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Kate Northrup is a professional freedom seeker and creative entrepreneur. She created financial freedom for herself at the age of 28 through building a team of more than 3,000 wellness entrepreneurs in the network marketing industry.
Kate is the best-selling author of Money: A Love Story, Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want (Hay House, 2013). Her philosophy is that if you free yourself financially you can be fully present to your purpose on the planet and she’s committed to empowering as many people as possible to have the ultimate luxury in life: choice.
Kate’s work has been featured by The Today Show, Yahoo! Finance, Women’s Health, Glamour, The Huffington Post, Red, and more. Kate has spoken to audiences of thousands with Hay House, Wanderlust, USANA Health Sciences, and more. She continues to mentor entrepreneurs through her network marketing team, The Freedom Family. Enjoy her exclusive Business Heroine interview…
BH: Tell us your personal story. What was life like before financial freedom and what is different now?
Kate: Well, I’ve always been an entrepreneur, dabbling in various things. I started my first “business” when I was a little girl with my sister when I was seven, and went on to be the queen babysitter in the neighborhood and the dog-walking and all that. I started my first “real business” when I was 18 years old, in the network marketing industry with a company called Usana, which is a vitamin company. And I still have that business today!
I built that business during my Christmas vacations and summer vacations. I’d always had this idea that I wanted to create financial freedom by the age of 30, so that I could stay home with my family one day and not have to find somebody who could take of me financially.
So I built this business and, when I was 22 years old, I moved to New York City. The business was going well, but New York City is an extremely expensive place to live. Pretty soon my expenses started out-pacing my income and, before I knew it, I was in over $20,000 of credit card debt, having never carried a balance on my credit card before. It shot up really fast!
I felt pretty scared about it. I felt guilty about it. I had so much shame, it was just chaos, and I could never seem to change that cycle. As much as I tried to just keep my spending down, I couldn’t get it together! I spent a lot of time beating myself up for it and also just being in the dark – being in vagueness and not really knowing how much I owed. I didn’t know what the balances were exactly, because I had all these different credit cards due at different times. So I never really knew the whole truth.
One day, I was in an airplane writing in my journal, and I was writing about how I had this genuine desire to get my finances together. I had a stroke of inspiration, and I realized that if I were to treat my financial life as self-care and as an act of self-love, then maybe I would actually do it. Because up until that point I had used the model of beating myself up, and that wasn’t working.
Pretty soon after I made that shift, I saw some dramatic changes in my life, and I was able to begin to get my debt paid off. I actually paid it off within a matter of months – almost in one fell swoop – because, as I started focusing on love as opposed to guilt and shame, my income increased a lot! I was able to value myself more and add value to the world. Through this significant mindset shift, things worked themselves out.
Money is a daily part of our lives. You do have to deal with money – it’s going to be a part of your life every day. In my experience, incorporating it into things that we do to take care of ourselves makes it less scary.
BH: One of your slogans is “Trust FUN, feel good.” We’re big fans of fun ourselves. Tell us more about the role FUN plays in money and abundance.
Kate: The results that we get out of doing anything will be dependent on the energy with which we do the thing. If you walk your dog and you’re pissed off about it, it’s not going to be fun, and your dog’s going to be annoyed, too. If you drive your kids around because you feel obligated, versus feeling like it’s a great opportunity to spend time with them, your relationship is going to be really different.
What I did was change the whole energy around money, and I did some practical things, too. There aren’t many people who think paying bills and going through receipts is super awesome. I had to retrain myself.
I added elements of fun while doing my finances – a little dark chocolate, or some great music, or sparkling water in a wine glass with a lemon, or putting on my favorite shoes, or wearing beautiful red lipstick. I wear my cutest underwear when I have financial meetings – I do things like that because it makes it more fun! Doing things like this really helps me associate financial care with fun – then money becomes about feeling good as opposed to about shame or doubt or fear.
To me financial awareness really is a spiritual practice. For example, my business partner and fiancé Mike and I will set financial goals over a lunch and light a candle and do a meditation around it. We do things like this because money is an energetic substance. Especially when you’re in business – there is so much about your energy that affects how much comes in and how many customers you’re attracting, so it’s important to clean up your energy around money.
BH: As the saying goes, “Hindsight is 20-20.” If you could go back to visit yourself years ago, what do you see so clearly now that you would share with that pre-financial freedom version of yourself?
Kate: I would ask myself to stop beating myself up and just make a bold change and not be afraid to. For example, I was in a business partnership with my mom – and it had started to feel really squelching. I spent a long time feeling afraid of hurting her, and so I stayed longer than perhaps I could have in that partnership. I think my message would be that my truth heals people – it doesn’t hurt people. That’s still a lesson that I’m learning in life – how to have the truth be more forthcoming and not being so afraid of hurting people’s feelings.
Another thing is that I was living under layers of pretending things were happening that weren’t – wanting to look a certain way, or seem like I was further ahead than I was, or taking certain courses because somewhere underneath I felt fundamentally flawed. Actually, a lot of my debt was in personal growth seminars – and the irony of that is not lost on me!
Really, a message for everybody (and myself at age 22) is that you are whole and complete and lacking in nothing.
BH: In the spirit of March, the month of 4 leaf clovers, leprechauns, and pots of gold at the end of rainbows, tell us… what relationship does luck and magic have to money?
Kate: I think we do create our own luck. There are people you look at and say, “Oh they’re so lucky!” For example, a friend of mine is a magical person. She walks through life with this sense of openness and innocence like she’s expecting a miracle at any moment! And so her life is full of crazy miracles! It’s not because she’s special – it’s because she expects miracles.
It’s the same thing with money, and what we’re expecting out of daily life. Are we saying, “There’s never enough… I can’t afford that… rich people are evil… it’s greedy to want money… money’s not important to me?”
OR, are we saying, “I’m totally well-provided for, and I have enough value to offer the world to receive more than enough to take care of my needs?”
What are the thoughts you’re thinking and what are the conversations you’re having? It’s one thing to do affirmations, but what are you saying to your girlfriends? Are you talking about how expensive things are? Or are you celebrating your abundance and what’s abundant already? I think lucky people have a lucky mindset.
BH: What is one action we can take TODAY to create more financial abundance in our lives?
Kate: Here’s one action step I love, which is one I started with right in the beginning when I was in a lot of financial chaos:
Check your bank account balance every single day. Set an alarm on your calendar or phone as a reminder, and spend a moment in gratitude for the abundance that you have in your life.
This will begin to rewire you to associate looking at your money and financial care with a good, warm, fuzzy feeling.