Lee: Well, hello there, Stephanie, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Stephanie: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited.
Lee: I am too, and we have a lot to talk about. I know this is a really juicy topic. I have a lot of questions about it. But before we dive in, let's kind of learn a little bit about you. I am so curious about you and the work that you do for the world.
Stephanie: Yeah, I am a money coach for entrepreneurs, which basically means that I work with business owners 50% on their business finances and money, like the actual nuts and bolts, money, and then 50% with the human behind those numbers, because we all know, just dealing with the money part always ends in grief, and dealing with the human emotions behind all the money is really where the good stuff comes in.
Lee: Yes, I love that. So it's really a holistic approach to money and finances where it's not just about the numbers and the bottom line, you're really looking at the whole person.
Stephanie: Yes, exactly. One or the other. And if they don't, they don't work nearly as well as when you combined the two of them together.
Lee: That makes a lot of sense. And I'm curious, have you always approached your work this way? What has your journey been like to get to this point in your business?
Stephanie: Yeah, so back back in the day, I was a traditional financial planner and investment management person, and was on the road to you know, that was going to be my career. And I was helping essentially rich white people plan their retirements and decided that that was not what I, where I wanted to be going, you know, I was on the road to literally managing people's life savings. And that was just that was too much for me, I didn't want to do it. So I stopped doing that, kind of fumbled around for a while, got my life coaching certification. And then in 2020, I stumbled across this idea of anti-capitalism and was just like, brain explosion, holy moly, this just kind of brings everything together, the money parts that I loved, and also the coaching and humanness behind everything. And I was like, Yes, this is this is fantastic. I love it.
Lee: Alright, so I want to dive in a little deeper. Because when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism, I think a lot of us get confused. I know, I do. Like those terms are still fairly new to me. And so before we really get into what that looks like, maybe let's spend a few minutes actually defining – what is capitalism? Like, what are we talking about when we use that word in particular?
Stephanie: So yeah, I look at big C versus little c capitalism. And little c capitalism is your just Econ 101 dictionary definition of capitalism, where the individual owns the business, you know, owns businesses, and the market determines supply and demand. You know, so it's not the government over, you know, government owning the businesses, or, you know, their outside influences deciding profit or not profit and loss, supply and demand, its individual owners. So that's little c capitalism, just, you know, very value neutral definition of capitalism. Big C Capitalism, is what we have here in the states where it's this idea of you charge as much as you possibly can, you keep your expenses as low as possibly as low as humanly possible. And then you essentially hoard the difference. So it's the very few keeping as much money as possible, and everyone else doing without, and it usually ends up to this very extractive pulling, you know, pulling natural resources, extractive labor practices, and ends up being a zero sum game of those, there's winners and there's losers. And that's just not very fun for the rest of us who aren't the article winners, you know, so that's, that's my definition or my differentiation between, you know, big C Capitalism and little c capitalism.
Lee: Okay, that is such a helpful way to think about capitalism, because I know for me, what really tripped me up was when I would look at how to function in my business. I would think to myself, well, there are certain elements of what what you've described as small c capitalism that kind of need to be there. I mean, this is a business, we do need to make money, I do need to support my family. And yet, I was also facing a lot of anti-capitalism messaging. And I couldn't figure out how to make both work. And so the way that you've described it is so helpful. So that small c value neutral capitalism, all that is, are strategies and tactics that we can apply to economies, whether it's, you know, huge national economies, or even little micro economies within our businesses in our lives. That's very different than the big C Capitalism, which feels more like a social movement, where it really is about winning at all costs, getting as much as you can for yourself, making sure that you have it all. And it's just not a very relationship oriented, community based way of working and living. And so I think this is really helpful. So when we're talking about anti-capitalism, we're really talking about anti capital C capitalism, the way you've defined it.
Stephanie: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. It's about a much more, like you said, relational, and holistic, and whatever the opposite of zero sum game is, you know, where everyone gets to win. And these small micro economies where we all raise each other up, instead of just trying to grab, grab, grab as much as we possibly can, ignoring our neighbors, the environment, the rest of the general population.
Lee: Yeah, you know, to me, and I know that these words are used a lot, maybe even overused, but they're really important here. This is where we're talking about abundance versus scarcity. And so the idea of abundance is that there is enough for all, and that we can all succeed, we can all win together, and it doesn't have to be, I win and you lose, it's both of us winning together. Versus that more scarcity mindset, which views something as a limited resource, there's only so much to go around. And so therefore, I'm going to get as much of it as I can. And that is what big C Capitalism is really anchored in, whereas little c capitalism seems to be more neutral.
Stephanie: Yes, it is just the little c capitalism, like you said, it's just a one way of doing things. And that is the way that we do it here in the States, you know, so it's very much like we we get to run our businesses how we want to run our businesses, and, presumably, you, Lee and all of your listeners and followers, presumably, because they're awesome people, are very much along the lines of we want to do this equitably. We want to do this so everyone wins, and not, I win, you lose.
Lee: I feel like that's a pretty safe assumption. So let's dive into that a little more deeply then. From your perspective, what does an anti-capitalist approach to business look like? What are what are things that we should be considering and doing in our businesses to promote that anti-capitalist approach?
Stephanie: Yeah, I would say a couple a couple of things. One is making I guess, kind of the main thing that covers a lot of bases is making sure that your pricing is where it needs to be in order to cover your true cost of doing business, including paying yourself a thriving wage, yourself and everyone underneath you a thriving wage. And a quick definition of thriving wage. I did not come up with this term, I believe, I heard it first from Tori Smith. I don't know if she originally coined it. You know, there's there's minimum wage, there's living wage, and then there's the thriving wage, and thriving wage is what we need to pay ourselves in order to absolutely thrive as humans. So there's enough money not just for, you know, buying groceries and paying rent and paying your health insurance, but to actually have whatever hobbies you love, to be able to retire when you want to retire, go on vacation, you know. Pay for your kids college if that's something that you choose to do, you know, give to causes that you want to give to because we're not just human. I was gonna say we're not just humans. Nope, we're not just robots that get up and work and go home and that's it. Like we want to be able to thrive as humans. So pricing your services, so that you can pay yourself a thriving wage. You can pay your team a thriving wage, even if your team is you and a part time VA or the designer that you hire, or the photographer that you hire, like, we all have teams, even if we don't think of them traditionally as teams. So, you know, pricing their services so you can, you can do all of these things and not be extractive from your VA, from your designers and extract it from yourself also. You know, you want to be able to live a wonderful and full life and not be working yourself to the bone.
Lee: I love this idea of a thriving wage that just feels so expansive to me. And I think what's particularly important is it's not just about you having a thriving wage, it's about everyone you're working with and compensating, having a thriving wage too, so that we're not contributing to those exploitative business practices that capital C capitalism tends to promote. So I love that concept. It really resonates with me. And I'm also thinking about the fact that one of the questions I get asked more often than any other question really is, how do I price my services? I know pricing is a really tricky topic for a lot of coaches, because they don't really know where to start. They don't know if they should underpriced or overpriced compared to other coaches out there, or should they be in the middle? Pricing just seems like this really sticky, nebulous topic. And so I think thinking about a thriving wage is a great place to start. And I'm wondering what other suggestions you might have for coaches who are currently struggling with pricing their offers?
Stephanie: Yeah, so my very first nugget or something is, it's not easy. Like this is one of the hardest things that you're gonna have to struggle with. And anyone that tells you that you can just reduce it to a simple calculation, or charge what you're worth or double your prices, or anything like that is just no, thank you. Just no, thank you. So just,
Lee: – a little reductive?
Stephanie: It is, yes. So just know at the outset that this is a tough thing to try to figure out and it's always going to be moving. Like, it's always going to be a moving target. So where I like to start with people, is just at the very beginning, is figuring out how much you actually need to pay yourself at the end of the month, you know, how much you want to be able to pay yourself and then work backwards to okay, if I have a full roster, full roster of clients, meaning you're not working yourself to get the bone you're not working 40 hours a week, you're working a comfortable, regenerative amount, you know, that's, that's good and sustainable for you. Okay, let's say I can handle 10 clients a month, I have no idea. I'm just pulling numbers out of the air. Okay, and I need to pay myself X amount of dollars at the end of the month. Let's do the math. And that comes out to let's just say $1,500 per client. And that's a place to start. And keeping in mind that, like, we were just saying, you know, you have to pay your team, you have to pay all of these things and just backing into this price. And if that price, then scares the crap out of you or you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I could never pay that!” Well, then we we deal with those emotions, and we figure out how to build packages that you might actually be able to deliver that value. Or “Oh my gosh, that's actually not that much like I could maybe take on less clients.” So it's, it's interesting when people actually do the math, that usually one of two things happens. They're like, “Oh, oh, that's way too, like I can't, I can't charge that much.” Or, “Oh, I don't need to be taking on as many clients as I want, as I thought I needed.” Or, you know, “Oh my gosh, that's so many clients, I'd have to work 40 hours a week.” and then we then we adjust from there. So it is just this whole, almost a numbers game, but it's just kind of all of these different moving parts. And you have to just figure out what combination of them works for you.
Lee: Yeah, you know, it's interesting, I almost feel like the first step is a bit of a numbers game where you're looking at what you need and what your capacity is, and you're coming up with a number from there. But then the second part is almost anything but a numbers game because that's where we're dealing with the emotional side of stating your rate and asking people to pay you and that can bring up a lot for people, especially for coaches. Yeah, and I'm sure that you've seen it in the work that you do.
Stephanie: Yeah, absolutely. Because you know, if you're a product based business, like it's sometimes a lot easier for product based businesses to, okay, yep, these are the cost of my supplies, I double that for my wholesale, I double that for my retail, like there is – it's much more formulaic. Where if it's a service based business, and it's not about your cost of goods, it's about how much value you bring, like, that's a really touchy subject for a lot of people, because especially people who identify as women, who were brought up as a woman, adding, you know, putting value on your skills that are traditionally undervalued, you know, service based skills. Like that's tough. That is, that is really tough.
Lee: Yes, especially because so many of us have been socialized to believe that these are things we should be doing out of the goodness of our heart. What makes us a good person. And so the idea that what we have is a skill that has value that we then want to turn around and provide for others in exchange for compensation really flies in the face of what we've been told, which is, “No, no, no, no, you should just be doing this.” Because A. that's that's what a good girl does or B. you know, you don't want to be greedy or selfish.
Stephanie: Yeah, and it's just, it's, it's hard to just like, stand up and be like, these are my skills, this is a valuable skill that I have to bring to the world. And I expect to be paid accordingly. Like, that's, that's tough.
Lee: It is. And then it gets even trickier when people are like, and this is one of my least favorite phrases out there right now. But when people are saying charge your worth.
Lee: Okay. I’m glad that bothers you too. That just irks me to know, and this idea that we should be charging our worth, I just think is so toxic, and so detrimental and really get away from any sort of neutrality that we're looking for when it comes to pricing.
Stephanie: Yes, because we're, we're human beings, our worth is incalculable, you know, there's no dollar value that you can put on the worth of a human person. So telling people to charge their worth, it's just in my mind asking for, for trouble and heartache. And way more way more trouble than it's worth. There is however, you do need to put a dollar value on the value of your work that you bring to other people. It's not you as a person, it's your work and how it impacts others lives. Like that can definitely have a dollar value put to it.
Lee: Yes, I think that's an important distinction. Because I love what you said your worth is incalculable, you know, it cannot be limited to a dollar sign, or really any sort of data. I mean, as human beings, we're just so much more expansive than that. And yet, at the end of the day, in our businesses, we do have to have some sort of compensation structure that reflects the value of our work, but that idea of separating the work and the outcome and the result from the self, whew – that's a big one. And I suspect that's at the core of a lot of mindset work that coaches and service based entrepreneurs need to be doing. And so I'm really curious Stephanie, what your thoughts are around this idea of money mindset, again, another buzz phrase in our industry right now. So I almost hesitate to say it and yet it really is an important part of what we do as business owners.
Stephanie: Yeah, and I just, I'm so over the money mindset. I'm over it, I was as you were saying my mindset I like inwardly groaned. I’m like “No! Like, enough! Enough with the money mindset.” And it's like, my retort to that money mindset phrase, I'm like, “Is it money mindset or is it learned and understandable and completely valid experiences that you've had with money that cause you to feel certain ways about asking for money, putting a dollar value on your work?” Like we don't just pull these these big air quote, “limiting beliefs” out of thin air. Like they're learned, they're there for a reason and they're trying their hardest to protect you. That's not mindset that's learned, lived experiences that we need to actually deal with.
Lee: Oh, I love that so much. Because in the work that I do with my clients, and my students, the approach I take to mindset work is that we're looking at how we relate to our internal landscape. How we relate to our thoughts and our feelings. And mindset work is not about just blanketly, accepting or rejecting certain thoughts, it's about creating space for them. And then also trying to understand why they are there. Because I believe at our core, our minds are not out to get us, they're not out to ruin us. Like you said, safety, stability, security, that is what the mind craves, and it will do whatever it takes to foster that in a person. And if it really needs to get your attention, your mind is going to gravitate towards painful, unwanted thoughts and emotions, because that works. That works. And so, so much of the mindset work is really coming from a place of self protection. And when we approach it from that lens, I think that allows us to be more compassionate, more understanding, and then it empowers us to decide, is this serving me right now? Is this really keeping me safe? Or is this keeping me stuck?
Stephanie: Yeah, and what you, what you get to do is instead of just, you know, banging your head against the wall of like, I need to change my mindset and like kind of trying to strong arm yourself into changing my thoughts, I'm going to change my thoughts. Like, let's pause, let's pump the brakes for half a second, and like, sit with those thoughts and feelings that come up. And like you were saying, try to understand them and understand the version of you that's throwing up those thoughts, the version of you that doesn't feel safe asking for, you know, a $2,000 coaching package, I'm just throwing out numbers again. But you know, like, what doesn't feel safe? Let's tend to that. And let's try to understand where that part of us is coming and do what we need to do in order to foster that safety to grow that, not resilience, that's the wrong word. I can't think of the word that I'm trying to put my finger on, but like to grow the ability to actually stay with those feelings and do what we need to do in order to feel safe and move forward more successfully and more sustainably.
Lee: Yes. And as you were saying that, what I realized is that money is really just a proxy, then for like, all of the stuff underneath it.
Stephanie: Oh yes!
Lee: Like, certainly our relationship with money and how we operate in our businesses is a reflection of that. But there's something, if we peel back the layers, we're going to find deeper messages, often which have been kind of programmed into us by well intentioned parents and by society, and we've kind of taken that as truth. And so now we're being asked to rethink what is true and what is true for me.
Stephanie: Yeah, because in our society, you know, money equals power, it equals representation, it equals safety, you know, three things, which, when again, women in general, and basically anyone who's not a cishet, white man, you know, we have just such an easygoing and lackadaisical relationship with power and stability and safety. Like, come on now. Like, let's, let's call a spade a spade and be like, yeah, there's stuff here that we actually need to deal with and not just try to sweep it under the money mindset rug.
Lee: Agreed, agreed wholeheartedly. So Stephanie, I'm curious what kind of general guidance you might offer, then to coaches who are really trying to figure out where to begin with this, they want to reject the capital C Capitalism, concepts that we've talked about today. They want to approach quote, unquote, “money mindset” work from a place that is more holistic? Where would you suggest that coaches begin?
Stephanie: I would, I would say to just to start with your values and start with what matters to you like what matters to you as a person, how you want to operate as a business owner, and make sure that you bake those values into your pricing, into your business, how you're operating, which I know just sounds very nebulous. But that's where you have to start is what matters to you, and how you want to operate and letting that guide you, where you where you go with with your pricing and how you deal with all of the stuff that comes up, you know. Do you want it to be rigid and placed on you, you know, taking in all of these outside expectations, or do you want it to come from a more holistic, personal value based place.
Lee: So you're speaking my language 100%, values work is often where I start with my clients, I talk about the three M's: meaning, mindset, and mindfulness. And you can really start at any one of those points. But in coaching in particular, I find starting with meaning, and really clarifying your values, and then looking at how your values can inform your decisions and your actions. That's such a natural starting point. So I love that that is also a starting point for people with their relationship with anti-capitalism and with money. So get really clear on what do you stand for? What do you want to be known for? What matters to you? And then let's think about how to make that manifest through the choices that you're making in your business.
Stephanie: Exactly. I couldn't have said it better.
Lee: We are just so in sync. I’m loving it.
Stephanie: Yes we are! I love it.
Lee: I love and I have so enjoyed this conversation to Stephanie, thank you so much. I know that the people who are listening in right now are going to want to learn more about you and the work that you do. So where is the best place for them to find you?
Stephanie: The absolute best place to find me is on Instagram. That's where I do all of my hanging out. You can find me at @StephanieCleary that's where I hang out and I would absolutely love to meet you. You guys, come on in. Send me a DM. Tell me where you came from. Tell me that Lee sent to you and I can't wait to chat with you all.
Lee: Well, we will make sure that we have a link to your Instagram profile in the show notes. Go follow Stephanie right now, start a conversation with her. I promise you she is delightful. You will love talking to her. And Stephanie, I am just so thankful that you have taken so much time out of your business to be on the Coach with Clarity Podcast. It's been quite a journey. But we are here and I am so grateful.
Stephanie: Thank you so much. It's been an absolute pleasure.
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I don't know about you. But I really had one of those mind blowing moments when Stephanie differentiated between big C Capitalism and little c capitalism. For me, that was the moment where everything just came together. And I realized, okay, there are foundational business principles in little c capitalism that we need to understand and implement in our business. And yet, we can do that while rejecting those capital C principles of Capitalism, the one that require you to make money at all costs, and to prioritize profit over people. We can say no to that, and still have successful businesses. And Stephanie, I think has really given us a lot of food for thought, as we consider how we want our businesses to operate, it is possible to be profitable without having to buy into the standard practices that don't feel value aligned. So I'm just so grateful for Stephanie's time, her wisdom, and again, be sure to go check her out on Instagram. And I suspect you'll find a lot of value in what she has to share over there. So not only am I grateful to Stephanie, I'm grateful to you. Thank you so much for tuning in week after week to the Coach with Clarity Podcast. And the easiest way to make sure you get all of the newest episodes of the Coach with Clarity Podcast in your feed is to follow or subscribe to the show. Now depending on where you listen to your podcasts, you'll either see an option to follow the show or subscribe to the show. They both mean the same thing. It is an absolutely free way for you to sign up so that when a new episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast drops, it shows up automatically in your feed. So if you haven't already taken the time to do that, do me a favor, take five seconds and go ahead and follow the show. And if you've already done that, well thank you so much. That means the world to me. And might I ask that you share the show with a friend. Iin coaching word of mouth and personal referrals is one of the best ways to build a business. And the same holds true with podcasts. We can grow our community of innovative, intuitive coaches simply by sharing these resources with each other. So if you know a coach that would benefit from the Coach with Clarity Podcast, I would be so honored if you would share the show with them. Alright, friends. That's it for me this week, but you know it I'll be back in your feed next week with another episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. So until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough, reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.