An Interview with Jen Sincero,
The Bestselling Author of You Are a Badass on
Her Money-Minded New Book

Everyone’s read the book, right? In 2013, Jen Sincero’s refreshing and hilarious approach to personal development catapulted her message into the mainstream, calling on everyone to recognize their inner badass and start making their lives awesome. You may or may not know that Jen is a former client of mine and now very close friend, and a shining example of what it takes to make the most of coaching.

We are so excited to finally share Jen’s story in the pages of Divine Living, especially in anticipation of her timely new book arriving April 18th. You Are a Badass at Making Money is Jen’s sassy guide to finally giving yourself permission to be a total financial success. Divine Living sat down with the author, speaker and coach to talk about her own transformation, why she chooses to travel and what we can look forward to in the new book.

For our readers who don’t know you too well, talk to us about how you became an entrepreneur.
I was a musician and I was a “successful” writer in that I had a couple of books published, but I was broke as a joke well into my 40s. I was always focusing on what I loved to do, but I never had the audacity to focus on making money. It seemed beside the point and I was too cool for school, and it wasn’t until I got so sick of not having any money that I finally got my act together. It was the decision to not be scraping by anymore that finally got me off my ass. I decided to stop treating my life as a giant hobby and turn it into a business. With the decision came the teacher, which was actually Gina. I met Gina, and at the time, her fee to work together privately was basically a quarter of my annual income, and I took out a brand new credit card because my old one was tired, and put it on there. I did every single thing she told me to do, and started an online business coaching writers on how to write their book proposals. It completely transformed my life. I went from being a freelance writer, always struggling for work that didn’t pay anything, to actually being successful.

What was the magic pill for you? Was it getting a coach, or making a decision and creating a mindset?
It was honestly all of the above, but the decision and the mindset were probably the biggest part. Lots of people hire coaches and spend money they “don’t have” and still don’t do anything. So for me, it was really the no-nonsense decision to get my act together, that I was no longer available to live in a garage. With that decision came the realization that I was going to have to do stuff that scared the living crap out of me on a regular basis because I got to where I was by doing the stuff I was doing and I had to do some new things. The first big new thing I did was hire a coach with money I didn’t have sitting in front of me.

So it was the right decision, obviously.
Oh, my gosh! Yeah, I ended up tripling my annual income within the first three or four months of setting up this online business, which was literally as if I had taken a rocket ship to Pluto. That seemed impossible for Jen Sincero. I had been so identified with my broke ways, with not being able to make money and believing that money was something that other people had and I didn’t. That quick and beyond exciting success cracked open a whole new world for me.

When you started your business, you wanted to be location-independent. Why was that an important choice for you?
Because I love variety and I love to travel. I love new things in my life and I hate being tied down. I love excitement and adventure. And one of the beautiful things about owning your own company, especially if it’s an online business, is you really can do it from a rice paddy in the middle of Vietnam. You can do it from anywhere, and so I do think it’s becoming a trend simply because it’s possible now. Hopefully the Internet will stay a free enterprise where you can access it from anywhere in the world.

What did you have to overcome to leave your home and your possessions?
I so clearly remember the process of going from thinking it was impossible and insane to realizing, “Of course it’s possible.” Home is one of the biggest unquestioned staple “realities” that we’ve got going. Everybody has a home. So for me to be home-free didn’t really register. This is the main thing with any transformation in life—it doesn’t make any sense. You cannot see it because it’s so outside of your realm of reality that you have to give yourself the time to sit and soak in it for a second and really question, “Well, why is it impossible? Just because I’ve been told my entire life that one must have a home to be a human being?” So for me, it was really questioning a belief that up until that moment I didn’t even know I had. Once I questioned that I was like, “That is so not true and I am not about to have one anymore.”

Tell us about running a business while on the road. Is this right for everybody?
I don’t think so. I think you have to have a sense of adventure and be comfortable with a lot of unknowns. Honestly the biggest catastrophe is when you get somewhere that said they have good Internet and they don’t—the drama around that situation! You have to get as much information ahead of time as possible. But it’s super fun and exciting. You meet so many new people. And I think for me, existing in such an unknown territory expanded my belief of what was possible. Living in the unknown, I found that I was so much more open and available to opportunities that I probably would not have been if I were sitting in my house.

Tell us about running your business. Do you have a team, and what roles are essential?
I am really minimalistic when it comes to running my business. I still run the entire thing from a 13-inch laptop. I was going to get a whole new station and I was like, “I’m never going to use the damn thing.” I don’t even have an iPad. So I like to keep everything very streamlined. I also only have one full-time employee and actually, he’s not even full-time. He’s a virtual assistant, but he does all my scheduling. He does all my tech stuff. He’s amazing. He’s very well rounded in everything. So he’s my main guy. I hire stylists and photographers and speaking coaches and other team members as needed, but I really like to have one person that I deal with on a regular basis.

Are you a Type A person or a micromanager—is that why it’s easier to deal with just one person?
I am available to be called a micromanager, though I don’t know if I am. The fewer moving parts, the happier I am. So I guess I could have somebody managing all of my moving parts, but quite frankly, I don’t really need it. If I needed more people, I would hire them, but at this point, my career has moved into speaking and writing books. When you’re writing a book, you’re just sort of in the cave writing a book. So at this point in my business, I feel completely taken care of with what I’ve got, but I am open to hiring more if need be.

For anyone living under a rock, tell us a little bit about your book, You Are a Badass. Where did it come from?
You Are a Badass came about because I, while living in a garage, read every single self-help book under the sun and found them all incredibly inspiring and helpful, but to be honest, I would wake up with them on my face on a regular basis because they weren’t that exciting to read. I thought how fun it would be if there was something that involved some humor and some story and some curse words. In the self-help world, you sometimes need to read something over and over and over before a light goes on. So I was trying to give a completely different voice to something that many people have probably heard a lot of times, so that they could have a light go on because of the way I was presenting the material. The other reason was I wanted to reach a whole new audience that wouldn’t be caught dead reading a self-help book because they’re too cool for school and think of the category as really sappy and woo-woo-ey. I wanted to make it okay for them because I wanted to help as many people as possible.

Why do you think the book resonated with so many people?
First of all, the title. I do believe that we are all badasses deep down, that we are infinitely powerful and capable of so many big, bad, beautiful things in this world. I felt people would recognize themselves in the title, because deep down most of us really do understand. There’s a glimmer that we know who we are. So I wanted to call people out on that and give them a little bucket of cold water in the face about it. But I think the book’s success is because I’m not being
a guru. I’m not posing as somebody who knows more than anybody. I really was broke into my 40s, so I spent a solid chunk of my life dedicated to poverty. I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I was so entrenched in it that I dare anybody to say they have more attachment to being broke than I used to. Whatever situation anybody reading this is in, I can probably relate just because I was so attached to my identity and all of my beliefs—negative beliefs about money, about my ability to make money and my right to make money. Because I wrote the book from that place of really owning my own bullshit around it, I think people can relate to it. Also the fact that I overcame it and have completely transformed not only my entire lifestyle, but my whole mindset around making money and living a big life.

That leads nicely into your second book—You Are a Badass at Making Money. Why an entire book on money?
The whole reason that I wrote the first Badass book and even hired Gina as a coach, was because my big struggle was money. So this was definitely the obvious next book for me to write. In the original You Are a Badass, the money chapter is like two or three times as long as the rest of them because I was just like, “And another thing.” So I’m very passionate about getting out of financial struggle. The new book goes much more deeply into a lot of the specifics about money. Especially for women, I have a whole chapter on permission. There’s tons of great money books out there, but I have yet to really run across one that faces the whole permission piece head on. I’ve been a success coach for over a decade now. I swear to God the main part of my job is giving people permission to be who the hell they are. When it comes to money, it is such a loaded topic that people are so judgmental and freaked out. So I spend some time on that, talking a lot about mindset and getting clarity on what your specific blocks are. It helps get the brass tacks pieces in place for you to take action to start making some money. We all want to make more, but we’re not specific about it. Getting the specifics in place about what the money is for, how you’re going to make it, when you’re going to make it by, and then putting a plan together to go out and kick some financial ass is really important and all of that is in the book. I want everyone to know that money is available to you and you can absolutely make it if you decide to. We know that one aspect of the book is teaching “the growth mindset.” Will you tell us a bit about that? The growth mindset is about becoming much more aware of the thoughts you are choosing to think, and if they are unhelpful, changing them. It sounds so simple. Again, just like, “Are you freaking kidding me? That’s it?” But when you change your thoughts and you become committed to being very conscious of how you’re thinking and speaking and what beliefs you are thereby creating, your actions reflect it. You’re not going to take the gigantic, scary leaps that you need to take into the unknown if your mindset is not in the right place. If you’re thinking all these rickety thoughts about how shitty the economy is and how you’re not allowed to make money and it’s not going to be there for you anyway and how much you suck at what you do, then when the big, scary opportunity comes, you aren’t even going to consider it. So it really does start with the growth mindset, which leads to the leaps you need to take.

With all of the information available to us in 2017, why do you think so many people are still struggling with money?
That’s such a great question. I personally believe it’s this permission piece. I think it’s because we haven’t really looked at that. I think that we’re dealing with the symptoms as opposed to the cause. You can talk all day about investing wisely and how to ask for a raise and how to make good sales calls, but if you haven’t dealt with the part of you that hasn’t given yourself permission to be rich and to say phrases like “I love money” without feeling like you’re going to be pelted with rocks, you’re not going to do it. From my vast experience in so much material and information that’s out there about money, I really haven’t seen much about this permission piece. So that’s my theory.

Here at Divine Living we talk a lot about the money story—what we learn from our parents and from society. Is that something you believe in?
Yes, absolutely. Our dear parents, they’re just passing on the beliefs they were raised with. So not only are you being fed false information about what’s possible if they’re being small-minded, but a lot of times people won’t let themselves be more successful than their parents because of the big human fear of abandonment. Think about it. If your parents were always struggling with money and you just knock it out of the park, subconsciously you may fear that they will then reject you because you’re better than them and you don’t need them for financial support anymore. I think our parents play a gigantic part as well as society.

What kind of misconceptions do you think people have about self-help?
I really think that self-transformation, be it financial or whatever, there’s sort of a wet blanket on it that I certainly believed for the longest time. I thought that it was going to be really hard, not fun and take forever. It was actually the complete opposite. I did have to work my ass off, but I was working my ass off before anyway and I was broke all the time, and this was fun because I could see the changes happening and I could feel myself growing. When you
stretch your mind, you see all these opportunities that you couldn’t see before and you just realize how much truly is available to you.

This is our Women’s Issue, so we’d love to hear, what’s your vision for women in 2017?
I am so hopeful and excited for women to get over their money bullshit because it is time, ladies. We do not have the luxury of playing small anymore. The Dalai Lama said “the world will be saved by the western woman” and I totally believe it, but it ain’t going to happen if she’s broke. So like it or not, money is power. Money is freedom. Money is voice and it is time for a feminine voice to have a much louder place in our world because we so, so desperately need it, and I really think it starts with finances. You can’t take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself. So allowing yourself to be financially free and in the flow with money is absolutely one of the biggest first steps and most important steps you can take.

We couldn’t agree more. Before you go, tell us what’s next for you.
Well, I get to go on tour with You Are a Badass at Making Money and meet all my peeps, which is one of my favorite things on the planet to do. I’m moving into doing a lot more public speaking, which is really exciting. I have more books in the hopper, but we’re focusing on this one for now. Maybe some TV stuff. We’ll see how that goes. In between, lots of travel, hiking and camping.

Keep up with Jen at: Jensincero

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