How ‘Badass’ author Jen Sincero went from living in a garage to being rich

If you were to ask Jen Sincero what kept her in a low-wage, low-happiness funk for decades of her adult life, stuck in “the fetal position of hopelessness and confusion,” she might attribute it to laziness and arrogance — and likely fear.

But that was then. Sincero, now a life coach and bestselling author of “You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life,” has a new mission for the lazy, arrogant, scared and broke among us: Get rich.

“I’d spent an entire lifetime self-righteously insisting that being rich was overrated and gross, and I wasn’t going to back down easily no matter how broke I had to stay in order to prove my point,” Sincero writes.

Author Jen Sincero

Brandon Soder

“You Are A Badass At Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth” is the followup to her previous book, which she affectionately calls her “yellow snowball,” because of the color of its cover and the runaway momentum of the book.

In both books she urges readers to be tenacious when it comes to changing their lives, to tap into the power of positive thinking — and the universe. In “You Are A Badass At Making Money,” she digs into the baggage most of us have around money — and compares it to another taboo topic: sex.

“Both money and sex can provide unthinkable pleasures, birth new life, and inspire violence and divorce. We’re ashamed if we don’t have it, we’re even more ashamed to admit we want it, we will do things/people we’re not nuts about in order to get it.”


Using personal anecdotes, mental exercises, mantras, affirmations and lots of cursing and jokes, Sincero tries to get readers to love money — instead of resent it — and in turn, attract it.

“Let’s take back the word ‘money’ and decriminalize it, because until you do, you aren’t going to be terribly motivated to make much. I’ve been broke and sad, rich and sad, broke and happy, rich and happy, and I’ll take the rich version over the broke version all day long,” Sincero writes.

If you partake in the pursuit of wealth, it’s not like you shall never again attend a family barbecue, hug a puppy, or tiptoe through the tulips. In fact, if you do it correctly, you’ll be able to spend even more time on such merriments.

— Jen Sincero

She would know. Sincero toiled away for years at low-paying jobs, early efforts to be a rock star, freelancing, babysitting, catering and living in a garage. Eventually, the student of self-help books and motivational seminars vowed to change her life. She started a business helping writers complete their book proposals, and connected with a life coach who helped her to build her book proposal business. That propelled her into becoming a motivational coach, author and speaker, and now, she’s making “seven figures…Me, Jen Sincero, ex-shoplifter and scrounger for coins in couch cushions (other people’s couch cushions),” she writes.

Sincero spoke with MarketWatch about her personal journey from Loserville to Awesome City (her words).

MarketWatch: Why did you write this book?

Jen Sincero: I have more experience than I care to have on what it feels like to be broke, confused and frustrated when it comes to money. I was broke until my 40s. I thought the information I gathered and the transformation I had could help people.

MW: Your life took a pretty radical detour for the better. What was the turning point for you?

Sincero: It was a gradual ripening. I do recall one moment when I went to India by myself. I was paralyzed with fear to travel alone, but i had this intuitive hint that I had to do it. It was transformative and beautiful. I also saw poverty and suffering on such a massive scale. I thought I’d be so grateful to go home to my converted shit shack [the garage she was living in]. But when I went home I realized I was so much more powerful than I had ever known and I could do so much better. That’s when I started hiring coaches and playing a lot bigger.

MW: You talk a lot about life coaches in your book. What are life coaches?

Sincero: I knew nothing about them when I was getting started. Once I opened myself up and made the decision to stop screwing around and start focusing on money, I met the woman who ended up being my first coach at a seminar. I had subscribed to the theory of “I can do it on my own,” but when you’re 40 and living in a garage, you clearly can’t figure it out on your own.

This coach was kicking butt at her own business and helping people change their lives. The reason I didn’t want to get help was I was cocky and lazy. It’s a life coach, what’s more important than your life?

Olympic athletes at the top of their games have coaches. Broke people at the bottom of their games insist they can get rich without any help. Just sayin’.

— Jen Sincero

MW: How did you come up with your approach to life and money?

Sincero: I read every single self-help book under the sun and I’m so grateful for it, but I wondered: Where’s the funny one? So many people won’t touch this [self improvement] with a 10-foot pole because they think it’s touchy-feely and woo-woo. We hear over and over about accountability and tenacity and believing in yourself and being positive. It’s not until someone says it the right way that a light goes on. If I can say it in a different way in my books, maybe I can reach those people.

There’s no end of opportunities to half-ass it, there are easy outs and huge banana peels thrown in your way. You need to be available and open yourself up to these opportunities around you right now.

MW: How can people get in the mindset you describe?

Sincero: You have to give yourself permission to want to be rich. It’s alright to want money, it’s alright to make it. Wanting money has been made so taboo. We’re not allowed to talk about it or admit we want it, and yet we use it every single minute of our lives.

Sincero’s 5 tips to get rich:

It’s not hard. Being broke and struggling is hard. Going for what you desire is feeling the most alive you can feel.

1. Surround yourself with people who love money and who have a healthy relationship with money

2. Be aware of your own broken record about money. Focus on your thoughts and words.

3. Listen to your intuition when you make the decision to make money. When you hit on an opportunity that scares you, jump on it immediately. If you hesitate, your excuses will push you back into your comfort zone.

4. You have the power within you to create any reality you desire. It just depends whether you’re willing to get uncomfortable to create it.

5. Ditch the obsessive budgeting. If you’re constantly looking at how you can cut back, it makes money no fun. When you make money this burdensome, fun-free thing it leads to an unhealthy relationship. I’m not talking about being reckless, I’m a believer in saving and making responsible decisions. We need to get our frequencies higher around money. If a latte is your thing, go for it. Find a way to increase your output so you can have the latte.

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