How Erika Cramer realised that confidence is key


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Confidence coach and author Erika Cramer grew up in Boston with an abusive bipolar single mum. In and out of foster homes, Cramer was sexually abused, and was kidnapped by her own father at age 7. The family survived on welfare and food stamps. Cramer struggled at school and joined the military at 16. She married her high school sweetheart before he deployed to Iraq. On his return, the couple developed a poor relationship with alcohol.

Cramer, realising she didn't enjoy the military, then trained as a hairdresser. Shortly after, her first husband died in a car crash. Five years later, she moved to Australia. A series of bad decisions and bad relationships followed, until she realised she was the common denominator and needed to change.

Working as a stylist, she found she was helping women not only with their appearance, but with their self-confidence. Cramer is now a wife, mother, confidence coach, and author of Confidence Feels like Shit.

erika cramer confidence feels like shit

How does money relate to your business?

I see money as a value exchange and energy. If you don't feel you have value to give then you feel the unworthiness to charge and the capacity to have money. When my husband died I got $100k from the military for an insurance policy we had taken out. I can't tell you how fast I got rid of it because I didn't feel the worthiness. If we don't believe in ourselves, we're not able to create that value exchange - we spend on silly things that we think create validation.

How has your background shaped you?

If I hadn't had my background, I wouldn't have created what I created. There's definitely a connection between resourcefulness, resilience, and financial success. It's a rollercoaster. If you let the minute you fall create you, you won't get up again. You have to be willing to make the fall not mean anything.

What was your first job?

I worked two jobs at age 14 - Burger King and a place called Frugal Fanny's - a warehouse for women's suits and business/corporate wear.

What's the best money advice you've ever received?

Invest in yourself, in your brain and your mind. It's your biggest asset. I think people are scared to work on themselves, they don't see the outcome because it's very painful. They don't see how this is going to help them. We often value the vanity metric; we want to look successful and look rich but the richest people don't invest in flashy stuff.

What's the best investment decision you've made?

The best investment I ever made was spending $8000 on a retreat I went on in Bali. I ended up having a mental breakdown and crying and it was the moment when I got broken. It sounds crazy but it was the moment that made me realise that if I don't do it and create it, it won't happen.

What's the worst investment decision you've made?

When I got the $100,000 for my husband's death, I was in a relationship. It was like a buffer relationship, but I spent $10,000 on Christmas - presents, holidays, money to a friend for a boob job. I didn't have the emotional experience to use that money, I repelled it and it was a waste. It was the most money I'd ever had at once. You hear about people who win the lottery and they are worse off after a year, they don't have the capacity to hold it.

What is your favourite thing to splurge on?

Getting my hair done. I love the experience. I don't care about the expense; I love the whole thing - four or five hours in the salon with my laptop all on my own.

If you had $10,000 where would you invest it?

I hate to say this but I have to say I think there's something in the NFT world right now. I would take all my logos and images I've done well and make them NFTs. I feel that's the way things are going now with bitcoin and all that. It feels risky but in a cool way.

What would you do if you only had $50 left in the bank?

I would buy a great tripod and lighting and set myself up to do great, good-looking content on social media and I would sell with my voice on social media.

Do you intend to leave an inheritance?

I would leave an inheritance for my kids with a lot of conditions - books they need to read and programs they need to go through before they get the money. I don't want my kids to be privileged silver spoon children.

What's been your best money-making career move?

The best one would have been launching the Sisterhood program because it's not high ticket, it's higher value. At the moment 400 women in different countries are in it. It's for the everyday woman to work on her life. We've done it with integrity and to make It successful more women are able to change their lives. The online version is extremely scalable.

Finish this sentence: money makes ...your ability to impact greater. More money, more impact.

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Julia Newbould was editor-at-large and later managing editor of Money from November 2019 to February 2022. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.
Ian Robb
July 17, 2021 9.25am

Hi! What is that device and what does it do? That Erika has plugged into the bottom of her iPhone. Thank you.

Erika Cramer
July 21, 2021 7.20pm

hey Ian! It's a Rode Mic for the iphone - it's a pretty great directional mic to podcast or interview with!