Ep #20: Pursuing A Dream When You’re Broke

I was in $80,000 of student loan debt, had monthly bills and zero outside assistance when I decided to quit my job and discover my dream career. I was completely on my own, forced to fend for myself and figure it out. And that’s exactly what I did– I figured it out. Because like many broke, soon-to-be success stories, I learned how to look at money as an obstacle, not as an excuse. Today, I’ll help YOU approach your money situation with a new mindset so that you can start taking action toward your goals right now!


  • How to regain your control over money so that it’s serving you in the direction you want to go
  • How people with a WINNING mindset think about money, even when they’re broke
  • What to do when you’re convinced that money is the reason you can’t pursue a dream!



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Welcome back everybody. Thanks so much for being here as always. Today, I am talking about How To Pursue a Dream When You’re Broke– I don’t know that I’ve ever talked about this or at least never dedicated an entire episode to it in the past– like on YouTube, so I’m excited to dig my heels into this topic with you– for you– because money is one of those things that has the potential to stop people dead in their tracks when it comes to pursuing a bigger dream and going after what they really want.

Now this is one of those subject matters that I get a TON of pushback on as a coach and even from people that I know personally. People will say all of the time, “Yea Shaina, I’d love to do this. Or I want to do that, BUT I don’t have the money.”

So today, my intention is to help you think about money in a different way– to help you regain your power and let go of your limiting beliefs about money and the control you think it has over you and your ability to do great things.

Because as most of you know, I did not start my own journey swimming around in a pile of money. In fact, I was $80,000 in student loan debt when I decided to quit my job, I had multiple monthly bills and zero outside assistance– I was completely on my own, forced to fend for myself and figure it out. And that’s exactly what I did. I figured it out. Because my dream of discovering and building a career that I was obsessed with was way too important for something like money to stop me.

So the first question I want you to ask yourself is: how important is this dream to me? How badly do I want this for myself?

Because I’ll tell you something– the people that want it, that are hungry for it, do not use money as an excuse. They just don’t.

So if money is your “thing”, if money is the reason (the excuse) for why you’re standing still, then I want you to first question your commitment and your desire for this thing that you say you really want. If you haven’t made any moves (and haven’t taken any action steps toward your dream) because of money, how badly do you actually want this thing?

Now I know that some of you are listening right now, and maybe getting a little defensive, thinking: I do want this. It’s unfair for you to assume that I don’t. Money really is an issue. You don’t know my situation.

If this is you, I want to offer you two nuggets of wisdom that I know 100% to be true.

The first is this…money may be an obstacle, but it’s not an excuse. Let me repeat that. Money may be an obstacle, but it’s not an excuse.

And when you can learn to approach money in this way and look at it as an obstacle (not an excuse), it’s so powerful. It literally hands you back your power on a silver platter. And the people that can look at money as a mere obstacle are the people that decide (really decide and commit) to changing their lives. These people find a way, not an excuse. And I talk more about this shift in your thinking in episode #16, The Decision to Change Your Life.

People who blame money for their misfortunes or WHY they aren’t succeeding and moving, remain powerless. Their take on money sounds like, I’m immobile until something outside of me changes. Until I have X amount of money. Until my debt is gone. Until glittery unicorns fly down and sprinkle green paper all over me.

People who look at money as an obstacle, remain in control of their destiny. Their view on money sounds more like: OK, what can I do to make more money? How can I add more value? What can I cut back on? What can I change? Who can I call? What information can I gather? What can I sell? How can I make this happen? What are my options? What resources are available to me?

When we use money as an excuse, we stand still.

When we see money as an obstacle, we take action.

Big difference.

So if you’re on the other end, and you’re noticing yourself becoming even a teeny bit defensive and wanting to come back at me with: I hear what you’re saying, BUT…(dot, dot,dot), just notice that for now. That’s all I encourage you to do. Notice your own argument. Notice your own rebuttals.

Don’t underestimate this awareness. OK? When you can take full ownership of how you think about money, you are one step closer to taking full ownership over your dreams and taking that first (second, third) step forward.

Because what I know for sure is that somebody who is committed to changing their life and who has decided to pursue their goals is not thinking: “It’s unfair for you to assume that I don’t really want my dream. Money really is an issue. You don’t get it. You don’t understand. It’s not that easy. My situation is different and harder.”

Successful people en route to their goals never thought like that! Because that thinking does not serve us in the direction that we say we want to go.

The person, who has a winning mindset is instead thinking: Yes, money is an obstacle, BUT I’m figuring it out. It’s not going to stop me from moving forward. Right now, I am gathering information, I’m laying out all my options, I’m going to figure it out.

This person is still broke. However the difference here, is that they’re identifying themselves as a rich person whose already winning, but just happens to be broke right now.

So what does your BIG BUT sound like? Does it sound like…

A.) I want to pursue my dream, BUT I’m broke. That BUT negates your dream instantly.


B.) I want to pursue my dream and I’m broke, BUT I’m actively figuring it out.

The latter is what gets us to ACT. The latter is what drives us to become our own problem-solver and to not take “NO” for an answer.

And if you’re on the other end STILL saying, no, no, no, you still don’t get it, you still don’t understand…all I ask is that you pay attention to that. Notice it. Just be aware of it.

Just a few days ago, I received an email from somebody after she had listened to the episode, “The Decision to Change Your Life.”

This is what her email said: My problem is a money issue. I get disability, but I want to self-publish books. Problem is I can’t seem to gather enough money to make it happen. Other things take over like food and household items. What can I do in this case?

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t usually respond to these types of emails or DM’s– and I get a lot of them. However, because I was working on show notes for this specific episode, I did respond to this email.

This was my reply: I just did a quick google search and on average it’s about $200-$300. If you were to set aside $1 per day, that’s $375 or just $.50 per day, that’s $182.50 at the end of a year.

Now the point of my response was not to be insensitive to her situation NOR was it to provide her with a solution to her “money problem”, the point of my response was to demonstrate how little effort it takes to “google something.” How little effort it requires to get information and come up with possible solutions.

Her response back was this: Self-publishing had cost me over $1,000 for full service on my first book. But if you found those figures, can you please let me know the links? With those prices, I know I can make it.

My response back was: Just Google it.

Again, my intention here is not to be rude whatsoever. It’s just an opportunity to reiterate the fact, that guys, there is so much incredible, valuable free content on the internet, it’s bananas– and gathering information is a KEY step in solving any problem. So when I get messages from people, telling me their life story, and their problems and saying: I NEED YOUR HELP! Tell me what to do. What should I do. How can I make more money? What are my options? How can I leave my job?

I can’t even. That’s what I have to say about that. I dedicate so much of my time (and my time is money) to giving out as much free content as I possibly can to help as many people as I possibly can find their passion and turn it into a profitable career. So when people message me, asking me questions that they’d easily find the answers too (or the guidance to) by just searching the archives on my YouTube Channel or podcast library, I won’t respond.

If you google “How to make money” there are over 9 billion search results. If you google “how to make extra money” there are over 2 billion search results. If you google “how to grow and sell vegetables indoors” there are over 67 million results. The world is your oyster. There are so many ways to your will. So much information to gather and explore and learn from.

When I quit my corporate job, in debt and without a plan, you better believe that I was using the internet. Researching side hustle jobs, gathering information about my health insurance options, selling my belongings (ALL of my belongings on Craig’s List), making phone calls to lower my car insurance premium and defer my student loan payments, reading books on how to find my life’s passion and then later on pursue it.

Like I figured it out along the way. Because I had to, because I wanted to create a better life for myself and that meant becoming my own active problem-solver. It meant thinking outside the box. It meant making some major sacrifices. And even a little bit of risk. But it was worth the cost to me. All the work, the dedication, the go-getter, “nothing is going to stop me (not even money)” attitude is what propelled me forward and has gotten me here today.

Just the other day, I looked over at Nathan and I was like, can you imagine working the 9-5 at a job we hate right now? He was like NO! We both LOVE our work, have the freedom to work from home, make our own schedules and drink Rose on a Tuesday if we want to. Like we created this work environment for ourselves. And I look back in the other direction and think, WOW, when I made that decision at 24, 25 years old to figure out my life (and find and build my dream career) even in student loan and credit card debt , it would have been so easy for me to use those things (like debt)– as a reason to stay. As a reason to never get on the internet and gather information. A reason not to get clear on the “problems” and pose my own solutions until one stuck. A reason to never ever take that first step!!!

And isn’t it such a shame how many people never ever take that first step because of money.

A lot of us will look at the big picture of our dream and immediately shut it down because it seems financially impossible.

My dream is to open my own home decor boutique, but I don’t have the money to do that. My dream is to design clothes, but I’m broke and have no idea where to start…whatever it is!

Guys, this is a phenomenal time to be alive. There’s never been a better time to dream big and bring that dream to life. I saw my cousin whose also a young entrepreneur around the holidays and him and I got to talking. And he said to me, “Shaina, the number of opportunities there are out there today is unreal. And the number of people who aren’t taking advantage is unreal.”

Both him and I share a very similar mind in the sense, that I think it’s very difficult for us to comprehend WHY people aren’t really fighting– really giving their dreams a fighting chance in the 21st century. Like obviously as a coach, I know why (fear, resistance, impatience and all the other crap), but on that very surface level, I don’t understand it. I look at people who settle and who use things like money or lack of resources to justify managing a life they don’t want, and I honestly don’t get it. Like sometimes I just want to scream, FIGURE IT OUT!!

I was lying in bed last night and I was thinking about my purpose. And I thought, aside from my general purpose of helping people live up to their full potential, I thought my purpose is to show people, to be an example of what’s possible when you invest in yourself and take full ownership over your circumstances. Like I’m not somebody who sat on a trust fund, I’ve been working and paying my bills since the age of 14. I’ve never once said “woe is me,” it’s not fair, my situation is different and harder. I wouldn’t be here today with that mindset. I chose to think differently. I chose to use my circumstances to my advantage. And I truly believe more than ever, my purpose is to be an example for people of how you can drastically change your life, but taking 100% responsibility for it.

Anyway, back to taking the first step. It takes far less than you think it does to take the first step. The first step might be to gather that information online, to pick somebody’s brain in that industry, to draw some sketches, to just write that first blog title.

Stop looking at these big costs that don’t actually exist right now and just take one small step after the other. That’s it! A student of mine who is enrolled in Find Your Passion, came onto one of our calls and was so worried about selling “it” and how she would make money from “it.” And I say “it” because she doesn’t even know what “it” is yet. She’s somebody who hasn’t even defined her dream as of right now, yet still is telling herself that it won’t make money or that problems are around the corner. But these problems only exist in her mind.

And I told her, your only job is to take one small step after the other. And just see where it leads. Your job is not to worry about the HOW right now. The how will unfold organically in time. One small action step after the other.

Because think about what your life will look like in one year if you did something every day toward your bigger dream.

Going back to the young woman who wrote me that email. Imagine if she saved just $.50 a day, she’d be able to self-publish that book she says she wants to publish.

But when we become so focused on the “problem,” when we sit back and wait for solutions to appear out of the sky or for somebody else to tell us what to do or provide us with what we need, we miss the many opportunities and solutions that are otherwise right there, waiting for us. We must be willing to do our due diligence. And are you willing to do that?

And again, I don’t usually respond to those emails, DM’s and comments. They’re too exhausting. But I will tell you the kinds of emails, DM’s and comments that I absolutely LOVE reading and responding too.

For example, I just received this comment from a viewer who first watched my videos 10 months ago. She said: “Since then, I left my job with no backup plan, picked up some side hustles, doing some freelance work, driving ride share, and shopping for Shipt. I have never been happier. This is allowing me more flexibility to work on my business because I now make my own schedule.”

These types of messages are so refreshing and they feed my soul! This is somebody whose saying, thanks for your content, I’m taking control, I’m solving my own problems, jumping over obstacles, I’m figuring this out and finding ways toward my bigger dream!

Taking 100% ownership you guys over your thinking, feelings, actions and results will change your life. I know that 100% to be true. And I’m excited to continue to be an example of that. If you have your own success story, times in your life that you worked hard and overcame your own obstacles, I’d love to hear about it! You can go ahead and email me, contact info is on my website www.shainaleis.com. And your win might be featured on a future podcast episode.

Thank you so much for listening as always. I will see you next time. Bye!




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