Rockstar of the Month: Jenny Karlsson of Financials for Creatives

Photo credit: Red Lotus Photography

Photo credit: Red Lotus Photography

We know most folks are a little angsty about April, with tax deadlines quickly approaching and the anxiety that can accompany it for the self-employed. So we've taken it upon ourselves to embrace April with a hefty dose of joy and excitement as we embrace money as our theme for the month.

When we chose money for April's theme, we knew with absolute certainty that Jenny Karlsson of Financials for Creative would be our featured Rockstar. Not only is Jenny a badass business owner, she is also really great with money.

Jenny's love of numbers has supported her throughout her entrepreneurial journey, but really came in handy as she transitioned from her full-time gig in a lab to run her own niche photography business. 

Somewhere along the way, Jenny realized that her love for numbers and planning weren't the norm and set about to change that. And man oh man are we glad she did. 

Jenny shares more about her journey, the importance of an abundance mindset, and how tarot and crystals help to access the softer side of money. And if you want to hang out with Jenny on the regular (or hear her talk about cash-money), you may want to consider joining the Rock It! Community. #justsaying


Photo credit: Yan Palmer

Photo credit: Yan Palmer

Name: Jenny Karlsson
Business:Financials for Creatives
Instagram: @financialsforcreatives
Pinterest: financials4cre8

For those that may not be familiar, can you share more about who you are and what you do?

I am a serial entrepreneur based in Pittsburgh, PA, and recently founded Financials for Creatives to help creative entrepreneurs identify financial weak spots and implement smart solutions to increase their net worth.

I've been a pet photographer for the last six years, and took the leap to self-employment two and a half years ago. I figured out what it would take to make the jump to pursue a very niche business, ensuring that my business was profitable and that our personal finances were optimized for the uncertainty ahead.

Once I made the transition I soon realized that fellow women entrepreneurs, leaders in their own right, were often held back by their financials. I began meeting with women in my local network to help them know their numbers. My soul was calling me to integrate my expertise as a creative business owner with ten years in academic research and an MBA in finance, and to serve my community in a bigger way.

I listened to the whispers that were getting louder and louder, and Financials for Creatives was born. Now I coach women around the country and lead them through the process that enabled me to make the leap.

Where does your love of numbers come from — have you always been a numbers person or was this something that you struggled with for yourself as you were growing your photography business?

Yes and no. I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with numbers. I still can’t for the life of me do math in my head, but give me a complicated excel spreadsheet and I’ll make sense of it all in no-time.

It wasn’t until I became an entrepreneur that I understood that being good at math and being good with money are not the same. I’m definitely the latter. I love looking at a client’s financials and creating a customized plan that can help them answer questions like: how can I project my cash flow, how can I pay myself consistently throughout the year, am I making enough to pay my bills, how can I reach my revenue goals, and what do I need to do in order to keep more at the end of the day? Showing clients what is possible and helping them keep more of the money they earn is my superpower.

What's one of the first things you do with your clients to help them get organized and see the bigger picture of their financials?

The overarching goal when I work with a client is to help them gain a better understanding of their numbers so that they can make better decisions to increase their financial security and net worth. Because money touches all aspects of our lives, I like to approach financials holistically so that they can thrive in business and life.

First I help clients gain an overview of their personal spending habits and translate it into a monthly budget. Next, we focus on the building blocks of establishing a financial plan for their business that allows them to better manage the money they have.  

Photo credit: Jenna Cole Photography

Photo credit: Jenna Cole Photography

Talk to us about the role money mindset plays in success versus struggle. 

There are many ways that our money mindset keeps us stuck. It often shows up in the form of low self-worth, fear of success, believing that having money requires hard work, operating from a place of desperation, fear of raising our prices, and living with a scarcity mindset.

In order to transform these mindsets, we must first acknowledge them. Then we must find ways to raise our self-esteem by owning our expertise, stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone, trusting that what we do has value, learning to say no to not spread ourselves too thin or people-pleasing to prove ourselves, knowing what value we bring so that we can confidently ask for what we’re worth, and learning to believe that operating from a place of enough attracts more abundance.

When we acknowledge these limiting mindsets and commit to doing the inner work to align our self-worth, our net worth increase as a result.

Rockstar of the Month: Jenny Karlsson of Financials for Creatives

Speaking of the softer side of money, we absolutely love that you've been getting more into things like tarot and crystals. How have these helped to shape your perspective around money and/or support the work that you do with your clients?

At first sight, finance seems very black and white. However, when creating new habits around money, we can’t ignore the more intangible aspects. A lot of how we handle our finances is linked to our personality (inner work), and spirituality (higher work), and I find these areas so interesting.

I first picked up an oracle deck out of curiosity, but soon realized that tarot and oracle cards are amazing tools to tune into our intuition and find answers within. I now incorporate the Sacred Creators Oracle Deck during coaching sessions to aid in discussions around next steps to take or offer inspiration that my clients can carry with them in between sessions. I especially love using the abundance or money energetics spread, or client resonance/dissonance spread to look for clues.

I only recently started building a crystal collection, and it keeps growing. Even though crystals can be used for their healing properties, I use them mostly as visual reminders for what they symbolize. Instead of an affirmation or mantra, so to speak.

Where do you see yourself headed in 2017? Any big goals or dreams you want to share with us?

As I continue to grow Financials for Creatives in 2017, and work 1-on-1 with clients from around the country (and the world), my goal is to help more women-owned creative businesses increase their financial flexibility, security, and independence. I love sharing financial strategies and inspiring entrepreneurs to be in charge of their financial destiny through weekly newsletters and daily musings on Instagram.

Famous last words... What advice would you give to women who are struggling to navigate the financial side of running a business?

In order to gain financial clarity, you must know where your money is coming from and where it is going. The best way to do that is by implementing a budget (or spending plan) and giving each dollar a job. Not only is it crucial to have one for your personal finances, but you must have one for your business as well.

While there are several options available (YNAB, Mint, Everydollar) my favorite is YNAB or You Need A Budget. It is completely customizable and requires active participation, which is key for a money habit to stick.

Once you have a system in place you must prioritize paying yourself first and operating within your means.

If the task of having a better understanding of your financials feels overwhelming, don’t suffer in silence. Ask for help.