Okay, before I even to introduce you to Michelle Bobrow of The Holistic Wallet – I have to tell you this. We were emailing back and forth and there's this picture of her that made me think the following things, not necessarily in this order:
- She looks just like my BFF from high school.
- She must be really smart.
- She probably has an witty sense of humor.
- I bet she doesn't take herself too seriously.
- I love her bowtie.
- I wish I had a better sense of style and shopped somewhere other than American Eagle like I have for the past 20 years.
Michelle has a totally different approach to personal finance, what matters in life, and how she went about building her WordPress website. Even though I'm absolutely terrible at math, I love financial planning and couldn't wait to interview Michelle. Even if you hate financial planning you’ll love her blog – and she’ll trick you into thinking she’s writing about life and then by the end you’ll have learned something about finance and you didn’t even see it coming!
So read on to learn about how The Holistic Wallet came to be, Michelle's experience with WordPress, and get some great nuggets of financial advice.
When did you start The Holistic Wallet, and why did you create it?
The Holistic Wallet started as a local passion project a couple years ago, but I finally launched it as a virtual business late in 2014 after I decided that I wanted to revolutionize the financial industry to focus on financial “health” rather than financial “wealth”.
I love numbers and planning and logic – that’s my jam! – but I set out to provide financial planning with a more holistic approach that incorporates not just preparedness and efficiency, but also happiness and wellness.
It really just started with my own personal dissatisfaction with the personal finance industry and its emphasis on logic rather than applying our right-brain/creative energy to get a little more conscious and intentional with our money, so we could do the shit we really cared about in the near future – not just when we’re old and saggy and retired!
What do you feel makes your audience/readers special?
My audience isn’t about that cookie-cutter, status quo, American Dream lifestyle. They’re just really freakin’ passionate about living impactful lives and making the world a better place. These are the revolutionaries, the game-changers!
Aaand they’re probably turned off by the current state of mainstream finance – which is cool because I am too! But we all realize that it’s more effective to get through the system to beat it than around it.
Did you build your WordPress site yourself? What was that experience like?
I’ve always been somewhat curious about HTML and CSS and coding or whatnot, so when I needed my own website, it seemed like a great two-birds-one-stone opportunity to finally learn a skill I wanted to have but also get a website out of the ordeal.
However, it also takes a lot of time to set up and launch a virtual business and I didn’t have as much time and energy to put into my grand dreams of designing my own professional website.
I definitely learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes detail of a website, but I also learned more about my limitations as well. I eventually hired out some help so I could get up and running sooner.
Has anything surprised you about creating a website?
Remember when the iPhone first came out and the tagline was “There’s an app for that!” Well, PLUG-INS. There is a plug-in for everything!
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?
I wasted a lot of money testing and trying out new themes before I either knew how to customize them or that they couldn’t be customized.
And being a personal finance strategist, wasting money isn’t something I get over easily. It was a good learning experience to DIY, but yeah, every so often I think about all these themes I own and what I could do with them (blogs for days!).
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
I always say go for it, but don’t go broke for it. Plan ahead and save towards your entrepreneurial visions, but tap into that intuition and know your limitations before you take on too much. And stop buying into those notions that you have to go “balls to the wall” to be successful! It doesn’t hurt to diversify your income while you get up and running.
How fast did your audience grow?
Very, very slowly. As in, there were times when I would get 6 subscribers in a day and think I was a rockstar. Most of the business coaches and fellow solopreneurs I network with are rather surprised with how small of an audience I had in the beginning. But we all focus on being “authentic” and I really can’t ask for a more authentic and interactive audience.
Is this your only job? Did you launch your business while working another job?
I still have a foot in corporate. Sometimes I find that it limits my creative potential, but I’m not really rushing to leave either. I’m not saying all corporate life is wonderful, but when you find a good company that doesn’t push back on your quirkiness, take your paycheck as an investment into your bigger picture plans.
Do you have an email list? If so, did you start it when you launched?
Yes! And I send out weekly newsletters with blog posts and a behind-the-scenes briefing into my own financial life. I started my email list while I was launching with a simple Coming Soon page and Mailchimp and I find it’s a great way to interact with my audience and keep my material relevant and useful.
How do you promote your site?
I’m so bad at promoting my site! I’ve found that it helps to just focus on promoting my material, because when I’m talking personal finance, I don’t even feel like I’m promoting anything. I’m not saying promotion is bad – that’s how you get your material out to people! I just find it hard to be like “Look, I have stuff I want you to check out!” and easier to be like “Come to my webinar on credit card hacks!” And maaaybe I’ll get into Facebook ads soon to reach more people. But don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth once you establish credibility because that’s helped me a lot too!
Do you earn money from your site, and if so, how? Did you intend to earn from it when you launched?
I’m established as The Holistic Wallet, Inc. and I totally launched this to be a for-profit business. And yeah, that “Inc.” – I’m corporate! Haha. But those profits come from clients paying for coaching and strategy sessions and it’s my favorite job ever! I literally start dancing every time I finalize a client’s plan and press Send.
Who are your favorite bloggers right now?
YesYesMarsha.com is my saving grace because I’m such an introvert but I know that networking and being social is critical to the success of my business. NathalieLussier.com offers a really inviting approach to setting up and maintaining virtual business.
And I suppose I’m obsessed with food blogging in general. I always wanted to be one. Actually, I really just like looking at pictures of food for inspiration and crafting my own recipes. My own food blog wouldn’t have decent photography though, so I suppose I’ll stick with personal finance.
Is there anything else you want us to know about you?
If I could talk personal finance all day, everyday, I would! But listening to me talk about money, mindsets and management isn’t going to have enough impact until you roll up your sleeves and get down with your own finances. No one is too poor or too rich to start getting intentional about their money! I offer a 7-Day Get Fiscally Intentional challenge to help people zone in on their holistic goals and purpose which helps sustain that pursuit of financial health.
I think it's safe to say that images speak a thousand words. Michelle nailed it with her image and branding, and I love that she's not worried about promotion but about being passionate about her content!
To learn more about Michelle and how she can help you with personal finance, find her in all these places and take her 7-Day Get Fiscally Intentional challenge!