The Right Mindset is All the Luck You Need — Interview with Kimberley Sulfridge, Founder of The Kidz Money Project
“The right mindset is all the luck you need” were the words of Kimberly Sulfridge — a serial entrepreneur and a founder of The Kidz Money Project.
Kimberly Sulfridge is a facilitator, #1 Bestselling author, blogger and speaker, who facilitates masterminds, speaks on entrepreneurship, and loves helping parents teach their “Kidz” about money management to prepare them for life.
I’ve interviewed Kimberly to find out why she thinks that mindset is all the luck you really need an entrepreneur. Below are the show notes from the interview.
Mental Wealth For Entrepreneurs Podcast on Apple Podcasts.
Katerina: I’m good glad to see you on the show.
Kimberly: Yes. Well thank you so much for having me on.
Katerina: I guess the first question everyone would like to know is that you are serial entrepreneur… How did you start?
Kimberly: Oh my gosh. Well, both of my parents are entrepreneurs… they had a business that… they actually started the year I was born. So I literally grew up in an entrepreneurial world. I think I was two years old, and I marched into my mom’s office and demanded my own office so you know I was, I was determined, I guess, and so I’ve always been around it, and I… it was probably inevitable but that would be the way I would go in life just because that’s, that is what I knew and I was always in in the environment. You know, they took me to the office and, you know, I was always doing… you know filing or just whatever they needed… I was the janitor… I vacuumed… it was whatever I could probably physically do…you know… I did, and it just threw my entire life.
Katerina: Yeah. Did you ever consider to go and you know have a professional sort of career or did you just start being an entrepreneur because you’ve started your first business when you were just 19 years of age.
Kimberly: Yes. So I was, I was in college, I was going to … here in Dallas, and I basically had a lot of discussions with my mom and stuff like that, and that was kind of how I was helping put myself through school was working in her… She had an insurance agency, and it I’m not even really sure how it came about that we kind of discussed maybe me going ahead and opening my own agency. And, again, I’ve been around it my entire life so I knew so much of the business already and what I didn’t know obviously… my mom was a great mentor for me. And it was a way for me to be able to kind of start, start something at that point and, and I did. I went ahead and took all of my, my tests and everything that year, and passed, and just started my own agency that summer. And of course as a school approached that next year. I had my mom to be able to kind of help manage when I was in classes and stuff, answering the phones being alone answer questions and so it, it actually worked out really well because I worked out of her office and she was able to really help me.
Well, and the great thing was, so next three years in school, I managed to build up a fairly nice book of business that by the time I came out of school I, I had something ready for me… where I was already you know making an income and and there was a time in my senior year that I thought about, you know, I looked at jobs and, you know, moving away and doing different things and you know I was looking at what I was doing and I’m thinking “How can I walk away from that to something that I’m unfamiliar with completely,” and I in course once I graduated and I had all that time available to me, I hit the ground running and how I was often off at that point.
Katerina: Yeah. So how long did you have the business, your very first business? How long…?
Kimberly: So that that is probably one of my more interesting businesses, and how I started obviously you know most people don’t start a business at 19, but it actually had a… I don’t know how to describe the end to it. I ended up selling it at the end of year 2000. So December, literally December 31st 2000 I sold that agency. And it was, it was bittersweet. Obviously that was my first business and honestly I didn’t have any intentions of selling it. But the industry itself had changed so much.
And I, I literally for the last year and a half of that business, having that company. I had to drag myself out of bed and I mean this was my company. But I, I was miserable, I was absolutely miserable and could not get out of bed to go to my own office, and my stomach was always upset. I mean… I… I would have sworn I had ulcers, and I’m like I know I’m too young to have ulcers, but that’s, that was the best thing I could think to describe it. And basically what ended up happening with that is I had somebody actually approached me about buying my, my business. And I mean my first thought was, you know, are you kidding. This is my business I can’t… I can’t sell it.
And then it was probably about two months after that, but again, still just miserable. I’m thinking, you know, maybe that was maybe that was something that I should have considered because I can’t keep going with where I’m at. And fortunately I called the, the gentleman that had approached me and he was still interested. And we actually brokered a deal. And I sold that business now. It was terrifying because I had no idea what I was going to do after that. And unfortunately I had also lost my mom in that period of time. She had passed away, kind of mid 1999, which did not help with a lot of the emotional issues that I was having the business and it just compounded it.
And so it was, it turned out to be the best thing I could have done. It gave me a little bit of money to, you know, not have to work, you know, to figure out how to pay my mortgage or pay the car payment and things like that. So it gave me a little bit of time to figure it out. But I cannot tell you after I signed off on selling it — a weight literally was lifted off of my shoulders. Now, I had a lot of fear. I didn’t know what I was gonna do next. It did turn out to be one of the best moves that I made.
Katerina: But why all this anxiety? Is it because of the financial side of it, or it is because your heart wasn’t in it? Why you didn’t want to... Why did you have to drag yourself out of bed?
Kimberly: So, the, the insurance industry and it had changed significantly over kind of that last three years that I was in. They were cutting commissions, just left and right. So we were, you know, every year we were seeing just a little bit more and a little bit more. And then they got into… in fact in the last three years that I had the agency… I had to rewrite my entire book of business, every single year. Because the companies were basically bigger companies generally have smaller individual companies inside of them. And so, they were eliminating some of these companies and so, where it might have been in this county mutual this, this month… they have a new company, the next year to write it into, and they were eliminating this one, well they did that for about three years in a row.
Well, by that point I had actually built up a pretty sizable book of business. So I was spending all of my time rewriting, you know, a book of business, I already had which left me no time to be able to actually get new clients. And so, I had a company, you know, kind of being, why are you not going out there and you know getting more clients. And I’m thinking, well, it’s because you have been rewriting my entire book of business, every year for the last three years… well cutting our commissions so we couldn’t even hire anybody to come in and help. It actually got to a point where I made less than what I was spending on other people in the business, and that that was where that just, I did not know what I was going to do because I didn’t see into it.
I mean I’m like they’re just going to keep slashing it, and it’s going to get to the point where I’m not going to be able to have any employees, and I know I can’t do this by myself. So, that was, that was where the anxiety was coming from and like I said, I lost my mom in that period of time as well. And that did not… that just compounds the problem.
Katerina: So what do you do next after you’ve sold your business?
Kimberly: So I had about a period of about six months there where I was a little, a little shaky. I was researching a lot of stuff and, and I did a little bit here and there, just some small little helping out. I had another friend that had their own business and I’d gone and done a few things with them, and it was actually that friend just called me one day and she said you know what, I, I found something that I think is maybe just right up your alley. And I was like really Okay so she sent it over to me and it turned out it was, it was insurance based so I had a good background for it, but it was a consulting position.
It was a company that was wanting to bring…. They built steel buildings, their own steel buildings, and they felt the insurance industry was not, they felt they were too high on their rates and they felt that was affecting their business and being able to sell them. So they wanted to self insure these buildings, and so they wanted to essentially build an insurance company in house. So I joined a team of five other people, and over a period of two years, we built an in house insurance company for this, this company is building company, and I loved it. I mean, I’ve never done contract work in fact, when she told me it was contract, I was like, I don’t know what that is. No clue.
And so, but I loved the freedom of it, and of course I was used to being, you know as a self entrepreneur so it didn’t scare me not to have all the benefit package and all that kind of stuff, you know, I was able to take care of that myself. And so when that contract came to an end I’m like Okay I am gonna find another one of those, I like this. And so, I essentially ended up starting a consulting firm at that point on it… That was a little bit more of a bigger business but I tended to focus more on smaller businesses because that was what I knew that was where I’d come from so that’s what I knew.
Katerina: Yeah. And how long you had it till you started The Kidz Money Project.
Kimberly: I still do contract work like that. So, I guess that would have been kind of mid 2001, when I started that one. And well I guess technically two years later, is when I started my own I, I don’t know if he called that one in there or not because that was what started it. I kind of officially just kind of went out on my own at that point. And, and I’ve done a couple of other things, I started a real estate business in there in 1999 that I actually still have today. And that’s been a… I don’t, I don’t do the day to day on it anymore… I actually have a management company that takes care of all that stuff for me. But it… that’s always an interesting one because it’s real estate can get crazy at times… I had a house, a couple of years ago get hit by Hurricane, and that was, that was a new one for me was like, hey, and that was new and I had to be much more involved in that process because at the insurance and everything.
Katerina: So, what made you kind of get involved with… you know teaching kids finances.
Kimberly: So yeah, that seems like a total left turn from everything else that I’ve done. Again, I actually had my mom to thank for that one. I did not realise, at the time, but growing up again being, I guess someone in an entrepreneurial world. I, I was always around, and I, whether she meant to or not, she was teaching me just money. Just the concept of money… the value of money, money management, you know stocks, bonds mortgages, I mean she, she taught me that without sitting me down at the kitchen table and saying Okay this is how this works. And, and I did not realise I basically I graduated college and started realising I had a much different view of money than all of my friends, and all of my friends had graduated school…
I mean I’m thinking we should, you know, we basically had the same education I don’t know how y’all have such a different view of it because I mean I already had a retirement savings started and you know they were, you know, barely making rent and all this kind of stuff. And it was, it was kind of strange for me because I couldn’t understand how it was so different. And we had very similar backgrounds. And finally, and I just I guess I assumed I learned in school, you know, that’s, I think you learn everything. And finally one day I kind of put it together that you know I didn’t learn this in school this, this came from my mom.
Katerina: Yeah, cos they don’t teach this in schools do they?
Kimberly: No, they don’t unfortunately. Yeah they brought basic money but, you know, just the everything else that goes along with it…
Katerina: Why don’t they teach taxation?
Kimberly: Oh absolutely. And, and so it took me well at that time I’m thinking Okay I don’t get why…. but once I figured out I didn’t learn it in school then I’m thinking “Well, why didn’t everybody else’s parents teach them this,” you know, and that one took me a little longer to figure out but it finally, I realised most of it was their parents didn’t know either they were still figuring it out because nobody taught them as a child how to do this, so as, as they went through life, they’re figuring it out.
And money seems to be one of those taboo subjects, you know I read that it’s, second only to the sex talk to have with your kids and I thought, and that seemed odd to me because my parents didn’t shy away from talking about money with me. And now I could never tell you what they brought home, you know what, what they were making, I have no idea. I mean I knew they were obviously doing Okay.
But, you know, I couldn’t tell you what they brought home, and that was never discussed with me. But, like they started buying, you know, rent houses. And, you know, at seven, they had me in there, cleaning floors and painting and, you know, I was free child labour…. Im sure they did at some point when I complained and that’s, you know, it was, I didn’t realise how much I was learning in my childhood until I got a little older.
And once I kind of put all of that together I thought, Okay, somebody needs to make sure people start… helping parents understand this conversations to start when kids are young and go throughout their childhood. And so I always wanted to do something with it but never could figure out what to do with, you know, my first thought was, I want to write a book. Well, 20 years ago writing a book was a much different feeling than it is today. And so needless to say that never happened. So, it was one of those things that was always in the back of my head, to do something with at some point.
And finally, I realised in 2017. It wasn’t going to just happen. I was going to have to make it happen I, you know, it was always I was going to do it and I just couldn’t find the time. Well, I was busy I mean I had a company I worked you know it was that… time was not just going to find itself I had to do something to find it. And I kind of started doing a little bit then, and unfortunately just…. Well, that was also the year the hurricane hit so that… that took about a year of my life right there with that hurricane. And so I kind of got put off at that point. And then this year, I was like, you know what, I’m gonna have to make some changes. So I decided to pull back in my consulting company, and really start focusing on… on this, and then ironically with this corona virus. I am probably going to lose one of my masterminds because of it. Unfortunately, a number of the businesses that are in it are struggling… horribly through this… and I’ve already heard from three of them that they’ve pretty much decided to to call it.
And so that’s uh you know the mastermind itself has 10 people in it so that’s, you know, a third of it right there. And I know the others are struggling, you know this is a hard time for some businesses especially small businesses. And so, I suspect… I’m probably going to lose that mastermind so I’ve already started kind of shifting some of that company, and I’m going to do a little bit more focus and go full throttle with The Kids Money Project because I feel like that’s where my passion is right now, and it’s so important.
Katerina: Yeah, so it’s it’s important to feel where can pivot, really, and just move that you know move to a different direction as opposed to just trying to cling on to the, you know, something which is not working out, isn’t it?
Kimberly: Absolutely. I mean, failure is only failure if you kind of stop at that point. And I’ve always been a big believer in… I was an athlete growing up, so you always, you just found a way… you push through because you’re not going to win every time and we all know successes, you know it’s an up and down journey, it’s, it’s never straight up and all success… it’s… there’s going to be ups and there’s gonna be downs, and there’s… you’ve got to learn how to roll with those punches and plan. I mean planning is such an important part.
And of course this, you know, this crazy time that we’re in right now. You never expect that, I mean there’s so much that you can kind of expect in business you know there’s going to be slow times you know there’s going to be heavy times, you know you can kind of figure those out but this is something so different that you know… who would have thought the day would have come where we just literally shut the globe down. And it’s… so many businesses are gonna struggle to get through this. And, and we’re talking not just small but I mean look at how many big businesses or, I think I heard this morning… Australia’s second largest airline is basically calling it…. They’re filing for bankruptcy today, I guess.
Katerina: Gosh, I haven’t heard this news yet but…
Kimberly: Yeah, I literally maybe about an hour ago I heard it on the news, Virgin Australia or something like that. So it’s, everybody affected.
Katerina: Yeah. But looking back at your entrepreneurial journey… Have you ever thought of quitting and just going and finding a job, nine to five job?
Kimberly: Oh, absolutely. There, you know, I think we all have those days and. Oh yeah, there, there have been times where I was going to throw the towel in completely and that’s it I’m just going to go work for somebody else because it’s going to be easier. And, you know, I’ve never really done that to be honest… I, I have had jobs where I worked for other people they were earlier in my life and stuff like that so I… I have some idea but I don’t know that I could do it now because I’m so used to being the one to call the shots so to speak.
I guess if I had to obviously I could but I plan to make sure I don’t have to find out. Oh yeah, but have I had the thought? Oh, absolutely, because there’s… When you’re the entrepreneur, especially if you’re the solo entrepreneur — everything is your responsibility. And that’s heavy… that… that can really weigh on you, and especially because you can’t know everything. You know, that’s just it. It’s impossible to know everything so you have to have those resources… and it’s… sometimes people get worried about paying the money for those resources. But sometimes I mean, it can cost you a lot more if you don’t. It’s a matter of balancing, you know, figuring out what you do know, and what you don’t know, and where to get the help with what you don’t know.
And, you know, like, it would not be good for me to file my own tax returns. I mean, I could probably muster through it and figure it out but I’d much rather pay somebody that knew knows what they’re doing, because you know when they come knocking or something I want somebody to be able to explain it to me because that is not my expertise.
Read the full interview here
Originally published at Katerina.Thomas.com
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About the Author:
I help entrepreneurs to build their emotional and business resilience. Throughout my professional life, I helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to launch their businesses following their passion.