FinanciElle Bookshelf – Self Made by Nely Galán

It’s been a while since I’ve done a FinanciElle Bookshelf review, not because I’m not constantly reading or thinking of books you might get value from but because, the past 6 months I’ve been going through some professional changes that have taken up a great deal of time and head space.

This month I’m doing two book reviews of books that have helped me get through this time and provided some valuable advice and reminders.

During this time of transition where people are being faced with choices, either voluntarily or involuntarily given the times we’re in, I thought it would be a good time to share them. Maybe it will be an opportunity for some people to re-evaluate where they’ve been, where they are now, and where they want to be when some semblance of “normalcy” returns.

The first book in this April FinanciElle Bookshelf duo is Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way, by Nely Galán

I first heard about this book when I did another FinanciElle Bookshelf review –Leap Frog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs by Nathalie Molina Niño with Sara Grace, it’s been on my list of books to read ever since, and I’m so glad I got it.

One of the first pages is a quote from Nely that says:

“There is no true empowerment until you have your own money”

She writes about the women she’s met that inspired her book:

“Becoming self-made does not have to be a grandiose feat. You don’t have to look up to find a self-made woman. Just look around you. She’s the stay-at-home mom with a baby who runs an online boutique out of her apartment; the cleaning lady who books through her website and charges through PayPal; the freelance nurse who processes payments through Square; the franchise owner who employs her whole family; the corporate employee who sells her jewelry designs on Etsy; the empty nester who rents out her house through Airbnb; the baker who promotes her one-of-a-kind cakes on Instagram; the millennial who is paying off college by driving for Uber…These women are changing the economic future for themselves, for their families, and for generations to come. Self-made is a call to action, and it is a leap forward in the economic evolution of women. This is our moment to choose empowerment.”

This book is about Nely teaching everything she’s learned through her experience of becoming self-made, along with stories of other women on their self-made journey.  There are a ton of practical exercises, tips, and advice. The Self Made website is also great with lots of inspiration and resources.

In Chapter 1: My Story, Your Story, Our Story, Nely talks about Self-Made being a revolution,

“GLORIA STEINEM RECENTLY TOLD AN INTERVIEWER, “I wish I had known then what I know now, which is that the women’s movement was really an entrepreneurial movement.” I think what Steinem means is that without the ability to be whole and financially secure on your own terms, there can be no freedom and no liberation.”

You can see just from these three passages, that this was meant to be a FinanciElle Bookshelf pick, I mean come on…it’s all about making money moves.

In the Section: Think Like an Immigrant, Nely talks about how Immigrants are natural born entrepreneurs because of their resiliency and a wonderful mindset called bootstrapping, which she distills down to a list of things that you can do on your journey to being self-made.

In the section: Power is Taken, Not Given, Nely talks about an experience she had in which she learned an important lesson, “Until that moment, I had been tied to the idea that I had to be somebody’s employee. But in a split second, a light was turned on, and I realized that I had to think bigger. I need to think like an owner.”  She needed to go get her own chips! (This is a poker reference).

What follows is a list of questions to ask yourself before you get your own chips:

  1. Do you have enough money in the bank?
  2. Can you cut your expenses and reduce your overhead?
  3. Can you overcome your pride and fear of rejection?
  4. Do you have a financial backup?
  5. Can you pivot and change course when needed?
  6. What’s your competitive edge?
  7. Do you have flexibility about where you live or work?
  8. Are you willing to sacrifice for your dream?
  9. Are you in it for the long haul?

In the section: Life is about your mission and your money, Nely talks about how:

“Your mission is whatever gives your life purpose and meaning and brings you joy. Your money is what you do to support yourself and your family. Your money and your mission are roads that you travel in your life, and they don’t always align. They might run on two parallel tracks for years, until the day that you have enough money to dedicate your energy and your resources exclusively to your mission. If you’re lucky, your mission also makes you money. But that’s rare. And you can’t afford to sacrifice your money for your mission – until that is, you have enough money. Got it? To be clear: Money must come first, in order to fulfill your mission.”

The section ends with a valuable exercise on aligning your money and your mission.

At the start of this review, I talked about how I’ve been going through some professional changes and how the books I’m reviewing this month helped me get through this period, one of the exercises that really helped was in the section: The goals, the game plan, and getting it done.

The exercise was called Map the Trajectory of Your Life, the exercise involves drawing up a chart that traces all the jobs you’ve had until the specific point in time you’re at. Together, they provide a tangible map, showing where you’ve been and what you’ve learned about yourself and your abilities. The chart to fill out includes a column for the job, your likes, your dislikes, and skills acquired. When I was trying to figure out what my next move was going to be at a time when I was overwhelmed and needed to take back control, this exercise was probably one of the most useful things I did.

In the section: The goals, the game plan, and getting it done, Nely talks about making money while you sleep, what she calls THE BIG GOAL, it involves:

The book ends with Nely telling a story about a trip she took to Mexico with a group of friends, in which they climbed the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán; the third largest pyramid in the world. About getting to the top, their guide said this “The secret to reaching the top is not being afraid of the wind and not being afraid that you will fall. You are the one who stops you from going higher. The wind is not going to topple you. You will topple you over.”

This was a really great read, and I highly recommend it.

Nely Galán is a Latina media dynamo and women’s empowerment advocate and founder of The Adelante Movement,


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