This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Tori Dunlap. Tori is the millennial founder of HerFirst100k.com – a company dedicated to giving millennial women financial and career advice to help them succeed…and sock away their first 100k. And Tori is proof that it is possible, she’s not even 25 and is on track to save more than $100k before then. Tori’s been featured everywhere from CNBC, MarketWatch, Business Insider, to Yahoo Finance. She started her first business at 9, no joke – a vending machine business that she grew to over 15 vending machines which taught her how to save, invest, and negotiate.
What I love about Tori is that she has built this business, while at the same time working a full-time position as head of marketing at a global security company – because she likes what she does. She is a great example of how to build your business or side hustle while still succeeding in the corporate space – and that is just one of the things I want to speak with her about in this episode.
Tori says she was lucky to have a great financial education growing up. Her father came home one day with a vending machine he had got from one of his clients and asked her if she wanted to start a business. She said yes. She learned how to run a business, P&L, checking and savings, writing checks, how to pitch herself, starting at 9 years old. She used the profits from her vending business to fund her college.
Tori ran the business and grew it to 15 vending machines by the time she was a junior in college and ended up selling it to a 10-year like her that wanted to do the same things.
Tori has a degree in organization communication and theatre. She works in marketing, but never thought she would be teaching and promoting financial literacy to millennial women.
She thought everyone had at least some base financial knowledge. It wasn’t the case. In fact, Tori was the one all of her friends came to for money advice. So she started a blog in late 2016 on how to manage your money and career for millennials. This led to HerFirst100k.com
- What are the biggest lessons you learned in building the vending machine business that you use to succeed today?
- How to pitch yourself.
- We cannot wait for people or customers to come to us.
- Every opportunity needs to be sought out and you have to go after it.
- You have to be able to not only sell yourself, but sell your story.
- You have to get comfortable with no and being vulnerable…and keep going.
At the 14 min mark, Tori talks about building her business while working full time…
- It is hard. Period.
- Tori doesn’t “time block.” Instead, she follows her energy and takes advantage of it. Whenever she has the energy, she puts it into the business.
- You are your business. You are your product. You must take care of yourself first– sleep, exercise, good nutrition, etc.
- You must be self-aware as to how you best operate and how to take the best care of yourself.
Tell us about HerFirst100k.com
- It is less of a blog now. It is a business.
- She ran it for 2 years under another name.
- It was inspired by her goal to save $100k by the time she was 25 and to help bring about financial equality.
- On average women make less money, invest it at slower rates of growth, but live 7 years longer than men. Tori’s mission is to help women prepare, make more money, grow it at higher rates and set themselves up for success in retirement.
Why don’t we teach financial education in schools?
- Rich people want to stay rich.
- Things have been made more complicated than they need to be.
- There is a lack of understanding of how much it really matters in the real world.
- Because of that, there is lack of awareness of what is needed to financially succeed.
Tell us about your unique budgeting method…
- We have made it harder than it needs to be.
- Your budget should be working for you instead of you working for it.
- Tori teaches the “3 Bucket Budget”
- Bucket 1 are your expenses to eat, sleep, breath, and live. The things you cannot cut.
- Bucket 2 is your goals. Things like saving for retirement, a house, giving, etc.
- Bucket 3 is everything fun. There should be 3 value categories where your money gives the best ROI in this area. Maybe it’s travel or dining out, etc.
- Using this method, you can customize things to your own life and how you operate instead of it being the other way around.
Best negotiating tips?
- Negotiations are collaborations, not conflicts.
- Most people walk in to a negotiation thinking it is a battle.
- You need to have your points backed by data or real information that you can point to.
- Realize that you are going to compromise, so what you ask for more than where you want to be.
- You can negotiate other things like a better title in your salary negotiations. Stock, other perks, etc.
- Women do better in negotiations when they think they are doing it on behalf of someone else. This has been proven. So, putting yourself in the right state is important to help you succeed.
- At the minimum, ask for what you want.
One of the best places you can negotiate is on your recurring bills. Phone, insurance, credit card, cable, etc. can all be negotiated.
- At the 37 min mark, Tori shares how she gets clients without spending anything on paid advertising..
- Tori spent two years serving before she sold. She spent time giving value and figuring out the needs for her clients.
- She primarily gets clients from Instagram – over 90%.
- She puts her energy into Instagram and doesn’t spend as much time on other platforms.
- The key is to be on the platform where your market is most.
- Consistency and being genuine is a must.
- You have to give a ton of value to stand out.
Other marketing secrets?
- Reporters are on twitter
- You can create twitter lists for those you want to connect with.
Best Quote: You need to find your “why.” You do this by following your passion and your curiosity. You must have a personal stake in what you are doing. You must deeply care about the mission.
Tori's Misfit 3:
- Serve before you sell...
- Take a stance. Be a little controversial. Don’t try and serve everybody.
- Quit your 9-5 when YOU are ready.