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The GRACE Method with Financial Coach Suzanne Scullion

We talk with Suzanne Scullion regarding gaining financial freedom through paying down personal debt and more.

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Financial Coach, Suzanne Scullion of GRACE Fianancial Coaching joins us for another week on the No Mercy Business Coaching Podcast

We talk about gaining financial freedom through paying down personal debt and more.  Lets dive in.

Suzanne Scullion is the Head Coach of G.R.A.C.E. Financial Coaching.  For the past seven years, she has helped hundreds of clients build strong financial habits so they can experience a more stable future and care-free life.  Her exclusive program is called the G.R.A.C.E. Technique, which stands for Guidance, Resources, Accountability, Communication and Evaluation.  Suzanne is also the host of the YouTube show, “Le$$ons Learned: The Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Done with Money.”   

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All right. Well, hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining me again for another week on the No Mercy Business Podcast. This is your host, Emily a Woodruff, and I have a very special guest with us today. Um, Suzanne, if you would like to introduce yourself and a little bit about yourself, that’d be great.

Yes. Thank you so much for having me, Emily. Uh, my name is Suzanne s Scalian and I am the head coach at Grace Financial Coaching. Um, I have been working as a financial coach for about seven years now. Um, I’ve had hundreds of clients, uh, I work with them to build. Stronger financial habits. I want them to be able to experience a more stable future and carefree life.

Um, I’ve developed an exclusive program called The Grace Technique, and that stands for Guidance, Resources, Accountability, Communication and Evaluation. And, um, side note, uh, when I’m not doing that, I host the little 20 minute YouTube show called, uh, Lessons Learned, The Dumbest Thing I’ve ever done with Money.

So that’s kind of fun to hear the silly things people have done with money before . Yeah, I bet. Well, that’s great. So let’s just, let’s just dive in. Um, tell me about how you decided that you needed to pursue this as a business. Um, yeah, prior, Go ahead. No, I, I had no inkling of ever becoming a coach. Um, and actually,

I look back on having gone to college four year private university cuz you know, that’s the only place where you can go to school. Um,  same. And I know, and, uh, I have a business degree and I think we had one class on entrepreneurship one. Mm-hmm.  and I distinctly remember certain people in that. Like you just knew every time the professor spoke that person was gonna challenge them on something  and you knew that that guy next to you probably wasn’t gonna finish school cuz he was gonna leave and start his own company before he graduated.

Um, I took that class and I remember being horrified. I remember being so scared, like, there’s no way I could ever work for myself. I, I literally told myself for years I wasn’t smart enough to start a. And I didn’t have the skills or the ability to do it. Um, so I went into, uh, professional sports actually.

Oh. And then I ended up, Yep. For about, uh, eight years, I think eight or, yeah, eight or nine years. And then I went into commercial real estate from there. So always working for organizations that, uh, maybe didn’t retain a lot of money, but made a lot of money, uh, working with the general public. And, um, I was okay with that.

Uh, I until I wasn’t, I was okay with it until I wasn’t. And then I went through my own little debt free journey. Um, I paid off almost $90,000. Ooh, uh, in, uh, a short period, relatively short period of time, a few years. And I realized there’s no way I’m the only person who’s dealing with this. And the more I learned about the statistics, the more I learned.

Prior to Covid, uh, 89% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. Yeah. And the more I learned that, I know it’s crazy. And the more I learned that, um, The more I realized I’m not the only one. Mm-hmm. , I wasn’t the only one. And how can I help these people? So I started off by teaching a free class and then people wanted to meet with me privately.

Mm-hmm. . And then they wanted to meet with me privately a month later, . And so, slowly but surely I learned about the world of financial coaching. I woke up one day and said, I’m done. Yeah. You know, all of my own debt. I had 12 months of saving sitting in the bank and I said, Even if I suck at this  Yeah. And it completely crashes and burns, I’ll be okay for a year and if I’m not okay a year, I’ll go do something else.

Good for you. That’s exciting. We, my husband and I, Love the idea of being debt free. , we don’t love the idea of not spending money, so, Right. We have this conversation so frequently and we’ll do really, we, I say we. I’m the person that actually like pays our bills and spends most of our money. He’s the spender too.

But I’ll do really good for like six months and then I’m like, Screw this . And then we have to just like, he has to keep, Okay, Emily, this is not what we wanna do. I hope somebody, One of the things I tell my clients when they’re going through that process is we have to budget for fun. Yeah. Because you don’t wanna be falling off the wagon after six months because you went scorched earth and you removed every fun thing from your life.

Yeah. Yes. So when I work with people, if we already have a vacation planned, if we already. Um, you know, if it’s getting close to the holidays and we don’t have enough time to save up cash for Christmas, What can we do to bring that dollar amount down and what can we do, um, to absolutely minimize what we’re gonna put on the credit card before we get through the holidays.

And we really start cranking Yeah. On January 1st. So there’s, you can’t, like I said, you can’t go scorch earth. It, it, yeah. It would literally be like a personal trainer telling you we’re gonna cut out all carbs. All sugar, um, and all trans fat in on day one. Yeah. You can’t sustain that. Yeah. Well, and we, fortunately, I mean, I’m going down the personal route now I guess, but we, we don’t use credit cards in our house.

Um, we have one as an emergency, emergency backup, you know, And then every now and again, I’ll, I’ll use it just to kind of keep it active sort of thing. Yes. And then we use it when we go on vacations, just so everything can be all together. Sometimes we forget that that’s not like our actual money, you know?

And so it’s very strange for us when we do have a credit card, but all of our debt is student debt and mortgages right now. So we feel good that we have very little credit card or you know, loans like that. But anyway. Anyway, yeah, student alone debt is the most pop popular right now. I shouldn’t, no one wants it, but it’s definitely the most popular and the most trendy.

Yeah. Yeah. So what’s something that you like? If you could pinpoint one lesson that your job has taught you, what do you think that everybody should learn at some point in their life? That, um, the only thing stopping you from owning your own business is yourself. There are so many resources out there. It is just, uh, you know, I hate to use these, to use cliches and platitudes, but yeah, it really is mind over matter.

One of the things that I did, um, we were living in San Diego at that, I’m from New York originally, but we were living in San Diego at the time that I started my business. One of the things I found that I couldn’t believe I got to get access to was a score. Office Score is a subsidiary of the Small Business Administration, so it is a government program.

So before everyone freaks out,  office is totally different. And in San Diego, they wanted to branch out and do other things that the federal grant process would not allow them to do. So they stopped taking. They cut their grant from the feds about by about 50% and became self-funded. I had access to three hour classes with people who were running multimillion dollar businesses.

Wow. And the classes cost me $25. That’s amazing. I can’t imagine, uh, having access. And not taking advantage of it. Now again, every score office is gonna be a little bit different, but they offered every score office offers free mentoring. Mm-hmm. . And so even if you are not sure if this is something you wanna do, you can go to the office for free.

Yeah. About it. Uh, talk to somebody who, who started a business in 1960 something and is now retired and would love to help you, you know, navigate those waters and to, to not take advantage of those resources. I also found an amazing mastermind group in San Diego. We would meet every two weeks and oh my God, the stuff that I learned from those people is just the, And it was free?

It was free, Yeah. It was just a bunch of people meeting. So it doesn’t have to be, You don’t need a venture capital partner to start a business usually, um, you know, if you’re gonna be selling something physical, perhaps, but just to get an idea, if it’s something you wanna do, you can do that for completely $0 cost.

I agree a hundred percent. There are so many people that are afraid. They’re just afraid. And it makes me so sad because you’re, you’re never gonna. Out of where you’re at if you keep letting fear rule your decisions. And I have a friend that is, she’s an author, um, but she’s been an author for about eight years and she has not published her book yet.

She has not published her website yet, and she keeps coming to me for advice on how to launch it. And I’m like, Look, friend. You need to just hit go live. You just need to click the button. Yeah. I’m like, it’s, it is ready. You, you have all your content there. Just go live. I tweak my website probably six times a week.

Like I’m constantly, I mean, I’m obsessed, but I’m, you know what I mean? I’m like, I’m always in there. I’m always trying to improve it. I’ve always been this way with my business if I waited until it, Ready. Perfect. Yep. I would never have a client, I would never have a platform. I would never have anything.

What’s the worst that’s gonna happen? People will see you grow and people will see you turn into a better version of this business that you wanna have. I. I’m all for that. So she’s my poster child and she’ll yell at me when she listens to this and no, I’m calling around . That’s why I’m not saying her name, but , it’s, Yeah, I always, I’ve gotten to the point, Yeah.

Yeah. I’ve gotten to the point now where I coach other coaches, and specifically what I focus on with those coaches is not necessarily their process in coaching because what, by the time they find me, they’ve probably gone through one of the big three financial coaching programs that are. And by the time they find me, they’re like, Okay, I finished, I have my little certificate.

I’m officially a financial coach. Now what do I do? Yeah. And their biggest challenge is finding clients. And so I work with a lot of those younger, newer coaches. I shouldn’t say younger, newer coaches, uh, on marketing and social media and email newsletters and their website. Mm-hmm.  and they don’t wanna do a website.

Okay. Well then we’re gonna, you know, make sure you’ve got the best looking business Facebook page you’ve got out there. Yeah. The biggest challenge is, uh, they get inside their heads and they say, What if I put up a post and no one likes it? Do you have any idea how many post I have put up? And no one has liked

Welcome to Social Media Business . And for you don’t know why that post got throttled that day. You don’t know why the algorithm that was working last week while you were, you know, in the, in the meta software and. Posting on Instagram and on social and on Facebook simultaneously. I, we don’t know why it did so well on Instagram and it totally flopped on Facebook, and then the next week it flipped around.

That algorithm is changing constantly. Just like Google Ads is changing constantly. And so you have to find your voice and, and my, my biggest message to those people is once you start it, just be consistent. Yep. Can’t post. Seven days a week for one week, and then tell me it didn’t work. You can’t send out three email newsletters in three months and then tell me it didn’t work.

Yep. You’ve gotta come back to me in a year and tell me my email newsletter didn’t work. Okay. Well if 12 email newsletters, maybe it didn’t work. . Right, right. Exactly. Um, no, I agree completely with all of that. , what are some, what are some personality strengths or traits that you think some your industry.

Have to be success. So funny you asked that because I just had, um, a little mini coaches meeting this morning. There’s myself and a couple other coaches, female coaches, who have been going through this business marketing plan together. And part of the program, um, is an, is a, uh, probably like, uh, the whole thing’s like probably four hours or whatever.

Okay. But we picked and choose which ones we wanted to watch. But this particular section is called, uh, the Enneagram analysis. Oh, yeah. And so, um, we went through mine today, , Thanks. And hearing someone talk about your strengths and weaknesses while there’s other people staring at you on the screen, and no one else in that little group.

Was an eight. I’m the only eight, you know, Uhhuh. And so it was like really challenging to sit there and go like, Oh man, that’s so big. Oh my god, this guy’s pointing out all of my flaws. And these people know me. They’re laughing cuz they’re like, Oh yeah, she’s so like that . Um, one of the things that the, the auth, the gentleman’s name is, uh, Ian Morgan Cro and he’s like the lead therapist, um, on the Ennea grant.

The EN grant has been around forever, but he’s like the premier author. On basically the new engram of people using it today. Um, he pointed out in there that eight, which is what I am, um, are very black and white , and you are either right or you are wrong. In my mind, and I think one of the things that I have struggled with, and I would encourage other people who feel that way, is to recognize that there is gray.

Yeah. If you’re go into coaching, You can’t look at your clients and go, You messed everything up last month. You’re terrible. Why are you even doing this? You have to go. Okay. Well, that didn’t work out the way we wanted. Let’s go to the next item. . Right? Right. You’ve got to just meet them where they are and no one’s perfect.

And so that’s been a challenge for me. Um, but I think it is also something that specifically coaches, therapists, uh, people in that field have to come to grips with. I think that’s great. And the name of my podcast is Mercy. Business coaching . Yep. And it’s solely for that. I took it, I took one of those tests several years ago, but I very much am black and white.

There is no in between. There’s no, maybe there is no, sometimes gray is very few and far between in my world. Mm-hmm. , it’s, uh, it’s a challenge sometimes, but. Is what it is. You know, , you should, you should jump onto his site and see if you’re actually an eight also. I bet you are. I think that I am. It’s just been a really long time for me to say that, you know, a hundred percent

Yeah, I used to know it, but then I, I kind of stopped paying attention to it. But I think they’re really great and it’s really insightful and like you say, it feels really raw when someone else is reading it. You’re like, How did you get my diary? You know, , it’s great. That’s great. Um, what about, are there any, like, are there any well known rumors or things that you feel like you kinda have to, that you would be able to clear the air on about your position?

Yes, because people here that I’m a financial coach and like 0.5% of the population will look at me and go, You charge people for financial coaching and I wanna be like, Did your personal trainer charge you for. Three hour sessions last week. Yeah. I charge for coaching. I’m not doing this for free. I learned, I went through this process.

I got certified. I’ve built this business and yeah, I charge for coaching. And I think that 0.5% of the population can’t, not only will they never hire financial coach, forget about that. They’ll never hire anyone to help them with anything. Yeah. And that could be a huge. Not everyone needs a business coach.

Not everyone needs a therapist. Not everyone needs a financial coach, but if you are not feeling good about yourself, if you are experiencing depression mm-hmm.  to look at a website that lists therapists and goes, Oh, I can’t believe these people wanna charge me for therapy when I’m feeling like. Yeah.

That is just so counterintuitive. Mm-hmm. . Um, the other, the other thing that I think that I provide, um, and this actually came up quite recently in a group that I was, uh, a, a coaches group that I was in with multiple different kinds of coaches, nutrition coaches and life coaches and that kind of thing. Um, was that there was this article going around that no one should ever pay for financial coaching and you can do it on your own.

Can you do it on your own? Yeah, you can. So lose weight on your own. Mm-hmm. , you can also manage your business on your own. Does that mean you’re doing it the best, safest, or most efficient way possible? Absolutely not. Right? And I think people really underestimate the motivation factor that comes with seeing a coach for something.

Yeah. Whether it’s relationship coaching, life coaching, nutrition, coaching, whatever it is, that person, knowing that you have that appointment next Tuesday, That person’s gonna hold you accountable if they’re a good coach. Mm-hmm. . And that’s really the impact that you can see from doing it yourself to working with someone to complete X.

Mm-hmm.  is astronomical. I agree completely. We’re not, I don’t believe that we are created to do things on our own all the time, either. We are, I believe that we’re called to community and we’re called to be able to lean on one another. And there’s a reason that you are gifted in financial coaching, and I’m gifted in these areas.

And so that we can all bring our unique gifts and talents together and be able to do something bigger than just us. But that’s another. That’s another day’s  discussion. That’s another, that’s another episode, . Yeah. No, that’s great though. Are there, are there any things that you, that have come out of your business or you having your own business that you, you didn’t expect to encounter when you first opened or when you first started?

Probably actually really the sense of community that you’re talking about. Um, I expected, again, being this Enneagram eight, and again, I’m not really like into this, I just happen to be talking about it today. Sure. But, um, I am by nature someone who actually enjoys conflict. Mm-hmm. . And if you, if I bring up.

If I bring up baseball, I happen. Be a big baseball fan. I grew up in New York. I’m a New York Mets fan, and I will sit there and argue with you,  over, you know, the Mets and Yankees, could have the exact same record, and I will sit there and argue with you as to why the Mets season is going better and why the, or whatever it is.

I’ll argue for the Yankees. I hate to, but you’ll give me a topic that is like, my love language is in there playing devil’s advocate with. And that has really served me well when it comes to clients because clients tend to have, um, they’re stuck in their ways and that’s why they’re reaching out to somebody to get unstuck in those ways.

Mm-hmm. , what I didn’t expect was the sense of community in the coaching world. Yeah. I thought it was gonna be kind of not a battle, but like, Oh, everyone I talk to is, um, a competitor and that’s so not true. I have now am in the last five. Probably referred, um, More like I’ve done a, a consultation with a client and then realized they are not the right person for me.

Mm-hmm.  and I have referred so many people to other coaches who I can look and I can say, Hey Emily. Um, you know, I don’t, I loved our conversation, but I don’t think I’m the right coach for you. Let, I’m gonna get you hooked up with my friend Sarah. She’s a great coach also. I really think you’re gonna just click with her a little bit better.

Mm-hmm. . And you know what? Sarah’s gonna meet somebody and she’s gonna go, Whoa, whoa, whoa. You need Suzanne because she’s gonna kick your butt and she’s gonna Exactly. And it’s gonna come back to us. And so looking at other coaches like. We are all in. Competition with each other is crazy. I actually run, uh, a coach’s meetup in this area, , where I live right now, and I think we had like 20 people there last time.

That’s so great. And we had such a great time. So I think I didn’t, I underestimated the sense of community in the coaching community itself. When I started doing this, I thought I was gonna be all on my own. Mm-hmm. , that’s really neat. Where I don’t think I asked you, where are you located? We are stationed in Virginia Beach, so my husband’s in, uh, active duty military, so we’re right outside of, of the naval base in Norfolk.

Okay, Awesome. Is there anything additional that you would want our listeners to know about you and your business? Um, I think that when it comes to financial coaching, it doesn’t matter. Um, It doesn’t matter where you’re at. It doesn’t matter if you’re, you were like me and you had $90,000 in debt and you were by yourself and you had to figure how to pay this off as a single person.

Um, it doesn’t matter if you’re already living debt free. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with someone right now who’s literally about to retire in six months. Um, it doesn’t matter where you are. There’s always stuff that can be tweaked now so that when you look back in five years, you go. I am really happy I sat down with that financial coach because look how the trajectory has changed.

Yeah. Now that means paying off $90,000 in mostly credit card debt, full disclosure . Sure. At back then, 19.99%. Nowadays you can get 29.99%, which is just insane. Yeah. Um, it’s, I look back at my own journey and I know that the two things that changed my life the most, Committing to the habit of utilizing budget software and hiring a coach.

And if I hadn’t done those two things, I would still be at that like halfway point in my debt. I wouldn’t have paid it off all the way. So I think that’s, it doesn’t matter where you are in your financial journey, you can always, always tweak things, change things, and do better so that in five or 10 years you’re super happy.

You did. That’s great. That’s really great. Well, where can our listeners find you and connect with you? . Yes, I That’s definitely the easiest way. And the first thing you’ll see on there is a little button that says, uh, to set up a consultation. So if anybody’s interested in talking about financial coaching and how it could help them, that’s the best place to find me.

And then on Facebook and Instagram at Grace Financial Coaching as well. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today. It was really great to meet you. And thanks Emily. This was awesome. .

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