will become your reality.
This story was originally published on August 13, 2020, and has since been updated.