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From Single Parent To Badass REI Mom With D’Nette Wood – Real Estate Women

REW D'Nette Wood | REI Mom


Being a single parent is no easy feat. You have to balance being a mother as well as providing for your family. If only there’s a career that could give you the lifestyle and flexibility to be a mom. Our guest in this episode found one in real estate! Real estate broker of Sotheby’s International Realty, D’Nette Wood, sits down with Moneeka Sawyer to share how her path shifted from being a single parent into a badass REI mom, finding a blissful hustle that is motivated by her passion. She then talks about the importance of outside-of-the-box thinking in real estate and overcoming the fear mentality. Join D’Nette in this conversation and get inspired by the ways she took action to create the life she desires!

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From Single Parent To Badass REI Mom With D’Nette Wood – Real Estate Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am so excited to welcome the show, D’Nette Wood. D’Nette is a realtor and entrepreneur. She has had an incredible career with Sotheby’s International Albuquerque and luxury homes and income-generating properties, advising a range of clientele, from new home buyers to retirees. As a former loan officer, she understands the impact on clients’ long-term goals. She’s helped them navigate and manage life, investing, finances, divorce, death, downsizing, and empty nest. I was a loan officer too. I totally get this. When you are looking at their financials, you get everything. It’s this huge puzzle. She also has had that same approach to being a loan officer.

Prior to real estate, D’Nette sang in Nashville and is an actress with the Screen Actors Guild. This is one of her quotes, “One of the things I feel has helped me succeed is empathizing with my consumer base as a creative artist who utilizes that side of her brain. That connects us and gives them an experience they want to share with their friends and relatives.” As a mother of three, D’Nette is inspired to leave a legacy for her children. D’Nette, welcome to the show.

I am so happy to be here in Zoom person. I would be on your couch but I’m on my chair instead.

She looks gorgeous. She’s got all these beautiful jewel tones going on. I love that.

I lived in New Mexico and grew up here. We have Native American culture. I wear turquoise a lot. I love the colors and the feel of it. I wanted to represent you on your show. Thank you so much for having me.

Teal, if you know anything about chakras, is very close to the color of the throat. It also opens us up for communication. It’s a beautiful color, especially for this. Thank you for that.

Thank you for sharing that.

You have such an interesting story. I’ve shared a little bit in your bio but could you give us the two-minute high-level how you got here type of story?

I was very focused as a kid and goal-oriented, and I still am. I wanted to be a professional singer. My whole life was geared toward being a professional singer. I moved to Nashville, and then life shifted for me. I became a mom. I was faced with this real dilemma. I didn’t want to go on the road for 280 days a year as a professional singer. I wanted to be a mom and have a certain lifestyle as a mother. Being a mother is a nugget of who I am.

At that time, I needed to reinvent myself. I needed a different job. I wanted to create a career. I wrote it down, “What career is going to give me the lifestyle I want and give me the flexibility to be a mom?” Through that reinvention of myself, here I am on your show talking about the success of pivoting. I tell people, “All I do is to pivot. We are like a 360 sprinkler. Keep pivoting.”

Many of us had to pivot over the last couple of years with COVID and stuff like that. I myself have pivoted quite a lot. I’m going to have you talk more about this. What’s fun about pivoting, from my perspective, is that we get to discover the other sides of ourselves or other powerful assets that we may have forgotten about because we got stuck or whatever in what we were doing. We knew that skill base but we are all such full people with so many resources and skills. It’s fun to discover and apply some of those other things that we didn’t get to with what we were doing before. Would you agree with me on that?

I would. With age comes wisdom and experience. I appreciate being on this show because I want to mentor younger women. If I had the knowledge I do now, I wish I would’ve had all of that knowledge. I love to mentor and help younger women be successful in whatever they do. It’s all of those tools that we put in our tool belts as we grow, change, and mature.

With age comes wisdom comes experience. Share on X

Why I do, this show is that I want to mentor all women. We’ve got young women and older women than me. All of us have opportunities and things to share with one another. From younger women, I get new ideas about, “What’s going on in the work that I’m not fully aware of.” They bring energy, excitement, and lots of new ideas. The older women that are wiser than me bring even more experience that we can then plug into what we talk about on the show. As mentors of women, we all bring so much to one another.

A collaborative effort is what I love it. I love people that’s the bottom line. I hope to learn something from everybody I meet. If I’m not in front of people, I’m not making money. That’s getting back to the sales part of my business. People are my business.

You sent me your questions, and the very first one you talked about was learning how to hustle. I want to give you some context on this and how I see this. What you said is, “Achieving what you want takes energy and hard work. It’s not going to be handed to you.” I absolutely agree with that comment. I frequently call about living a blissful life as the anti-hustle. It’s like hustling without the stress that the word implies.

I will say that I’m a blissful millionaire. I talk about the anti-hustles, and yet many people could say that I hustle. I have a lot of energy, motivation, and passion for what I do. I do not stay lazy or whatever you want to call that. I don’t want to imply that not hustling is lazy. Ladies, don’t take that the wrong way. I’m saying that bliss does not mean that we are not working towards the things that we are passionate about. The word hustle has been an interesting thing on this show. We’ve talked about it in different ways. I would love to hear your perspective on that.

I love that you use the word bliss because when you are doing it all correctly, it is bliss. It doesn’t feel like a lot of work when you are hustling the right way. When about I think my earlier career, when I thought of the word hustle, I was like, “I got to get some sales in.” My kids would confirm that living with me is like a mix between Doris Day and Tony Robbins. I’m on fire. I was like, “Good morning. What are your goals now? Get your homework done.” I’m a tiger mom.

Now, if I feel like if I do all of the right things and be authentic, it all works. I let go of the stress of the hustle and was a little more mindful in my morning. That’s the biggest thing that has changed in the last few years for me is mindfulness in the morning. When I talk about hustle, you have to have some passion to drive the hustle. The passion is the motor that drives the hustle. What are you passionate about? Identifying what you want is the hardest thing. It’s like, “What do you want?” “I want to make a lot of money.” “Why do you want to make a lot of money?” “It gives me food on the table.” You can get to basics, then you get back to, “Do you want to survive or thrive?”

Surviving can be very motivating to a point. I see single moms who are so motivated to provide for their children. That can be a very high motivator but for many of us, it’s almost depleting. It drains us rather than inspires and lifts us. After you get past that strive to survive mentality, now you are living for passion and a motivator that will uplift you. There are also different stages of what it is that you are needing. The way that you hustle is going to change based on what that motivator is.

We get to the basics as I said, you make more money. If you are in that back against the wall time in your life, I’m raising my hand. I have been there.

I have, too.

I was a single mom for a long time. I couldn’t think outside of the basics. I need rent and gas for my car but you also have to have some joy behind that. I want to send my kids to college. For me, I didn’t have to have some great big business plan but by writing it down, I created a vision board for myself because that keeps me focused on what my passions are and what makes me happy. That fuels my hustle for the day or where perhaps I direct my energy. Am I directing it toward finding the people that I need to find to help me generate that? Am I researching all of those things?

The hustle is not getting on the phone and making 50 calls a day. It’s creating the process that gets you to where you want to go. You have to have a process to get from A to Z, which is the hustle. The process, to me, is the hustle. How do I get from here to there? Is it a new job? Is it my first investment property? It takes energy and passion for being a hustler. Some people send me memes of me as a hustler.

A thought that came to my mind. I don’t know if you know Leeza Gibbons. She’s a friend of mine. This is one of those pieces of advice that I hear in my head frequently, and she says, “Show up, do your best, and let go of the rest.” Look at the level of success that she’s achieved. What she doesn’t say in that is that you have to have the goal first and the passion. You’ve got to do that internal work first, your big why, what are your core values, and what is your goal.

REW D'Nette Wood | REI Mom

REI Mom: Keep a daily calendar and write down what you want to achieve for that day. That will help you get to where you want to go.


Once you have that goal, now you are setting that into action and show up, do your best, and then allow the universe to take care of the rest. Don’t be so attached to the outcome as to being your very best self in everything that you are doing. To me, that’s a blissful hustle. We can get out there, do our very best, do what brings us joy, and then let go of the rest. How do you feel about that? Does that make sense? It feels like exactly what you said.

I’m going to make a request that Leeza Gibbons share with us a one-day snapshot of her calendar and how she’s time blocked her day. That process that we are talking about is partially how you schedule your day. If you schedule your day thoughtfully, you will achieve all of those items, and then you are going to have this blissful moment at the end of the day that says, “That was a productive day. That was a good day.” Taking a few notes at the end of the day, “Was that a good day? Why was it a good day? Was it a bad day?”

We all have bad days. I wish I could have a redo about one day a month but we learned from those redos. How could I have made that better? What could I have possibly done to have changed that outcome to be different? We don’t have to beat ourselves on the back but it’s okay to say, “I wish I had done that differently.”

I learned from it and then let it go. Tomorrow is a new day. One Day at a Time. I love that song. Marijohn Wilkins wrote it, and she was a mentor of mine too. She was an amazing older woman that took me under her wing in Nashville. She was a teacher as a younger woman and had those life lessons to learn as we learned from other women.

Here’s a nugget. Keep a daily calendar. Write down what you want to achieve for that day that will help you get to where you want to go. Maybe at the end of the week, and then reflect on that and say, “Am I getting to where I’m going?” We have Google Maps now, but even with Google maps, you’ve got to read the directions of where you are going, and that’s what having a plan does.

You have to have a destination to put in there, so it knows where to send you.

Otherwise, you can’t complain about where you are because you haven’t told yourself where you want to go.

Talk about thinking outside of the box. How does this relate to real estate? Everybody has a problem, and lots of people have a problem. Not everybody is able to come up with a good creative solution. We talk about finding off-market homes or even on-market homes. People have a problem that they are trying to solve. There’s a reason that this house isn’t working for them. Can you come in and be a demanding buyer or can you come in and solve their problem?

The house that I’m living in and moved into a couple of months ago, we got, after it left us, somebody else came in with a full cash offer with no contingencies but we ended up getting the house because we solved a problem for this seller. Not because we came in with the best offer. Let’s talk about that whole piece. Thinking outside of the box and making the negotiation all about solving problems for one another.

Thinking outside the box is one of my best skillsets. I call it specialized learning or expertise but you can learn how to do it and that is by reading the room. If you are a buyer and looking at a house or whatever investment A is, the best thing that you can do is to ask what are the seller’s motivations. If you can match that or get close to it, you’ve solved their problems.

In COVID, there were a lot of different needs. More so than any other time in my career. The sellers had a lot of different needs. The first-time home buyers had a lot of heartbreaks. They couldn’t compete but they are back now. We are all talking about the market shifting. Sellers now are living in the past. Buyers now are living in the future. We have two different points of view. We are not doing that old dance anymore. We were doing this fast.

West Coast Swing.

The passion is the motor that drives the hustle. Share on X

I was spinning around many times, and then the music changed. We are in different music and dance. I hope analogies don’t drive you crazy but we are. I see sellers want this high price, and buyers say, “Your house has been on the market for twenty days now and hasn’t had an offer. It’s too high-priced, and it’s not updated.” If you are representing a seller, educating them on the front end is important because we have to be realistic.

As a buyer asking the questions up front, don’t just write an offer. That’s like going out with a person, and you don’t know anything about them. You got to get to know them. Do they need a lease back? Do they need a 60-day close? Would they prefer that you not get any repairs because they have been out of work for six months? Here’s something that’s coming up. We are in a period of deceleration. We are not this double 18%, 35% appreciation. It’s slowing down. Deceleration is the key term here.

I want to highlight this. Ladies, what we are reading out and about is the fear mentality of, “Interest rates are going up, housing prices are going down.” This is the fear that everybody is hearing on the news and from all of their friends. It’s a fear-driven idea. I want to clarify what D’Nette said. We are not seeing housing prices depreciate or go down. We are seeing a slowing down of those prices.

Prices are still appreciating if you look at the numbers. They are doing it much more slowly. They are doing it at a pace that’s much more similar to before we went into this gangbusters market. I want to warn people against this fear mentality that takes over everybody in the media. Understand that we are decelerating. We are not depreciating. Our appreciation is not going down. It’s not to the same levels that it was before. I’m so glad you mentioned that because this fear is driving many people and is important.

I’m happy that you took the time to talk about what deceleration is. I do not watch much news at all.

Nor do I.

I quit watching the news a few years ago. This is a very important thing to go to. If you want to learn about what’s going on, FHFA is the place to go. Federal Housing Finance Agency came out with its Q2 report. That’s where you need to get your news. It’s from the source, not the news agency, that does the shock value to get ratings up. FHFA doesn’t have that problem with sponsorships. They serve the data. They have graphs and little videos that tell you what’s going on in the market. It’s still a strong market. It’s just different.

We need to read the room. We need to ask the seller what’s going on with them. Every deal is different. That’s why I love real estate every house is different. Every seller or buyer’s motivation is different. As an investor, I thought I was going to sell one of my properties because I had unsolicited offers. I’ve got five. I said to myself, “Is this the time for me to sell this property? It’s an investment. I would need to do a 1031 exchange. There’s a time limit. Where am I going to find something?” I had to go and do the deep research myself to say, “Is it the best time for this particular property to be sold?” You have to do the work to understand what options are best for you, the investor or the buyer.

What I love that you said is getting to know what the seller is needing. It’s interesting that when I was moving back up to Sacramento from San Jose, I had a brand-new realtor. He was a broker and was very good. This is not anything against him. My realtor in San Jose would do the exact same thing, and I have been working with him for many years. This is to let you know what happens out there in the market. Realtors are also very used to a seller’s market.

What they are used to is that the seller is going to be very demanding. The buyer has to kowtow to them. The market is changing, and what’s happening is going back to what it was several years ago. I was making offers then too and asking the questions. Having the realtor go and say, for instance, what you said, “Could we use a lease back? What is the situation?” You want to know the story. “Would you like to not have to move for 60 days? We could include that as part of your bonus. Do you want a faster close?” That’s normal, “Do you want no contingencies? Do you want to not have to fix anything?”

In our case, they were moving across the country. They had a bunch of furniture they wanted to leave behind. “Can we take care of that for you and donate it all?” What are the things that you are needing?” They needed a certain date to close, and we offered that even if we don’t close on that day, we will start to pay them that day.

There are things that you can offer but what was so interesting about this is that every single realtor I’ve ever worked with has said, “Moneeka, you are asking so many questions. It’s not going to make a difference to them. They want money.” No. I have found that almost 100% of the time, every single one of my offers is accepted, and I’m not the highest financial offer.

REW D'Nette Wood | REI Mom

REI Mom: You’ve got to read the directions of where you’re going. Otherwise, you can’t complain about where you are because you haven’t told yourself where you want to go.


The realtor that I have been working with for many years still argues with me on it. I’m like, “How many times have we been right on this?” Ask the questions, and don’t be afraid. The thing is, you have to make sure that your realtor will do it because a lot of time, they will be like, “Whatever,” and then they don’t say anything. You also have to train your realtor. They need to do these things. They don’t have to do it for everybody but if they want you as a client, they have to do it.

You want the answers back. That’s the other thing is to make sure that you get the answers back. I love my realtors. They are my best friends but you do see a little bit of this tug of war because of their mentality of what’s expected on the market. It’s not always true with their mentality. They bring a lot to the table. They are the professionals but you bring some of this stuff to the table, and that’s what helps you to win.

Thinking outside the box is so important as a listing agent during COVID. I had some pretty popular properties. One property had fifteen offers, which is a big deal in Albuquerque. I called my cousin up in Denver and said, “Do you have a good Excel spreadsheet that I could look at because this is getting pretty complex?” He shared it with me. Shout out, cousin. Thank you.

You can see the difference between a good realtor and a brand new or less competent realtor when you have fifteen offers in front of you. To your readers, you need to interview your realtor to see how good they are. What is their skillset? What is their background? You are relying on them to think outside the box. If they don’t have that skillset, find another realtor who does. The top 25% of the bulk of the offers are all pretty close because they’ve all called me. They’ve all said, “What does your seller need?”

They’ve done that work to think outside the box on behalf of their client. The middle quarter didn’t call. In the last quarter, at the very end, their contracts were crap. They might have been missing documents or it didn’t even make sense. They weren’t even in the game. I feel bad for those buyers who wasted a lot of time going after house after house and didn’t get a deal.

A lot of the realtors are like, “You are going to get a bit out of ten houses. Let’s start placing offers.” If you can’t do more than one at a time. If you get it, that’s great, just sign. We will start placing offers. It’s a numbers game,” but the reason it’s such a big numbers game for you is because you don’t win and don’t take the time. It’s like a balancing act for them too like, “How much time am I going to spend on each one of these offers?” If you spend the time, you will have to make fewer offers. You will be more likely to win.

That causes burnout on the buyer’s part.

Also, frustration.

Their heart is broken and is like, “Forget it. I’m going to go rent or something.” The good news is buyers, come on, back in. Get pre-qualified, interview some realtors, and get back in the game. You can think outside the box because reading this gives a lot of information to make them a more educated buyer the next time around. Taking some of these ideas and maybe you have to teach a realtor a thing or two. “I read in Moneeka’s show that we can do this.”

I feel like we could talk forever but we are going to have to wrap up the show. We are going to change EXTRA a little bit. If you don’t mind, I would like to talk on EXTRA about financial literacy and how you taught your children how to fish, would you be up for that?


That’s a piece of what my ladies would love to know. Ladies, we are going to do that in EXTRA. We are going to talk about how to teach your children how to fish and give them financial literacy and how a mom of three has done that. I’m excited about that. Before we lead into the three rapid-fire questions, D’Nette, could you tell people how they can reach you?

Sellers right now are living in the past. Buyers right now are living in the future. Share on X

DNetteWood.com, and I have a YouTube channel, DNette Wood Albuquerque Realtor, where I have little nuggets of helpful information that people can go and watch. You can find me there.

Thank you so much for that. Are you ready for three rapid-fire questions?

I am.

Tell us one super tip on getting investing in real estate.

I’m going to take this for the market that we are in. A tip for getting started in real estate investing, buy a house that someone else will feel comfortable renting. Think about it as, “Would I live here?” Do you want to be a slum lord or do you want to have pride of ownership? Do you need to do a little something to it? Can you get it rented, casting the wide net? When I look at a property, I say, “Would I want to live there?” That’s how I am.

We talk a lot about that on this show, buying a house in reverse order. Picking who you want to live in your house is first, and then buying a house to match that market. Most people do it where they buy the house first, and then they find somebody to rent it. I always say that your tenants are going to be the biggest factor and how blissful your life is. They are your biggest business partners. If you know who you want to be as business partners with, buy a house that they would enjoy living in. I love that. What is a strategy for being successful as a real estate investor?

As a successful investor, you have to know your numbers. It starts as a dream. “I want to own an investment property.” That’s the dream. You then have to get back into the process and go deeper into how do you be successful, “Am I going to make money on this investment?” I’m going to throw out the rule of 72, go look it up, “Am I going to make money on this property?”

Let’s say you need to do some remodeling to this property. You are walking through this property, and it needs some remodeling. You need to get educated in your mind when you are walking through that property. “This bathroom is $10,000. Hardware all throughout the house, $1,000.” You are adding up these gross numbers to say, “How much does this property need for me to fix it up to rent it to the avatar renter that I want to bring, and does it make sense?”

If you get those numbers, you need to make your offer price consistent with all those numbers. For your loan, you want to make sure it all fits into the budget that you feel is appropriate for the return on investment that you need to get over this property. You can’t control the economy but you can control your budget.

Be careful not to go over your budget because you fall in love with something. Would you agree?

I did this video on my YouTube channel called Decorating Faux Pas, which I love. You are going to go into a rental property. You are not going to put a gold-plated copper tub in there when your budget is $500 that you need to get on the Facebook marketplace to make it work. Facebook marketplace is a fabulous resource. I’m not even trying to plug them but to get some things like furnishings, if you need to furnish it, you don’t have to go and get expensive things. It’s an investment property. It’s not a dream house.

I love that you said that. Remember that it’s an investment property. It’s not your dream house. I’m going to use that one. Could you tell us one daily practice that you would say contributes to your personal success?

REW D'Nette Wood | REI Mom

REI Mom: The one daily practice that contributes to success is being authentic, mindful, and service to people.


The one daily practice that contributes to my success is being authentic, being mindful, and being of service to people. My job is people. You never know where your business is going to come from. That’s the top, people are my business, and then underneath that big umbrella is follow-up. I went to a function and met 30 people. I come home, write down those names and something about them. I want to reach out and send a little note card in the next couple of days saying, “It was so great to see you again.” I mean it authentically.

You can see that grow exponentially in my sphere of influence and with the people that know me. I’m able to remember, “I need a good folk painter for this wall in my investment property. I bet I could call Debbie.” It’s your connections with people and resources that make me overall successful. Not only financially but emotionally, I’m not burned out. It’s an enjoyable lifestyle. I got past the hustle. I’m in the bliss hustle because I’m connecting with people, and I love to be of service, and it makes it fun. I’m having fun working. Am I working or am I having fun? I don’t know.

It looks like you are having fun.

I’m having fun now.

That’s awesome. Thank you for that. D’Nette, this has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much for all that you’ve offered in this portion of the show.

Thank you for inviting me to be on your show and connecting with your readers. I hope they find something to help them move forward toward their goals and passions.

Thank you so much. You’ve offered plenty of nuggets that they can take with them. Ladies, we are going to be talking more in EXTRA. We are going to be talking about financial literacy for your children and how to teach them to fish. I don’t know if you know this saying, you probably do, “Teach someone to fish. They can live for a lifetime. Give them a fish. They only have it for a meal.”

We are going to be talking about that in EXTRA. If you are subscribed to EXTRA, stay tuned. We’ve got more. If not, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenEXTRA.com, and you can sign up there. For those of you that are leaving us, thank you so much for joining D’Nette and I for this portion of the show. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember that goals without action are dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires.


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About D’Nette Wood

REW D'Nette Wood | REI MomWith a dynamic background anchored in creativity and lifelong learning, D’Nette Wood has established an incredible 20+ year career as a Sotheby’s International Realty agent in the city of Albuquerque. An expert in luxury home sales, income-generating properties, and investments, D’Nette advises a range of clientele from new home buyers to retirees with complex estates.

With a keen eye for strategic decision-making, D’Nette’s background as a loan officer provides her the ability to understand how real estate decisions can impact her client’s long-term goals. She uses this mindset to be a strong consultative ally and offer a long-term view for those looking to buy real estate.

In addition, her family’s four generations in New Mexico have driven her appreciation for the state and developed a connection to the area’s rich history. As a result, D’Nette has participated in many local initiatives, supported non-profit boards, and was appointed to the New Mexico State Investment Council.


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Financial Freedom And Bliss With Caterina Rando – Real Estate Women

REW 91 | Financial Freedom


You deserve to enjoy your life, but sometimes, you just can’t feel that sense of fulfillment no matter how hard you try. You could not get the feeling of ultimate happiness you’ve always dreamed of because of different circumstances or tragedies. So, it’s time to explore the possibilities. In this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando, Moneeka Sawyer shares the key things that helped her overcome the challenges and trials in her life that made her stronger, braver, and wiser. As Monica attains financial freedom and wealth, it helps her reach her goals and experience bliss in her life. Tune in to learn how to acquire yours!

Listen to the podcast here


Financial Freedom And Bliss With Caterina Rando – Real Estate Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

As you might imagine, as a podcaster, I am often invited to be on other people’s shows, which I love. It is such an honor and it is so much fun. Every once in a while, I am on a show that is so good. We cover stuff that I haven’t covered elsewhere and sometimes I want to share those conversations with you. This conversation that I had with a good friend of mine, Caterina Rando, is one of those conversations. I thought this might be exactly what you need as we were heading into the New Year, so I wanted to share it with you. Here is the episode with me and Caterina. I hope you enjoy it.

Welcome back to another episode of the Expand Your Fempire Show. I am extra blissing to be with you because I have the Blissful Millionaire, Moneeka Sawyer, as my very special guest on this episode. She is a dear friend, a TEDx speaker and a real estate mogul. What I want you to know about Moneeka is that she embodies bliss and lights up every room she walks into. You cannot be with her and not leave blissing. Moneeka, thank you for being here.

Thank you so much for having me. You made me blush. That was so cool.

We have been to Hawaii and on other adventures together. You are always so wonderful to be with. You are a leader. You don’t just teach about bliss and you not only live your bliss, but you bliss every room that you are in. I am so happy to have you. Let me have you share a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey because you are living an amazing life. You travel all the time and you have financial freedom. How did you get from that blissing little girl to where you are?

REW 91 | Financial Freedom

Financial Freedom: Bliss is that deep sense of joy and contentment with life so that you know that anything that comes your way, you can handle it emotionally.


Thank you so much for asking that. It is a journey that is a little bit unexpected. It is not something people would expect to hear from me when they meet me. I was not a blissing little girl. I was a tormented, bullied little girl because I lived in what you might call a Lily-White community in Ohio and was the only person that was not White. I’m Indian so I got bullied and treated very badly. From a very young age, my journey, passion, and the thing that I focused on most were how was I going to be happy because people were not kind. I was like, “Could I be happy?” That journey towards bliss started as a very young girl trying to survive and figure out how to be happy.

The journey went on for many years. We have eventually moved to California, but things didn’t get much better. In high school and college, I became a people-pleaser. I wanted to make other people happy because I thought other people being happy would make me happy if they liked me. How many of us girls can relate to that? We were like, “If they like me, I will be happy.” Horrible bullying happened were things that boys do to girls happened. Eventually, I left for college and found that no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t get better. I put my strong face forward. I always had a big smile. I was always the nicest person in a room and people were so unkind.

The one thing that kept me sane through most of my life was I was a dancer. I started dancing when I was five. All of you ladies know exercise helps with the endorphins, our confidence and keeping us strong. Plus, I loved it, so it was my anchor throughout my entire life. I got in this car accident when I was 21. I became a cripple and lost my legs.

I did not lose them but I couldn’t use them anymore, so I even lost dance. At that point, I fell into such an incredible depression. I wanted it to be over. I had been depressed and in bed crying for a week. I remember one morning, I woke up and I heard my mom’s voice in my head. My mom says, “Moneeka, get out of bed. Get some air so you will feel better.” I pushed the covers over my head, swung my legs over the side of the bed and tried to stand up. My legs were so weak that I fell to the ground.

At that moment, I sat there crying and prayed. I said, “God, I can’t keep doing this, so either bring me home or teach me how to live.” About an hour later, a girlfriend called me, who I hadn’t heard about for years. I tell her frequently that God sent her to me at that moment. She turned me on to a coach and that coach is the man that saved my life because he taught me that we are all born in these little blissful bundles of joy. We come into the world so full of excitement of being alive, learning, and experiencing. We were blissing, and then life teaches us that it is hard and bliss is okay. He told me that my journey and all the study that I had done were going to serve me. He was going to help me get back to where I needed to go, and so we did.

It all starts with the decision. I wrote a book called Choose Bliss, and the reason I say choose bliss is because it always starts with a choice. Bliss is a choice and it started with a choice. It didn’t mean that the journey was easy, but it meant that the journey started, I was committed to it, and therefore, it could happen. That is how the whole bliss thing started for me.

We are all born in these little blissful bundles of joy. We come into this world full of the excitement of being alive, learning, and experience.

The first thing you did with your coach, did you choose bliss? Was that the first step?

I chose to live, which was not the first step and then the next choice was to try to find happiness. At that time, it was this very basic, “I didn’t want to be miserable.” Sometimes, the first step is to not be something. As we worked together, I expanded so great because it was truly in my heart to experience bliss. Also, I want your audience to know how I define bliss. Bliss is not being happy all the time. Bliss is that deep sense of joy and contentment with life so that you know that anything that comes your way, you can handle it emotionally. It is emotional mastery and resilience. That wasn’t where I started but that is where I wanted to go.

He hired me on as an executive coach underneath him and I found that there were all these people that I worked with that were multi-millionaires. I would go into their offices. They had a great job and a beautiful wife. At that time, all the executives were men. They have these beautiful children and beautiful homes in the Silicon Valley but they were miserable, so I became the Bliss Coach.

I took what I had learned through my own experience and taught them how to bring their passion, motivation and bliss back into their lives. I could only reach so many people in coaching or speaking, so I wrote a book called Choose Bliss. That is where I grounded this idea of bliss, where I defined what we were looking for and the specific steps on how to get there based on my experience with myself and my clients.

You know that I am a huge fan of focusing on bliss and I host the Bliss Retreat, which I’m looking forward to. For someone reading who wants more bliss and does not have it, let’s keep it out of business. We are going to go to business shortly. How do they bliss more in their life? What tips do you have for them?

I have already said that it is a choice and I know that sounds trite. We hear this all the time. I want to be clear. Learn from what has happened to me. There has been abuse and a lot of horrible things that have happened in my life. The thing that I realized is that I was not going to be able to be a happy person unless I was willing to get past that somehow. The very first thing is to understand that bliss is a choice and here is the next piece of that. We can’t control what happens out there in the world. We can’t control other people, what happens to us or what people do to us, but we must always control how we choose to respond. That is the ultimate key to living a life of bliss. That is the start. After that, we have got some techniques. There are many in the book, so take a look at it.

I do tend to agree about choosing bliss. What I also have seen and know is that for women entrepreneurs who are the women that I focus on and our key audience here, one thing that can impact your bliss is when you are struggling financially. You are concerned about whether you can pay your bills and if you can deliver what you promised to your clients because your financial situation is challenging.

People may be in that situation. What I also know about you is that you have created financial freedom for yourself. I would like to shine the spotlight a little bit on that because that is a place where you are like, “I choose bliss but if I can’t pay my bills, it is hard to keep choosing bliss for a lot of people.” Can you talk a little bit about your financial freedom journey? Let’s give some super tips to our audience.

REW 91 | Financial Freedom

Financial Freedom: We can’t control what happens out there in the world, and we can’t control other people, but we can control how we choose to respond.


That is what my TEDx is about. My TEDx is called Who is the Boss of You? It is about living a life of choice. At the age of 21, when I got out of school and looked for my first job, I was lucky enough to recognize that if I wanted to be free, marry the man that I wanted, and have the life that I wanted or be able to live in choice. I had to have the financial wherewithal to make that happen, so I wasn’t desperate to get married, get a job or sell myself into society. For me, it became this journey very early on that financial freedom was the key to my freedom and choice in life.

It is interesting because part of why TED wanted me to talk about this is because it is so controversial. People do not want to recognize that money is an important piece of freedom. It is not necessarily happiness, but freedom often leads us to happiness. Money buys us freedom. Freedom buys us choices. Choices can buy us happiness. For me, my big focus is empowering women so that they understand that they need to focus on money.

It is not the most important thing in the world but it is certainly important, and a lot of women want to ignore it or turn their back on it. They feel somehow wrong if they are focusing on the money. I will back up a little bit and say that you don’t want to be selling services to someone that they don’t need. Money is a king but money should be the thing that sets your foundation so that you can be of service in the biggest, best way possible.

For me, I found that I did that through real estate. I had my businesses and I was in corporate. My side hustle was real estate. Even in the very beginning or when I wasn’t wealthy, the one thing that I knew was I would always be okay because I had this asset. Whether the bills were bothering me or what was going on, I knew that I was always going to be okay. As that asset grew and I grew that side hustle that I paid very little attention to, the freedom came within 10 to 15 years. I knew that I would never have to worry about money, so whether I was coaching, speaking, or whatever it was that I was doing, I didn’t have to struggle to make money. I knew I was taking care of it. I could do what I felt was right and give my very best.

Freedom often leads us to happiness, but money buys us freedom. Freedom buys us choices, and choices can buy us happiness.

I want to jump back for a second, Moneeka. We need to shine the spotlight that women can make a living or a business doing what they love that may or may not be their source of wealth. I also have some real estate and I call it my old lady money because I believe that as long as I can give a talk, I can come home with clients. There may also be a day when I can’t give a talk or I don’t want to come home with clients. That is what my real estate is for. It does provide this feeling of security and the feeling of knowing that you are going to be okay financially, thus giving us more freedom. Real estate is not the only solution.

I do emphasize with my clients the importance of creating financial surplus and looking at how to create financial surplus so that they are okay with those things that are unexpected. I do feel that a lot of women who don’t value money as a high value have their attention on serving and helping, which is great. We want to be sure, though, that we were filling our cup first so we were not trying to give from an empty cup, and therefore, we can also be enjoying our journey more. What are your thoughts?

I want to highlight that. You cannot pour a cup of tea out of a pot if the pot is empty. Your life is that cup and what is inside you is the tea. You’re the pot. If you are empty, there is nothing to give. You can go out there, keep trying and pushing, but that is why we have sickness and disease, why women get very depressed and on medications because we were not taking care of ourselves. This is not just a trite talk about self-care and building yourself up. It is real. The most courageous thing that we can do is to take care of ourselves. People think it is the opposite. You take care of others and then that takes care of you.

As women, we do get so much from giving to others. It does feed us but remember, you are first because if there is nothing left in you, there is nothing left to give. It does matter financially. Part of filling yourself up is making yourself feel safe, taking care of your bills, and making sure that everything is paid so that you can be solid in the world that you are safe because that matters. Women don’t want to pay attention to that. Money has gotten a stigma. That is what I think but it’s not. It is a girl thing too. We need the money to make our lives work, safe and stable.

Moneeka, you have been kind enough over the years to support our charities through the community. We have our charities that support women and girls. You have organizations that you are involved with supporting youth and education. When we take time away from our business to do our philanthropy, we can’t do that consistently if we are struggling. One of the things that financial ease does is it gives you a choice to take some of your time and invest that time in the causes that you care about, and that has been extremely rewarding.

I remember one day I was sitting in traffic near the Bay Bridge in the Bay Area. I was high vibration blissing in my car even though I was in traffic because we had raised $10,000 for one of our charities. Another way to bliss in your life is when you are helping other people. You are not able to do that consistently when you do not have financial ease.

The other thing, though, is that during the pandemic, I haven’t been able to kiss or hug all my ladies. As a result, I have been sending them cards and note cards. We have made this bliss roll-on aromatherapy that we gave everybody. I have spent so much money on postage, and fortunately, everybody knows I have a crush on my mailman, Antonio, who gives me excellent service.

Here is the thing. You can’t do all those little special things when you are stressed financially. The other thing is it impacts your ability to think about the future and what possibilities you can create for yourself in your life when you have no resources. I love what you were saying that when you have financial freedom, it gives you a choice for your whole life. That is what we want for our audience. Moneeka, let’s talk to the audience. They are reading and saying, “I get it.” What steps do we want them to take?

REW 91 | Financial Freedom

Financial Freedom: You cannot pour a cup of tea out of a pot if the pot is empty. Your life is that cup and what’s inside you is the tea. If you’re empty, there’s nothing to give.


First, decide if both of these pieces are important to you. We have been talking about bliss and wealth. It does start with a choice. Choose that it is important for you. It is a choice and it starts as simple as that. The first thing is you are going to have a relationship with the joy in your life and with money that brings you joy. That is why I call myself the Blissful Millionaire because the focus is on keeping even the conversation about money joyful. It supports all that bliss in my life not just by giving me freedom, but the actual process is a blissful one.

The next step is to find one little step in each of those areas that you can take. Don’t allow it to be overwhelming. You can eat a big chocolate cake but it takes one bite at a time. What is that bite going to be on the bliss side and also on the wealth side? Beginning steps should have something to do with your relationship, those ideas in your own life, and the role that they play for you. Make a decision, find what that first step is, and then take that first action towards achieving that first step.

You have a way of making me feel like there are so many possibilities. You have shared with our audience your phenomenal book, Choose Bliss, which I highly recommend. How can everyone connect with you? Is there any excitement that you want to share that you are up to?

Go to BlissfulInvestor.com. You will find all my books there and my show, Real Estate Investing for Women. If you are interested a little bit, peaked on that. We have a blog. You will find out all kinds of information there. I did a TED Talk called Who is the Boss of You? It is about this journey of financial freedom to creating a blissful life so you can look that up. It is on TED.com under Moneeka Sawyer. I will eventually have it loaded up on my website. That is what’s been going on.

You bliss every conversation that you are in. You bliss me out to be with you. Readers, we want you to have more bliss in your business and life. Choose bliss, get more bliss and do that through selling more, serving more, and the thing that will bliss you out the most uplifting more lives.


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About Caterina Rando

Caterina Rando is a master certified coach, business strategist and author of the national best-seller Learn to Power Think from Chronicle Books 2002. Caterina is also the creator of two live events, The Sought After Speaker Summit and the Business Breakthrough Summit.





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