What is Enough? It’s a question Shanna Skidmore has become known for, but to Shanna’s surprise knowing what you need to fund the life you want and keep the business lights on wasn’t a question many in the finance world felt was important to ask. In fact, she once had a mentor tell her “if you don’t want more money you’re just lying to yourself.” Redefining Success. Defining Enough. Building a business on your own terms. Sounds good in theory, but what does it look like to actually build a business that serves your life and your bank account?
Today I’m handing over the mic and scooting over to the hotseat! You’ll hear my own story of leaving the world of corporate finance to start my own consulting firm. Why I tend to walk in the opposite direction as most business “gurus” and financial guys. And how simply sharing my own money philosophy of “defining enough” revolutionized an entire industry.
WILDFLOWER SHOWNOTES : shannaskidmore.com/shanna-skidmore
Shanna Skidmore: (00:01)
You're listening to Consider the Wildflowers, the podcast episode 001, episode ONE! Hey, I'm Shanna Skidmore. If we are meeting for the first time or the 5000th time, welcome! I figured before we dive into the stories of others, you might like to know my story. So today I'm actually handing over the mic to my friend, Jana and scooting over to the hot seat. I'll be sharing how I got started in business -- lessons I've learned along the journey, "wish I could do over" moments and of course the numbers. But before we dive in, I want to take a minute to share how consider the wildflowers the podcast came to be. You see, for the past 15 plus years, I've had the honor to hear thousands of stories from entrepreneurs around the world. As a former Fortune 100 financial advisor turned business consultant. I have a unique opportunity to see the real behind the highlight reel.
Shanna Skidmore: (00:51)
I'm talking profit and loss statements, unpaid taxes, moments of burnout, and those of utter victory, or as my husband says, "the content everybody is wondering, but not many are talking about." I've met amazing people from around the world and have heard some pretty incredible stories. And some that may completely shock you. Over the years, I started to see patterns, repeatable steps echoed by many of the most successful entrepreneurs I have met. Now, I spend my days coaching one-on-one clients and teaching thousands of students the exact processes and strategies I have seen work time and time again. And while yes, I have a knack for the numbers. My true passion is seeing entrepreneurs build radically fulfilling lives. That's how my signature process of defining enough came to be. You see, I believe there is this beautiful place of enough where ambition and contentment meet. Don't worry. I'll tell you all about that in today's episode. My hope is that hearing my story and the stories of other entrepreneurs will not only inspire and reignite your work, but also give you the courage needed to redefine success and build a life and business on your own terms.
Welcome. Hi Jana! Oh my goodness. I'm so excited to chat with you today. I know we chat almost every day, but this is gonna be so fun. Thanks for joining and helping me share my story.
Jana Musselwhite: (02:09)
Shanna, I'm so excited I don't even have words. I'm so excited to be here and I'm so excited to hear about your story. I've heard bits and pieces of it before, and I have a feeling I'm gonna learn some new things today, and I'm just really excited to be in the interviewer seat.
Shanna Skidmore: (02:30)
I know it's fun to switch roles here and have you interview me, so you ready to dive in?
Jana Musselwhite: (02:36)
Yes. Are you ready?
Shanna Skidmore: (02:37)
Yes, let's do it.
Jana Musselwhite: (02:38)
Okay. I think one of my favorite things to learn about people is what they were doing before they started. So I would love to hear a little bit about your life before your business, your background. So let's start with that.
Shanna Skidmore: (02:54)
Okay, awesome. So I'll take you back to college days, which funny enough is when Facebook launched. And so it's funny to remember back life before Facebook and social media. That was me in college. My roommate in college actually set up my Facebook account and my username and all that still the exact same. So that tells you how much I am a tech person. I probably never would've gotten on Facebook, so without her. So in my college days, I started in college getting a degree in psychology. That's actually, I thought that I was gonna be a psychology major and work with children of divorced families. That was my passion. I come from a divorced home. And, um, so that's how I started. And then couple years in, I actually had to take, you know, that core curriculum, some business and accounting classes. And I realized I've always been really good at math, but I loved business and numbers just click with my brain.
Shanna Skidmore: (03:52)
I always joke my sister and I played bank when we were little. Yeah. Instead of house. Um, and we fought over who got to be the bank teller. We loved that so much. So, I ended up adding a second major, which was business with an emphasis in accounting and finance. So I ended up graduating with a double major in psychology and business. And I also took all the art classes I could. So I have an art degree as well. And I always joked that I felt like a misfit puzzle. I didn't know how all those pieces came together. And I would always say, if I could just take women to lunch and talk about life and business, could that be my job? Which ironically pretty much is my job now. So when I was a senior, I had done a lot of internships while I was in college. I worked for a construction company under their CFO, and I loved that. And then I started working for a financial advising company as a senior in college. And so after I graduated, I just continued on after that internship and became a financial advisor. So I mostly worked with business owners, which was my first step into understanding the life of business owners and entrepreneurship. But I mostly worked on just personal finance. So insurance investments helping create budgets, those types of things. I did that for five years. That's actually where I met my husband, Kyle. He also worked in finance and that's where we met. And I just say, that God put us there at the same time. So we could meet each other. And he only worked there about a year and he's younger than me. And so we got married. One day I was driving to an appointment and I called Kyle. I said, if you could do anything, what would you do? And he said, I wanna design and build airplanes. And so very quickly after that, we both left our jobs, moved to Atlanta and he went back to school to get his degree in aerospace engineering. So during that move, I was contacted by a private equity company. So I would say like shark tank, think shark tank, but not shark tank to work in a corporate finance role for a startup fashion designer. And this was the best stepping stone ever. That was how I moved and transitioned from personal finance, into corporate finance. And I worked as their controller. So I was over all finance and operations and I loved it. I was like, this is what I'm meant to do with my life. I loved getting to dig in help with profitability and pricing and everything that I do now. I ended up working with that company for about a year and a half, and I knew this is what I wanted to do, but I didn't have any clue how to do it. And I think most people don't know this, but at the time I actually was about to go back to school to get my MBA. I was gonna work for a private equity firm as an investment banker. And I was shadowing a bunch of investment bankers. And I remember I sat down in a meeting with a couple investment bankers and they said to me, you'll be traveling Monday through Thursday, basically every single week to see clients. You'll be home with your family Friday through Sunday. And I knew immediately, that's not the life I want. That's a huge commitment. And so during that time, I just felt, I knew it's like, I knew what I wanted, but I didn't know the path to get there. But I also knew I could not just keep sitting behind a desk every single day. I had worked with a fashion designer for about a year and a half. And we had gotten everything in order. I mean, they had become very profitable. The owners, they were sisters, were both taking significant salaries at this point. I mean, it had turned around and it was an amazing, amazing opportunity, but I didn't want a job. Does that make sense? I clearly I needed a job to pay our bills while Kyle was in school, but I wanted something more. I was ready for the next challenge and I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I could not sit behind a desk just crunching spreadsheets. So this is when my art degree comes in. I contacted a really well known floral designer in Atlanta, Georgia, Amy Osaba. And I said, can I just come shadow you? I grew up in the garden with my grandmother. I always loved floral design. I had done flowers for some friends' weddings. And so I thought maybe I'm supposed to pursue this creative dream. And Amy said, yes, can you come today? I was like, uh, well I have a full time job. So no! But, we worked it out so I could come shadow her and work with her for a few events. And I actually ended up leaving my job with the fashion designer and basically schlepping buckets for Amy Osaba and sweeping floors and anything that I could do to make money, to pay our bills. And I knew after about two events, that floral design was not my future. I loved it. It was wonderful. But on these drives with Amy, I would start asking her questions just like I had done for seven years -- Hey, how do you figure out your pricing? Why don't you have a breakdown crew? Why is there no money for a breakdown crew? How do you know, how do just all these questions? How do you pay yourself? She was a single mom with three boys and she just spilled it all. She was like, Shanna, I just, she needed help. And so I ended up working with Amy over the next year and a half, basically as her controller, we redid all of her pricing, all of her financial forecasts, everything in her business, we reworked from the ground up. And because she had such a big name in the creative community, everybody started reaching out and asking what's happening with Amy Osaba. This is awesome. We need Shanna. And this beautiful thing unfolded this business that I had no idea how to do. I mean, I just, I created it from scratch. You know, I just made it up. As I went along. I had no idea how to price myself. I mean, people would pay me with gift cards and dinner at their house, you know, for a year. And I just figured it out. Okay. Do I wanna help with tax returns? No. Do I wanna do this? Do I wanna do that? So it's this really beautiful journey of just following my curiosity. And saying, okay, I want something different. I see a glimpse here. How does this fit? And over a very long period of time, I ended up launching Skidmore consulting in 2013 and after eight years in finance and it just took off from the beginning. So it's been a wonderful dream.
Jana Musselwhite: (10:24)
One of the things that I love about that story and all of the experiences that you've had is that it really seems like one thing has not only led you to the next, but one thing really prepared you for the next thing. Like in college you have your, your psych degree. And I was a psychology major in college. And I feel like that made me really curious about people and it made me a really big critical thinker. And those are two things that I think have served me really well in everything that I've done since then, but
Shanna Skidmore: (10:56)
Jana Musselwhite: (10:56)
Like the psychology and then the finance and the art, and then working in personal finance for a little while, if you had to do school over again, would you have done all of the things like the art and the psychology and the finance?
Shanna Skidmore: (11:11)
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. That's such a good question.
Jana Musselwhite: (11:17)
Did it take you longer to graduate?
Shanna Skidmore: (11:18)
No, I still, you know, I'm such an overachiever over here. Um, I would take like 22 hours and summer school and overachiever. I graduated on time and I need all of those. I need all those today. I mean, that literally is what I do every day business therapy, which started with creative entrepreneurs, you know? And I love, I still have to draw, I still paint. I have to have that creative outlet. And I, you know, I laugh a little bit now, but I say like, spreadsheets are my creativity. Like I want them to have the right font and typography and color coded correctly. they have to be pretty still, you know, I love redoing my showit website. I just, I have to have that creative outlet too.
Jana Musselwhite: (12:08)
Yeah. And I think it's also a beautiful thing. How slowly you grew into what you're doing now. And it gave you the time to develop all of those skills and gain all of that experience and ultimately make you better at it just really equipped you well for what you're doing now.
Shanna Skidmore: (12:26)
Absolutely. And I'm so glad you said that, Jana, because I think especially now in the world of social media, which is, you know, again, as mentioned, I did not start in that world. I'm a slow learner and still late adopter. So I think in the world of social media, business and starting a business seems fast and I'm so grateful that I had five years in personal finance. I had three years in corporate finance in a year of having my own business. You know, I was doing, I was self-employed I was paying my own bills, but I was doing everything people would pay me to do. I mean, if people would ask me to help them price, of course, will you help me do my tax return? Yes. Will you? I mean, to the degree that I can, you know, without being a CPA, like I would do anything and everything for a year, I did that to figure out what stuck, I would say threw spaghetti on the wall and then pulled out my offers from there. And so without that first year, even before officially launching, I wouldn't have got my pricing. Right. I wouldn't have known which offers to provide or how, what niche I wanted to be in. So I'm just grateful that I didn't rush it. That I had that time. Whereas now I kind of sense this pressure to just launch your business, know exactly how to price. Exactly. Which offers, I think all that is a little bit of trial and error in the beginning. so I love that you said that.
Jana Musselwhite: (13:55)
Yeah. So you were working with Amy, you were also serving other creative entrepreneurs around Atlanta and that was kind of the start of your business.
Shanna Skidmore: (14:06)
Yeah, so that was in 2012 to 2013. I was working with Amy and she was paying me. So I basically was employed by her as her controller. So that was how we really paid our bills. And I did all the events with her, which again, I'm really grateful for, because that helps me relate to my first clients were a lot of people in the wedding industry. So I understood the wedding industry. So that was really helpful for me. So I did all the events with her. And then on the side I was doing, working with a ton of creatives in the Southeast. I mean, my, I don't really know how, I guess again, through Amy and meeting all these other wedding professionals, my name really got out there quickly and I got to work with Emily Newman. Who's the founder of Once Wed. She's a client of mine and it was a really big wedding publication. So again, I just met these clients and really helped them and they spread my name. So I still today believe that networking, not in a cheesy gross way, but like truly helping others and making friends is what has grown my business. And so I was again doing kind of anything and everything. And then after a year of doing that, I officially launched the business in November of 2013. So that's when Skidmore consulting was officially born.
Jana Musselwhite: (15:27)
Tell us a little bit about those early days of your business. Like your offers. Pricing, revenue. Just what went well, what didn't go well. When you first started.
Shanna Skidmore: (15:42)
Yeah. So I knew that again, my husband Kyle was in school, so I needed to be paying the bills. So I knew for our family need was about 50 to $60,000 a year. So I just knew that I had to make that no matter what. And so in that year of building 2012 to 2013, I worked with Amy. I, I swept floors. I mean, I did everything to pay our bills. And then when I officially launched the business, I had coaching calls. I think I was charging like $250 an hour, $150 an hour and then I did day sessions. So I called it, I wish I could remember, like business in day or something like that. So I had people flying in from all over the country to meet with me in Atlanta, and that was $1,800 to spend the day with me. And I would create a financial plan for them. And I mean, we had just deep dive into pricing and that was so wonderful. I got to meet so many wonderful people. And then I had a retainer fee and I believe it was $1,500 a month. And I had my very first client Teissia Treynet of Firefly events out of New York sign up for that. And I remember Jana getting that first check for, I think it was $1,500. I can't quite remember it was a monthly retainer and I was like, babe, like we are rocking it like this is gonna work. And I know, you know, this part of my story, but luckily from the beginning of my business, I have tracked my time. I use toggl and that saved my marriage, my business, my health, my life. So I was tracking my time and I had promised Teissia all these deliverables for her advisory fee, so that $1,500 and all these deliverables, and I would just work and work and work and work to check them all off the list. And by the time it took me two months to finish what I had told her would take me a month. So I only got paid $1,500 for two months. And then when I did it per hour, I was making negative $8 an hour. And so I was like, clearly even, you know, a finance person did not get her pricing. Right. So I learned those lessons really early and just tweaked that first year, like 2014, kind of my first full year in business. I had those offers, but I tweaked my pricing as I went, as I learned. And I always tell people track your time. because, you know, I'm a huge advocate of that. I, would've never known how much I was making per hour if I hadn't, and that my pricing was completely wrong. I needed to promise less for the price point or increase the price. So I learned that really well. So that's what I was doing. I always had advisory clients and I usually worked with them for three to six months and we would get these deliverables in place. We would basically rebuild their businesses from the ground up. And it was a huge investment. I mean, I had people spending 20, $30,000 with me, but we redid everything and it was amazing. The transformations I started to see, I mean, people who were making $0, negative dollars making after a year of working with them over a hundred thousand dollars as their salary. I mean, just huge transformations with small, simple tweaks pricing, understanding costs, just looking at the same things I did with Amy. And it just really took off and it started getting to the place where I had so many people inquiring that I could not even keep up with demand and what a beautiful problem. It was getting to the point where I was feeling uncomfortable, charging what I was charging. I knew with my, with my advisory clients, I knew, you know, if you pay me $30,000 and then I make you $100,000, that's a good deal. Right. But when I started charging 3, 4, 5, $600 an hour, just to do a call with me, it got to the point where I felt so much pressure to change their life in an hour. I was like, I have to figure this out. And I'm kind of skipping ahead, fast forward to 2016 when I wrote the blueprint model. But that's how that all came to be. I just rinsed and repeated. I started seeing these success pillars, these, these things that I saw repeated in every single business that did well, getting your pricing right, understanding your costs, having a financial plan in place, like what's your sales goal, these same financial pillars. I call them building blocks. Now that you have to have to see profit in your company and also what I love and why I'm so glad I work for myself. It all came from what type of business do you want? Like what type of life do you want? And that goes directly back to my conversation with that private equity firm and investment banker who told me you're gonna be working four days a week. And I was like, you know what? I just don't think it has to be that way. That's how it went. And so for 2014, 2015, I worked one-on-one with clients and just really grew my audience. I perfected my process again. I'm glad I gave myself that time to perfect my process before ever launching my program in 2016 called The Blueprint Model.
Jana Musselwhite: (21:04)
So you've been in business about 10 years now.
Shanna Skidmore: (21:09)
Yeah. So let's see. I started in 2013 officially. So this will be in November, will be year nine
Jana Musselwhite: (21:17)
Year nine. And tell us a little bit about where you are now and just kind of how things look different from those early days of business.
Shanna Skidmore: (21:27)
Yeah, for the first two years, as I mentioned, I just did one-on-one work and I also launched a retreat called the inspire conferences and then very quickly changed to blueprint retreat now known as blueprint summit. So it's had a lot of iterations
Jana Musselwhite: (21:45)
I did not know about, about that name change
Shanna Skidmore: (21:52)
Yea so in 2013 I launched my company in November and the exact same day I launched inspire conferences. it was gonna happen in January of 2014. It was an annual planning retreat. this is something I did back when I worked in personal finance and I loved it every single year, we would go away with my, like my office and we would talk about our goals for the year. And it was just so cool. And I was like, we need this in the entrepreneurial space. if we don't have it, I'll just create it. it was really cool that first year we had 15 people, it was a small retreat and it was at my favorite place in Asheville, North Carolina Grove park inn. And so it was lovely and beautiful and it was so I love hosting people in person. At the time, I did not know about Amber Housley who had inspire retreat. That's why we changed the name. We changed it to blueprint retreat and held another one in the fall of 2014. So along with working with clients, one-on-one, I was hosting these in-person workshops for annual planning, which later became an annual planning course. So I was doing all that one-on-one work. And then I just got so busy, and again, what a beautiful problem I just couldn't take on anymore clients. And so Kyle, my husband and I sat down and we were like, if we could just record this. I'm saying the same things over and over again, I'm teaching the same process. If I could just record myself teaching this, then more people could do it. And at an easier, more attainable price point for more people. And so that's what we did just Kyle and I, our kitchen table, we got a camera we recorded. I had never taken an online course. The only course I had ever heard of was Marie Forleo's B School. I did not know anything about the course world. This was in 2016
Jana Musselwhite: (23:39)
And they weren't really even a big thing like they're now. No, not a lot of people did online courses.
Shanna Skidmore: (23:45)
No, it was not a thing. Marie Forleo B School. And I mean, I tend to be out of the loop on those things. So I'm sure a lot more people were doing it, but I didn't know. And then I had gotten to work with Once Wed, who was transitioning to if I made and we had written a PDF style course called pricing for creative. So that had launched in January of 2016. And then we ended up launching the blueprint model, which is a video program. It was 12 weeks originally now condensed to six weeks. And we did a video based program. I knew nothing, Jana, nothing about launching a course. I took one course and I've never even, I told somebody yesterday, I was like, I need to email this guy and tell him he literally changed the course of our business. David Siteman Garland, he did a course called how to create awesome online courses or something like that.
Shanna Skidmore: (24:35)
I was like, great. I wanna create an awesome online course it was $997. I watched that. I learned from it. I never even, like I said, I was probably his worst student now, but he doesn't even know how well that I did with it. I should email him and tell him, thank you. But I took that course and we taught ourselves Kyle and I, Kyle was still in school and he was also working as an aerospace engineer. So he was doing both at the same time. And on the sidelines doing all the production for the education side. We launched the blueprint model in 2016, July of 2016. I don't think I had an email list when we started, I started an email list at some point I think had 254 people. I remember I wrote down on my email list when I launched the blueprint model and we sold 54 courses, which was 108,000 in revenue. Now knowing more about online courses, that's unheard of. To do six figure launch your very first time. And again, that's just the power of word of mouth. I'm so grateful for my small and mighty community, because if people knew ,which I'll share all the backend numbers of my business, marketing stats, it would, we have always outpaced what I hear our industry standards. And I'm like, it is because our community is strong and I'm just so grateful for that.
Jana Musselwhite: (26:11)
You've also done such an excellent job of finding your niche because those of us who have taken your courses -- As creative entrepreneurs, we get into our work because of the creativity and the art of it. And most of us don't have business backgrounds. And so we really need someone to come alongside us and help us with the financial side of running a business. So you, you saw the need. And you're filling the gaps and I think that's one of the reasons it's done so well.
Shanna Skidmore: (26:42)
Yeah. And I think, thank you for saying that. Jana is a student of the blueprint model 2019.
Jana Musselwhite: (26:48)
Yes. Spring 2019.
Shanna Skidmore: (26:50)
I love that so much. I like that you said that because I really truly believe other than word of mouth and amazing relationships and just wonderful clients and students. I'm so blessed with really, if I've just put my head down and say, how can I serve? How can I serve? How can I help? Like, yeah, that's how I create products. That truly the number one feedback we get is this changed my life. Like it was life changing and I'm so grateful for that. So that's where we are now. We have grown primarily the, we do a lot of the education side and have a personal finance course, and annual planning course. and then the blueprint model. And now we just launched this year spoiler alert, but, our membership, which is great. we call it the money club and that's how we continue to serve students ongoing. It's my favorite. I love it. Yes. I love everything we do. finance isn't one and done, it's continued every single month, learning, growing pivoting, shifting, changing your pricings reevaluate. So I wanted to create this space for accountability. And it's been really fun. We're two months in so far, but it's been really fun so far. Yeah.
Jana Musselwhite: (28:08)
It's been great. And then you're also still doing one-on-one services with clients.
Shanna Skidmore: (28:13)
Some one on one. And I would say at this point it's like 90/10. It's pretty heavily on the education side. My husband joined officially joined the team in 2021. So he's really taking over all the production, everything on the education side, because after having my daughter, I really only work right now, two days a week, three days a week during the school year when we have more childcare. So we just have to be really strategic about my time. And so I'm really grateful. We have these products that can scale so that we can serve more people than I could do with my available time.
Jana Musselwhite: (28:49)
And that's one of the beautiful things about owning a business is you can really shape it to fit where you are in your current season of life.
Shanna Skidmore: (28:58)
Oh, absolutely. Yes. Yeah.
Jana Musselwhite: (29:00)
Okay. Let's shift gears a little bit. We've heard about your background and your story and how you started and where you are now. Let's talk a little bit about the numbers.
Shanna Skidmore: (29:12)
I'm talking about numbers.
Jana Musselwhite: (29:13)
Yes. Yes. This is your wheelhouse. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about your relationship with money. I guess how it started and how it is now,
Shanna Skidmore: (29:24)
You know, I'm really grateful for my, my life and the journey I've been on. Um, looking back, you know, I didn't realize that my family, you know, my parents did a lot, they had four children, my sister and I, and then our step siblings. And, you know, I made more money my first year in finance than my stepdad made supporting four kids and I didn't know how little money we had for most of my life. And I'm grateful. I'm so grateful for that because it taught me a lot about honoring every dollar and being mindful of your money. We didn't, you know, I never got the Adida slides I wanted, but I take care of the things that I have. And now that we have so much more, I think that has served me really well. My upbringing, the most shocking thing I would say about money and what I've learned is when I worked in personal finance, I watched people who I worked with, a lot of physicians, physicians that owned their own practices. And I saw wealth is not about how much money you make. It's how you spend the money you make. And I was amazed, I often said, what this person needs more than anything is a spending plan. I call it a spending plan, not a budget. So they need a plan for their money and otherwise we just spend, spend, spend. So I think that's what I've learned is being just really intentional about money. And that's what I try to teach now. If you don't know, I'm kind of known for defining enough, what is enough for you and knowing exactly what you need to pay your personal bills and dream a little bit or dream really big, who knows, um, you'll get to that place. And if you're intentional with your money and I love entrepreneurship because we can push, you know, we can push for things we want, we can say, oh my goodness, I would love to buy that thing or do this adventure, or take time off for a month. I just got an email this morning from a client who's like big win. We're taking the entire month of August off. And we built it into our plan and that's takes money too, to take time off. And so I'm like, you can do more than you ever think is possible if you're intentional with your money. And so that's, that's my story with finances coming from a family that didn't have a lot and watching, I mean, I've heard thousands, thousands of stories. And I just want people to know, if you were intentional with how you spend your money, you can do so much more. It's not about how much you make it really truly is about how you spend what you make.
Jana Musselwhite: (32:09)
Would you say that's the number one thing that you have learned about money over the years?
Shanna Skidmore: (32:15)
Oh yeah. That's absolutely. The best thing I've learned about money is it's all about how you spend what you make. I think people, you know, it's hard sometimes to say, I'm one of those who's like, so how much money do you make? I have the luxury of getting to ask, that's my job. I'm so lucky for 15 years, I've gotten to be like, Hey, so how much do you make? And it's so great because I have really watched patterns of success, patterns of financial health. And it's truly about those who are the most intentional with how they spend. It's not always about how much money you make and, you know I would say right now, especially in the social media world, especially in the entrepreneur world, everybody's throwing around six figures. Now I joke and say, it's seven figures. Next it's gonna be your eight figure business. That's revenue, that's income. That's a vanity metric. Profit is what matters. It's about how much is left at the end of the day. And it's the same in our personal finances. So I don't wanna get on a tangent about that, but intentionality with spending, that's what we focus on in business. And personally,
Jana Musselwhite: (33:24)
Yeah. For you personally, what would you say have been like either mistakes that you've made or biggest struggles that you've had with money? Share a little bit about those.
Shanna Skidmore: (33:35)
Okay. Well, the, the first one that comes to mind and I tell this story in my personal finance class, um, is I worked in finance for five years and I never had a budget. And we were taught, you know, if you take a client to lunch or coffee, or they're more likely to buy from you, right. And it's a business expense, you write that off, just write it off. It's fine. So after five years when Kyle and I both left our jobs and moved to Atlanta, I, we were barely, we weren't even making ends meet. We just weren't. And so Kyle was back in school. We were one income family before, you know, we were driving nice cars. We were doing, I was going to Starbucks three times a day. Not recommended for heart health. I would get the venti iced coffee. I mean, I would have the shakes by the end of the day, and I remember finally sitting down and this is what I have all of my students do in my personal finance course. And where's our money going truly? Where did our money go? We couldn't pay our bills, Jana. Like we could not pay our bills. And now we sat down and I remember calculating it up and I had spent $500 the previous month, $500 at Starbucks.
Jana Musselwhite: (34:47)
Shanna Skidmore: (34:50)
Yep, 500. And we had spent over a thousand dollars eating out, and this is just business lunches, business coffee. And I was like that would've paid our mortgage and our car payments. Fast forward, but we ended up selling both of our cars. We bought road bikes and started commuting to work and Kyle to school on bikes in the middle of Atlanta. I mean, thank you, Lord, for your protection,. Kyle's parents were like, uh, this is not okay. And they ended up buying us like a 30 year old car. And we're so grateful for that. Because Kyle's commute. I mean, it was taking, we were riding over an hour each to work and him to school and, but that's what we had to do and that's why I'm so passionate now business. And personally, I worked in finance for five years and I never really had my own budget. I never sat down and was like, how much are we making? How much are we spending? Let's make a plan for our finances. I mean, isn't that sad that our financial industry, I think has let us down focus so much on what insurance do we need to buy and how much do we need to save for retirement? And I'm like, well, first of all, how much are you putting on your credit card? And are you overspending $500 at Starbucks, and you know, all my students know now I think there's this beautiful line of behavioral finance. You know, you can't be strict all the time. Like, what do you love? What do you value? Put your money towards that. But we need to tell our dollars where to go, like Dave Ramsey says, tell your dollars where to go, or you'll wonder where they went. And that was so eye opening for me. And I'm so grateful for that terrible lesson, but it taught me so much about business. And personally I can choose how I spend my money. And sometimes that feels like a big sacrifice, but over time it doesn't, it leads to more financial power. You know, we choose what we spend our money on. What do we value? We, we think about each dollar, and it starts becoming really natural. So that would be my biggest lesson learned and best lesson learned too.
Jana Musselwhite: (37:18)
And I think it's so impactful when you really sit down and pay attention to where your money is going and what you're spending it on. Cause it can be it's so easy just to let it go and not realize where it's going.
Shanna Skidmore: (37:33)
Mindless. Yeah. I always say awareness is the key to change. Yeah. And now what we do in our personal finances, which, you know, I know, you know, this Jana and what I teach in my personal finance course is we actually have a separate account for spending and this has been huge for us. And so it's tied to a debit card, essentially resembles how you would spend cash if you only spent cash, what it would look like. So that's what we do every single week, we get an allowance over to our spending account. And so we only spend for things like Starbucks or going to target on our debit card and which is so great because that we don't have to think about every single dollar. We just watch that account. And usually we get every Friday, so on Thursdays, it's like, okay, find what you can in the pantry tonight! But you know, that just keeps us on track. And we know we're not overspending. I had a friend of mine, Katie, who just went through my personal finance course. And she was like, it's so wonderful because I'm not overspending on everyday items. So now I can do what I actually wanna do, which is take a big trip with my family. And I'm like, that's what it's about. Little sacrifices. Maybe each week, like one less trip to the coffee shop allows you to do bigger things later on like that big trip you've been dreaming of. And that's, you know, now we've done this for what, eight or nine years and our financial personal finances even look drastically different. So
Jana Musselwhite: (38:58)
Are there things about money that have come more naturally to you or been a little bit easier or has it all kind of been a bit of a learning curve?
Shanna Skidmore: (39:06)
I would say my brain, this is just the gift God gave me, my brain works numbers really easily and financial strategy. So I would say that it's come pretty easily to me, which I'm grateful for. And, and I think Kyle always says, that's my gift to make finance simple for others. I do truly believe that's my gift. I would say, you know, we had to, we were not taught anything about personal finance. Again, I worked in finance for five years. Isn't that crazy?
Jana Musselwhite: (39:39)
What a disconnect
Shanna Skidmore: (39:40)
I mean, I wasn't taught. Yeah. It was about insurance investments, long term planning like that.
Jana Musselwhite: (39:48)
Not like personal budgeting
Shanna Skidmore: (39:49)
Or everyday money. Yes. Everyday money. In fact, I actually got in trouble several times for trying to help clients do a budget. My direct supervisor would be like, you don't get paid to do that. Cause I wasn't a fee-based planner. I got paid based on what I sold and commissions. And so I was spending too much time with people I guess. But so that's the part I think, has been something I've had to learn and why I so try to teach. You know, in the Southeast Dave Ramsey is pretty big, but I don't know a lot about his teaching. I will say, I don't think there's something geared towards entrepreneurs in the personal finance space. And that's why I'm really passionate about growing even still that side of my business. But I had to learn my system. Remember again, I wanna perfect my system before I teach it to others. So yeah.
Jana Musselwhite: (40:39)
Yeah. Um, so many good things. Over the years, you've experienced a lot of life seasons. I know you and Kyle have moved. You had your daughter last year. How have you seen your business shift in different life seasons?
Shanna Skidmore: (40:56)
I love this question so much. I talk a lot about, you know, it's really kind of my signature. What is enough for you? What, what does enough look like? And I'm really passionate about this conversation because I came from a finance background, a very male dominated industry as well. And I'm really passionate about having the conversation of you can build a business based on your own terms and that allows you to shift and pivot during different seasons of life. And for me, I think I've 100% lived that out. You know, I got to a point in 2019 where Kyle wanted to go full time as an aerospace engineer. He was a contract engineer before. And as you all know, like Kyle's a huge part of the business even before he was officially a huge part of the business. And so it worked when he was a contract engineer because he was at home a lot.
Shanna Skidmore: (41:53)
And so he could help do the production and that's a huge part of our business. So in 2019 we just had a big conversation about, I wanna pursue my career full time. And I knew I wanted to slow down. I had, at that time five full-time employees, the business had outgrown my own comfort level and I just needed a break. And so many people know my story in 2020, I closed down the business completely. And while Kyle went full-time in his career, we moved to Minnesota and all this happened in 2019 and then 2020, I took off completely, which, you know, ended up being a blessing in disguise with what happened in 2020. And that's how God used that season of taking time off. And honestly used the pandemic when all of our neighbors were mostly high income, earning physicians, surgeons, and big time income earners. And they were coming to us with questions about their finances. We're having to shut off our cable. We're having to put our mortgage on forbearance. And, and I, I felt the stirring inside of me, again, of like, I wanna help people with their money. I would do it for free. And that is a good sign that you're, you know, that's when you know, I would do this for free. And I think it's just this wonderful picture of like, I had to stop in order to restart. That's the year I just needed to get healthy. I needed to focus on my health, my mental health, my physical health, and ended up getting pregnant with Madeline. And we had Madeline in March of 2021 and I relaunch the business right before she was born. That's when Jana came on board and started helping me part-time and I'm so grateful. And what a rollercoaster we've been on. And I just, I think it's so true that your business will be there. Like you can keep doing these things. And I called the blueprint model, say business built for life, not the other way around. And I think our businesses should serve the life that we want. And for some seasons that's kind of the fall. That's the harvest. That's really bringing it all in. In some seasons it's winter and spring regrowth. And so I'm just grateful that now I can share with others, our story, it's not just about more, more and more build I that term, if you're not growing, you're dying. Like, Ugh, no, because if I had kept pushing after 2019, if I kept pushing, going in 2020, I would've really quit forever. You know, I needed that time off. And so I just wanna encourage people that business is a long term journey and it's a slow step by step, day by day building. There is no overnight success that, you know, 10 year overnight success, that's us, you know, 10 year, overnight success. And so it's slow. It's every day. Just love what you do and take time off when you need it.
Jana Musselwhite: (45:02)
Yeah. Final question for you. How do you find balance? And especially in this day and age, where I feel like there's constant messages telling us that we have to do it all and we have to do it all really well. Yeah. How do you find balance within that? What does it look like for you?
Shanna Skidmore: (45:21)
Yeah, so years ago I was speaking at an event and, uh, Jess Connolly was there and she said, you help people find the place between ambition and contentment, which I call enough the place of enough. It's where ambition and contentment meet. And that's so true for me. I wrestle with ambition. Sometimes I'm like, go getter, let's go, let's make it happen. And other times it's like swinging back towards contentment and for us again, financially, it's like, what do we have to have? That's what allows me to take a break when I need it or push hard when I wanna push hard. And I don't love the word balance. I think it gets a bad rap. I do really love the word harmony. And I always kind of give the analogy. I was a gymnast for a lot of my life. I don't know if people know that, but you know, I think about a gymnast on a balance beam, which I'm pretty sure is what three and a half, four and a half inches very thin kind of fits your foot and that's about it. And it's called a balance beam, but what's happening. If you really look, there's tiny movements of a gymnast's foot in her whole body really, or his whole body the whole time. And that's what I think of balance or what I call harmony. It's a constant readjusting, slight changes to keep yourself upright and just really being in tune with, is this a, a life heavy season? Is this a business heavy season? What does it look like in this time? And what I've learned now, having my daughter is I need to reevaluate more often. Um, I used to look at this every year, every quarter, but sometimes it's, I mean, we are in our first kind of summer season with Madeline. And so our childcare is different in the summer, you know, I have less working hours, so it's like, okay, I can fight against that. Or I can say, what is the, what does it look like in this season? And so that's, that's how I find harmony. And I would say for me, I love the strengths finder test and I'm very ambitious. Achiever is my number one strength. And so I often joke. I'm like what happened to all my ambition? I used to be so competitive. Um, but now I feel, you know, I'm so much more at rest. And so just really fighting against what the world tells me I should want and always getting centered on. But what do I want? That's really helped me personally, professionally, financially find harmony.
Jana Musselwhite: (47:48)
Yeah. And really incorporating that rhythm of reflecting and assessing where you are and what needs to change and being willing to let go of things that aren't working for you. I feel like you're really good at that. As often as you need.
Shanna Skidmore: (48:02)
Yeah. Well, you really helped me this year, you know, cause it's new mom like figuring out a big life change. You made the comment earlier this year. I know you remember what I'm gonna say when you said, what are the things that make me feel like me? And I was like, Ugh, that's the question I need to ask because a lot of those, you know, in the season with a newborn went away and I had to be like, what makes me feel like me? Cuz I have to make sure that's in my time.
Jana Musselwhite: (48:33)
Yeah. I've also heard, I think it was a counselor who said this, that big life changes can usually take around 18 months for us to fully adjust to , which is wild. That's such a long amount of time. But I think once we realizethat that's such a normal thing, it gives us permission to give ourselves grace.
Shanna Skidmore: (48:55)
I think I just took like a giant deep breath. Thank you Jana. Cause I'm only on month 15. Three more to go!
Jana Musselwhite: (49:06)
That goes for a new baby or a new relationship or moving or a big career change. Like it, it just takes us as people time to really adjust and, and this culture of instant gratification and things having to happen quickly and businesses having to be six figures in their first year. Like it that's just not, I don't think that's realistic
Shanna Skidmore: (49:29)
Perfection all the time. Right? Yeah. Yeah. I love that. So yeah. It's been the best, most wonderful, but yeah. It's like, everything has to find its harmony. Like we gotta come back to center, you know, like a spinning top and like where do we need to shift and adjust? And you just have to learn that with time. That's so true. That takes time and people, I think the world tells us it should happen fast. At least I feel that way. So thank you.
Jana Musselwhite: (49:56)
Yeah. Thanks for sharing all of that. Shanna.
Shanna Skidmore: (49:59)
Yeah. This is so fun. Thanks for asking. Yeah.
Jana Musselwhite: (50:02)
Are you ready for a few rapid fire questions to finish us out?
Shanna Skidmore: (50:08)
I would love that.
Jana Musselwhite: (50:09)
Okay. What is something that you'd be embarrassed if people knew about you?
Shanna Skidmore: (50:15)
This is such a funny question. Okay. I thought about this before cause yay. I knew the questions, but what I wanted to share is one of my very first clients, my retainer clients, asked for a different payment plan. And so I was like, okay. Yeah. So anyways, I found out six months after I completed work with her that I completely forgot to send one invoice. And so I was out thousands of dollars. And at that point I just didn't feel it was okay to resend that. And so I think it, I, I always tell it where it's like, yeah, that was so embarrassing and Ugh, you know, at that time, for sure. I mean, anytime losing a thousand dollars is a big deal, but I'm glad that that in some ways I'm glad it happened so I can be like, see, not perfect over here by any means. And also put your processes in place. They're there for a reason. So I tried to be super accommodating, which is good, but cause I changed my system. I messed up. So yeah, I have, I've done multiple times of just tiny little things like that, that cost you money and it happens, you know, but yeah, I would probably, I wouldn't be super embarrassed, but
Jana Musselwhite: (51:27)
Any regrets or things that you wish that you could do over?
Shanna Skidmore: (51:32)
Mm that's a hard one. I think I would hold it all lighter. I was talking to somebody yesterday and it was like the first few years of business, everything feels -- or first year, I mean it's different probably for everyone, but everything is hopeful. It's exciting. It's new. You have stars in your eyes, you're dreaming big and then hard things happen. You get, you know, knocked down by a few things. People hurt your feelings or hard things happen. And I, I think sometimes you have to go through those things and I don't wanna say I wanna have tougher skin, but I wish that I could have held it lighter. And just, I have a folder in my email now it's called my sunshine folder and I, anytime I get an encouraging note, I just move it over to the sunshine folder because there are hard days and I'm actually a very sensitive person and a recovering people pleaser. And so I think we all let the hard things sit. I think that's psychologically true. We hold onto hard. Like when somebody says something negative, what is it? 20 times more? You have to say 20 positive things to erase one negative or something. I don't know. You probably know that better than me, but yeah. So all that to say, I wish I had held it lighter and just loved what I did instead of getting, there were some things I got bitter on for a long time and I just, I wish I had not let those things get to me so much. Mm
Jana Musselwhite: (53:04)
Mm-hmm. What would you say has been your biggest win or your biggest pinch me moment?
Shanna Skidmore: (53:09)
There's so many wonderful things that happened. One that comes to mind is a pinch me moment is this was I think 2018. I read a book called chasing slow by Erin Lochner. I love it. And I reached out to Erin, I emailed her and said, Erin, will you come and speak at our retreat, which is now blueprint summit. So it's an in-person event for our students. So it's big now50 to a hundred, 125, I think has been our biggest, uh, we keep it around a hundred, but I said, Erin, will you come and speak? And I said, this is how much I have to offer you, which I knew was drastically lower than her speaking rate. And she said yes! And she came and she was wonderful. And she's just a joy. And now we're like text friends and yeah. She's such a kindred spirit. And so it was a pinch me moment for sure, because I just, you know, didn't know I had no idea if she would come or not, but I reached out and she did. And now she's my friend. So
Jana Musselwhite: (54:12)
That's such an encouragement to me to just not be afraid to ask.
Shanna Skidmore: (54:16)
Absolutely. Yeah, just ask. And I think too, I came from a world in finance where they taught you a lot about networking, but networking in the sense of what can you, you know, you're just trying to get clients, right? Like what can you get out of people? And I just push back from that. Uh, no, no, no, no. And I think genuinely wanting to build relationships, connecting with people. I mean, that's such a beautiful thing about entrepreneurship. There are kindred spirits all over the world and yeah. Not being afraid to just say hello. And I said, Erin, your book was so impactful for me. And I texted her the other day and I was like, I was just reading back through your book and it's amazing. So chasing slow, Erin Lochner. Y'all go get it.
Jana Musselwhite: (55:03)
This is a fun one. What are you working on right now? Or do you have a resource that you'd love to share?
Shanna Skidmore: (55:09)
Okay. I'm gonna answer both. Well, first our big project right now of course, is the podcast. So that's been, and why I bring that up is I have been inconsistent with content marketing is my main form of marketing. Many of you know, I'm not on social media and content marketing is how I want to build. I feel it's the most authentic way to build the marketing in my brand. And I never could figure that out. I never could get it right. Like blogging, YouTubing and podcasting. I never thought I would do because you know, a million in one podcast and I never listened to podcasts, to be honest, I just never did. But after I had Madeline, I realized, and when I'm driving her, our commute to her childcare, which is my sister-in-law is 30 minutes. Both ways I would listen to podcasts. And so I was like, this is the best. So find a marketing tool that fits for you. Otherwise it will always be an uphill battle. And so that's why I'm excited about the podcast. And then the resource I wanna share. Of course, favorite toggle, track your time. It literally saved my business.
Jana Musselwhite: (56:18)
All right. Very last question. If you could tell yourself anything on day one of your business, what would you say?
Shanna Skidmore: (56:29)
I think I would tell myself that slow growth is still good growth. Like to go at your own pace. And I don't know if other people feel this way, but I don't. I don't like to be hurried. I don't like to be hurried ever. I don't like when people drive too close to my tail, I don't like when I'm rushed on the way to church or somewhere, I don't like to be in a hurry and in business, I wish I could just say, go at your own pace. You you're not gonna get left behind it's okay.
Jana Musselwhite: (57:03)
Yeah. I feel like we need more people saying that.
Shanna Skidmore: (57:06)
Oh, for sure.
Jana Musselwhite: (57:08)
I don't know. I have to constantly give myself permission to do that also.
Shanna Skidmore: (57:12)
Yeah. Yeah. I love that.
Jana Musselwhite: (57:14)
Such wisdom well, Shanna thank you so much for sharing your story. I did learn some new things about you and talking to us about money and things you've learned. And I don't know, it's just always such a blessing to sit down with you and chat have a conversation.
Shanna Skidmore: (57:31)
Same. I'm so grateful for you, Jana. Thank you for hanging out today.
Jana Musselwhite: (57:36)
Shanna Skidmore: (57:37)
Hey wildflower. You've just finished the very first episode of consider the wildflowers, the podcast. It's an absolute joy to share my story with you. And I hope one day I get to hear yours. Head over to considerthewildflowerspodcast.com for show notes, resource links, and learn how we can stay in touch because yeah, I don't do social media. Today. I want to leave you with a blessing from Luke 12 -- "consider how the wildflowers grow. They do not labor or spin yet. I tell you not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these, if that is how God cares for the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is sown to the fire. How much more will he care for you?" I'll see you next time.