21: Systems for Financial Freedom – Ty DeLong (The Systems And Workflow Magic Podcast)


I have an extra special episode for the Systems & Workflow Magic Podcast listeners this week, as my special guest today is my husband, Ty Delong! There are several reasons why I have wanted to have Ty on the podcast, but specifically to share about our financial journey and his experience being married to a creative entrepreneur. We hope our experiences can inspire you in your own growth as a small business owner!

The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast is brought to you by Dolly DeLong Education. This is a podcast for creative business owners who want to learn tangible steps to automate their business through workflows, systems, tools, and strategy in order to go from scattered to streamlined with purpose. Because even muggles can become automated wizards.

Income & Expenses Report Template

Are you nervous about where to begin with tracking the expenses and income of your creative business? It’s time to stop being intimidated by the numbers of your business and take control of your finances. With my FREE Income and Expenses Report Template, you get a simple solution to tracking your income and expenses. Download the free spreadsheet!


Review the Show Notes

Introducing Ty Delong (2:30)

How Ty Prepared to Get Married When I Had Student Loan Debt (4:30)

Steps Ty Recommends Creative Business Owners Take to Tackle Debt (8:53) 

Being Married to an Entrepreneur (12:02)

The Turning Point in Our Financial Journey (16:32)

How Things Are Now (19:37)

Mentioned in Today’s Episode

We’re Debt Free! Our Story and the Things We Learned

FREE Income and Expenses Report Template

Bookkeeping Template

Episode 20 (I Interview My Profit First Coach) 

Connect with Dolly ⬇️




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Review the Transcript:

Dolly DeLong  

Welcome to the systems and workflow magic podcast where I help entrepreneurs go from scattered to streamlined in their creative businesses. I’m your host, Dolly DeLong, a wife, a mom, and a photographer turned systems educator. Join me every week as we have conversations centered around creating tactical workflows, and automation in your business. Now, let’s make some strategic workflow magic. 

Dolly DeLong  

Hello, and welcome back to the systems and workflow magic podcast. As always, I’m so happy, you have decided to join me again this week. And I am really, really excited. Because this week, we’re going to do something a little different, instead of me doing a solo episode. And instead of me inviting another creative business owner, I’m actually going to be interviewing my husband, Ty DeLong. And before he gets on the reason why I’m having him on this specific month, which is April, you know, tax season financial season for a lot of creative business owners. One is, of course, I truly love, and I respect my husband so much. And he has been in the front row of watching me and my business journey. And he has helped me out in so many ways. He may not always understand what I’m doing. But he loves me and supports me and it’s always a good reminder for me, like he’s, he always has my back to our financial journey was made possible thanks to his brain and his focus. And so every time he has been asked in the past to share our financial journey with others, let’s just say that even Dave Ramsey’s main website featured my husband’s blog post about our financial journey. So it’s pretty incredible. I will, of course, link it in the show notes. And then, of course, he has a very succinct way of talking. So he will get to the point. All right, you all know me, I very long-winded but with my husband, we’re gonna kind of balance this conversation out. But we are just going to get straight to the heart of why it’s important to be smart with your money, especially as a creative small business owner. So that was a huge introduction. But I wanted to introduce my husband Ty DeLong with you guys.

Ty DeLong  

Hey, everybody, this is Ty. I am Dolly’s husband of five years, almost six. And I’m really excited to talk to you today. Because finances are something that’s kind of close to my heart. I’m kind of a nerd. And actually like, like talking about all this stuff. And we’ll probably get into some of this. But I had a spreadsheet I was using to track everything for 10 years before I met. So we’ve been adding our forces here since we got married. And I think it’s been a good team effort.

Dolly DeLong  

Well, thank you, Ty. I know it’s so weird. I’m thanking my husband for being here. But like it’s a little weird. I’m saying that because yes, you might be thinking okay, well, don’t you live together. So why is it hard to get on the same schedule? Well, let me tell you why. It’s because we have a little monster in our house who’s a toddler. And it was, it’s really hard to be on the same schedule, especially with a toddler who is really struggling with his sleep schedule. And on top of that, at the beginning of the year, when we were supposed to record this episode, we both got COVID. So things just did not go as planned at the beginning of the year. But right now we’re feeling so much better, thank God. And so we are recording this. And it’s especially coming out of the perfect time of year because I know a lot of us to have money on the brain. We all have money on the brain because of tax season. And so I just want to like set a tone of encouragement for a lot of my listeners. And I also wanted to share my own financial journey with you guys. Because again, it’s very vulnerable, but I like being as real as possible. Okay, so Ty and I are both here. We know that Blaze is well he might be sleeping, we don’t know, but he’s safe in his room. So now that we’re both here, I wanted to just open up the floor to Ty and I’m gonna ask you a really broad question Ty and you’re kind of prepared for this, but who knows it might throw a curveball at you. I know that we both grew up in very different homes. So when we were getting ready to get married, I still wonder like how in the world did you prepare yourself mentally to marry me? Well for so many reasons, but one because you knew coming in that I had have literally hundreds of 1000s of dollars of student loan debt. And Strike two, I had a geriatric cat as well.

Ty DeLong  

Yeah, that director cat was actually a very expensive cat at the same time. So that actually kind of made the financial situation even a little trickier than it would have been otherwise, that prescription feed and stuff. I still remember. So I knew, you know, we dated for about a year before we got married. And I knew early on that you had a lot of student loan debt. But you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t tell me how much for a long time and that was, you know, appropriate, probably. But I remember when you finally told me, I was like, Okay, it’s a big number. But you know, we both have jobs. I had just bought our first house and that mortgage is very affordable way back then. And 2015 Yeah, not anymore. But so, you know, I, I mentioned earlier, like, I’m analytical, I’m a nerd. I’ve been, you know, a numbers kind of person my whole life. And so I heard the number and I immediately, of course, went home or later that day started googling stuff and kind of running some numbers and saying, Okay, well, here’s how much we can probably afford to pay each month. Here’s basically how long is it like it’s a problem to be solved? is the way I looked at it. And, like, you know, is it better to not have that problem? Yes, for sure. especially starting out, but a lot of people in that situation. And I mean, you can’t, it’s not like you can just ignore it, or you could I guess, but it’s only going to cost you more and speak to your business. Business, though, is the opportunity cost is very high when you’re paying 1000s and 1000s of dollars in interest every year. So I knew we wanted to tackle it as soon as we could, and as quickly as we could. And I think I mean, I can’t remember, way back then I think it was going to take us like six years, something like that. So it was daunting. But you know, it’s you can only control what you can control. And so from day one of our marriage, yeah, we kind of United our budget together into one spreadsheet, and started tackling it.

Dolly DeLong  

You Oh, well, Ty is sharing all this like, right before this interview began, like, of course, we’re both together in the same room. But I was sharing with Ty like, this is I am very, very nervous about this interview. And he was like, why? And it’s just because like, I, I know, this is weird. But like, I really do look up to Ty, like, if I say this out loud in front of him, he will laugh at me. But he’s like one of my heroes. I mean, I’m laughing is only because you’re laughing. But seriously, Ty has really opened up my eyes to see how to engage with money in a healthy way. And so I was just like, I’ve never been this nervous about talking about something that’s so vulnerable money, business, and then marriage. And so I can’t believe it didn’t make this disclaimer. But before like, we dive in, even more, I do want to say that Ty and I are not financial advisors by any stretch of the matter. We are not we’re hoping that this can encourage any entrepreneurs who are single who are married and who are working through debt as they are building out a business. And so just like we’re hoping, our story can help somebody a listener, either now or in the future, just like to gain more clarity and a little bit more control of your numbers. So I just like thought I’d drop that little pin in there. I guess like the time I’m gonna go back to this question again, like, you shared like, immediately when I finally shared that big number with you before we got married, like if you can share concrete examples as far as systems go, like put it out in a workflow. This is a systems and workflow magic podcast, what type of steps would you recommend to me? You’ve been married to me for almost six years now you can see what a creative business owner thinks, what type of steps would you recommend a creative-minded person take to start tackling debt?

Ty DeLong  

Yeah, that’s an can be a tricky question. Because you know, of course, I’m not a business owner and probably never will be. That’s not the kind of personality I have very risk-averse, like, to an extreme probably. But to that point, what we did in what I was doing before and we did together was so I worked for Dave Ramsey doing web development for a few years in the beginning of my career and that was very formative for me because of course I learned all this stuff there about money management and getting rid of debt and all that stuff. But you know, people have varying opinions on it but I think not having a lot of debt is most people would agree is a good thing doesn’t weigh you down, either personally or in your business. So kind of the paradigm I saw everything through even single and now you know married and to this day is you know when you get paid whether you pay yourself your business, you get your paycheck, whatever it is. If you put that on the top line of a budget or a spreadsheet or whatever, and you basically allocate all of that money out somewhere, you have a plan for it. Because otherwise, it’s very easy to just spend when stuff comes up spend when this comes up and get to the end of the month. And while Oh, there’s nothing for savings, or oh, I can’t pay extra toward this loan, or I can’t save up toward this goal I this equipment I want to buy or whatever it is, if you’re not intentional, with the money that comes in, it’s just gonna go is just gonna flow out, it’s like water, it goes the path of least resistance, it’s gonna go to Starbucks or whatever, you know, like, target. It’s gonna go to those places where it is easy to spend money. And so what we do now still is we get paid we put it at the top of the budget, we go, Okay, we got big stuff like the mortgage, retirement savings, diapers. Last diapers Now, thankfully, no cat food now thankfully, you know, got the big stuff. Of course, we got it. We know. Okay, org does this much for saving for college, this much for food and gas and whatever. But if we have goals we’re saving towards so like we’re saving for a big trip this summer. You know, we want to make sure we’re intentionally setting aside that money so that August doesn’t come and whoa, well, I guess we can’t take the trip or like we don’t have enough to take trip. So that’s my biggest thing is just like to see money through the lens of you have to kind of give every dollar a name is what Dave Ramsey would have said is when you get paid, know where that money is gonna go. Don’t look back and see where it went. I just

Dolly DeLong  

love you. So I’m just like listening. And I’m just so grateful and thankful for your brain tie. It’s helped me out a lot to just like to name every dollar and to know exactly where it’s going. But it’s been, like, I’m going to be completely honest with the listeners like it was not a fast adjustment. For me, it was actually a very, very slow adjustment. And I know Ty sometimes probably felt like I was in molasses because I did not, I just couldn’t act out on that. For my own business. That kind of like leads me to my next question with Ty, how I guess in the past, and then in the present, like how do you like being married to an entrepreneur,

Ty DeLong  

as you enter, I guess it doesn’t come naturally to me. I think I told you this a long time ago. But at one point, I was not real happy with my job. I was like, I’m gonna start a side business. I was really into, like, helping people like fix their computers and stuff like this, like 2011 Okay, when that was like, still a profitable venture. And so actually even like cell phones, I worked on people’s phones and stuff. And so I was like, Okay, I’m gonna, like start this business on the side. We’re all like, fix people’s technology for them, and they’ll pay me and great. But I did not want to, like, put a bunch of money into this because I didn’t want to lose money. So I think like, I felt terrible, like, I was like, oh, man, I have to pay like 50 bucks to get a website. Like, that sounds like a lot of money. I don’t know why. Because I didn’t want to like, didn’t want to put that out there and then lose the $50. If it didn’t pan out. And shocker, it didn’t pan out like. So, I’m not like a business. Like, I might have an idea here that I’m not gonna actually pursue it or like, invest or like plunge money into something because I just, that’s just not how I am. So early on, especially the first couple of years, when you were really getting the business off the ground, it was very hard for me to understand where the money was going. I think it was kind of hard for you to be honest. It was yeah, it was very hard for me to understand, because I knew roughly what you would get paid for doing this photo shoot, or that or this wedding. And I’m like, okay, like, there was you had $5,000 in revenue this month, like what happened to it where to go. Like, and then like, to be blunt, like, there were months and stretches a month, sometimes even like maybe up to a year where you didn’t actually pay yourself, like all the money went back into the business 100% And like, you basically were not getting paid for your time. And especially once Blaze came along, and like we’re both having to sacrifice a little more, you know, I’m with him all weekend and, and all that kind of stuff. It’s it was really hard to juggle that because I justify that because I’m like, she could be making more working, you know, at a coffee shop or something that you haven’t she’s making on this business, which is nothing because he wasn’t paying yourself. You know, I’m sure you go into the reasons for that. Yeah. But yeah, that was very hard for me to understand. I don’t have like a business investment mentality in that way. And so we had a lot of really hard conversations, honestly, like for him over the course of a year or two. And I think we’re in a much better place now. Because, you know, everyone, you know where the money’s going, you know, exactly, you know, within a margin like okay, I can probably pay us this much each month and even kind of forecasting that out a little bit and making sure it’s not all just like peaks and valleys like flattening it out some so I’m yeah, like at this point. Now that we actually are you actually know, kind of like what’s coming what’s going you’ve streamlined a lot of stuff and maybe even cut back some expenses like yeah like it’s great. so that you can work whenever you need to work and not be stuck to some schedule at a coffee shop, because that’s not ideal, of course. But still do what you love, and you know, actually, get paid for it now.

Dolly DeLong  

I mean, for those of you who are listening, and we’re just laughing nervously, but it, in all honesty, it was like I would say, several years of hard conversations and Ty, who, who is married to a very sensitive, creative-minded person, that’s me, you guys. I am a sensitive person, like, I felt like he would have to tiptoe around that money conversation with me when I was bringing in money, and I didn’t know where it was going, or how much I was going to contribute because I didn’t feel like I could pay myself or I just wasn’t watching where it was going. Because the temptation for a lot of business owners alike didn’t, I didn’t go to business school. So I had money in the bank. And so I wanted to buy the new and next shiny object that would help my photography business at the time, I was just a photographer, and now I am a family and branding photographer, and also a Dubsado, and systems educator. But back then it was solely photography. And yeah, it was like what the phrase you said, tie like water, which is like going out like water, there was no purpose in it. And so yeah, it was it was causing a strain on us. I guess, like the turning point for me was the summer of 2021. When I like met up with a profit first coach, because I realized, like how my money relationship in the business was negatively affecting you in Blaze. And I just couldn’t take it anymore. And so after this episode, if you haven’t listened to Episode 20, I encourage you to listen to episode 20. I interviewed my profit first coach, Kelly Mathis, and she is the one that helped me see the power more of the power of profit first and paying myself even if I get paid $10 I need to pay myself. And so that is when for me, that is when it started clicking.

Ty DeLong  

Yeah, I remember around that time, because I think there were some times where you were gone for, like, you’ve done some work stuff, which is understandable, but even like, paid a lot of money for some work stuff and been gone for quite a while and I’m here with wrangling Blaze for days at a time. And I’m like, where like what are we like, what are we getting out of this? Like, you know, and so I think, you know, certainly since that point, you know, I remember you talking about it and kind of I was intrigued. I was like, okay, like, it sounds like this sounds like a good philosophy to me, because this is exactly what I struggled with as your husband is you’re working 2040 Sometimes more hours a week and at the end of the month, literally not getting paid, not paying yourself like it’s, it’s like, like you would not you wouldn’t work any other job like that, you know, even if you loved it, like that much time and like late nights and weekends like you wouldn’t work like that for free anywhere else. But you’re you’re like the worst boss you’ve ever had was the worst, worst and best

Dolly DeLong  

nervous about where to begin with tracking the expenses and income of your creative business or side hustle. It’s time to stop being intimidated by the numbers of your business, and it’s time to take control of your finances. With my free income and expenses report template, you can have a simple system in solution and track the expenses and income of your business. This template comes with an easy-to-follow tutorial video, just in case you’re new to using a Google Excel spreadsheet. And this is the same spreadsheet I used to use when I first started tracking my own income and expenses as an early business owner before I’ve hired at my first accountant so your AC T News expense and income tracking template can be found in the show notes of today’s episode. It’s time to step into the CEO role of your business by learning how to better streamline and automate the numbers behind your business. Because knowing the numbers behind your business, that’s actually fun. So anyways, that was kind of the turning point for me. It was June 2021. And I don’t want you to hear this and hear me say like I have it all figured out a millionaire now and we’re so happy. But the thing is like, I just want to stress it’s so important to know your numbers as you grow your business get help to get clarity, especially like clarity to name every single dollar of your business for me It’s helped me see like how Ty and I have gotten out of my debt, I’m gonna say my debt. And then it’s helped me have more clarity to build more traction and invest in a profit first coach. And then now I am currently going through Shanna Skidmore is a financial blueprint, where I’m learning how to build out a profitable business in a really realistic way, not like shiny object syndrome way, like it’s giving me real traction. So this has been a long process and a long journey for me, and I’m sure Ty is like, I could have told you all this from day one. And he’s right, he probably did tell me this from day one. But I am one of those learners where it takes me a while to let things sink in, and then things start clicking Yeah, and

Ty DeLong  

I guess from my outside perspective, you know, like, it feels to me like you’re more in control of the business than before. Because you see what’s happening. So like, you’re able to plan so much better. So like, for example, you’re planning to take the entire month of August off, for this big trip, we’re taping and that wouldn’t be possible. If you were number one didn’t have all the other systems that are like automated and like, you know, get ready to go and planning stuff out scheduling content, all that, like, it wouldn’t be possible without those things, but also, like, just financially, like, I mean, if you’re paying for all of these subscription services, and you don’t, you know, at the end of the year, you just pay the big bill that comes you don’t think about it, you could be in the red very easily. If you didn’t know, Okay, that bill is gonna come due November 2, and it’s gonna be $630. Like, you gotta have that money, or, you know, you’re in the red, being in control of just the financial overview of the business from that standpoint, does free you up to take time off if you want to, but also to like, kind of steer the ship? And like, know, okay, like, I’ve got some pretty consistent income over here. What if I add some here? Like, can I pursue this thing? But I feel like if you’re just kind of always, I would phrase it as like, kind of spinning your wheels like you might have money coming in. But if it’s all just going back out, like, I mean, yes, that’s technically a business. But, you know, I’m not a business person. But I’ve worked for several businesses, of course, and there’s definitely a heavy focus on revenue, which is important. You gotta have money coming in. Even in other businesses that worked for there’s not always a heavy focus on where’s the money going. And so I think that’s the Partha, like I don’t I, I am not a business person, I would want to know exactly where the money’s going. So I don’t know, like, how can we like, optimize the profits or whatever. So, yes, it’s good to have revenue. But I think it’s equally important to know, where’s the money going? So you can plan ahead?

Dolly DeLong  

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing Ty, we’re going to wrap up because our goal is to keep it under 30 minutes, and not to talk on and on about money. And I am like, still nervous because Ty is here with me, we’re talking about very vulnerable things like money and marriage and in business. But again, I just want to like tie it back in to like, if you have the ability to invest in a profit first coach or some sort of coach who’s going to guide you through understanding how to use the money for your business, please invest in them, or find a mentor who is going to help you have clarity in your business because my goal of this business is to help bring clarity with systems and workflows. And also like my other goal, like my personal life is to have a sustainable business. And that means sustainable financially as well. So anyways, Ty, do you have anything else to say?

Ty DeLong  

Yeah, I mean, if you’re not to the point where you can invest in a financial like, professional like that, maybe go download that spreadsheet. I say that because I helped dolly develop the spreadsheet.

Dolly DeLong  

Oh, yeah, like that is our selfish plug for my creative bookkeeping template. So if you are just starting out with wanting to like track the numbers of your business, see what your overhead costs are for the whole year. And just like where all your money is coming in, like putting that name to the dollar. Well, Ty actually created this spreadsheet for me several years ago and I put it in my shop and now it’s one of my number one best sellers in my systems and workflow shop. So check it out. The link will be in the show notes. I love that tie, just like inserted it. It’s awesome. I love that so much. That’s it. Another thing is there will also be resources and links in the show notes. So if you have any additional questions head on over there, I try to make sure you have ample resources for us. So anyways, thank you all so much for listening, shoot me a DM and let me know how listening to this how was helpful and impactful to you, and Just like where you are in your business journey when it comes to numbers, and I just love hearing other people’s financial journey, it’s always encouraging to me. So I hope this was encouraging to you and I hope you are having a wonderful day. And thank you again, Ty, for coming. Yeah.

Ty DeLong  

Thanks for having me on.

Dolly DeLong  

Love you tight. Thank you so much for listening to the systems and workflow magic podcast. You can find full show notes from today’s episode at dolly DeLong photography.com forward slash podcast. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be so honored if you’d subscribe and leave a review on your favorite podcast player. Be sure to screenshot this episode, share it with your stories, and tag me at dolly DeLong education over on Instagram. Until next time, go make some strategic workflow magic.

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