Episode #66:
Financial Freedom & Bliss with Moneeka Sawyer

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Moneeka Sawyer, the Blissful Millionaire, is committed to helping women create a life of freedom and choice. In this episode, Moneeka shares her story, including the hardships and challenges she faced that eventually lead her to a life of bliss. She also shares tips on how to create wealth and freedom blissfully. Don’t miss this uplifting episode to help you take the right steps to choose bliss in your business and your life!


Moneeka Sawyer is the blissful millionaire. She reached her financial freedom by turning $10,000 to over $5,000,000 working only 5-10 hours per MONTH with very little stress. She is now on a mission to help as many other women as she can to do the same.

Moneeka is a TEDx speaker and hosts the top rated podcast and radio show Real Estate Investing for Women. She has interviewed prestigious guests such as Leeza Gibbons, Dr. Joe Vitale, and Hal Elrod, and has been interviewed on dozens of podcasts including Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas, Hal Elrod’s Achieve Your Goals, and the Best Real Estate Advice Ever show with Joe Fairless. Moneeka’s expertise, and bliss-filled laugh, have also been featured on stages with Suzanne Sommers, Martha Stewart, and Ice T & Coco at places like the Nasdaq Marketplace, Harvard, and Carnegie Hall, and on TV on NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox reaching over 150 million people.

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Expand Your Fempire Podcast #66 Transcript


Financial Freedom & Bliss
with Moneeka Sawyer

Welcome to Expand your Fempire with Caterina Rando, the podcast for women in business on a mission. Sharing ideas to support you to grow and thrive. Now here’s your host, Caterina Rando.

[00:00:29] Caterina Rando: Welcome back to another episode of the Expand Your Fempire podcast. I’m your host Caterina Rando, and I am extra blissing to be with you today because I have the Blissful Millionaire, Moneeka Sawyer, as my very special guest today.

[00:00:53] Moneeka is a dear friend, a TEDx speaker, a real estate mogul.

[00:01:01] What I want you to know about Moneeka is that she embodies bliss. She lights up every room she walks in. You cannot be with her and not leave blissing. Moneeka, thank you for being here.

[00:01:16] Moneeka Sawyer: Hi there. Caterina. Thank you so much for having me. You made me blush! It was so cool!

[00:01:26] Caterina Rando: How fun! How fun! Moneeka we have been to Hawaii together. We have been on other adventures together. You are always so wonderful to be with. You are a leader. You don’t just teach about bliss. You do not only live your bliss, you really bliss every room that you’re in. I am so happy to have you.

[00:01:50] Let me have you share a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey, because I know today you’re living an amazing life. You travel all the time. You have financial freedom. How did you get from blissing little girl to where you are today?

[00:02:07] Moneeka Sawyer: Yeah. Thank you so much for asking you that. And it’s a journey that is a little bit unexpected. Like it’s not something people would expect to hear from me when they meet me, right?

[00:02:16] So I was actually not a blissing little girl. I was actually 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, right? I’m Indian. So I got bullied and treated very badly from a very young age.

[00:02:38] So from a very young age, my journey or my passion or the thing that I focused on most was how was I going to be happy? Because people were not kind, could I be happy?

[00:02:49] And so that journey towards bliss started as a very, very young girl, just trying to survive and figure out how to be happy.

[00:02:57] So the journey went for many years. We eventually moved to California. Things didn’t get much better. And actually in high school and college, me becoming a people pleaser because I wanted to make other people happy because I thought other people being happy would make me happy.

[00:03:15] Um, if they liked me, right? So how many of us girls can relate to that? Right? If they like me, I’ll be happy. And then really horrible bullying happened. Things that boys do to girls happened. So it was horrible. And eventually, I left for college and I found that no matter how hard I tried Caterina, it didn’t get better.

[00:03:38] Like I put my strong face forward. I always had the big smile. I was always the nicest person in a room and people were so unkind.

[00:03:49] Eventually I got in a car accident. And the one thing that kept me sane through most of my life is I was a dancer. I started dancing when I was five. All of you, ladies, though, exercise really helps with the endorphins and our confidence and keeping us strong, right? Plus I loved it.

[00:04:06] So it was like my anchor through my entire life. Well I got in this car accident when I was 21 and became a cripple and lost my legs. Not lost them, but I couldn’t use them anymore. So I even lost dance.

[00:04:19] And at that point, I fell into such an incredible depression that I just thought, “you know what? I can’t.” I just wanted it to be over. And I remember one morning I was in bed. I had been depressed for probably a whole week. I was in bed crying for a week and I remember one morning I woke up and I heard my mom’s voice in my head. And mom says, “Moneeka, get out of bed, go get some air. You’ll feel better.”

[00:04:45] So I pushed the covers over my head, swung my legs over the side of the bed and tried to stand up. And my legs were so weak that I fell to the ground. And that moment, I just sat there crying and I prayed and I said, you know, “God, I can’t keep doing this. So either bring me home or teach me how to live.”

[00:05:12] And about an hour later, a girlfriend called me who I hadn’t heard about from years. I think I tell her frequently that God sent you to me in that moment. And she turned me onto a coach. And that coach is the man that saved my life.

[00:05:28] Because he taught me that we are all born as these little blissful bundles of joy, right? We come into the world and we’re so full of the excitement of being alive and learning and the experience. And we’re so blissing.

[00:05:45] And then life teaches us that it’s hard and that bliss isn’t okay. And he told me that my journey, all my study that I had done, it was going to serve me. And he was going to help me get back to where I needed to go.

[00:06:01] And so we did. You know, it all starts with a decision and 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, right? And it started with a choice.

[00:06:13] It didn’t mean that the journey was easy, but it means that the journey started in that I was committed to it. And therefore it could happen. So that’s kind of how the whole bliss thing started for me.

[00:06:27] Caterina Rando: That’s beautiful, moneeka. The first thing you did with your coach then did you choose bliss? Was that the first step?

[00:06:36] Moneeka Sawyer: Well, I chose to live, which was of the first step. And then the next choice was to try to find happiness. At the time it was this very basic, I just didn’t want to be miserable, right? Sometimes the first step has to not be something. I wanted to not be miserable.

[00:06:54] And as we worked together, I expanded so greatly because it was truly in my heart to experience bliss, right? And also I want your audience to know how I’m defining bliss.

[00:07:05] Bliss isn’t just like happy all the time, right? Bliss is that really deep sense of joy, contentment with life so that you know, that anything that comes your way, you can handle emotionally. It’s emotional mastery and emotional resilience.

[00:07:21] And that’s what I really wanted, but that wasn’t where I started, right? That’s where I wanted to go.

[00:07:26] So he hired me on as a coach, as an executive coach underneath him. And I found that there were all these people that I worked with that were like multimillionaires. And I would go into their offices, they had like the great job, the beautiful wife. At that time, all the executives were men, right? This is totally dating me Caterina. But all the executives were men and they had these beautiful children in these beautiful homes in the Silicon Valley. And they were miserable.

[00:07:53] And so I became “The Bliss Coach.” I took what I had learned through my own experience and taught them how to bring their passion and their motivation and their bliss back into their lives.

[00:08:04] And then, because I could only reach so many people coaching or speaking, I wrote a book called Choose Bliss. And that’s really where I grounded this idea of bliss. Like that’s where I defined what we were really looking for and the specific steps on how to get there based on my experience with myself and my clients.

[00:08:24] Caterina Rando: Beautiful. Well, you know, Moneeka, that I am a huge fan of focusing on bliss. And I host the Bliss Retreat, which I’m looking forward to. What I want to ask you to share with our listeners, for someone who’s listening, they want more bliss. They’re not having more bliss. Let’s keep it out business for now. We’re going to go to business shortly. How do they bliss more in their life,right now, what tips do you have for them?

[00:08:56] Moneeka Sawyer: Yeah, so the very first thing I’ve already said it is, it’s a choice. And I know that that sounds really kind of trite. Right? And we hear this all the time. It’s a choice. It’s a choice. And people are like, sure. That just happened to me. It’s a choice.

[00:09:10] So I just want to be clear. Listen to what’s happened to me. Right? There’s been abuse. There’s been a lot of horrible things that have happened in my life. And 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.

[00:09:28] So just know the very first thing is to understand that bliss is a choice. And here’s the next piece of that: we can’t control what happens out there in the world. We can’t control other people. We can’t control what happens to us or what people do to us. But we must always control how we choose to respond.

[00:09:47] And that’s the ultimate key to living a life of bliss. So that’s the start. Then after that, we’ve got some techniques. There’s many in the book that you can look at.

[00:09:57] Caterina Rando: I hear what you’re sharing with me. I do cento per cento 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 listeners here, one thing that significantly impacts your bliss or can significantly impact your bliss, is when you are struggling financially, concerned can you pay your bills? Also, can I deliver what I promise to my clients because my financial situation challenging people may be in that situation. And what I also know about you is that you have created financial freedom for yourself. And I would like to shine a spotlight a little bit on that. Because that is a place where yes, I choose bliss, but if I can’t pay my bills, it’s hard to keep choosing bliss for a lot of people.

[00:10:57] Can you say a little bit about your financial freedom journey? let’s give some super tips to our listeners.

[00:11:06] Moneeka Sawyer: Yes. And so that’s actually what my TEDx is about. My TEDx it’s called “who is the boss of you?” And it’s really about living a life of choice.

[00:11:15] And I learned at the age of 21 when I got out of school and I was looking for my first job. I was lucky enough to recognize that if I wanted to be free, if I wanted to marry the man that I wanted, I was supposed to have an arranged marriage, right? So if I wanted to marry the man that I wanted, if I wanted to have the life that I wanted, if I wanted to 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 or to get a job or, you know, sort of sell myself into society, right?

[00:11:50] So for me, it became this journey very, very early on that financial freedom was the key to my freedom and my choice in life. And I think it’s interesting because part of why Ted wanted me to talk about this is because it’s so controversial.

[00:12:06] People do not want to recognize that money is an important piece of freedom, not necessarily happiness, right? But freedom often leads us to happiness. But money buys us freedom. Freedom buys us choices. Choices can buy us happiness, right?

[00:12:26] So for me, that’s really my big focus is empowering women so that they understand that they do need to focus on money. It’s not the most important thing in the world, but it’s certainly important. And a lot of women just kind of want to ignore it, turn their back on it. They feel somehow wrong if they’re focusing on the money.

[00:12:45] Now I will back up a little bit and say, you don’t want to be selling services to someone that they don’t need, right? Money isn’t king. But money should be the thing that, like you say, sets your foundation so that you can be of service in the biggest, best way possible, right?

[00:13:02] For me, I found that I did that through real estate. I had my businesses, I was in corporate. My side hustle was real estate. And one thing that I knew, even in the very beginning, even when I wasn’t wealthy, the one thing that I knew is I would always be okay because I had this asset.

[00:13:20] So no matter whether the bills were bothering me or what was going on, I knew that I was always be okay. And as that asset grew, and I grew that side hustle that I paid very little attention to, then the freedom came within 10 to 15 years. I knew that I would just never have to worry about money.

[00:13:39] So whatever I did out there, whether I was coaching or 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. Does that make sense?

[00:13:54] Caterina Rando: Yes. I want to jump back for a second, Moneeka. It is important for us to shine the spotlight that women can make a living or make a business doing what they love that may or may not be their source of wealth.

[00:14:16] 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. But there may be a day when I can’t give a talk or I don’t want to come home with clients. And that’s what my real estate is for. And it does provide this feeling of security. And the feeling of knowing that you’re going to be okay financially does give us more freedom.

[00:14:48] Real estate, of course 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 you are okay for those things that are unexpected that come up.

[00:15:07] And I do feel that a lot of women who don’t value money as a high value, they have their attention, like you said, on serving on helping, which is great. We want to be sure though that we’re filling our own cup first, so we’re not trying to give from an empty cup. And therefore we can also be enjoying our journey more.

[00:15:35] What are your thoughts?

[00:15:36] Moneeka Sawyer: Absolutely. And I really want to highlight that. So ladies, I just want you to hear this, like really hear it. You cannot pour a cup of tea out of a pot, if the pot is empty. And your life is that cup. And what’s inside you, is the tea. You’re the pot. If you’re empty, there’s nothing to give.

[00:15:58] I know you can go out there and keep trying and keep pushing. But that’s why we have sickness and disease. That’s why women get very, very depressed. That’s why so many women are on medications. Because we’re not taking care of ourselves. And so this isn’t just kind of a trite talk about self-care and filling yourself up. It’s real.

[00:16:19] The most courageous thing that we can do is to take care of ourselves. People think it’s the opposite, that you take care of others and then that takes care of you. Yes, I think as women, we do get so much from giving to others. It does feed us. But remember that you’re first cause if there’s nothing left in you, there’s nothing left to give.

[00:16:39] So Caterina, I love that you said that. And it does matter financially. Part of filling yourself up is making yourself feel safe, taking care of your bills, making sure that everything is paid so that you can be solid in the world. That you’re safe. Because that matters.

[00:16:58] And I think women don’t want to pay attention to that. That money somehow has got like a stigma, like a guy thing. But it’s not, it’s a girl thing too, right? We need the money to make our lives really work and safe and stable.

[00:17:14] Caterina Rando: And also make them richer. And also in our business. Make our businesses richer.

[00:17:18] Moneeka Sawyer: Absolutely.

[00:17:19] Caterina Rando: As you know, Moneeka, you have been kind enough over the years to support our charities through the community. And we have our charities that we support for women and girls. And you have your own organizations that I know you’re involved with supporting youth and education.

[00:17:38] And, you know, when we take time away from our business To do our philanthropy, we can’t do that if we are struggling. We wouldn’t be able to do that consistently. And one of the things that financial ease does is it gives you the choice to take some of your time and invest that time in the causes that you really care about.

[00:18:02] And that has been extremely rewarding. I remember one day I was sitting in traffic over near the Bay Bridge in the Bay area and I was blissing in my car. I was literally high vibration, blissing in my car, even though I was in traffic. Because we had just raised $10,000 for one of our charities. And that is definitely another way to bliss in your life is when you are helping other people and you’re not able to do that consistently when you are not having financial ease.

[00:18:38] The other thing though, is that, you know, the last year during the pandemic, haven’t been able to kiss or hug all my ladies. And as a result, I’ve been sending them cards and note cards, and we made this bliss roll-on aroma therapy that we gave everybody. And I’ve spent so much money on postage and fortunately, everybody knows I have a crush on my mailman who gives me excellent service Antonio.

[00:19:06] Here’s the thing you can’t do all those little special things when you’re stressing financially.

[00:19:14] And the other thing is it impacts your ability to think about the future and what possibilities can you create for yourself in your life when you have no resources? And I love what you were saying Moneeka earlier about the choice.  When you have financial freedom that it gives you choice for your whole life. And that’s definitely what we want for our listeners.

[00:19:39] Moneeka, let’s talk to the listeners right now. They’re listening and they’re saying, “Okay. Okay. Okay. Moneeka. Okay. I get it.” What steps do we want them to take?

[00:19:50] Moneeka Sawyer: Well, first decide that this is important to you. Both of these pieces. Like today, we’ve been talking about bliss, we’ve been also talking about wealth.

[00:19:59] It really does start with a choice. So choose that it’s important for you. It is just a choice and it starts as simple as that. So that’s the first thing, is you’re going to have a relationship with the joy in your life, and you’re going to have a relationship with money that brings you joy.

[00:20:18] That’s why I call myself the Blissful Millionaire because the focus is on keeping even the conversation about money really joyful. So it supports all that bliss in my life, not just by giving me freedom, but the actual process is a blissful one. So that’s what I would say. The very first step is to make the choice.

[00:20:35] 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. What do they say? Like you can eat a really big chocolate cake, but it takes one bit at a time, right? So start with one bite of chocolate cake. What is that bite going to be? On the bliss side and also on the wealth side.

[00:20:58] And I would say beginning steps should have something to do with your relationship with those ideas in your own life and the role that they play for you. So make a decision, find what that first step is, and then take that first action towards achieving that first step.

[00:21:18] Caterina Rando: Beautiful. Moneeka, you have a way of making me feel like there are so many possibilities. You’ve shared with our listeners your phenomenal book, Choose Bliss, which I highly recommend, everyone.

[00:21:33] Moneeka, how can everyone connect with you? And any excitement that you want to share that you’re up to?

[00:21:40] Moneeka Sawyer: Yeah, so go to blissfulinvestor.com. So blissfulinvestor.com. You’ll find all my books there. You’ll find my podcast, Real Estate Investing for Women. If your interest is a little bit peaked on that. W e have a blog, so you’ll find out all kinds of information.

[00:21:56] And recently I just did a Ted talk called, “Who is the Boss of You?” And it’s really about this journey of financial freedom to creating a blissful life, right? So you can look that up. It’s actually on ted.com, look it up under Moneeka Sawyer. I will eventually have it loaded up to my website. So that’s just been going on

[00:22:17] Caterina Rando: Moneeka, like I said, you bliss every conversation that you’re in. You bliss me out to be with you. Listeners, we want you to have more bliss in your business, more bliss in your life. Choose bliss. Go get more bliss and do that through selling more, serving more, and the thing that will bliss you out the most, uplifting more lives.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando.

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