22 Feb 205 | Resolving Childhood Money Resentments with Author Kimberly Ann Johnson
Welcome to episode 205 of Profit Boss® Radio! When we grow up around wealthy people who aren’t happy, it can be extremely difficult for us to care about money at all until it’s too late. Once that happens, it can put us at a significant disadvantage as we struggle to find fulfillment in our lives later on.
Today’s guest, Kimberly Ann Johnson, learned this the hard way. She’s a bodyworker, somatic experiencing practitioner, yoga teacher, postpartum advocate, and a single mom. She does hands-on work in integrative women’s health and trauma recovery and has written about her experiences in her books, Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power, and Use It For Good and The Fourth Trimester. On top of all of that, she’s also the host of the Sex Birth Trauma podcast.
Rejecting money and capitalism altogether may feel like a radical stance early in life, but it rarely gives us the power to live happily on our own terms. And today, we’ll be talking about how to live a financial life that’s courageous, effective, and in alignment with your views and goals.
In this conversation, we talk about how rare it is for adults to change their minds about anything, let alone money, and how Kimberly came to some crucial conclusions on her own. You’ll also hear about my Ignite Investing® program, which you can learn more about at igniteinvesting.com.
If you’re ready to embrace new perspectives, heal from trauma, let go and get closer to becoming your true self, I know you’ll enjoy this episode.
Here’s what you’ll find out in this week’s episode of Profit Boss® Radio:
- How Kimberly’s business is currently structured to pay her.
- Why money and sex both require women to deal with shame, shadow material, and intergenerational behavioral patterns.
- How trying to resist forces, including capitalism, keeps women stuck and disempowered–and how to embrace spending money without obsessing over material things.
- The incredible things that happen when generational financial dependency ends.
- How to rethink your relationship with money, do good, and help people along the way.
The Money Blueprint℠ for Business Owners
The Money Blueprint℠ is profit coaching that puts you in control of your business finances for good. No more Head-in-the-Sand Syndrome. No more fear, stress, or shame. Simply total confidence. Learn more here!
PBR Quick Clip | Overcoming Feelings of Helplessness About Money
Resources and Related Profit Boss® Content
- Follow Kimberly on Instagram
- Money & The Nervous System (4-week course)
- Sex Birth Trauma Podcast
- Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power, and Use It For Good
- The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality
- Sounds True
- Activate Your Inner Jaguar
- Jaguar: Wholeness in Fractured Times
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- For information on my Money Blueprint Program and one-on-one coaching opportunity, please visit HilaryHendershott.com/MBP.
Hilary Hendershott: Hello, profit boss. I have with me today a wonderful woman, someone I know from many different circles, and I’ll just introduce her professionally to you and then we’ll talk about how we know each other. Kimberly Ann Johnson is a bodyworker, somatic experiencing practitioner, yoga teacher, postpartum advocate, and single mom. She works hands-on in integrative women’s health and trauma recovery and has done that for more than a decade. She is the author of Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power, and Use It For Good. This is an incredibly popular book. I’m betting some of you who are listening have actually listened to it or read it. And she’s also the author of the early mothering classic, The Fourth Trimester, and is the host of the Sex Birth Trauma Podcast, which we will link to in the show notes. Welcome to the show, Kimberly Ann Johnson.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Thanks for having me, Hilary.
Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. And so, Kimberly, you’re actually a client of my firm.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yes.
Hilary Hendershott: And I have been for many years. You were referred by Joelle. Is that right?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: That’s right. Yeah. So, Joelle Hann, she was – Joelle Hænn, she says, she’s the Brooklyn Book Doctor. She’s a friend of mine. She actually was my editor of my first book. So, way back when I lived in Brazil and I had a yoga studio in my house and she was there and she’s like, “You know, you have a book.” And I was like, “I also am a single mom and I have no time and I have no idea how I would even start.” And so, she said, “I’ll help you,” and I was her first client. And so, then we’ve stayed in touch for a lot of different reasons and that was sort of getting my financial health and life together and trying to ask a few people other than my dad like what they were doing, and she mentioned Hendershott Consulting, and she used this word fiduciary that I had to look up in the dictionary. And she said, “Oh, well, there’s like a lower barrier to entry than normal. It’s $25,000,” and I was like, “Okay. That’s a low barrier to entry? Okay.” And then she kind of told me how it worked, and she sent me some of your videos and I decided to just figure out how to make it happen. And I did that for a couple of reasons.
One, because I trust Joelle and I’ve known her for a long time, so I thought, “Okay. Well, if she has her money with you, then I can trust that.” And the other was just working with all women and feeling I’ve had a lot of shame about my financial situation and somehow working with women seemed to feel like, okay, not only am I supporting a shift in how money is managed and who we think has authority and how they can manage it but also then I can feel more comfortable talking with you.
Hilary Hendershott: I love it when people get why I do what I do, right? It’s like, yeah, this really is all about empowering women. I mean, I see money as a passage to empowerment. And so, really, this is all about that. And you know, I was checking out your book today and whatever Joelle did, Joelle and you did, you did well that you’ve had tremendous success with that book. That is amazing. So, thanks for being a client and we’re so glad you decided to come on board. Just so people who are listening are clear, the $25,000 she’s talking about is the size of the account that we manage. It’s not our minimum bill. We don’t charge everybody $25,000 to come on board but we require that the account be $25,000. So, all right, good. And then we’re also in that mom’s group together.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yes, the Facebook Moms Group. That came later.
Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. Good. That Moms Group has been the source of lots of fun and lots of business and lots of great relationships, so awesome. Well, it’s great to be connected. So, why don’t you start by telling us how you make money?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Right now, I mostly make money by teaching large online courses that are related to the books that I’ve written. So, that’s my major source of income but I also have income that comes from book royalties, from book advances. I have income that comes from occasionally doing one-on-one sessions. And I have some passive income that comes from book-related products.
Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. So, you said book advances. Are you writing more books?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: No. But the way that you get paid out with advances, even though advance sounds like it’s happening ahead of time is that advances are paid out in installments. So, this latest book that I wrote called The Wild is with HarperCollins. You get a third upon signing, a third upon manuscript delivery, a fourth upon publication. It’s not exactly this but it’s something like this. And then when the book goes from hardcover to softcover, you get another installment there.
Hilary Hendershott: Oh, okay.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: And I am actually writing another book right now but I’m going to self-publish it. So, I’m working outside of the traditional publishing channels for this one. But also, I have an audio program that’s coming out with Sounds True in April. So, in that, I’ll have income from that and then the sales of that are done differently. So, I did get an advance but I also got a percentage of sales from their platform.
Hilary Hendershott: What’s Sounds True?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Sounds True is a publishing house that does both audio programs and traditional publishing but they started out just elevating teachers and doing like six CD sets or 10 CD sets of teachings, and they still produce that content. So, I just did a program. It’s eight hours of teaching called reclaiming the feminine embodied sexuality as spiritual practice. So, that comes out in April, and when that comes out, I’ll receive money. And then, however that sells, I’ll receive percentages of that.
Hilary Hendershott: Okay. And when you’re selling online courses, are you selling through an email list to your own list or…?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: I have a lot of different ways that I sell them. I run Facebook ads. I have a fairly large list now. I sell on social platforms and I usually do free sales classes that then I do email sequences after those free classes
Hilary Hendershott: What’s a free sales class? What do you mean? Tell me more about that.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: I offer a free class. Like, for instance, I have one coming up that’s called Lingerie & The Nervous System. I have another one coming up. It’s called Attachment & The Nervous System and I actually teach. So, I get on and I teach people a class. And then at the end of that class, I say, “You have this course coming up,” and I tell everybody at the beginning, I always have these free classes before courses are coming up but I’m not going to like, basically, not teach you anything and just tell you, “You should sign up for the class.” So, after 55 minutes, I’m going to tell you that I have this course that’s coming up, and that’s why I’m doing it. So, it’s all very transparent because I teach about trauma. And then there are a lot of sales tactics that kick up people’s nervous system wiring in less than optimal ways. So, I try to steer clear of that.
Hilary Hendershott: I so appreciate that kind of directness and just straightforwardness. It’s a way I tend to be. I’ve worked with coaches who told me not to be that way but I say, “You know what, I have to.” At the end of the day, I have to answer to me. I have to look at myself in the eyes.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: And money is a topic a lot like sex, where when you’re dealing with money and sex, you’re dealing with a lot of shame and shadow material and intergenerational patterns. So, I feel I owe it to people not to be trip-wiring them in the same ways that they’re coming to me to try to heal from. And it only helps me sales-wise. It’s never hurt me not to have flashing red buttons and telling people this is the last time they can ever do this. I always tell people, “You’re going to have a million opportunities.” This is one opportunity and it’s always a good time to start but also, if you’re inundated and overwhelmed, then it’s not a good time and you’ll find something else.
Hilary Hendershott: Right. Yeah. And I feel like now that I feel like so much of the world is democratized and we’re doing so much business on the internet that there are more and more people. It’s like a movement of transparent selling, like people doing business with authenticity. I mean, forgive the phrase but I call them divinely feminine characteristics. And these are things I put on my website like I’ve sort of formulated my business in that kind of container, and it’s really, really great to see more and more people doing it. And so, you feel like it helps you. Do you get feedback? Do people tell you that they bought because of that?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Definitely because there’s a feeling tone to it. Ultimately, I’m a teacher. That’s what I am. I’ve taught a lot of different things, including fourth grade, including yoga trainings, including bodywork. But ultimately, I’m an educator and a teacher, so I love to teach people and I want people to have access to things even if they can’t afford them. So, I have a podcast. I also sell off my podcast. I don’t run ads on the podcast. I just talk about the things that I do or I lift up other people’s things. So, I talk about something that someone else is doing but I don’t take any money for that. It’s just something I like to do. So, say somebody doesn’t have any money but they want to learn about what I teach. Well, a book costs $15, a podcast is free, and I have 145 podcasts or something with all kinds of different topics in there. I don’t do filler content. I don’t create things just because like, “Oh, I need to post again today.” I only post when I have things that I really care about, and I only have conversations I really want to have.
And I teach a course called Money & The Nervous System because I have also found that in dealing with sexual health and postpartum health, a lot of the reasons women aren’t getting the help they need is because of money. And that really bummed me out big time when I was doing a lot of one-on-one work like someone would call me and say, “I have three kids. My youngest is four and I wet my pants all the time.” And so, I would say, “Well, I can help you with that.” And at the time, I charge $150 for a session, and then the person would say, “Well, I’ll call you back. I have to talk to my husband,” and I would just think like how can that be the answer to that? Not that people shouldn’t talk to their partners but I was like, “What’s the consequence of not getting this help?” But a lot of times it’s very hard for women to say, “I deserve to get help. I want help, and I will spend money on myself to get this help.” And frankly, I mean, I know some people just actually don’t have the money. And so, I want to be tending to that as well because I understand that there’s a reason for that.
But with my work, especially with Call of the Wild, what I found is that when people have a hard time occupying this one side of their nervous system, which is the sympathetic side which normally we think of is fight or flight but in this case means drive and power and forward motion, women have a hard time saying, “I deserve this. I want this. I know I want this.” Like we mentioned before, I like to say I want more money. Most women, if you say, if you start talking about money, they start talking about eliminating things and budgeting things and getting smaller. They don’t talk about how they can bring more in and like expand their capacity to handle more which was definitely my case. And so, I also don’t teach this because I have a degree in finance or because this was always really easy for me. It was actually, I mean, I’ve had a number, like everybody, a number of things that I’ve worked through in my life and I’m 47.
But a few years ago, I had someone who is a seed investor and she runs a women’s investment firm, and she wanted to talk to me and I wasn’t exactly pitching her but it was an opportunity that could lead to a pitch. And when I met up with her at a coffee shop, I literally couldn’t stop crying. It was so embarrassing. I could not stop crying. And she was like, “You work with trauma, right?” And I was like, “Yeah,” and she just said, “You have money trauma,” and I was like, “Yeah.” And at that time, my money situation wasn’t even that bad. My money situation was already better but I think it was just being with someone that money was so easy for her to talk about. And I don’t know exactly what it was about that specific encounter but it just made me realize like it’s a thing because I remember being in relationships where I had this moment. It was like the big reveal, where I had to tell somebody like, “I don’t have any savings,” and like, “Do you still want to be with me even though like I come neutral?” I didn’t have debt either. And that reminded me of what it’s like when you’re newly healing from something that you feel is maybe a wound or something that might make you a little bit less lovable and you’re like you have to tell the person like, “Well, I was sexually assaulted.” It was a similar feeling of like, I’m revealing this thing to you.
Hilary Hendershott: Oh, like this, “I’m broken.”
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yeah.
Hilary Hendershott: I’m damaged goods kind of a thing.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yeah. Damaged goods because I don’t have this part of my life together. But I was a single mom and from the time my daughter was nine months old and I’ve been the sole breadwinner since then. And, now, on this side of where I’m at, I have a lot of respect for the choices that I’ve made, and a lot of them were not about money initially because I wanted to raise my daughter. So, up until she was two years old, I didn’t want to get a job where I would make $35,000 a year to send her to daycare and pay $19,000 a year and barely make my rent. So, I went into credit card debt so that I could be with her. And then when she was about five, I was able to pay that back and I had a lot of shame about I think I had like $12,000 in credit card debt. But then once I realized, like, “Wow, but this is like $12,000 investment in being with my daughter and not missing that part of her life,” it took on a completely different meaning.
Hilary Hendershott: $12,000 doesn’t seem like a lot of debt for living – you didn’t have work?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: No, I would work but that’s why I could leave it around 12,000. But I mean, I would work but I didn’t have child care and I was mostly on my own. So, sometimes I would be holding her while I taught a yoga class. She would be sitting on the yoga mat while I taught other people. It was very makeshift. No, it isn’t a lot of money but here’s the thing is like once you start having money, when you don’t have money and you don’t really have a concept and you don’t want to buy into the “system” which is basically how I felt, I don’t believe in this whole system. I don’t believe in capitalism. I look around me and people don’t look happy who have money so like, “I’m out, I’m opting out.” Then having a child was like, “Oh, I can’t opt-out,” for instance, health insurance. I never had health insurance before I had a child because I don’t go to the doctor. And I was like, “This is a racket.” But then now I have it because I don’t want to give my dad a heart attack. And that’s literally true. Like, I have health insurance so that my parents can relax. And then I didn’t feel I could make that choice for my daughter. So, it was like, there is a lot of things like that where all of my high ideals, it changed when I had a child and then I had to decide like the extent to which I will opt-in and play by the rules increase.
Hilary Hendershott: Right. And you were talking about your relationship to money before we started recording and we’re going to walk everyone who’s listening through that. And I was thinking about this facticity of life. I’ve been thinking about this phrase, the facticity of life, so the factualness of life, the way life actually is, all the ways that it is, and all the ways that it isn’t, and some of the ways I don’t like. And Ron Reich came on my podcast a few episodes ago, and I don’t know if you know who he is but he’s a really well-known launch coach and he’s a great guy. He calls himself the awkward marketing genius and he said, “One of the traits of business owners who really get it done, who really have seven and eight-figure businesses is they don’t argue with the facticity of life.” He said, “They just go get it done.” And I’ve talked about on this podcast, maybe I’ve said this in a hundred episodes, “The thing I resist the most is that I can’t eat pizza and drink wine and have the body that I want.” It’s like I am in an argument with the facticity of calories.
And the argument you were sharing with me that you had in the past is about what you just brought up, which is like the system, the economic system that we live in. And when you’re in resistance to it, it’s a massively powerful force keeping you stuck in a place where there are ways you’re going to be disempowered. There are things you’re never going to have, things that are critical to a good life because money is how we get places, literally and figuratively. So, why don’t you just share a little bit about how you grew up and what you saw around you, and how that went. Just start with us from that place when you’re in your childhood.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yeah. So, I grew up in Southern California in a place called Rancho Santa Fe, which is sort of like a Greenwich, Connecticut situation. And all the people around me drove BMWs and Lamborghinis and my brother’s baseball coach was Marlon Jackson, one of The Jackson 5 and also one of the only people of color around. And I just felt like people weren’t happy and everyone was getting their next vacation house and their next fancy car and all the dads are retired at 38 or 42. And I just looked around and thought it was all very empty and I didn’t relate to it at all. And so, I just made a decision like, “I’m going to be happy without all this stuff.” I made a similar decision about body image. I was just like, “I am just going to stop talking about how I feel about my body,” because this is a never-ending conversation that I will go to the grave with about my belly if I don’t just like cut it now. So, I made that choice like I’m just going to be happy without money. And then…
Hilary Hendershott: How old were you?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: I’d say probably around 14 or something, 13 or 14 in high school. But that’s a really privileged position to take. Actually, I’m really glad because I did learn how to be happy without money and I can be happy with very little and I feel like that is something to fall back on because if my business were to dissolve all of a sudden or something were to happen and we live on shifting sands as we know, like I like who I am with or without money. However, my nervous system is much more settled having a cushion. So, I do know that money – people say things like money doesn’t solve money problems. It actually does. And it really can.
Hilary Hendershott: I never understood that phrase. People say money doesn’t solve problems. They say, “Yes, it actually does.”
Kimberly Ann Johnson: It does. It does. I have a million examples of how it actually does. I mean, it’s not going to make you happy. It’s not going to solve all your problems but it will definitely help alleviate a lot of stress in a lot of different situations. So, I went to an Ivy League school that my parents paid for. I graduated first in my class. Everyone thought I was going to go to law school or policy school, and I decided to go and move to New York and dance because I was a dancer. And I just was really rejecting this what I consider to be like the right-handed path where you just keep walking on the path and then you get married and you have kids. And I was like I just don’t see that the people around me who are doing that are really happy. Then I decided to become a yoga teacher. That really segued into the money story of like you just work and then you put the money in a Lakshmi purse and then when you need it, it’s there in the purse. That kind of magical thinking really appealed to me, and I was on board and I worked really hard.
Hilary Hendershott: What’s a Lakshmi purse?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: It’s just Lakshmi is the goddess of abundance in the Hindu pantheon. And so, that’s kind of some of the phrasing people would use. Like if you asked a yoga teacher like, “Well, what about money?” They would say, “Well, you just work and you put your money in that purse and then when you need it, it’ll be there.” Spiritual bypassing, basically. And I made a decent amount of money. I waited tables, I did other things, and I remember along the way asking people like my uncle or something, “Should I be saving money right now? Like, how does this work? Am I supposed to be investing?” And he’s like, “No. Just like buy a really good stereo.” And then my other uncle who has a ton of money, I was like, “I’m thinking about investing but I think I should invest in green things that have the values that I like,” and he’s like, “That’s not what the market is for.” He’s like, “The market is for making as much as absolutely possible and then donate the profits.” Like, that makes no sense. So, I was like trying to get some information but I didn’t really have a full picture of what it meant. And, honestly, I wasn’t really thinking too far in the future. I was really thinking about my next trip to India or my next training. And I was working all the time, so it had nothing to do with work.
It was just that there was still an element of dependance about it because there would be times where I would have enough money but then if my car broke down, I would have to ask my parents for money or I wouldn’t go to people’s weddings because it was like, “Well, I can’t afford to fly there and buy a gift.” And that would cause rifts sometimes because I was too ashamed to say it’s because of the money I can’t afford to come. So, I would just avoid the conversation. And so, I just realized in a lot of different ways that it wasn’t optimal. And yet it’s still kind of continued like that until I had a child, and then it was really like, “Okay.” And when I was specifically like, “Okay. Now, I’m a single mom and I know I’m doing this alone.” So, this calling that I have that I just refuse to call a career because this is just what I love to do, and I would do it even if I didn’t make money. And all of those things are actually true. Even what I do now, the amazing thing about the business that I built is that I make such great money for me and my lifestyle and what feels like enough to me because everybody’s got to find that out for themselves. I don’t believe in like, I’m not trying to grow my business every single year. Like, I feel like what I make now is good and leveraging against my own health in the time that I have with my daughter and all that, I feel good about it.
But what I love about it is that I do do what I love doing, and I do a lot of things that aren’t my favorite things to do but it allows me to see one-on-one clients and not care if they cancel or not have to raise my prices because I can just charge what I actually want to charge because I make my income differently so I can still have my same values. And I was really worried that when I got money that I would become an asshole. So, I was just really concerned like, “Oh, I’m going to get it,” and then I’ll either be irresponsible. Now, I’m a saver, so I wasn’t worried that I would overspend. I was worried that I would just like be a disaster like I wouldn’t be able to keep track of it. I wouldn’t know how it works. It was so intangible but it was just like I just don’t know. I remember asking a friend, “Well, if I make that much money, then like what do you do about taxes?” And he goes, “You pay them.” Because before that, it was all about like how can I get my income to a place where I don’t have to make that much taxes? And I thought, “Well, if I make so much more then I’m going to owe so much more,” and he’s like, “Yes.”
Hilary Hendershott: Yes, you will.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: But you have it, and so you pay them. So, that was eye-opening. Then I sat next to someone on a plane who is in the seat next to me, who opened their laptop and had $1,500,000 in their account that they were looking at and doing stuff with. And I saw all those zeros and I was like, and then all of a sudden I’m like, “Why isn’t that me? Like, it’s not that big of a deal. Like, I’m so smart. I have so much skill. I have so much relative support. I didn’t for a long time but now I do. Why? What’s the deal? Why can’t I do that?” And then I asked a friend because coaches always ask you like how much do you want to make? I was like, “I don’t know.” I have no idea how much I want to make, like how much am I allowed to make? How much can you make when you’re still a good person? How much is even reasonable? And then my friend was like, “Well, I’m making $25,000 a month,” and she was doing it selling vaginal steaming herbs. And I was just like, “Okay.” And then like within three months, I was making that because it just was like hearing it and saying like, “It’s okay to do that. Just set me over that edge.” And, of course, I’ve had years and years of developing relationships, and I didn’t just start a business out of nowhere. Like even though I didn’t make a lot of money teaching yoga, I had a lot of students and a lot of beloved students, and a lot of connections, and I’ve maintained those connections. So, those things all count.
Hilary Hendershott: Can we back up for a second?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yeah.
Hilary Hendershott: I want to rewind a little bit to the place of resistance because you had rejected capitalism. You had rejected the whole economic system. In fact, you rejected being wealthy because you saw it as being unhappy. You saw those two as being coexisting. So, how did you…
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Well, and I should also say like I don’t come from like a super-wealthy family. I come from the type of people that think they’re middle class but they’re actually upper class, which I think is so many people. Like, my parents would say and, yeah, like I don’t come from generational wealth or anything like that but I come from a place where my parents could afford to send me to an Ivy League and to private schools and drive really nice cars and everybody around me is doing the same thing.
Hilary Hendershott: Right. And when you say unhappy, do you mean the things we all, I mean, when you say wealth and unhappy people think spoiled people, thinks they run the world.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: They’re all materialistic, entitled.
Hilary Hendershott: Entitled.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: And that’s still what I think of a lot of the people who live where I live. The world is yours to do with what you want. You can travel anywhere you want when you want to if you can afford it. You don’t care that you are basically a continuation of colonialists and imperialists. You worked to have that vacation that you feel you deserve because you “worked so hard.” You think you’re better than the people who tend to the land and provide the products that you use. Yeah.
Hilary Hendershott: Good details. It’s very clear. And so, there you are and you hate all of this. And so, how do you surmount that wall of resistance? Because you were in complete rejection of the system. So, how do you talk yourself into leaning into making $25,000 a month or not thinking the guy with the laptop on the plane with $1.5 million in an account is just an ass?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Well, first of all, I realize, like when I have money, I do really good things with it and that just fricking fired me up. So, like in my business, I made $750,000 last year and, in my head, if you asked me five years ago, I would have thought that with that money like I would be driving a Tesla and like I would be getting my nails done every week or something, and I would buy a house. I live exactly the same way as I did five years ago. My standard of living hasn’t changed at all. Like, I was so bummed this year because I got in a car accident that wasn’t my fault and my car was totaled. And it was a 2010 that was paid off in my monthly was like 110 for insurance, and I would have driven it until my daughter was out of high school. Now, my parents were really happy it got totaled because they couldn’t believe I was still driving it. But I’m like, “But it was a great car.” So, I was like, I would have totally stuck with that but I had to get a new car because it got totaled.
Hilary Hendershott: So, what are you doing with the money?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Oh, my gosh, well, all kinds of things. The other amazing thing is knowing that you can do it. So, like I funded a study called the Fourth Trimester Vaginal Steam Study. We crowdfunded part of it but we paid for part of it and we were able to actually study whether vaginal steaming helps women recover faster postpartum. And to get a study like that for a university to do it or the NIH, that’s like a 5 to 10-year thing. We could just design the study and do it because we had money. And because I had money, I had time that I could do that, that I wasn’t going to make any money from, and I was actually going to have to put a lot of time into doing that. Last year, I didn’t teach the month of July, and I crowdfunded for the person who did the artwork in my fourth-trimester journal, who’s a Black single woman in Sweden. She got into art school but she couldn’t go because she didn’t have the money to go, which is actually… So, instead of teaching and making money in July, I crowdfunded her and my community came together and we sent her to art school for a year.
I raised $85,000 for a Black-owned birth center here in San Diego. That’s not my personal money but because I have money and I’m not seeing, I mean, I used to see like four clients a day at 9 a.m., a 10:30, a noon, and a 1:30, and I would drop my daughter at school at 8:30 and I would be late every single day to pick her up at like 3:15 or 3:30. And I would be trashed by the end of the day but I had to see those clients because that’s what I needed for money. So, now that I have a little more space because I’m making more money then I can devote myself to doing these bigger projects that aren’t for profit. Like, I have a big project I’m working on right now called Move Through, which is going to mark the two-year anniversary of the pandemic on March 15th, where we’re putting together a somatic trauma movement process, and we’re going to have people all over the country doing it at the same time. And that’s something that’s just an offering that I want to give to people. And I have to pay people to help me design that and do that so I’m investing in that. And then I also pay other people. Now, I have employees. Before that, I felt like, “Oh my God, I can’t do that. That’s too much responsibility.”
Now, I have several women and one man who’s actually my cousin, who’s a documentarian, who work for me and with me. And I’m proud of that. I’m proud that I support other people and I’m a really good boss and I care about the people that work for me and I help them. So, I’m proud that I, as my goal in writing my first book was like, “I don’t want to just be like famous. I want to actually like lift other people up as I’m rising,” and that becomes more possible with more money. And I can also just say to people there’s been times when I had a friend and she was like, “My savings is way down below where my nervous system functions,” and she has an autoimmune disorder. And I was just like, “Well, how much do you have?” And she’s like, “I have like 2,500.” I’m like, “Well, what’s the number that makes you feel safe?” And she’s like, “10,000.” I’m like, “Okay. I’ll transfer that to you right now.” And then she could pay me back.
Hilary Hendershott: Did she accept it?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yeah. So, I had another friend that really, really wanted to write a book but her husband didn’t want her to spend the money for the proposal program, and so I said, “Well, do you want me to loan it to you and you can just pay me back, no interest?” So, I do a lot of my dad also, I mean, I’m sure a lot of people talk to their dads about finances but I actually have like a great…
Hilary Hendershott: Yes, they do.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yeah, and I’m really grateful for that. I know some people think you shouldn’t do that and everything but I am so grateful that my dad’s good at it. And he wrote me a budget last year like helping me, and it was like the kindest thing he did because he knows how I am because I just want to give everything that I have a way. He like put into my budget like, “Here’s 500 a month like you don’t account for that you can just give away,” instead of telling me not to do it because I’m just going to do it. That’s just how I am. So, I think I was worried about that, that I was going to become like I was going to hoard what I had because that’s what I see people doing is like protecting them, their family, their interests, and not actually looking around at like what real need is. So, it’s just been so empowering for me to know that I can do both. I am not choosing one or the other. I have an amount in my savings that feels comfortable to me. I’m not stressing myself out over it. Like if one year I don’t give as much as I did the year before to my whatever, whatever, all those things that I raise in the – I forgot all the 401(k)s and all that stuff.
And also like I don’t check my accounts like some people are like, “Oh, the markets up, the market’s down.” I just put it there. And to me, it might I believe that because people are like, “Oh, the end of the world is coming. The market’s crashing. It’s all crypto, whatever.” I’m like a middle-of-the-road person. And even if that happens, like I said, I’m still going to be happy because I still have my health. I know I can move in with friends like it doesn’t. My happiness, it’s supported by having the capability to uplift people and to buy. You know, my friend’s pregnant. She feels super isolated and I can buy her a plane ticket or I have miles now because my business expenses are so high that I have like a ton of miles. So, it’s like just be able to do that and not have it be a big deal. And I remember what it felt like to be on the other side where there were so many things that felt like limitations but it didn’t register to me like that until I was on the other side. I didn’t at the time. It was interesting, last night I was sitting at Whole Foods with my daughter and we hadn’t been there in ages. And she goes, “Mom, I miss these days, these Whole Foods days.” I’m like, “What do you mean?” And she’s like, “Mom, we used to come here like every day.” I’m like, “We did?”
There was a year of parenting when she was eight years old, when I lived for a year, rent-free above someone’s garage, who were my former yoga students. And I didn’t have a kitchen. I just had like a half refrigerator and not even a stovetop. So, that year, I think we had breakfast quite a few times at Whole Foods. And looking back, like I was thinking, “God, that’s kind of gnarly,” like it felt a little bit almost like being homeless because we were like so transient. We didn’t even have separate bedrooms. We just had one space. But then to hear her say, like, “No, but it was us against the world back then, like I miss that. I miss when it was like just the two of us.” And the part of me is thinking, “God, like I didn’t even make her bone broth back then.” I didn’t even cook like what the hell? I’m feeding her off the buffet at Whole Foods.
Hilary Hendershott: Mom shaming.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Like gross, you know? But then her point of view was like, “Oh, but that was just our life.”
Hilary Hendershott: So, first of all, I’m blown away, not just by your generosity and benevolence, like the amount that you’re doing for people, and it’s super cool to hear how you’re doing for both groups and communities and individuals. Like I encourage people to be creative and I would even call that entrepreneurial with the way that you’re managing what you have budgeted and allocated to give. I’m blown away by the way you’ve leaned into it having come from rejecting the whole money idea out of hand. Do you have a role model or a model you follow or is this just your self-expression?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yeah. I would say that it’s self-expression. I mean, I have a bit of a rebel nature, so the fact that it’s like, “Oh, you’re not supposed to do that,” as like, “Oh, no, I am going to do that.” And also, my undergraduate degree was in social policy in African-American studies and so I’ve been studying nonviolence and ahimsa and racial organizing in equity since I was in high school. So, it’s always been a value of mine. And I’m trying to think, I mean, I must have role models but as far as the money goes, I wouldn’t say that I do because I don’t… My father is a very generous person so I’d say, I mean, my mom is too but my mom doesn’t handle the money, so it’s different. Yeah. I mean, that’s one thing that I think is important is that in my lineage I’m a white woman. My mom’s parents are from California, my dad’s family is from Illinois, and all of my lineage, I’m the only first woman ever to get divorced and I’m the first woman ever to breadwin. So, all the other women, they’ve worked like my grandmother, worked in real estate for my grandfather. My mom, after my brother graduated from high school, my mom became an interior designer but it was like the deal is still that’s her money kind of thing. Like, well, I work for my money. It’s not like a collective thing. So, I’m the first person that had to figure out not only like to stand on my feet and have worth outside of a relationship but also like to take this on the responsibility of a legacy.
Hilary Hendershott: Well, yeah, you’re really like ending generational financial dependency. That’s like a revolution.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: And I have one daughter, so that also became important to me. And I have a lot of people around me, as many people as I have around me that are perhaps buying into what I consider a more superficial, materialistic zone. On the other hand, I also come from the yoga world. So, I have a lot of people around me who still opt out and are living on other people’s land, and then moving in. And I see what that does to their systems and to their sense of agency. And I teach a lot of people like that. I teach a lot because I teach primarily parasympathetically dominant people and people who are very caring, people who are like very dialed into interconnectedness and universality and that like nobody owns anything. It’s very hard to come from that point of view and say, “I want to own something.” It’s okay for me to take up space. It’s okay for me to have something. If I have something, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m taking it out of the mouth of someone else.
Hilary Hendershott: So, are you having those conversations? Are you compelled to be persuasive with them?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Oh yeah. I have them all the time.
Hilary Hendershott: Yeah.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Because, I mean, I work in the birth world, right, doulas, yoga teachers, bodyworkers. These are all helping professions that some of which is built on martyrdom and some of which is built on counter-culture, which I completely agree with. The market demands the disintegration of the family in some ways, because if we had integrated intergenerational, multigenerational family structures, living arrangements, we wouldn’t need to hire a doula and hire this and hire that. All of those functions became hirable because we don’t have intact village neighbor culture. So, I also agree with that, and I work hard towards cultural solutions like I’m also working together with a woman who’s at Eastern Tennessee University. We’re doing a fourth-trimester community care project where we’re training women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s to be able to care for new moms and pairing them together to get three hours of care a week and then studying, like what are the “maternal mental health outcomes” because now all we see is disastrous mental health things but it’s really a physiological problem. But I’m able to do those things and people listen to me because I wrote a book. Like, to get your voice out there in a way that could actually shift culture and that’s not necessarily money but it’s interwoven with that.
Hilary Hendershott: So, now that you’ve achieved a number, I mean, thanks for sharing your revenue numbers. Three quarters of a million dollars is successful by any standard. I mean, you didn’t share profitability but you’re sharing things that tell me you’re highly profitable.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: My business was more profitable in 2020 than it was in 2021. So, I brought in more money in 2021 but my expenses were higher. I invested in a few different things that just in terms of my business, like a PR thing which I know everyone’s suspicious of PR. I’ve had great PR before, so it’s not PR itself. It was just the wrong combination. And then I spent a big chunk of cash on this other thing that just didn’t work out. So, I think in 2020, I brought in 680, and then last year I brought in 750 but my profitability was a little bit lower. So, what I’m working on this year is 20% less energy output with 20% more profitability.
Hilary Hendershott: That’s a fantastic goal. I love that goal. So, how do you think about yourself in an ecosystem of businesses, a lot of whom you may have a philosophical issue, take a philosophical issue with? First of all, do you think that you feel like an outsider on the inside or do you feel like you resent a lot of what’s going on in the economy? Have you chosen to take part in a system that you still fundamentally disagree with? Or how has your thought about that shifted, if at all?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: I’m not super educated on macroeconomics or maybe even economics in general. I’ve changed a lot. I mean, a lot of things have changed for me in the last one or two years. I’m sure they have for a lot of people. I guess, essentially, I fit in the category of, I guess, a coach, even though I don’t think of myself as a coach, I think of myself as an educator. So, my business itself, I don’t feel like I have a lot of competitors because I don’t really think of it that way. My biggest value in my business is coherence. So, there’s a level of coherence, like, for instance, I do my own social media and people can feel that. They feel it because it’s me that’s doing the posting, it’s me that’s doing the writing. I write my own emails, I write my ads.
I mean, I’m really sick of social media, that’s for sure. And I’ve been really retracted trying to figure out because my thing is not being in reaction but to set my own bell tone and keep ringing my own tone. But I feel a little shaken out of my own tone right now, so I’m just not putting as much out there until I kind of understand what it is that I want to put in. And that excessive information and lack of integration is sort of pervasive, and I was also peripherally, in the trauma world, I mean, I am in the trauma world, I read a book about trauma, but I’m not appreciating the lens that that’s coming through now, either in the general public. So, I’m trying to figure out how to shift the discourse in a way that feels helpful and true.
Hilary Hendershott: From my vantage point, many women who, I think the people who come into my purview know that they need or want more money to be fulfilled, happy, do the things that they want to do. Mostly, people don’t talk to me if they are just rejecting commerce because it’s just obvious that I’m not there. So, if you’re speaking to, if someone’s listening and they are in the camp of, “I know I need more money, but I resist saying it, I don’t want to admit it, I don’t want it to be a goal of mine, I think economic pursuits are empty and valueless, but yet I have this deficit in my life”, what would you say to that woman?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: I would say that it’s helpful to grow capacity for multiple perspectives to be true at the same time, and to be constantly under earning is a real energy drain, and it takes up a lot of space within us that could be used toward something that’s productive and something that is generative because essentially, money can be generative. So, I think it does need to be attached to something. It doesn’t have to be a big goal, but a big step for me was realizing that not just looking at what I’m making and what my expenses are but factoring in future things. And so, factoring in savings monthly as something that needs to be part of what I earn. That was a really big turning point for me.
And I think everyone can agree that when we get older, I mean, I plan to have an interdependent relationship with my child and hopefully, grandchildren, maybe, and other family members. But there will be a time when I need to slow down. And I used to just say no, like what I do, I just get better with age. And like, when I’m 80, I’m going to have like all these people sitting around me listening to me, and that all might be fine. But it also behooves me in this phase of my life to be planning for that and not just being willfully blind and also really helpless because I think that was what was underneath it. I actually am confused and disoriented about this. Therefore, I’m just not going to deal with it.
And so, bringing it into relief and really seeing it for what it is, to me, is about incarnation, it’s about actually being in the material world and believing that the material world is as important as the spiritual world or the universal principles. So, my path was really accepting that. And as far as women go, I mean, what we know is women usually do good things with money. That’s what we see all over the world is when women have money, we usually do good things with it. So, I think a lot of people are afraid of power, and money represents a certain kind of a power. So, I think that it’s really important.
I see so many women who are still in relationships that they really don’t want to be in that are even potentially abusive or are abusive because of the finance. And that’s a real thing. I would never advise that personally. We’ll just leave. It’s a real thing, but I feel like part of not following into the dependence that I felt was happening for me was realizing I can do all these other things, I can do this too. There’s a reason why I can’t do this. This is just another area of mastery. It’s another area of inquiry. And I can do it step by step because at year one with Hendershott Consulting, it was like, okay, now I’ve got to get it will, like, are you kidding me? A will? Like, I have nothing. Like, what am I willing? Like, I don’t have anything. And those conversations are hard, and they’re not all financial. Like who is it okay for my daughter to be with? Those are all, they’re confronting, but that’s also part of being an adult. And for me, reckoning with money was a part of maturation in becoming an adult.
Hilary Hendershott: I almost feel like we should just fade to black after that response. That was so epic. Thank you. That was amazing. Your perspective is appreciated by me. I like to say to women who think money is the root of all evil kinds of thoughts, it’s like, yeah, there are bad actors, there are broke people doing crappy things, there are rich people doing crappy things, like it’s not causal. It’s not like an unavoidable outcome, which you articulated earlier when you said, I thought I’d be driving a Tesla and doing crappy things with my money, and instead, you’re obviously doing amazing things.
So, I know we’re coming to the end. We’re actually past the end of the time I scheduled on your calendar. Let me just ask you one more question. I was reviewing our communications because we keep all client emails, and the first time you messaged us was in 2018 and you were like, if I could articulate the tone of your communication, it was like, surprised and delighted about your newfound money. I mean, you were making more money than ever before. What was the linchpin to that? What do you think, if you look back at your mindset and your practices, what changed that had your revenue increased by, I think in your message, you said you’re earning three times as much as you were last year?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: So, 2017, in December, my first book came out. 2018, I started a school, and it had training, and then I’d since dismantled the school. What changed was, it was really a question of time. So, at that point, my daughter was probably nine, and so, when she was seven, I moved from Brazil to the US. And in Brazil, I was a yoga teacher. I had a yoga studio in my house and I ran retreats. When I came back to the US, I changed my business completely. I was already a body worker, but I was only working with women’s pelvises, pelvic floor, birth recovery. So, I had to reconstruct my whole life. And so, it didn’t take that long, actually, because the service was so needed, but it took a year of living with my parents and not paying rent. And then another year of living in this garage situation while I wrote the book, and then, by then, I had enough underneath me that things got rolling. And I also hired a PR firm, so I was writing like crazy. I wrote 60 articles in three months.
Hilary Hendershott: Oh my gosh.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Yeah, it was a lot of work, a lot, a lot of work. And it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t like, I was like, oh, I’m inviting so much ease and prosperity in my life. My path wasn’t like that. And I was sick some of the time. Like I would get sick for a couple of weeks because right before I moved, I would lose my voice a lot. I was stretching myself, very thin to kind of get me over that hump into the point where I was earning six figures. So, it was just time and persistence and continuing. And then the online thing really changed because when the MeToo movement happened in October 2017, that was really the first time that I hosted my own online class, which was only, I didn’t have a “platform,” so I just sent people a Zoom link, and they PayPalled me the money. There were no recordings or anything. And that was really what pushed me over the edge to shift from one-on-one sessions to being able to work with more people, which I was terrified to do because I work with trauma. I’m like, is this even responsible to take, number one, a group of people, and number two, they’re not even in the same room with me, or like, if something goes wrong, I can do something about it?
But because of this, the rest of the MeToo, I was like, I felt responsible, like, I need to help with this. And so, that just was the thing that somebody gave me great advice and told me, repeat the thing that works because normally, I’m like reinventing the wheel all the time. And so, I just got that one course Activate Your Inner Jaguar, and therapists started sending people to me. And I could teach you about money, I could teach you about sexuality, I could teach you about mothering, and it all funneled into that one cornerstone course. And that’s what’s really become the base of my income.
Hilary Hendershott: That’s awesome. You’re still offering Jaguar. I saw it on your website today.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Oh, yeah. It hasn’t lost its efficacy or its pertinence yet. And I am somebody who, like when I don’t think it matches what the culture needs, I won’t do it any more just because I make money from it, because this is coherent, it doesn’t make sense. But yeah, it’s still learning about how our nervous system works from an inside-out perspective, that is still very important and useful for the culture where we can actually have conversations with each other and be comfortable in our own skin and be in relationship to our environment. So, I am teaching it four times this year. And I still love doing it because I love teaching. And I love teaching live, and lots of people have said you need to teach it, needs to be evergreen and needs to be this, and you get all the advice. But I love teaching live, so that’s what I do.
Hilary Hendershott: Really, like live on Zoom? Awesome, awesome. Good for you. Well, I want to thank you for being honest. Our conversation today actually reconnected me to a lot of the reasons why I do what I do. So, thank you.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Oh, good.
Hilary Hendershott: Yeah, that was really amazing. How can people connect with you? Where do you want them to find you? If they’re in their podcast player now, where can they find all things you?
Kimberly Ann Johnson: My podcast, if they’re in the podcast, is Sex Birth Trauma. And I am on Instagram, mostly, which is kimberly.ann.johnson, because my name is so common. And then my website is my name, KimberlyAnnJohnson.com.
Hilary Hendershott: Beautiful. Alright, thank you for your time.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: And if you do, KimberlyAnnJohnson.com/Jaguar, then you find out about the course.
Hilary Hendershott: Awesome. Awesome. Alright, thanks for being here.
Kimberly Ann Johnson: Thank you.
Hendershott Wealth Management, LLC and Profit Boss® Radio do not make specific investment recommendations on Profit Boss® Radio or in any public media. Any specific mentions of funds or investments are strictly for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice or acted upon by individual investors. The opinions expressed in this episode are those of Hilary Hendershott, CFP®, MBA.