Candid. The word fits Denise Duffield-Thomas like a glove. There really is no better way to describe someone who assures you that ambition and intelligence have nothing to do with wealth because she knows some really “dumb-ass people who make great money”.
No, Duffield-Thomas doesn’t waste precious time calling a spade by any other name. Nor does she attempt to sugar coat the very real money talk she dishes out to her Lucky Bitch Money Bootcampers or the creative entrepreneurs she addressed at this year’s Artful Business Conference (ABC) in Melbourne.
Duffield-Thomas brands herself as a money mindset mentor for a new wave of online female entrepreneurs. She also calls herself a Lucky Bitch, the successful woman other women secretly begrudge for the seemingly endless stream of luck that flows her way.
But despite the cheeky moniker, she is deadly serious when she says that every woman has an equal opportunity to be a Lucky Bitch. The only thing standing in a woman’s way is the series of stories in her head about wealth, luck and success.
“If you’re in business and you want to make money, you’re going to come up against some money blocks,” Duffield-Thomas warned the ABC participants. “I’ve been there. All multimillionaire women have been there. Your money journey will repeatedly bring up all your hidden stuff.”
“You need to find real women in the real world who will have real conversations with you about money. Women who aren’t afraid to charge what they’re worth and who will share their personal money blocks.”
Being one of those real women herself, Duffield-Thomas started the ball rolling with a story of her own money block. For a long time, she held fast to the belief that she needed to slog to earn money. This particular block stemmed from years of watching her mother do exactly that as an assistant nurse.
“So when someone who I think works harder than me earns more, I tell myself she deserves it more than I do,” she said. “This is when I go to my real women to talk about my money block.”
Duffield-Thomas has a tidy little collection of money blocks curated from the hundreds of women who have sought her out for real conversations. Each block she unveiled that afternoon received earnest nods of agreement and sparked many spirited discussions over attitudes and relationships towards money.
Duffield-Thomas has heard that sentence end with “greedy”, “environmentally-damaging” and “arrogant” from women who have reluctantly decided that being rich isn’t part of their value system. To her, this is pure hogwash.
“You choose the kind of rich person that you are and you must be ok with being rich exactly as you are right now,” she said. “You can be the richest, humblest, greenest person you want to be. Your rich will be different from someone else’s rich.”
“And you have to define what wealth means for you. How much would it take for you to feel wealthy? It will different from someone else but you have to name it before you can receive it.”
Duffield-Thomas has two books under her belt (Lucky Bitch and Get Rich, Lucky Bitch) as well as a money bootcamp. All are bestsellers. But it wasn’t very long ago that she had made it really difficult for people to buy either one.
Her sales page was nearly impossible to find on her website and each time she saw a payment notification, she would cringe and pray that it wouldn’t go through. It took her two years to finally come to her senses.
“So I want you to think about how you’re helping people give you money,” she said. “What do you have for sale? Nothing? Then how are people going to give you money? Find a way for them to do that even if it’s small and imperfect. Start by just having the practical things, like a Buy button, in place.”
“There is a beautician I follow on Instagram who does beautiful eyebrows but lives in another city. She however sells an e-book with all her secrets for $15. She had a way for me to give her money straight away.”
Don’t let other people dictate your success. Duffield-Thomas is unsurprisingly adamant about this piece of advice. She has seen too many women entrepreneurs start out by surveying their competitors’ rates and fixing their rates either below or at a median point. But there’s just one problem with that strategy.
“You have no idea what drove those people to set that price,” she pointed out. “They could be so blocked about money and you’re basing your income off their money blocks. It doesn’t make sense to do that.”
“You can charge whatever you like for whatever you do. Ignore the industry rules about how much you can charge and earn. You have to make your own rules because that will be your income.”
When Duffield-Thomas’ son was born she naturally wanted professional photos taken of him. While she loved the work of a particular photographer who specialised in baby photos, the fee was too steep so she turned to a photographer friend instead.
Unfortunately baby photos weren’t in that photographer’s “zone of genius”. The results were a disappointment and Duffield-Thomas wished her friend had just been upfront about her lack of expertise instead of agreeing to give it a shot.
“How many times have you done something like that for the money and regretted it?” she asked. “Money flows when you say no to things that are not in your zone of genius.”
One of the first things Duffield-Thomas gets those in her bootcamp to do is start tracking the money that is entering their life either in cash or value. At the end of the exercise, at least half the group realise that money is already flowing to them in a variety of small ways. Once they can measure that, they know how to improve it.
“You don’t go from zero to Oprah,” she said. “There are many steps along the way and you move forward by upgrading your life incrementally. You find one thing in your life that makes you feel poor and you upgrade to just the next level. You find one thing in your business that’s broken or not working and you fix that.”
Denise Duffield Thomas is the CEO of www.LuckyBitch.com through which she runs mindset training programs for women, consults female entrepreneurs and travels the world speaking and attending conferences.
What money blocks have you had before? Share them with us in the comments section below!