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Managing Personal Finances and Balancing a Side-Hustle with Tori Dunlap

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Tori Dunlap, a Seattle-based digital marketer and personal finance blogger, is a caring and ambitious woman who fights to empower women to gain control of their finances. Ever since she was a child, she knew how to save, budget, and negotiate for what she wants.

After she graduated college, she was blown away by the realization that not everyone knows how to manage their money. With a powerful voice in one hand and a desire to support her peers in the other, she launched Victori Media (now Her First 100K).

I wake up every morning with a fire in my belly, ready to rally against inequality, specifically wealth inequality. I truly think that fighting for women’s financial rights in what I was put on this earth to do.

Tori Dunlap, Victori Media

Using her platform, she took it upon herself to educate young women with tactical information on personal branding, money management, and career advice. She uses her own experience and shares her personal journey like sharing her story of being the youngest manager in an office and how she balances her 9-to-5 with her side hustle

Through her personal story, she’s connected with and impacted thousands of young women and has built a strong personal brand which has boosted her income and allowed her the freedom to use her voice and empower women.

Today, she works full-time as a digital marketing manager for a FinTech startup, Tomorrow, and works on the side as a freelance digital marketer and personal branding coach.

I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Tori on multiple occasions and have watched her grow her biz over the past couple of years and can honestly say she’s one of the most caring and generous people I know. That’s why I’m so excited to share her story with you today.

So, without further ado…

Read her inspiring journey in the full interview below: 

Ashley Hoffman (AH): So, tell me about the path that brought you to Victori Media.

Tori Dunlap (TD): Having a great financial education from my parents — which included starting my first business when I was 9 — I thought everyone knew how to save, budget, and negotiate. Only when I got into life after college did I realize that most people, and especially most women, are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to their financial and career-focused knowledge (and I was learning something new every day that I wish I had known when I first started out!).

I also really loved doing digital marketing and community building and realized I could work with organizations I believed in to grow my skills in this area on the side. I realized Victori Media could serve these two goals: work as a gateway for freelance social media clients and also serve women with knowledge about money and career.

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AH: What made you decide to start a side hustle on top of your 9-to-5?

TD: I wake up every morning with a fire in my belly, ready to rally against inequality, specifically wealth inequality. I truly think that fighting for women’s financial rights is what I was put on this earth to do.

That’s why I’m so glad I get to not only work in the financial sphere for my 9-5 (at a business focused on family’s financial preparedness) but also write, speak, and coach millennial women about their careers and their money.

AH: What has it been like balancing the FT job, the side hustle, and life? How do you manage work-life balance?

TD: It’s been honestly really difficult, especially in the last few months. As my 9-5 has gotten more exciting — and thus, more demanding — I’ve also seen my business grow. I’m being asked to speak and lead different events, brands reach out to work with me, and young women are looking for advice both through my blog and one-on-one.

I wish I could say I’ve found a perfect balance, but it’s not that easy. I’ll have an especially social weekend with friends, and nothing will get done for the business.

I’ve really tried to focus on taking care of myself because none of this happens if I don’t do that first.

AH: What has been one of your biggest struggles with the business so far?

TD: The balance, definitely. I’m one of those people with a million ideas, but never enough time in a day. So I’ve been exploring lately how I can outsource some of my business tasks to free up my time. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂 

AH: You often talk about personal finance – where do you think business owners have the most potential to save money as they grow their biz?

TD: If you’re starting your business or are a freelancer, having a good top-level view of your money is so important. Know exactly where and when every cent is going. Only then can you understand what you need to be making in order to live comfortably, pay your expenses, and save/invest.

For general business owners — realize that your time is money. We hear that all the time, but only in the past year or so did I understand what this meant. For example, say your salary is $50,000 a year after taxes. Divide that by how many hours you work a year (so, your hourly rate would be $24.)

If you spend 20 hours a month on emails, that is 20 hours that you could have been making money or working towards a goal that would further your business. You just lost out on almost $500, and expended energy towards something that you didn’t like or care about. Instead, hire an assistant or someone to manage your inbox for a few hours a week.

It may be an investment, but it’s an investment in yourself and your energy, so you can go do the things you need to do.

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AH: What’s your vision for your business and where do you see it in 5 years? How do you plan on getting there?

TD: I already see how much Victori Media (and other financial resources like it) can change a woman’s life. And that’s pretty astounding — and a responsibility I take so seriously. I want to be able to keep creating content and community that affects change like that.

Last year, I would have told you the moment I could support myself with only my business, I’d quit my day job. But working a 9-5 that I absolutely adore and growing my business on the side is really working for me right now. It’s chaotic, but I feel so energized. Who knows what the future holds?

AH: What is your biggest learning point so far?

TD: A closed mouth doesn’t get fed. When I launched in 2017, I had goals to be featured on a podcast, speak on a panel, and get featured on a blog I admired. But by June, I had made no progress on my must-dos and didn’t know why.

Why weren’t podcast hosts reaching out to me? Why was no one interested in hearing my thoughts on a panel or in an interview? I was creating quality content, was updating my website and social profiles, and had a contact page! Where were all those emails? 

How did I get interviewed by a podcast? I connected with a podcast host on Twitter and I pitched myself. How did I find a blogger to talk to me about my career? She wrote for the same publication I did, and I pitched myself. How did I land a panel at an international conference? I pitched myself.

I realized the only way to make these doors open for me was to knock on them first.


Follow Tori’s journey and get all of her amazing advice by following her TwitterInstagramFacebookLinkedIn, and by reading her insightful blog posts.

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