Her First 100K with Tori Dunlap


Her First 100K with Tori Dunlap

Over the last eight years of helping people get financially healthy, I’ve found that people with clearly defined goals that are personally meaningful have the highest probability of achieving success, and not only achieving their goals but typically much sooner than they expect. That’s why I’m excited to have Tori Dunlap, founder of Her First $100K join me today to share why she set a big goal for herself by the age of 25 and how it’s motivated her to help others do the same.

What Are We Drinking?

Tori — Hot Toddy (whiskey, hot water, lemon, and honey)

Shannon — Black Cherry Schweppes and Vodka

Podcast Notes

  • Shannon and Tori met at Lola Retreat.
  • Tori’s website, Her First 100K, was inspired by Tori’s goal to save $100,000 by 25 years old.
  • She is passionate about the financial health of women and she is a speaker and a coach through her website.
  • Tori was lucky enough to have a great financial education growing up, and she actually started her first business when she was nine years old. She owned vending machines that dispensed handfuls of candy.
  • Tori’s dad bought the first vending machine outright and asked her if she wanted to start a business. He gave her a loan and she paid him back before expanding her business. It took about two years to pay off the first machine, because she was using the profits on the machine to stock it and to pay him back.
  • By the time Tori graduated high school, she owned 15 machines. All profits went to her college fund and she sold the business to a ten year old who was also named Tori.
  • The other Tori is doing the exact same thing as Tori did and she is probably in high school now.
  • Tori thought everybody knew not to overspend on credit cards and to negotiate their salary. She quickly learned that is not the case. 
  • She was the one all of her friends went to for advice. Tori realized there was a gap, and she wanted to give women actionable financial resources in a way that wasn’t this lofty, confusing thing that happens a lot when you talk to financial professionals.
  • This is what she was put on earth to do.
  • Financial literacy is just like regular literacy, in that it has to start in the home. You can’t trust schools to teach your kids financial principles. 
  • At the Gym, the most financially fit clients are the ones whose parents were talking to them about money at an early age. It was a healthy conversation in the home.
  • The first part of Tori’s story is that she graduated college without student debt. She worked three jobs on campus, she was really frugal during that time, she got a ton of merit scholarships, and her parents were able to help some. She would not be as close to $100K without these things happening first.
  • So much of money is privilege and hard work. How do we have a conversation about both.
  • Saving $100,000 by age 25 is like saying you want to run a marathon. It is a lofty goal.
  • Tori read an article on the Financial Diet, when she was 21 or 22, about people who saved $100,000 by age 25. She crunched some numbers and estimated what her salary would be when she was 25, what she earned in her side hustles, and what she expected to earn from the market, and she figured out that she might be able to do it. As long as she did it the day before 26, it still counted.
  • She got to $100K nine months early, when she was 25 and 3 months old. 
  • It got more challenging when she announced it publicly and built her whole brand around it. She figured the only two things that could derail her would be a job loss or a market crash, and neither of those things happened. She figured if she made it to $95K, the community that she built would still be supportive, because that is still a win.
  • Tori is a very goal-centric person and she likes a bit of a challenge. This goal was completely arbitrary and just something she was interested in doing. When she turned 24, she realized that she could actually do it.
  • Tori graduated college at 21 and got her first job five days after she turned 22. She accomplished her goal from age 22 to 25 and three months.
  • A lot of people are scared of setting the goal. If you don’t have a goal, you will get lost. 
  • Shannon never used to set New Year’s resolutions, because she didn’t want to fail. Setting goals is vulnerable. 
  • Tori is a big fan of setting goals that are ludicrous. She likes goals that are so far out that if you are halfway there, you have done amazing work. The $100K was crazy and she knew if she only hit $70K, it would still feel really good. 
  • Tori did this type of goal setting at her nine-to-five job. A goal should be something you are reaching for, not something you can hit easily every single time. That is not a goal.
  • As long as there is an agreement that she can fail within that goal, what she accomplishes is still progress. Even if you don’t hit it, it is a journey, it is an experience, and hopefully you are better off. 
  • If you set a goal to go to the gym three times a week and you only end up going once or twice, that is still more than you were doing before. 
  • Don’t make your goals so easy. Give yourself room to fail. There really is no failure, there is just learning.
  • Be about progress, not perfection.
  • Shannon set a goal this year to raise $8 million by April. She has raised $5.5 million to date. It is still a win.
  • Mediocre goals will not get you anywhere. Big goals will propel you to a better place over time.
  • Having a supportive community is important.
  • Your finances are happening, whether or not you are looking. Make it a point to look at your finances when you are in a mentally healthy place.
  • The shame women feel around money is the exact same shame we feel around food and our weight. If you eat like crap all week, by Saturday night you think, what is another pizza. You already blew it. 
  • It is the same thing with debt. What’s another $2,000 of debt. We negotiate with ourselves, and it is not sustainable. When we don’t make the “right choice”, we shame ourselves, and then we are forced to consume more to deal with the shame. It is a cyclical, horrible thing.
  • The more we can talk about money and the more we can get honest with ourselves and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, the more we can break the shame. That is what is really holding us back in every aspect of our lives.
  • Self sabotaging and allowing the shame to fester is horrible. Shame lives in shadow. The more we can talk about it and talk about our shared experiences with that shame, the better off we are going to be. 
  • It is Shannon’s mission to break the taboo-ness of money and for the shame to leave the shadows. She wants people to know they are not alone. There are not enough conversations about the financial journeys and what they look like. 
  • Financial health is challenging, because there is not a definition for it, or it is some ridiculous number. Every financial health journey is different. The more we talk about it, the more we realize it is not about some shaming number. It is about what is unique to you.
  • Today is Tori’s first day of entrepreneurship, because she just quit her nine-to-five job. She has been building her business on the side for three years. She has had a monumental year and she hopes she has an even crazier 2020.
  • Tori launched Her First $100K and rebranded it in February. She was on the cover of Market Watch in March, and it went viral. It got over one million views and 12 republishing.
  • She was on CNBC and she had a documentary come out about her story. Last month, she was on Good Morning America and now she is in talks about writing a book. There are so many exciting things that are happening.
  • Tori was working a full-time job and running a full-time business. It got to the point where the universe made the decision for her. She was going to wait another six months, because she didn’t feel ready, but it was time.
  • Tori has a good relationship with her previous boss and she sat down with him and talked about how to make it work. They came to the conclusion that it was best for her to move on, because her business is worth pursuing. It was a decision she knew she would need to make eventually, but she didn’t realize she would need to make it so soon.
  • Tori has a lot of exciting things in the next three to four months, and she is strategically thinking about how to pay her bills now.
  • She doesn’t want to use the $100K, but she has the opportunity to do that. Having funds means having freedom. Tori has the freedom to make the choice of how she wants to live her life and now she is focused on scaling her business. 
  • Tori is a money speaker and coach, she does coaching for financial companies, and she does corporate workshops. She fights the patriarchy through financial education for women. 
  • Sometimes you go on a financial health journey and you may not know what the next steps are. Whenever life presents to you an opportunity, the next thing, the next chapter, you don’t want money to get in the way of making that leap. That’s why you do this preparation.
  • Tori’s business has been profitable this year and she has been able to make money. Depending on the month, on average, she barely clears her monthly expenses, after business expenses and taxes are taken out. 
  • With more time to work on the business, she will be able to scale faster. She was turning down opportunities, or she wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunities like she wanted, because she was working for someone else between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
  • Tori has an income coming in and she has various ways of making more income. She is terrified to do this and she is logging her journey of transitioning into entrepreneurship. She likes being honest with people. 
  • She thinks she will be able to make it work with the numbers, but every month is going to be different. 
  • The best way to prepare for something like this is to have the money saved up and create for yourself a paycheck and transfer money twice a month for expenses. Creating some sort of stability in finances is the best way to manage freelancer finances. It is so erratic. 
  • This is the riskiest decision Tori has ever made. She made the decision to quit her nine to five, because she saved $100K and she built her business on the side first and proved the concept.
  • Her nine-to-five job gave her the stability and flexibility to take risks with her business. She wasn’t worried about making a decision that would ruin everything. She was able to make those calls and have the luxury to do that, because she had a stable income and health insurance.
  • If you are thinking about starting a business, there is a time where you will need to just go for it, but there is not enough conversation in the entrepreneurship community around how to grow the side hustle while you are working and holding onto that as much as possible, until you are forced to let it go.
  • Over the next year, Tori is going to say yes to a lot of things, be intentional with her time, and say no when she needs to say no. 
  • She is a coach for women, so she is doing workshops and coaching women all over the world, and she will continue to do this, but she is realizing that it is not the most profitable way to go. It is really hard to get people to pay money to learn about money.
  • Tori will continue with the direct-to-consumer model, but she wants to focus on broader strokes and partner with financial brands to showcase new products and create content with them. She only wants to work with brands she truly believes are doing good work. 
  • Tori has five years of marketing experience and would like to do any sort of financial consulting with brands. She knows the millennial woman very well and most financial companies do not (banks and publications).
  • Tori’s advice is genderless, but she is specifically targeting women, because they need the information in a different way. 
  • Women were not able to get their own credit card until the ‘70s and now they are targeted by creditors because they spend emotionally.

TAKEAWAY: My biggest takeaway is to let go of the fear you have around goal setting, especially as we’re about to head into a new year and a new decade. Start thinking about some pretty bold and seemingly impossible goals that you’d like to accomplish and let’s go about achieving them instead of being afraid of them.

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your next big financial goal?
  2. What is a show you like to binge watch?
  3. What is a food you hated as a child and do you still hate it as an adult?

Connect with Tori

Website: www.herfirst100k.com

Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @herfirst100k

If you’d like to talk to my team at the Financial Gym to help you set big, crazy goals, I hope you’ll reach out to us. Ninety percent of our clients achieve their goals within a year of working with us. The great news is that Martinis and Your Money listeners get 15% off Financial Gym services. So head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to get signed up today.

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