Series 6 is all about wealth creation and we’ll be talking about how to grow your wealth. I’ve got some incredible guests and interviews lined up over the coming weeks to really help you to feel, first of all, comfortable with receiving wealth, comfortable with giving, and comfortable to just believe that now is your time to be that person and to start taking those small steps to creating your journey towards wealth creation.
Today I’m interviewing the incredible Denise Duffield-Thomas. Denise is a money mentor for the new wave of online entrepreneurs who want to make money and change the world.
Yes, girls, we can have both those things! We can make money and do good with that money to change the world. She helps women to charge premium prices, release their fears around money, and create first class lives. She’s written three incredible books, one which I read quite a few years ago actually called ‘Get Rich Lucky Bitch.’
Her most recent book ‘Chillpreneur’ is a really fresh and funny roadmap to living a life of abundance without burnout. What I love about the ‘Chillpreneur’ book is at the end of every chapter Denise actually gives you some really good, tangible, actionable questions that you can journal around. And one of the things I absolutely love and has been a massive part of my journey is journaling. Taking that time to reflect on your thoughts, your feelings, and your emotions around money is what’s going to enable you to believe that you have the ability to have wealth and abundance in your life.
Denise’s money bootcamp has helped over 6,000 students from all over the world. She describes herself as a lazy introvert, a hay house author, and an unbusy mother of three, and she lives on a beautiful Rose farm by the beach in sunny Australia.
A massive welcome to Denise.
Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for having me. It’s so nice being live when we’re on completely opposite ends of the world. How amazing is it with everything that’s going on in the world? We can still connect and have this time together. I’m so grateful for it.
Denise, you specialise in helping women to break through these glass ceilings of income, self worth, charging for what they’re worth in their business and you talk a lot about money blocks. Could you just give us a little bit of an idea about exactly what money blocks are?
Totally. So, I think business is really simple. I think we’re all really smart people, we can take a course and follow it. We all know how to make money. We all know how to get clients, all of those things, but yet there’s something that holds us back and that is often our beliefs and stories about money.
You know, you can Google anything these days, but why is it that women still undercharge? Why is it that women still are struggling with making money? When we have all of these amazing tools at our disposal and all of these opportunities to make money. Often women come to my books and they say,
“Oh, I didn’t think I had money blocks until I read your book and realised I actually have them all.”
And I want to say, you’re not alone in that. I have a ton of money blocks as well. I have to work through my money stories and beliefs all the time. It’s something that will never, ever go away. But when you realise it, then you can stop making up stories about yourself and your ability to earn money. You’re just completely normal and you just have money blocks like everyone else.
What kind of money blocks do you come across when you’re working with female entrepreneurs?
Okay, so the biggest one is everyone’s individual relationship with how you can earn money and in particular that you have to work hard to make money.
This is where the real hustle culture comes in, especially in America. If you follow American teachers or if your business is being immersed in that American culture, that is a huge thing, right? Get up hustle, repeat.
But it’s not just that American hustle culture. It is this belief that you have to do something really hard to make money. And there’s a particular reason that our generation has it more than people who have been born recently: it’s because we grew up where you could start a business without a lot of capital, but a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, a lot of physical labour, a lot of physical products. And also our geographic market was usually very, very limited. So if you knew anyone growing up who was an entrepreneur, they have a very different story than we can have now, but it is that divide for our generation of that analog childhood and the digital adulthood. It’s like our brains, haven’t quite caught up with the fact that making money actually can be very, very easy. And that’s because not everyone has seen that opportunity. You might have friends or family members are still in a ‘real’ job or have a ‘real’ business, and it actually feels like you’re doing something wrong or you’re cheating somehow if you’re making money doing something that comes easily to you.
Also, if you grew up immersed in the personal development world in the last 20 years, which I have, a lot of it was about learning to overcome your weaknesses. No one really taught us that instead of wasting any time on our weaknesses, we should actually double down on our strengths. And that’s where I see women in particular ignore the easy and obvious path to making money. They ignore the low hanging fruit. They ignore businesses that they really should pursue because it feels too easy. It’s too obvious. Everyone knows how to do this, everyone can find out this information for free, everyone can do this at home. So you discount your own genius because you’ve been taught that it’s not about doubling down on your strengths, it’s about finding those weaknesses and then doing a course or learning somehow to overcome it.
So I see people reinvent the wheel all the time to prove that they’re worthy of abundance, make things harder for themselves, go around their zone of genius. They’re like “Well I know I’m really good at this, but I’ll try this path, this path, and this path first.” Or they reject hiring people, they try and do it all themselves, just to prove that they are worthy of making that money.
Honestly that is the biggest one. 80% of the stuff that I say all stems from that belief that you have to work really, really hard to make money. That’s a hard one to overcome.
You’re right. Even when we were at school we were taught to work harder. Therefore, depending on what your relationship and influences were, you combine those two things together and then you add in the fact that as women we’re caregivers – part of our DNA is to go out and be caregivers, look after our family and look after other people. And then it feels icky doesn’t it, to then start asking to receive money and wealth and abundance.
Especially if your job or your business is about holding space for people, or listening, or solving problems for people because this is what our mothers and grandmothers did for free. They did it on the PTA, volunteer boards and in their communities, for their kids and for their kids’ friends, for their family members and for their husbands who went off to work. And so if you have a job now that’s basically about being a light for somebody, helping them solve their problems, or creating community, that feels like it’s not worth charging for, or worth getting paid for. And it’s invisible labour.
I see this a lot for people who have communities, for example. So they have membership communities or other communities, and they start to really spend so much time in managing that community, or answering questions day and night because no one has ever taught us that that is a marketable skill that we’re allowed to charge for!
I would love to know – you can send me a DM about this – but who got told they talked too much as a kid at school? Me! Podcasters usually have.
The other day I was just saying actually about my first junior school. I was always the one putting my hand up going, “I know the answer, I know the answer.” And my mum pulled me out of that school because the teacher was like, we don’t do competitiveness in this school.
But consequently, for me, that message was that I shouldn’t be heard, which really had a massive impact on me when I was building my business because I was so scared about getting visible and getting my services out there; it’s this fear of being judged and fear of not being good enough and fear of being found out that maybe I was a fake.
So all of these money blocks really stem right back to childhood stuff.
They really do. And I find that most of the work that I do with people is unlearning all the things that you were told about your natural self. I am a natural leader, but of course, as a kid I was called bossy. And so it took me so long to hire people in my business because I was afraid that they were going to call me bossy. Some people would naturally love to speak on stage and be the center of attention or have their own show, but they were probably called show offs as a kid. ‘No one likes a show off’ – I heard that a lot as a kid. Or maybe you love to solve people’s problems and you were called nosy, or you were the life of the party and so your teachers teased you about it – ‘no, you’re not allowed to sit next to all your friends because all you’re going to do is talk’, or ‘school’s not a party.’
It’s almost like you’ve got to find out what you were in trouble for between the ages of like 7 and 13, I reckon is where your true personality came in. And then it just got knocked out of you either as a little one or when you were a teenager and you were told that that’s not cool. Or, you know, that’s when like all the really mean girl stuff starts to happen at school and you just go, ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m bad’ in some way. And you suppress it.
And then what I find is that when women hit about 29, that’s when it starts to bubble up again and they’re like, ah, hang on – Who am I? And then you spend all your thirties kind of trying to bring that back in and giving yourself permission to do it. I just turned 40 last year and I’m like, Oh my God, this is who I can be for the rest of my life if I want to!
So it’s all about unlearning those lessons, and these universal ones: you have to work really hard to make money. You have to find out what your individual lessons were that your parents or your teachers taught you and see what’s worthy to keep, and see what you’re just going to let go.
And how does that show up? So if you have money blocks, what are some of the typical, common ways that that would show up for somebody in that business?
So we talked about the work hard one, the way that that’s going to show up is that you reinvent the wheel all the time – you don’t allow yourself to prosper from things, because you’re just trying something new all the time, because you have to demonstrate that you’re worthy. It could be that you resist delegating. That’s a really big one for that money block, but then let’s talk about some other blocks.
So one really common block is that I can make money or help people, but never both. You have to help people without any agenda. So that could be showing up in that you’re giving away time, help, or products to people, because you feel really guilty about charging for it. This shows up a lot in the helping industry. So if you’re a health coach, for example, you might be thinking, well, good health is everyone’s birthright. I’m not allowed to charge for this. Or you might actually get clients reflecting that back to you and saying, well, if you really cared about people, you would make this free.
And so people end up burning themselves out trying to help everyone regardless of if you like helping them! You try and do it in a way that’s unsustainable: you’re trying to do it with your time or with your energy. So a really big sign of that is burnout, you know, and I’ve been there, I’m sure you have as well, where you just crash because you just try to help everybody all the time. It’s so unsustainable, and it stems from that belief of I can’t charge people by helping them, it has to be one or the other.
I would say I’ve probably suffered from that money block the most recently in my business, and it’s 100% all attached to self worth.
I run several communities, and like you say, when you’re giving to those communities you get all these feel good feelings from it. But at the same time, you’re maybe not charging what you should be charging.
I remember in your book, actually, Denise, you talked about in the early stages of your business, that you went off and started making mugs and t-shirts and prints. So tell us a little bit about that part of your business when you were starting to potentially self-sabotage.
What did you learn about yourself during that period when you had some money blocks?
Sure. I mean, I still have money blocks and so I have to work on that, especially the helping one, because now that I have a bit more of a public face I do get people reaching out to me all the time, asking for advice, asking for collaborations. And it can be really difficult to say no, because it is so ingrained in us to want to help everybody. And I truly, truly want to help everybody.
So the whole thing about when I was making merchandise comes down to this really horrible combination of undercharging, but still wanting to over-deliver because it comes from a place of ‘I’m not enough.’ And I still want to do it. So every time I have an event or anything, I’m always like, what can I give them? Because I am not enough. It needs to have some razzle dazzle around it. I want everyone to feel like they get their money’s worth. And so even when I host retreats at my Rose farm, I have to be like, “this gift bag is enough. I don’t need to put 50 more things in it. They’re going to get their money’s worth.”
So this is where it shows up for people. Say, for example, you’re a website designer and your package clearly states they get five pages, but then you’re like, Oh, but they need this page and then they need this page. Then they say, “Hey, can you just make me another page?” And you go, okay, I guess it’s only gonna take me a couple of minutes. I’ll whip that up. That’s one example.
If you’re a coach or a consultant and a client has paid for an hour and three hours later you’re still trying to solve every problem of their life – that’s a problem, right? That is you saying, I am not enough. I have to give and give and give because it’s just not enough.
Or, like me, if you have physical events and you’re like they have to have this and this and this and I’ll pay for their lunch and I’ll do this. Then I’ll pick them up from the airport. And then you realise that you’re not making any money from it.
This is just such a classic thing. And you have to watch yourself all the time just to be like: I am enough. I am enough. I am enough. And it’s okay for you to have boundaries. It’s okay for you to say no, it’s okay for you to say, “Just to remind you, your package is five pages. So no problem. If you want the other ones, why don’t you put it on a list and we’ll do it in the next project?” or “That will be £xxx”
It’s really easy to not think about it and just say yes, but you can have those mechanisms in place to check yourself so you don’t automatically say yes.
And boundaries are so important, aren’t they? And I know you give a lot of tips in the Chillpreneur book about creating boundaries as an entrepreneur. One of the things you talk about is emails, for example, have someone manage those for you and giving responses out. Or rather than saying yes or no, just say not right now.
I have to manage my boundaries and my time and my energy because time is money, isn’t it? We forget that. We forget that giving away an hour of our time to deliver the 10th free workshop that you’ve delivered that week is your time. And we have to have really strong boundaries around our time.
It’s your life force. That’s the thing too, because sometimes in time, it actually doesn’t take a lot of time. Sometimes it is something that can come easily to you, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t charge for it. You know that old saying about it’s taken you 20 years to learn how to do that in five minutes. So you can’t discount your ability to shortcut someone else’s success. And that’s worth charging for, and it’s worth paying for on the other side as well. I love when I can go to an expert and they can do things for me quickly. I’m not thinking, “well, it only took you five minutes, so you should undercharge for that.”
A perfect example is: say you have an hourly rate and then someone goes, well, it only takes you 15 minutes. So you’re just going to charge me 15 minutes? One boundary could be, no, my minimum is this. A good example of this is I used to have a friend who was a business consultant, but she would do Facebook ads for people. She’d do the Facebook ad and then she’d go, Oh, but their landing page is bad. I’ll just fix that. Oh their website’s so bad. All right, I’ll just fix up their website. And then be like, oh, their follow up emails are terrible. I’ll just do that. And then she’d be like your product sucks. Finally, she was like, I can’t take on clients who don’t have those things in place. So either you charge them for it or you raise your minimum standards about who you can actually serve.
I’m very clear on this in my money bootcamp, for example. I say: do not join If you have to decide between buying my course or feeding your children, because to be honest, that’s pressure that I don’t need. I will take your money. I will spend it guilt-free but don’t put that pressure on me to fix your whole life for the cost of my bootcamp.
I used to say this when I was a coach as well, I would say: the cost of working with me is this, but just to let you know, there’s probably going to be other costs because I’m going to get you to upgrade a ton of things in your life. So don’t work with me if this already is a scary stretch for you and literally you’re not going to pay your rent. That’s just pressure that I don’t need.
You’ll find that when you put those boundaries in place you do attract clients where it is a win, win, and it is easier to work with them. I always find too that when you take your standards down and you go, “Oh, okay I’ll just…” they’re the worst client! Whether you’re compromising on your standards or your price, they’re always the worst clients because it’s never enough.
I’d certainly say with the ladies that I’ve worked with, they’ve definitely experienced some of that. And it’s like you were saying earlier about it’s understanding who you want to work with, but also understanding who you don’t want to work with and creating those boundaries for yourself.
Let’s talk a little bit about the concept of receiving money. I think this is a really big one. We all have our own little financial comfort zones and we’re more comfortable perhaps to either receive money or to give money depending on things that we’ve experienced.
From the work that you do, how important do you think it is for us to really focus on thinking about stretching that comfort zone as to how comfortable we feel with receiving wealth and giving wealth?
It’s honestly a life long thing you have to be vigilant over. You really do because you might master it in one area of your life. For example, you might have a particular product or service, and then you feel really, really good about receiving money for that because you get to a place where you think this is win-win, I feel good receiving the money. I feel that the person has got value for their money.
But then you might start another product or service and it feels like you’re starting from scratch again. You have to acclimatise again, you have to go through the same work again, and you might be surprised that I go through that all the time. It’s actually really funny that my comfort zone about receiving money is quite high, so sometimes when there’s something that is lower, I actually feel bad about receiving that.
I’ll give you a perfect example: A friend of mine had a conference and I couldn’t speak at her conference because I was supposed to be overseas, and then COVID-19 happened and she put out her conference online. And so she was like I’m inviting you back, but it’s a nominal speaking fee and this is what it is. I was like yep, fine but then I felt bad about sending the invoice because it’s a way lower amount that I would normally charge. It almost felt like what’s the point, and I almost emailed her and said, just donate it to charity. I had to tell myself “no, it’s safe for me to receive all forms of income.”
So that might surprise you to hear that, but I feel fine about charging someone £8k to come to a retreat with me, but for some reason that small amount of money, because it was kind of a bit token, just brought up so much stuff for me. So that’s why I’m saying you have to be vigilant because our brains are sneaky, right? You might be like, I’m totally fine to receive this, but then your best friend asks if she can buy it and you go, ‘Oh no, it’s not safe for me to charge my friend, actually.’
That’s a really good example. I realised I had a money block around charging people from Australia because when I was growing up, my stepdad used to say, ‘There are no friends in business.’ And I remember thinking, ‘Oh, you have to have mates rates for your mates.’ And then I realised I was treating the whole continent of Australia like my mate! So that was an interesting new little layer to it. So thinking about where you have those sneaky little loopholes that your brain’s like: “Well, it’s okay for that, but not that. Oh, it’s okay for this because it takes me a bit of work, but that’s too easy, so I’m not allowed to charge for that,” or “That’s an okay amount, but that unseemly,” or “That’s an okay amount but that’s not worth bothering about.”
It’s really interesting how little money blocks always try and find a little way in. And that’s why I’m saying you have to be vigilant. And when I say vigilant, it’s not onerous work, but just be curious about how your money blocks are showing up. And that was literally last week that I struggled to send that invoice and I’m a multimillionaire, so don’t beat yourself up because it’s sneaky.
I love that. And also because it changes over time, right? When you’re starting your business, it may be uncomfortable for you to receive your first $100 or £100. And then two years after that, maybe your you’ve increased your prices to £2000, so you’re constantly stretching that.
Often people talk about the glass ceiling, don’t they? How do we push through that next level? And one of the things that you talk about is using money mantras. “I serve, I deserve” is one that I love.
I actually changed one of my other money mantras recently. Every single week I have a money date with myself and I look at my money mantras and I think, right, what’s going to serve me this week? And one of the ones I’m using this week has also come from your book:
“Success has nothing to do with perfectionism”
For me, that is my biggest money block, because I want everything to be perfect. So I’ll spend hours editing videos, scripting content, all of those things.
So can we talk a little bit about how powerful money mantras can be to help bust through some of our money blocks?
We’re unlearning patterns of speech and thought, and you’ve got to think, however old you are, that’s how long those things have been in you. And that’s how long it’s grooved that patent into your brain. So one of the things we can do to unlearn those patterns and to interrupt the pattern is using affirmations as a replacement thought.
What you speak aloud is very powerful, and you can write your affirmations down, or you can speak them out loud. But what I actually love to do is to have them around me so I’m surprised by them, and I love affirmation jewellery. I’ve had necklaces with quotes on them before. I’ve had rings that are meaningful to me. Anything that I can do to create an anchor.
This is what we talk about a lot in my money bootcamp, is how do you use your day to create as many of these little anchors as possible? Because the default is usually negative and it takes a little while to unlearn that. I don’t meditate every day. How many of us have got the time to meditate for eight hours a day to try and unlearn this stuff?! So you have to try and do as many things as possible – in whichever way you learn best, by the way. For some people scents some very powerful. So when I was manifesting our beach house, which we live in now, I had a candle in my office that smelled like the beach. So I would sit it on my desk and I would smell it and go, yes, I’m going to live in a beach mansion, overlooking the ocean and then I’d put it down. I would have a million of those things in my day to remind me, but to also crowd out the negativity that is our default behaviour. And that’s what it is. It’s crowding it out.
Experiencing with the senses of we’re hearing and saying: the all-in experience.
Absolutely. So what do you listen to on your commute? What are you listening to when you get into your car? What’s your default? What does your stream look like on your social media? You know, you can go and look on Instagram or Twitter and you can follow accounts that that will reflect the reality that you want to see in your own life. And this is really important.
I love these conversations we’re having at the moment around diversity, because if you are a woman or a person who has never seen anyone like you be wealthy or be successful in your field, you just feel like somehow maybe it’s not possible for me. So you can go and follow hashtags that will show you that. And it also means that you have a responsibility to also showcase your success, because someone else might be watching and thinking ‘Wow, she’s got an accent,’ or ‘Wow. She’s my body type’ ‘She’s my skin colour, ‘She’s my background, she has my circumstances.’ And then they’ll believe that’s possible for themselves too. You can, reverse engineer a lot of that stuff so you start to believe that it’s possible for yourself.
For example,one of my goals is to make $10 million a year and that’s my computer password. It might take a while for me to do that, but it’s been my computer password for most of this year. And it’s easy10million (there’s a few other bits in there for security!). I type that in multiple times a day.
When you go from one income plateau to the next income level, it does take that repetition to open up your mind about what’s possible, and you have to do a ton of work as well. You have to really look at what you think is holding you back from going from here to here. And there’s a million different reasons that you have to really explore. There’s a ton of different layers to it.
But none of those reasons is that there’s something wrong with you. None of those things is that you’re not good enough. It’s all your stories and beliefs about what that income would mean or who you have to be to earn that income.
When you talk about role models and having role models in our society for wealthy women, who were your role models when you were growing your business?
Well, my role model always, always, always from being a teenager was Oprah. I would watch her after school, and when she came to Sydney I bought a VIP ticket so I could meet her and have a photo with her. I love that she uses her wealth for good, that really inspires me.
Now I love Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. And one of the things I love about her is she’s got young kids like I do, and there’s not a lot of role models often for people who are in the thick of child rearing. There’s all these people who are like, “What’s your morning routine, babe? Like, I get up and I do yoga,” and I’m like, “I don’t do that…” One of the things I love Sara doing is every year for her birthday she takes like 20 of her girlfriends away for a group vacation. And that, for me, she seems really down to earth.
If your view is rich people have to be really fancy or whatever, then it’s your responsibility to go and find people who have the qualities that you naturally have, or that you would aspire to have. Whether it’s generosity, being down to earth, being humble, being environmentally friendly, being innovative, being chill, or having a happy marriage and being wealthy, you’ve got to find those role models. And the other thing too, is that you can’t put any of them on a pedestal because they’re just normal people like you. But it does train your brain to go, well, she can do it. Maybe I can do it.
Yeah. I love that. And we do need more wealthy women as role models, because one of the things I find, particularly when it comes to investing, is that we forget that we can invest ethically. And actually the amazing power in when women do take back their power with wealth, we can create such amazing things for the world and for the planet. And that always helps when you’re sitting there maybe you’re feeling uncomfortable about receiving wealth, so what good could you do with that wealth?
I think looking at role models like Brene Brown, Oprah Winfrey, yourself, people that do good with wealth, that really encourages us. We forget that it wasn’t until the 1960s that we could even open our own bank accounts in this country. So generationally, we’ve got a lot of baggage to get rid of as well.
We really do, And that can bring up some guilt for us. Again, you might think, ‘Oh, of course I want to make money,’ but then you might not have even seen your own mother have her own money. And so it’s bringing up conflicting feelings for you as a woman to maybe out earn your partner, out earn your dad, out own your uncle, your brother. There’s going to be some conflicting feelings and that’s really normal because most of us have never had any real life role models around women and money. So we are the role models for the next generation, which is very exciting. But you have to acknowledge the fact that we just don’t know how to do it.
Amazing. Are there any final pearls of wisdom or little tips that you’d like to share with us about how we can bust through some of those money blocks that we may be feeling right now?
So first of all, go read my money book, which is called ‘Get Rich, Lucky Bitch.’ That really talks a lot about Money blocks. And if you want to take that further, we have a beautiful community called money bootcamp, which is all on my website denisedt.com.
But here is what I want to say: I see so many women waiting to be chosen, for the stars to align, for the 10 pound weight loss, until they feel ready, until they feel confident, until they’re not tired anymore, or until something outside of us happens. And you have to decide that today’s your lucky day. Today can be your lucky day, not 20 years from now, not 10 years from now. Not when someone else chooses you – you have to choose yourself and decide that today is your lucky day. You can write that down on a post it:
Today’s my lucky day.Denise Duffield-Thomas
Because every time you get up and you sit at your computer and you think, ‘Oh, nobody wants to hear from me,’. No. No excuses. Nobody is waiting for it. You know, the world will go on if you don’t release your book, if you never launch your course, it really will. So you have to decide and choose yourself.
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