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Our first guest on The Financial Confessions is YouTube royalty, beauty superstar, and influencer, Ingrid Nilsen! On this episode, Ingrid reveals many hard financial numbers – including her salary, how she pays her assistant, and what exactly gave her the financial opportunity to succeed.

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Hey, guys. It is Chelsea Fagan, and this is The Financial Confessions, and I cannot wait to welcome our guest.

It's our very first guest, and it's like a nervous-exciting moment for us here at TFD. So as you guys might know, we are proudly producing "The Financial Confessions" in partnership with Intuit. And if you haven't heard of Intuit before, you've definitely heard of the awesome products that they make-- from QuickBooks, to TurboTax, to Mint-- basically everything that you need to get your finances under control, in order, and vastly improved.

They use technology to put a virtual CFO in your pocket and make every money decision easier, smoother, and better-- from managing your day-to-day budget, to getting paid on time, to making tax season feel easy for once, and getting back your biggest possible return. We'll be talking a little bit more about some of the products. Intuit offers later in the show.

But for now, if you cannot wait to get started on making your own finances better, check out the link in our description or the show notes to learn more. And today, I'm extremely excited because we have our very first in-studio guest. And trust me when I say, I was at the flower shop this morning getting flowers and scooting things around in the office.

Because it's, like, we're having guests over. It's very exciting. And it's Ingrid Nelson!

Hello. Hi. The office looks amazing, by the way.

Thank you. And I also loved seeing the waterfall feature, which is the bonus here. I don't know how, for the podcast listeners, we're going to even be able to accurately describe it, but let's quickly start by just telling a little bit, for those of you who might not know, which I feel bad for if you don't, who Ingrid Nelson is.

Obviously, I knew her throughout the years as a beauty blogger, which I feel like has become, of late, a rather sullied term. But what do you think? I mean, I feel like also, just even the word "YouTuber" has kind of become a sullied term.

I agree. But I am proud of my roots and where I've come from. And being on YouTube for 10 years, to me, it feels like a huge accomplishment and also a really big deal.

And so I don't shun "beauty vlogger" or "YouTuber." I think it's all been part of my journey. And so--. That's awesome. --I very much see myself as a beauty creator, and that has evolved as I have evolved.

And now, it's really combined with how I live my life, which is, I try to be as intentional as possible about living my life. So it's like beauty and intentional living, but I totally see myself as a YouTuber. And you also have a very awesome podcast called One Step--.

Yes. --which I was recently on. And we will link you guys to that episode. I also just really love enjoying--.

I love listening to the show. And I'd love to hear just a little bit for those who might not know about your podcast and what you do on it. Yes, so the podcast is very much my creative project right now.

And I'm so excited that we got to have you as a guest. But the whole idea for the podcast was really highlighting the small steps and big transformations. And so talking to people about changes and transformations that they have made in their lives, but also breaking it down in a small way, where people could see what has been the hardest step?

What has been a step that you didn't see coming and things like that. Because I noticed when I would consume things, whether they were interviews or things that I was reading,. I always wanted to know, what were those smaller moments in someone's life that got them to where they are now and the journey that they're on right now?

I say that something like the term "vlogger," or "beauty vlogger," or "blogger," in my case, or whatever it might be, feels like a sullied term. And part of that, I think, is because a lot of people have zero understanding of what that entails as a career, but also because, to your point, a lot of people, I feel, the second they get even an inch away from that want to completely disavow it. And I remember this year at VidCon,.

I saw someone on Twitter. And I actually don't even remember who it was, but it was one of the big OG YouTubers, tweeting something about how like-- they were so-- like, they could not believe like all these ridiculous tick-tock teams, like filming themselves, and running around carrying on at the convention center, and how embarrassing, and this, that, the other. And I remember thinking to myself at that time, do you know how people looked at you when you were a 17-year-old recording yourself and uploading yourself in your bedroom and how people would have probably said the exact same thing about you and now look at what you've accomplished as a result?

And it really made me wonder, how do you feel capable of both growing past that label and redefining it, but also not crapping on it or not feeling like you have to escape what it used to mean or what it might mean to someone else? When I look at my career, I try to look at it in its entirety. And when I started, this wasn't an industry.

It was maybe like a year or two into when I was making videos that people were-- articles were starting to come out, where they were saying, you know, some YouTubers, like this small handful of YouTubers, are making a full-time living off of uploading content on the internet. And so it was an entirely different world. I entered this space not thinking this is going to be my career.

And it just so happens that, 10 years later, it is my career. And I think to deny the beginning of where all of that started, when this was the language, the only language that we had at that time, I think to try and lock that part of myself and my journey away and not want to fully acknowledge what that has meant to my career trajectory is actually really harmful for me and makes me-- it puts me in a place of fear. And so I'm welcoming to the label "YouTuber" and "beauty vlogger" because I have been those things and, in a lot of ways, I still am those things, even as my career changes and maybe other labels I'm adding on to that, but that still is a part of where I've come from.

And I don't want to deny that. I feel like, for me, a lot of it has always been a need to have other people see me the way I want to be seen. And particularly when it comes to other people in my life who are not very online, which is, essentially, everyone and certainly everyone who's either older than me, or doesn't work in this industry, or family members, all that kind of stuff.

And it was very hard for several years. Like, now, there have been small things. Like, if you have a physical office, it is difficult to deny that that is, at some level, a real business.

But before you have that, you feel like you have to be like, no, no, no, we're really making money, and this is a real thing, and we have employees. Because for them, there was no context to understand what this work is or that it is even work. And even to this day, I can't say-- like, I just this morning sent my in-laws a picture of the office looking cute, mostly because I want to feel like they understand that I have a real job.

And I feel like I don't know if we'll ever get-- if people who grew up professionally digitally will ever get the same feeling of validation that other people professionally might get. And I don't personally know yet how to completely let go of that. I have been on many a family thing, especially with my in-laws who are not American and have even less context for all of this.

And we'll be at a table, and they will ask everyone, every man, every male cousin's opinion about some work thing. And I'm like, not for nothing dickheads, but I have, like, six full-time employees, and no one asks me. And I've been upset with my husband before and been like, well, what do I do?

And he's like, you have to understand it's not because you're a woman-- although maybe in a little way it's because I'm a woman. I usually feel like that's always a piece. It's a little part of that.

But also, he's like, they don't understand that online is real. They don't understand that any of this is a real business. They have no ability to contextualize what you do.

And they honestly probably feel like they'd be stupid for asking questions. So I'm curious if you've ever run into that feeling in your life with people in your life and how you've kind of dealt with it. Totally.

I mean, I've run into that, just personally and also professionally, like especially in the early days, being in meetings with people at major publications, editors, and having them sit there across from me and tell them that what I was doing, essentially, did not matter, that I was doing it wrong, and that I should change what I'm doing to be like X, Y, and Z because that's what people actually want to see and just sitting there thinking, what? I feel like it's going to be my life's journey to release caring whether or not people think I'm doing real work. That's terrible.

Like, there are people with real problems. Like, things could be so much worse. But it's so right that if you're working from home and you know that you spend all day grinding it out and doing, to your point, what you would've been doing in an office, somehow that is-- even though you know exactly what you did, and you know what it's going to get you, and you know what it means, a little bit of it feels tarnished by someone else thinking that you just sat there on your couch watching Netflix all day.

Do your parents-- do they know online? My dad has made a running joke for several years of, you should get a job. And I'm like, I have--.

And he's like, oh, I know, I know. And I'm like, I have several things that are going on. It wasn't until I had a benefits card that was like, look at this insurance my employer gave me--.

Totally. --that he was like, wow. And he cried, and he was like, you made it. And I was like, it doesn't matter if I have like 40,000 listeners in the first hour when.

I drop a podcast? No, that doesn't matter. What matters to him is that I have the trappings of what he thought success looked like.

And I think it behooves us and it behooves all young people, but especially of our generation in this industry, to take a moment where you decide that you're taking yourself seriously and that what you do is real and matters. The recent, bigger, and more public achievements that I've had and I know the work that it took to get there, like my interview with President Obama in 2016, I know a lot of people look at that and think that it was a fluke incident and that maybe somebody else wrote the questions for me. I wrote the questions myself.

And I know for a fact that there were women and specifically women of color working on the YouTube and Google teams who fought for me to be in that position and that I had to go through this vetting process that was super intense, where I spent hours on the phone, just basically putting my life story out there for people. And I know that there were multiple pieces that got me to that place where I was able to conduct that interview with President Obama, but also ask him the question that then went viral, which was about the luxury tax on menstrual products. And I learned that information by being in the menstrual awareness activist space for, now, 12 years, but years-- even before I was on YouTube, I was like learning about menstrual awareness.

And I had learned information from other people at a grassroots level, other women who passed on that information to me, and then I ended up in this place where the timing was right, and I happened to be across from the most powerful person in the country and asked him that question, why does this luxury tax exist on menstrual products, and he admitted to not knowing. And it's interesting that some people will try to take that moment away from me and all of the other people that worked to help create that moment. . Because maybe they think that "beauty vlogger," quote unquote, is that charged word that can only mean one thing.

Totally. So I'm curious then, when you talk about, like, for example, people wanting to take something like that away from you because of the specific way that they see you or people who do the work that you do, obviously, that then becomes a moment where it's completely up to you to decide how you feel about that. And I'm wondering if there is something in there that you learned that you feel is really applicable.

I mean, obviously, interviewing the president is such a thing to be proud of and such a thing that anyone can contextualize. So even when some people are trying to diminish that, it's, I think, easier than some situations to hold onto. And I'm curious what has been helpful for you in terms of like a specific strategy for when maybe it's not so easy to hold onto your personal feeling of worth and success and even for people who might be in a job that is incredibly thankless, or really underpaid, or not treated very well, like, things that they can do to feel like, I don't care what anyone else thinks of this.

I know I'm doing good and meaningful work. Yeah. I think that, for me, ultimately that feeling of being diminished, either when it's coming from other people trying to diminish me and then I'm internalizing that and I'm starting to diminish myself,.

I think, ultimately, that is coming from this feeling of scarcity and that my life has to be limited because other people think that it has to be limited. And I think the thing that helps me to work through those moments is to not think about my life in this tidy little box, but to think about it like, I can love and enjoy beauty, and I can also be pursuing things like menstrual awareness activism, and I can be hungry for information and wanting to learn more. I can be interested in history.

It doesn't have to be this, only these things are OK in my life, and I have to shun my other often creative or intellectual interests. It can be a, yes, I can be this thing, and I can also be these other things, too. Do you think that being financially successful helps you feel that freedom in some ways?

Totally. I mean, I look at my younger self, and I felt so limited when I was younger. . My mom had cancer from the time I was a freshman in high school past graduating high school.

She was in and out of treatment. My dad died my junior year of high school right after I had turned 17. My mom was the main breadwinner for our household, and I had to support herself; my dad; my grandmother; her mother, who moved here from Thailand; and me.

And so I came from a life where there wasn't often extra. The money that we had was put towards surviving. And even the money that we didn't have-- my mom had to go into debt sometimes to give us, just, like, shelter, and food, and just the basics.

And so I didn't grow up with a lot of extra wiggle room. And sometimes my mom would go into debt to give me something that would bring me joy or enjoyment. And when my dad died, I thought that, from the movies and TV shows that I watched, when someone dies, you get money from that.

And, uh--. You're like, where's my change? Yeah, I was like, uh, aren't you supposed to get something when somebody dies?

That is so dark. I love that. I thought, that, too.

I though that, and I was also shocked to find out that you had to pay for food. And I remember finding that out and being like, but the world-- but that doesn't seem fair. [LAUGHTER]. That is too funny.

That's like the belief of children. False. False.

The TV shows and movies that I saw where people were inheriting stuff, not true because we actually ended up in more debt after my dad--. Dying is expensive. It is super expensive.

And having my mom already be so incredibly ill during that point and so sick was adding on top of the bills that were already there, the fact that she wasn't able to work most of the time. She forced herself to work part time when she could. And so 100%, completely, having that kind of mental freedom, a huge part of that has come from the money that I have made and the financial security that I now have because I remember, when I was younger, I absorbed a lot of that financial stress that I was feeling from the environment around me.

And I would wake up worried. And when I started taking my finances into my own hands--. I really related, when you said on One Step, when you had money, it was liquid, and you just wanted to spend it on nice things.

Totally. But I think that there's this idea that has really permeated our culture that having debt means that you've done something wrong and that you're a bad person. Oh, absolutely.

And I think for so many people, like, debt is so complex. It's not just, like, me deciding, oh, well, now I have a credit card, and I'm going to go buy some nice things. Like, that was my financial mistake, and that was something--.

I was spending my money on frivolous things, but that was also coming from a deeper, more complex place. Totally. And then there's the aspect of, you know, my mom was super sick, and my dad died, and there were all of these other things that contributed to why the debt was happening.

And I think that we have just been brought up to assume that if you have debt, you're a bad person. And it is so much more complex than that. And more often than not, you're not a bad person.

You're trying to survive. Totally. Or, like, do what our culture tells you you should be doing in order to be a respectable, "successful" person.

I totally agree. And speaking of having to deal with a lot of money problems, it's really important that you have the right tools. So, obviously, Ingrid and I both run our own businesses and have to manage our own money at a pretty large scale.

And we personally, here at TFD, have been using QuickBooks to make all of our money decisions and our various money tasks so much easier-- everything from helping with invoices, to keeping track of expenses, to making sure your taxes are as easy as possible to prepare at the end of the year. QuickBooks makes running the financial parts of your small business or even just your self-employed status so much easier so that you can focus on all the stuff that you really want to focus on. I've actually personally gotten slightly addicted to checking out QuickBooks because it's just so soothing and satisfying to see all of our various points of financial health and well-being in one place and to be able to look through any kind of information.

I want to look through about our finances. But even if you're just someone who's self-employed and looking for a better way to manage all of the ins and outs and, for example, remind you to send invoices or send them for you so you can get paid as early as possible,. QuickBooks is definitely worth checking out.

You can find out more about how to get started with QuickBooks at the link in our description or the show notes. So one thing that we were talking about right before we went hot on them-- before we started recording, was how much rich people don't like talking about being rich. Mm-hm.

So I'm sorry, but I'm turning the spotlight. Do you consider yourself rich? I do.

Ooh. Oh, my gosh. I love it.

It tingles. I do. Isn't it exciting?

I was saying how exciting it is when people say it. You cannot understand. It's my least favorite part of this job in a lot of ways, in this space entirely is how many people that I talk to who have money that even probably you or I could never fathom, who refer to themselves as comfortable, doing OK, doing well, all of those things, provide every euphemism in the book, provide every contextualizing thing to be like,.

I'm just like you, because they are more uncomfortable with addressing their wealth than the poorest people are about being honest about their poverty. And I find that not only exhausting and frustrating, in terms of actually talking to them productively, but also just like, incredibly unethical. Like, you don't want people to know how much better your life is than a poor person or even a middle-class person is.

And there is a distinct reason for that. Because you know, on some level, that it's unfair that your life is so much better than like a non-rich person. So on that note, why do you consider yourself rich?

And what does that mean practically, especially as someone who grew up without a lot? I think that I consider myself rich because I have a lot of money. And to me, having a lot of money means--.

Pretty straight forward. Yeah, I mean I think that's the definition of rich. But, you know, I will say that even in the last-- this will be the third consecutive year where, because my income fluctuates, it's not exactly the same every single year.

But for the last three years, it has been declining, and I still consider myself to be rich, which I don't think that a lot of people would still want to associate with. They still think-- well, they'll think that if the numbers are going down, then I'm losing. And I think about it in context of how I grew up.

And I'm just like, you know, I'm consistently making $500,000 a year or more. We have to have like a bell or something that we ring when people say numbers because it's the most exciting thing. Thank you for saying that.

I think that number is so important. And I'd love for you to kind of contextualize a little bit more about what that means in the scheme of the work that you're doing and like, for example, maybe why it's been declining, or what brought you to that level. Yeah, OK, so I will say that in the last year-- not this year, but the one before, I made about $950,000.

That's so cool. Oh, my god. I'm like, tingling.

You are not using the rich-person euphemism for that, which is--. High six figures. High six figures or, it's been a good year.

What the hell does that mean? I had three really great years. It's slightly lower this year, but it's not anywhere where I'm struggling.

The, "I had a good year" thing. It's like, it seems like you've had a few good years. Yeah.

Yeah. And so, this year, I'm estimating that I will probably close out the year, maybe around $450,000, $500,000. We're not at the end of the year yet, so I'm not totally sure, and things are still coming in.

But that is a decline. But I'm also very aware of how that's still a lot of money. Yeah.

And I am still able to have a full-time employee, Christina, and pay her a full-time salary. She's sitting over there, anyone who saw us look. Yeah, she has insurance benefits.

I have insurance. Like, I just bought a place in New York City. I've been able to save money from my years where I was making more every year.

And so even in this period of, like, this will be the third year where my income has declined,. I still have perspective around it. I'm still actively working on that perspective.

Like, even though I'm seeing the numbers going down, it's still a lot, and it's also more than enough. And so I also think about, where is my money going? And a lot of it goes right back into my business, paying a full-time employee, paying for the benefits that we get.

Also, I financially support my mother, so that's another place where my income goes. And then I also think about where-- now I'm at the point this year where I'm thinking about,. OK, when I want to make a donation, where do I want that money to go this year?

And so I think about what is like--. I'm thinking about, right now, I'm in this place of, what has been relevant to me this year? What is something that I really want to support?

And so I have made my decision. I don't want to say it now because I haven't made the donation yet, but I know where I want to be putting it. And, for me, this year, I think a big thing that I've been thinking about is just supporting, specifically, queer, creative people, and so that's where I want to be putting that extra money that I have towards facilitating someone else's career.

Because I know what it has meant for me to have the career that I have had, which, in a lot of ways, has been self-made. But also, I won a contest in the early days of YouTube, the very first NextUp contest, where a part of it was, they flew us out to New York and put us through this YouTube camp where they had people come and speak to us. But they also gave us a $30,000 check at the end of that camp, which they have not done for any classes after that first NextUp class.

They still have the NextUp contest now, but that was all public information. Like, prize money was involved; the camp was involved. But I cannot deny how that $30,000 has affected the trajectory of my career.

And I know how valuable that was for me because I was in debt at that point. I was living with my mom. I didn't graduate from college.

I don't have a college degree. And so I was worried about, what is my future going to look like? And for the first time ever, I had this nest egg of money.

And I remember having it and just thinking,. I'm not going to fuck this up. Yeah.

I'm going to do something with this. And so I started using it to pay off my debt. I used it to get my own place.

I used it to invest in the business that I felt like I was growing, and I saved the vast majority of it. And that was crucial to my career trajectory. And I know what that meant for me.

And so I'm at a point now where I have money, I'm rich. Yeah. You're rich, bitch.

Exactly. . And I'm in control of what I do with my money. And so I want to be intentional about where.

I'm investing that money. And some of it is personal. Some of it is professional.

And then there's this piece that's outside of myself and my life experience, too. Well, first of all, thank you so much. You have made my whole week sharing those numbers.

Did I ring multiple bells? Oh, my God. So many bells.

We have to get a bell. Like, I am going to be like shopping for antique bells to ring when people say real numbers Because the avoidance of it is totally human. It is.

But when you finally say it, it's freeing. You realize that the sky didn't fall. You actually did a good deed.

Yeah, and more importantly, I think it completely holds you accountable to yourself. And if you feel bad saying it, there's probably a reason why you feel bad saying it. And I feel like, for me, it's interesting because I think we're in-- we're obviously in a similar industry but in very different positions in the sense that-- so my turn.

Not that this is a shock to any of you who've watched YouTube, but anyway, so, what I earn is very different from what TFD earns. So TFD earns north of a million--. I don't know what it will be this year-- but, like, a million and a half.

I don't know; something like that this year. And each year, it's been, like, three to four times as much-- very steady growth. But we've never taken any money.

Like, we're entirely independent. And my salary out of that is $75,000 a year, which is a completely active choice because A,. I don't ever want the differential between myself and the lowest-paid person at the company to be more than a very small amount.

Like, right now, I think it's like $15,000 for full time. But even if it gets to like $30,000, $40,000, whatever it is, I want to keep that differential extremely tight. Also, I am in a dual-income household.

My husband earns money. So I know that I can have a great life earning that money, and I'm sure more will come. But I also own 60% of the company.

My interest is much more long term. And also, it's just, like, the decent way to be if you talk about money as your profession. But I found that in doing that, it's almost, in some ways, opportunistic for me.

Because when I say I sleep like a baby every single night in an industry that is the most volatile and unpredictable of any industry-- like, our office is paid through the year. Like, everything that we have to pay, we could pay in triplicate if we needed to. We owe no one any money.

And even though I can't buy-- like, I'm currently debating how much money. I'm going to spend on a coat, which is a problem that I could not have if I didn't want to. I can give myself a really healthy raise tomorrow if I wanted to.

But, to me, the feeling of rich that is so much more valuable is the feeling that, every night when I go to bed,. I know exactly where everything's going to be tomorrow. I don't have anything to worry about in that regard.

And barring some huge issue that takes the whole company down, even if that were the case, I would have a six-month window to make sure everything ended well, at the very least. And I think that, ultimately, what I've found about being rich-- because, obviously, growing up without a ton-- if you had asked me, even at my early 20s if I had a company that was earning in the millions what. I would do with that money, I would be like,.

I would be so rich, personally. [LAUGHS] Yeah! Ponies! Just an apartment for the ponies!

One apartment just for the ponies and one for me. But I find that now that that's a possibility, the ability to say no to something is, by far, the better feeling and by far makes me feel more rich. Going home at 5:30 everyday makes me feel so much more rich than I think otherwise I ever, ever would.

And whenever I read about CEOs and business owners who, they work 80 hours a week, they're killing themselves, it's hard not to think that a huge part of that is that them and all their bloated executive friends are paying themselves untenable salaries that are 300 times what one of their employees are making. And because of that, they have, aside from what they owe to their stockholders and everything, just like an undue pressure to keep that up that I'll never experience, you know? And I feel like because lifestyle inflation is so much easier to feel on the personal level than it is on the business level-- like-- you have to be so careful about every extra dollar you put in your pocket.

And so even when we decided to give ourselves, the partners, to give ourselves a pay bump-- our two managing partners-- my first feeling and that was almost like I'd rather you take it and I don't, not because I'm like some Robin Hood figure, but because I worry that with every pay bump,. I will no longer know how to live otherwise and maybe get even further away from that feeling of like, my time and my peace of mind are more valuable to me than any dollar figure, but even though income-wise, I'm definitely not "rich" in that category, I consider myself incredibly rich. Because worrying about money is not something.

I ever do anymore. Yeah. I mean, I relate to that also.

I think about two things that are incredibly important to me, and those two things being integrity and freedom. And it sounds like it's similar for you. You want to be able to sleep at night and know that you are being honest with the people who are working for you, the people who are in your life, and you also want freedom to be able to leave at 5 o'clock, 5:30.

Totally. And I definitely feel that. I see it all the time.

I've experienced it, where I've felt like I was just working all the time. And I think there was an aspect there, especially when I was first starting, to just somewhat make some money. And it was, like, just reaching the point where I was able to support myself full time, so maybe making $3,000 to $5,000 a month.

I felt like I had to be working all the time because I felt like, well, if I stop, is this all going to go away? Totally. And so that was--.

I remember that being just, like, a really scary time. And then there was also the factor of it being the internet. And you can fall into very much like an obsessive place with the internet when you're always on it, and consuming what other people are doing, and you feel like you should be doing those things, or you feel like people have these expectations of you.

And often, that feeling is the expectation that other people are having of you. And you know, on some level with the internet, that the music's going to stop one day. Yeah.

At the very least, your music, not you, but our music. I'm not going to be you know 70 years old like welcoming people to TFD, you know? And living with that knowledge, I think-- there's an ephemeral quality to this industry in particular that doesn't necessarily exist in every other industry.

And I think that the response to that is often, as you put it, like, that desire to hoard and to be like, I've got to do as much as I can possibly do while I can. But at the same time, a lot of those people who are doing those things are also spending their money incredibly recklessly. Like, we all follow people on the internet who, whether it's YouTube, or Instagram, or even having their own site or whatever it may be-- like, clearly they're successful, but, like, they're spending as much as they're earning, or they're not creating anything sustainable.

They're not creating anything-- like even, for example, you having your podcast that is not called like the "Ingrid Nelson Show." It's called One Step. Not that you're doing this now, but eventually, one day, perhaps there could be another person who hosts that. Like, there's at least a door open to your brand existing without you physically being in the seat every single day, and that is one of the things that I feel like I rarely see people on the internet doing, is creating something that exists outside themselves.

And like, honestly, again, like, you're going to be not desirable at some point, whether it's because of your place in life or because of how other people perceive you. And do you want your entire empire to crumble the day you don't want to vlog every single day? Yeah, and I think that that is what sends so many people into turmoil.

And I think that there is also the aspect of the job revolving around popularity. Like, that's just what it is. . Numbers are involved in the money that you make often.

And the higher your numbers are, the more potential for money that you have to make. And so people feel that they need to be beating the numbers that they've had in the past and they constantly need to be in this state of growth. And I also think about the industry from a creative perspective, too, because this is, in a lot of ways, a creative pursuit and career path for a lot of people.

And if you look at creative people who have existed over the course of time, the ones who have had long-term careers have always allowed themselves to evolve into the next iteration of whatever their creativity looks like. And I think that is on the path that I'm on. I'm not married to this like finite idea of who I am.

And the path that I need to be on, and exactly what my future is going to look like, but I am paying attention in the present moment. It's like, what makes sense? What door should I be cracking open and exploring?

What's interesting to me right now? What can I feasibly explore? What has my privilege opened up for me, and how can I open that up for more people?

Yeah,. And I think that all of those pieces are part of how I view this career. But I know I'm not going to be on YouTube forever.

And I said that recently and somebody was surprised. They were like, I've never heard somebody say that before, just so blunt, in such a blunt way. And I was like, well, it's just the truth.

I don't know exactly when that end point is. And when I do know, I will definitely let people know in advance so it's not just like this shock to the system. But I know there's an end point for me, but it doesn't mean it's the end of me.

Right. Oh, go ahead. I think it's probably a lot of-- if you don't learn history, you're doomed to repeat it.

And it feels like all of this stuff is new--. YouTube is new. Podcasts are new.

Influencers are new. But they are just Hollywood, and Hollywood has existed and show business has existed for a long time. And we've seen the repeat of those patterns by professionals who are in a new industry.

Totally. And it's, do you want to build a business or do you want to be famous? And you can't prioritize both all the time.

You can want both. You can work towards both. But if you don't put some of your chips on the business end of things--.

I mean, we've seen how that played out for-- if you look at the history of old Hollywood, if you look at the history of TV, you look at the history of the supermodel, those are all new categories, at some point, for an attention economy, for like an ephemeral media thing. And I think it's really smart to be like,. I'm building a business, and I'm conscious that this has a limited date.

Because it's really easy to think that when the whole world is liking your posts, and you get to interview the president, and you're very popular, and your podcast is exploding, that, like, well, that's me. I'm a winner. And that's not always going to be true.

Absolutely. And I feel like the more you diversify and the more you are outside of just yourself as a human being, both financially and editorially, the much easier it is to see what is and isn't a good deal. Like, I am always stunned at people-- whether it's a business-- because you always hear the stories about like, so-and-so raised X capital.

And it's like, let's see the follow-up, because 90% of those businesses are going to fail within five years. And in many ways, that money they initially took will be a direct cause of that failure because of the pressure it creates. Or you'll see a creator who's got an amazing thing going on on the internet who takes perhaps a television gig that's like totally ill-suited to their audience and what they do.

And I understand why it's easy to take that shiny object, but I feel a good goal should be to get to a place where-- like, if for me, personally, if someone were to walk by tomorrow and be like, I'll give you, like, $10 million to put in TFD, I would absolutely say no because I know that that would completely derail my ability to have any control over my day-to-day life, or it, or the expectations. But it would be a lot harder to do that if it was just me as an individual, because I'd be like, oh, well, who wouldn't want $10 million? And you don't have to think about all of the various things that that's going to have to support and what it will mean on the back end.

And I feel like a lot of people in this industry are so easily pulled in by those shiny objects because they don't have enough bird's-eye view of what it really takes to make something successful that, how could you not be tempted, you know? Yeah, I mean, I think about my 20-year-old self, and I definitely did not have the perspective that I have now in terms of money and career. And if somebody offered me $10 million then, I don't think I would have taken it, but it would have been a lot more alluring.

Oh, man I would have, and it have been spent in a week. I don't know if I would have. I don't know, maybe there's a part of me--.

I don't know. I feel like I wouldn't have, but I would have been like, ugh! But it would have been a lot more painful.

Now, I would be like, no, keep that away from me. I'm not interested in that. Because I do recognize that there is that element of control.

And it's like you said. When it's highly publicized that this much capital has gone into X business, I always think about,. God, that must be so much pressure.

Because they--. Oh, my God. Because they have so many people they have to report to about how they're spending their money and also all of those people have opinions about how they should be spending that money.

And it's just, like, burning through money. And then, you start seeing the companies doing things that you didn't expect them to do, and it's because they're trying to spend this money, and their investors are telling them, you need to be doing these things. And they're trying to please everyone, and then it crashes and burns.

First of all, I have to say that a lot of these executives were just on a lot of prescription medication or something because I don't see how anyone could manage the enormous anxiety of that kind of thing. Like, being on the hook to someone for $30 million, like, that gives me anxiety just to think about on their behalf, but also, like, I know what it feels like every year to 3X to 4X a business and add, like, one employee every six months or something like that. And that feels breakneck on a personal level.

And you're like, ooh, I've got to really manage and make sure that I'm not spending my whole time just drowning in paperwork or doing this, that, and the other. Could you imagine going from like 10 employees to 100 employees in the span of a month? Like, leaving aside the administrative nightmare that your life would be like, you have no quality control over those 90 employees you added.

Like, the first 10 might be great, but that next 90, you probably got 40% duds in there. Because who's hiring those people? So, Ingrid, it's a very exciting moment, because we're about to hit up the rapid-fire questions.

OK, here we go. Listen. Whoo!

We need a bell for that, too. I feel like everyone has a radically different definition of "rapid fire," so we're not going to limit you to 10 seconds. But, like, see how snappy you can be.

Be snappy. OK, what is the big financial secret of your industry? And you know what?

Since we talked so much about the internet, can I specify this to be about the cosmetics industry? Because I'm very curious. I think that it's actually the same as just the broader internet.

It's, where is the money coming from and where has it come from? So--. Where does it come from?

For me, it comes from mostly brand partnerships, but now my in-person speaking events path is also growing, so that's a whole other element of my business that I'm growing out. What has been your biggest money mistake and why? My biggest money mistake was definitely having that first credit card and just spending on anything that I could get my hands on because it definitely ruined my credit, and it took me years to repair that.

So that is not something that I would repeat again, to just spend without understanding the deeper whys. And also, I would say, ultimately, the biggest one is not having conversations about money with people who have mattered in my life in the moments that mattered. That, looking back on it, huge mistake to not have those open conversations.

And so that is something that I've tried shifting and now to be more open about just having this free-flowing conversations. So when something more difficult does come up, you're already used to being in that dialogue. Totally.

That was a good one. I also can relate, obviously. What is your biggest current money insecurity?

That I don't know enough about stocks and bonds and all things like that. That is definitely where I feel like I've done so much work around money and I am--. I feel at peace with where I am, and I understand the deeper whys behind my story and all of that.

But the thing that makes me just feel like this is when people start talking about stocks and bonds, and they start going into detail and I'm like. So that is what I'm currently working on right now is having a deeper understanding of stocks and bonds, and if there's anything that I want to be investing in, and how I should be investing. And I've started to do that work, and I've started asking for help, and I really want to understand it like on my own terms, too, and not just have somebody else feed me information and then I just absorb it and accept it as the truth.

Well, we'll get lunch, and I'll explain all of that to you. OK! Perfect!

Also, I feel like the financial industry is built on making people think it's way more complicated than it is because then you're more incentivized to pay someone else to do it. Totally. And I would say the last mistake that I made financially is believing the lie that because I am creative, that money just isn't my thing.

True that. And even less so once you understand all about stocks. Exactly.

Stocks. Stocks. That's just always going to happen, when you say, "stocks." That is what they do. [LAUGHTER].

He's like, ring the bell, and everyone's got a little top hat. What has been the financial habit that has helped you the most? Understanding the deeper whys behind my purchases.

And because I come from an industry where, especially in the early days but even now, halls are very much part of--. Halls are the devil. I know what it feels like to be on the other end of that camera and to not feel so great about the money that I have spent and what I've spent it on.

There are definitely things that I don't regret purchasing, but there were moments where I didn't feel so great about how. I was spending my money. And I have completely re-evaluated my shopping habits.

And I rarely shop now. And when I do, I understand why-- the deeper why. So is it something that I need or want?

Is it something that I've been noticing that is a gap in my life for an extended period of time? Why is now the time to buy this thing? And is this thing investing in something more long term?

So is it contributing to my long-term creativity? My long term happiness? Like, what is the deeper contribution?

And so I don't shop that often. And when I do, I know exactly why I am making that purchase. And I feel really good about the purchases that I make.

That's awesome. I'm not quite there, but closer than I used to be. Look, it's a shiny, tempting world, especially with the internet, and you see what everyone else has.

Oh, yeah. It is hard to navigate that and to not feel the pressure. And there's even more anguish when you don't know that financial backstory behind the person.

Totally. I feel blessed that I've never cared particularly about the fashion stuff. Like, I would never care about not having the right clothes or whatever.

But I look at like the Architectural Digest or Apartment Therapy Instagrams, and every time I'm just like,. I just want to die. Like, why do I even try?

But I don't want to not follow it because it's such a source of inspiration, but you're so right. It's so hard to get that out of your head. Yeah.

And you know, I remember reading a piece on Gwyneth Paltrow in the New York Times Magazine. Did you read that piece? . Which one?

The long one that was written by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I don't think I did. I read it.

Oh, god. It was an amazing--. I'll read anything about it.

But, yes, I read that. It was an amazing profile. Taffy is one of my favorite writers.

But she specifically said in that article, she made this connection between something being aspirational and how there's inherent suffering on the other end, the person who's aspiring to achieve that thing. Gwyneth said that? No, no, the writer.

Hello no, Gwyneth did not make that observation. The writer made that observation. And I thought it was so concise, and sharp, and true.

Totally true. Yeah, I have so many feelings about the goop thing and what that represents to women, and especially what that represents to women who are experiencing largely financial insecurity. Having it being tied in with wellness, too.

Well, like the word "wellness," a friend of mine, her beat is wellness, but she's taken that to mean just like all the ways in which wellness is a scam as an industry, and it's very fascinating. Her name's Amanda Mull. All of her articles are fantastic.

OK, I'll have to look this up. Yeah, she's fantastic. Actually, we should have her on.

She's great. So as the last question, when did you first feel "successful," quote, and what did that mean to you? What does that mean to you?

There are a couple moments in my life, the first one being when I was able to take I think half of my paycheck that I got from making YouTube videos, which was I think somewhere around $1,000 at the time, and give $500 of that to my mom to help her pay bills. And the second moment was when I was driving on the 90 going towards Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, and I got a speeding ticket and being able to go home and pay that speeding ticket in its entirety and not worrying for a second where that money would come from and that it was my own money. Because that gives me goosebumps thinking about that moment because that was not my life before that.

And I actually was on that highway recently in the last month, like going down that same path, and I was like, oh my god. I remember that moment of getting the speeding ticket and how that felt like such a moment of success, not getting the speeding ticket but being able--. You're like, I'm going to run someone over next.

Not having that-- [LAUGHING] I can get off for murder. I'm that rich. Move over, everybody!

I can keep singing. But that feeling of success that I wasn't worried about the financial burden it would be on my mom, or where that money would come from, or what the consequences would be for not paying that ticket. And I think, ultimately, for me, being successful--.

I feel like I can say this now that I have disclosed some numbers, but, for me, because I came from an upbringing where there wasn't a ton of extra money to be spending on just entertainment, it was really focused on survival, and now I'm in a place where I do have extra money to devote to things that I love, and that interest me, and the people that I care about, I think, for me, "successful" means, in the moment, recognizing that I have enough. That's so awesome. Wow.

Ingrid, what a great guest you've been. Thank you! This is amazing.

Ahh! This is so exciting. I could not be happier that our first guest like disclosed numbers, said such valuable things-- like,.

I'm so excited because, as we will probably get to know on the show, everyone has a different comfort level with talking about money. And that's OK. We're going to bring on people who are like very closed off in that regard and even talking a little will be a victory.

But I feel like you sharing those things is so encouraging for our audience to whatever that thing that they might be scared to talk about financially. Like, I know it probably sounds counterintuitive, but when someone makes as much money as you do, it's very scary to share that number because it's easy to think someone's going to get mad at you for it, or judge you, or think any of those things. And so I just want to thank you for being so brave, and thoughtful, and awesome.

Well, thank you. I loved being here. And I think what you do with The Financial Diet has definitely inspired me to examine my financial story.

And I'm also so grateful to specifically the women that I know and that I have admired who have disclosed their financial histories and the confidence that that has given me. Well, where should everyone listening and wanting more go to find you? Well, you can find me everywhere on the internet at Ingrid Nilsen and also on my podcast One Step.

Which is awesome. Yes, and we're working on season 2, which. I'm really excited about.

Whoo, can't wait to hear. All right, well, thank you guys, and thanks, Ryan, as always. It's been a joy.

Yes. This has been fun having another person here. It's exciting.

I love it. It's such a good energy. I know.

And do not forget that if you are looking to make any kind of change with your finances, you are going to need the right tools. So, obviously, we've learned a lot here today about all the ins and outs of building something real online. And part of that, obviously, is keeping a really close eye on all the money you have coming in and going out.

And if you are running your own business or even have a self-employed side gig, you want to make sure you have the right tools to make all of your business money management so much easier. We've personally been using QuickBooks here at TFD for years, and every year we've been learning more and more that we can do with it to help make running our business feel so much easier and more manageable. QuickBooks provide a convenient dashboard for you to look at basically every element of your business at a glance and tons of tools to help you do things like get paid on time or manage all of your expenses for things like deductions come tax time-- and tax time will come.

If you've been thinking about getting better tools for managing your money in business, please check out QuickBooks at the link in our description or the show notes. I can personally say it has changed my life. Well, thank you guys for being here for our first whole real episode after our pilot.

It was very exciting for us, and we could not have asked for a better guest than Ingrid. We cannot wait to share more of The Financial Confessions with you guys. And if you want to listen for more of it, please check us out every single Monday, new episode drops, and do not forget to tell us on social or wherever you hang out online who you want to see on the show because I'm ready to make all kinds of people confess financially.

Bye, guys. [MUSIC PLAYING] .