By Lindsay Tigar
As anyone with a few years of life under their belt can tell you, confidence comes in many forms and in varying levels of strength. For example, you may know that you can master a yoga sequence (including inversions!) and whip up a roast chicken dinner to die for. But maybe you haven’t yet learned to trust yourself with home décor, or with your skills grouting that new bathroom tile. The point is that we all need a little self-assurance in some areas from time to time, and when we find there’s something that makes our heart rates skyrocket, it’s a clear sign we need to work on building our confidence mojo. Our financial confidence is no exception. And although we may be pushed a little out of our comfort zones when we’re first learning, as long as we practice patience, we’ll get there.
Luckily, plenty of successful, innovative, and money-savvy women have paved this road before us. We checked in with a few of them who have been there, done that, and asked for their best piece of advice for mastering our financial confidence. We love what they had to say!
‘Get intimate with your bank account’
Up until four years ago, I had a fraught relationship with money. I worked all the time, but there never seemed to be enough money coming in. Money was consistently being earned, but I lacked smart money practices and the financial literacy that helped me make responsible decisions. Four years ago, my partner and I decided to deep dive into the world of Dave Ramsey, and we started developing smarter practices. Our financial literacy and confidence skyrocketed. Today we’re debt-free, we have a healthy savings account, and when we want to travel or order takeout, we don’t have to check our account before taking the plunge.
To do this, start by getting intimate with your bank account. Light a sensual candle, pour yourself a glass of wine, hit your 1Password tab with enthusiasm, and log into all of your money apps. Get to know your finances on a personal level. Pull your statements for the past three months and take a REAL look at where you’re spending your hard-earned cash. Do you have recurring charges that you completely forgot about? Monthly subscriptions from three years ago? Is that really a double charge? Be honest with what you need versus what you can do without and, BAM! You’re one step closer to freedom.
— Maggy Troup, cofounder at MATCH CANNA
‘SET up your personal KPIS’
(Haven’t heard of KPIs? It stands for “Key Performance Indicators,” which are measurable values that show how close you are to hitting a particular goal.)
I think setting up a dashboard with all trackable KPIs relevant to the business has been invaluable. This gives you a daily, monthly, quarterly, annual snapshot of exactly where the business is — financial indicators, sales performance, marketing performance — all in one place. It’s also a way to instantly compare business plan goals, budget, and past performance. It helps both with communication and focus internally, as well as answering board and investor questions in an efficient and timely manner.
— Dr. Nicola Nice, the CEO and founder of Pomp & Whimsy
‘Make it a priority ASAP’
At a young age, I was taught the importance of a dollar, and that money doesn’t grow on trees. The earlier you save and begin to invest, the more secure you will feel. At 18, I put a big percentage of my side hustle’s profits into savings. Teach yourself about taxes, expenses, assets, insurance and other financial topics. Knowledge equals confidence! Create a plan and set goals. You need to think realistically, but also give yourself room to dream. I analyzed my finances to see what I was able to spend on and created budgets using Excel. As you hit or miss financial goals, you will begin to learn what you can do, how to do something better, or what not to do! You are in control of your financial confidence if you are willing to put in the work.
— Samantha Handler, artist, founder, and CEO of KicksBySammy
I built my financial confidence from learning things the hard way: vacillating between thinking that I had to be an expert in everything, to siloing myself off from the day-to-day of our financial operations. The best advice I can give is to become financially literate, employ experts (rather than trying to be one), and check in often. Being versed in financial terminology and aware of your financial standing is essential.
Don’t let daily and weekly financial housekeeping slide, but don’t bog yourself down with it, either. I would also recommend to any entrepreneur that they work with a qualified CPA from day one to put the most appropriate business structure and money workflows into place for your unique business before revenue starts coming in, not after.
— Miranda Bennett, founder and CEO of Miranda Bennett Studio
‘Get comfortable with numbers’
As someone who has dedicated their career to studying microfinance structures and empowering women through microfinance programs, one of the most encouraging pieces in establishing my financial confidence has been knowing the impact myself, and my brand has made on others’ lives. But I think getting to that point was rooted in knowing the numbers. The key to developing your financial confidence is to become comfortable with setting financial goals for yourself and checking in regularly with those numbers.
— Renata M. Black, philanthropist and cofounder of EBY
‘Find your passion’
I would love to say that my background in finance gave me financial confidence, but it’s not that simple when it comes to managing your own finances and business finances. The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to find your passion, something you truly believe in and is authentic to who you are. Having a larger purpose makes the financial investment less scary, almost instinctual, because I believe in the intention and mission. Starting AAVRANI was the first time I was really excited, professionally, because I’m honoring my heritage and changing the perception of Indian beauty, which connects the duality I’ve felt my whole life as a first-generation Indian American.
— Rooshy Roy, cofounder and CEO of AAVRANI
‘Create healthy boundaries’
When it comes to financial confidence, I think the very first question you should ask yourself is: “What is your relationship with your money?” Look to your outside life for insight. In your personal life, are you a leader or a follower? Do you already have set goals in place for how much money you spend or save a year? If you are in control and have confidence outside of your work, it is easy to let that trickle into your financial success.
— Hannah Kim, founder and CEO of Botanical Republic
‘Don’t delay to take action’
Building financial confidence requires a lot of discipline and patience. The earlier you start taking action, the better off you’ll be in the long run. My advice for others would be to create a monthly budget, cut out large expenses, and save as much as possible — at least 20% of each paycheck. Invest in the stock market and long-term bonds early in your career, and always pay down debt. I have also consistently maxed out my 401(k) contributions each year and contributed to Roth IRA to help set me up for a comfortable retirement. It takes planning and hard work, but financial confidence is achievable when you have a set plan in motion.”