When she realized that personal finance like a foreign language to a lot of people, Cady North knew she could turn her knowledge into a business. Her financial planning firm, North Financial, helps her clients find how to organize their finances so that they can concentrate on what's important. Here, she tells us why she knew starting her own firm was right for her, and why she thinks financial freedom is so important.
Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I'm the founder of North Financial -- a boutique financial planning firm that specializes in helping women dream big and get their personal finances on track. A lot of my clients aren't entrepreneurs yet, but they want to be, or at least know they don’t want to work the same desk job forever. However, with their busy personal and professional lives, they don’t have the time to wade through mountains of news and information to figure out what to do about their budget or how to plan financially for creating their business, much less review their investing and retirement planning. Working with me, my clients are able to get their personal financial lives in order so that they can live out their greater purpose.
How would you define your professional mission?
My mission is to provide effective and affordable financial planning tools to women who desire to be their best self -- financially, professionally, and personally. I help women dream bigger in all these areas.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
My “one day” goal was to change the fact that financial literacy isn’t taught enough in schools at any level and create ways to make finances less scary/boring/difficult for people. I never thought I could make money doing it. I envisioned being a public speaker and doing this work on the side later in life. However, after spending some time bouncing ideas off other people, I saw this was a real issue for many of my peers and that I had real solutions to help them out. Things crystallized for me that this was a passion that I could turn into a business, and it didn’t have to be later. It could be now!
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I get a lot of energy from it! To me that’s a great sign that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. Sitting down with a new client to help them understand the bigger picture of where their life, goals, and finances intersect is a great reason to go to work everyday. My job is to help them discover why money is important to them and show them that it’s a tool to find financial freedom. A lot of my work is helping my clients discover what financial freedom really means to them -- the answer can be very different depending on the person.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
Intuition. It’s what lead me to move across the country to take a job in DC almost 9 years ago. That led to new roles and completely changed my career trajectory. Intuition is also what lead me to leave six-figure certainty, and start up my own business in 2015. I didn’t spend a ton of time planning any of it, but as opportunities presented themselves I had a good hunch that things would work out, and decided to take action. I’m now able to use that intuition and decisiveness to help my clients dig deeper into their own dreams and desires and find the right financial solutions to get there.
What does success look like to you?
A lot of people define success, especially in business, by profits and growth rates. For me, I want to get to a place where I’m giving back at least a quarter of my time doing pro-bono work. I want to provide more free public speaking and free one-on-one coaching with those who need it most. Obviously, you can’t ignore profitability growth, bookkeeping duties, or marketing ROI, but being successful to me, means finding and going after your greater purpose and continuing to learn things along the way.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
When you work for yourself, being able to separate work from personal life becomes a lot harder, but a lot more necessary. As an entrepreneur I struggle with finding the right balance sometimes, so I try and schedule self-care into my day. For instance, health is important to me - so I try to get outside for walks during most days. I also make time to check-in with a workout buddy a few times a week. Another trick I use is scheduling "fun breaks" in my calendar. These include catching a live music performance or art installation during the day when there are fewer crowds and grabbing lunch or coffee with friends. I don't always get to shutdown my laptop at 6, but these built-in breaks help me with balance.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Negotiate at least a 20% pay raise when you move to a new job / role.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I've really enjoyed watching this organization grow and evolve, even since it was known as 85 Broads. It's great that Ellevate can command so much media attention and get people talking about women in business. But more than that, I love that it brings women together from different industries and backgrounds and provides a forum for us to help each other as we launch, lead and grow our own professional endeavors.