380: Mastering Financial Freedom W/ Author & Podcast Host Jamila Souffrant

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380: Mastering Financial Freedom W/ Author & Podcast Host Jamila Souffrant

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This week we are returning with an update episode with Jamila Souffrant. She is the author of the book, “Your Journey To Financial Freedom,” and the host of the Journey To Launch podcast. As a go-to thought leader in the personal finance field, The Journey To Launch Podcast has over 4+ million total downloads and was listed by the NYTimes as a podcast to help you get better with your money. Starting her journey by saving over $100K in two years, she is now financially free. 

In this episode she shares:

  • How she went from aggressive saving to over $400K years and becoming debt-free
  • The best and easiest way to traditionally publish your book
  • What methods of income-earning have failed her and how she helps others find what works best for them, and more

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Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:00

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Hey, hey friends. Today I am back with an update episode with Jamila souffrant. Jamila is an author of the book your journey to financial freedom and the host of the journey to launch podcast. She is considered a go to thought leader in the personal finance field. And her work has been featured in essence refinery 29, Money Magazine, CNBC, you name it. The journey to launch podcast has over four plus million total downloads and was listed by the New York Times as a podcast to help you get better with your money. Jamila is also one of my good girlfriend's podcasting, friends master minders. And it's just such an honor to have her back because I've learned and been so inspired by her. If you checked out episode 142 of the podcast back in 2019, she shared how actually saving and her approach to personal finance helped her to be able to quit her job and take her side hustle full time. So her and her husband saved $169,000 In just two years living in New York City with kids, and are currently debt free besides their mortgage, and she shares this journey in her book and on her podcast. She's a mother of three young children again, like I said, living in New York City. So there's so much to learn from how she's able to juggle this all. And it starts with her mindset, which we talked about in today's episode. So let's get right into it.

Oh, welcome. Welcome to the guests here again. Jamila, thank you for being here.

Jamila Souffrant 3:02

Thank you for having me. Nicaila. Of course,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:04

I had to have you back. So much has happened since we last spoke in 2019. While when we spoke in 2019, you were a full time entrepreneur. But you know, you were still getting your sea legs, so to speak, figuring out which revenue path you want to stick with still testing things out. So walk us through what's happened since 2019? How were you able to kind of find your way as an entrepreneur? Yes,

Jamila Souffrant 3:28

well, Nicaila, as you know, from being an entrepreneur, it's not easy. I don't think especially if you are someone who like myself is very not just I find myself to be very self aware, but self conscious. So that also plays kind of a double edged sword in, I think it helps me to really dive deep into what I actually want. But then, you know, I want to make sure I'm making money and running my business and putting work out into the world. That feels true to me. And especially because the content I talk about is all about financial freedom. And I left my corporate job to pursue my goals, which entrepreneurship necessarily wasn't a part of that plan in the beginning. So all that to say that when 2019 When we first spoke, I think I was still like maybe a year out from quitting my job and doing this full time. And since then we have the pandemic. And things have changed but it also helped to reassure me that it's okay that I don't have it all figured out because I've been able to make it work really well even still, with me figuring out and I honestly think that's the whole point of entrepreneurship and life is it's an experiment. And to me if you say you have it all figured out and nothing changes I don't actually believe you so

Nicaila Matthews Okome 4:55

I don't believe a lot of people on the internet but that's that's another conversation So, one of the things about you is you're always encouraging to me, you know, when I listened to your episodes feel inspired and encouraged because you share that path of okay. There was a point. I don't know if you still do that, but you were doing like income reports, right? So I forget what year it was where it was like, you had like, a $400,000 year and then you were like, I think I want to stop sharing after this year. Yeah, what happened during that year, you know, you seem like you really got into your groove.

Jamila Souffrant 5:34

I did. So I remember when I first shared how much I made on an annual basis, I think it was under 50,000. And then the following year was to something and then the year after that, it was almost half a million, right? I was like saying half a million, because that sounds better than 400,000, but almost half a billion. And I think since then, like the change in that was I focused and leaned more into my content, and making sure that was good, which then brought on more opportunities. So I've tried everything. I don't know if I mentioned this on the previous episode, but I feel like I've tried almost every avenue for revenue in terms of iPads, you know, digital products, where I sold it for not a lot of money, maybe like $25. I've had courses like mid level courses, I've had high ticketed coaching programs that I've tried, I've had a membership that I had, and also ended up shutting down. But I will most likely be having another one soon, you'd be the first one to know Nicaila. But I'm trying to try all those things, because I want to really see what felt good. And in those moments in the past, none of it really felt good. No, to be honest. And part of that was, I felt that I was creating the same chains for myself that I was breaking away from when I left corporate America, like I was putting myself on this treadmill that I had to work when I didn't want to work, create things when I didn't want to create them sell things when I didn't want to sell them. And I always have been transparent with my audience to say that I didn't want to have to do those things. That's the whole reason why I'm pursuing this path to financial freedom and independence. It's why I'm telling my audience to do the same. So I think when I, when I started to make more money, it was still I felt like I was still doing it out of integrity. But once I started to feel like it was too much and overwhelming, especially being like a single printer, it's me and I have a couple contractors. I said let me focus on what really matters to me, which was to get my work out into the world in a way that was digestible in different formats. So the podcast journey to launch podcast is one. But I knew that a book would be the other way, I'd want to get my content out into the world. And so when I started to see that that was viable, and a pathway, I said to myself, let me pursue that and shut down all the other things that just didn't feel good at the moment, or I didn't have enough support to do, and which has kind of led me into writing my book. And once the book comes out, I know that there'll be another pivot, or at least it will expand me in some more areas that I think will better serve me as an entrepreneur.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:22

I'm so glad that you shared that transparently. because entrepreneurship is similar to working for someone else in the sense that you have to explore to figure out your career path, same way you have to explore to figure out your entrepreneurship path. So you explore different revenue streams. And sometimes it works for a few years. And then But then you discover you know what, this is not working or aligning with where I am in my life anymore. So I have to pivot yet again. And that's what you've done. So how do you know when something is for you or not for you, as your side hustling and testing it?

Jamila Souffrant 8:57

This is great to figure out I think for everyone, it feels different when it doesn't feel right. Because how do you know it's just not something that's uncomfortable that you should still push through? Because it's challenging your existing and limiting beliefs? Or that it's just not for you? It's similar to working out, right? Like if you're working out, it's going to be tough. So do you just stop because of rep gets harder, or for my case, when I run to I just stop at the second mile just because it's tiring? Or do I push myself and feel so amazing afterward. And I think that's what trips a lot of people up is that they either keep going further testing a limit that was not meant to be tested because it just wasn't for them. Or they stopped before they have a breakthrough and see that they actually love the thing. So I think being honest with how you feel when you are doing that thing, and no one can tell you what that feels because there's someone who's selling that is right. There's someone doing the exact same thing as you or that you don't want to do that loves it, you know, and it has no problem doing it versus you right, so it's gonna be different. I think for me, it's almost just like I can't deny it anymore. I don't think there's any thing wrong with testing your boundary. And even if you go too far, and you realize, oh, it wasn't for me, that's still fine, you didn't fail yourself, right. So that's the first thing is that you don't have to know right away. And so for me, what would happen is that I would just feel very overwhelmed, unhappy showing up to if I was delivering maybe a live event or coarse within something that I was doing, I just didn't feel good. Not only not, like, while I was doing it, but leading up to it, I would have maybe a bit of anxiety, and just my whole day would just be off. So that's when I realized that this is not the best way that I can show up in my business or the world, right. And what's even more important this, why to me foundationally, financial freedom is so important, because I'm able to make those changes and pivot and pull back when I don't want to do things because I have financial freedom and stability. So, you know, I can shut things down if I don't want to do it, or not come out with a course, because I just don't feel like it. Because I have some savings, business savings, I have personal savings, I have a way in which there is income coming into the business. So I think the first thing to do is for anyone who side hustling or has a business is to make sure you're setting up the systems for yourself, that you can land on, if you need to pause or take a break that way you have that option.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 11:21

Yes. And what we spoke about in the very first episode that you were on, which was episode 142, guys, is that the power of saving actually, is what allows you to become an entrepreneur. So sometimes people think they have to start this big thing, like they're gonna have an aha moment, that's gonna make so much money, and then they can become an entrepreneur. But what if you save and give yourself a timeframe, like, I'm gonna live off my savings for this amount of time while I do this. Or even better, before you do that, start testing the different revenue streams. And then you're able to leave when you have some income coming in, or, like you did, very, very positive outlook, that income would come in. So you didn't necessarily have like your income replaced, which is what I like to encourage, but you knew that it was very, very, very optimistic, but it, then it would start coming, right.

Jamila Souffrant 12:17

And I think, again, everyone's situation is different. So when I made the decision to leave my job, there were securities and measures in place. So I had an advantage and privilege of having a spouse that worked and had health care. So even though his income did not cover a household expenses, like we wouldn't be on the street, if you my business didn't work, because I also saved up to cover and help cover those expenses. So with that, I think it's important to understand and look at the full financial picture before making any decisions. And then the other thing is knowing your enough point. So what I find is because I've been so focused, you know, before I started journey to launch, like the whole purpose of this was for me to reach financial independence, because I didn't want to work for anyone else. And it's funny because I, I said, I recently had an epiphany that said, like, I don't even want to work for myself. So the point is like, that still rings true. Like, you know, ultimately, I want to do just what I want to do. And sometimes that involves work. And a lot of times that doesn't. So because I know that and because I actually started the business with that in mind, I didn't like start it to become famous or Instagram famous, or you know any of those things, or even to be like a millionaire, or very rich, I just I started it to really authentically share my journey and to hopefully help others who wanted to reach the same thing. And then of course, when I quit my job, and then when the purpose was to actually make money with my business so that I can still achieve my financial goals. The lines kind of got a little blurred, right? It's kind of like how much work do I want to do to earn the money? And once I started to get into it, I started to realize what is your enough point? Because, yes, I can always have more and want more, you know, who wants to turn down more money. But if the trade off for me is working more and more energy that I don't have to spend because I have three kids? I just don't want to do it, then what does that look like? For me? What is the happy medium? What is my minimum amount that I need to make? In my business to feel good? You know, it doesn't have to be million dollars, it doesn't even have to be half a million dollars. But what is that number for me? And how can I run it in a way that I feel good and ultimately serve the purpose that it's supposed to serve in the world?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 14:24

Yes, that's so important. I have heard people talking about that recently, that enough point. If you don't identify that you just find yourself kind of on back on that treadmill back on that, you know, just running, running, running and what are you chasing? And why are you chasing it? Is it possibly because you're spending everything that you're making or most of what you're making, so you got to keep doing this? So then when you start to identify your enough point, you say, All right, well, here's how I want to live so that I don't have to keep chasing the dollar, even when I'm working for myself. Right So, now writing a book, it seems almost natural that you would take this path because you started your journey to launch platform as a blog. So at what point in this process did you say, Okay, I want to write a book. This would make sense for me, like you said before. So

Jamila Souffrant 15:19

I've always been into writing and reading, of course, I felt like that art has gotten lost in my adulthood, as I got more busy and children. So I've always made that excuse, like, I don't read enough. But I realized that while the podcast is there, and it gives great content, that not everyone listens to podcasts, or you know, Nicaila, that you still run into people, and they're just like a what, like a podcast, or they're, you know, they have the app, but they don't listen, you know, there's just, it's one form. And I realized that for the same amount of people are the reason why people like my content, if I could capture that in a book format, not only would I be able to help my existing listeners, be able to center and like get all the information in one place versus going through a lot of episodes. But I'd also be able to capture a new audience that may not be into podcasts that would rather read a book or listen to a book where everything is summarized for them. And I hear I realized, and I start to see that being a pathway, because I always like seeing other people do things before me. And if someone else does something, I feel like I can do it, too. So as I started to see other books, or I got encouraged by other, whether business books, personal development books, or finance books, I said, Well, I know my book can be this for someone else, just like the podcast was for someone else to be able to quit their job or to get their finances together. And so once I realized that that was, you know, what I wanted to do, it was just a matter of finding the right steps or making the right steps to get me to that best path possible, which is how I like to work, I like to look at what the end goal is, and then work backwards on all the steps I need to take to get there and put myself in that position to do it.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 17:06

So what are the steps that you need to take to get there? How do you go from thinking I want to write a book to actually getting a publisher agent picked up all that stuff?

Jamila Souffrant 17:17

First is to decide if you want to be traditionally published, or self published. So traditionally published has been published by Big Four, I think now, this the publishing houses have combined, but there's so many sub publishers and imprint under those publishers, I forgot how many I think there are like hundreds of imprints on the top four or five big publishers. And but okay, that's one way. So that's traditionally published, that is where there is like, you know, a Penguin Random House, or HarperCollins, that brand behind your book. And they can help with distribution, I think that's the main benefit, and they pay you up front, depending on your idea. So you get an advance, they save you money, in order to write the book, and you have to earn out your advancement, and you have to sell as much books to pay back that money that they just gave you. And then you start making a profit, versus you can self publish, which you do it all on your own writing marketing, you won't get the same distribution or a shot at some of the lists that we see that people like to get on. Because typically that's reserved for traditional publishing. But you get to have full control, and you get all the money. So whatever you spend what you want and make the decisions, and you go there. I know for me, I wanted to go the traditional route, I knew it would provide more legitimacy. And I wanted that money up front. So once I knew that it was okay, what do authors that have gotten great book deals and have had successful books, what have they done, they got an agent, their book was able to go to bid, which means multiple publishers wanted to bid on it, which ran up the price for how much you got further advance. They had a platform first, right? That's why the publishers wanting to work with them. So there were all these things where I selected our saw what other people were doing. And then I would look at who they use for their resources, who was their agent? Or if they didn't have a book agent? Did they work with someone to get a book proposal done. And so knowing all those things, I need a proposal to get the agent. And then the agent who introduced me to the publishers, I work backwards to figure out Alright, so now I know I need to have the best book proposal in order to get the best agent. And then in order to get the best publisher and the deal, right. And so it started like I work backwards, you know, deconstructing what that looked like and knew that my starting point was having the best book proposal and I didn't want to write that myself. So I hired someone to help me do that, who had a proven track record in doing great proposals. And that's the route I went and it also helped me to get the I think the best deal as a first time author to

Nicaila Matthews Okome 19:55

that's awesome. And how did you learn all of this was this through just listening to other podcasts? About book, publishing and authors and things like that. Yeah, so

Jamila Souffrant 20:03

I talked about this in my book, you know, you've probably heard of following the breadcrumbs, but they're just little hints of things that appear in your life. It's almost like a passing comment. And you're like, Oh, what's that, or what I refer to in the book is like clicking on the hyperlink. So you know, we all read like a webpage. And then there is a word that, you know, it's important. So they hyperlink it back to something else, a lot of times we read over it. And we mean to click on it, but we don't. But if we click on it, it takes us to a resource or a reference. And sometimes there's a hyperlink in that it keeps bringing you down like a pathway. And I like to say that I like to click on the hyperlinks in my life, and I encourage other people to do the same. Which means that you have to follow like the most logical steps to things. So for me, if I'm interested in writing a book, I'm going to find, which I did I find all the podcasts that talk about books like book publishing, book marketing. And if I have friends who've written books, I ask them, like, what did you do? Or I see who they referenced as someone who helped them with their proposal, or who was their agent, and, you know, not to overwhelm. So this can also be overwhelming. But if something is not my cup of tea, or I don't like it, I just don't listen to it again anymore. But that's what I started to do, I started to look at, what are some podcasts that I can listen to, to get me acclimated to this new world of book writing and publishing? Who are the people that I may need to know? Who can I ask to get their advice or their experience on how this works, and of course, everyone's gonna have their own, what they think you should do or what work for them. And I think the art of clicking on the hyperlinks is to take what you need and leave what you don't. So someone can say, Well, I wouldn't ever pay someone to write a proposal, like, I'd rather keep that money. And that's fine. But like coming from me when my situation is, I don't want to spend hours or days or months doing this by myself, I'd rather pay that money, if I think I can make that money back because of an increased advance that I can get. And so it's really about interviewing, deconstructing the steps, and placing yourself immersing yourself in that world to see what is the best route for you and then you chart your own path.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:12

Yes. What I love about what you're saying is, it's essentially making it manageable. Whenever you start something new, it can be overwhelming. But if you find a way to make it manageable, if you say, alright, let me work backwards. What are the steps I need? I want to start a podcast. Alright, let me start consuming, podcasts consuming, you know, courses or just even like short classes about starting a podcast what I should know, okay, let me look into the equipment and just go backwards. From there. You get to your goal, but getting over it getting past that natural instinct to not do it because you're overwhelmed is huge. That's where the mental piece comes in. Business made simple hosted by Donald Miller is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals, business made simple takes the mystery out of growing your business. I recently checked out the episode called your website probably stinks. Here's how to fix it. And it is a must listen for all of us. Because if you have a website, you need to know how to have the clearest messaging possible. That shows how you solve your customer's problem. Listen to business made simple wherever you get your podcasts

listened to one of your recent episodes where you talked about how much your mentality is your secret weapon? Can you share a little bit more about what that means?

Jamila Souffrant 23:48

Yeah, so mindset is everything. I feel that a lot of us we want to do the work which is important, like the action to get to the goal we want, whether that's with our business, or finances, or whatever project we're working on. But ultimately, what sustains our action is our mindset. It's our habits. It's all the intangible factors that are not always quantifiable. And, you know, you can look at two people who came from different backgrounds, you know, privilege or whatever aside, but there's like, why is one person keep moving forward against obstacles and the other person like stop? And for me, I've always just saw that I'm my only obstacle and then obstacles or opportunities. And so when I had this mindset, which also called the growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset, so fixed meaning, you know, if something doesn't go your way, or you can't figure it out, there's no way to rise above that. That's just what it is. There's no way to grow beyond versus a growth mindset is that if I can't figure something out, like there's no I can't, like I will eventually figure it out. Or I'll hire someone to help me or I will read until I understand it right. There's always a way that you can figure it out. So with that, I just feel like everything I've done, even the things I'm doing now it's not because I 100% have it figured out, or that I'm 100% confident, you know, like, I always admire the people who say that they're 100% confident and have no fear, or they know what they're doing. And I'm just like, that's just not me. But I feel like, even though I feel those ways, or that way, I don't let it stop me. You know, maybe it takes me longer to fulfill or do something, because I'm thinking about it too much, but I'm going to do it. And even if I fail at it, even if it doesn't go the way I want it to go. And so that has been my I feel a secret weapon, to what you see now, me being in the world and expressing myself and putting my work there. And then, you know, I just think that so many more people can be living the lives they want, if they just got past those blocks, or at least figured out like what those blocks are and started to come to terms with it and work on it. Oh,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:57

yes. And the concepts that Jamila is talking about, it's actually discussed at length in the book Mindset by Carol s Dweck. So we'll link to that. I want you guys to know that when we mentioned mindset, sometimes people think it's all woowoo. We're not talking about woowoo stuff, we're literally talking about what you say to yourself, and everyone has a personal inner conversation with themselves. And you might not even realize that it was a growth versus fixed mindset category that you were putting things into. So it's really important to call this out. So you can move forward.

Jamila Souffrant 26:29

Yeah, and you know, I get that whole how it can come off that way. And also, it can also be a I don't want to say victim blaming, but also it puts the onus on the person, you know, you can't tell someone who's in poverty or poor like, oh, just think your way out of, you know, that's right, right. No. But there is, there is something to be said that every person I don't know, everybody, let me speak to my mom, because I can speak to her situation as someone who's, who grew up poor, and did not have much. And her mindset was that she was just gonna figure it out, you know, came to this country when she was 20. I believe she just had me, left me behind in Jamaica, and she had to figure it out. And it's not that she had to be almost like a bit delusional. I mean, I think every person who's done something that they haven't done before someone around them has not done before, there's a bit of delusion in it, because someone else around you is going to tell you, there's no way you can do that. There's no way you can get your education who do you know, in this country? You know, oh, in 20 years, you're gonna have what? Like, there's, they can't see that. And so yes, it does seem a little bit like this does not make sense. You know, this seems, you know, delusional in a way. But I do feel like there's some sort of unexplainable, whether you call it delusion, or internal motivation that has to happen, where whether you call it luck, privilege, you create your own privilege, you create your own luck that you have to have a mindset like that. Because if we all just like, looked around, and just looked at how bad things were, why would any of us try anything? Why would any

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:00

of us try? Why would it we would just give up like it's over now. It's over now. And speaking of that, like this is a little bit of a tangent, but I just have to share this story. So I've been sharing a little bit more about you know, my pregnancy over on Instagram, I shared this episode's coming out later, y'all. But back in August, I shared when I went to the Renaissance tour, you know, the Beyonce concert, and had fun in this reel. And you know, it was great, lots of lots of great energy and support behind that post. Then there was just one comment that's like, have fun now, because when that baby comes, and I just delete comments like that, because I'm just like, Girl, what are you talking about? First of all, I already have a baby. So you know, there's not my first baby. Second of all, I'm not saying that two is the same as one however, what is the point of that? Comment? Y'all will be the point of these comments, that kind of discourage people. What is the point? I'm so Stop having fun. Doing work. That's what they want to kids. Like we'll figure it out. And you

Jamila Souffrant 29:09

know, most people don't they want them but most people also don't mean any harm. Like by the things they're

Nicaila Matthews Okome 29:14

doing think they're like helping weirdly, they think they're helping

Jamila Souffrant 29:18

fight so I try to have that like mindset when I'm dealing with people where I'm just like, What do you like, you know, because there are gonna be so many people who couldn't do what you do or have experienced and done what you did and did not have a great experience with it. Who will try to oh, they just want to protect you. I remember I interviewed someone and he had a book also and we're talking about something and he says like, Oh no, like you know how many books don't sell like you'll never kind of sell as many books as you need to kind of earn your advance back. But again, I don't think he was being like I'm gonna tell her this because I want to crush her dreams. You could tell he was a very logical person. And in his pathway like he ticked and tied every number everything was an I thought to myself, if I would have came to him two years ago with my plan to get him a traditionally published deal at a very good advance, he would have told me that was impossible to write like, I'm not here. Like, I know that for you, it may seem impossible, and maybe it is, maybe it is, but I've done, I've done things that people have not thought I could do. And I'm here. And so I just think you have to have that. You have to think back on the things you've done, that you succeeded at. Also talk about placing yourself in situations where you're becoming a learner again, you know, when you think about when something has just been new to you, and now it's like nothing that you figured it out. Even if you go back to your birth, like the chances of you being here are also very slim, if you're listening to this podcast, right? So whatever evidence you need, that's going to give you a confidence or to get you over that hump. Use that because there are so many people who, unfortunately are jaded. who mean well, but just don't mean, right? Like, you just gotta push through it. Right?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 30:56

And the point of that book mindset, you know, bring it back to the whole growth versus fixed mindset is, it helps you to not be your own naysayer. So being able to succeed as a side Hustler, turn entrepreneur, it all comes down to not being your own naysayer, because none of it is going to make sense. In the beginning, the chances of you succeeding are very low, like, let's put it out there, it is hard. It does require this the stick to itiveness. And this, like you said, like, No, I'm gonna figure it out kind of a thing. So go tap into that, and also tap into tomorrow's book. So now let's let's transition back to the book itself, because I want to know exactly what is the Book about like your journey to financial freedom? What can people expect to take away when they read this book.

Jamila Souffrant 31:43

So the tagline or the subtitle is a step by step guide to achieve wealth and happiness. Because it's important that while we're on this path, you know, I honestly think that the financial freedom path, it's the life path or the financial independence path. It's like a life path. Because we all are impacted by the money we have or don't have. And money, it's a tool, but it gives us options. It gives us options to walk away from a job, or relationship, a situation that is just not great for us or it gives allows us to capitalize or use things to our advantage to make our lives better. And for me, I think there's a way to go about achieving financial independence and freedom in a way that feels good. Where you can have happiness, it doesn't have to be a dreadful journey, where you know, we're talking about paying off debt or investing. It's kind of like, Oh, that's so boring. And, you know, maybe at first it is, but I think when you start to realize the benefits of making the steps of doing the work, and making the work feel good. It's just like, why not, you know, God Willing will get old anyway. And either way, you're gonna look but hopefully look back and say, Wow, at least I started the journey, and I had more money because of it, or I'm more financially stable because of it. And so the book essentially breaks down how to achieve financial freedom and financial independence. So financial freedom, meaning you feel more at ease with your money, you're paying off debt, you're taking the vacation, you're buying the car you want, but you're also looking at how can I walk away from a job that I don't like, you know, what's that plan? I want to quit in five years? How do I amass a million or $2 million? Like, what are those steps to do it? And how can I enjoy the journey so I break down, I have a lot of frameworks, where I break down the steps to get there, the lifestyle that you want to live, being really honest with the lifestyle you want to live, and then how much money you need to live that lifestyle, and the kind of work you're willing to put in to get that lifestyle. Because if you're simple, frugal, don't eat a lot, then reaching financial independence, is you don't need as much money. But if you do like the things and you want to take the trips and do all that, then you have to figure out okay, how are you going to get to that larger number that you need to support your lifestyle. So I break that all down in the book, because I do believe that everyone, no matter what your starting point is, even if you're in debt, haven't been taught any financial literacy is that you can improve your financial life which then improves your overall life so that you can be happy

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:18

what I love about your content, and you know, you can test out Milos content over at journey to launch podcast, but then the book is also coming out on December 5. So Jamila, you are so relatable, and you don't try to be this person who's like never drink Starbucks, never go on vacation, which just turns me off. Personally, I'm like, Get out of here. Not that I'm a Starbucks person, but I'm gonna take the vacation. All of us have to identify what's that thing for me that it's the trip, like I need a beach. I need a pool in my life at some point during each year, right? So you help people to identify how to live the lifestyle they want not to excess, but to a level where they understand which sacrifices they need to make to do that, but not to live in misery either.

Jamila Souffrant 35:06

So when I first started my journey, so the difference between what most people hear about like the general population, where they heard about personal finance are the basic stuff, which are very important, right budgeting, and having a good credit score and paying down debt and putting maybe I don't know what the average percentage people tell you now, for your retirement, it's like, and I say like, that's the average stuff. And if you do that, you'll live an average life, which is can still be really great. Like, there's nothing wrong with doing the average stuff with your personal finances. And then there is financial independence and the fire movement, which stands for financial independence, retire early. And I found the financial independence movement when I was in my job stuck with this one hour and a half commute. And it was more intense way more intense than the general personal finance content. Because in that community, when I first found it years ago, it was like, save 50% or more of your income. 80% If you can, you know, be super frugal, earn money, but don't spend it because you're investing all of it. And and it appealed to me because I was so despondent with my current situation, I wanted to get out of it. So I started on that path first, where I said, you know, what, we're going to invest and save as much as possible, you know, luxuries, and vacations be damned, like, we're gonna just go all out. And as I started the path, I realized, you know what, this is not sustainable. Like, I want to enjoy my life, especially because, you know, it's not just me, I have a husband, three kids, we live in New York City. So I just realized, you know what, this has to be more balanced approach, where it's not just about the money, like, it's a balance between the money and the lifestyle. So I just know that there are seasons in people's lives where you may have to be frugal in certain areas. But if you do that thing, it allows you to live that luxury life, whatever that means for you longer and more in the future. And so, just because you're, you know, watching every dollar for a year, because you're trying to get out of debt doesn't mean you have to watch it for the rest of your life, or just because, you know, you need to maybe invest 50%, or 30, or 20, whatever percentage of your income now means you have to do it forever. It's just these things you do in the meantime, to get you where you want to be long term. And that's what I like talking about is that you can change your mind, you can try different techniques, and you can enjoy the experiment of it all, and still be financially sound and happy with your life.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 37:26

And can you talk a little bit about how you balance the personal finance journey? How do you balance that with trying to start a business on the side, and needing to invest in that business.

Jamila Souffrant 37:38

So one of the things that can happen when you're very money focused and numbers focused, is that because you think you look at the money, and just numbers is that you want to, like see a return, like on everything, like, you know, you analyze, you take and tie things or you're very frugal, not only with your personal finances, but then when it comes to your business, which makes sense, when you're just starting, there's no reason to get the most expensive website, and systems, right, you don't have to do that right away. So what I found that was a blockage for me and some of my you know, friends in the space is that they don't want to spend money to help their business. And I'm again, I'm not talking about elaborate non necessities, but you know, getting an assistant maybe for a few hours a week to help offload something so they can focus on something else, things like that. And so when it comes to pursuing financial independence, but then also starting your business, I think it's important to look at the whole overall structure of your life and your goals. So are you like working a full time job. So this was me working a full time job that made great money, but it wasn't something I wanted to do with my time, full time, I rather work in my own business and still pursue financial independence, even if that meant I made less money. So because I knew that was the new path that I was going to take once I figured out, that's what I wanted to do. I adjusted my financial independence plan. Whereas when I was working full time, my goal was I'm going to invest and save so much money, that over the next seven years, that I will have reached financial independence. By the time I got to year two, I was like, I can't do that. Like, I'm not gonna sacrifice five years of my life working in this job. Yeah, commuting to reach financial independence by 40, which is how old I am now. And I rather it takes me longer. And I reach it at 55. If that's the case, but I'm enjoying my day to day life. And I'm not stuck in a commute or a job. I don't like it. So I think it's just important to figure out like what your overall goals are, what you're willing to tolerate, you know, what your obligations are in life if you have children or a partner, right, like coming to terms on that. But then think about your whether it's your full time job as an investor in your business, right? So if you're wanting to start a side hustle or eventually make it your full time thing, how can you plan for that and use the money that you're making to do that? And then if you are currently entrepreneur, which I'm pretty sure you know, she listened to this podcast, you are at least side hustling? How are you creating wealth for yourself? Because what happens a lot for entrepreneurs is that you know you're making money, but you're not transforming it into real wealth. Yes, you're getting income into the business. But where does that go? How are you setting yourself up so that you don't have to be on the hamster wheel of selling whatever product you don't want to sell or showing up online and doing, you know, a dance that you don't want to do on a real, right. So you have to be smart. You have to be really smart. And this is where it merges in that the income you're bringing into your house, whether it's from a nine to five, or side hustle, or entrepreneurship, how is it moving you through getting out of debt, investing, building a nest egg for yourself, so that you don't have to do that forever.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:56

So two big takeaways from this conversation before we jump into the lightning round. Number one, it's when you're side hustling, and also trying to take care of your personal finance journey, trying to set yourself up for wealth in the future. It's to be really strategic about what you spend money on. Sometimes you have to fight the temptation to have this most fabulous website, or this most fabulous wardrobe, or how you think you need to show up. Because you're looking at people on Instagram who are probably broke for being honest, or scamming or whatever else. You know, there's so many nuanced things that you don't know what's going on behind the screen. So be mindful of not comparing to that and spending for that, because you think that's how you have to show up because honestly, it's not. It's not. People are attracted to authenticity, legitimacy. So if I believe and I trust what you're teaching me, I don't care what you're wearing, I don't care what your website looks like, all right? The second piece is, as we get money and side hustlers, we have to invest it back into the business, we have to figure out what we're doing with that cash, sometimes we want to hold on to it as cash because we want to be liquid, right? If an emergency happens, we don't want to, you know, have to cash out investments pay the government tax, all this other stuff. However, however, however, be mindful of putting just some a little bit at least aside into these investment accounts, which, you know, it's something that I'm shifting even more of my income and attention to in this season of my life. But I wish I had done more in the beginning. Because you're setting yourself up not just to have like this pile of money, right? When 401 K's were first presented to me, it seemed like okay, we're saving for retirement, and we're gonna live off this money. But no, you can actually be living off the interest. All right. So the money itself is never dwindling down. If you set yourself up and learn from Gemelas book, you can actually put yourself in a position where you live off interest. So your money pot is not just going away. It's not a savings account. It's a wealth investment account.

Jamila Souffrant 43:02

Yeah. Nicaila. Can I add something there? Because I want to Yeah, so I thought the same thing when I was presented with my 401k, when I was 22. And I just graduated, and they were like, you know, he's here, you could put this percentage in, I'm like, for when I when I get that? No, I want my money now. And it makes sense. Like, it is hard, you know, so there's different types of wealth, and the wealth that I am talking about, when it comes to investing in your traditional retirement accounts and investment accounts. It's silent wealth, it's invisible wealth, and the wealth that we often see, and that we like, you know, the cars, the house and all this stuff, you can see it, it signals to other people that you're important. And that, you know, maybe you know what you're talking about in your value. And so I know and there's a lot of insidious and just deep rooted things on why especially people of color, and black people tend to spend more on the physical attributes of wealth, especially when you have not been valued or don't feel valued in the country, you know, you want to show people, Hey, I'm supposed to be here, too. So I get the deep rooted reasons to why our community sometimes spends more in those areas. And what I want to talk more about and show more is that there is a silent stealth, well, that allows you so much more, and it still allows you to still flex if you want to, still allows you to have the nice car if you want to. But I really want like even my life to be a testament of you know, someone could see me and we don't have the nicest car now, we may upgrade our car soon. But you know, we have like regular cars. And, you know, we I think live for the most part modest lives. But the fact that like, I can go to the beach three times this week and say I'm not doing that today, like something I had scheduled. That's well, that's the type of wealth to me. And that's why sometimes I share that on you know, my socials is because I want people to see that. It's more about the flexibility of your life. And so back to the 401k Yes, that is a long term investment. Yeah, you're not supposed to touch that. It's not like you invest in it today and you go take it out in a week, you want it to grow. But I'll tell you how it benefits us today is that if you set yourself up to where you have enough money, so you're investing consistently, and you read something called coast, FYI. So coaster Fi is the point at which you have enough in your investment account. So across your retirement account, your non retirement account, where if you never put anything else into it, it grows up until the standard retirement age, so or 5969, whatever the age, you want to retire in the future where you have enough to retire. So literally, like let's just say your max 300,000 or $200,000, in your all your retirement accounts and investment accounts by the certain age, right. And you don't put anything else into it. But it will still grow because of compound interest in the next 2030 years. What does it allow for you to do, then with your income, if you want it to it allows your your income to cover your lifestyle, it allows you to take more risks, because you're not worried about you know, I'm not investing for my future, or I need to invest my retirement account or I need to pay off debt. Like if you do the steps, I talked about the steps in the book, you pay off the debt, you get to a great place with your investments, you have more flexibility with what you do with your income. And you can earn less if you want to and work less because you don't need to because you're already set for the future. So the whole idea of that the 401k, or investment accounts only help you in the future, I get it. But I'm trying to let people know like it actually is a benefit to you today, once you get started because you have that nest egg and you can take more risks with your income and with your money now.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:37

And yes, there's so many things, so many nuanced things that kind of are missing from the conversation when you know, you might start your first job that has a 401k in your 20s. And it's presented to you and you just I guess because it's just it gets complex. And it's too much to present in the one hour session from the HR team. But just know, investing, investing, investing, investing, if you're not doing it now, start doing it. And if you don't know where to start, start with your Milos book. So again, that's your journey to financial freedom coming out December 5, make sure you run it up the charts y'all support support support. Now let's jump into a quick lightning round. Are you ready? Yes. All right. So we need to know what's the resource that has helped you in your business that you can share with the side hustle audience.

Jamila Souffrant 47:30

So I'll give two resources in regards to the book process. So I talked about how I immerse myself into podcast. And I feel like two podcasts that I really started to listen to, for different reasons, was the beautiful writers podcast by Linda, she was on my podcast, I should know her last name, but it's escaping me now. But Linda, like she has on you like top writers, New York Times bestsellers, or just people who have been influential in writing. And they talk mostly about the writing process, and what that feels like and what it looks like and a little bit of marketing, but I think I really listened and loved it because of just you know, what makes a perennial seller what makes great content. How does this person who seemed bigger than life like create a book that changes lives? So I love her podcast, beautiful writers, and then the one for more like technical understanding how the publishing world works was the self publishing school podcast. And they will have on people who are self publishers and the people who go traditionally, but it runs the gamut of everything from marketing to writing. And I'll tell you again, I'll listen. I when I was in my moment and trying to learn I was listening to those podcasts non stop. Oh,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 48:43

those are really good resources. Thank you. Number two, who is the black woman entrepreneur that you would want to switch places with for a day and why?

Jamila Souffrant 48:52

You know what, because I feel like while I the ones that I respect and like really enjoy, I know that they are probably working really hard. And I'm like, Well, I don't know if I want to do what you're doing. But you know who Issa Rae I feel like I really admire you know, of course Oprah would be like the just top one but I think honestly when it comes to someone like who's more in our my age range, and someone I'd want to like meet and learn from is disarray, just because she recently had a real where she had when she was doing the Barbie run or promo. And I don't know if you saw it and she was like back in her office, right are back on her desk. And she was like the ghetto like you thought you had it hot. It showed her doing promo of the Barbie tour and how fabulous she looked. And then it kind of showed her real life. She's on her computer working. And I think that's the thing that we like, yes, the red carpet and when you go viral, you get a lot of likes about something flashy, like that feels good. But a lot of that the work is very silent. It's very, it's understated and sometimes you don't want to know what it looks like because you don't see it. But I know that she's probably working a lot. And I don't know, I think that's pretty cool. Because I know we do that right. We do it behind the scenes, you don't see everything.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:08

Yeah, I know people try to share. But yeah, when you really just Intuit lockdown and your work, like you're not thinking about picking up a camera. So number three, what is a non negotiable part of your day,

Jamila Souffrant 50:20

these days? Monday through Friday, it's working out. And I say Monday through Friday, because the weekends I'm just like, I'm chilling. But yeah, so I really do like to get out either run or go to the gym and hit weights. I just feel better when I do it. And so that's non negotiable.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:39

Oh, yeah. See you on your IG stories doing that. so inspirational. Number four, what is a personal trait about you that you think has helped you significantly in business?

Jamila Souffrant 50:50

That I'm persistent? I'm persistent in that even when things don't feel like they're working out? I keep going. And, you know, I figure it out. I was gonna say, persistent and consistent, which I do think art go hand in hand. But persistence, I think is really what it is.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 51:07

Yes. Number five. Finally, what is your parting advice for fellow women entrepreneurs who want to be their own boss, but are worried about losing a steady paycheck?

Jamila Souffrant 51:20

While you're right to be concerned? Not to scare you. It's something that I look back and I'm like, wow, that didn't feel good to know you just had a check coming in, you know? But, yeah, so my advice would be, if there's a thought in your head about something, or an idea, like it was placed there, or you thought it for a reason, sometimes we, you know, we may have a thought and be like, Oh, that's crazy. Like, that's not possible, or that can happen. And I'm like, if you have the thought, like, it is possible, it can happen. And so to think about your dreams and your aspirations as being legitimate, and that they can come true, and yes, it may take some work and some money or time and it may not be easy. But I just know from experience, I wouldn't have the life that I have today, if not for going after it and following like the dreams in my head clicking on those hyperlinks. And so if you have this idea or thought and you follow it, follow the next best step. It doesn't have to be the greatest and biggest step, but follow the next best step that's in your brain and heart.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 52:26

Yes. And, you know, I'll just share this quick anecdote about Jamila. You know, because we were in a podcast mastermind together, we would meet, you know, virtually once a month, just catch up share tips and advice. And I remember, probably like after you left your job, because we probably started maybe 2019. And, you know, you're talking about the revenue streams, they still weren't really working like you were not making a lot. And I remember thinking like, I'm stressed for you, like, you got kids. You make it how much? Like how could you have left already, like what's going on, but you just remained. So level headed, and so calm, and so focused on the goal that you were going to get to like, it's like you knew you knew you were going to get to a better place. And I believe because of that, I knew. But I also knew that, you know, you made sure you have that savings and that runway to pay the bills, because you were you know, it's a two parent household, you're

Jamila Souffrant 53:24

still both contributing to the bills, but just the fact that you didn't let those early days or months of not making your old income dissuade you from considered final. Just add on that, you know, even when I think forward, if I think too much about where I'm going in the future. I'm like, oh, that seems interesting, too, because I don't again, have it all mapped and figured out. But what brings me back to feeling okay, is that I think, what's the worst that can happen? I mean, things can get really bad, right? If like, I don't earn any money, but not really because, again, I set myself up during those financial steps that it can't like there's fallbacks there are ways in which like, we will be okay. And even on the points where I didn't know how to be okay. I've always been okay, history has shown itself, that things are working out for me. And so I follow that, you know, and so again, I just want people to know or understand that it's things are working out for you to even when it doesn't feel like that. But especially when you have the systems in place to catch you, when you fall like that makes you feel even more confident. So get those systems in place.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 54:33

Yes, get those systems because they will help to alleviate some of the fear and the stress and the anxiety that comes with this path when you know, like, Hey, I have a backup nest egg that's growing, hey, this, you know, 100 or 50 that I'm putting in, it's going to turn into this by this date. It's so much more reassuring. So thank you, thank

Jamila Souffrant 54:54

you for showing us that pathway that it exists and for being on the show. Where can people connect with you after this. So first if you want to pick up my book, it's out December 5, you can go to your journey to financial freedom.com I'm on social media at journey to launch everywhere. So Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I'm mostly on Instagram. And then depending on when this episode drops, I am definitely doing some great pre orders bonuses so whether it's a pre order or just when you buy the book, if you want to get something special for just buying the book, go to your journey to financial freedom.com Alright, there you have it you guys buy a copy and also gift it to someone you love. I will talk to you next week.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:39

Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that CO slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the Week. Again that side hustle pro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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