How Implementing Profit First Impacts Your Small Business

How Implementing Profit First Impacts Your Small Business

Tara Newman: Hey, there everyone. It is Tara Newman from The Bold Money Revolution Podcast. Today I’m really, really, really triple 1000% really excited to be here with Sara Intonato, who is first, a very long time, dear friend of mine, and secondly, a client. We’re here to talk about Profit First and implementing Profit First in your business and what that could look like for you. I hope that and I know that this is going to be a really great conversation because of how long Sara and I have known each other for, which is about 15 and a half years probably at this point, because I met her when my son was six months old, and I was struggling with postpartum depression.

Sara was the yoga teacher in charge at the time when I stumbled into a yoga studio and I knew that from the first minute I met Sara, she was not your average yoga teacher. She was a business badass. Over the years as we’ve worked on growing her business, she has absolutely proven that to be true? I’m excited to have Sara here with us today. Hey, friend.

Sara Intonato: Hey, thank you so much for having me. I just smile ear-to-ear when I think of how we met and where we are now. It’s wild now.

Tara Newman: It’s wild. It’s a journey. Tell everyone what you do.

Sara Intonato: Well as Tara said, I began as a yoga teacher nearly 20 years ago, and I thought that was going to be my forever career, and it still is in a very small capacity. But in recent years, I have opened a second business which is a consulting practice for neurodiverse families that specifically support the parents, and in some cases, the children as well. This all started because I have a neurodiverse child and he is on the autism spectrum. His name is Rocco. He’s 12.

For years, I thought that all parents were able to stand up as boldly as I was or able to care for themselves as well as I did. It wasn’t until probably into my 10 years of parenting that I realized, “Oh, my yoga practice has actually given me a leg up on parenting boldly and remaining center through all the ups and downs that are thrown out when you have a child with unique needs.” About two years ago, I opened up my practice for consulting, and sometimes yoga is a part of that, especially when parents need to learn how to care for themselves and manage their stress. Other times it’s working with them in a different capacity.

I also work with children in this capacity as well using a technique called Rapid Prompt Method which specifically helps children and adults who have limited verbal ability to learn and communicate, making sure that their sensory needs are met in the process, so that they can do so successfully. I wear many hats but they all fall under the umbrella of confidence, clarity, health and wellbeing, and being able to stand up powerfully in the world.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I think it’s what you said around having a unique skill set for unique needs. That’s always been how we looked at your business from the sense of you had so many skills well beyond Asana, and how do we create services and offers for your folks that incorporate all of your unique skills that go well beyond Asana.

Sara Intonato: Yeah. I think that there’s so much of this that had to be learned as I went. I thought that I would leave yoga behind in a big way except for my own personal practice and a few very close one-on-one clients, and focus solely on the neurodiverse families in a consulting fashion.

What started happening is that, it’s actually pretty funny, I had been using the same PayPal handles for my business, even as I changed it over, and one of the moms whose children I work with submitted her payment, didn’t think anything of it, then when I saw her children the next day, she said, “Hey, wait, I saw that there’s yoga in your PayPal name. Are you a yoga teacher? Is that what you do?”

I hadn’t even thought to tell her anything about that because I was working with her kids who were very young. I said, “Yes, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. Why do you ask?” She said, “Because whatever you’re doing to manage your stress, I need that. I need you to teach me. The stress of this is killing me. I need to learn how to support myself and I don’t know how to do it.”

It was then when I laughed to myself and thought, “Oh, I thought I was going to be trading one business for another. Instead, what I’ve received is a bunch of people who really need and appreciate all of my gifts and talents.” It just made me really happy to serve them with all the things that I can give.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I think it’s so important that as women, we’re open to looking at all the ways that we can be creating opportunity for ourselves and not pigeonholing ourselves into one specific thing, that there’s always an opportunity for us to, what I call upserve, people will call it upselling. But what you did in that moment was upserving. There was something that she was interested in, there was value there for her, and she was looking to get a specific result and you said, “Oh, yeah, sure. We can work in this capacity as well.” You essentially created more value in that relationship and created more income for yourself.

Sara Intonato: Yeah. It felt really good for everyone. She trusted me already because I support her children. The relationship piece was already there. For me, that felt great because I think in order to learn and grow from a mentor, you need to be able to trust them. For me, that really spoke volumes.

Tara Newman: Yeah. That’s such a great example of finding the low-lying fruit, finding the opportunities that are easy on your energy, you’re already in a relationship with her. She’s already paying you. You’re already serving and this is just you serving in a greater capacity.

Let’s chat about Profit First. Profit First is a cash flow management system. This, in my opinion, is a very simple way to teach business owners how to manage and make decisions about their revenue, their profit, how to pay themselves, and how to navigate their expenses. It is not accounting. It gives small business owners a simple language that they can understand and communicate with others around money.

Sara, what was business like for you? Where were you before you implemented Profit First? I know that you’ve been implementing Profit First for quite a while now.

Sara Intonato: Yes. Before I implemented Profit First, I was in that place of actually making very good monthly revenue but feeling like I never had enough. That was partially because I didn’t have a good structure for paying myself. I was in that place of expensing as much as I could through the business but never really feeling like I had a leg up to accumulate any personal wealth on my own as a business owner.

It always felt like this cycle of bringing a lot of money—and that was never a problem actually—and then use it to either invest in the business or just pay the monthly expenses. It was a cycle that just didn’t feel good. It felt like I know I’m making money but when do I actually get to keep more of my money?

Tara Newman: So feeling like it was never enough, feeling like you paid all these expenses and what was there for you, not feeling good about your money, how did that translate into other areas or impact you at all in your business or your personal life?

Sara Intonato: I think in some ways, it actually prevented me from growing my business intentionally versus growing it for the sake of having more for more’s sake. It didn’t feel like it was strategized growth. It felt like, “Oh, there’s money coming in and people on the internet say I should invest in this thing so I guess I should.” Or “This marketing strategy seems smart. Maybe I should invest in that” as opposed to really prioritizing “Am I paying myself what I should be paying myself first and foremost? Then from there, what do I have leftover to reinvest in my business?”

I think before Profit First, I didn’t really have the parameters around how to prioritize myself as the business owner because, as you know, without the business owner being healthy in all areas and being empowered, the business is not going to run well. That showed up in an insidious way of the money coming in but it wasn’t being prioritized towards me.

I think as a result, I used to have a lot of stories around not being a good money manager, which is hilarious. I’m actually a great money manager, but I had a lot of stories around “I must not be a good money manager because I feel like I never have enough.” Meanwhile, my bills were paid on time, I did not carry any debt. I made thoughtful decisions. The Profit First system for me changed a lot of the mental challenges that I was facing around managing my money, even though the actual management of it was pretty strong from the sense of being a responsible business owner or responsible financial manager.

Tara Newman: Thank you for sharing that because what I found for myself is so much of the mental gymnastics I did around money, what some people might call money mindset, really abated when I implemented Profit First in such a strange way because of how much we hear how much the importance of money mindset is touted sometimes on the internet.

I’m not saying it’s not important, it’s there for all of us. There are still things that come up for me around my mindset around money and how I think about money. My story with money, that doesn’t actually go away, however, it actually allowed me to stop focusing on the noise in my head and go and do the actual things that were going to grow my business and grow my revenue.

Sara Intonato: Absolutely. I think it also didn’t take long for me to see that Profit First worked. Within the first month, I felt more confident. I had a system to follow. I dispelled a lot of those stories about being a bad money manager. As a result, it was very easy to ignore a lot of the internet chatter that I was hearing from all kinds of business owners, but especially female business owners looking at the shiny things to fix them or to fix their money situation.

I remember very clearly my first month implementing Profit First had a really huge month. Revenue wise, it felt so good to get in there and know what to do with my money. At the end of that month, I was really feeling confident and thinking I don’t need another solution, another program, another money fix. I have everything I need. I have all the tools that I need already to be successful.

This was a few years ago before the internet was even as noisy as it is now so I know that if someone is considering starting Profit First now is going to be instrumental in helping them build confidence so that they can tune out the noise and all the fixes that money people on the internet are trying to throw at them. Not to say that they’re all good or bad. Everyone I think is doing their best and offering something that they believe is of value, but Profit First is a system that I feel is a strong way of managing your money and building confidence. I think it can work for almost anybody.

Tara Newman: Yeah. There’s one thing that I’ve been noticing. As you were talking about something, I’m like, “Well, I think she is one of the very few of my clients who has not blown all of their money on marketing tactics and things like that.” You’ve been very steady and consistent in the actions that you’ve taken in your business. You’ve really been great at focusing on what works, having patience, being in it for the long term. That’s really what builds wealth.

But the one thing that I’ve been hearing a lot from people is looking to be booked out, to be booked solid, because when they’re booked solid, then they’ll have line of sight and predictability into their money. That’s actually not how it works. First of all, I’m like, “Why do we all want to be booked solid?” That hurts me. That doesn’t feel good to me. I want space.

It’s funny, and I get because now you mix metaphors, we’re mixing marketing messages. We have the marketing message that’s like “Take your space and create space.” There was like, “Yes, I want that,” because women are overwhelmed and back to back and hard workers. Then there’s the marketing message around “Book yourself solid” and they’re like, “I want that.” Meanwhile, those two things feel very conflicting with each other. They feel very opposed to each other for me.

What I think people really want is this peace of mind around their money where they see that they have consistency in their cash and that happens when you have a cashflow-management system and you’re discerning with how you spend your money, not when you’re out putting all your energy into frenetic marketing tactics to book yourself solid.

Sara Intonato: Yes. I have two things to say on this.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I want to hear you give some examples around this.

Sara Intonato: Sure. One, I actually remember a distinct conversation that you and I had, I think it was through Voxer, when I was thinking about hiring someone to help me with marketing a few years ago and I wasn’t sure about making the decision. You said, and I’ll never forget it, it’s clear as day, “Marketing solutions with the right people who are in alignment with your business can be great as long as you’re willing to lose the money. Because marketing solutions sometimes work amazingly well and sometimes they don’t. There are so many different variables.”

I was able to take what you said, go look at my financials because of Profit First, and make a decision like, “Okay, I can take this investment and go for it and I won’t die if I lose the money and it doesn’t work out.” But I had the clarity to make that decision from a place of actual facts around my money, not just around what I hoped would happen by making the investments.

It was really a key moment in “Oh, Profit First actually helps me make sound decisions for my business,” and that I think speaks to what you were saying around me not having been looking for crazy marketing solutions unnecessarily, because I always look at them from that angle.

The second thing about booking out your calendar, this and that, I think that many female listeners who you have, especially mothers who just endured virtual school, COVID, and pandemic regulations for the last few years, don’t have the capacity to actually be booked out.

Tara Newman: We don’t. We’re done.

Sara Intonato: During those early months of COVID especially, I felt like I was in survival mode. I have two children, a boy and a girl. As I mentioned, my son has autism. He requires someone to be with him one-on-one most of the day. He’s a great kid, he just requires more energy than my daughter, and we lost all of our childcare during those first months of COVID. It was just my husband and I tag teaming to run our businesses and get virtual school done.

I’m not in uniform. This is the story that many parents tell when thinking back to spring of 2020 and I remember distinctly looking at my money thinking like, “What do I really need in order for my business to get through this time without killing myself?” Because I could have booked the calendar out and not slept at all because I was just busy. I was much busier than I normally am in my day-to-day life.

I’m so thankful that I didn’t have to pressure myself unnecessarily. I consciously was able to turn some things off in my business during those times and I was able to delegate more during those times. Thank goodness, I was able to make those decisions from a thoughtful place because if I had booked myself out during those years, I don’t know that I would still have a business today. I’d probably be hiding in a corner somewhere under blankets just shaking, waiting for the dust to settle.

But instead I was able to prioritize my self care. My yoga practice never stopped. It’s still happening every day. Eating a clean diet for everyone in my house still happened every day because I was able to devote the time needed for all of us. That’s really important for our family’s health and wellbeing. We were able to get out in nature together.

I also was able to basically pick up and move. We had migrated to the eastern point of Long Island for what we thought was going to be a temporary part of COVID and we ended up making it a permanent move because we’re so happy here. Then I basically moved house during that time as well, which would sound like another layer of complication, but actually for the long term was very freeing for our family, and manage all the things that went along with changing our house, changing our school situation, for my son especially, that was a lot. I’m so thankful that I didn’t need my business to be booked out for it to be functioning in a healthy way.

Now that all of that is over, I’m not burned out. I’m actually really excited because I’m going into a growth phase now with my business and I have the energy to do it. I have the excitement to do it because I’m not completely fried.

Tara Newman: Yeah. What I’m hearing you say is Profit First has helped you navigate a tremendous amount of change in your life and in your business. The one thing that I love about Profit First is something that we’ve touched on in terms of helping you make intentional decisions. “Here’s the pocket of money that I have. Do I want to use this for this marketing thing? Do I want to invest this here? Do I want to keep it in that bank and have it be a little bit of a buffer for me if I have to step back work hours or something like that?”

You start to get to make the decisions that I think everybody is hoping more clients and more revenue will help them make, but it’s not about the revenue. It’s about the profit. It’s about how much you’re keeping. I remember there have been plenty of times in your business because you have navigated not just the change of the last few years but we’ve reinvented your business and realigned it a number of times through working together. There have been times where you’re like, “Okay, my revenue is down but my profit is up.”

Sara Intonato: Yeah. It’s just been great and empowering to even know that information because I remember when I first started working with you, I was scared to even look at it. This is going back six and a half years, but just that change alone from feeling disempowered, feeling afraid to feeling like a boss, like, “Yes, I know my numbers. Yes, I know my P&L inside and out. Yes, I know how the financial systems in my business work” feels fantastic. As a woman, as a mother, I think it brings that whole idea of female empowerment for me to an entirely new level. I think that’s really exciting. I think it’s really exciting for me to show that to my children.

Tara Newman: Yeah. One of the best examples that I can think of with this is when you did move out east and you decided, you were like, “What should I do? Are we going to stay out here? How do I navigate this with the home that we do have up Island?” Even the time it was taking you with the move, we looked at it and we made a business decision.

We looked at how much income could that house generate in rental income above your mortgage that you can use to give yourself some buffer and space and was it worth the investment of stepping maybe out from the day-to-day business activities in your business for a little bit to prepare that house for rent.

Sara Intonato: Yeah. The interesting thing in doing that and making that decision is that though it was a time-consuming project, it actually felt like a fun project to do for me and it felt like there were so many small things that I had been meaning to do or wanting to do with our home that I hadn’t done yet. Repainting certain rooms, for example, making that decision really got me excited to do and it felt really like a great accomplishment to tick things off the list that I’ve been saving for later and really for no reason finally do them.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I thought that was a great example of how gaining that financial knowledge through your business has helped you with your financial goals as a whole.

Sara Intonato: Yeah, and it was a smart choice because the rental markets only gone up in that area and so even having it available for that in the second year made it even more lucrative than it did in the first year.

It’s been really cool to see how it’s not just about booking yourself out in business, but how you manage your time and the things that you invest in with your personal time and what your business can allow you to do in that way can be really profitable and wealth building for your short and long-term goals.

Tara Newman:  Yes. In my business, and I think I’ve talked about this a little bit, but I decide what my revenue is going to be based on my personal financial goals. That’s the whole purpose of the Revenue Goal Calculator.

Sara Intonato: I love that.

Tara Newman:  Thank you. At any point, I’m in control, I’m in command of my revenue, and what that means for my personal financial goals, I can scale it back, I can scale it up. I truly have flexibility in how I work because of those numbers.

Now, going back, I want us to just step in the Wayback Machine for a second because this is where you are today. What were your hesitations, concerns, or maybe things that were stopping you from taking action and really leaning into finding the financial powerhouse within yourself?

Sara Intonato: Well, you might laugh when I say this, but I listened to the Profit First book narrated by Mike Michalowicz, who I think is a great narrator, and I think I did that in the summer of 2016. Then I sat on it for an entire year before I implemented it in 2017. I laugh about that now and I really ask myself, “Sara, what were you hoping to gain by waiting all that time?”

But I remember listening to it and thinking like, “Oh, this seems intimidating, setting up all these different bank accounts seems intimidating. What if I mess it up?” I think I had a lot of old perfectionistic tendencies through the years that I thankfully, using yoga and other tools, released a lot of, but I think I had this fear of doing it wrong that prevented me from just doing it and just getting started.

Since then, I really realized that I’m going to make mistakes every single day of the year. I’m sure I make mistakes of Profit First too. I’m not some perfect being but I’m not afraid to make mistakes now. I think that I have the support in my life. I know that I have the support in my life through you, through The Bold Profit Academy, through my accountant, through people who I trust to help me if I make mistakes or if questions come up and I don’t know what to do.

I think that fear of making a mistake and not doing it right was really strong for me in the beginning. I also think the fear of “What if I make a mistake and I don’t know how to fix it, I don’t know who to call to help me fix it, or it’s really expensive to fix?” I think there were those questions back then as well because I didn’t really have a lot of people who I trusted in my life who understood Profit First at that time to go to. It seemed more intimidating to do it alone, whereas now, the reality is I’m not doing it alone.

Tara Newman: I think the unknown always gets us really in our heads. Not knowing “Is this really going to work? Am I going to go through all this effort then it’s not going to pan out or I’m not going to like it, or am I going to go through all these opening all these bank accounts and then I’m not going to use them and that’ll be a waste of my time?”

I can think of so many reasons that we put in our way. I will add that—I laugh about this all the time, especially with Mike—but I didn’t actually read that book until after I got certified because there are certain parts of that book that are intimidating, that are complicated. He and I have had that conversation where I’m like, “I think this jumped the learning curve way too far down. I think you made assumptions about people’s business acumen and financial literacy when you wrote this book,” and he just shakes his head at me and he’s like, “Yeah, yeah.” That’s why he has an army full of professionals to go and help implement this in people’s businesses, but it can be a little dense, it can be a little thick.

Sara Intonato: But I will say once I actually just went and did it, it’s so easy. It’s one of those things that you make a big deal out of in your head, then you actually do it, and though it takes energy, it’s very straightforward. I think that was the biggest surprise. Setting up the accounts is the hardest part and it did not take long. But once I set the accounts up and verified them, that was the longest part of the process, it was so easy. It’s still so easy. I think that was the surprise.

I think the idea of changing our whole money-management systems sounds so intimidating to anyone. But in reality, it’s so straightforward and so easy. I remember laughing at myself after I went and did the thing and thought, “Oh, you made this a big deal in your head for a year, Sara, and for what? This was so easy. You could have just done it a year ago in a couple of days and it would have been done already.” But you do things when you’re ready. You do things when you feel like you can take that leap.

I’m really glad that I did. I will say a confession here that I recently took a month where I did not implement Profit First consciously for one month as a thoughtful decision—I’ve been doing it for five years—because I had some bigger personal expenses come up and I wanted to give myself a little more flexibility in how I managed money. I’ll just straight up tell you, I did not like it. I did not like it one bit. It was such a joyful reminder actually of why I take the time to do my money allocations regularly, why I work with this system.

I was talking to a friend about it, I said, “You know, it’s like when you go on vacation but your vacation is a little too long. When you initially start, you’re so excited to go on vacation and it feels great. You’re thankful for the flexibility and you’re thankful for the time off, to stay up late, and watch movies, go out or eat differently, and just be more flexible. Then after a few weeks of that it’s like, at least with me, and I cannot wait to get up at 5:30 tomorrow finally and go to bed early, not go out at night, just be quiet, and do my things that bring me simple levels of joy in my life.”

For me that little experiment of a brief hiatus from Profit First felt like a homecoming in the end and it was a really good reminder as to why I put the effort in regularly and why I do what I do. It’s no different from why I take the time to cook healthy meals for myself, even though it’s more effort than just driving through a takeout window in the end.

Simple but a thoughtful use of energy and the result that I get from that use of energy is very, very powerful and very worthwhile. Not just with the money itself. But again, that mental management around money, that confidence level, for me is just as important as the actual money itself.

Tara Newman: Yeah, I love that you brought up the confidence piece because when we were talking about what were some of the things that were standing in your way, and the unknown, money management for women is very unknown, even still. There’s a statistic that I read put out in a survey, a research survey by UBS and 51% of married women don’t make the financial decisions in their home. However, almost 100% of them are responsible for making charitable contributions.

Sara Intonato: Oh, that’s really interesting.

Tara Newman: It was because—and maybe you’ll follow me on this rabbit hole—one of my biggest concerns that I sometimes see women talk about money is this prioritization of impact over income. Women will tell me all about the impact that they want to make and how they want to give away their money, their time, and their energy, but when it comes to talking about making money, we start to get not so on firm ground. We start to get a little shaky.

I think women need to be less concerned with giving their money away to charity—and I’m all for charitable contributions. I give both money, time, energy, all those things, I just want to be clear that I’m holding two thoughts in this conversation at one time. I certainly understand that certain parts of people’s religious beliefs come from this tithing, you tithe 10% before anything else because of the importance that God plays in the role of the making of the money and all those things.

It’s not even that. I just want to really say that I think women need to be less concerned with giving their money away to charity, and more concerned with building their own wealth. Because when we look at the marketing, it’s a lot about women making an impact, it’s a lot about women giving their money away, it’s making money so they can give money, but what about just making money to make money? Why is that not okay?

Sara Intonato: Well, I think for me, it’s both. I know you and I have had conversations around how much money do you really need or want? Yes, we want to build wealth but you and I are not the types to have 10 super yachts and then water ski behind them and then our helicopters on top. No shame if that’s something that inspires you. But what motivates you behind the money? I think for me, being able to, yes, build wealth for myself, give my children a greater life, create a legacy for them, have a daily life that makes me happy and not feel stressed.

Let me tell you something, if you have a child with autism or needs and you’re paying for more doctor’s appointments, higher levels of food in their diet, all different kinds of special therapies and stuff, that day-to-day life in a peaceful way takes a lot of money. Being able to have a life that feels peaceful and joyful, for me, is something that I feel very strongly about having. Our quality of life is very important to me. That requires money for the children that I have. I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t ever think like, “Oh, poor me. I have to spend this amount on my son to help him.” No, I’m glad to spend it.

But on the flip side, I also really liked the idea of tithing and giving a certain percentage because one, I think of all the families whose kids have a similar diagnosis to mine who don’t have a level of ease that I have in my life. I like to think about how I can make a bigger splash and create something that also can affect them in a positive way. I think that happens both in the quality of life piece and in the tithing piece in my world.

Brief example. We had to do some very strong advocating for my son to receive appropriate schooling where we live. About a year ago, we had to invest time, energy, and financial resources in an attorney to make that happen. It was a very intense process. It was a very arduous process. My son was home with us for the first three months of the school year while we were doing this 24 hours a day. This is after COVID and kids were back in school, except that he wasn’t because his program was not yet created for him.

As we were going to bat for him, there were many moments that were so draining that I would look at my husband and say, “Do we want to give up? This is costing us a lot of money. We’re exhausted, we’re parenting 24 hours a day. Do we really want to keep going?” At the end of the day, we always look to each other and say, “Yes, we have to be the ones to keep going because we want to make a difference in this community. We know he’s not the only kid with needs, who’s going to come through here.”

There are already other kids who were benefiting directly from the people that were hired to support my child from the program that was created to support him. I’m so thankful that our investment in his quality of life didn’t just impact him. It impacted the whole town. It impacted the whole community and we would never have been able to make that difference if we didn’t have the personal wealth that we’ve created in our lives.

Then on the flip side, it made me think about all the families who are settling for school programs that are not the right fit for their children and are not receiving the services that they need to receive because they are working full time outside the home. They have no caregiver for their child if they want to go to legal battle like this. They can’t afford the tens of thousands of dollars that it costs in attorneys fees, and they’re just too tapped out to do this.

It makes me look at “How can I create more, serve the community more, both in using my wealth to make a difference directly but also in giving back to families in some way that can be special and personalized?” Because all these things make me excited to go back into my business and make more money. I think that’s really the bottom line is it’s not enough for me to accumulate a lot just for myself. I know that you and I’ve talked about that. It’s like the money is great, at the same time, the money is not everything.

Tara Newman: Yeah. What I want people to take away from this conversation is that Sara’s putting her oxygen mask on first and I’m putting my oxygen mask on first. Because the way that this conversation around impact versus income shows up, first I want to say that based on this study where we see that 51% of married women don’t make the financial decisions in their home, but almost 100% of them make the charitable donations and decisions, we’re looking at what is known, giving money away, versus what’s unknown, making financial decisions.

We know, and so do the marketers, that you’re more likely to do what is safe and known than the unknown. If they can market to you through impact, because you understand charitable giving and giving the money away, you’re going to buy it because that’s a much more comfortable place to be than the unknown, which is making financial decisions, the financial decisions to require to run a profitable business.

What impact winds up getting translated to in business for women is “I’m going to make my services and programs accessible,” which is just code for undercharging. Or “I want to make money so I can give to the causes that are important,” which is code for “I’m uncomfortable managing my money, so I’m just going to give it away.” Or “I want to be seen as a good girl so I’m going to give my money away.”

Sara Intonato: Ooh, that one gets me a little bit. I’m in my early 40s. I went to Catholic school. I remember a couple years ago, I had to go to court to argue for a parking ticket or something stupid. I remember my dad, who was a retired police officer, telling me, “Oh, before you go to court, make sure you dress like a lady and act polite.” I’m like, “I’m in my mid 30s and you’re telling me to dress like a lady?” It took me back to those years of “sit still, look pretty, be a people pleaser.” I think so many women still carry those old stories or tendencies.

It’s interesting in my consulting practice, the parents who I coach who need to go to bat for their kids so often come to me saying “I know I have the tendency to people please,” and they do not want to make a splash and not want to cause the ripple effects and not want to upset anybody and want to be well liked and all of these things and it’s like, “What if we just stopped doing that?”

Tara Newman: “I’m uncomfortable saying no, so when people ask me to make charitable contributions, I say yes, when I maybe want to say no.” What happens is women are already undercharging. They have too much work and not enough money.

What you make gets donated because #impact, which leaves you panicked about how you’re going to make ends meet for yourself because if you dig deep enough, you actually want this money for you. We start to believe, and I know that this has come up for you too, we start to believe that we’re doing it wrong, because there’s some influencer somewhere that has all of this impact and is also living this luxury life.

People start to wonder “How come it works for them and it doesn’t work for me? How come they can prioritize impact and make money and look like they’re living this big life but when I prioritize impact, I’m under charging, over delivering, and I have nothing left at the end of the day?” It makes women feel like a failure. We’re already coming from behind where we weren’t raised with the language of money. We start to make ourselves wrong, which is shame, then it perpetuates the cycle, because then folks are like, “Well, I need to crack the code. I need to figure out how I’m going to have this impact and make this money.”

Now you’re just giving more money to these influencers, in these web celebs that are basically just hustling for program payments. We have to really look at the patriarchal conditioning that we have around money, because we have the conditioning that men make and manage the money, women give it away. When we talk about stepping into this place of being a financial powerhouse, what does that look like to you? How has this looked across your journey? Because like we’ve already said, it hasn’t even always been about the amount of money you’re making.

Sara Intonato: I think there’s this place of radical ownership of what you want, as a woman as a business owner, for me as a mother as well, and being unafraid to admit that. For me, what I want and the legacy that I want to create is really big and powerful. I think I was conditioned for so many years to just have enough, like “You don’t need more, just have enough, just enougher be a just enougher.”

I remember I redid your Revenue Goal Calculator a few months ago. I remember just going in and putting in all the numbers of what I wanted to create in my life unapologetically from a place of “This is what I want to create. I don’t need to apologize for how big it is. I don’t need to apologize for the money I want to save, invest, or anything like that.” I remember when I entered everything in and then got the number back of how much I would want to bring into my business each month, instead of feeling scared, I felt like, “Oh, this is going to be a fun adventure.”

For me alone, that was a sign that I had come a long way because in the past, I would have done that, put the numbers in, gotten the monthly revenue amount back and felt guilty about it. Like, “Oh, who am I to have that, or work towards that, or why do I need that? I should just settle for less.” Just the fact that I didn’t feel that way was a huge win. Just the fact that I was like, “Alright, you’re going to go create something big now. Awesome. Get to work and have fun with it. Let it be a joyful experience,” not one of white-knuckling things and feeling guilty behind the scenes or feeling resentful because you’re overdoing things, burdening yourself, burning yourself out, that mindset shift alone was when I knew that I’d come a long way already.

Every month when I look at my numbers now, even though they’re not at that amount that I’m striving for yet, I get excited and think about, “Alright, well what’s next for me?” Because for me, making an impact is also about how many people can I really help to transform their lives, not how many people can buy my $10 thing and then never use it and have it sit in their inbox collecting dust forever because they didn’t value it so they never got the transformation out of it. How many people can I really work with at a level that requires them to show up and powerfully transform their lives?

Because to me, that’s real impact. That’s the amount I always think about when pricing something of, “What does someone need to pay for this product or service that allows them to have enough skin in the game that they really show up and that their life is different on the other side of it?” Because for me, that’s impact. How many things have you paid for at some minimal amount and then never really showed up for it or used it? It wasn’t powerful to you because you didn’t value it?

I often think of impact, not just as how much money can I donate this month, which I do find exciting, but also how can I inspire people to really dive in, show up, and create the change that they want? What dollar amount is required for them to take that seriously? That’s often how I price my services.

Tara Newman: Yeah, true transformation, being a conduit for change. Even if it’s one person, the ripple effect of that one person could be tremendous. I love that you use the Revenue Goal Calculator to dream and expand what you think is possible for you because I think that’s another thing women don’t do enough, they don’t really dream about what’s possible for them financially and allow themselves to say, “Well, what if? And what’s possible when?” and really stretching and expanding on that. I know that for me, The Bold Profit Academy is around helping women get paid six figures.

That looks like about $200,000-$250,000 in revenue based on Profit First, and I usually get a lot of bros who are like, “Do you have a limiting mindset, Tara? Tara, is that a limiting mindset that you’re not encouraging them to have a million-dollar business?” I’m like, “No, I’d like to see them get paid six figures and then we can talk about what to do next,” because I feel like paying yourself six figures is that first benchmark into “What else is possible?”

I get that we don’t all need six figures and our number might look different. That’s fine. What I’m basically saying though is that you’re paying yourself more than enough when I say six figures. Then what’s possible? Because when we can see that we’re providing financial stability for ourselves, it calms our nervous systems. I actually think that’s what’s needed to step into those larger financial dreams and visions when we know that we’re taken care of, and to some respect, it doesn’t really matter how much money you’re paying yourself. Implementing Profit First in itself is a nervous system regulator.

Sara Intonato: Yeah. I think it allows you to take bite-sized steps in your journey instead of like the bros saying, “Oh, why don’t you just tell them to make a million dollars a year?” Well, like you said, first, don’t you want to make six figures and give that a whirly whirl?” I always think of the story of Charles Barkley. You’re a Gen Xer like me, and I remember he was a pro-basketball player back in the day. There was a story about him playing collegiate basketball. He was very talented.

But his coach said to him, “Charles, I don’t want to cut you from the team but I need you to go and lose 10 pounds. You need to work on your fitness.” He went and he did and he came back. A couple of weeks later, the coach is like, “Great work, your playing looks great. I want you to go and lose 10 more pounds.” He went and he did. Then he came back. This happened again and again.

At the end of the day, he lost 80 pounds. He went to the coach and said, “Why didn’t you just tell me in the beginning to lose 80 pounds?” The coach said, “Because I knew you wouldn’t have lost a single pound. I wanted to keep you on the team because I knew you were a talented player. I was afraid that if I told you to lose 80 pounds, you would just quit.” He’s like, “You’re right. I probably would have.”

I’m summarizing the story, of course, from what I recall from that. Don’t quote me word-for-word, but I think so many people will look at that, “I need to pay myself a million dollars this year,” and do the exact same thing, go into paralysis, not do anything, and then burn their business down. They can’t do it.

Tara Newman: Yeah. That’s neuroscience. Our brains can’t handle too much abstraction and still be able to take steps which is one of my biggest among other things. One of my biggest complaints about what we see in a lot of these aspirational marketing messages is that really if you were to shoot for that aspirational marketing message, chances are you’ll never get there because you won’t be able to conceptualize the steps along the way. Things like Profit First really help you break that down.

My favorite Profit First story for me was when I implemented Profit First, my cash flow was absolute crap. I went on a retreat with my mastermind and I had no idea how I was going to pay for the hotel that I needed to pay for and everything like that. I was making more than enough money, but just there wasn’t anything left at the end of the day, and I was like, “Okay, it’s go time.”

I implement Profit First and I sketch it out of my notebook—meanwhile, I hadn’t read the book—I’m sketching it out in my notebook. I’m like, “Okay, this is where everything’s going to go. I’m going to go and open these bank accounts.” I hated opening the bank accounts, I hated talking to those idiots at the bank. Sorry, if you’re a bank person. It’s always a white guy named Chad. They think they know everything about money and they think they know everything about business.

Meanwhile, they’re so out-of-touch and they want to sell you all their stupid products. Anyway, I slipped through the whole spiel. I opened my bank accounts and I get home. I had a proposal out for one of my corporate clients, which was going to be a significant amount of money. I’m forgetting how much at the time but probably like $30,000 and they said, “Do I get a discount if I pay in full?” I never received a pay in full. I’ve been in my business for a few years. I’ve never received a sum of pay in full. I’ve always been scared about that.

I was like, “Sure. You can have a 5% discount if you pay in full.” They were like, “Great. We’re just going to wire the money over.” Within the blink of an eye, I went from not having any cash flow to having almost $30,000 in my bank, which would have been so overwhelming because I’m the weird person that gets really overwhelmed by a lot of money if I don’t know what to do with it.

It happened to me in my past. It’s like a part of my past story that, Sara, like we were talking about, I’m not responsible. Like, “What would I do with all this money?” But I knew exactly what to do with it because I had Profit First. I was able to take that $30,000 and put it into my Profit First accounts and really then start to have aged money, money that was going to sit there for a few months as a buffer that I could draw down upon and it changed everything in my business.

I’m convinced—because I am a little woo—that this concept of Profit First with having these different containers or vessels for your money creates so much room for expansion. Instead of having all your dollars bunched up in one bank account, and with no real direction or guidance, money lives purpose. Those bank accounts provide clear purpose. 

Sara Intonato: Yes. Having that separate account for CEO pay, paying yourself is so important. Just seeing the money go in there, reminding yourself that you are a priority, like you said, women often will donate all their money, but not prioritize building wealth for themselves. Well, when you see that bank account just for you, and you know what percentage of your income you’re putting in there, it is a constant reminder to put yourself first and put your oxygen mask on. Don’t put everyone and everything else ahead of you.

I think when you run a business as a woman, that can get really challenging because you’re thinking of impact and sometimes that spills over into, “Well, if I hire more team, I can make more impact and if I have more marketing budget, then I can make more impact.” Yeah, you can as long as you’re also paying yourself first.

Tara Newman: Yeah. All right. Let’s roll this out of here. Summarize our conversation with what you hope the people listening to this podcast are going to take away from it.

Sara Intonato: I hope that the listeners today leave with a simple realization that having clarity around your money is an incredibly powerful thing that brings an immense amount of confidence that is worth the little bit of time and energy you spend every week or every month. That little bit of a confidence boost, that little bit of clarity that you gain from this creates an enormous ripple effect in your business and in your life.

I say this because I think sometimes I see it in my yoga students too. People look at that little bit of energy investment and they think, “That’s too small. I want the big, complicated, expensive solution instead.” Really, it’s those simple acts of doing your money allocations every week or every few weeks that create a huge impact.

When my yoga students say, “I need to change my stress levels, I need to change my physical health. What do I do?” and I prescribe them a 15-minute yoga practice, but I tell them to do it every day, they’re always surprised because they’re expecting that I send them to a two-hour crash course on the weekend or something like that.

I’m like, “Nope, I want you to commit to doing 15 minutes every day, no matter what. Case closed.” That small act creates an enormous change. Don’t shrug it off because it seems too simple or too easy or because you don’t have to invest in five coaches to get it done. Just go do it and try it and you have nothing to lose by trying and everything to gain by trying.

Tara Newman: Thank you so much. I couldn’t have said it better. That whole clarity equals confidence creates a ripple effect is really, really spot on. In the event that some of my listeners might have children with special needs, where can they find you?

Sara Intonato: The best place to find me is over on Instagram @sara.intonato. From there, I share my podcast episodes and I share free resources. There are so many ways to start taking action and improving your situation for yourself and your child right now. That’s a really fun place to connect. Please pop into my DMs and say hi. I’m a real person behind the profile and I love connecting with real people.

Tara Newman: Thanks so much for coming on, Sara.

Sara Intonato: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

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