Shiffon Gray has done a little bit of everything. In high school, she won multiple prestigious competitions as a classical pianist. As a person of faith, she went on to do missions work in her twenties. She’s worked as a secretary, a support specialist and as the person who sends out codes or messages through a hospital’s alert system. Later in her life, she owned a retail store and she currently works with senior citizens educating them on the services her state offers to help them transition from a nursing home to living on their own.
One thing you learn quickly about Shiffon is that she’s not a quitter. She doesn’t hide the fact she’s visually impaired, and she hasn’t let a disability stop her from achieving her goals.
“I always look at it this way,” Shiffon says, “You can do anything you want. I just have to do it a little differently, and be a little more creative about it.”
Anything They Could Do, Shiffon Could Do Better
That can-do attitude toward her disability carried over into her career. At each of her jobs, she observed her supervisors and thought, “I can do their job just as well or better than they can.” So she decided to do just that. By taking advantage of a state program helping blind or visually impaired people start their own business, she opened a small, successful brick-and-mortar retail store. Her store brought in a steady revenue stream, and she eventually hired team members to join her. She even started a program for developmentally disabled young people providing career training and job references to enter the workforce.
All Is Not Lost
But when the economy crashed in 2008, everything changed. By 2010, she had lost both her business and her home. As traumatic as that was, she was determined not to let it stop her. Owning her own business helped her realize she loved being her own boss, and she knew someday she would re-enter the entrepreneurial world again.
In the meantime, Shiffon went to work as a senior citizen outreach specialist. On the side, she entered the beginning stages of creating an online coaching business. As much as she enjoyed her brick-and-mortar store, she was fascinated by the power of the internet to influence thousands, even millions, of people at a time.
MindShift.money: The Missing Piece
She took what she learned from running her retail store and created a blog for female entrepreneurs like herself. Starting an online operation was quite the learning curve, but she did it. She educated herself on how to blog, how to send out automatic emails and how to run a website. Once the site was up and running, she still felt something was missing—the knowledge of how to manage money.
She started wondering, “How do rich people get rich? And why are there still people living in poverty?” She began researching how finances work and how they should be handled. In her search, she discovered MindShift.money and knew almost immediately she needed to join.
When she started Financially Fit Bootcamp, she had a-ha! moments right and left. The entire time she owned her retail store, she always paid everyone else before she paid herself. Paying Herself First never occurred to her.
As she worked her way through Financially Fit Bootcamp, she discovered ways to cut back on current expenses so she could put aside a monthly amount for her Freedom Generator. For instance, she scrapped a $30 a month email automation program in exchange for a free one.
Another a-ha! moment? After working through the Money Planner Tool inside Financially Fit Bootcamp, she realized 34% of her money was slipping through her fingers paying bills and keeping the lights on. She decided to do whatever it takes to lower that percentage.
Looking To Future Financial Freedom
The greatest epiphany Shiffon experienced since joining MindShift.money is that the program is for everyone. She realized you don’t need a huge cash flow to achieve Financial Freedom. As she is working to build her online business, she’s on a fixed income. So she doesn’t have a lot of money to spare, but she finds the money each month to Pay Herself First.
“Financial Freedom is based on where you are right now,” Shiffon says. “You can always move up and improve, and it’s going to motivate you to do even more. But, this is just my opinion, if you bring in, let’s say, seven figures a month–I’m just throwing out a number—but that money is going to everyone else, you’re still not free. Even though you’re making seven figures a month.”
Right now, she’s paying herself $29 a month, and her current Freedom Number—the monthly amount she needs to stop exchanging her time for money—is $1,120 a month. But she doesn’t think either of those amounts will stay the same. As she puts into practice more and more of what she learned in Financially Fit Bootcamp, she expects both numbers to grow.
One day, she plans to use her Freedom Generator to not only support herself but also to do good. Her time in missions, and the opportunities she had to work with the developmentally disabled, inspire her daily. Someday, she plans to start even larger philanthropic endeavors including a scholarship for young musicians, a fund to motivate urban youth to achieve their dreams and support for animal shelters and guide dogs. MindShift.money has given Shiffon a foundation to build on and eventually reach those goals.
“With the Pay Yourself First principle in place, I actually see it as contributing to [my] philanthropic works, because I’m planning on doing this for the rest of my days on this planet. Every time I put that Pay Yourself First amount into my Freedom Fund that’s just adding to the pot.”
Erin is the managing editor of MindShift.money and the owner of Lane Change Media. As a business owner and content provider, she takes her personal motto, “Don’t slow down, just change lanes” seriously. She lives in Los Angeles and has far too many pets.