Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gals We Admire: Stephanie Holmes-Winton

She didn't become a veterinarian like she had wanted to be as a child, but in spite of that, Stephanie Holmes-Winton, CEO and founder of The Money Finder website, seems to have found a job that makes her doggone happy.

Name: Stephanie Holmes-Winton
Job Position Title: CEO of The Money Finder
Twitter handle: @themoneyfinder

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish
Ha, typical.  Well I guess like many business owners there is no typical day but here is an idea of what my days look like lately (when I’m not traveling across the country to speak to or train financial advisors):
5:30 or 6 am: Out for a run or early to the gym while the rest of the house is often still sleeping and back before my husband goes to work 
7am: Getting my 4-year-old son ready for daycare or a day with his Grammie (He’s only ever gone to daycare part time. His father stayed home for 2.5 yrs and now my mother takes him Monday and I take Friday’s off to spend with him this last year before school starts. Balance does exist if you think carefully about what you really want and work towards that).
8am: I organize my day on my white board (what ever I hadn’t thought of the previous business day) I often write blog posts during this time or read a little
10am: this is usually when the scheduled phone calls start.  
From 12noon on: Scheduled appointments with private clients or consulting clients
12-5pm: All through out my scheduled day I’ve got my kindle and my to do’s at the ready to use any spare moment to either get something done or learn something.  I also listen to books on CD or my Success Magazine CD’s when I’m in the car at all times during a work day
5pm: Done for the day (if I’m in Halifax) and home for supper most nights.  My husband walks home from work and I pick up our son so we are almost always around the dinner table for family dinner by 6pm

I usually only allow face-to-face appointments to be booked a max of 2 days per week. This way I don’t end up running in and out from my home office to my meeting space wasting time. I love to group like activities for maximum effecientcy.

After my busy day I’m normally just a mom, however, on occasion because I do work from my home office, I sometimes might have the odd scheduled call from the west coast or a little writing to finish up after my son is in bed.

I generally travel once or twice a month for three or four days at a time, careful not to give up my Friday when at all possible.  On the road I still have my Success Magazine CDs loaded on my iPod, my Kindle packed with the books I want to read and scheduled calls or face-to-face meetings between other commitments so that I don’t waste a single moment that I’ve agreed to be away from my family.

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
A veterinarian.  

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Watching people become the version of themselves they always knew was there but were to diffused, distracted or overwhelmed to become. I love to watch people gain mastery over their own money. To fully grasp their power and run their money, instead of letting their money run them.  I most enjoy teaching financial advisors and planners how to accomplish this through debt and cash flow management as a part of their practice.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Judgment and assumptions. Most people think that money is common sense. The media, many financial advisors and planners, and much of the general public think that shame and math are the way to deal with finances. People think that others make financial mistakes or end up in messes because they are stupid, or careless. The reality is that many of the people passing judgment, while they might not be in trouble, aren’t running their money as efficiently as possible either they just aren’t in trouble yet.

It’s everywhere, people looking down their noses at the people brave enough to share their truths so the rest of us may learn. It’s sad, frustrating, and totally useless. Think about it when is the last time you listened carefully to someone who is busy judging you. Even when good advice is given, if it comes with a heavy dose of "You should know better" it doesn’t get the recipient anywhere but more down, and more destructive.

If you examine the evidence of what we we’ve been exposed to when it comes money and look at what the average Canadian "should" know about money... well, we are doing exactly what the system has been designed to have us do. So, I like to take shame and judgment out of the equation, deal with what is, control what we’ve got control over and move on forward!

I see a lot of great people who are very smart carrying debt, sometimes it’s causing problems, and sometimes it’s not. What I’ve discovered is that most everyone’s debt structure and cash flow management is inefficient, failing to maximize their incomes. That doesn’t make anyone stupid; it makes us human. If we are willing to be humble we can all learn a thing or two, including me.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
Yes, I believe it was a calling.  I feel like I had an underlying personal skill set and by adding knowledge, formal training, and experience to that I’ve enhanced my natural interpersonal skills.  I think finance was a skill I learned, anyone can really but my true calling was to help, it just so happened that I could combine the two.  I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now!

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Get your personal finances in order first or now! It is always best if your finances are under control before you take huge risks with your career like starting a business, or even taking a role with start-up.  Make sure you’ve alwasy got a savings cushion, at some point you’ll need it. If you can’t create savings then it’s time to get brutally honest with yourself.

If your behaviour doesn’t support your goals, then it’s time to change something. I wanted to take a big risk with my business last year and we knew it would mean a lot of travel, so our family sold our home and downsized to a small townhouse. We moved closer to my mother so I could travel for work knowing back up was near by. When we finally got a new dog, we got a very tiny dog who is easy for my husband to take care of when I’m away. I took Fridays off to even out my quality time with my son, which could be potentially reduced by my travel for work.

If we’d stayed in our bigger house, my goals would not have been impossible, but my behaviour would not support my goals and it is my belief that would reduce my chances of success. If you’ve got your finances under control you can be poised to cease opportunities when they present themselves rather than scrambling to slap your life together to work around something new.

Spend time with like-minded people. There is nothing better for you than spending time with those who nurture your success and work towards success for themselves. Sometimes making a bold move to live the life you want means that those who would rather things stay status quo can’t have as much of your time or energy any more.  Spending time with people who think big gives you a perspective you just can’t get on your own. Don’t forget to pay it forward, and invest in inspiring those coming up behind you as well. 

Read, read, read and then read some more! Time to read is actually in my schedule.  I think it’s one of the most important things I can do.  Now before you get too excited I’m not talking about the 50 Shades trilogy, I’m talking about Seth Godin’s Linchpin or Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect, what I call books that make me better! I also love Success Magazine, it’s one of the best investments I make each year in my professional development.  The audio CD included in each issue is invaluable for a gal on the go like me.  Whatever you do learn with a passion.


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