Christina Sjahli is an on-demand chief financial officer, obsessed with the magic of numbers and the stories they tell. Christina loves to show entrepreneurs like you how to use the power of numbers to create a business that fuels the life you want to live — without the expense of hiring a full-time CFO.
Many of us were raised to view money as something that should be saved and never spent. But in reality, cash is king and cash burn rate is equally important. Christina dives into the importance of cash with all of her clients and is kind enough to share her advice with our listeners. For example, do you know why your 13-week expenses are so important? Christina does and tells us more about the importance of this particular metric. (She also warns against judging the health of your company based on fairytale metrics — those that are always on the up but don’t give an accurate picture of your company.)
Christina also talks about the importance of focusing on one thing you’re good at, mastering that one thing, and then moving on to growing your business in other areas.
- Find out why so many women have a difficult relationship with money
- Learn how to make positive long-term financial decisions
- Discover what you should be focusing on (numbers-wise) in your business
- Understand the importance of cash burn rate
Find out more!
- Subscribe and rate our podcast on iTunes at: https://www.michellebosch.com/itunes
- Android users can subscribe and rate our podcast at: https://www.michellebosch.com/android
- Follow Michelle Bosch on Instagram to see what she’s up to: https://www.instagram.com/michelleboschofficial
Connect with Christina!
- Visit her podcast website at: www.herceojourney.com
Michelle: Hi, I’m Michelle Bosch, real estate investor, mom, wife, and host of the “InFLOW” podcast. And I’m passionate about helping women invest in land and apartments. Join me each and every week for real estate investing strategies and interviews with thought leaders that will leave you inspired and ready to step into flow, for inflows of cash, inflows of ease, and inflows of grace in your life. Now here on YouTube are the video versions of my podcast, and in order for you to get my latest information, please go ahead and subscribe. And now, let’s go.
Welcome to the “InFLOW” podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Bosch. I am super excited this morning to have a very good friend of mine who happens to be also a fellow chief financial officer. And her name is Christina. Christina, can I make sure that I don’t butcher your last name? Can you pronounce your last name?
Christina: It’s Sjahli. So, the J is silent.
Michelle: Yeah. I’ve always like, “Oh, Christina here, Christina there.” And I’m like, “I’ve always avoided the last name.”
Christina: Oh, no. Trust me, I know.
Michelle: So, welcome to the show. It’s nice to have you here.
Christina: Thank you.
Michelle: So Christina is an on-demand chief financial officer. She is obsessed, I think, pretty much like I am with the magic of numbers, you know, and the story that those tell. Because behind numbers [inaudible 00:01:35] an activity that someone in your company is performing. And they really help, you know, us entrepreneurs, be able to fly the plane, you know, with gauges on, by looking at gauges. Otherwise, it’s like flying a plane and trying to land it without looking at, you know, how many feet above the ground you’re at. So, I’m excited to have her here. She’s really good at showing entrepreneurs, you know, the power of how those numbers can really help you, you know, fuel your business and fuel your life so that you’re spending, you know, your time, resources, energy, and effort on the right things. So, excited to have you here, Christina. Welcome.
Christina: Thank you, Michelle. Happy to be here.
Michelle: Yes. Christina, so tell us, so how did you grow up around money? I always like, you know, talking money, I don’t know, in our family that is a topic that is not necessarily taboo at all. We talk about it all the time. And so, how did you grow up around money, and did that affect your trajectory in terms of like deciding to go for a finance degree to become a CFO? Just tell us all about it.
Christina: Sure. Well, you know, it’s interesting, when I look back about how I grew up with money, you know, and then this question never came up to me. When I was growing up, I didn’t… I just know that we need money to live, right? Like we all do. And you know…
Michelle: Yeah. It’s something that people say, “You know, we shouldn’t be talking about money.” But if you don’t talk about money, you may end up sleeping out on the street. So, you can be homeless. You need to talk about money.
Christina: Exactly. The one that always talks about money is actually my mom. Right? So, my mom is a housewife, she stays at home. She worked for a little bit before she got married and then after that, she just like, you know, basically taking care of me and my siblings. I have two other siblings. My dad is the one that is hardworking. Now, here’s the funny part. Both of them grew up poor, very, very poor. They had their dad pass away. So, my grandpa passed away when they were very, very little, right? But my dad is a very hardworking person. He’s also in finance, it’s interesting, like he’s also in finance. He was a CFO as well. And he’s very good with his money. He thinks about long-term. He’s very responsible because he has three kids and then he wants to give the best for us. It’s not like…for him, it’s about giving the experience instead of the money itself. He wants to create memories with us, right. So, he’s using money as a tool.
His mindset is very abundance mindset, in my mind. Right. So, he saved enough to make sure that the family is taken care of. Now, my mom on the other side is very scarcity mindset. I still remember growing up, she always told me, she said, “Don’t spend your money. You know, it’s going to come and it’s going to go. And something’s going to happen and it’s just going to go away.” You know, that mentality.
Michelle: You know Latin America is a little bit like that, a little bit doomsday, you know, who knows? They’re a little bit pessimistic, fatalistic, almost to the point… Yeah, I totally get it. Yeah, I can relate.
Christina: Yeah. So, you know, she always told me, she said, “You know, don’t spend your money.” You know, “Be careful.” But one thing that she always told me, she said, “As a woman…” And I think she’s probably helped us, she said, “As a woman, I have three daughters. I want to make sure that you guys are financially independent. You have to be financially independent. Don’t depend on anybody.” Right. So, you know, it’s interesting to me when you ask that question because I look at the abundance and the scarcity. And then, how is that impacting me? So, it’s impacting me in both ways. In abundance mindset, like I shouldn’t… I think in the… Let’s start with the scarcity because that’s impacting me the most. I always feel like I always need to save my money. Like, I always feel like my money’s gonna run out, so I better save it right now because if not, it’s not gonna…I never gonna get it back. And then I always think like, it’s hard to get money, inflow to your life.
It’s something that I struggle. When you are an employee, you know, money comes in, right? When you are an entrepreneur, you have to feel it inside you and then you cannot keep putting pressure for yourself, thinking about, “I need to make sales. I need to make sales. I need to make money. I need to make money.” Right. So…
Michelle: It’s like the more that you despair, it’s almost like, you know, your potential clients can feel that and the more that they’re repelled. I don’t know if that’s your insinuation.
Christina: Yes, exactly. Like, you know, it feels…Your clients, whoever you’re going to talk to, gonna feel that pressure. Right. So, I really have to switch that mindset, you know, the scarcity mindset. And in terms of the abundance, the way I look at it, I see money as a tool to provide the memory and the experience for my son. And then that’s…you know, it’s a tool that…the way I look at it, I said, “Okay, you know what, like, I have enough to provide the experience.” Now, if I can have more, what is that going to do for…is it for my family? Is it for the world? Do I have a mission? I don’t want to just, you know, try to make more and more money without purpose. So, I don’t know if that is like…makes sense to you like [crosstalk 00:07:30.199].
Michelle: No, it completely makes sense to me. Because I mean, if you think about strategic growth requires like a stabilizing energy and an energy of acceleration. And it’s almost like, you know, mom is giving you, you know, the background or context for yes, being frugal with your money, taking care of your money, respect your money, and kind of like a stabilizing, you know, make sure that you are thinking about the future and not just right now. And that is also methodic and long-term. But he’s willing to perhaps take a little bit more risks, you know, for the sake of growing his money and accelerating, you know, the growth of his money, and so on, and so forth. But at the end of the day, you need both of those things in order, you know, to really experience growth [crosstalk 00:08:20.246]…
Christina: Balance. Yes.
Michelle: Exactly. Yeah.
Christina: And it’s funny you said that, you know, because my dad actually think long-term and then he invested in land. You know, he invested in land from the very beginning. I still remember he was the one…You know, him and my mom used to fight like, you know…I still remember because he wants to buy more and more land, like real estate property. And then my mom said, “No, don’t buy. Don’t use all the money.” You know, like it’s interesting.
Michelle: And we know, women, generally speaking, we are wired for safety, for things that…you know, for sustainment, not for entertainment, but sustainment. You know what I mean? And so, anything that, you know, jeopardizes or is outside of that bubble of safety, you know what I mean, is a little bit intimidating. And you know, with good reason, you know. Anytime in the past that we would either speak out, you know, and time…not too long ago, we would get stoned if you say the wrong things, or anything that is outside of safety. It’s almost like hardwired into us to like, okay, if it’s not safe, and if I don’t understand, if I don’t get it, you know, it’s better not to do anything about it. You know what I mean? And so on and so forth.
Christina: Yes. I know. And then, you know, it’s…
Michelle: You know, it’s a problem of abdicating a little bit of our power when it comes to money and finance. I think it’s something that perhaps men don’t have to struggle as much as women do, for sure.
Christina: Oh, definitely. And I heard somebody was saying to me, like, women, you know, get stuck in this analysis paralysis. However, because of that, we are also the best problem solver in consideration…you know, in comparison to men. And I think women are starting to rise up nowadays. You know, we speak up.
Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. So, for us, you know, there was a stage in our business where we…you know, like everyone, we’re in startup mode and you’re saying yes to everything, you know, and yes to every client, and all your focus, you know, is revenue. And at some point, you know, you grow up from that and, you know, start entering, as a business, the stage of adolescence and adulthood. And you realize, you know, after several years of saying yes to everything and your focus being top line, basically revenue, that at the end of the day, you might be ending up with, you know, profits that are similar to what you had in your job. And you realize, “Oh, my gosh, I just switched, you know, from one job to another job that seems to be glorified by the word entrepreneurship.” And so, how do you help, you know, your clients, your businesses, for example, make that shift from the focus being revenue to profit?
Christina: Okay. That’s a great question. So, when I first meet up with any clients, you know, like the first thing that I always ask is that, what is your vision? Where do you see your business in the next 5 to 10 years? That’s one. And second, I ask, what is the legacy that you want to leave behind? Okay? It doesn’t mean it has to be, you know, something so grand, something so big. As simple as, “Okay, I want to give financial security to my family.” That’s a legacy, right? You know, some of them may say, “You know what? I wanna create gender equality. I want to give more opportunity to women.” So, I always start from the big picture first, where do you want to go? Then, once I start from the big picture, then we can dive in into the details. Because I find like if I look at from the details, everybody’s going to get caught up on the details and then not knowing, where do you really want to go?
And, you know, for me, my approach has always been, look at the big picture first. Where do you want to go? And then, let’s dive in one level deeper and then see. Because at the end of the day, if you do not know where you at right now, what are your financial struggle, what are the best offering that can give you the best profit, then you really don’t know where to start. So, after I look at the big picture, then I start diving in into their system, their process. I ask about, what are their marketing strategy? Where do they spend the money on marketing? We all know. Like, a lot of business owners are spending money, you don’t even know, you know, what is their conversion rate from lead to prospect to clients? Right? So, that’s one.
And then the second thing I look at like, what do you offer? How many offers do you have? And I still remember my conversation with you, Michelle, for my podcast, how you were like…you know, you didn’t focus on land before. You were like trying to branch out to so many things at the very beginning. Then you pulled back and then you said, “No, no, no, no, no. I need to focus on one thing.” You know, my advice to all the clients is that make one thing work first, master that. Once you master that, then you can move on to the next level. Now, after I look at all the revenue, obviously I going to look at all the expenses now. And then, I really want to break down to the micro-level for them. For each offer, if you have several offers, I need them to see, what are your profit for each offer. Without that, you do not know where you need to focus your effort.
Now, what I really found working with a lot of clients, you know, when they start looking at the profit, what they forget is that the time that they spend on each of the offer. They’re just thinking expenses are the money that they spend to their subcontractors, to their employees, the payroll that they pay. They forget about that and then they forget to allocate their marketing expenses. So, when they look at it, it seems like…it’s like a vanity number. It seems like one offer is giving them more profit than the others, but when you start breaking down, including their hours that they spent, you know, their overhead… Because, you know, as a business owner, we all know it’s not only the time that you spend with your client, you have to do your own marketing, you have to develop product. How do you allocate that to each product? Right?
Michelle: And just, you know, for our listeners, if you’re thinking…you know, if you’re listening to this and what you have been primarily doing is, you know, flipping land, what Christina really is talking about, which we had to do, you know, with Jack back in the day as well, is to really sit down at some point and realize, “Oh, my gosh, you know, there’s low-value properties that are giving us anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 or even $15,000 spreads that are great spreads, you know. But when you start really, you know, attributing all the marketing costs and every single expense that goes towards producing those kinds of profits, you recognize that perhaps those profits are not as great, you know, as you thought they were, and that you perhaps need to start focusing on a different type of property. You know, in a different area, may be a higher priced property, maybe a property that, you know, will bring in spreads of $30,000 to $50,000. That is going to require the exact same effort to flip the ones where, you know, you have a spread of $5,000 to $10,000 or $15,000 and you’re doing the exact same work, but you’re doing it with higher priced property.
And all of a sudden, you know what I mean, that results in a much, much larger take home, you know, amount. You know, after you’ve subtracted those expenses and you know exactly…you know that this, you know, amount of mailings and marketing when it comes to acquiring the property and selling the property, you know, if you attribute it to each of those flips, results in X amount of profits. You know, you’ll notice there’s certain properties or certain areas where I’m making much more money than others and you stop saying yes to those deals. But in the beginning, we have to say yes to everything because we just want to get the money in. You know?
Christina: Yes, yes, yes. And it’s absolutely… Like, it’s very interesting for me when I see people came to me and then they have 10 offers that they are selling out there. And I said, “Okay, well, how many hours do you work on each one of them?” Nobody keeps track of their hours. And if I know it’s very tedious, and that is one of the first thing that I ask my client. “Keep track your hours. I want you to keep track your hours and I want you to keep track the hours of your team spent on each project.” It may sound tedious right now, but I guarantee you, if you’re doing this for the next month, you will see a tremendous result, and realization, and clarity. You know, if product A, you said it’s making the most profit, but once you allocate your own overhead and your team overhead, is it really making profit for you?
So, you know, again, like, going back from the big picture and then go through the details. I am a true believer, if you don’t look at the historical numbers, you won’t be able to connect the dots between the historical and the future. And I’m sure you know this because you do valuation, right? Like, for me, I’m doing a model along their model for my clients, 5 to 10 years, using different scenario depending on what do they want to accomplish in 5 to 10 years?
Michelle: Yup, yup. Absolutely. Now, you know, everything that you measure improves. If you don’t measure it, it for sure won’t improve. You know?
Christina: Oh my God. Yes.
Michelle: So, let’s start with that. And so, what are some key metrics that you think that for any beginning business owner, whether, you know, it’s an entrepreneur in the real estate space or in any industry, what are some key things that…key metrics that we should always, you know, keep at the forefront? Even if it’s, “Oh my God…” just mental accounting, but you know, what are some…a few of them to keep in mind?
Christina: Yup. So, I always said, don’t look at… I have something that…what I call…I told my clients, “Are you looking at fairy tale metrics?” Metrics that makes you look good and makes you feel good that my business is doing well. And then what are those fairy tale metrics? Those are…this is something that nobody wants to do. Okay? So, I going to do a comparison over here. So, total revenue. Yeah. To me, when you look at total, that means nothing. It looks good. It looks great because when you think about total, it’s always going to increase. It’s never going to decrease, a lot of time. And then the second thing is like total profit. I don’t want to look at that. So…
Michelle: You want to look at trends, month to month, you know, where…
Christina: Yes. And then I even go a little bit deeper, I want to look at revenue by product and profit by product. Yeah. And I also want to look at the type of clients. I don’t want to look at total number of clients. What I found is that, when you look at the micro-level, the type of client that you work with… And then you can always break down the type of clients, either that is the client location, you know, like if you want to break it down by region or the type of industry. Even you can break it down, the type of…the personality that you work with. I really believe in that.
Michelle: [Crosstalk 00:20:41] that person. Yeah, yeah.
Christina: Yeah. Do I want to work with a person with a type A personality? Do I to work with an extrovert? Like, you have to think about, who do I enjoy to work with? So, when I look at it, revenue is by product, has to be by product. Profit, it has to be by profit. So, when I prepare a dashboard, one of the thing is that, you know, I always break it down, product A, okay, sales from product A, product B, product C. Cost of goods sold or expenses for product A, product B, product C. And then, the net profit for each one of them. Those are the key metric that I always want my client to look at. And marketing strategy, marketing metrics by type of marketing. We all know that, right? But I think we all forget about it. Like, I would work with…
Michelle: Basically, to have the discipline and be diligent to track it, you know what I mean? That’s the thing.
Christina: Exactly. Like, it’s interesting. Like, you know, one of my clients right now, she’s trying to…she has a school. And then, she’s doing all this marketing. She’s doing like Google ads, she’s doing Facebook ads, and she is going out there to different events. And she spends a tremendous amount of money and then I said, “Okay, but, you know, where do you get your clients the most?” And then she said, “Well, I don’t know.” I said, “So, you spend hundreds and hundreds thousand of dollars, you know, but you don’t really know where it is.” So, let’s fix that. You know, like I really want you…let’s set up a system, you know, and then figure out like how you can keep track on those. So, you…
Michelle: Yeah. We actually have quite a bit of students, you know, that do our Land Profit Generator method and a lot of them don’t have what we call the Investment Dominator, which is a propriety software that we’ve developed. Basically, that software is doing a lot of the workflow, you know, from the moment that you buy the…from the moment that you send mailings out to acquire the property, all the way until you sell it. So, it gives you a lot of reports, you know, that unless, you know, you have this information easily, you know, available… There’s going to be some kind of investments in software or in tracking, in order for you to be able to have this information or a dashboard that is easily accessible.
And it’s that mindset of investing in your business, whether it be in team, in software, you know, to be able to capture that information. Because what that then does for us, you know, for a lot of the clients that do take the leap and, you know, work the software is that it shows them, you know, per mailing, per region, these are the actual profits that you have created, the potential profits that you have in the pipeline based on how many offers have been accepted, you know, how many contracts have been accepted, and so on and so forth.
But sometimes, it’s difficult to help people understand that having that kind of optics and that kind of like insight into your business can really turbocharge and help you engineer that next level of growth. You know what I mean?
Christina: I know.
Michelle: So, I totally get exactly what you’re saying. I don’t know if you have that same mental hurdle with clients where they’re like, “Okay, you know, if we’re going to really use our numbers and the power over numbers, you know, we need to invest a little bit in the technology that is going to make it easy for us to be able to measure, you know, to have reports, and so on, and so forth.” Yeah.
Christina: Yes, definitely. But here’s the interesting part, okay? Because some of my clients, they have the tools. That’s the interesting part. They have the tools. But first, either they don’t use it properly or if it’s being captured, they don’t review it. So, when they look at these marketing expenses or whatever expenses that…it’s like hiring…you know, like I also look at like hiring metrics, right? Like, I mean, your payroll per person. If you have like 100 employees, you have to know if each one of the roles are important to your business. Right? Like, not everybody is equally important. You have to be strategic. It doesn’t mean that you don’t treat your employees well. Actually, you shouldn’t spend money on your best employee instead of hiring a lot of people. But, you know, you cannot pay them good dollar, right, you don’t appreciate them in that regard. But anyway, so, they have the tools, but they don’t use it. So, it’s a little bit…it’s interesting. And then, you know, like sometimes I just have to be straightforward and then I just have to be honest with them. And then I said, “Hey, look…”
Michelle: Yeah. How often do you have them…you know, do you recommend us be looking at your numbers? The more often that you look at your numbers has been…my experience is, the more often that you can…if you have, you know, a goal, the more often you look at where you’re at against the goal, the more often you’re able to, you know, orient yourself towards that goal. Because, you know, the longer it takes for you to look at it, the further away you are, you know, from having to come back to where you should be, you know?
Christina: Exactly. So…
Michelle: [Crosstalk 00:26:09], in general, I mean, would be… To begin with, if somebody is only looking at their numbers when taxes come due, depending on how, you know, that net number looks, you either have one drink or you have two drinks because it looks [inaudible 00:26:25]. You know, we always say, “Oh my gosh, if we’re making money…” You know, we had a time where we were like, “Oh my gosh, we’re making money. Let’s have a glass of wine. Oh my God, we’re not making money. Let’s have two glasses of…” So, [inaudible 00:26:41].
Christina: That is a very good way to put it out there, Michelle.
Michelle: Yes. So, I mean, now, you know, eventually then we moved into, okay, let’s start doing this quarterly, and now let’s start looking at this monthly. And now that we have actually large multifamily, we have to be doing asset management and looking at numbers weekly, you know.
Christina: Yup. Yup.
Michelle: Weekly number of applicants, weekly number of move-outs. You know, when it comes to our apartment, that’s something we were just discussing yesterday with one of our property managers, we’re like, “We’re seeing, you know, a rise in delinquency from last week to this week. What’s going on?” You know, how come are people losing their jobs? Is that something, in general, systemic in the economic of that market? Or is it that…? And then what came out was like, we have a property next door, a neighboring property, that is basically, you know, 40% vacant because they just bought them. They’re cleaning out house and in order to fill that property back up, they’re lowering rents and competing with our rents even though our property is superior, you know. But people’d rather move out and go over there or… You know what I mean.
Michelle: So, there are so many aspects and if we wouldn’t be looking at this on a weekly basis, you know, by that time we find out, it would be the end of the month and there wouldn’t be enough profits to distribute to our investors. So, for us, you know, there are certain things that require us looking at things weekly, you know. And some others where you can, “Okay, I can do this monthly.” And then there’s some others, I’m like, “I can do this quarterly.” You know. So, what do you start your clients with?
Christina: Okay. So, it really depends on where they’re at, right?
Christina: So, the first thing that…after I look at the big pictures and going into the details, the next step is that I ask them, how do you monitor your cashflow on a weekly basis? Okay?
Michelle: Yeah. Because at the end of the day, profits are not going to pay your bills, but cash will.
Christina: Exactly. So, cash is king. There is a saying over here, “Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is king, and money is trash.” And I believe that, right? Like, if you just… At the end of the day, cash is going to help you to get where you want to be, okay? That cash is your tool to accomplish your mission, whatever is your mission. Even as simple as you want to provide for your family, you want to give a good life to your family, that’s your tool. Okay? And I don’t know how many resistance that I received from them to look at their cash on a monthly basis. I have a 13-weeks cashflow template that I give out to all my clients, and I basically break it down. They have to understand how many clients they are going to get that week, right? What is your average price? That is your estimated revenue or your cash inflow. And then you have to understand…you have to go back to the last 12 months, and then you’re going to go each week and understand it, like what are your expenses each week? Because, you know, it’s a combination of looking at the past and also thinking, what am I going to invest in the next few months?
And then, when it’s 13 weeks, it’s by quarter, right? You’re looking ahead three months. Right? And then in that cashflow template, I also build in like how much profit you want to save each week. How much profit you want to save each week, and then how much investment, the one time expenses… Let’s say that you are creating a new offer, an online product, right? And then you need an investment. Either it’s investment of your time, or it’s marketing, or hiring a subcontractor. So, you need to break it down over the next 13 weeks, what do you want to do? What is your plan? Okay? So, from there, then you have to look at it on a monthly basis and then the quarterly basis, right? And then, you know, when you do monthly and quarterly, it’s not only looking at the cash flow. If you set up a proper budget at the very beginning, okay… When you set up a budget, you have an assumption on what the future is going to look like. A lot of people think that assumption is not going to change and that’s wrong, right? Like, it’s life, it’s business…
Michelle: Yeah. And everything that you plan, believe me…like any plan that we’ve ever made, you know, within the first few days of execution, we’re like, “Oh shit. Well, at least we have a target with the plan, but we’re going to have to adjust our plan.” You know.
Christina: Exactly. But you know what is the resistance though and then what a lot of entrepreneurs…I don’t know if you heard this from your clients when you are teaching them about finance, they’re saying, “Then what’s the point of me making a plan?” Well, I said, “That’s your GPS. That’s your map on how you’re going to get there.”
Michelle: A general direction. Yeah.
Christina: Exactly. So, do you think if you plan a trip from point A to point B and your GPS is saying that there is a traffic jam in front of you or there is a road construction, do you think the GPS is going to tell you to pass through that and then delay your journey? Or the GPS is going to tell you, okay, you need to take a turn to the right and then to the left to get your journey faster? Which one is it? Right. So, when you are creating a plan, a budget, that means you have to review it because only when you review it you realize like, “Oh shoot, there is a problem here. I don’t hit my target for revenue, but yet I have big expenses in the weeks to come. So, what should I do? Do I need to spend on that expenses that I predicted like, you know, a few weeks ago or should I delay it and then figure out a way to increase my revenue?”
So, you know, reviewing every month is very important. And then, you know, once you know what’s going on in that month and then if the situation change, then you have to do a new projection. You have to do a new forecast for the next quarter and the next year. Like, you cannot stay static. Finance is not static, finance is a dynamic process.
Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. And something that just came to mind right now, you know, that is so important to mention, and you kind of alluded to it, is the importance of knowing our cash burn rate. Basically, how much does it cost to sustain business, you know, to operate our business on a monthly basis? You know, that burn rate, so very few people like really know it and understand it. And it’s so important to know that, oh my gosh, you know, if you’re just doing bank balance accounting, oh my God, if you have $100,000, it would be important for you to know that your burn rate, if it is $50,000 a month, that you only have two months’ worth of, you know, reserves in order to figure things out, or increase revenue or, you know, pull up some Maverick trick or offering of swords to get going with the third month. So, that’s [inaudible 00:34:00].
Christina: I’m laughing because… You know, another thing though, like for people who do not or don’t like to monitor that cash flow on a weekly basis, when they look at their bank statement, what they forget is that a lot of people are spending on their credit cards, right? So, technically, the expenses it’s already happened, but it hasn’t gone out from the bank account. And they forget about it, right? So, like you said, it’s so critical to understand your cash burn rate. That’s why the 13-weeks cashflow is so important. And then especially, the burn…you know, there are fixed expenses and variable expenses. Fixed expenses is not only expenses that happen each month but also expenses, you know, that are so critical to your business. Without spending that money, your business won’t run. Let’s say that you have an employee, I mean, your payroll is basically your expenses that critical to your business and you have to spend it.
Michelle: And the largest one.
Christina: Exactly. And it’s always the largest one because you want to treat your employee, your team, the best, right? They are your family, they are part of your family, right? You want to appreciate them. You don’t want to come to payroll time and then say, “Guys, I’m sorry I cannot pay you this month.” Like, I would feel terrible to say that to them, right? Because they have family, they need that. Right? So, the cash burn rate that you mentioned is so critical and then that’s related to the fixed expenses. Because variable expenses, you can juggle. You can say, “You know what, I gonna delay it and then I gonna spend it in the next three weeks instead of right now. Because I have a priority, I have a focus. My fixed expenses are my focus. And then this is my cash burn rate.” Right. So, that’s a very good point.
Michelle: Yeah. Now, Christina, what is something that you’re curious about right now, whether in your business or in your life? You know, entrepreneurs, in general, we’re very curious people, you know. Like, our business may be going well, it’s predictable, and now we’re curious about other things. I’m just wondering, what are you curious about, lately?
Christina: Well, you know what? Actually, I’m really curious right now, how can I expand my listener base for my podcast? That’s what I’m really curious about. Because I have this dream about empowering other women for financial equality. Okay? And to me, always like going through my head, okay, I’m doing this type of marketing, I’m promoting it. But how can I…each quarter, I have a target on how I want to increase my listener base and then I have a plan on how to increase them. So, I’m always listening to other podcasters when they have…like, this is my first year of podcasting, this is my second year, whatever it is. You know, like I’m curious, how can I expand my reach so women understand they need to achieve financial equality? We want gender equality, we need to, you know, understand how to achieve financial equality.
Michelle: Yeah. I think every entrepreneur that, you know, is purpose-driven and, you know, we want to, you know, continuously expand our reach and expand, you know, our impact. And I think it’s something that is always on our mind is, you know, how can I touch more people? How can I bless more people? How can I get them to, you know, learn about this? Because sometimes, you know, we’re scared about it because we don’t know enough about it, you know?
Christina: Well, yeah, that’s true.
Michelle: So, yeah. So, interesting. So, now, what is a weakness and a pain point that you are experiencing right now, whether in your private life or in business, and how are you going about overcoming it?
Christina: You know, it’s embarrassing to say.
Michelle: [inaudible 00:38:14]?
Christina: Well, okay, it’s not embarrassing. But you know, like when I started this journey, what I’m really surprised about myself is actually how much insecure I am with my ability. Okay? Even though I have been in finance for so many years, but I always feel that I am not good enough. It’s my imposter syndrome, always come back.
Michelle: And it’s not just you, in your specific industry, I think it’s something that happens to all of us. You know, this self-worth issue, mindset shift that needs to happen, where perhaps, especially for women, we feel like, “Oh my gosh, if I don’t have the entire plan, or the entire picture, or the entire amount of knowledge, I’m not ready.”
Christina: Absolutely. Yes.
Michelle: Most men have 60% of the knowledge and information and they go for stuff, you know? Yes, yes.
Christina: Yes. And they drive me crazy because I always felt like there is something…
Michelle: But the first thing is awareness. Being aware that you are going through this and that you know that it’s a mental hurdle, you know.
Christina: I know. It’s just like…you know what, I felt like something is wrong with me. So, I have, you know…
Michelle: That’s the very first thing that we think. Yeah.
Christina: Yeah. Something is wrong with me. What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel this way? Right? Like why do I have to know the whole plan? And then…why can’t I just not live with uncertainty for a little bit, right? So, I have this amazing business coach and then… She’s not only a business coach…I don’t know, she is like multi-trait, I guess. Like she can talk…she’s also like, a mindset coach. I don’t know, business mindset… I don’t know. She’s amazing. So anyway, what I learned and then…you know, you ask like, how do I overcome this? So, what she said to me, she said, “Christina, you have to embrace it. You have to accept it. It will not go away. Never.”
Michelle: Doubt and confusion will always be there. Yeah.
Christina: It’s always going to be there. This imposter syndrome, it’s part of you, part of who you are. Right. And then you have to embrace it and accept it. Until you accept that, you won’t be able to move on. So, I started like… Every time it hits me, I’m like, “Okay, you know what? Like, yes, okay. I know I have this, there is nothing wrong with me. It’s normal.” Right.
Michelle: It’s something every person…actually, not just women, to be frank, men go through it as well.
Christina: I know, but they don’t talk about it, right?
Michelle: They don’t talk as much about it, exactly. And I think it’s almost harder if you cannot talk about it because you have to keep this facade that because I’m the head of household and a man that I can’t show any weakness. It must actually be much harder to deal with, I feel, you know, and…
Christina: I know.
Michelle: And that’s part of why, you know, I do what I do. You know, even with this podcast, you know, I wanna transform, you know, the finances for the whole family. I want the woman to be able to be empowered and equipped to step up and to be side by side, you know, making financial decisions together as a couple, when it comes to investing, when it comes to savings, when it comes to growing your money, when it comes to how am I gonna spend my money or how are we going to invest in ourselves, and so on. That it’d be, you know, always a decision where there’s two, that it doesn’t just rely on one, you know. Because we do have, you know, quite a bit of, you know, clientele where, you know, it’s couples, it’s families. It’s not just, you know, either the man or the lady. You know, we do have single women, a lot of single moms as well, you know, in our ecosystem, but a lot of families as well.
And that’s the thing. You know, if men are feeling that as well, how can we equip both of them to say, “Okay, yes, we’re both feeling this but you know what? You know, two heads together, you know, work sometimes better and then we can…knowing that we’re both, you know, perhaps a little bit uncertain, but we know exactly where we want to go and we can see, you know, a clear plan at least the first three steps, we might not see the last six to get there, but we know the first three, you get going and the last three appear in the way.” You know.
Christina: And I think…it’s good how you said that. Because I think when you work together, when a couple of works together, as women, we always want certainty and then we always look like far, far away. You know, we look at long-term. We always think, okay, well, once we get here, how are we going to get there? And then how are we going to get like 10 steps ahead? Right. But men, they’re thinking, I find it…short-term, you know. I just need to know how I going to get one step ahead. Then after I get there, then I going to take another step ahead. So, it’s a good balance, actually, to bring us, like women, to say, “Okay, you know what? We know, yes, we need to think long-term, but we also need to think like, let’s get to one step for now and then the next step, then the next step.” Because at the end of the day, you’re going to reach where whatever the end goal [crosstalk 00:43:39].
Michelle: Whatever destination. We always talk about this with Jack. Like even at our events, we always tell, you know, our audience when they’re there, you know, if you’re on a trip from Phoenix because that’s where I’m at, to LA, are you going to wait for all the lights to be green to start driving? No. Hell no. The first light is going to be green. You’re going to go. Eventually, you’re going to hit some red lights. But, you know, as soon as that turns into a green light and… But you don’t wait until all the lights are green to start driving, you just go.
Christina: Yeah. But I think it’s finding that balance though, Michelle. I think a lot of people, what I found is that, they don’t want to think long-term because they think, “Oh, okay, I just need to take the step. But you know, one step at a time.” Which is great, you have to take action. There is no excuse of not taking action. But the problem is that, like you said, if you know you’re going to go from Phoenix to LA and then there are so many stoplights, so many detour, do you want to go from Phoenix to LA in a little tiny town or you want to enjoy the scenery? You have to plan ahead, but you have to balance it by thinking small steps.
Michelle: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Now, how do you incorporate…you know, in taking those small steps and in trusting that the way will show up, how do you incorporate, you know, faith, spirituality? What do you do on a daily basis to bring ease and grace in your life so that it meets you, you know, and it finds you, and gives you that sense of groundedness and self-centeredness to…you know, whatever comes my way right now, that you feel that you’re going to be taking the next step and so on, and continue to take the next step?
Christina: Yup. So, for me, I do daily meditation. So, like every day after I take my son to school, I do my yoga and I do my daily meditation. I have to do it because I felt like I’m not center when I don’t do the routine, right?
Michelle: What kind of meditation do you do? Mantra or breath or…?
Christina: It’s breath.
Christina: So, I do the daily meditation using breath. Right. And then, it’s a guided meditation. So, last year actually, like I took a mindset…I had a mindset coach. And then he did this recording to help me do the daily meditation regularly. Right. And then, you know, each of the guided meditation that he did or he prepared for me, it has a theme, right? It’s either like…you know, one day it’s going to be like about peace of mind and then the next day, it’s going to be about abundance, how you’re going to feel abundance in your life. And then the next day, it’s about empty cup meaning that, let’s use your intuition to guide you where you want to go, what decision you want to make. Because as women, I find like I always self-doubt, right? And then I don’t trust my intuition enough. And it got me into a lot of trouble in building my business because I don’t trust that. Because I always feel like, well, you know, even though I need to make this decision but, you know, maybe because other people are doing something else, let’s do what other people is doing. And then that didn’t serve me well.
Michelle: Yeah. Yeah. That’s wonderful. I hear you say…now talk about mentors and coaches. You know, you’re definitely a person that when it comes to using your finances and your money, you bank on yourself, you invest in yourself a lot. And I want to commend you with that. I’m the same way. It’s the shortest way or it’s the best way for me to collapse time, you know, in terms of sometimes getting to where I want to go. And yeah, I just wanted to point that out. I heard you mentioning it a couple of times. Now…
Christina: Yeah. Because I cannot do it alone.
Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. We cannot do it alone. That’s exactly right. Now, what is the biggest piece of advice that you would have for women out there?
Christina: Well, because I am big on financial equality, what I’m telling other women, it doesn’t matter if you just started, okay, I want you to exercise financial self-care. And what do I mean by that? What I mean is that, don’t put yourself last when you are paying everybody else and then you pay nothing to yourself.
Michelle: I love that.
Christina: A lot of women are going to say this, Michelle, like they’re going to say, “But well, I want to invest to my business. I want to invest it all to my business.” And then, my answer or my response is this. Okay, if you have enough saving, or you have a spouse, or you have a partner that can support your life, then invest that all, but make that conscious decision that you want to invest for growth. But do not put yourself last by making excuse that you want to invest on growth. Because at the end of the day, if you don’t have the oxygen for yourself, you don’t have that math, your business is going to fall apart. And unfortunately, money is a tool for you to accomplish your mission. Without that, you won’t achieve it, doesn’t matter whatever is your mission.
Michelle: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s a tool that is necessary, you know, it flows in and out, and you need it to accomplish a lot of things, to make things easier, faster, further. You know what I mean? It definitely…I totally agree with you. Now, how can ladies find out more about you and your on-demand CFO services? You know, bringing a CFO is not for the faint of heart when it comes to, you know, bringing someone on board full-time. But I know that you offer services, you know, on-demand, you know, work with several clients. So, how can people find out more about you?
Christina: Well, first and foremost, I want your listener to jump into and listen to my podcast because that is where you are going to find the process that other successful women entrepreneurs share. It’s their best practice. So, herceojourney.com, that’s where you can find me.
Michelle: And I was just interviewed there and you can listen to that episode as well.
Christina: Yes. I just released Michelle’s interview like last week. And then, you know what? I mean, I love… Like the topic that I came up when I listened to our interview together in my podcast, Michelle, it’s about legacy. Because what you are doing is actually, how can you leave your legacy behind? And then, I am so touched by how your dad left that legacy for you. And I think that shaped…you know, it gave inspiration for you.
Michelle: Oh my gosh. Yeah. It’s given me what I call delusional confidence. And now, my hope is that Sofia can stand on the shoulders of my own delusional confidence when it comes to money and investing and not being scared of large numbers. You know what I mean? And of getting her hands, you know, to dig into numbers for sure. And yeah, definitely, that was the beginning for me for sure.
Christina: Yeah. Yeah. So, that’s where you can find me. And then, just one last word that I want to say to all women entrepreneurs. I said, remember this, don’t feel guilty that you are bringing home some money for yourself. Don’t ever feel guilty because you deserve it. And profit is not a dirty word. It’s not a dirty word. Please, don’t see…
Michelle: Yes. No, but I get you, there’s so many mixed emotions and mixed feelings when it comes to that. Yes, I get it. So, people can find you and download, you know, your podcast or…
Christina: Subscribe. And I have amazing guest lineup. And then Michelle, you’re going to come back in July to talk again for a different topic about financing. And then I think a lot of business owner need to understand there are different alternative on financing and then what you need to prepare if you need financing. So, I gonna bring Michelle back on that one.
Michelle: Awesome. Perfect. Thank you. It’d be my pleasure. Thank you so much, Christina, for being here with me today and talking finance, you know, and talking money with me. I love that. And so, for our listeners, again, if you want to go to “Her CEO Journey” and you know, follow Christina, she is an amazing lady. And it’s been a pleasure having you here, Christina. Thank you so much.
Christina: Thank you so much, Michelle. It’s a pleasure. Thank you.
Michelle: I hope this episode left you feeling inspired and ready to get inflows of cash, inflows of light, and inflows of faith in your life. I welcome your reviews on iTunes. Please leave me a review and help me create an amazing community of women in flow. Thank you, as always, for sharing your voice by going to michellebosch.com and joining the conversation about this show. And while you’re there, grab a copy of my “10 Commandments to Living a Life Inflow.” You can also follow me on Facebook at Michelle Bosch and on Instagram @michelleboschofficial. Thank you very much, and until the next one.
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