Real Money, Real Experts

Finding Your Niche: How to build your financial coaching business with Lacey Langford, AFC®

July 06, 2021 AFCPE® Season 1 Episode 30
Real Money, Real Experts
Finding Your Niche: How to build your financial coaching business with Lacey Langford, AFC®
Show Notes Transcript

The power of failure, the unique financial struggles of military service members, finding your financial coaching niche — co-hosts Rebecca Wiggins and Dr. Mary Bell Carlson cover it all with guest Lacey Langford, AFC®.

Lacey is the creator and host of the Military Money Show, a podcast that's dedicated to helping the military community make, save, and invest money wisely. She's also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and the founder of Laceylangford.com, a personal finance blog and coaching practice specializing in the unique world of the United States Military.

In this episode, Lacey talks about barriers that are actually business opportunities in disguise, her unconventional career journey to a career in helping military members, and her favorite resources for entrepreneurs. If you run your own financial business — or are thinking about taking the leap to start a private practice — you don’t want to miss this episode of Real Money, Real Experts. 
 
 
 Show Notes:

00:52 Lacey’s Introduction

01:36 Lacey’s Journey to the Field and the AFC®

05:27 Financial Challenges of Active-Duty Service Members

07:56 Financial Challenges and Barriers of Active-Duty Military Spouses

11:35 Resources for Service Members and Souses in Transition

14:00 The Evolution of Lacey’s Private Practice

17:06 The Power of Having a Niche

20:04 Diversifying your Income

24:53 Advice for Private Practitioners

30:00 Resources for Entrepreneurs

35:42 Lacey’s Two Cents

 
Show Note links:

Connect with Lacey!

Website: https://laceylangford.com/
Instagramː https://www.instagram.com/laceylangford
Twitterː https://twitter.com/FinanceLacey
LinkedInː https://www.linkedin.com/in/laceylangford
YouTubeː https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0oGyS_Pwtig0iecEQ_PW2g
Facebookː https://www.facebook.com/TheMilitaryMoneyExpert


Military Resources
Veterati: https://www.veterati.com/
Military OneSource: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/
Hiring Our Heroes: https://www.hiringourheroes.org/

 
Entrepreneurial Resources
Financial Coaching Business Builder: https://programs.laceylangford.com/courses/fcbb
Airtable: https://airtable.com/
Calendly: https://calendly.com/
Grammarly: https://www.grammarly.com/
Meet Edgar: https://meetedgar.com/
HelloSign: https://www.hellosign.com/
Thinkific: https://www.thinkific.com/
Lead Pages: https://www.leadpages.com/
Blue Host: https://www.bluehost.com/#

Intro:

Welcome to Real Money, Real Experts, a podcast where leading financial counseling and coaching experts share their stories, their challenges, and their advice for helping people manage money in the real world. I'm your host, Rebecca Wiggins, Executive Director of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® or AFCPE®. And I'm your cohost, Dr. Mary Bell Carlson. I'm an Accredited Financial Counselor®, or AFC®, and the CEO of Chief Financial Mom. Every episode, we're taking a deep dive into the topics that the personal finance professionals care about: helping clients, building community and your professional growth. Welcome everyone to the Real Money, Real Experts podcast. I'm Rebecca. This is Mary. Thanks for taking the time to join us today.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Today on the show we're talking with Lacey Langford. Lacey is an AFC® professional, a financial coach, writer and speaker. Money and military is her jam. She's the creator and host of the Military Money Show, a podcast that's dedicated to helping the military community make, save and invest money wisely. She's also the founder of Laceylangford .com , a personal finance blog and coaching practice specializing in the unique world of the United States Military. Besides being a financial coach, Lacey teaches other financial professionals to build a portable and profitable coaching business through her Financial Coaching Business Builder course. We have so much to talk with you about thanks so much for joining us today, Lacey.

Lacey Langford:

Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here. I feel like it's coming home.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Hey, Lacey, back us up and give us some more of your background. How did you get started in this field?

Lacey Langford:

I really feel like I've kind of fallen backwards into everything that I've done. But I knew that I really wanted to help people with money. I was very fortunate. I grew up where my parents did talk about money and while I was on active duty, that was something I was formulating, what I was going to do after I got out. And so I went back to school, got my degree in finance and business, and then was a military spouse. And it kind of took a turn from there that I knew I wanted to be a financial professional, but I was a military spouse following my husband's career and trying to figure out how to navigate, balancing my career with his. And I also was trying to become a CFP®. I became an AFC®. I was trying all of these things. And then one day I just got really mad at the situation that I was in that I couldn't really have control of my earning power. So I was like, you know what, I'm just going to start my own thing, my own business that I can take anywhere with me and I have complete control over it. And we'll still be able to live the military life and work around my family life. So it was out of frustration, but ultimately something that would work well for me and my family.

Rebecca Wiggins:

I love that you used that frustration. You know, you have this sort of fire behind you, Lacey , that I've always really loved. And I love that you used that frustration and channeled it into something, that worked for you and created a career path. I'm curious. Tell us more about how you learned about the AFC in your journey and what that's done for you in your career.

Lacey Langford:

It's no secret. I have failed the CFP® exam multiple times. I've failed it a total of four and many people know there's only, you can only have five shots at it. And I thought, that's what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought that was the path for me being an advisor . But the fact that it kept failing the exam and my life, you know, the military life and my personality, I started to realize, well, maybe that's not for me. And I started volunteering actually on a military installation doing one-on-one financial counseling and coaching. And there I met someone and was telling them, Hey, I thought I wanted to be a financial advisor, but I failed the test. And they're like, Hey, have you ever heard of an AFC? And I was like, no, I've never heard of this. And they're like, you could work and help other people and have an accreditation and not be an advisor. And, you know , I started to look further into it and I was like, you know what? This actually might be more up my alley working one-on-one with people and helping motivate them with money and teaching them versus, you know, managing the money part, which always made me a little nervous. And so that chance conversation of me volunteering and trying to get involved in helping money, cause the path I was going, wasn't working, there was so much resistance. But once I started volunteering and following kind of who I was and my personality and how I wanted to help other people. And that really is where it started. I volunteered. I was like, you know, what, if I can't, if I can't pass anything and I can't do all of these things, I'm going to at least make a difference somehow as it relates to money. And then I had a chance meeting with somebody and they told me about the AFC and then right away, everything got easier. I took the test, I passed it , studied a little more, took the next one and I was on the path. So it really, I think was meant to be.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Yeah, I love that story about, you know, sometimes the barriers that are in place or that we think are barriers actually are the redirection, the path you're really supposed to find. And we hear that a lot. You know, people that think they need to go into the financial planning world or that's all there is in the field of finance. And then somehow they come across the AFC and it's like, oh, this is what I've been waiting for. You know, this type of designation. So I love that you shared that story and , and turning, you know, what we think of barriers as being a new opportunity and a new path.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Yeah, and I think that you don't give up once you've set your mind to something, you just keep trying, no matter how many times you've been knocked down, you just keep getting up. One of the things that I really admire about you is how much work you do with the military. You are a veteran of the air force. You have married another military member . So your military spouse, your father was in the army. You've seen a lot of experiences and exposures of financial experiences of military members. What are some of the financial challenges though that you've seen during time in the service?

Lacey Langford:

I think there's two big things. One is the transition. There's always something in the pipeline for the military. Whether that be a school that they have to go to a PCS or a Permanent Change of Station, meaning they're moving duty locations, it could be a deployment. And then you're throwing in regular life with that, you know, having a child, getting married , death of family members. So you're compounding some issues that everybody has, but the military is doing it very frequently. And service members, part of their job most often requires a security clearance and to obtain a security clearance and maintain it. Your personal finances are a component of that. It's in the adjudication process, is financial considerations. And so if you're having a lot of financial problems, you become somewhat of a concern to national security. If you're a young service member that has access to, I don't know, a nuclear piece of equipment and you have so much debt, you might be tempted to give away a piece that information, if somebody going to pay you. And so compared to your civilian counterparts , service members really do have to have their finances in better order because it can mean they could lose their security clearance, which means they could lose their job, which means they could be put out of the military and that's just going to further compound the financial issues. So I think having those transitions, having the pressure that there's this expectation to be better with your money and to make sure that there's no concerns and this just kind of juggling all of that and never knowing when you could move short notice or when you could deploy short notice, I think makes it difficult for service members to plan ahead. It's possible and people do it. It's just, there needs to be, you know , a clear plan that you follow and maintain, I think is really important and try to stay you know positive and focused on your long-term goals with your money, I think is helpful for service members and their families.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Actually, I love that. Because you're right. Transitions is a huge part. And we don't think of that so often in the civilian side. Even though we do go through other transitions, but military it's just, your life is one constant transition. And I think it's unique as a military member, you sign up for that. You kind of expect that, but not so much as a spouse. And a lot of times we talk about military members and their families as if they're one entity. Give me some perspective as a military spouse, what some of the challenges are. And specifically financial barriers are in that world.

Lacey Langford:

Well I think, it really is a team effort because it's, you know, the , the families live in it too , they're serving . So I think that's sometimes why it kind of gets rolled together. But for military spouses, your career path sometimes takes a back seat . I don't think that it has to. I just think that sometimes, I think it's getting much better, but in the past there's been well, okay, well I can't work because we just moved. Well with a lot of online businesses and telecommuting with technology, it's made it possible for a lot of military spouses to maintain their employment. It's getting better and better, but I think that's a big issue is to have your career either established before you've married a service member or trying to establish it as a military spouse, it can be frustrating sometimes. And you're adding again that the degree of difficulty. It's one thing just to get a new job, but as a military spouse get a new job and knowing that you might be moving. So I think that's frustrating is maintaining employment. And underemployment is a major issues to say that, you know, maybe I'm an attorney and I'm working as a daycare worker, which is lovely work. And probably a lot of people are happy to have that work, but you're way over qualified for that job. And that, that was some of the frustrations that I had is that I was very qualified, but it was sometimes hard to find employment. It might be a short term employment, six months or a year. So those are frustrations. And then that impacts you financially. If you are a high income earner spouse, you know, maybe making six figures and you move and you're only making $40,000 a year, that's, that's going to impact your finances. And it's also going to be super frustrating that you've worked so hard to get to that point only to take a step back. So I think those that un- and underemployment and the, the financial impacts are stressful to a military family's budget and just their, their mindset.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Absolutely. You bring up the issue of portability. And I think that's so important for so many to have and think through what is my portable career and am I able to pick up and go from place to place? That's one thing that I think you've done excellent at. Is being able to create your own brand, your own niche, and you can do it literally anywhere in the world, wherever you need to be. And as you mentioned earlier, it's really flexible with your family. And what's important to you.

Lacey Langford:

Portability is key, whether you are an entrepreneur as a military spouse or a service member, or it's just your career. That's something to think about because you are in the military, that's just the way it is. And so, you know, these things are going to happen and being proactive in the planning of your career with that portability factor can make it all the much easier. Because there's so many companies now that want to work with a military spouse. Especially if you've been hired and doing a wonderful job, and you say, Hey, I'm getting ready to move. A lot of companies will say, let's figure a way out for you to stay on board. And oftentimes they'll mail computers, do things to make sure the military spouse can maintain the employment, but it's finding those good companies and doing the research and the homework. So that way you have it in place before you move.

Rebecca Wiggins:

I would imagine even just with the trends of COVID and how that's moved so many other companies to be more flexible, that that might even be something that is a continued trend, you know , towards more portability and flexibility. So, Lacey , I'm curious too just, I'd love to get into a little bit more about your business, but before we do that, do you have any resources that you recommend maybe about transitioning or personal finance in general for military members or their spouses?

Lacey Langford:

Personal Finance Military OneSource is a great resource that the Department of Defense puts out and they also have a lot of career information for military spouses. And that's free. I'm all about free, as you can imagine, as a financial person. I think that's, that's very helpful. Also Hiring Our Heroes. They have information, which is wonderful. They do so many initiatives to help people. One thing that I think people undervalue and , or maybe aren't aware of, that's huge is a mentorship platform called Veterati. It's for service members and military spouses. And people like me go on there and we volunteer our time and we will mentor people. Whether that's people ask me about money, people ask me about starting their own business, whatever you want to talk to me about. I have a certain amount of hours I give every month and, but it's everyone. So whatever the subject is, if you're trying to become a pilot, you can talk to veterans that now work for Delta that were once on active duty. If you're trying to get into sales and consulting, you can speak with people that are on that career path, setting up informational interviews and going back and finding out more information. So I think that is a huge resource. Finding out the playing field is huge. Like for example, in the financial space, this, we have this playing field . You can be a financial counselor, you could be a financial coach. You could be financial planner. Where do you want to be on this playing field? How much money do you want to make, where you want to be working? Do you want to be online? Do you want to be in person. And talking with somebody in that industry can help you understand the playing field and the position you want to play on the playing field. And having that in advance before you start investing money and time into, let's say taking the CFP exam only to find out you didn't want to be a CFP , that you have found that out from somebody else. And I think that in any career path that you're interested in a platform like Veterati can help you get that information.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

So tell us more about how you got started into your business. Let's transition to that.

Lacey Langford:

Yes. So I knew that I wanted to start a business. It wasn't something that I thought would be a grand thing. I knew I wasn't right off the bat going to be the main income earner for my household. I had a huge benefit that my husband was the main income earner. So I had some flexibility there. I just knew I wanted to earn my own money and, you know, towards the family budget and, and use all the education, the experience that I had, that was the frustrating part. And so I just thought I'm going to start coaching people and helping with money in the beginning. I was like, I'll just help everybody with money. And then I thought why if I want people to find me and I want this to be portable, that it's going to move everywhere with me. I need to have a website. And so that's kind of how I moved into the online world was, now I've got to figure out how to do a website. And then I thought, well, I want people to know that I'm competent, that I know what I'm talking about. So I should put some information on the website. I started writing some articles and putting information out there. And then I started networking and it's really started understanding the playing field. I understood the financial space, but I needed to understand the online media world. So I took a deeper dive in that, but it really has evolved in the beginning doing one-on-one coaching. A lot of couples and just trying to help anybody with money. And then I started to figure out that wasn't resonating with people. My personality, the way I talk and my passions, I realized, wait a minute, the military community really is my jam because this is the way I grew up. This is like family to me. When I tried to help people outside of that niche, it was very uncomfortable for me. And I felt like the people I was trying to help, I, I wasn't resonating with them. They weren't getting my language. And , once I started to really niche down into not just the military, but an active duty military and military couples, that's where things started to kind of make more sense to me. And then I started to find out more ways I can make money. If I didn't have a lot of clients in one month, I could do freelance writing. You know, I started to figure out, well, you could do ads. You could do affiliate income on a website. So it really evolved after that. And , and then thinking about marketing and sales. Well, if I want people to know about me, maybe I'll do a podcast. So people will start to learn about me. But I think when it comes to coaching, it's very personal. It's very intimate. And the more people can know about me and be comfortable with me before we actually sit down to do that session. That's actually going to help me secure them as a client, but it's also going to provide them value and be a great referral for me. So those are things that I started to put into place and build my business. It wasn't intentional to, you know, make a new stream of income in the beginning. But then I started to see, wait a minute, I could start a new stream of income, but it can also help this other stream of income. So it really has evolved from the beginning of doing one-on-one coaching to now making money, you know, a good living as a podcaster, getting, you know , money for a speaking now teach you through my core. So it's , it's evolved.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

And I think that's the life of an entrepreneur, right? Like you just kind of evolve. You start with one thing in mind, but you just don't give up and you keep moving forward. The other thing I really like about your story, Lacey is the power of a niche. And we've talked about this before. I love how you started out. Probably like all of us, like we want to help everyone. We're here to serve all. And yet when you serve everyone, it's like you serve no one because you don't really know who you're talking to. So tell me a little bit more about why there is power in a niche. And would you recommend this to other financial coaches and counselors?

Lacey Langford:

Yes. When I teach people to start a business, the two things that I say is you need to understand you're going into sales, no matter what business you're going to start. I didn't understand that in the beginning that I'm going into sales, I have to sell my coaching services. I have to sell my podcast , whatever it is I'm trying to make money off of, I have to sell it. And the second thing is a niche. Those are two things that can make you the most money. And once I honed in on those two items, that's when my business really started to take off. The niche is really powerful, because what you just said, if you're trying to help everyone, you're going to help. No one, you're not resonating with anybody. Your general, your kind of basic versus if you are the person known in that area, then that's how you get referred by other people within the area. If there's an area somebody comes to me about, that's not my niche, if you came to me and was like, well, I'm a dog walker. I will be like, okay, well, I'm not, I don't really know anything about dog walking and I don't have a dog. So I'm really not going to be able to be helpful at all. Versus if you say, Hey, I'm in the military and I don't know what to do with my money, how to manage it. Well, I'll be like, okay, I understand this world. I can really get into the minutia and I've walked it. So there's some things that are unsaid. When you have a niche, you don't , it's hard when somebody has to explain their world to you when you sit down. So in this example, if a dog walker came in, they would have to explain their whole world to me. Which is something that is very frustrating, that they're wasting the money that they're paying you the time explaining their world to you. Versus we sit down, I already understand the world. I just need you to tell me about the money part, where you're at, like where , where we need to go from that. So, and you understand the language. You can resonate with people. When you have a really good niche, then the other stuff starts to fall in line a lot easier. It's, your marketing's easier. Cause you know who you're talking to. You can create that ideal customer avatar, who you're speaking to. That's how I think. Now when I choose a podcast episode, when I pick something that I'm going to do on social media or , an event for my business, I'm thinking, what would an active duty service member want to hear about? What are their struggles? What are their pain points right now that I could help them with? So I'm thinking of this actual person to make decisions in my business. When you're trying to please everyone, it's going to be very hard to make decisions in your business, which slows you down and can lead to mistakes. Versus if you have a clear image of who you're serving, you can help them solve problems quicker. And again, it goes into every other aspect of your business and the sales part. If I'm trying to get a sponsor, I already know my audience really well and what they're looking for and how we can work together to help my audience. So having a niche just makes life easier. It helps you make more money in business and it , you get referrals because you're known in that industry as the person.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

And it sounds like you started out offering the one-on-one financial counseling and coaching, and then you transitioned to now building out a financial coaching business to teach others about financial coaching. Is that right?

Lacey Langford:

Yes . So I didn't intend that. So that wasn't something that I planned, but I have had a lot of people start coming to me because of the successes that I was having in my business. And, you know , I really started to diversify my income because if you don't get enough coaching clients and then sometimes, you know, I was struggling with charging the service members for financial help. And I thought, you know, I need to find , I want to get paid really well. I always make that clear. I'm, for-profit, there's a difference between my volunteer time, my pro bono work versus my business. And in my business, I'm trying to make money. And if I wasn't making money one month, then that would, that would be frustrating. And charging people was hard because this is like family to me. So one day I was like, I need to find a neutral third party to pay me. I want to be able to help the service members for free. And I've actually moved away from charging for financial coaching because now I have all these other revenues in my business that, and I said, that part has been very intentional to say, like, how can I get somebody else to pay for it so I can help service members and then do what I love and get paid well for it. So that, you know, has kind of evolved. But yes, I did start with a one-on-one coaching and then people started to come to me and ask like, how do you do this? What are you doing? And, and starting to explain, cause I didn't know that in the beginning there was all these other ways that I could make money. For me to sit down and write a , a freelance writing article that's a thousand words and get paid a thousand dollars for that. That's awesome. Compare compared to how many coaching clients I would have to do to make that money and the time that would go into that. So I started to see, okay, well I can make more money here and then I can keep my podcasts going. And that's how in the beginning of my podcast, I covered the editing for it was, I was like, okay, I'll just write some more freelance writing articles so I can continue reaching service members and helping them with money. And so, people started asking me, and then I started to realize I was taking away time in my business to try to help other people. And so creating the course was a really a way to help other people, but also make money in my business and be mindful that I don't have infinite amount of time in my day. So that's kind of how that got started.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Lacey, it's been interesting to watch your journey as you've built your business. I'm just curious. Do you feel like it's a mix of how you spend your time now or is it really much more time on the podcast and speaking and writing than it is the coaching? Or is it just kind of, depend on the season?

Lacey Langford:

It's a mix now, you know, everything is always evolving, but I'm working on different days of the week doing the podcasts versus writing for myself or for somebody else, versus doing pitches for public speaking or doing sponsorship outreach. For everyone that you see publicly, I've done 50 other ones, you know, so there is a lot of outreach. I'm always hustling cause it's, you know, it doesn't just always fall in my lap. I'm trying for these things. And so that does take time behind the scenes. There is a lot of management of everything, so it is mixed. And in the coaching, I have put that in my schedule. So I have certain amount of hours I do a month, like for Veterati for, for myself that I help people for free. And that's where it's sat right with my soul is okay, I've got to figure out a way I'll help other people. But I also have the problem of helping a lot of people for free. And I had to start putting some boundaries because when I help people for free, that takes away from my family time. And I , you know, I had to find some, some balance there . And so that's what I've done is I have a certain amount of hours for Veterati. I have a certain amount of hours and my business built in through my calendar system that people can set up. And that feels good to me. I'm helping people for free, but I'm still focused on generating money for my business throughout the week.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

So let's talk about this financial coaching, the business side of it specifically, and what you would tell other business owners, because I think there's a lot of questions about a lot, feel like you do in terms of what do I charge? How do I charge? Should I be charging? Should I not? Talk to me a little bit more about your thoughts on how to help other financial coaches and counselors in this same scenario?

Lacey Langford:

I'm a firm believer in You Do You. You are special. People will hire you for you. There are hundreds of thousands of financial people out there that can help people with money. And a lot of people do it for free. People can get free information online. Somebody is hiring you as a financial coach because they want you. So you need to deliver on that. I'm not going to resonate with everyone. And I haven't, I'm not super analytical. I'm very direct. I will call you out, you know, to say, Hey, you did hire me. You know, I'll say it with a sense of humor. Like I'm going to give you some tough love. But that's what sets you apart because why would somebody hire you as a financial coach versus me? Ultimately, it's going to be, they've already come to both of us because we have financial knowledge. That's established now, how are we going to deliver? And part of that is you, your personality, your, your experiences, how you motivate somebody and make them feel. I realized a lot of people like my energy that I bring. And so I, if I, one day somebody came and I was Debbie Downer and was super negative. That would be quite shocking to them because that's not who I am. And so think about what makes you unique and do that. It might be the way that you deliver something, that your coaching process I think is really important. How you make somebody feel goes along in that coaching process. So I think in the beginning, I was worried about stuff that wasn't super important. I was worried what to charge. I was worried about my coaching process. I was worried about what other people would think, what other financial professionals would think. Now I'm clear that other financial professionals, aren't my ideal customer. That's not who I'm speaking to. So if you didn't like my article, that that is sad. Like, I wish you loved it, but I wasn't writing it for you . You know , I was writing it for my ideal customer. I , I , you're a financial professional. You didn't need that information. And so your everything will evolve. What you charge somebody, it needs to sit right with your soul. And until you get to that good spot, I wouldn't stress about it. You can change your price anytime you want. That's the other perk of being a business owner is you can do you, and you don't have to explain it to anybody else. And that, you know, I've also come to that conclusion is that if one day I want to charge $50 for financial coaching, but the next day I wanted to charge $250 an hour. Then, there's a reason why I did it. And I'll back it up. You know, if I'm charging $250 an hour, I'm going to deliver. If I'm going to charge $50 an hour, there's a reason why I'm charging that. So pick a price and go with it. You can adjust it. Some people will use a sliding scale. But bottom line that if you start a business, you need to be charging people. Because if you're not charging people and making money, then it's volunteer work. So understanding, I think that is really important for people to, and you have to do it. You have to get out there. Anything new is going to feel uncomfortable when you start charging people. But all you need to do is set up a payment system. You just need to receive their payment. You can do that through PayPal. You can set up a calendar system through Calendly. If you do the paid version, you can actually charge people through that. That's how I do it. Now. People can't book my time until they've paid me. Because , you know, lessons, I've learned people sometimes don't show up. And so that's just the way it works now. And , and that's taken a lot of management out of my business because that's the other part of it is you have to manage all of this in your time. So you don't have to make it complicated. If you want to get started. You just have to charge somebody and deliver the service and do it well so that you get a good referral. And sometimes you won't get referrals . Sometimes people won't be fans of you, but that's not the end of the world. There's, there's going to be plenty of people that you resonate with. So I think just pick a price and write out a basic outline. That's the other piece . A lot of times, people always want to know asking you like my coaching process. That's my secret sauce. I'll you know, I do tell people my actual coaching process, but you have to come up with your own secret sauce. How are you going to start the conversation? What are you going to tell people, what are you going to require from them? What are you not going to require? And so when you start, just so you look professional, charge, somebody, set up the meeting and then have an outline of how you're going to go about it. And how are you going to do discovery? How many appointments are you going to have? Let people know what to expect. And then, and then you'll keep going. You , you may start doing group coaching so you can charge a little bit less and help more people. You may start doing business to business. You might go to a corporation and teach a finance class. You know , if you pitch that idea to them. So know that there's all these different ways to make money as a financial professional in business, and it's going to evolve and it's going to have a lot to do with your personality and what you like. But, do you.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Yeah, and I like that you said at the very beginning, stay in that niche. Like the one thing I heard as you told us, kind of your outline and schedule for the week is you have booked specific time for specific things. And too many of us get busy doing maybe some pro bono things or things where our heart is, and we really love, but it's just like what you said. If you're giving out for free, you don't have a business. So you really have to spend time on the business side of it and making sure that your business is being paid for while also doing the other things that you had mentioned earlier. Lacey give us some of your very best resources for entrepreneurs wanting to start their own businesses.

Lacey Langford:

The biggest asset to my business is Airtable. That's how I manage my entire business. Because again, this isn't all just forward facing with clients. The majority of the work will be behind the scenes. And you figuring out when you start a business, you're creating something from scratch. You are making something out of thin air and the beginning, it will feel make-believe to you. And it will sure us heck, feel , make believe to everybody around you. Your , your spouse, your children, your friends, that you're like, oh, I'm going to start a business until people start to see the successes, it's make-believe . And that's unfortunate. That's just the way it is because you know, it's in your head. So you have to have a system for everything because you are creating it. So Airtable is how I do my client intake, but I do intakes for my podcast for guests. When I'm doing any special events for my business, I use Airtable to manage that. And then also Calendly is huge. I love that I have different calendar appointments for different things. I do a free 15 minute consultation for people to get to know me and ask me questions. That is one schedule that I have on my Calendly. I also have podcasts recording scheduled appointments. I have free 30 minutes with Lacey . I have an hour appointment with Lacey . I have my paid coaching for business, and that has a different price versus my financial coaching, which has a different price that people have to pay in some threshold . So Calendly is huge for my business. And I'm all about being a one lady show. I don't want a huge team to manage. At this point. I do have a VA, but using a system like Airtable allows me to manage a lot of things that normally I would have to ask for help on. And what's really cool about it is they have free templates. So you don't have to like go and create something. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. They actually, when I started the management of my podcast on Airtable, somebody had a template. So I just copied that and then personalized it. So that's, what's really cool. Any, anything that you want to manage. I also use HelloSign to have people sign a coaching agreements . I do have people sign coaching agreements. And so HelloSign is a resource that I use for that. I use Canva to create graphics or to make things pretty with my logos. So if I'm going to create a wrap-up sheet for a client or for sponsor, I use Canva and the free templates. I'm all about a free template that I can personalize in Canva. A lot of times in business graphics scare people away, but with things like Canva or PicMonkey is another one I just so happened to use Canva. That's huge that you can create social media graphics very quickly. It's just a low lift and it's not as scary when you have something like that. So that's very helpful in business to say, okay, I'm open for business because you do actually have to say that. That's another huge hump for people to when they want to start a business is to actually say it publicly. I force people in my course to do a public announcement on LinkedIn. And it's not to be mean, but it's it's to force the, Hey people can't hire you. If they don't actually know that you have a business. And so I put that out there, but having something like Canva can help you take that first leap, making it pretty graphic. I also use Grammarly. That's huge. And in freelance writing, I also use it to check everything for, for clients. It checks your grammar and helps you with writing. It gives you guidance. That's that's huge. And then I use Meet Edgar for social media scheduling. That's been huge. Another thing to help me manage, putting information out without a lot of time, some people want to start courses. When you start a business, you may want to have a basic budgeting class, or maybe how to understand a 401k or an IRA. You can use a platform like Thinkific. That's what I use for my course, the Financial Coaching Business Builder. That's huge. They have also free templates to create a course. So you , a lot of people think you have to create a course from scratch. You can actually copy and paste that sucker and then fill in your information. So it's a low lift, a lot lower than people think to start a course. And then you could charge $25 or $50 for the course and sell that to hundreds of people. And that's huge. It gives you income for your business while you hustle to get one-on-one clients. So I'm all about diversifying. And then I use Zoom for all of my coaching meetings. That's easy to share my screen. And I think it's really important for people to see me when we have these conversations. So lead pages, when you have a business, you know, you're going to have to have a website, not in the beginning, but eventually you will have to have a website. And lead pages is a great way to create marketing online, create pages to say, Hey, this is my course, or this is my coaching service, same thing, another template. It's so easy to use some of those things. And then I use blue host to host my website.

Rebecca Wiggins:

That's super helpful. Thank you for all of those.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

At the end of each interview, we like to get the guests two cents or biggest takeaways for our listeners. If you had one piece of advice to offer other financial professionals, what would it be?

Lacey Langford:

I would want every financial professional to know that you can start a business. If you want to. You can do it your way, what works best for you and your life and your family. But you do have to do it. You have to get started. You can't keep thinking about it. You have to take action, but the first small action will lead to the next action. And that will lead to another thing and another thing. And then before you know, it, you will have a successful profitable business. But it's going to start with that first step that you have to take action to make it happen. So get started now, don't keep thinking about it.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Thanks so much for joining us on the show today Lacey. Could you just tell our listeners where they can connect with you directly?

Lacey Langford:

Yes. LaceyLangford .com is the best way to find me. You can also find me on social media, Twitter @FinanceLacey, or on everything else. I'm under the Military Money Expert®, and I love to chat about money and business. So anytime.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Wonderful. Thanks so much. This was fun.

Lacey Langford:

Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it

Rebecca Wiggins:

Mary. I always love talking with Lacey . Like I said earlier, I think she has this fire to her that has really served her well. She's always evolving. And one word that comes to mind for Lacey with me is intentional. She's very intentional about the choices that she makes. She's always interested in being as efficient as possible for maximum impact. And I thought that was something that was really motivating to me, listening to her speak. I also thought she made a great point and we've heard this from others too, about the importance of different streams of income, but I've really appreciated how she talked about connecting them together. So you're not just doing something to do it just for the income, but that it really adds value to the services that you're providing in your overall knowledge base. And then I think overall, just her talking about setting boundaries to find the balance that felt right to her, to serve and also make the income that she needs. And I think sometimes we feel guilty about that, but really we want to add value and help others at the same time. So I always enjoy listening to her and really get motivated by her fire and her passion and how intentional she is about her life. What did you think?

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Yeah, I agree. I think my favorite part from Lacey is the fact that she has made her career work for her. She has been through so many transitions herself in her military life. It sounds like even growing up that there were quite a few transitions and that of course her own military experience in her now husband's military experience and how they've moved everywhere. She's constantly had to pick up and change and I can relate where she's just frustrated at some point. Which made her, kind of gave her that fire you were talking about to create something that hadn't been created before. And so she's a hustler and she makes it happen. And that is very, admirable. She makes it work for both her and her family. I noticed in the discussion too, that she's talked about specifically time with her family. And it sounds like after listening to her day and how she schedules things out, she's very efficient with her time. That she makes sure that she separates out the time that she has and that she's using it in the best way possible. In terms of the business side, it was really interesting to talk to her about how she charges for her business. She obviously has multiple streams of income that makes it work for her. And I think Rebecca, that's kind of a theme that we've been hearing about is there is not a one size fits all solution. There is not a one way to charge or to make money in financial coaching and counseling. It's really true to you and true to your niche and what works in your niche and what does not. And it isn't like you have to open the doors on day one and that is your primary model. It seems everybody we've talked to has grown over time. Even Jen Hemphill, who is also a military spouse and has started her own business, who we interviewed earlier, talks a lot about how just like Lacey it's changed for her and how, what she thought she was going to start doing. It's ended up becoming maybe less where a focus she's become more focused than other areas. And that's what I really heard from Lacey is as she's gone, she's a hustler. You see her at a conference and she is meeting people and she's out there and she's connecting and that's what makes it happen for her. And so, as she's seen those things, she focuses on profitability. And I think that's really important for a small business owner and an entrepreneur.

Rebecca Wiggins:

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