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71: How Setting up Financial Systems in your Marriage Creates Peace & Clarity featuring Ty Delong


Are financial conversations a pain point in your marriage? Maybe you don’t talk about it because of the friction it causes in your home. In this episode, my husband, Ty, is spilling the beans on marriage, finances, and how we worked together to find financial peace and clarity. If you are ready to feel more comfortable talking about your dollars with your spouse, this episode is for you!

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


I have created an easy-to-use template that will help you take control of your finances because you will have clarity and confidence in knowing where your money is going!

Develop a system and workflow that works FOR your finances (and one that isn’t confusing)!

Check out The Bookkeeping Template For Creatives and use code PODCAST for 20% off!


Review the Show Notes

Ty and Dolly’s journey to financial peace and clarity

Optimizing Your Profits and Understanding Where Money is Going

The Benefits of Investing in a Profit First Coach

Strategies for Optimizing Profits and Understanding Money Flow

Dolly and Ty share their struggles in getting comfortable with difficult conversations about money


Check out The Bookkeeping Template For Creatives and use code PODCAST for 20% off!








Dolly Delong
Hey systems and workflow magic friends, it’s Dolly. Before we start this podcast, I wanted to let you know that this is an older podcast episode, I wanted to reshare this episode because I know this time of year is specifically tax season. And a lot of us business owners are looking at our numbers, maybe for the first time in a full year. I hope that’s not you, but just in case it is I wanted to give you some encouragement and let you know you’ve got this, you can set some systems in place to face the numbers behind your business and you can be amazing. But I wanted to reshare this episode also to encourage you to consider putting systems in place for the finances of your personal life. And so this is an interview that I did with my husband Ty, he is the only man who’s ever been interviewed on this podcast. He feels very special about it still, but it has been one of my most downloaded episodes because we are getting raw and real in this episode where we share our financial journey. So I hope this is an encouragement to you all to just like give you a glimpse and to see what our financial systems were, what we set up to get out of debt, and to make a lot of positive traction within our own family. So listen in and again have a wonderful and streamlined day you amazing muggle you.

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. I am really, really excited because this week, we’re gonna do something a little different instead of doing a solo episode, and instead of inviting another creative business owner, I’m actually going to be interviewing my husband, Ty Delong. Before he gets on, the reason why I’m having him on this specific month, which is April, tax season, a financial season for a lot of creative business owners is, of course, that I truly love and respect my husband so much. And he has been at 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, he always has my back. 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 am 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 to you guys.

Ty Delong
Hey, everybody, this is Ty. I am Dolly’s husband of five years, almost six. And really excited to talk to you today. Finances are something that’s kind of close to my heart. I’m kind of a nerd. I actually 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 united our forces here since we got married, and I think it’s a good team effort.

Dolly Delong
Well, thank you, Ty. I know so weird 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 to 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’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 especially coming out of the perfect time of year because I know a lot of us 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. I also wanted to invite you all and share my own financial journey with you guys, because it’s very vulnerable, but I like being as real as possible. Ty and I are both here. We know that Blaise, 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 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, 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 literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt and straight two I had a geriatric cat as well.

Ty Delong
Yeah, that geriatric 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, 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 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, that’s a big number. But you know, we both have jobs. I just bought our first house and that mortgage is very affordable way back in 2015, but not anymore. But I mentioned earlier that I’m an analytical I am a nerd. I’ve been you know, a numbers kind of person my whole life and so you know, 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, here’s how much we can probably afford to pay each month. Here’s basically how long, it’s a problem to be solved. And is it better to not have that problem? Yes, for sure, especially starting out, a lot of people in that situation. And I mean, 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 owners, 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 gonna take us like six years, something like that. So you know, it was daunting, but you can only control what you can control. And so from day one of our marriage, we kind of united our budget together into one spreadsheet and started tackling it.

Dolly Delong
Right before this interview began. Of course, we’re both together in the same room. But I was sharing with Ty, like, I am very, very nervous about this interview. And he was like, why? And it’s just because I know this is weird, but like, I really do look up to Ty, 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 it, I’m laughing, it’s 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 I 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, but we are 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 like, 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 that I dropped that little pin in there. But Ty, I’m going to go back to this question again, you shared immediately when I finally shared that big number with you before we got married. I mean, you’ve been married to me for almost six years, and you can see how 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 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, I worked for Dave Ramsey doing web development for a few years at 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 what most people would agree is a good thing, it 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, what do you pay yourself your business, you get your paycheck, whatever it is, 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 so you have a plan for it. 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 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, or 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 die 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 going go to those places where it is easy to spend money. So what we do now still is we get paid, we put at the top of the budget we go okay, we got big stuff like the mortgage, retirement savings, diapers, not so much anymore, and thankfully, no cat food. But you know got the big stuff, of course, we got it we know pay the mortgage this much, this much for savings, for college, this much for food and gas and whatever and so 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 while oh well I guess we can’t take the trip or like we don’t have enough to take the 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.

Dolly Delong
Wow. I just love you. So I’m just like listening and I’m just so grateful and thankful for your brain, Ty. 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 like, I’m gonna be completely honest with the listeners, it was not a fast adjustment for me, it was actually a very, very slow adjustment. I know Ty sometimes probably felt like I was in molasses because I just couldn’t act out on that for my own business. And so that kind of leads me to my next question with Ty, I guess, in the past, and then in the present, how do you like being married?

Ty Delong
I guess doesn’t come naturally to me. I think I told you this a long time ago, but at one point, I was not really happy with my job and was like, I’m gonna start a side business. I was really into, like, helping people to 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 work on people’s phones and stuff. So I was like, Okay, I’m gonna, like start this business on the side where I 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. So, I might have an idea here that I’m not going to 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. But 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, you had $5,000 in revenue this month, like what happened to it where to go? 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, all the money went back into the business 100%. And you basically are not getting paid for your time. Especially once Blaise 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, to justify that because I’m like, she could be making more work, you know, at a coffee shop or something because you haven’t used making on this business, which is nothing, you know because she wasn’t paying herself. And you know, I’m sure you go into the reasons for that. But yeah, that was very hard for me to understand. I don’t have a business investment mentality in that way. And so we had a lot of really hard conversations, honestly, like, for 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 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 at this point, now that we actually or you actually know, kind of like, what’s coming, what’s going on, you’ve streamlined a lot of stuff and maybe even cut back some expenses. Yeah, like, it’s, it’s great 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 in all honesty, it was, I would say several years of hard conversations. And Ty, 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 of the temptation for a lot of business owners. I didn’t go to business school, so I had money in the bank and 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, Ty, like water was just like going out like water. There was no purpose in it. And so yeah, it was causing a strain on us and that’s something that I guess like the turning point for me was the summer of 2021 when I met up with a Profit First Coach, because I realized like my money relationship in the business was negatively affecting you and Blaise, 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 who 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. For me, that is when it started clicking.

Ty Delong
Yeah, I remember around that time, because I think that was there were some times where you, 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 wrangling Blaise for days at a time. And I’m like, where, like, what are we like, what are we getting out of this? Like? 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 20, 40, sometimes more, hours a week, and at the end of the month, literally not getting paid, not paying yourself. Like it’s like, you wouldn’t work any other job like that. Even if you loved it that much time and late nights and weekends, you wouldn’t work like that for free. anywhere else. You’re, you’re like the worst boss you’ve ever had. Worst and best.

Dolly Delong
So Anyway, 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, I’m a millionaire now and we’re so happy. But the thing is, I just want to stress, that it’s so important to know your numbers as you grow your business, get help, and get clarity, especially clarity on where to name every single dollar of your business. And for me, it’s helped me see 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 going through Shana Skidmoore’s 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 longer process and a longer journey for me and I’m sure Ty’s 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 when I see things.

Ty Delong
Yeah, and 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, for example, you’re planning to take the entire month of August off, for this big trip we’re taking. And that wouldn’t be possible if you didn’t well, number one didn’t have all your other systems that are like automated and like you know, get ready to go and planning stuff out scheduling content, all that it wouldn’t be possible without those things, but also, just financially, I mean, if you’re paying for all of these subscription services, and you don’t, 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 going to come due on November 2, and it’s going to be $630, you got to have that money, or else you know you’re in the red. So 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 kind of steer the ship know, like, I’ve got some pretty consistent income over here. What if I had some here like, can I pursue this thing? But if you’re just I would phrase it like kind of spinning your wheels like you might have money coming in. But if it’s all just going back out? Yes, that’s technically a business but 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 I’ve worked for, there’s not always a heavy focus on where’s the money going. And so I think I would want to know exactly where the money is going. So I don’t know, like, how can we like optimize the profits or whatever. But 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, that’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing. Ty. I’m like still nervous because Ty is here with me. We’re talking about very vulnerable things like money marriage and business. But again, I just want to tie it back into, 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 my other goal, in 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 professional like that, maybe go download that spreadsheet for me. I say that because I helped Dolly develop the spreadsheet.

Dolly Delong
Oh, yeah. That is our selfish plug for my creative bookkeeping template. So if you are just starting out with me 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 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 Ty, just like inserted. It’s awesome. I love that so much. And another thing is there will also be resources and links in the show notes. So yeah, so if you have any additional questions head on over there, I try to make sure you have ample resources to use. So anyways, thank you all so much for listening in, shoot me a DM and let me know how listening to this, how this 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.

Ty Delong
Yeah. Thanks for having me on.

Dolly Delong
Love you, Ty.


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