In this Live with Lisa: Candid Conversations Series, I interviewed Katie Mild as we reviewed the topic: Money.
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Featured Speaker Biography
Katie Mild is a money mindset expert, money coach, and national keynote speaker. She works specifically with sales professionals and 1099 independent contractors.
By helping her clients root out their core money influences and rewrite their money behavior stories, Katie gives these professionals the opportunity to not only earn more money…but finally, OWN THEIR MONEY.
Are you ready to own your money and learn how to grow your unbreakable money mindset? Buy the Armored Agent Money course here.
Interested in partnering with Katie? Connect and learn more about her customized workshops, keynote topics, and online money courses: Click here.
Lisa: Your background is so crazy, you've been in several different industries including serving in the military, pharmaceuticals, real estate and now money coaching. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background?
Katie: I have to go way back on this, because it really explains where my money story begins! My first “job” out of college was the military. I served as a Naval officer for six years.
Growing up, I never would have envisioned myself in the military. But when it came time for college, my heart was set on my dream school, the University of Notre Dame. I worked really hard in high school, and I was overjoyed when I got in! But reality set in a few weeks later when I saw the tuition invoice and realized I simply couldn’t afford it. My dad encouraged me to look into Navy ROTC scholarships. Initially, I balked…but when I realized a full tuition scholarship was on the line, I suddenly got really into it, ha!
So, the majority of my time at Notre Dame was paid for with a Navy scholarship. I was incredibly fortunate and lucky. It was also the first time in my life when I realized that in order to make financial resources come together, you have to get creative, think outside the box and sometimes straight up HUSTLE to make it work.
Since the military, I’ve worked for a retail/tech startup, worked in pharmaceutical procurement and real estate sales. I’ve been able to successfully pivot into each new role and industry because I saved, planned ahead and made the moves with a lot of thought and intention. My professional career is full of twists and turns…quite frankly, it’s been an adventure.
Lisa: What made you pivot into money mindset coaching?
Katie: When I started selling real estate back in 2015, I worked my tail off and had a lot of early success. I was very diligent with my commission checks, regularly setting aside 30% to pay my quarterly estimate taxes, keeping detailed spreadsheets, monitoring all of my business expenses, etc. I was incredibly organized, if I do say so myself. I’m a nerd! ;)
So, I assumed every other agent in my office was doing the same thing. I thought everyone had a business plan, a separate account for taxes owed, and meticulous records. Boy, was I wrong.
I was stunned to see so many AMAZING sales professionals---I mean, agents who sold millions of dollars in real estate a year, easily earning multiple six figures themselves---so many of these professionals were terrible with their money. They had high credit card debt, owed back taxes to the IRS, were dealing with (really nice!) cars being repossessed, everything! I saw it all. And I started to notice this everywhere.
A few years ago, I transitioned from sales to the real estate management team. This meant that my full-time job became coaching agents on their businesses. 90% of these coaching sessions turned into “money therapy” sessions. The agents who came to me---even the super “successful” ones---were broke, scared, completely overwhelmed and frustrated. Most of their issues stemmed from money mismanagement.
I created my company and my course, Armored Agent, as a direct way to combat against personal financial ignorance. If these independent contractors could take control of their money, own their mindsets and work on the underlying issues that actually drive their money behaviors…then these business owners can make progress.
Lisa: What do you see are people’s biggest money hang ups?
Katie: So many independent contractors are great at the “front end” of their businesses (generating a sales pipeline, working with clients, negotiating, walking a client through the closing process). However, when they get to the “back end” of money---receiving that magical commission check---they don’t apply the same discipline and thoughtful intention to how that money will be used.
I also see a lot of, “Well, I just need one more sale! One more check! One more “X” that will fix all of my money problems!” The unpredictability and cyclical nature of how independent contractors get paid just adds to this chaos. If the agent isn’t organized, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Until someone’s underlying issues and relationships with money are addressed, tactics don’t matter. You have to do the hard work of understanding how your own beliefs, values, and money stories directly impact how you spend and manage money today.
A couple of other hangups I see people doing:
- “Keeping up with the Joneses” (why?!) How you spend, invest and manage your money isn’t the Joneses business…and how they handle their business isn’t for you to know. Focus on what YOU want to achieve and go after it.
- Thinking “I deserve this” (newsflash: maybe you don’t!) Sometimes, the best way to “treat ourselves” is to run a budget and stick to it. Entitlement and comparison will kill your financial goals if you don’t get them in check.
Lisa: If you could tell someone right now to take one financial step right after reading this blog, what would that be?
Katie: I embrace and promote the idea of “Pay Yourself First”. Always. Every paycheck. Every commission check. Every bonus. Every windfall of money that may come into your life. ALWAYS take a chunk of it and put it into a retirement account, right off the bat.
Your retirement planning funds should be your top-line budget items. Create a retirement account and automate the monthly contribution. Automation is your best friend when you are actively pursuing growth in your savings.
Even when times are tough and money feels tight, ALWAYS pay yourself first. Even if it’s $20/month. Even if it’s only a couple of bucks a month! In the beginning, you want to establish the habit first, so the amount doesn’t matter. Just get in the habit of addressing your money needs and retirement first….then take care of the rest of your business.
Lisa: Given the COVID environment, what money advice would you give?
Katie: Right now, and really most of the time, cash is king. I sleep better at night knowing I have cushion in a bank account to fend off anything rough that may come my way.
If I woke up tomorrow in this environment and nothing in the bank, my first priority would be stacking cash in an emergency savings account. An emergency account is a SEPARATE bank account, away from your day-to-day checking account. I would aim for 3-6 months’ worth of expenses at a minimum, with a stretch goal of 1 year’s worth.
Is it a lot of money? Of course! But the more that you can pad this emergency account, the more peace of mind you have.
If you have lost your job or you work for yourself and business has dried up, your next step is to reign in any extra expenses. If you can reduce your overhead and your liability, you will remain nimble and keep yourself open to more options.
Lisa: Money and debt can be incredibly overwhelming, especially for those who believe they are just in over their heads. Where do they start?
Katie: The first step is to take a deep breath. And know that whatever your money challenges are, YOU CAN FIX THEM. Independent contractors and small business owners are the most resilient people out there. Think about it: these are people who have already decided not to pursue a traditional career with a predictable paycheck. They are already bold, adventurous, confident and willing to think outside the box. They are full of grit and tenacity! So whatever the money challenge, it can be fixed, and you are up to the task.
So, first step: deep breath.
Next step: Face the debt demons. You have to get real with yourself and list everything that you owe out on a piece of paper or spreadsheet. Get it in writing.
Third step: Decide which debt you will tackle first (there are lots of methods around this…pick a way that works for you). Choose one debt, laser focus on it, pay it off. Paying off one is a quick win that will build your confidence. Then set your target on the next debt and repeat.
Understand that it takes time to get out of debt. But that time passes anyway, so don’t delay another day. The hardest part really is just starting. Once you get the ball rolling, you won’t be able to stop the momentum.
Lisa: Any final thoughts?
Katie: Money is a tool. It’s not inherently positive or negative---it’s what we DO with money that gives it power. If you aren’t addressing your deep-rooted issues and values around money, you will continue to have a complicated relationship with it, and you may continue to overspend and undersave.
But if you take hold of money and decide to use it as a positive tool for creating your ultimate life…suddenly, the world opens up to you. Creating a dynamic budget, embracing financial education and challenging yourself to HAVE FUN with managing money are all ways to OWN it. Money isn’t meant to be boring, oppressive or stressful. It’s meant to be a tool for you as you build your legacy.
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