We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Lizel Cannon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessica Lizel, do you have a budget? how do you think about personal finances?
I have maintained a budget since I was 9 years old when I first started earning income from my front porch candy store. I tried to follow in my maternal grandfather’s footsteps when I saw the joy his store brought to his customers visiting over the summer. Even though he allowed me to sample the inventory he also made it clear to set boundaries for the success of the business. I never paid myself when I was a child because I learned to reinvest my profits back into my business but as an adult, I realized I needed a mad money fund too. The good ole saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” well this is true for Jane (me) too. I was taught to work hard and always save for the rainy day but learning to work smarter versus harder still creates stress. As an accountant, this makes sense looking at the bottom line all the time. Now as a caregiver, it makes even more sense to not only make time for lifestyle choices but budget for it as well. Budgeting helped me to eliminate both stress and the reasons for not being able to afford respite time. It also taught me how to stay within my means and not give in to impulse spending or excessive credit card debt. When it comes to vacations, eating out, or mad money splurges, I build those expenses into our budget so I know when we can spend more or less and how long it will take to save in advance. I like to plan ahead to alleviate as much stress as possible so I can enjoy the vacation instead of worrying about how we can afford it afterward. Besides, when emergencies happen or life goes in a direction we least expect, then the financial impact is not such a blow to our personal finances.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Now looking back over my life and how my career has evolved, I believe I was a right-brain creative type first and became the logical left-brain thinker later to conform to the demands of parenting and society in general. When I was 16 I started to write in my journal every night before bed. I aspired to be a writer with my first published book by the age of 25. When life changed by starting a family earlier than I ever planned in my 20’s my dreams were put on the top shelf in the back of a dark closet. The dream stayed in my heart though. So when life changed yet again many years later, presenting the need for a career shift from the corporate world to caregiving, it seems as though I spoke the dream aloud into existence by saying “I wish I could care for Mom while being able to earn an income writing creatively.” My thought was to build a routine around her care and take my laptop where ever I could to begin a novel or write articles for magazines. The challenge to this dream was finding the energy and mental focus to write after feeling physically drained and mentally depleted from the day of care. I did not want to give up on the dream so I used my experience gained from my little candy store thru time as a corporate accountant to create Cannon Light Media, LLC. Creating the company was easy enough but managing new areas like marketing and project management created quite a learning curve. I joined a writing group, watched several webinars, and began tapping back into my creative side. It was exciting and scary but also gave me a new kind of stress relief as I started writing again. The lessons I learned along the way on the technical side of the business pushed me forward to keep learning and growing. There is always information online from others to glean from their experiences. On the flip side, I learned more about myself in the process that I had to overcome if I ever wanted to succeed. The Imposter Syndrome hit me hard when it came time to publish blogs. No matter how much tenacity I had as a business owner and accountant I struggled to silence the voices in my head saying “my writing isn’t good enough” or “no one wants to read about your story.” I joined another writer’s group locally to attend meetings in person which helped by looking into the eyes of other writers of all ages and different genres to hear they all experienced the Imposter Syndrome at one time or another. Some still needed feedback from friends and readers even after their work was published. I have learned to silence my inner imposter because I understand how helpful my story is to other caregivers. In addition to writing, we started a podcast centered around empowering caregivers on their journey. I understand I cannot please everyone, nor should I try. I understand that although art is subjective our work will eventually reach those who need it the most, in divine timing. I want the world to know that our unique stories need to be shared because we are stronger together. Creativity is in all of our DNA. When we allow ourselves to create in ways that move or inspire us then we allow opportunities to get closer to our creator. We created a company as a simple means to replace my corporate income but it opened my mind to endless possibilities to create cultural shifts above and beyond owning a successful company. This concept is the inspiration behind the name of our company – to be the light for those lost in darkness.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When given the time to explore with my best friend I would plan days to visit a few cities over a week. We would begin the week with dinner at the Oasis on Lake Travis enjoying some local Tex-Mex cuisine with drinks as we watch the sunset over the Lake. We would set out the next morning catching up on the way down to San Antonio to enjoy the River Walk floating tour, stop for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe along the River Walk, stop at some local stores for souvenirs, and then eventually make our way to the Tour of the Americas for a 360 view of the city, dinner, and drinks. Spend the night in San Antonio to be well-rested before heading out to Majek Vineyard & Winery, off I-10 near Houston in Schulenburg, TX. We could enjoy the scenic rolling hills, local music, vineyard cuisine, and wine. The next day we would visit at least one of the many Museums in Houston like the Museum of Natural Science or Contemporary Art. After another night of rest, we would return back to the rolling hills of Austin to finish out the remainder of our time together at the Miraval Wellness Resort and Spa. There we would enjoy the scenic views from the Serenity pool, floating meditation and yoga class, and Ayurvedic massages. We would be able to stretch our final moments together walking the pathways and enjoying the wellness-designed cuisine. We could have plenty of time to talk and enjoy each other’s company before having to part.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I recognize my parent’s sacrifices in their lives to be able to provide for me while teaching me the value of the dollar. They both provided a balance between showing me best practices when budgeting and how to stretch a dollar further. Those early lessons helped me to avoid emotional spending pitfalls too. Over time, the heavier finance decisions came from advice shared by financial advisor Suzie Orman. Areas I did not consider until I read articles with her real-life experiences not only reinforced best practices learned from Mom and Dad but explained more in detail about how or why budgets work.

Website: WWW.JessicaLizelCannon.com

Instagram: @Proactive_Caregiver

Linkedin: Jessica Cannon, CPA, CDP

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jessica-Lizel-Cannon-2123322074651542/

Youtube: Jessica Lizel Cannon

Other: www.cannonlightmedia.com

Image Credits
Graphic designer for Podcast Image by Scott Cannon

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