I don't want to oversell it, but last month's Women Inspired Panel at the BlogHer conference was incredibly gratifying. The luncheon was sponsored by Prudential, with the ever-fabulous Tonya Rapley moderating the panel members (Me, Vera, Katie, and Valerie.) The discussion was guided by questions based on what we've shared in previous posts in this series, with the first on what inspired us to become bloggers, and the second on financial goals are for the immediate future.
We fielded all kinds of questions about how we run our businesses from monetization tactics, to tax structure, to payroll. We talked about having money conversations with children and loved ones, and we discussed our struggles. Here are some of the things I learned through sitting on the panel from both the other bloggers and the women in the audience:
What I Learned from the Prudential Women Inspired Panel
Inspiration is often Incredibly Visual
Many of the women in the panel discussion expressed how social media affects the way they feel. Be it feeling inspired or like less-than-enough. Several women raised their hands and discussed how they find inspiration and motivation from what everyone else is doing, quoting, and posting. This gives immense value to what I'm trying to do with my blog. If people see me talking about money, being responsible with my money choices and open about the failures, perhaps one-by-one people can be inspired to take control of their money. But it also challenged me to think about my money goals in a new way. When I was paying off debt I used a vision board to help me stay motivated throughout the 90 days. Now I'm thinking I need a vision board for my longer-term goals as well.
It Pays to Be Organized
Many of the bloggers and women on the panel have been doing this for a lot longer than I have. Others have a lot of experience in corporate America or in past careers that they've leveraged in their blogging pursuits. So I came away from the panel feeling inspired to be more organized with my finances. Especially in terms of how I separate my business and personal cash flow. I've gotten better over time (I have accounting software and an accountant now), but many times I feel like I'm being sloppy as they're still inextricably linked. By keeping things organized and separate, it is easier to meet savings goals. This is especially true for retirement, which I wrote about in my last piece in this series. I know this; I just need to get it done.
The Art of the Hustle
I was so inspired by the other bloggers at the conference, many of whom blog full-time and make fantastic livings by promoting their own brand. The common thread of their stories? They were unafraid to pitch for new work, for the best opportunities, and ask for what they want and need: be it from their business, romantic partners or friends. And if I want more business, money, or opportunities… I can't always sit and wait for them to happen to me. I've been very fortunate to have a lot of opportunities fall into my path in the last two years. So imagine what I could get if I actually took the time to ASK.
Finance is an Intimate Thing
I had forgotten after three years of writing about money day in and day out. But it's one thing to write about your finances for the world to see, but talking person-to-person in a large group about money was a more intimate experience than I was expecting. I often wonder, “Why is that person so weird about talking finance? It's just money.” But after doing my first in-person panel, I was reminded why it's sensitive and why we need to lean into that fear. The fact that it is such a difficult thing for folks to discuss is why we need financial education. Panels like this are a great way to get the conversation started. Money is a sensitive topic, but it is too important and ensconced in our everyday lives for us not to share. I was thankful for the reminder!
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