Sometimes it just Takes one Person Believing in You

As a teenager, I remember borrowing money from my grandmother (a loan I repaid within just a few months) to buy out my sister of our shared vehicle. The young stubborn asshole in me thought I had won the "who gets total control of the car" war when I obtained the money to buy her out. Joke was on me - she took the money and went on to buy a far more fly ride, a vintage '65 Nova. That car was tight.

Anyhow, it was my first experience with asking for something I thought was completely unattainable and receiving a YES answer. It was exhilarating. It's also when I found out that grandma was the real mastermind behind my grandma and grandpa's rental house empire. I told her how smart I thought grandpa was for buying up all the properties surrounding their house. "Oh honey, that wasn't grandpa's idea, that was mine." Tip of the hat to you lady - well played. 

We didn't get a lot of yes's in my house growing up. Dad was a Navy man turned meat cutter and mom was a college dropout like me who headed to beauty school soon after. Naturally, I instead went to the grandparent's when I truly needed something that required substantial cash flow.

My grandparents, on both sides, always had this ability to root for me. I never questioned it, because as a youngin I assumed everyone thought I was the shit. Why would my grandparents be any different? But what I didn't see was what they saw, and that was my potential. It pains me and excites me when I see this in others - it deeply saddens me when I see the potential in someone that nobody has yet pointed out to them, or has been too lazy to try to mold and stoke the fire within them.

Which brings me to my man. He also had grandparents like mine, but he didn't have parents that loved him and obnoxiously told him day in and day out that he could do anything he put his mind to like mine did. That's probably why we move all over the country now - he finally realizes his own potential and nobody is going to ever stop him ever again.

I felt this way when I headed over to my Grandfather's house at the age of 25. I had grown tired of people being in my way of making money; it seemed clear to me by now that most salon owners weren't actually interested in anyone succeeding at life. It didn't' matter that I was at one of the top salons in town. It doesn't matter in any town - they all look the same. They all act the same. I could never sit through Tabitha's Salon Takeover because it was far too real. I was a passionate stylist stuck in this sub-par business model. One that we still have today.

I knew if I were to ever do the things I sought out to do in the hair industry I was going to have to change the conversation or stop talking. I set out to change it, and the first step was to own and run a reputable salon - but I needed cash. I was young, and that resulted in me begging my other grandpa for money.


“If you learn to control your finances, you won't find yourself stuck in jobs, places, or relationships that you hate because you can't afford to go elsewhere."



He put me through the grind - he made me work for it, but in the end, I got my money along with an interest bearing payment that attached to my house. Yes, he made me put my house up as collateral should I default on the loan. My own grandpa. But that's cool - he respected my vision enough to give me the money, I respected him enough to pay him the interest. I really felt like I outsmarted him when I got the interest on the total of the loan and not compounded. I think he let me have that win.

It's not always about the money, but what money can do for you. Money gives you options. Money gets you out of situations where you feel stuck. Money, when used correctly, brings you happiness. And if you are passionate, it can also help you to affect change. 


Mandy Zelinka is the former Digital Marketing Manager for KEVIN.MURPHY International and owned one of the largest award-winning salons in Portland, Oregon. She was also Voted Best Hairstylist in Portland in 2016 by The Portland Fashion + Style Awards. 

But she’s best known for tobogganing down the Great Wall of China as a United States Diplomat and First Lady of a City.