The Authenticity of Money: My "I Am"

When I was pregnant with Sophia, working at the NYPD, I was writing for Bianca Jade of MizzFit.  What feels like a lifetime ago, Bianca and I created a section of her blog called “Baby Bump Fit Tips.,” where I passionately wrote about pre/post-natal fitness, what was safe and not, why, etc.  I knew in my heart I loved writing. And, even in 2011, I knew content was more or less free, and would not pay the bills.

Thanks to you, my words are read and thanks to your feedback, I have come to realize they resonate with people.  This in turn, has led to clients and yes, my bottom line. I find the more personal and authentic to myself I am and convey in words, the more of a loyal community I build.  

A wise friend of mine, Aimee Barr, an LCSW with her own private practice said it perfectly; we first met in September 2016 at the birthday party of my incredible social media strategist, Pamela Goldberg, and I felt that she could read me just as well as those who have known me for years.  
“To be your best self, it’s really important to stop arguing with your reality.”
 

Translation: some of us are meant to be leaders.  Some are meant to stay home and create an environment where our next generation will thrive.  Some are meant to be entrepreneurs. Others are meant to have a steady “9-5” and exert their energy elsewhere.  In essence, your path is different than mine; we are better off excelling and emphasizing our strengths instead of trying to make ourselves who we are not.

 

Money: My Non-Apologetic View

My professional “I am” statement: I am a passionate, enthusiastic, fitness professional who is eager to help as many people as possible achieve their fitness and wellness goals in a safe, efficient, manner.  Through fitness and wellness, I will bring out the best versions of my clients for them, for their loved ones, and for society at large. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and a work ethic second to none. And, as I wear my heart on my sleeve, authenticity is key in all aspects of my life.

To be me: I need balance.  I cannot work and train 24/7, as rest is equally as important as work.  I need time with my loved ones. I need time to think, explore and innovate. I need my own time to workout.  I need security.And part of security is, yes, money.

For many of us, money is a loaded topic.  It can bring up uncomfortable feelings as well as potential limitations.  It can harm and potentially ruin relationships. I know I have all sorts of hang-ups; the thought of merely asking for payment or compensation makes my stomach do summersaults.  I would rather just avoid and ignore.

And yet, it’s very simple.

For me to stop arguing with my reality, I do need to make money.  I cannot provide for myself, for Sophia, without it. And, I decided over five years ago to leave a job with a set salary in order to create and innovate something that is unique and authentically me.  So, I do not get a consistent paycheck. Thus, I better stop avoiding this very triggering topic and figure it out.

Enter The World of Endorsements

Again, thanks to many of you, I have been able to build The Fit Co since many of you have been clients.  You have not only chosen my product, but you have believed in me, and trusted me, with your fitness and wellness.  For this, I am incredibly grateful.  

And yet, there are only so many hours in the day; so much energy to expend; so much time I can teach; that I can train, and still be the best version of myself.  What if there was a way for me to be compensated through my writing? Through my messaging?

Many of you have probably heard of paid sponsorships and endorsements.  Yes, on a professional level, we see certain athletes wear Nike, while others Brooks.  On a smaller scale, when I was writing for “Baby Bump Fit Tips”, I was dressed by Lululemon while pregnant to feature their clothes that are comfortable for expecting moms.  

Authenticity is Key

When I hired branding extraordinare, Monica Kline, of IDentity Brand Management earlier this year, I was eager and excited.  Monica is an expert in the world of endorsements and, after launching my personal brand, this is her focus. Yet, it is taking me some time for my heart to catch up with my head; is it okay to be compensated to promote something?  

Yes.

Last Monday, we secured our first endorsement.  I will announce who it is with in a later newsletter, but it is with a practice that is very close to mine and my family’s heart for various reasons.  It is a practice I wholeheartedly believe in; one that I have- and would anyway- recommend to people. So, if I could help with their marketing through my words, through my videos, and they compensate me for it, that feels incredibly authentic.  

And what if it was a company, brand, or practice that I do not know well?  What if I don’t have the personal ties?

Circling back; for me to be “I am”= I need security.  And if I know the partnership will be mutually beneficial, that also feels authentic.

Laura Kovall