In this episode, Emily interviews Dr. Rasheda Weaver, the founder of the Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory. Rasheda studied and taught social entrepreneurship as a graduate student and faculty member and along the way launched her own social enterprise out of her research and work with social entrepreneurs. As her business grew, she felt pulled toward full-time entrepreneurship and eventually left her faculty position. Rasheda and Emily discuss the financial steps that Rasheda took while still in her full-time job to give herself runway when she went full-time in her business, including opportunities uniquely available inside academia. Rasheda describes her weekly schedule in detail and how much time and money she allows herself to invest in physical and mental health and her growing business. If you are passionate about a social cause, don’t miss this interview—even if you’re not currently pursuing or planning to pursue entrepreneurship!
Links Mentioned in the Episode
- PF for PhDs Community
- PF for PhDs S14E6 Show Notes
- Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory
- Social Entrepreneurship: A Practical Introduction (Book by Rasheda Weaver)
- Ready, Set, Launch: Social Enterprise Bootcamp
- Smart Women Finish Rich (Book by David Bach)
- The Latte Factor (Book by David Bach)
- The Psychology of Money (Book by Morgan Housel)
- PF for PhDs Tax Center
- The Product Boss
- Dr. Rasheda Weaver’s Website
- Rasheda Weaver Instagram (@rashedaweaver_phd)
- PF for PhDs Subscribe to Mailing List (Access Advice Document)
- PF for PhDs Podcast Hub (Show Notes)
00:00 Rasheda: It was just like everything just started to come to a head because I started getting a lot of speaking engagement opportunities that were paying thousands of dollars. And then the Bootcamp was doing well and then, you know, it was just all these different things happening, and I was teaching four classes as an academic. I just felt like I was being pulled in a lot of directions, and I could still do the teaching that I was doing in the classroom for Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory. It’s just a different format. Sometimes it’s online, sometimes it’s in person, but it’s the same thing with a lot less stress.
00:34 Emily: Welcome to the Personal Finance for PhDs Podcast: A Higher Education in Personal Finance. I’m your host, Dr. Emily Roberts, a financial educator specializing in early-career PhDs and founder of Personal Finance for PhDs. This podcast is for PhDs and PhDs-to-be who want to explore the hidden curriculum of finances to learn the best practices for money management, career advancement, and advocacy for yourself and others. This is Season 14, Episode 6, and today my guest is Dr. Rasheda Weaver, the founder of the Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory. Rasheda studied and taught social entrepreneurship as a graduate student and faculty member and along the way launched her own social enterprise out of her research and work with social entrepreneurs. As her business grew, she felt pulled toward full-time entrepreneurship and eventually left her faculty position. Rasheda and I discuss the financial steps that Rasheda took while still in her full-time job to give herself runway when she went full-time in her business, including opportunities uniquely available inside academia. Rasheda describes her weekly schedule in detail and how much time and money she allows herself to invest in physical and mental health and her growing business. If you are passionate about a social cause, don’t miss this interview—even if you’re not currently pursuing or planning to pursue entrepreneurship!
02:00 Emily: We’re within one month of the deadline to file your annual tax return, pay your quarter 1 2023 estimated tax, and finish contributing to your 2022 Roth IRA. If you want some help with two or more of those actions, this is a perfect time to consider joining the Personal Finance for PhDs Community at PFforPhDs.community. Within just your first month of membership, you can take my tax return preparation workshop and estimated tax workshop, complete the Open Your First IRA Challenge, and attend our next general discussion and Q&A call to ask your questions directly to me on April 11, 2023. This can be the month that you really get on top of your finances! Again, go to PFforPhDs.community to check out all that you gain access to with the membership… and join us today! You can find the show notes for this episode at PFforPhDs.com/s14e6/. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Dr. Rasheda Weaver.
Will You Please Introduce Yourself Further?
03:12 Emily: I am delighted to have joining me on the podcast today, Dr. Rasheda Weaver. She is the founder, creator, owner, CEO of the Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory. She’s also a former faculty member. So Rasheda, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. And would you please introduce yourself a little bit further for the audience?
03:30 Rasheda: Yes, it’s my pleasure to join you. Thank you Dr. Roberts for having me! And so my name once again, Dr. Rasheda L. Weaver. And I’m currently the founder and CEO of Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory that I also call WSED. And I’ve been a faculty member for over five years and have taught over 1,000 students globally. I started my career at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont as an assistant professor of community entrepreneurship. And most recently I worked for Iona College for the last four years. And I was their first assistant professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at their Hynes Institute. And that was started with the 15 million grant in 2017. And so I came on and literally I was the only faculty member, so I helped build the teaching, the research, and the whole service programming.
04:15 Emily: Fantastic! And so, our kind of topic today is your journey from academia into entrepreneurship, but it’s so interesting because it’s like your academic topic of social entrepreneurship is also like you’re living it, right? So it’s like a meta thing going on here.
04:29 Rasheda: Absolutely.
Defining Social Entrepreneurship
04:29 Emily: So, can you tell us a little bit more about like what is social entrepreneurship and why do you think that grad students and PhDs should understand this and explore it?
04:38 Rasheda: Yes. So, social entrepreneurship is a process of using business to combat social problems, societal issues like hunger, poverty, inequality, disease. Any kind of major social issue. And it’s really organizations that, a social enterprise is an organization and it can be a nonprofit organization or for-profit, but we’re often seeing a combination of both. So, somebody has a for-profit business that they use to make all this money, and then a nonprofit that they use to funnel the money into different charities or social causes and things like that. And so, I’ve been studying this. It’s a new field, so it’s been around for 40 to 50 years. And my book, Social Entrepreneurship: A Practical Introduction, actually comes out December 15th, 2022. And it’s called a Practical Introduction because the majority of the world does not know this term. And it’s really important for graduate students and PhDs, in particular, to know this term because many of us already, if not all of us, have a social issue that we’re very passionate about.
05:39 Rasheda: That’s why many of us become social scientists like the both of us. And when you understand how, you know, entrepreneurship can be utilized to fulfill the same goals that you’re trying to fulfill in as a PhD, but you could actually sustain yourself with it, I think that’s just very, very important for PhDs to understand and graduate students. It also provides an alternative career path for academics that maybe want to pursue entrepreneurship or have a different kind of vision for what they envision their career to be like, or what they envision life to be like. And I’ll talk about that a lot today. And you know, social entrepreneurship just paves the way for us to do that.
06:21 Emily: I’m actually struggling to think of an example of a PhD who maybe would want to start a business where it wasn’t socially motivated, almost like can almost anything fall under this umbrella?
06:33 Rasheda: Yes. But it would have to be positive social change. Because I always say that social change, you know a riot can be social change <laugh>, but it has to be positive, something that uplifts community advances, human and community development. So I would say the majority, if not all PhDs are already working towards some kind of societal change anyway.
Do Solopreneurs Count?
06:53 Emily: Yeah. I’m thinking of myself now. And certainly there’s a, I want to better the lives of graduate students and postdocs and PhDs as like part of the mission for like my business. So, I’m actually wondering a little bit more about the entrepreneurship term within social entrepreneurship. Do I count as like a solopreneur single-person business? Or is it only like enterprises?
07:14 Rasheda: You do! You most definitely count and especially because your mission is to, you know, improve the financial well-being, essentially, of PhDs. And that is very important I think as a PhD, I understand the importance of that, but I think maybe the majority of people might not understand it. But what you’re doing is you’re helping people that are literally contributing to society in a positive manner. Literally building generations upon generations of, you know, future professionals and leaders for our world. And you’re saying let’s take care of yourself financially because finances affect our holistic well-being. It just does.
Starting Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory
07:52 Emily: Absolutely. That’s how I think about the mission of like I and what I do on the financial side of things. It’s like supporting and bolstering and helping all these individual PhDs with all of their dreams and their missions for how to better our world because, and they’re so talented and I just want them to be able to do their work and contribute and like, and of course, the finances being part of that is something that can enable them to, you know, live those dreams out and yeah. So, that’s <laugh> my motivation for being here. Let’s talk a little bit more about your business and how and when did you start that?
08:25 Rasheda: Yeah, so I started Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory in 2018, 1 year after finishing my dissertation. So, my dissertation was the first large-scale study in the United States of social enterprise business models. So, their social mission, how they make money, and what legal structure they incorporate under, so the perfect way to help you design a social enterprise. And I found all this data, and I had literally mapped 1,200 social enterprises across the United States. And so I said, well, this information should be public. And I first just started it as a public database. And so, it’s sort of like an accident that happened that turned out to be now my full-time career because I made the database public. But then I realized in order to have this website and to have the URL and to own the domain and all that, I have to finance that and I was doing it out of my pocket.
09:12 Rasheda: So, I started selling the database in order to cover those expenses. And then once I started seeing what was happening with the people that were using the database, like they’re starting companies that are helping them make six-figure salaries. And I was like, “Wow, okay. Like, I didn’t know that could happen.” And then, so I started doing more, but then other people, entrepreneurs started reaching out to me and saying, “Well, we’re social entrepreneurs. We really need to learn how to make money. Like the database is wonderful.” And that was great for academics and people that know how to use like email databases for business. But the average entrepreneur wanted to know how can I help them with their finances? How can I help them design a social impact model that enables them to maximize the impact they’re having on their local communities? And so, I developed the Ready, Set, Launch Social Enterprise Bootcamp during the pandemic actually because people started reaching out to me. And that’s a five-day online bootcamp. It’ll be in person in 2023. We’re doing it in Italy, but it’s a five-day bootcamp that literally trains entrepreneurs how to design organizations with a strong financial mission as well as a strong social mission.
10:19 Emily: I love to see that progression over those years of like, you turned your dissertation into something useful for the broader community outside of academia. And then you listened to the people who were using it and understood what their needs were and understood how you could take one more step to fulfill those, and then you did it again, and so forth. And I’m sure you’ll keep iterating that way.
10:39 Rasheda: I’m doing it again now with the coaching <Laugh>.
10:41 Emily: Yes, exactly.
10:43 Rasheda: Because after people have taken the Bootcamp, they’re like, well, well some of them just missed me because they missed the Bootcamp. It’s a really good environment, and someone to do coaching. But now they’re asking for a longer program, which is like a monthly training program where entrepreneurs can meet with me and I’ll help them throughout the month and we figure out one task that they’re working on and we’ll work on this throughout the month. Month two, we do another task. And so, they’re coming to me with these issues that they’re having as entrepreneurs, and I’m just delivering solutions, essentially. Which is what social entrepreneurs do. We deliver solutions to social problems,
Transitioning from Faculty to Full-Time Entrepreneur
11:15 Emily: This sounds like so seamless to me <laugh>. But you had another job when you started this. Like, I can feel that like this business was pulling you, “Oh, you can see how your work is being applied and helping all these people and this is wonderful,” but you still had this other job. So like, how did you make this transition, especially financially, from being a faculty member and having this side business to doing the business full-time?
11:37 Rasheda: Yeah, I love that you used the word pulling, because it really was. Because I would be in the classroom and I can see the impact that I’m having on students in the classroom and I love that as well. But at the same time, I remember in spring 2022, it was just like everything just started to come to a head because I started getting a lot of speaking engagement opportunities that were paying thousands of dollars. And then the Bootcamp was doing well and then, you know, it was just all these different things happening. And I was teaching four classes as an academic and then the grading and you know, I love teaching classes, but there’s so much more to academia and the service and being the only faculty member for my institute. I just felt like I was being pulled in a lot of directions, and I could still do the teaching that I was doing in the classroom for Social Enterprise Directory, which is, I’m doing the same thing, it’s just a different format.
12:27 Rasheda: Sometimes it’s online, sometimes it’s in person, but it’s the same thing with a lot less stress. And so, it really was sort of pulling me and then I think, you know the pandemic inspired me to also just like think about life a lot differently. Like, what do I genuinely want? I want peace, I want relaxation, I want financial prosperity. When the pandemic hit, I started saving money like a crazy person. Like I’m like, I don’t know if this is going to be like the next Great Depression. And so, I went from saving like $600 from my paycheck to $800 to sometimes a thousand dollars per paycheck. Just in case something were to happen to my job and I needed to do entrepreneurship full-time. And I started just dreaming a bit more. But then when I realized that, you know, what the pandemic allowed me to do and the pulling that was happening to me at the same time, it just allowed me to sort of push me into maybe what’s really my destiny. Because I always actually wanted to be an entrepreneur. And I went into academia hoping to do more research. And like I said, I was teaching four classes, so there’s not a lot of research happening there. I was still able to maintain it, but I was losing myself as an individual in the process.
13:36 Emily: Yeah. Wow. Okay. I actually want to back up a tiny bit and like, before you left your full-time position, you know, we’re in the midst of the pandemic, so it’s a strange time already. You mentioned you upped your savings because you were concerned about financial security as so many people were at that time and still are <laugh>. So, were there any other steps that you feel like are worth mentioning in terms of how you really got the business off the ground in scaling up and so forth that you did financially while you still had your full-time job?
14:04 Rasheda: Oh yes. A lot of this happened during my first year on the tenure track when I was at the University of Vermont. So, they had a really great startup package and well, I was able to negotiate that, so you have to negotiate your startup package. I think you should be very, very strategic about how you do that. And I negotiated one that was very you know, it just directly aligned with me taking steps to further my dissertation research. And I planned a whole social enterprise day party where I invited scholars and social entrepreneurs from all around the country to come help celebrate the introduction of Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory. Not at that time realizing that it would’ve been a business idea, just an output of my research and a resource to my field. And I think that’s so, so important because we’re not just academics.
14:49 Rasheda: We are a part of a whole entire field as academics and that we can contribute in so many more ways than we realize. And so, I never just thought of myself as, you know, I’m going to use this startup package and it’s just going to fund what I do at the University of Vermont. I thought about it in terms of the bigger field overall. Because this is a journey, a life journey, and I’m committed to the field for life essentially. Also, one thing I took advantage of different funding opportunities. So, a lot of campuses now will actually have entrepreneurship funding for faculty. And I’m seeing this more and more. And University of Vermont had developed a program like that. And so, I was able to literally use some of that funding to commercialize Weaver’s Social Enterprise Directory.
15:34 Emily: That’s fantastic! And definitely, I mean it’s so great to think about academia as like an incubator. I mean, sometimes it’s literally they have like incubators for small businesses, but you were able to use your position as a faculty member and your access to these resources to sort of incubate your own business. And I love what you’re saying about like the continuity here between yourself, your business. Like you weren’t thinking of yourself as just a faculty member, you’re thinking about yourself as a contributor to this field and you’re still doing that. It’s just, you have a slightly different title in the way that you’re doing it. And so, it does make sense to me that investing in you and your business is still in alignment with that phase of what you were doing inside academia. Does that make sense?
16:17 Rasheda: Absolutely. Yeah.
16:18 Emily: Yeah. So, I still see alignment there. Is there anything else that you want to share with us? You know, we’re talking about these steps that you took prior to leaving your full-time job. Anything else you want to share with us about this transition from full-time academia with the side business to that full-time business owner?
Understanding Root Causes of Issues
16:34 Rasheda: Absolutely. I think one of the things that all PhDs have in common is that we are really adept at studying the root causes of why issues occur, right? We’re studying, in order to do our dissertation, we have to look at the history of the problem that we’re trying to address in our dissertation or the question that we’re trying to answer. That is the same thing all entrepreneurs do, social or not. Because they have to find a problem, and they have to develop a solution. But what PhDs do differently is, we find the deep root cause and the history of that problem. And because we’ve done that, once you’re trained in entrepreneurship, you can see the holes that exist in the market and you can fill them. All you need is entrepreneurial training to fill them. Because you already have the understanding of the problem, you have a better understanding than the majority of the planet has. And so, I just want to empower you to really understand that.
17:24 Emily: Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And can you talk a little bit more about how that applied to your business and your journey?
17:29 Rasheda: Yes, because I could see those problems so clearly, and I always saw, you know, entrepreneurship, it’s not like the field of psychology, for example, where psychology is the mind. It’s something that you can’t really touch. I’m working with entrepreneurs, or nonprofit organizations, or any organization. And so, my work directly has an impact on someone else. And so, I can work with them and I can learn from them and talk to them and apply my work to them. And because I can do that, what it’s taught me was how do I communicate with those people? Not just communicate with journals, not just communicate with the research audience, but how do I communicate? Like I started doing policy briefs through the Scholar Strategy Network, an organization that any PhD can join. And so, they talk to civic groups, they teach, they train you in how to talk to policymakers. So, I literally started doing that and getting my work out into the community. So, that’s how, actually, social entrepreneurs found me <laugh> because they saw my work in newspapers and in policy briefs and in magazines and on YouTube. And they found me and said, “Well, we like that you’re doing this, but this is what we need.” And so, I was able to then develop the solutions for them.
Scheduling Paid and Unpaid Business Work
18:36 Emily: This is reminding me of a need that I’ve sort of started sensing in my own business and for myself which is that I want to do more advocacy work. And I am now trying to see how I can set up my business so that I have time in my schedule to do advocacy work that is not necessarily going to be paid. I’m anticipating that being unpaid, but I still think it’s an important part of like my mission. So how, and I think as like sometimes I feel a little, I don’t know if you ever do as well, jealous of people who have like a salary <laugh>, like a full-time position where like maybe they can take some time to do things that are definitely unpaid on their own because they have this holistic sort of safety net for themselves within their salary.
19:20 Emily: And I’m sort of thinking to myself, how do I do that for me within my business? How do I cover, you know, 20% of my time that’s going to be unpaid by the 80% that I have for paid work? Or whatever the case. And so yeah, I’m just, I think that you are demonstrating how you did this as well, right? Starting as a faculty member. And you’re probably still doing it now as an entrepreneur, right? So like, preserve time within your schedule for things that are going to be unpaid because they further the overall mission of the business slash your own life mission as it relates to work.
19:50 Rasheda: I’m so happy you asked me this question, it actually skips to another question that you had when you gave me the outline. But I dedicate now two days a week just to learning how to make money. So, learning about how to make money and how to grow money. How do I advance multiple, so if you see my vision board from January, 2022, it has all the different streams of income that I have coming in. And so, what I’m doing now that I don’t have a full-time position is I’m using those two days to just figure out how do I multiply the streams of income that I already have. Because if I didn’t, if I hadn’t done that, it would’ve been very hard to leave my job. And so, when things started, you know, getting chaotic and I decided this is not the route that I want to take, and actually if I do go back to academia, it has to be a position that I love and I’m going to thrive in.
20:39 Rasheda: It’s not going to just be any position. I’m not going to just take any job. And so, I wanted to set myself up for success in order to make that a reality. And the reality of doing that is having a solid financial base. And so, literally, taking Mondays and Wednesdays, the same days I had off in academia, because I worked on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I kept those same days. Those are when I do my business stuff, create products, promote things. But Mondays and Wednesdays I’m reading books on estate planning, on investing profit first. You know, I’m reading Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach and The Latte Factor, all those different things, just learning how to make money because, here’s the truth. And I love this book, The Psychology of Money, that I just finished reading the other day.
21:24 Rasheda: You cannot always, when you’re working for somebody else, there’s a cap on how much you can make. In entrepreneurship, there is no cap. You can make a limitless amount of money. So, what your job as an entrepreneur to do, and this is what I teach in my Bootcamp, you have to figure out how you can get to limitless <laugh>. You know what I mean? And so, there’s a lot of investment that happens. And like, with me putting aside an emergency fund for these couple of years, what I was doing with that was saying, “I’m buying myself time just to learn.” And that is something I talk about a lot in my book. I talk about patient capital. My emergency fund gave me patient capital as opposed to waiting for somebody else to give it to me. I decided to take this time, I gave myself a whole year. We’re just going to learn, and we’re going to implement things. We’re going to test them over time, and we’re going to make certain investments. Like I invested in a book marketing company because if I want to sell books, that’s, you know, being strategic about those investments. And so, yeah.
22:23 Emily: This is something that I did not understand very well when I started my business. I was so focused on making money immediately, that I didn’t give myself the runway that you did and all these wonderful steps you’ve been taking. And I hope the listeners are taking notes about this. I didn’t do the investment in myself and growing in all these like entrepreneurial sort of related ways that you’ve just been discussing. It took me years into this journey before I started making those investments. And then obviously seeing like the returns from it. But it’s just something that now when I talk with other sort of budding like solopreneurs or people who are interested in my journey, I tell them like, be taught either like in a community or buy a coach, or read books. Like you have to make the investment in yourself, like you said, to be able to grow to that level. Because if you stay stuck in the cycle of like, I have to, you know, have 35 billable hours per week to like make my, you know, the nut that I need to survive on, that’s not any way to grow into the future. You may be able to survive on that, but it’s not a path to growth within your business. So, I’m so glad that you said that. It’s such an important message.
23:37 Emily: Emily here for a brief interlude! Tax season is in full swing, and the best place to go for information tailored to you as a grad student, postdoc, or postbac is PFforPhDs.com/tax/. From that page I have linked to all of my tax resources, many of which I have updated for tax year 2022. On that page you will find free podcast episodes, videos, and articles on all kinds of tax topics relevant to PhDs. There are also opportunities to join the Personal Finance for PhDs mailing list to receive PDF summaries and spreadsheets that you can work with. The absolute most comprehensive and highest quality resources, however, are my asynchronous tax workshops. I’m offering four tax return preparation workshops for tax year 2022, one each for grad students who are U.S. citizens or residents, postdocs who are U.S. citizens or residents, postbacs who are U.S. citizens or residents, and grad students and postdocs who are nonresidents. Those tax return preparation workshops are in addition to my estimated tax workshop for grad student, postdoc, and postbac fellows who are U.S. citizens or residents.
24:52 Emily: My preferred method for enrolling you in one of these workshops is to find a sponsor at your university or institute. Typically, that sponsor is a graduate school, graduate student association, postdoc office, postdoc association, or an individual school or department. I would very much appreciate you recommending one or more of these workshops to a potential sponsor. If that doesn’t work out, I do sell these workshops to individuals, but I think it’s always worth trying to get it into your hands for free or a subsidized cost. Again, you can find all of these free and paid resources, including a page you can send to a potential workshop sponsor, linked from PFforPhDs.com/tax/. Now back to the interview.
Investing in Yourself and in Your Business
25:37 Emily: Can you give any other examples of how you’ve been doing this investing in yourself slash in your business for present and future growth?
25:47 Rasheda: Absolutely. So, I always say you need time and space for creativity. And so, I have the days, the two days where I’m working on just learning and learning how to invest and then implementing that and then the two days where I’m working and then Fridays are my self-care day. So, I invested in a health coach because I need to be healthy to make great decisions. Like, I’m so serious about this, like I literally eat blueberries because it’s good for your memory and as an academic you need to have a good memory <laugh>. So, that’s how serious I am. You need to have carrots, I hate carrots, but you have to eat carrots because they give you good eyesight and we need things like that in order to read. So, that’s like how serious I am. And I hired a health coach, not because, because I also have a ton of health books, not because I need someone to you know, I can’t do this myself, but you do need accountability.
26:30 Rasheda: You do need guidance. And so, one of my friends, for example, she runs a company called, an eight-figure company, called The Product Boss, where she trains females that have a product to turn their businesses into six- and seven-figure businesses. And so, I started investing in, I appeared on her podcast and then I invested in her social media kit because you can always learn something from someone else. So, I’m investing in myself in a variety of different ways, and I set aside two years. Year one, we’re going to learn a lot and we’re going to implement, we’re going to test and see what works and we’re going to track it, because we’re academics and we’re good at tracking things. And then in year two, I should start to see the flourishing. I’m already seeing the revenue coming in, but I’m reinvesting that into growing the organization.
27:16 Rasheda: And so, when I make a sale, I’m not thinking, “Oh, let me get excited and just sell this.” I do treat myself, but I also you know, I call it being scrappy. Like I started shopping less at Whole Foods and started shopping more at Trader Joe’s and having a budget around those things so I can invest more in my business because one day I’ll be able to make a lot of money and it won’t even matter if I spent, you know, do you know what I mean? Like it’s short-term sacrifices for long-term gain, deferred gratification. And that is what we’ve all done in our PhD programs, but now we have to apply it to entrepreneurship.
27:50 Emily: That’s such a great point of, I sometimes think about the sort of, I guess personality or characteristics that you develop in the course of doing a PhD that are going to very well apply to, it could be your career that’s more conventional afterwards or if it’s entrepreneurship. It’s such a proving ground and you’re going to learn a lot and you’re going to be different when you come out from the PhD. And those skills, those soft skills as well as hard skills can be applied in so many different ways. Now, just because you are on the topic of like your weekly schedule and so forth and I love hearing that rhythm. Can you share with us anything more about how your life looks today and how it’s similar or different from your life as a faculty member?
28:30 Rasheda: I think the most important thing that I noticed, like I feel so good, and like I’m healthier. I’m just not stressed. <Laugh> I don’t have that stress on me and being in academia can be very toxic, and we all know that. Anyone that has a PhD knows that, because we went through a toxic experience getting it. And it was a beautiful experience because it allowed us to become who we are today, but it has severe psychological and physical and medical effects on you. And I think the most important thing that I’m seeing now. And also I think the most important thing I did was be honest about that. Because that’s another reason why I had to get a health coach, right? So, going through this and it’s a holistic health coach as well, so I can talk to her about these things.
29:12 Rasheda: Like yes, I was under a ton of stress last year. How do I heal my body from that stress? You know? So just taking walks in nature, drinking bone broth, like little things like that. And I just, I dedicate less time to work. I don’t work more, I work smarter. I work not harder. I work smarter. It’s like I said, learning how to make more money. Scheduling. I’m having two days for a week where I’m doing deep work in my business and allowing that to just sit so I don’t stress myself out, because understanding that stress isn’t going to help me. And then spending more time with my kids and doing things that I love, like doing art and I want to get back into dancing again. That’s one of the things that, but I have to find somebody that does dancing classes of the day. That’s the hardest thing <laugh>. But things like that. And just making sure I just take care of myself and do things that I love. I think that’s very important.
Time Management and Slow FI Movement
30:02 Emily: I’m a little curious about your time management right now, because I can already see you’ve blocked off what I’ve learned are called theme days, like you said. You know, you have your days of investment in yourself and your business and you have your days of producing you know, saleable work, and you have your day for health and so forth. I wonder, are you tracking your hours and almost like do you see actually even a distinction between the hours you spend working and the hours in your personal life? Or are they all, like the investment in yourself could go either way, right? I don’t know. What do you think about this?
30:33 Rasheda: I do think, I do track my hours now. I had to learn to say no. Like if I can’t, so when my kids get home around 2:30, I just, I can’t work with them home. It becomes stressful. That makes me stressed out and so I have to do everything before two. And so, yeah, in a way it’s like a limit to my hours and I do everything between 10 and two because making time for yoga in the morning <laugh> and making time to take a walk around the blocks, I can get fresh air. That’s just become really, really important. And that’s the beauty of entrepreneurship is that I can choose to do that. And so, once again, I might be making a little less money now. Because here’s the truth, with the kind of organization that I’m running, I literally could make [inaudible] in a year.
31:18 Rasheda: Like, I’ve literally done the math, I’ve started working with government officials and all these things, but I don’t need to do that right now. I need to get my health on track and my family and have a great familial and health foundation so that I can grow later. So, I’m making the sacrifice now, but I know that that’s coming because, one, I’m an entrepreneurship professor, so I know how to do this <laugh>. I’ve literally trained people and I’ve studied it, and it’s like, it’s working. It’s literally working. People are buying the products, people are buying the books. And so, it’s just a matter of scaling that and through investing in myself and learning how to do that in a way that doesn’t deplete me, but in a way that nourishes me. So I can do what I love, but I’m also you know, I’m not sacrificing my health and wellness in the process. Because when I was an academic, I was, I had to, there were sometimes you just, you have deadlines, you have to get, you have to get your slides ready for class, you have to grade by a certain time.
32:09 Rasheda: There’s just all that adrenaline. And like I said, I was the only faculty member teaching four classes. So that was hard. Because if you’re teaching even one class, you know that after you’ve done that you’re just exhausted. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to do that. And you have to be very alert and you’re just exhausted after one. So, imagine doing four in two days. And it works if you have to do it five days a week or four days a week because what I’ve found is that you need a day off. You need that break day to just help you recuperate from the physical, physical demand of that. But because my programs are online, it just, it takes care of itself, you know? So like when you mentioned a certain amount of billable hours, I don’t have that.
32:49 Rasheda: So, most of my meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays are meeting with people to do things like this, podcasting because I’ve already either developed my programs or I can just dedicate those days to developing online programs that are then there. And then I can create the schedule of the live programs or live talks that I want to do. And I can say “yes” and I can say “no” to whichever opportunity. It’s just all about priorities. So for someone, so for example, if somebody’s single and they have no kids, they can do a lot more than me at this time. And I would say use that as a great opportunity because that’s the benefit of being, you know, a solo, completely solo, like genuinely solo entrepreneur. But if you have kids and you know, I feel like they help me keep my balance, my family. And fortunately I did, I actually had my son while I was an academic while I was in my PhD program. So, I’ve always had to take weekends off and had to sort of navigate around that because I still have to be a mom, you know.
33:43 Emily: Your entire description through this episode of like the synergy between your academic life and your business and what you feel is your life’s mission and then how you arrange your schedule and the investments in yourself and your health and all these things. I don’t know how much you’ve explored, you obviously mentioned earlier you’ve read numerous personal finance books, but the whole like FIRE movement, right? Financial independence and retirement early, there’s a component of that. There’s like a subset which is called Slow FI and maybe you’ve encountered this concept, so like you are going to get to financial independence eventually, like you talked about, okay, well eventually I can build my business. Right now I have a different goal, which is, you know, in this other area. The Slow FI movement is like, make your life awesome right now.
34:25 Emily: And yes, eventually you’ll get to financial independence early retirement, but it almost doesn’t even matter because you’re living such a fabulous life. There’s almost no like end point to like this goal, right? And that set to me just sounds like the life you’re setting up right now of working, you know, part-time doing also investment in yourself and your health and having this wonderful time with your family. There are a lot of parallels of that in my own life. I also only work like four to five hours per weekday because that’s the schedule that allows me to spend a lot of time with my kids when they get home from school. And it’s just, it’s more balanced. I feel like working eight hours a day, yeah, maybe I had the energy of that in my twenties. I don’t anymore. Anyway, so I just.
35:03 Rasheda: And it’s also the stage, the stage of life that we’re in. Like my daughter is three and my son is seven and she’ll be four. And like I just made up my mind and said I have to do Slow FI because I’m very, I love the FIRE movement, but I have to do it slowly right now to still do what I love because that’s nourishing in a different kind of way. And also making money to support the family. But at the same time, I don’t want to miss these moments. So, because money isn’t everything, right? So like I said, I could make, I projected I could make [inaudible] a year like easily. But I want to be here for my daughter. I want to be here for my kids. I want to cook for them. I want to you know, have a thriving romantic life, you know what I mean? Like go on dates and all those things. I love that, and that matters to me. And go on vacations and all that stuff. And so, you know sacrifice in some areas. Well, here’s what I say. I always say, “What I can’t do now, I can do later.” <Laugh>, you know? I won’t do what I can’t do, but what I can do, I will do.
Where Can Listeners Find You?
36:02 Emily: Rasheda, this has been such an invigorating conversation. It’s been so lovely to meet you. I have two more questions for you. The first one is, if anyone else is as excited as I am about this conversation and wants to follow up more with you, where can they find you?
36:14 Rasheda: So, my website is rashedaweaver.com and also my Instagram is @rashedaweaver_PhD. And I’m also on LinkedIn. And that’s been fun. If you sign up for my newsletter, I’m starting a newsletter called Weaver’s Review starting January, so you’ll be able to have updates on me but also updates on social entrepreneurship in general, the field, funding opportunities, employment opportunities, and information about my boot camps and training programs. That’ll all be, you know, we’re going to really be doing that in the next year.
36:46 Emily: Yeah. And mention one more time, I think you said you have a book that’s just about to come out. We’re recording this in December, 2022. So, it’s about to come out, right?
36:53 Rasheda: It comes out exactly one week from today. It’s called Social Entrepreneurship: A Practical Introduction. And the main question that I ask in the book is, if I teach good people how to make money, will they do more good with it? And so you definitely want to get that book because it’s all about entrepreneurship and exactly what we’re talking about. How do you create an organization that allows you to do good for yourself as well as good for your community?
Best Financial Advice for Another Early-Career PhD
37:15 Emily: Fantastic! Okay, Rasheda, the last question that I ask all of my guests is, what is your best financial advice for another early-career PhD? And that could be something that we’ve touched on already in the interview or it could be something completely new.
37:29 Rasheda: My best financial advice is that there’s no greater investment in life that you can make than the investment in yourself. So just like I had that emergency fund, I also called it a dream fund. And so, putting money aside, even if you don’t know exactly what you are you going to use it for, emergencies always happen. So, it’s better to have an emergency be annoying than for it to be catastrophic. And so for me, you know, when I became unhappy with my career in academia working there, I just, I was able to just easily transition into entrepreneurship because I had that fund already set up because I was investing in myself even when I didn’t know what the investment really was, <laugh>. And so, I think you should really do that and that’s a holistic investment as well because your health, your wellness, your family, your romance, all that matters into making you the best individual that you’re going to be in. But that all takes investment.
38:23 Emily: Well, Rasheda, thank you so much for volunteering to come on the podcast. It’s been a real pleasure to talk with you!
38:29 Rasheda: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure to be on the podcast, and I’m so happy to get to know you now. I hope to be back and share more!
38:35 Emily: Sounds great!
38:41 Emily: Listeners, thank you for joining me for this episode! I have a gift for you! You know that final question I ask of all my guests regarding their best financial advice? My team has collected short summaries of all the answers ever given on the podcast into a document that is updated with each new episode release. You can gain access to it by registering for my mailing list at PFforPhDs.com/advice/. Would you like to access transcripts or videos of each episode? I link the show notes for each episode from PFforPhDs.com/podcast/. See you in the next episode, and remember: You don’t have to have a PhD to succeed with personal finance… but it helps! The music is “Stages of Awakening” by Podington Bear from the Free Music Archive and is shared under CC by NC. Podcast editing by Lourdes Bobbio and show notes creation by Meryem Ok.
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