Discipline! I have to constantly remind myself that progress trumps perfection every time. I make a conscious effort to release the need to get things to a place of perfection and instead focus on progressing so that I can share my work with the world more frequently. Perfection is such an illusion, and if I hadn’t got a handle on this, the book would still not be written now.

As part of my series about “How to write a book that sparks a movement” I had the great pleasure of interviewing Michelle Stonhill.

Michelle Stonhill is a seven-figure wealth and success coach to women in business and number 1 bestselling author of Miss Money Bags. Michelle has helped thousands of women to achieve financial freedom and appeared in places like Forbes and Fox TV sharing her message that every woman has a millionaire inside of them bursting to get out.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share the “backstory” about how you grew up?

I grew up in a pretty “normal” environment. Everyone has their issues and, I guess, mine was an alcoholic father who was emotionally abusive to me, my mum and my younger sister. My dad was an entrepreneurial thinker who came from a family of wealthy business owners. My Mum’s family were the opposite to him in every way, worked hard for someone else and didn’t place much value on money or material possessions. My mum’s side of the family was also where I learned how to be a good human and about what was really important in life. I can see now that this experience is so relevant to the work I do because it’s where my challenges with money and my perception of what it means began.

When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life?

It’s so cliché, but it was The Secret by Rhonda Byrne that was a real turning point for me. It was the first time I had been introduced to the idea that everything was actually within my control. I started to believe that I could be, have and create anything I wanted, and that wealth and abundance was actually meant for me too. I think until then I hadn’t seen myself as one of “those people” who could drive “that” car and live in a wow house or travel to fantastic holiday destinations. I never saw that in my future until then.

What was the moment or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world?

I was actually having dinner with a friend who was writing a book and starting a movement of her own. I shared my story and philosophies around money and success with her. I told her how much I would love to write a book about it one day and use that to help other women to create more wealth and financial freedom for themselves. She looked at me and said ‘why one day? What are you waiting for’? I didn’t have an answer for her, she was right! What was I waiting for! We never really feel ready for these things we have to go for it. I got to work the very next day. Everything starts with a decision, and we just have to decide.

What impact did you hope to make when you wrote this book?

I honestly thought that no one would buy it but, I thought if just one person picks it up and can live a better life because of it then that was enough for me.

Did the actual results align with your expectations?

What actually happened was insane! It hit number 1 best seller overnight, and emails started to pour in from women all around the world who could not only relate to my story but had started to implement the lessons and were having crazy results in their income. It sparked a series of events that have seen me help thousands of women to transform their relationship with money and create extreme wealth for themselves. My coaching business took off, and I generated over 1 million dollars in my first year. It’s been a whirlwind of awesomeness.

What moment let you know that your book had started a movement?

I knew it was huge when I had to start expanding my team. I had a small group already, but we quickly couldn’t cope with the number of women who wanted our help and were ready to go after what they want now! I wanted to make sure that every reader was heard and replied to with the help and support they needed, I just didn’t expect that to be such a huge number!

What kinds of things did you hear right away from readers? What are the most frequent things you hear from readers about your book now? Are they the same? Different?

Most readers tell me that the book helped them first to understand why they had a history of financial struggle and then get clear on how to change it. I love hearing all of the aha moments, and it always amazes me that it doesn’t matter where in the world people are, how old they are or what their background is, we are all so similar.

What is the most moving or fulfilling experience you’ve had as a result of writing this book?

Every time a woman tells me that because of the book they have been able to shift fear and anxiety around money I feel elated. I know exactly how it feels to live in scarcity, and I know how life-changing it is when we are able to shift it.

Have you experienced anything negative? Do you feel there are drawbacks to writing a book that starts such colossal conversation and change?

Whenever you do something out of the ordinary or experience success, there is a small percentage of people who will struggle to support you. People can see your success as their failure, and that can manifest into hate. I’ve experienced my fair share of this, but you have to learn to not focus on it and remember the people who you are helping with your work.

Can you articulate why you think books in particular have the power to create movements, revolutions, and true change?

Books have the power to transform the way you see the world, other people and yourself. They can take you on a journey of self-improvement from the comfort of your own home and allow you to tap into some of the greatest minds that ever lived.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer?

Discipline! I have to constantly remind myself that progress trumps perfection every time. I make a conscious effort to release the need to get things to a place of perfection and instead focus on progressing so that I can share my work with the world more frequently. Perfection is such an illusion, and if I hadn’t got a handle on this, the book would still not be written now.

What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career?

I still don’t see myself as a writer or an author, and I think that was my biggest lesson. It was the reason I was holding back from writing the book. What I’ve realised is that you never really feel a certain way and even the people you may be looking up to right now are plagued by self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Success doesn’t happen in the absence of struggle and doubt; it happens despite it.

Many aspiring authors would love to make an impact similar to what you have done. What are the 5 things writers needs to know if they want to spark a movement with a book?

1. Have a clear intention for the book and why you are writing it. So many people don’t have clear enough objectives around what they want from the book. If you know what your intentions are you can write it with them in mind and therefore have a greater chance of achieving them.

2. Know who the book is for and be super specific. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to appeal to everyone and therefore appeal to no-one. Think hard about your niche and what problems they are facing. I believe movements start because enough people resonate with the problem you are helping to solve. I worried at first about only speaking to women with my book, I didn’t want to appear to only care about helping women, but the reality is it actually helped me to start a movement. I could be more specific in my writing because I could relate to women so much more and they could relate to me.

3. Don’t be put off by other people sharing similar messages to you.There is only one you and only you can share your message in your unique way. People like you will relate to your book because of who you are not just because of what you know. Many people have shared with me that they have been put off writing a book because they feel they have nothing original to share, I always say “you are original”.

4. Be committed to your mission more than you are committed to becoming successful or wealthy.If you are writing a book that means so much to you that you would do it even if you knew you wouldn’t earn a cent from it, then you have found your mission. There are moments when it gets tough; sharing a book with the world can make you feel very exposed and vulnerable. Having a mission that is bigger than financial gain or fame will keep you going in those moments.

5. Get help from a professional book coach or someone who has experience with the process of writing a bestseller and taking it to market. I had zero experience as an author and couldn’t have done it without the help of my coach. Having someone to hold me accountable for writing was also very valuable on the days I wanted to sit in my pyjamas and eat ice-cream instead.

The world, of course, needs progress in many areas. What movement do you hope someone (or you!) starts next?

I would love to see someone sparking change in the way the next generation is educated in the area of money and entrepreneurship. I am not against school but, I do feel that it is fundamentally flawed when it comes to encouraging individuality, spotting entrepreneurial talent and equipping kids with the skills to make their own money. I like to think of myself as contributing to the solution by helping the women raising our next generation, but I would love to see that work being done in the classroom too.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michellestonhillbusiness/ 

Instagram: @michelle_stonhill

Thank you so much for these insights. It was a true pleasure to do this with you.


  • Sara Connell

    Bestselling Author & Writing Coach

    Sara Connell is an author and writing coach with a private practice in Chicago. She has appeared in Oprah, Good Morning America, NPR, The View and Katie Couric. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tri-Quarterly, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, IO Literary Journal, and Psychobabble. Her first book Bringing In Finn was nominated for ELLE magazine Book of the Year. www.saraconnell.com