Transcripts: How To Grow Your Blog Into A Six-Figure Business With Jessica Moorhouse.

Transcripts: How To Grow Your Blog Into A Six-Figure Business With Jessica Moorhouse.

Welcome to the Holistic Wealth podcast. I’m your host Keisha Blair, wife, mother of three, author of Holistic Wealth, and Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth. The show will showcase various experts in the key pillars of holistic wealth. Each week, we deliver the best information on how to become holistically wealthy and live your best life.

KEISHA BLAIR: Today we have a very special guest I have Jessica Moorhouse with me today. Jessica is the host of the More Money podcast. Jessica welcome to the show it’s so great to have you here.

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Thanks so much for having me I’m so excited to be on your show for a change.

KEISHA BLAIR: Yes great and yes I was on your show and it was amazing and got so much positive feedback from that and Jessica so we follow each other on social media and what I’ve been particularly struck by is something you’ve said several times is how you started this journey on personal finance and how you didn’t start with a ton of experience or even a ton of knowledge and here you are conquering the space. Can you tell us about that?

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yeah I feel like I should be a good example for you don’t need to start out with a bunch of experience you can gain that experience over time so yeah when I first started out and I think this is also a big reason why people can connect with me because I’m relatable in that it’s not like I went to finance school or anything like that. I went to film school like I have a very bizarre background to go kind of a weird journey to get to where I am so when I graduated in 2009 during the recession so that was a good time and then I quite honestly just trying to figure out how can I pay off my student loan you know? I’m not really earning that much money. I was working some odd jobs, some contract jobs and my older sister who’s three years older, she actually started reading some personal finance blogs and suggested a few and like oh that’s pretty cool. I didn’t know those things existed and so we started reading these blogs and I’m like you know what this would be actually a really cool idea if I started my own.

Anyone could start a blog and you don’t need to be tech savvy or anything like that to do that and so it was I think the end of 2011 I started my first personal finance blog. It was really just documenting my own personal finance journey, having a reason to learn about the stuff that I really didn’t know because I really did not know a heck of a lot. I had some good money management skills that I think I just gleaned from my mom who’s very frugal. She was kind of the money manager in her household so I was pretty good at living below my means being savvy when it came to like prices and stuff not spending money, I didn’t have all that kind of stuff. Beyond that I didn’t really know a heck of a lot. I didn’t know what the difference between a checking and savings account was because I had only had a savings account and so there’s a lot of things that I need to level up and so having the blog gave me a great opportunity to do that to research this stuff and then also share it with other people.

KEISHA BLAIR: That’s amazing and it’s an amazing story and you know as somebody who’s also in the space, that resonate with me deeply because I didn’t set out on this path either and here we are now and it’s just an amazing journey so far. So Jessica in terms of growing the blog into a six-figure business what steps did you take to do that? And how did you do it?

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: I’d say like the biggest thing that I feel like especially when I compare myself to maybe other bloggers where we kind of maybe started our blogs around the same time or you know there’s honestly when it comes to like blogs specifically like I do not have the biggest blog but I know I actually I make more money than most bloggers and part of the reason is because I didn’t just stick with the blog. I could have very well just like put all my energy into growing that as the one kind of thing that I wanted to pursue but no, I’m like no, let’s add on a podcast and then let’s add on YouTube and let’s you know kind of set myself up as this go-to millennial money expert because no one was really using that kind of brand technique where you kind of put yourself in a space where journalists want to find you.

I just SEO optimized my website and my podcast, my social channels, so if some journalist was looking for a millennial who also knew about money, they would find me but you have to be where people are looking right and so that helped a lot in terms of getting some exposure and credibility. I’ve never honestly pitched a media outlet, and I’ve been mentioned or featured by the media almost thousands of times by now over the past several years and that’s really by creating the job that you want instead of waiting for someone to hand it to you.

I think for a long time I was always waiting for opportunities just to drop in my lap, and when they didn’t, you’re like okay well I guess I should do something different and for example I’d see all these people I know and they’d get all these great speaking opportunities on panels or keynotes or lunch and learns. I’m like oh man I would love to do that and no one ever reached out to me right, so I had the idea and this is when I’m still working full time in 2016, I’m like you know what I need to prove that I can speak. I do know what I’m talking about so I’m going to start my own event series and so that’s when in September 2016 I started my own event series called “The millennial money meetup”, which now is trademarked. I’ve done I think about seven or eight events now over the past several years obviously COVID-19 has shut that down for the time being but I can’t wait to restart it and that was actually great because not only did I show that, yes, I do know how to speak I also know how to organize an event apparently but I also kind of proved to myself.

I actually did some reach because I was able to find a sponsor to pay for it and I also sold out the event there was 100 seats I sold out in a matter of weeks. I’m like oh wow, I actually do have some kind of influence over people. People do want to come to this event and so again that was like a huge risk. It could have been a huge flop no one showed up, and I couldn’t get money to pay for it, but it turned out okay, and that was like me taking kind of that first big leap of faith that I think your blog can be more than just a blog. Maybe this can be a real business and so doing lots of different things outside of my comfort zone that also other people in the space weren’t doing that’s always just like well this is an opportunity. If no one’s doing it, maybe there’s a reason. I’m like or maybe there’s not so maybe you should you know enter that kind of empty space and own it.

KEISHA BLAIR: Absolutely and that’s so interesting Jessica that you went out there reached out and established your own event series and got a sponsor to come on and of course sold it out. So I’m just wondering because that would be one kind of line one of your business lines. What are some of the other business lines? And is it possible to give us an idea of which ones are kind of the most important in terms of building blocks of your income stream?

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yeah well it’s definitely changed over the past five years. So five years ago is really when I started to make some real money. So before 2016, I was contemplating leaving my job. I wasn’t sure whether I would either go to a different company for a new role. The last resort really was quitting and trying to do this full-time I thought that was the craziest thing there’s no way I would do that. No one in my family is self-employed, no one in my inner circle runs their own business. So I’m like well that seems very crazy like everyone I know is an employee so to do something outside of that that seems a bit crazy. That year while I was working full-time and running the blog and the podcast, I was realizing oh you know some brands are interested in me. They want to partner whether it’s like a podcast sponsorship or a sponsored blog post on my website or something like that. You can make money because honestly up until that point I was working for free for years just putting out free content and so I’m like well this is an interesting thing. I feel like its the start of like influencership and so I’m like well this is this is me and so for that first year in 2016 I made about $30 000, and honestly because I’m super frugal I saved almost all of that.

I started an “I’m going to leave fund”, or you know some people call it an F-off fund right and so it’s outside of my normal emergency fund. It was cash that I was I was hoarding in case I needed to make an escape from my job. So when I was at that point where it’s like what do we want to do? We’re going to quit for sure, but you know, which path? I’m like well I have enough to pay all my bills and to continue my business because it was very low overhead for an entire year. So if we get to a year and we’re not making any money, which sounds unrealistic, if we’re able to make money while working full-time then you can find a job it’s like not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out but you’re going to regret not trying right? You’re always going to be like what if? And so that’s what I did.

I quit and I had that good cushion to save me in case something happened. I tried to take a good look at my business and see what are we doing and how are we making money? And so, at the time it was predominantly the blog and the podcast, partnering with brands for like sponsorships and stuff like that and then really that first year in 2017, I think I started to do some public speaking but none of it was paid. I was just trying to get that experience under my belt and then slowly started adding some other kind of aspects to my business.

I have it all written down on my little chalkboard because honestly, I do so many different things I kind of forget sometimes. So, like I mentioned, I do events and so that first one I did in September 2016, I didn’t make any money. So everything I got from that sponsor I put everything into the actual event so it could be a success and so I probably actually lost a little bit of money or broke even but then I realized okay we did it that way, how can we replicate this event get, because we know people will come they’ll buy some tickets that first event was free so I’m like I think I can charge some money for tickets and how can I also you know have a little bit of money left over for me? Because it does take a lot of time and energy to put on an event.

I started doing events and making a little bit of money that way I started doing a little bit of YouTube just testing it out and it’s a long game which is really exciting so you could put out a video and no one really pays attention to it until a few years later and then you’re getting ad revenue and that’s completely passive because your videos are already made. You don’t have to do anything else. I also started training in 2017 to become a financial counselor so an accredited financial counselor Canada because again I wanted to get some formal credentials because as women I think in this industry unlike men we are questioned a lot about what are your credentials? Why should I listen to you? I’ve heard it all so I’m like fine let’s get some stuff under my belt, so I can like well this is why you should listen to me, I know what I’m talking about. People like to see that and so that’s what I did. I spent 2017 getting those credentials and then I started working with clients one-on-one as a financial counselor. Since then too you know now I get paid for speaking events.

I also have some products that I personally sell. I have budget spreadsheets that you can buy on my website. That’s completely passive, it took a long time and energy and work to create all the spreadsheets. The video tutorials to go with them the setup on my website but now it’s completely passive. It’s all done so if someone wants to buy it, they buy it and they they’re off to the races. I don’t really have to do any extra work. It’s all automated and I have an online course.

I’m going to be launching a few more and so I actually originally launched a few courses in previous years so I think it was in 2018 that I launched my first investing course. Then in 2020 right before the pandemic happened, I launched a more financial planning, general course but shut both of those down because I wanted to reimagine them. So, I relaunched my investing course, just this past February and so I’m going to relaunch my financial planning one as well later in the year. So again, that is a stream I wouldn’t really call it passive just because it is actually, its still a lot of work and my kind of process for getting students in students isn’t passive. People can’t just click a button and buy and enter the course. it’s a specific course I really wanted to make sure people weren’t just signing up and not doing it. I want people to do the work so they can get the results and so it’s actually an application process not everyone gets in who applies. Then there’s a lot of work on my part where I do like bi-weekly live calls with my students and all this kind of stuff but it’s still not as much work once all the kind of content is there. It’s not as much work as say doing a live training every week or something like that.

So those are kind of predominantly the ways that my kind of business runs it’s still a lot of brand sponsorships but also that’s kind of growing too since I first started five years ago. A lot of it is more kind of spokesperson or kind of bigger campaigns which is really exciting but yeah there’s lots of different things that you can do and for me what’s been interesting too and especially again when I compare myself to others that maybe we started at the same time just started with a blog. I think the reason that I’m in the position I’m in is because I’ve done different things and I really wanted to make sure I diversified everything I could do and that’s been really helpful especially during the pandemic when I thought 2020 was going to be the year I started doing a lot more public speaking. It was looking like that and obviously that all got shut down and so I was lucky in that I could do so many different things that I can pivot very easily and so for me all that public speaking got shelved until people, organizations can figure out how to do that digitally.  I’ve just like kind of doubled down on financial counseling. If I only did public speaking, I’d probably have a harder time during 2020 because that was all I could do.

KEISHA BLAIR: Absolutely and that’s so true and that’s why diversifying those different sources of income is so important as this pandemic has taught us. So Jessica just wondering as you’re speaking like I have so many questions I just wanted to know because you mentioned the sponsorships and I’m sure people listening in are wondering if you need a big email list for that? And wondering, what I would put forth to a sponsor as something of value to get them on board and so I’m just wondering did you work hard at building your email list and then say present to a sponsor in terms of its size and attractiveness just wondering what you did in terms of attracting sponsors and what tools or what things assets you had at your disposal?

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yeah well an email list is one of the best things that I ever did to focus on and this was like years and years ago maybe five years ago before I went full time but I started listening to while I was still working full-time in marketing. It was actually helpful. I would listen to marketing podcasts all the time but I had to cover this is for my job really. It’s also for my side-hustle and so I learned a lot just by listening to popular marketing and advertising podcasts. I also took some online courses on marketing just to really learn. I think a lot of people feel like that is a big roadblock they’re like I don’t know how to do that. How easy it is to learn almost anything from the internet you know either for free or you know investing and getting a course or getting a coach or something like that.

I’ve never personally worked with a coach but I know other people who have and they found it very helpful. So really kind of making that a priority to learn what you don’t know was super helpful so while I was listening to all these amazing marketing podcasts, I actually had a friend who started out as a personal finance vlogger and then she kind of pivoted more into the digital marketing space and actually worked for a Startup and so she was really into all this stuff and even created her own personal brand about digital marketing which was really cool and she was like the thing that everyone needs to focus on and no one really is and this was honestly yeah back in maybe 2015 2016 was email list and I think even during that time because social media was kind of gaining a lot of traction people thought email was dead. I remember seeing so many articles about email is dead.           It is 100 percent the biggest reason that I actually enticed people to hire me as a financial counselor or buy my courses is because of my email list because if you think about it, it’s like your direct access to your audience you were speaking to them basically one-on-one.

I mean that is literally how I type out all of my emails like I’ve got a bi-weekly newsletter and then I’ve got you know some different automatic funnels and stuff going on. I’m writing these emails as if I am talking to that one person who I believe is my audience member so it’s very personal and so you can have a really big impact on that person so that should be your number one kind of thing and again too once you kind of set up some of those ways to get people on your email list for example I have a number of freebies I’ve created years ago. I update them every-once-in-a-while to make sure they’re still irrelevant. There’s new information in them. I have some free budget spreadsheets. I’ve got some free worksheets and cheat sheets and all these kind of things to help you and that’s how I get people on my email list. I have people signing up to my email list basically again passively.

I don’t have to do anything new every single day and those are new people to be on my list, that I can eventually tell them hey you may be interested in my online course if I do an event hey you want to come to my event or something like that so that I feel like for anyone is the number one thing that everyone should do is really focus on that. Then outside of that, of course, your social media platforms are important. I mean I am by no means the biggest kind of influencer on certain platforms even though I’ve been on there for a while. Twitter I’ve been on for probably the longest which is why I have the biggest audience but I use Twitter, I use LinkedIn, because I actually have quite a few connections on LinkedIn. Professionals want to learn about that I use Facebook a little bit.

Having a Facebook page isn’t as popular as it once was and then of course I have Instagram but trying to work on that and kind of hone that but having those numbers and that audience. You do need to have proof if you want to work with a sponsor. I do have an audience here are the numbers because they’re going to ask you and they’re also going to ask for your blog traffic. If you have a podcast they’re going to ask about your downloads. If you have a YouTube channel subscribers, you do need that kind of social proof and those numbers to kind of back you up but that shouldn’t deter you from trying because again I have a bigger audience now than I did you know four or five years ago but I was able to get sponsorship. So I think part of it was also I’m part of you know this is a niche personal finance is a niche it’s not like I’m a fashion or a lifestyle influencer where there’s so much competition there’s not a lot of competition in personal finance. That doesn’t mean that I’m complacent to knowing oh well you know there’s not many options so they’re going to have to hire me for me that gives me kind of that motivation to continue to grow my audience and expand my brand because I’m like okay there’s you know this is a very kind of small category but that also again is an opportunity for me to maybe be the top person in that category because there’s not that much competition.

KEISHA BLAIR: Yes absolutely, and so Jessica, I’ve seen you do partnerships with some of the big banks and financial institutions like you know PC Financial or just to name a few and let’s say with bigger companies and bigger organizations. In your experience is it that they require more in terms of validating the size of your email list or your social media? What does it take? If people are listening and they want to work with big brands and some of the big name companies what does it take in your experience to work with them, did you proactively reach out? Did they reach out to you?

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yes, that’s a good question. I rarely reach out to them, sometimes for the podcast, I’m like oh I need to get a sponsor for my podcast coming up but in general they come to me and I think part of that is a couple reasons. I have been around in the space for a while so I do have that kind of name recognition. I’ve also worked with these companies or agencies that represent these companies for maybe five six years now and so they recognize me, they trust me, they know I’ll do good work. We have good relationships and that’s the other key thing too because I know other people in the space either in Canada or the U.S. who have a bigger audience but they’ve burned a lot of bridges because maybe they weren’t professional, they didn’t deliver what they were supposed to. They were late, all these kinds of things so you need to remember every single time you do a project no matter how big or small it is, you have to be professional, you have to deliver, you have to pretend like this is the most important thing so they come back to you.

I’ve worked with almost every personal finance or financial kind of brand that I’ve wanted to in Canada and even the U.S. which has been great and part of that is because it’s the repeat clients or I’ll work with an individual at an agency, they’ll really like me, they’ll maybe move to another agency work with a different client and they’ll want to hire me because they had a good experience. So relationships are super important but in terms of how to actually attract those people in the first place there’s a couple different things for example I’d say the biggest the first time that I actually felt like okay maybe brands will want to work with me was when I did that event, that was the first time that I really reached out to a brand and say hey can I get a good size of money for this event? And they’re like why should we give you this money? And then I pitched them being like no one else is doing anything, and this is where you can really get your brand in front of millennials.

It was an online bank and so this is a great partnership because millennials want to save money on bank fees. They want to earn a higher interest. They’re more likely to actually sign up with an online bank so I pitched them something that, I’m like this is so unique it’d be crazy if you passed it up and so and they liked it and it was a success. So creating something unique that no one else is offering is one way to kind of entice them to work with you. I think a lot of people in the space are just doing their thing and they’re doing it well, but they may not be thinking outside the box and trying something different. To this day, I don’t know anyone else, I mean there are actually a few people that have started events after I started events, which is maybe they saw what I was doing they said oh that’s a good idea I’m going to start that too. So again that’s even an opportunity and I mainly do my events in Toronto. So if you live somewhere else what a great opportunity to start one in your town and again you can be like this is a great idea for Calgary again this is in post pandemic times with the event example but really setting yourself up so you look different and unique is the key thing across the board and of course numbers are important. So really focusing on how you can grow all that but I feel like if you’re focusing on being unique and delivering something that’s different but also valuable to your audience those numbers will kind of follow naturally.

KEISHA BLAIR: So many people have lost their jobs during COVID-19 and they’re wondering what can I what can I start what? I’m what kind of side hustle? what can I do to earn some income for myself? and I think we’ve been seeing it so much and I’ve been talking about it too, is that we also need to be financially resilient and those passive income streams or even active income streams help us to do that because we’re able to bounce back from setbacks financially. So Jessica, I’ve been asking many guests to share their personal financial identities from that quiz that I created, because it’s such a big part of the podcast and for the audience learning and listening into these insights is so invaluable because several entrepreneurs so far have been even sharing how their personal financial identities have influenced their business decisions, their money philosophy, their spending philosophy, the way they take risks in their businesses and in their personal lives and even in their relationships at home with their spouses. It’s a topic that I’ve been talking about a lot. It came up in my book Holistic Wealth and several readers came forward asking me so how do I figure out mine? And so that’s when I got to you know starting the work of developing the framework and the quiz to help readers. It’d be great to hear what yours is and any other valuable insights that you have on that would be great.

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yes, so I took your quiz and I’m a Risk-Taker. What I will say though, because even when I see that, I’m like almost still a bit surprised, I think what lots of people don’t think about whether that’s this is in their life or just like their personal financial identity or their just general personal identity. These are things that can change. I used to think that you are who you are, you can’t change who you are, you’re on a certain path so for instance for most of my 20s and even growing up I was actually pretty shy, kind of an anxious, would worry about everything. I was terrified of change doing something new taking a risk. I was very play it safe conservative, just because I don’t know, things have happened I guess, maybe in my childhood, and in the past, where it’s like oh I tried that and it didn’t work out or I tried that and I got hurt or something like that.

So I’m like oh I don’t want to do, that I’d like to play it safe that sounds good to me and then at a certain point, it wasn’t fun my experience with my first time taking a huge risk was, I’d been at this one job and I’m originally from Vancouver. I was there for three years it was a decent job it doesn’t didn’t pay well but it was still all right for my first job at a university and I was just looking around and I’m like what am I still doing here? This has nothing to do with kind of the career I have in mind and it was at a newspaper and not a very exciting growing industry. There was always a layoffs or the potential for layoffs it was actually very scary. I’m like this is not what I thought my life would be like. I was fairly conservative and afraid to take risks. I’ve always been ambitious, always very ambitious, so there was always that friction there of how can you be ambitious, but also terrified to actually do the things you need to do to actually achieve what you have in your mind. So the biggest thing is really just just take one leap of faith some risk.

I’ve done especially on the personal finance side has been very like let’s make sure we’ve got money in the bank so we don’t go bankrupt. We want to make sure we’re doing this strategically and smart but it was when me and my husband we were honestly just a few months away from getting married, and I’m like do you think we should move? And we’d also gone to Thailand for our kind of longest trip, we’ve still ever been on, which was about a month, and we traveled around, had a lot of time to self-reflect, and be like what do we want to do at this time. I think I was 25 or 26 and so we’re still in our mid-20s and we made the decision, let’s do it, let’s go to Toronto and see what happens. It seemed like there’s a lot more happening there, and worse comes, we’ll move back. It’s not that big of a deal, but that’s still a big thing, moving across the country. We didn’t know anyone there, we have no family here, we had to make friends from scratch. It was very scary. We didn’t have any jobs, and so that was the biggest leap of faith. It was really difficult, the first year, trying to acclimatize, and meet new people, and find work and all that stuff. Now we’ve been here almost eight years and we still look at each other and we’re like this was the best thing we’ve ever done! If we hadn’t done this, we would not be where we are in our careers, in our lives, like it was the best thing. It was also the scariest thing that we could have ever done and so because we did that taking other risks was easier.

So sometimes you just need to start with one thing and then the next thing you know it’s kind of like a baby step. Sometimes you have to take one big leap and then a couple other steps and it doesn’t seem that scary. So all the risks that I take, it’s easier, it doesn’t feel as traumatic as that first one, because I can look back and see all the other kind of choices and risks that I’ve taken. Not all of them have worked out. I’ve definitely had some failures, but I think the other important thing too is whenever you fail “quote-unquote”, I don’t really like to look at it as a failure, it’s always a learning lesson sometimes you had to go through that to learn something really important that you’ll then take into the next risk you take or the next decision you make that will actually help you in the future.

So everything that hasn’t worked out, did not work out for a very good reason and I’m actually glad it didn’t work out. So it’s my kind of tip I guess is even if you feel like you’re not a Risk-Taker, you can become one. It’s all just about taking your time and making choices and then the more risks you take the easier it gets to continue to take on more risk.

KEISHA BLAIR: Absolutely and that’s so important, and it’s so funny because I have a whole chapter in my book Holistic Wealth on “Taking Measured Risks”, and I’m a Risk-Taker like you too, so I had to include one entire Chapter on that to just to drive home the point to everyone about the importance of taking risks. So Jessica, I want to go back to a very important point you made at the beginning of this discussion, on the whole personal financial identities quiz. You mentioned something so important and so insightful that I don’t think anyone else has shared so far. It’s that you can change, things can change, you don’t have to be one thing or the other over your lifetime because you mentioned that and it sounded to me, like maybe you were one of the other financial identities, the Anxious Spender/ Investor. It sounded to me like at one point you may have been a bit more anxious than you were now about money and maybe your childhood or something else other external events kind of influence that. I want to just to go back there just to ask you because that’s very insightful. I’m wondering if you can shed some more light on that point that you made just to give readers a sense of how that evolved for you, in terms of blooming and blossoming into a Risk- Taker, from potentially another outlook or another tendency that you may have had in the past?

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yeah I mean I definitely liked looking at the different personal financial identities. The anxious Spender/investor was me. I was so anxious about doing anything with my money, I kind of called myself a “money hoarder”. I would just hoard money in savings, because I was terrified of losing anything because quite honestly, I didn’t grow up well off at all, and then when I moved out on my own. I really didn’t have that much money, and then I didn’t earn that much money for a number of years, so I was very of that scarcity mindset. Terrified of losing my job, losing my money, and having to move back to my parents’ basement as a 30-year old. That was terrifying to me and so again that really kind of played into why for a long time I didn’t do anything crazy. I didn’t take any risks when maybe I should have earlier, but then there really was that point where and I think these things come up all the time in our minds like, where we have that moment of kind of whoa, what am I doing? Like you just we’re on autopilot all the time, but sometimes you have a moment where you have clarity, maybe where you ask yourself what am I doing and why and does this make me happy? I know a lot of people have experienced that during the pandemic where you have to kind of reassess your life, your journey. So I had a lot of that especially as I’d been at that job for three years and I’m like I’m not happy here I want to leave but then I’m like but what do I want to do? What’s the kind of in the future in the horizon for me?

So I realized even though part of me is this Anxious-Spender/Investor, I hardly invested any money and just hoarded my money and was just anxious about money all the time. I didn’t want to be like that but I wanted to be the Risk-Taker because that that seems like so crazy to me. I have done lots of little kind of testing’s of taking risks in high school and university. For instance, I think I mentioned I did a film degree in university, which is so bizarre, some people think because I’m a personal finance counselor now but that was a big risk. I had been so passionate about film and they said it’s actually very in this particular program. I think it’s changed a lot since I was in it. I mean back in 2004 or 2005 but it was very difficult to get in. They only allowed 30 students in per year for this particular program, and then they kicked out a bunch of kids. I think two to four people after two years, so you could do two years of this degree and be kicked out if your grades weren’t high enough or your projects or your films weren’t good enough. So that was pretty intimidating and so the normal me would have been like oh there’s no way they’re the you know when I kind of calculate the risk and the reward. I don’t know if I want to do it but then I’m like let’s just do it and then it worked out. I got in, I was put on the wait list but then I eventually got in so I think it’s important to kind of test out those different personalities to also see what makes me excited and good so even though.

I was in general this kind of anxious like “oh I don’t winna you know rock the boat”, whenever I tried to test out that Risk-Taker personality and something good happened. I’m like this is this feels like me, this feels like the me I actually want to be, but I’m sometimes too afraid to actually you personify it. So yeah going back to it, you can be in one state or one identity that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck. You can change and some of that’s life experience. So it’ll happen kind of naturally and some of it will be active on your part. You’ll have to actively make some different decisions and choices.

KEISHA BLAIR: So Jessica before we wrap up just because you mentioned doing the financial counseling and we’re in the midst of a pandemic, where money is now the number one concern of people everywhere, even over and above covid-19. Wallet Hub just released the survey, it was done in America but I’m sure for Canadians it’s the same thing. What concerns have people been bringing up? And can you share your two top pieces of advice for people navigating money concerns and money decisions during this time?

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yeah I definitely feel like I’ve talked to so many people over the past year and it’s been interesting. There’s kind of two camps of people. There’s the people who have been affected by  the pandemic but not in a really terrible way. So they now work from home, they’re maybe saving a bit more money because they don’t have to commute. It’s not that bad compared to other people who are really having a rough time but it’s given them this time to reflect on, oh my gosh, I’ve been pretty lucky and I’m still lucky to have work during this really trying year. I should really try to get my ducks in a row or I’ve never really thought about the next step for me so maybe they were always good at paying their bills and saving a little bit of money but not making any real progress with their money and so now they’re looking into how do I actually build my wealth, or how do I create some passive streams of income in case something happens, or oh you know maybe my emergency fund maybe I don’t have one or maybe I need to go start building it up or all these kind of things. So there’s people in that camp that are like oh I need to take this opportunity to really assess where I’m at and make sure I’m a bit better off and I can actually make some progress because I’ve had my head in the sand haven’t really thought about personal finance ever.

Then there’s the other people who’ve had the worst time during this time which sucks because it has nothing to do with them particularly, they were just working in an industry that has collapsed because of the situation. They just have a really rough time and so for those people it’s really about assessing where you’re at. What are some things that you can do to kind of help yourself and sometimes it is making hard decisions. I’ve had lots of conversations with people being like does it make sense for me to move back in with my parents? And you know sometimes the answer is yes if you feel like you can’t afford to live on your own. You can’t pay your bills, your hours have been cut, or you lost your job, and you’re just really trying to stay afloat. You need to do whatever you can to help yourself because this is a temporary situation. It won’t always be like this but you do need to be like how do I protect myself and my financial future and my future in general?

Right now do whatever you need to do. I’m talking about people losing their jobs or their hours have been cut. I know so many people that have felt conflicted about should I try to get a job in some other industry or should I try to get some sort of side hustle either making my own business on the side or you know doing UberEATS or something like that. Whatever you need to do to protect yourself to make some money so don’t get into further debt, so you can pay your bills. It’s really not about having an ego right now. I think it’s really about letting that go and doing what you need to do to set yourself up so you’re going to be okay after this. I think lots of people don’t know this about me because things are doing well right now but I hustled my butt off throughout my 20s.

I’m still hustling let’s be honest but when I was in my 20s, I finally moved out of my parents house. I finally got a full-time job. I really wasn’t earning that much and I was living in Vancouver, very expensive. I kept up not only did I have that blog that I was doing on the side but I also had a second job. I was a teleprompter operator for the news that I stuck around for three and a half years there. I needed to, so I was a little bit embarrassed because I didn’t know anybody else in my friend group or even at work. No one had a second job. No one talked about side hustles, but that’s when I was starting to read other personal finance blogs and they were a little bit more open about that. If I hadn’t had that second job there was no way I could have taken some of the risks that talked about.

I wouldn’t have been able to move to Toronto because I wouldn’t have had any savings. I wouldn’t have felt financially secure enough to leave my you know paying job to move to Toronto where I had zero jobs. So you need to do what you can that’s best for you. Just kind of get rid of the noise, don’t pay attention to what other people are doing, because we have no idea what’s going on in their lives. You need to pay attention to you and that’s not selfish that’s I like to think that’s more of a self-care kind of attribute.

KEISHA BLAIR: Yeah absolutely and such words of wisdom and thank you so much for sharing these strategies and tips with us Jessica. It was amazing having you here. Can you tell the audience where to find you, your website and social media?

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Absolutely so you can find me at jessicamorehouse.com I also have a podcast specifically on you know personal finance topics, you know whatever you could think of I’ve probably done an episode on it called the More Money Podcast and you can find me on Instagram@JessicaI Moorhouse and on twitter @jessi_moorhouse.

KEISHA BLAIR: perfect and once again thanks so much Jessica was great having you here.

JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Thanks for having me.

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