E48: How to Start Building Wealth When You Think You Have No Money

I felt like if I weren't contributing $500, $600, $1000, or $2,000 a month to a savings account, or to a retirement account, then it wouldn't be enough. Because even though $100 felt like a lot for me to give up, $100 didn't feel like enough for me to try and invest, but I was wrong."

- Asha Wilkerson, Esq.

Episode Summary:

Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the podcast. I am so excited to have you here. Thank you to those of you who have been listening from the beginning. And thank you to those of you who are just tuning in here. We discuss all things, building wealth as black, brown, Latinx, and BIPOC entrepreneurs. This is the space where you can come and get your questions answered about whatever it is that you need to know about entrepreneurship.

In this episode, I discuss how you can start building wealth, even when you feel like you have no money now. I share with you the tactics and strategies to start building wealth I wish I would have deployed when I first started my entrepreneurial journey.

What You’ll Learn On This Episode:

  • [01:45] About the need to further support black, brown, Latinx, and BIPOC entrepreneurs
  • [03:15] What I wished I’d known as a beginning business owner
  • [04:39] Keeping more money in your pocket by talking to a CPA
  • [08:00] The importance of investing
  • [09:46] Creating a mindset strategy to call in more abundance and wealth
  • [13:27] Recapping the three strategies for building wealth

Resources Mentioned:

Connect With Us: 






[00:00:03] AW: You’re listening to the Transcend the Podcast. I’m your host, Asha Wilkerson, an attorney by training and an educator at heart. This podcast is all about empowering you to build a business and leave a legacy.


Here’s the thing, the wealth gap in America is consistently increasing. And while full-time entrepreneurship is not for everyone, even a side hustle can change your financial landscape if you’re intentional about using your business to build wealth. I’ve run my own law firm for over 10 years, and in that time I’ve helped countless California businesses go from idea to six figures. On this podcast, we talk about what it truly takes to build a sustainable business and find financial freedom. Let’s dive in.




[00:00:47] AW: Hey, y’all welcome back to another episode of Transcend the Podcast. I am so excited to have you here. I feel like uh this is the first episode that I’ve actually recorded in a while only because I had batch recorded so many in the spring that it’s probably been about two months since I’ve actually gotten on Zencaster and plugged in a microphone and jumped on to speak to you.


But I am excited to be back. I hope that you are excited to still be listening. Thank you for those of you who have been listening from the beginning or for a while. And thank you for those of you who are just tuning in. Here we talk about all things building wealth as black and brown, Latinx, BIPOC entrepreneurs this is the space where you can come and get your questions answered. Where you can come and, I don’t know, ask something silly. Ask something about your culture. Ask something about whatever it is that you need to know inside entrepreneurship, but specifically for black and brown folks.


The reason is because there’s just some extra layers of stuff that we go through and deal with that white folks don’t really have to do, right? It’s just some extra stuff. There’s some family customs that might not allow us to totally subscribe to the capitalism that is out there. To the culture that’s telling us to market in a certain way or to be all about ourselves, right? So, we bring our full selves to this space to, this community, to this podcast, to the membership community. And we show up exactly as we are. We work to make improvements. We support each other all with the in destination in mind of building a business that is capable of leaving a legacy.


Why? Because we want freedom. We want time freedom. We want money freedom. We just want to be free people who can take care of ourselves and build generational wealth so that our future generations don’t have to struggle nearly as much as our past generations have. So, we are committed to being that key, that switch, that turn around so that we can build something in the future, and our kids, and our kids’ kids’ kids’ kids can thrive and live their best lives. That’s of course assuming this world is still habitable at that point. But we’re going to do. We’re going to set ourselves up anyway for success no matter what happens.


Today I’m going to talk to you about how can you start building wealth even when you feel like you have no money? Now, this comes from personal experience for me what I wish I would have known when I had first started out as a business owner. I started out with my own law practice back in 2011. And it was by accident. I had been let go from the firm job that I had because they were downsizing. And I was not planning on being an entrepreneur. But a friend of mine suggested that I think about entrepreneurship because I was already doing the legal work anyway. So, what was the difference between doing it for somebody else versus doing it for myself? And I felt like there were probably a lot of differences.


But with my friend – Shout out to [inaudible 00:03:55]. With my friend’s encouragement, she said, “Asha, just try it. If you don’t like it, you can always go back and work for somebody else.” I decided, “Okay, that’s a good idea. What if I just try it for a couple months? And if it works, fantastic. If it doesn’t, I can always go get a job.”


Well, I started out and I never really looked back. At least not in the legal sense. Or at least not in the law firm sense. I am teaching at a community college. I do have two pretty much full-time jobs. That I have not looked at joining another firm since I started out on my own.


What I wish that I would have known, though, when I was starting out, when I didn’t feel like I had enough money, is I wish I would have deployed these strategies or tactics to start building wealth even when I wasn’t yet making a bunch of money.


The first thing that I needed to do that I should have done was to talk to a CPA and figure out how I could save and what strategies I needed to engage to keep more money in my pocket. And then once I had more money, where to put that money once I got a little bit extra?


So, I didn’t talk to a CPA until the end of my first year. And then it was this retroactive accounting. But what I really could have benefited from was learning all of the different write-offs, the business expenses that I could claim. You’ve heard me say them before. So, this is probably a repeat. Meals, if I’m meeting with a client, or meeting with another attorney to talk about strategy, or going to a networking event and I have to pay for something, those are all expenses that I can use my business to reimburse or to pay for upfront. Even mileage, going from the office to a work location. I could reimburse myself for that mileage. Or the maintenance on my car. I could have portioned a part of the car, the percentage of the time that I used the car for business, then the business can pay for that.


What else could I have done? I would have really liked to have known how much money to think about putting away in different types of accounts. Like, how much money should I have been saving? What should I have been saving for taxes? And what could I be investing?


So, the strategy piece of it is really important. And I’m saying this again because I think you all know that I just acquired a couple of rental properties this past year in 2022. And I finally reached out last week to an accountant who deals with real estate. And I was like, “Look, I know a little bit because I’m a business attorney. And I’ve counseled different business owners and even myself on how to get set up with LLCs and things like that. What do I need to know for this sector so that I can take advantage of the taxes?”


And one thing that she told me was anything that I’ve any flights I take back up to Portland, any mileage I spend going to check on the property, anything I spend for the property, those are all tax write-offs. And then she said make sure that you save about 30% to 33% of the of the proceeds that come in each month. So, the gross profit that comes in for taxes.


And then she told me because I have a 403 (b), which is like a 401 (k), but for non-profit organizations, because I have a 403 (b) and I’m now going to have this extra income, that I should increase my 403 (b) contributions. I’m not maxing them out right now. But I can increase those contributions because that will be tax deductible and it will help to reduce my overall tax liability.


Now, if I hadn’t talked to this CPA, I wouldn’t have thought to do that. I mean, I would have known that I would have had a little bit of extra income. But I probably would have put it in an investment account or like a brokerage account or something else. But her telling me to increase my contributions for the tax deductible expenses, that was it. I was like, “All right, I can do that.”


Again, number one is to make sure you talk to a CPA and figure out where you can save money and what strategies you can use to just keep more money in your pocket even if you aren’t making a ton of money where you feel like you can invest. Tip number two in the investment realm is I really wish that someone would have told me to just put away a hundred dollars a month.


Now, some months that would have been easier said than done. But even if it was like 25 a week, I feel like I could have done that, right? I felt like if I wasn’t contributing $500, $600, $1000, $2000 a month to a savings account or to a retirement account, then it wouldn’t be enough. Because even though a hundred dollars felt like a lot for me to give up, a hundred dollars didn’t feel like enough for me to try and invest. But I was wrong.


I told you I started out in 2011. If I would have been contributing a hundred dollars a month from then until now, I would have 11 years of investing that money. And you can invest more money. But you can’t recoup time. If you were feeling like you just don’t quite know what to do, you’re not quite sure, figure out an investment account where you can put a hundred dollars away a month. Like, even just that will make a big difference 10, 15, 20 years from now when you get ready to retire.


Okay. So, again, tip number two is to make sure you put away like a hundred dollars a month or whatever amount of money that you can per month in your savings account or into a – Not just savings. An investment account, a retirement account, so you can reduce your taxable liability and so that money has time to grow. Again, you can’t get back time. You can always add more money. But you can’t get back time. And time is what really makes your investments grow.


Okay. Now, the last thing I will tell you is not so much a – It’s a money strategy. But it’s more of a mindset strategy. You really have to work on your mind and make sure that you are calling in that abundance and calling in the money. Now, we all have a way probably. At least let me speak for myself. I have a vision for how I want this money to come in. I always have. I wanted to come in through this particular program. But what has been happening over the last couple months as I have been just opening myself and just increasing my energy to think about attracting what I want instead of chasing what I want is that the money has been coming. In the opportunities have been coming towards me. But they’re not actually coming in the program that I want them to come in, which is interesting.


And so, every time I see a little notification from Stripe that someone has purchased a program, that they’ve paid for a consultation, that they’ve renewed their transcend membership, I just offer up a little prayer of gratitude and say, “Thank you. I’m so appreciative for this money that has come into my account.”


The third tip is really changing your mindset and attracting. Think about pulling in, calling in more wealth and more abundance to you, and then being open to the opportunities as long as they’re in alignment that come to you. That is so important. I have been in a place where I have been so focused, put my head down and just like willed my way to the finish line.


And as I get bigger in business, that actually gets harder to do. And maybe as I get more mature as a person, that actually gets harder to do. Because I don’t want to be in this energy of chasing. I want to be in this energy of attracting. So, when people talk about oftentimes in the personal finance space, especially when they’re talking to women, and I think people of color as well, we’re told that we need to not spend as much. Don’t spend. Don’t spend. Put yourself on a budget. Follow the budget and be really strict with it.


But I’m going to offer another solution. Make more money. How can you make more money? How can you open up your heart and your energy to call in more money and to manifest more opportunities? You can absolutely deploy these strategies. And you need to deploy strategies one and two. But also orienting yourself to being creative. To being a generator of money. To getting used to being able to call in money when you need it because there’s a new bill that’s come. Because if you’re like me, there’s a new car that I want that I’m trying to save some money for. Not trying. That I am saving some money for, right? It is good to look at your finances, right? The accounting of your finances every month. Maybe look at a three-month period and see where you have spent money. See where you can cut back on spending and see where you should increase the spending in terms of what’s giving you a return on investment. You don’t want to be wasting money. So, look at that. That’s fine. But don’t think that this is your upper limit.


I want you to train your brain, to train your body, to open up to calling in money. Because the opportunities are there. And you are powerful and have the ability to do it. So, what are the things that you can do? Who are the people that you can talk to? What are the services that you can offer? What are the things that you already do that will allow you to bring more money into your space, into your business, into your orbit?


So, again, step one talk to a CPA and get some strategy. Just get the lay of the land, right? What are the things that you can write off? What are the things that you can do to balance your income and expenses to have a little bit of money left over? Two is to make sure you’re investing a little bit. Even just a little bit, right? No amount is too small. Into some kind of retirement account so you can have it for your future. Again, you can always put more money in later. But you can’t get back the time. And three is to really open up your heart, your energy and your vibration to calling in more money. Do the things that you need to do to make more money so you can live that abundant life.


So, even if you’re not making $100,000 right now, $200,000, whatever. Even if you’re not making the amount of money that you want, who is? Some people are. I’m not, right? I’m still trying to go up. But I am employing these strategies to create abundance and wealth with what I have now. And the more that you can master that now, guess what? When you make more money, you just do it on a bigger level. But you’re still using the same strategies.


All right, that is what I have for you today. If this episode spoke to you, I would appreciate it if you would post it on Instagram and share that you have been listening. Let me know what your favorite part was. Let me know what made you feel good. Maybe what made you feel a little bit sticky. And I can’t wait to see you for the next episode. Tune in next week. We’re going back to four episodes a month. And I can’t wait. I’m super excited. All right, talk to you later.




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