Self Development

10 Money Lessons & Life Lessons I Learned from a Super Successful Friend

November 29, 2023


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These 10 Things Changed My Life!

Article by Colette Nichol, Solo Filmmaker and Story Strategist

Not every single one of these things are money lessons.

But together, these lessons have helped me live a richer life! So let’s get into it. I’m excited to share these things that have truly helped me over the past three years.

But first, some background ie. story time!

It’s 2020.

The world is just starting to crumble. 

My main client is a private school going through turmoil. The board is falling apart and a new head honcho is taking over. It’s a bad scene. Very bad indeed.

It’s time for me to split.

Normally, that would be cause for alarm. I was about to lose about 80% of my income and business revenue. But I wasn’t scared. In fact, I was excited.

I could feel that something good was going to happen despite all the chaos with my business and the world at large!

And I wasn’t wrong. 

10 money lessons
I could feel that something good was going to happen despite all the chaos with my business and the world at large!

I got lucky. 

At the exact time that I needed to move away from my biggest client, I got an email from a woman who had found my video work online. She was looking to grow the business she runs with her husband, and she wanted a video for the business.

We got on a call, and immediately connected. 

Her energy and drive was infectious! Plus their business was sitting on a major opportunity, and I was SURE that I could help them.

Tiffany started out as a client, but over the past few years has become a close friend.

Because of her, I’ve changed the way that I think about money, success, and growing a business. Today, I’m excited to share the ten life lessons I’ve learned from Tiffany over the past three years.

These ten things have utterly transformed my life—the inner and the outer.

These life lessons aren’t all things that Tiffany has said to me or explicitly taught me. (Although she does give great advice.)

Instead, most of them are things that I’ve observed her do. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a few successful, happy, and growth-oriented friends, pay attention to how they operate in the world and take some mental notes!

We can learn something from everyone.

But, I believe that we can learn the most from those who embody the traits and skills we aspire to develop.

Tiffany is one of my most successful friends.

But I’m not just talking about assets and career success. (Though that’s nice too!) She also has a beautiful family and an incredibly positive and growth-oriented perspective. Even when she’s struggling, she’s able to get back on the horse and find a way to keep going. This is what makes her successful.

None of her success is by accident. 

But none of her success is by accident. 

It’s Not Just Luck

Success, money, and happiness are not things that just randomly hit people like meteors landing in the desert.

They come to those who consistently cultivate specific (and helpful) thought patterns and behaviours. 

Yes, luck is always a part of any mega success story. But when it comes to regular people doing what they love and finding success, it’s mostly about habits, action, and mindset.

Tiffany is a money mindset master. She consistently excavates her limiting beliefs and works to release them so she’s not holding herself back. 

She doesn’t take anything for granted, and she’s always focusing on growth. 

So how has all of this affected me?

Well, this year, my business has finally reached a major revenue goal that I’ve been going after for literally YEARS! And the business is no longer “just” me. Story Envelope Media is now a 4-person team. In the last eight months, I’ve gone from me doing everything myself to training a small team to help build the business.

My health is better than ever.

And our apartment no longer looks like something crafted by preschoolers. 

And a lot of this growth has come from applying the life and money lessons that I’m about to share with you. 

I hope these 10 lessons I’ve learned will help you in your creative life, your personal life, your money life, and your business or career!

You deserve to be happy, healthy, well paid, and creatively fulfilled.

So…here are some money lessons and life lessons that may help you out:

10 Life and Money Lessons that Transformed My Life

1. Spend money on what you love and value.

Some people spend like drunken sailors.

Other people won’t spend an extra dime on anything. Try to be in the middle. Spend on what you love, and you’ll actually enjoy your money.

Plus you’ll attract more money into your life if you enjoy the flow of money.

If you refuse to use money to support yourself in the areas that you value, it will be hard to bring more money into your life. As a creative, that might mean looking at whether you’re being miserly with your chosen career. This money lesson may actually be one of the most important because it allows you to enjoy your life while also saving for the future.

Spend on what you love and you’ll actually enjoy your money, and you’ll attract more money into your life. I love camera gear and being creative. So that’s what I spend on without guilt! (But yes, I have a budget.)

2. Cut costs in areas that you don’t value.

Everyone needs to have some kind of budget.

Maybe you don’t have a spreadsheet with all your fixed expenses. But you need to have a rough idea of where your money goes. And if too much of your money is getting spent on stuff you just don’t care about, what incentive do you have to earn more? 

Do you overspend on subscriptions or eating out even though you really don’t value these things at all? 

Know your priorities and allow money to be a way that you express your priorities.

I like this money lesson because it allows me to save without making me feel like I’m downgrading anything. In fact, it feels fun to cut out things that I don’t actually care about — like those subscriptions to Audible and Paramount that I wasn’t even using!

3. Act fast. Money loves movement. Success loves action.

One of the things I’ve observed about Tiffany is how she takes instant action.

It used to drive me a little crazy. We’d be Zooming, and I’d have some “great idea.” As soon as it hit her that this was a useful idea, she’d take action! Like, in the moment. While we were still on the call. 

I used to think it was a little nuts. But then I got it, and started trying it out myself. 

Here’s what I discovered: if you take action immediately, you reduce the friction in your life. Wins and losses come faster. You learn more quickly. You don’t get stuck in the indecision zone. 

Say someone recommends an editing program that’s free and could actually help you start making that movie you want to make. If you’re Tiffany, you grab your laptop and download the program immediately. No really. You don’t wait. (By the way that editing program exists: DaVinci Resolve. Look it up!)

OK, you can’t do this while driving.

But if you’re just chatting with someone, and something hits you, often you can take some version of action right away. 

This money lesson has helped me get out of paralysis and into action. It’s reason that I now have a team that I’m training to help me grow my business. If I hadn’t started cultivating a bias towards action, I think I’d still feel stuck.

Money Lesson 3: Money comes to those who act fast.

4. Always be stretching. 

Anyone and everyone can be more successful (whatever the heck that means to you).

How? Stretching. It’s impossible not to grow if you’re always asking yourself to stretch towards something a little bit difficult. 

Sure, you can give yourself little breaks now and then. But as a rule, if most of the projects you take on are a stretch, you literally cannot get stuck! 

While this isn’t a “money lesson,” it does actually help you to earn more while doing what you love. It’s hard to keep earning the same forever, if you keep growing your skills and confidence!

5. Be generous within your means. 

In the world of creatives, we have two different ways that people self-sabotage.

There are people who are totally cheap. They just say to themselves, “I’m barely scraping by. I have nothing to give.” And then you have those who give EVERYTHING away for free!

Neither of these are good options. Instead, know your means, and be generous within those means. If you have $1000 in your bank account, you can give $1 to the food bank. That’s still generous. Generosity feels good, and in my experience breeds self-confidence and trust. 

But over giving is draining mentally and financially.

So try to find a balance.

Tiffany is one of my most generous friends. But what I’ve also observed is how her generosity is logical. She doesn’t drain herself with her generosity because she is generous within her means, both financially and emotionally. 

Be generous within your means. 
She doesn’t drain herself with her generosity because she is generous within her means, both financially and emotionally. 

6. Be growth focused rather than outcome focused.  

Too many creatives get stuck obsessing over outcomes.

Instead, if you focus on competing against yourself and focusing on growth, you won’t get stuck. What’s one area that you could stand to see some growth? Cool! Focus on that area. Yes, give yourself a goal if you like. But then focus on the growth. 

7. Don’t let fear get in the way of action.

This is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from Tiffany.

When we did our first series of videos together, she was nervous. But she went for it anyway. And over the past few years, I’ve seen how even when fear comes up she still keeps going.

This is such a critical thing for all of us creatives to do. 

We’re all going to be afraid of some big stretch project. It’s normal. But we have to find a way to see the fear, feel the fear, and take one small step at a time. 

8. Watch out for negative patterns and let them go.

We’ve all got negative thoughts that seem to repeat themselves over and over in our minds like psychotic parrots.

The only way to get rid of these thoughts is to question them. Is it true? Do I really believe this? Why do I think this? Can something else be true?

Watch out for negative patterns and let them go.
Watch out for negative patterns and let them go.

9. Always be learning. 

This should probably have been tip #1.

But it’s pretty hard not to become more successful in life if you’re always learning. What do you want to do with your life? Great!

Now what’s one area where you could focus your learning for the next 3 months? 

I’ve seen a direct correlation between Tiffany’s formal education and self-education and the success we’ve been able to achieve with her and her husband’s business over the past three years. 

As long as you learn and apply what you learn, growth is inevitable.

10. Let people know how much you value them. 

This is huge. People often don’t know how much you appreciate them.

Most of us underestimate the influence we have on the people in our lives. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten tons of heartwarming emails from Tiffany. She’s always sharing how much she values my friendship and work. This in turn makes me want to do even better work for her and be an even better friend. 

Appreciation is genius life hack.

But, it only works if it’s real. Obviously. 

Who do you appreciate the most? Have you told them lately? 

Final Thoughts

I hope these ten life lessons have given you some inspiration and food for thought.

If you want to follow Tiffany’s work, then check out her money mindset blog. It’s called the Money Secrets Blog and it’s full of thoughtful and useful articles. 

She recently wrote one of the best articles I’ve ever read about manifesting. And she’s also got articles about budgeting, saving, money mindset, and limiting beliefs. 

As creatives, if we don’t expand our ability to generate revenue in our businesses or command a greater income in our careers, we’re limiting our ability to make an impact with our art. 

So I truly hope you found these tips useful and are motivated to keep growing and expanding!

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About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been making videos and micro films for small businesses and global brands since 2014.

Plus, I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a filmmaker.

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