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What does it mean to Think Like a Boss Lady?

No successful person is self-made — we all require a support system and one of my passions is providing that support to others. I believe that if you have the will to overcome obstacles then I may be able to help you with a potential “way” to get it done. I love hacking life and finding the shortcuts and loopholes, but I think it’s equally important to balance that with a healthy work ethic and patience. Even though we live in a Digital Age of instant gratification, when it comes to quality of life and success there is still no substitute for kindness (act like a lady) and hard work (think like a boss). Those are the underlying principles of the “think like a boss lady” philosophy.

True leaders don’t create followers. They create more leaders.

– J. Sakiya Sandifer

Think Like a Boss Lady was conceived as a resource for women looking to build and improve their life skills and interests. This is not a place to tear men down, but it is a safe harbor for building women up and empowering the female spirit. You don’t have to wear a suit and carry a briefcase to think like a boss lady. Mothers and teachers and baristas and dog walkers can harness their inner boss as well. There is no age minimum or maximum, no racial or religious requirements.

I have made a career and a hobby out of hacking situations and using technology in off-label ways to accomplish all kinds of tasks with better results. I wanted to create a site where my readers could find advice and tools that would empower them to make responsible and informed decisions to enrich their own lives — whether that means gaining fashion inspiration without having to break the bank, learning how to better manage finances and stay out of debt, discovering unusual ways to save or make extra income, finding a perfect gift for a special occasion, or getting a self-confidence pep talk.


 

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in a suburb outside of Atlanta, GA. I went to public school and had bad hair in every photo taken of me from 1985 until approximately 1998. The book fair was one of my favorite times of year, as was the annual fundraiser that entailed selling gift wrap door-to-door in exchange for prizes like a Yellow Walkman that played cassette tapes (hey, at the time a Walkman was kind of a big deal). Nowadays my hair is much more manageable but I still love to read books and sell stuff.

My first crush was on John Stamos (hello, Jesse and the Rippers), I staged meticulously choreographed dance offs with my brother to Billy Idol albums, had a pet potbellied pig named Wilbur, and I quietly yearned to become a fabulous drag queen until I eventually became aware that I lacked the right equipment so to speak.

During my college years, I left Atlanta and spent the next 4 years getting an education in New York, North Carolina and Florence, Italy. I graduated with honors with a BA in Political Science, worked as a marketing manager and brand ambassador in Atlanta for a couple of years, and in 2005 a new job relocated me to Los Angeles. I’ve been on the west coast ever since then.


 

What inspires you personally?

Call it cliché, but seeing new things, meeting new people, and generally wandering the world really fuel me. I have always made time and earmarked part of my financial budget for travel and adventure. Even when I was only making $30K/year straight out of college, I still put away money every single month so that I could afford to go on little adventures. There is so much to see in the world, especially if you’re willing to step off the well beaten path and discover it.

Sometimes adventure means cramming yourself into a tiny 4X4 car with 5 other non-English-speaking foreigners to go on a 4-day safari through the flooded salt flats of Bolivia, or learning to live out of a backpack for 2 months, or contending with severe food poisoning so that you can camp out with scarab beetles in a camel-hair tent on the sand dunes of the western Sahara desert. But don’t get me wrong… it’s not all Pepto Bismol and roughing it when I travel — sometimes I put on my budget-friendly fancy pants for high tea at places like the Langham Hotel in London.

I’m game for almost anything as long as I don’t have to eat brains or bugs.


 

What are your credentials?

While I won’t get into too much detail, I am proud to say that I have zero debt to my name and in 2014 I finally achieved a long-term personal goal of building a net worth that exceeds half a million dollars. Some people say it’s impolite to talk about money, but I want to be transparent with my readers because debt has become a huge issue in our country and you can’t fix what you’re unwilling to talk about.

I’ve come a long way since the days of making $5.10/hr selling holographic baby tees at Gadzooks circa 1999, but I would never describe myself as self-made. We don’t arrive anywhere by ourselves, no matter how independent we may be. We are a product of our environment and our experiences, and the hardships or deficiencies we encounter shape us as much if not more than the successes and support that we receive throughout life.

What I can tell you with 100% conviction is that my money looks a lot better in a Roth IRA account than it does hanging in my closet. It is a very personal choice, but I would rather have a purse with $5,000 inside of it rather than a purse that cost $5,000. Which would you prefer? It’s an important question to ask yourself as you consider your financial goals in life.

Once in awhile I will invest in a luxury closet staple, but I have no interest in spending designer dollars for designer clothing. I still routinely shop at the Goodwill and the Dollar Store and I doubt you’ll ever find a Louis Vuitton bag on my arm or a Porsche in my driveway. I won’t suggest that this lifestyle is for everyone, but I made a decision early in life to focus on collecting rich experiences/memories and investing in people rather than accumulating material possessions trumped up by a commercially-driven media, especially when that media shamelessly promotes impossible physical ideals and outrageous spending habits.

Life is short, eat cupcakes | THINK LIKE A BOSS LADY, created by Lisa Tufano

I have spent the last decade selling software and marketing services to the real estate industry. My sales career has been full of blessings, but it has also been a long journey of hard work, hard decisions, and a fair share of hard luck along the way. The support and guidance of my mentors has been invaluable to me along the way, and now I want to share with others both the hard lessons and the fun tricks of the trade that I’ve learned.

I mention all of this because the path to success for many boss ladies is often paved in thankless jobs, unexpected roadblocks, tough trade offs, mediocre bosses, and character-building hardship.

The trick is not to let it break your spirit, but allow it to provide you with the character, stamina, and sense of humor to keep fighting through it and succeed. And besides, I still managed to have a lot of fun and my share of cupcakes along the way.

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9 Comments
  • Kelly
    October 20, 2014

    i really liked reading this….i am trying to get out of credit card debt right now..i owe hardly anything..but the double or triple payments i make every month don’t seem to make a dent in the amount…I admire the fact that you are debt free & investing …I need to really think about doing that once I get out of CC debt.

    • Lisa Tufano
      October 20, 2014

      Thanks, Kelly! I totally understand where you are on this. A big problem is that the interest rate on credit cards is so high that it stretches out the duration of your credit card debt every single month that it’s not paid off. My advice would be that you not put money into other savings areas for a few months, and dedicate all of your income that doesn’t pay for your essential needs towards paying off the card as soon as possible. If you put money into a savings account each month, that saved money is getting cannibalized by the interest rate that keeps increasing your debt to the other bank responsible for your credit card. Better to get rid of all the debt and then stay net positive moving forward, that way you are getting to keep and make money on every dollar that you earn rather than giving 15-20% of your income to the credit card companies.

  • mimi
    March 16, 2015

    Wow Lisa,

    This is a great bio. I was able to learn so much more about you. It really says a lot about your character when you can list so much of your accomplishments without being arrogant about it – just candid insights that acts to empower and motivate others. Will watch out for more posts.

    XOXO,

    Mimi

  • Buki
    June 5, 2015

    This is really empowering.

  • CanadianBacon
    March 13, 2016

    Hi Lisa!
    I feel empowered after reading this section of your blog, and your comments to other viewers. I have about $5,000 in credit card debt (half went to funding my school tuition), and I feel that focusing on just getting it cleaned up while i put my savings on the back burner (for now) is the right way to go. THANK YOU for being such an inspiration, and a motivator through your digital pen!

    – A

    • Lisa Tufano
      March 14, 2016

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! And yes, while it’s good to have a little cushion for emergencies (loss of job, etc), it makes sense to table your savings until you get that debt repaid. You’ll end up better off financially later on, and it will help out your credit too!

  • Taylor
    July 26, 2016

    Can I seriously be you when I grow up???

  • Halimah Mugidde
    May 21, 2017

    Awesome

  • KESSA NAIDOO
    June 21, 2017

    Such an inspiration to many of us out there….a mentor to aspire to….

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