Hey there, CEOs. Welcome to the Wedding Pro CEO podcast. I’m your host, Brandee Gaar, and my mission is to help you. The wedding industry entrepreneur to build a profitable wedding business that you’ve always dreamed of.
On today’s show, we are talking to Money Coach, Erinn Bridgman.
She is gonna talk all about the money mistakes that Six figure entrepreneurs make and how to overcome that. So much of the issues we have with money, the reason we think we never have enough money, all comes down to money mindset, and one of the things that we are talking about in this show is good debt versus bad debt and how you can leverage debt to help you make more money as an entrepreneur. There are so many things that we can do with our money to help us make more of it instead of just having to work harder, and that’s what we’re talking all about on today’s show with Erinn Bridgman.
I feel like I could talk about money all day, every day because I don’t think women especially talk about it enough. But honestly, just the wedding industry in general, men or women, I feel like we have such a jaded money mindset. We come from this place of, you know, we all got into the industry because we have such a servant’s heart. Right? Like I don’t think you could survive the wedding industry if you didn’t have that servant’s heart, but often that comes with a backwards money mindset. Like if I get paid to do it, I can’t also love it. Or if I love something, I shouldn’t get paid to do it, or shouldn’t get paid well. So I am excited to kind of break down some of those money mindset barriers today.
“The beauty of what we do as entrepreneurs is taking our service or product to the marketplace and exchanging it for money. It’s bold and amazing.”Erinn Bridgman
Erinn wanted to get into photography for a long time just for the art of it. And it quickly turned into a business. In 2013 she had her first wedding season and she did six years of Wedding photography and videography. She says that her and her team became kind of like grandparents in the industry because many times you fizzle out and it is beautiful and it is challenging. Her and her husband scaled their business to six figures within the first two years while also working on other things! Once they made the money they invested back the just wanted to roll around in it. She finally felt like they had some money. Erinn and her husband had significant student debt and they were being smart about their money management, which is something that she was super excited to talk to us about!
They were able to make their first investment in real estate. That was back in 2014. And since then Erinn has left the industry but has not left the love she has for the industry and really love helping equip people, and particularly women who find themselves doing something that they love, photography, calligraphy, whatever it is, and they make great money but they have this challenge with their thinking and their management of the money. So that’s what Erinn does now in her work, she is a financial coach of money. Money mastery coach is what she calls herself.
Helping creative entrepreneurs manage their mindset and money so that they can get to the financial freedom. They started out with that desire in the first place in entrepreneurship, and so that’s what I’m all about. And she also does a ton of real estate investing!!
I was watching a video about the statistics of the occupations that have the highest success rate and or businesses that you can start, and real estate was number three. And I was actually really shocked by that because they said that there’s an 86% success rate in real estate. I found that really interesting. Since Erinn does so much investing in real estate, I asked her what she thought about this statistic and she agreed! She put it into this perspective: “You can always make money in real estate because people always need homes. And so if we think about a person’s personal finances, they’re going tonspend the most amount of money likely on their housing.”
If you think about it, I mean, there’s so many businesses that you can start, including being in the wedding industry where you’re hemorrhaging cash, you’re hemorrhaging money. There isn’t such a stable return, but you can always make money in real estate if you’re able to be agile and things like that. So I find that so interesting.
Erinn and her husband both had other jobs and her salary at her first job was like $20,000
plus she had housing, so very little money. They were both pursuing our master’s degrees and they had a lot going on. They came across an old budget form from their first year of marriage and they were working to save like $200 a month making very little money. But the concept of what this is is that first of all they had a budget. They talked about their budget, they would revisit their budget, and they lived underneath the means of the money they were bringing in, even though it was very little.
Fast forward and Erinn likes a nice lifestyle. She likes nice things and she likes to travel so they realized that they didn’t just have to just do their two jobs, they could make more money. That’s the entrepreneur in them!
So Erinn and her husband decided that they wanted to bring in more money to increase their lifestyle because they wanted to hit some financial goals they had set which were savings and pay debt down. At this point they had about $18,000 in their savings account and they were using that money for the extra lifestyle and for the financial goals. They came to this point very anti Dave Ramsey. They said okay they could take the $18,000 and pay off one of the student loans or they could take that $18,000 and they could purchase an asset that would zoom them into the future. So it took a different mindset. It took an ability to take calculated risk. It took an ability to step away from the hustle culture.
So that’s where they were back then when they made the decision to take the risk and take the investment knowing that it would produce cashflow and then a cash pile at the end. She has a whole podcast episode where they break down their first investment and how it all worked ended up being $22,700 with their down payment and what they put into the property to make it more money.
More and more people are coming out with this anti Dave Ramsey because he was really, I feel like the loudest voice and the only voice for a really long time. We had a very similar situation where we had student loan debt and we had things that we were paying off and we did do it the Dave Ramsey way. One of the things that I wish I would have known earlier is, paying off your debt when you have such a tiny interest rate and a tiny payment. When we made that last payment, we felt like we were on top of the world. We had no debt. We were like, the only debt we have is our mortgage, and we felt so proud of that for so long. And now I look back and I think If we would’ve known, which, listen, we didn’t. You learn as you go. But for anybody that’s listening, I think it’s important to understand good debt. Like there can be good debt and leveraged debt, right? To help you make more money.
There are certain pieces of Dave Ramsey that are very helpful, but you have to understand, and when we hear entrepreneurs saying that they’re doing Dave Ramsey, Erinn feels that they’re doing themselves a disservice because Dave Ramsey is speaking to a very specific population. He’s speaking to people who are 9-5. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they have a very fixed salary so when Erinn teaches budgeting, she teaches that as entrepreneurs, we have two levers and at the end of a budget, we need to have excess. If we don’t have excess, then we can’t strategize towards financial goals of retirement and savings and debt and lifestyle increase and all those things that she teaches.
But, Dave Ramsey teaches there’s one lever and the one lever is you have to cut your expenses, you have to spend less. That’s how we create the excess. And Erinn believes that that is not the situation of the entrepreneur because we have two levers and the other lever we have is just go make more money. She believes from an energetic mindset perspective, that the lever of spending less. Is more of a
negative energy. It’s more restrictive and a little more fear-based. It can bring up a lot more of that limiting thing.
The first thing is that you should never be ashamed if you make a lot of money, but at the end of the year, you have nothing to show for it, there’s hope for you and you’re not alone. Second, there’s a lot of steps for that person to get to a different financial place. And debt pay down is one of them.
If it’s just like heavy for you and it’s just like keeping you in a small place just pay the fricking debt off! But If you took this money and you could invest it to make more money, what would happen? But you also need to look at the psychology of the person. One of the tools Erinn works with people with is the Sacred Money Archetypes and there’s eight different archetypes and it’s talking about the behavior and thinking you have around money. Some people are not going to use the excess money strategically and reinvest it, and so it would be better for them to pay down the debt. So you do need to take into account your own psychology with money and your own, giftings and weaknesses. Your own emotional state and the data. You need to know yourself and you need to know your opportunities. When you are scaling a business, if you want to make massive leaps you have to become comfortable with debt. You have to figure out where you’re at. You need to get rid of bad debt and many people have bad debt. Credit cards are not good debt.
I think that there’s so much debt that can be used well and that business owners need to learn to be comfortable with it exactly like you just said, which being super honest, it was very uncomfortable for me to start learning how to use debt and be okay with it. But as a business owner, I think it’s really, really important.
Many entrepreneurs have gotten into business by accident! In the wedding industry in particular, you picked up a camera, you fell in love with taking photos of weddings and all of a sudden you really have a business there. We have a lot of things going on as women in particular, around our beliefs around money and one of the common things I hear is I’m just not good at math. This is a skill you can attain and you must attain if you want to be in the financial freedom that you’re desiring. Now, one thing you should do is outsource and have an accountant and a bookkeeper. But you have to be the CFO of your business. Nobody else can do that. You can have advisors but you have to be the CFO. Most people have a 180 view of their numbers, and that is because they say they’re not good at numbers, they’re not good at math. They fell into business they have to do the bookkeeping and the the taxes. So they have a very present past view of their money. But it is limited in its power. One of the things that Erinn teaches is that we must have a 360 view, which means we understand our present to past, and then we understand our present to future, which is the other half.
You need to be able to pay yourself a consistent salary. This is the most key part of building your personal financial wealth. When you don’t have a 360 view of your money, you find yourself paying yourself least, last and inconsistently because of fear and because you don’t have data. So when you have a 360 view, when you start to make 12 month projections, you know what you already have coming in.
One year Erinn and her husband, had a very unexpected five figure tax bill they were not preparing for which happens to a lot of people because here’s the thing, you’re desiring to make more money, but you’re setting aside taxes that were based on previous years. An unexpected large tax bill is a good sign. You made a lot more money. The problem is you didn’t plan for it. So when we plan for it, we create a specific percentage based on the past history because that’s important and we set aside taxes every month based on what your actual numbers are. What your projected numbers are the magic of all of this. And the key to all of this is you understand your cash flow and your company, and that’s how you can make these decisions. Cashflow meaning I understand the beginning of my month and end of my month bank account, and I can see that six months out and that is what lets us make abundant decisions in raising salary, in creating strategic investments. That’s why it’s so key to have a 360 view of your money.
When I think about my students that are in my Accelerator, students that I work with, and just the wedding industry in general, we’re constantly looking at past to present and when you do understand what you’re projecting, what’s coming in the cash flow, there’s so much freedom that comes with that because you’re not afraid of just knowing what’s in your bank account.
“For the woman who can land another client and make another grand, why focus on cutting small expenses? Know your worth and potential.”Erinn Bridgman
Join the Wedding Pro CEO Accelerator: A 6-month program for established wedding pros who are ready to ditch the overwhelm, create consistent profit, build their dream team and confidently grow their revenue to $100k/year and beyond.
I help creative business owners sustainably scale their business so they can create a thriving career and work-life balance.
small biz coach
I have experience speaking at both live and virtual events, educating creative and wedding entrepreneurs how to step into their role as CEO. If you're looking for speakers for your next conference, workshop, event, or the next guest for your podcast, I'd love to see how we can collaborate!
your business bestie + mentor + coach + cheerleader for wedding professionals and creative entrepreneurs
Want to learn how to Convert more leads into buying clients?
Get the emails!