We recently connected with Holly Morphew, AFC® and have shared our conversation below.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
My life is a dream. It is something I created in my mind’s eye and realized with the help and support of many who have either shown me the way or shown me unconditional love.
Early on, I had a mentor who encouraged me to “follow my heart, and the income will come.” He couldn’t have been more right. The life I am living today is the result of many separate threads that have woven themselves together throughout my entire life, and my quilt continues to become more vibrant with every passing year.
What initially got me into what I am doing today as a financial coach and CEO + Founder of Financial Impact was the way I grew up, and my parents. They are real estate investors and entrepreneurs, so money-talk was common in our house. When I bought my first house at age 25, I was the only one of my friends who owned a home. I wondered why that was, so I began asking that question. Here are the answers I got.
There’s a knowledge gap. We don’t prioritize teaching personal finance in school and we don’t teach employees how to build personal wealth with their paycheck.
Talking about money for some reason (or many reasons), is a taboo subject culturally. What does a person who has no one to talk to, who has no information or knowledge-bank about the subject in question, do, when faced with a decision? They guess. Or they don’t do anything. A confused mind says no. This explains why many people wait to take action with their money.
Finally, fear stifles creativity. We live in a consumer driven, fear-based society. But we don’t have to! It takes a lot of practice to stay in our own lane, listen to our needs, truth, and callings, and tune into abundance. This certainly wasn’t taught in my school, nor was the importance of caring for our mental, emotional, and physical health in order to live a fulfilling life. I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty darn important. Life is for living!
I had to awaken to this too.
I found my truth in a blizzard. I was driving a Honda Accord, living paycheck to paycheck, trying to get to work in 60mph wind and snow. I realized that I was risking my life getting to a job I hated, to pay my bills, knowing I would only start it all over again the next month.
It was in that moment that I discovered I had placed “success” above my happiness. And it wasn’t even my version of success because I had never asked myself that question! But for sure I wasn’t happy, and I thought I had done everything right. I went to school, got good grades, got a six-figure job. Starting accumulating things. Got sick. My medication was expensive and not covered by my insurance. And so on.
When I called my financial advisor and asked him for help, he asked me how much more money I wanted to invest each month. But I didn’t have any money! That was the problem.
Who could help me with that?
At the time, there was no one. Financial coaching didn’t exist. So I studied everything I could get my hands on about money, debt elimination, wealth building, investing, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. I created a system and applied it to my personal finances. Three years later I was totally debt free, then shortly after that, I had money in the bank. Today I am financially independent.
My business was born from need. I am proud to be a pioneer in the financial coaching field. But what I didn’t mention earlier is that, as a result of this experience, and the lack of financial education in school and the workplace at the time, I began teaching personal finance as a service project with Rotary International.
I would go to local high schools and teach a free workshop on money. The kids loved it! So did their teachers and parents. When they started asking if they could sit in on my workshop for young adults, I realized everyone needs financial information. All ages want to know how to become wealthy.
A few years passed and I continued working at my full time job and teaching the workshop when I could. I began consulting in HR and finance for various companies. I really liked the idea of working for myself. That’s when my mentor encouraged me to “follow my heart and the income will come.” He was pretty confident that I could make money doing anything I was passionate about, as long as it was aligned with with my values.
I started my first company and thought that if I could make money helping others fulfill their potential, then the money would just be gravy. I taught at night and on weekends in addition to working at my full time job. I became an Accredited Financial Counselor® in 2015. Then, in 2016, my life completely changed and I had to ask myself what I truly wanted, and if I believed in myself enough to go for it.
I created my company Financial Impact and became a full time financial coach. I had big goals and aspirations. I thought that if I was going to give 40 hours a week to a business then it would need to offer me the ability to live a certain lifestyle; one where I could earn, spend, save, give, and invest without any limits. I wanted no income ceiling, a great work/life balance, and a career that could ebb and flow with the seasons of my life.
That’s what I got. Today, I teach others how to create personal wealth and achieve financial independence. I love it. Coaching gives me energy and purpose, and it’s fun and expansive.
We are all blind until we see. That’s why I feel like my work is such a gift. I get to help people awaken to their truth.
Alright, Holly thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. How did you scale up? What were the strategies, tactics, meaningful moments, twists/turns, obstacles, mistakes along the way? We’d love to hear the backstory the illustrates how you grew the firm
When I was working my business part time, my revenue goal was $3000/month. An extra $1000-$3000 a month can really change someone’s life. That’s why I set my sights there.
One of the first things I did to scale was get very clear about my audience. Who are they and what do they do? Credibility in my industry is huge, so I focused first on building my brand and writing great content. Eventually I started getting published in publications like Forbes and Business Insider.
Once I reached consistent $3k months, my goal was $10k/mo. Today Financial Impact is scaling to seven figures.
Once of my biggest takeaways from the pandemic was how important it is to know who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. This is foundational for building a business you can scale. Throughout my entire career, I’ve had to say no to being something else. Suggestions have ranged from a financial advisor, a podcast host, a blogger, a community builder, and a content creator.
Getting crystal clear that we are a specialized coaching practice has guided our actions and energy, and ensures that we don’t get caught up in the latest social media algorithm, for example, or anything else that takes our attention away from coaching.
Growth can happen overnight. It can also happen slowly and strategically. Having worked with successful start ups in various stages of growth before becoming a full time coach, I know there’s no right or wrong way to grow. What matters is that your growth is aligned with your goals and values.
In my experience, if you want to build a sustainable business, it matters how and when you 1. practice self-care, 2. introduce new systems, 3. tweak products and offerings, 4. expand your team, and 5. invest in marketing and advertising.
Branding, in particular, has always been important to me. I very much operate from a “how does it feel?” compass, so if I look at a marketing piece or copy, it needs to feel aligned with our mission to empower professionals and entrepreneurs through financial and business coaching so they can fulfill their potential. If it doesn’t speak to that in a simple, powerful, and inspiring way, it’s not going to help us reach out ultimate goal of impacting millions.
I can’t tell you how many companies, vendors, and proposals I have said no to because they didn’t feel right for me or Financial Impact’s audience. I really care about the experience my audience and clients have when they land in our (Financial Impact) Community. I respect their time and want outcomes for them that are for their best and highest good. So if something Financial Impact is putting out doesn’t convey that and/or have that result, then it’s not a good fit.
I have participated in masterminds, attended conferences, purchased courses, and read countless books to get the skills and knowledge Financial Impact needs to scale. Investing in yourself as the leader of your business, and surrounding yourself with those who have achieved similar goals, will also fast track your business’s growth.
A business will grow to the extend that its leadership grows.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
A lesson I had to unlearn was “to always be nice and accommodating.”
There are many more things I want to be as a woman than “nice.” For example, powerful, generous, wealthy, confident, a leader, strong, caring, giving, and successful (my version of success, not someone else’s ;) )
For me, kindness and treating others the way I want to be treated is different than “being nice.” It’s another level of self awareness, communication, and practicing presence. Learning that I am allowed to say no while at the same time, have personal and work boundaries, was a lesson I got later in life, and giving myself permission to be more than nice has been a fun adventure.
In the beginning of starting my company, I didn’t have many boundaries. I guess I never knew I could, or should. I would work until midnight, answer the phone when it rang, and check text messages immediately. I didn’t have a morning routine, didn’t set time aside for me, and didn’t know how important it is to prioritize taking care of oneself.
I remember one time, my then-boyfriend asked me to entertain his friends from out of town and their three kids. I lived in a high-rise apartment building with a pool on the 22nd floor and he wanted to do brunch out and then go to the pool. I was so tired and really needed down time. But, at the time, I wasn’t in touch with myself enough to recognize I needed this, much less be able to tell them no.
I ended up getting really sick that week. I traced it back to being run-down. I made the connection that my body was speaking to me, telling me it needed rest, but I didn’t listen.
That’s how I learned that saying no to someone else could mean saying yes to myself. I started to tune inward and created habits that led to me being able to put my best foot forward. I know now that when I am my best self I can give my best effort- at work, in relationship, in friendship, with my money, with my health, in activities, and so on.
Personal care is vital to living a happy, joyful, healthy life. That starts with being nice to ourselves.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
When I was 20 I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, told there was no cure, and that I had a 40% increased risk for getting cancer. It was terrifying.
Those were some tough times. I was supposed to be in the prime of my life but that was not the experience I was having. After four years of extended periods where, at times, I couldn’t walk, I decided to heal myself.
It was as simple as that.
I woke up one morning and stared at the ceiling from my bed in my parent’s basement. I promised that I would do everything I could to heal myself, and that I would never give up. I truly believed I could.
And guess what? I did. It took about 17 years but today I am totally healthy. No symptoms, and doctors say that I am a miracle.
I don’t think it’s a miracle though. I believe that we all have the power to change our situation, and it starts in the mind. I opened myself to healing my mental and emotional states as well as my physical body, and that’s when things really began to shift.
- Website: www.financialimpact.com
- Instagram: @hollymorph
- Facebook: @financialimpactsystem
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollymorph/
- Twitter: @hollymorph
- Youtube: @hollymorph