Once upon a time there was an ordinary woman aged 35, she was 5'7" in height, with mid-brown hair. She wasn't fat and she wasn't thin, although her tummy was getting bigger by the week!
This woman had just got married a couple of weeks ago. The ceremony had been held on the 21st June, 1995 at Brent Registry office and the reception at their house in Kensal Rise.
It had been an amazing day, with all their friends and family around them and even though they had to scrimp and scrape, they spent on the things that they felt mattered and saved on the things that didn't. The cake was amazing, their rings were real gold, but everything else was home-made including the marquee in the garden to extend the dancing area.
Her husband was in the music industry and there were five dj's playing in the corner of the living room throughout the day, starting with jazz, then funky hip-hop, through to house and garage. The party had carried on until the wee small hours and this woman knew she would never forget it as long as she lived.
The happy couple had a week at home in lieu of a honeymoon. They couldn't afford to actually go anywhere but they had a nice week at home with their daughter and her husband painted the living room and hall in their rented house. The Labour party won the election and sadly, Princess Diana also died in Paris that same week.
External events aside, this woman felt happy and content. She now had a wonderful husband, a beautiful baby girl asleep upstairs and another baby on the way. Her life was complete, surely?
Then the phone call came.
Her husband had gone back to work after his week off, at the exciting new digital radio dance station he'd been working at for just a few months. He was calling from there now.
The next round of investment they had been hoping for hadn't come in time. Everyone had been made redundant. He was coming home.
The woman stood in the sunlit living room and looked in the mirror over the fireplace and felt utter despair.
This was the third redundancy in a year and they were all out of money. How were they going to pay the rent at the end of the month, let alone put food on the table? How could she get a job to help, any job, when she was six months pregnant?
Why did this keep happening to them?
Why did they never seem to be able to make more money than they needed?
No, this was more personal than that.
It was not even "we", it was "me" she thought.
"That's it, you're married now and even your husband is not going to be able to save you. He's lovely but he's not a knight on horseback with a shiny sword, ready to fight your money demons for you!
Her next thought was ...
What is actually WRONG with me?
I'm bright, hardworking, willing to go the extra mile, always working harder and smarter than everyone around me, but I seem totally unable to earn more, keep more, save anything or invest for the future?
Why do promising jobs get so boring so fast? Why do I end up leaving or being let go, why can I not stick at anything that is not owned by me? Why do each of my little businesses that start so well, fail?
Why do I struggle with money ALL THE TIME while S, for example sails through life just getting richer and richer? Sure, she works hard but so do I!
(S was one of this woman's best friends at the time).
Then she asked herself a very important question. What does S - and all those other rich people out there- know about money and how it works, that's different to what I know?"
And then, just like that.....everything changed!
Because while all the first questions were "personal, pervasive and permanent", that last question was the right question.
The first three were pessimistic questions while the last one was an empowering, optimistic question.
What DID all those other seemingly ordinary people know about how money works, that was different to what this ordinary woman knew?
"There must be some other brown-haired, 5'7" tall woman with two babies and a new husband out there who was born in a small seaside town just like I did, who is rich now, but didn't start out that way! What does she know that I don't?"
And that was where her journey started.
Over the next 5 years, she read every book on money, the psychology of abundance, practical wealth creation, money management and investing she could get her hands on. She was like a woman possessed, because here, in these books, she knew were the answers to the questions she hadn't even thought to ask.
"Why on earth is this not being taught in schools?" she wondered.
They say that when you stop, take stock and take 100% responsibility for your own life, doors open, mentors appear and things start to change, and change quickly too.
She got a good job with an amazing entrepreneur called Bennie Grey (and that's a great story in itself!) which meant she literally went on a journey of growth and discovery in herself.
Her sister called up and offered this little family the chance to come and live, rent free, with her in Sussex, while they got their life back together.
She had to commute from Worthing to London every day which gave her three hours of uninterrupted study time on the train, which she used to read more and more self help books and actually do the exercises in the books.
With every word she read, her thinking - and her life - completely transformed and, as she put the things she was learning into action, so did their financial situation.
To telescope the next 3-5 years, she hired a career coach, secured a series of amazing jobs, trained as a Coach herself, with her sister and their two husbands she invested in property, she went into business with Gill Fielding, star of the first series of C4's "Secret Millionaire" and then she bought a 12-bed hotel "The Acacia" in Worthing "no money down", renovating it and filling it with bookings inside 12 weeks.
All the time, she was sharing what she was learning with others by way of a weekly, text only newsletter and then archiving that on a simple little 5 page website. The Google gods rewarded her for that, by sending lots of lovely traffic to her website and a new coaching business was born.
This transformative business specialised in teaching ordinary people how to do extraordinary things with their lives and particularly with their money. The coaching programme she developed and live workshops (held at The Acacia) focused on what they called "The Four Lanes Of The Wealth Highway" which were 1. starting a real-world business or side-hustle, 2. trading and investing in the stockmarket, 3. property investing and 4. creating an online business from a passion, expertise or hobby.
One day, she realised that over the course of that first 101 emails, she had actually written a book! She ran down to the swimming pool in Spain, where her husband and children were playing and jumped it shouting "I've written a book!".
The book was picked up by a great independent publisher who gave it a chance and started changing the lives of the hundreds then thousands of people who read it. She started to get some amazing emails...
But times they were a'changing. There was a big global shakeup coming and she was to face a series of very difficult tests over the next decade...