Beth Elliott, better known as the Hippie Banker, has taken quite the nontraditional approach to financial health. She tells us about the connection between spiritual and financial health, learning to trust her intuition, and connecting her passion with her experience.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
Most of my education and professional career had been in banking and finance [before becoming the Hippie Banker.] I had worked for a variety of banks for ten years, and a nonprofit revolving loan funds helping small businesses start and grow. So, my professional career had been in commercial lending.
In my personal life, I was always very interested in spirituality, personal development and psychology. One of my favorite board games as a middle schooler was called “Therapy.” I’ve always been interested in personal development and spiritual development. These two tracks of my life were growing really separately. My career was growing as a commercial lender, but I was also growing in my spiritual development. I got to a point in my career where banking was no longer in alignment with who I was becoming. I had always been someone people would come to, to talk through problems or get advice and guidance. As I was working with these small businesses, I found how much our beliefs and values and who we are as people blend in with business, even though we’d like to believe those things are separate. As I started my own business and see how others had experienced entrepreneurship, I realized entrepreneurship is a lens into our personal and spiritual growth. That’s where the Hippie Banker was born.
I took my experience in my personal life and combined it with my experience in reviewing business plans and understanding financials. Knowing all the steps it takes from beginning to end to start a business, I saw how I could combine that with spiritual growth to help empower women in entrepreneurship.
Financial and spiritual health feel so disconnected, but as you know they’re both incredibly important. How do you get from the board game “Therapy” to getting into banking?
When I was in high school, I took a psychology class and was totally bored by it. I thought psychology wasn’t the realm I would want to take. When I got to college, I realized I was a helper and wanted to do something where I was helping people. So, I went down the route of politics. I was completely bored by that. Not knowing what I wanted to do, I wound up in an economics class, and I realized how a strong economy can help a country thrive. I got into public policy and government and saw how those avenues help people have better lives. Politics wasn’t really the path I wanted to take, and at that point banking was the only experience I really had. It all just kind of happened. I started my career in banking and did my own work on my own down my spiritual path. I wasn’t passionate about banking, and once I realized that, I decided to figure out how to combine what I knew with what I was passionate about.
Where does the Hippie Banker come from?
Two years before I launched the business, I worked at a local bank. I would tell my coworkers about solar retreats I was taking, or about the hikes I was taking to try and get clarity. I practiced yoga and meditated and talked about energy clearings, that kind of stuff. They started referring to me as “the hippie.” Clients that came to the bank that were in any kind of healing or spiritual realm would be referred to me. I was called “The Hippie Banker,” and it really fits me. I had both this hippie side and the banker side, which seem drastically different, but I see how they’re beautifully connected.
It seems like you just followed whatever you were curious about and it led you to this really interesting place.
In my personal and professional life, I have made big changes quite frequently. I remember someone asked me once after I had made big career changes, experienced a divorce, they asked, “Weren’t you afraid?” I was like, “Not really.” I had developed such a strong spiritual base and trust in my intuition. I knew that if I was doing what felt aligned with my highest good, it would work out. I think that’s why I felt comfortable going down these different paths without plans or a safety net. It takes a lot of getting clear on your intentions and your intuitions, and understanding what you believe to be true.
We talk a lot about intuition at Ladyboss. I think it can feel ethereal and intangible, but it’s so important to learn to listen to yourself. How did you learn to trust yourself or tap into your intuition?
I learned it through a really awful romantic relationship. When it ended I had realized I had made so many decisions with my head and with logic instead of listening to my inner voice. I used my head that whole time and it was an awful experience. So I decided to give my intuition a whirl. It couldn’t have gotten worse, so I thought I’d try this other way. The more I listened to it, the more I could figure out what decisions did and didn’t feel good in my body. It’s a practice. You figure out “this voice led me to my higher good” and “this voice did not.”
Financial health feels really overwhelming for a lot of women. We don’t talk about it often. If someone is interested in taking control of their financial health, how do you get over that overwhelming feeling?
There’s an incredible book called “It’s Not Your Money: How To Live Off Divine Abundance.” It’s a book I’ve used to help guide clients into having a better relationship with money. Financial security is part of the second hierarchy of need according to Maslov’s hierarchy of needs. If you’re feeling fearful financially, it’s harder to advance through those layers of need. So, to really move the ball forward with taking control of finances, it’s important to understand what fears are attached to it. I think at the core, if we can understand the fears attached to it, the rest trickles through. There are resources to help with budgeting and financial forecasting, but I feel strongly that addressing the beliefs we’ve been conditioned to have around money and debt and finances is really critical.
With inflation and wages, it feels like there is a lot of scary news coming out about money. Going into this new year, what do you recommend for people who want to make sure they don’t get dragged down by what’s going on economically?
There’s a practical answer and then the answer of more deep inner work. So, anyone starting a business I recommend putting together a plan. The reason a plan is so important is that it helps to reduce uncertainty. There are threats everywhere, and that sends your ego brain into overload. What a plan does is gives us a feeling of certainty and control over our future. Looking at 2022, it’s important to put down this is where you’re at, this is where you want to be, and these are some of the threats to that. Then you can think about if those things happen, what can I do, what can I do to mitigate some of those threats. Taking that practical approach is important, but also understanding that we just don’t know what will happen. We can prepare until we’re sick to our stomachs. So, also believing and understanding that it will work out and be okay. That takes the pressure off of having to micromanage the future.
What are your coaching services like?
My goal is to make the experience of entrepreneurship for women easier, more joyful, and more successful. We are all built differently, and there are lots of ways we’re told we should approach entrepreneurship. I call bullshit on that. I spend time trying to understand how each of my clients is unique and how they function best in their lives. I can help with the technical and nerdy pieces of it, but my sweet spot is helping people move from a side gig to a full-time gig. If someone is feeling overwhelming or scattered, I take a business and spiritual approach to help move through those first few years.
What is bringing you joy right now?
I have amazing clients. It’s rewarding for me to see their successes in their business and seeing their eyes light up. I love seeing people thrive as themselves in their business. I love what I do and I feel like I could do this until I’m 80 years old.
I’m offering group coaching in 2022 and building a class around the book “It’s Not Your Money: How To Live Off Divine Abundance.” Anyone interested can find me on social media as @thehippiebanker or at thehippiebanker.com.