Small Business Stories with Catherine Morgan
Catherine Morgan is a money coach and award-winning financial planner for women, a speaker, podcaster and bestselling author. She is on a mission to reduce financial anxiety and increase financial empowerment and resilience for 1 million women around the world. Catherine wants to de-mystify financial jargon and emphasise the importance of focusing on women's financial behaviours, not financial products.
The Money Panel is Catherine’s third business that she set up four years ago. She starts by sharing the pivotal moment when she has decided to change her life.
“I was employed at the banking sector for 17 years. Every two years I got this itch, I called it the entrepreneurial itch at the time. I didn't know that's what it was, but every two years, I just got really bored. And during that period, my relationship with money was terrible. At one point I was managing a team of financial advisors and I was living in my overdraft every month, spending on credit cards, spending my salary before I even received it.
I lived in this cycle of debt and shame and guilt. One morning, I walked into this coffee shop on my way to work, and in front of me was this leaflet about personal styling. So I called this lady, and she came over and weeded out my eight wardrobes of clothes. She left me that evening sitting on my couch, surrounded by about 12 beanbags worth of clothes, and I just cried my eyes out. It was like someone finally gave me the permission to get rid of all the stuff I've been hoarding in an attempt to feel better about myself. That was the first moment when I decided that I wanted to have that level of transformation and change for other women.”
Transforming the Relationship with Money
The next moment when Catherine decided to focus on people’s behaviors around money rather than on products, as she was running a gift business at the time, was a situation in which she rushed her five-week old baby into the hospital, and she didn’t understand the medical jargon used around his condition.
“I came back to work after spending time in hospital with my son, and I remember thinking how many people don't understand the jargon, the complicatedness of money, how many people feel guilt and shame about decisions that they've made in their past, and how many people don't know about the financial education of how money works, and are afraid to even ask. That's how I felt as a second mom, not knowing that sepsis was the biggest killer of newborn babies, not knowing the symptoms of septicemia. That was my second lightbulb moment of ‘I need to get out of this organisation that is focused on products, and focus on people and their behaviours, and their relationships with money.“
Challenges with The Money Panel
Although The Money Panel is her third business, and they have recently launched their global training, Catherine still found her main challenge to be changing the mindset as the business has been changing and growing.
“My biggest challenges have been allowing my mind to grow and expand as much as the business. Sometimes we can fall into that trap of working so much in our business, that we don't spend enough time on the business. I'm a creator, and my mission is big, so I come up with all these ideas all the time, every day I must come up with four or five new business ideas.
I can't do all of those things at the same time, and what I've learned in the last four years about building your team and acting as the CEO of your business, is that it's a big mindset shift. Suddenly, from just writing weekly blogs, building a Facebook community, and putting memberships and courses and programs together, and launching a podcast, which I can do all by myself, then you have to build your team and grow as a team, and learn how to collaborate with other people.”
When asked about the lesson learned in marketing her business, Catherine says it’s all about having a story to tell.
“The term marketing is an interesting one. 'm a massive believer in not just selling your product or service. It's about selling the transformation. So I just focused on sharing my story. Everybody has a story. Now you may think that oh, I haven't had a traumatic story to tell, but that was one of the first things I did. I would say the first and the best marketing activity I did was I stood on a stage in front of around one hundred of my peers, and I just shared my story about Thomas, and how it impacted on how I wanted to create change in the financial services profession.”
Goals vs. Intentions
“I'm gonna be a bit controversial and say I don't like goals,” Catherine continues. “Goals for me are very masculine, they’re very future focused. I'm a massive believer in living in the present moment, and being driven more by intention rather than goals. The difference there is that if you're driven by internal motivation, then the goal will naturally come anyway. What I did at the start of the year. I was thinking about how I can live in the present moment.
So first of all, I recognise all the good things that I'm already doing. Are those things I want to continue? What are the things I need to remove? Is it draining my energy? Have I been saying yes to that I shouldn't be? What are my boundaries, what needs to change in order for me to move one step forward? I'm very much a believer in the small steps of imperfection. It does lead to bigger successes in your business. Rather than just setting short, medium and long term goals.” she concludes.
Connect with Catherine Morgan
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