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Episode 4: Charisse A. Conanan Johnson Discusses Closing a Startup and Demystifying Investing

Episode 4: Charisse A. Conanan Johnson Discusses Closing a Startup and Demystifying Investing

In this episode I interviewed Charisse A. Conanan Johnson. But before I get started into the podcast episode, I wanted to share some information about a conference I’m attending in November that you should check out too. I have the pleasure of speaking at the Blogalicious conference in San Antonio, TX November 6-8, 2014. If you are a veteran blogger, new blogger, thinking about blogging or a company interested in connecting with a diverse group of female bloggers, the Blogalicous conference is for you! Last year I co-hosted a Scandal premiere party with Luvvie Ajayi from AwesomelyLuvvie.com that was sponsored by Xfinity at the Blogalicious conference in Atlanta (many of you know how fun that was for me given I am obsessed with Olivia Pope’s style). You can help support this podcast by using this link to register for the conference: http://bit.ly/1rJGkPz.

So let’s get into today’s episode. First, some background on Charisse:

 Charisse A. Conanan Johnson, CFA (chartered financial analyst), is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and wealth expert, bridging the gap between the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. Through The Charisse Amanda Group, Charisse offers services that provide solutions in holistic financial wellness. Previously, Charisse fulfilled her life calling of financial empowerment by serving as the Founder and CEO of www.smarteys.com, a web app that allows users to map out their lifestyle post college graduation, receive recommendations on living financially fit, and absorb relevant money advice. Prior to building Smarteys, Charisse was a Vice President at JPMorgan Asset Management in New York City.  She conducted stock market research as a generalist, and her research covered 18% of the $10 billion JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Fund. Charisse is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is also a CFA charterholder. Charisse resides in Hyde Park with her husband. You can find out more about her at www.charisseamanda.com and @CharisseAmanda.

Mentioned in this episode

Advice for those considering closing a business venture:

  • Is the business still feeding or draining their initial passion?
  • Do you have enough money to last you to get the clients or revenue you need?
  • What are the metrics that you need to achieve in order to continue moving forward with the company?


ETFs: Exchange Traded Funds

ETFs are a vehicle that allows you to get access to an index or exchange (e.g., S&P 500). These indices track some of the largest companies that trade on the market. By buying an ETF you can get the same exposure as the index. You don’t have to pick an individual stock, you can pick an ETF that represents a specific market, whether that’s an overall market or specific sector (like technology or consumer). You can open an ETF at a brokerage firm to get access to the actual instruments. Brokers like an eTrade or TD Ameritrade are discount brokers that allow you to buy an ETF for ~$5-10 every time you trade.

What to look for in ETFs:

  • Low in costs (low fees).
  • One that is rated well by Morningstar.

Some actions you can take to get started in investing beyond ETF’s:

  •  Ask yourself, “Am I at all invested in the stock market today?” If you have a 401K or mutual fund, you are already investing in the market (but that doesn’t mean you have to stop there).
  • Save up enough money to open a brokerage account. A good goal is to invest at least $3000 outside of an employer account.
  • Increase your knowledge about what these instruments do. Brokerage sites have simple and short tutorials on how these instruments work.

The Final 10

10 questions we ask everyone we interview to learn some fun insights about them. Here are Charisse’s responses:

  1. Charisse’s first job: A babysitter.
  2. 3 words to describe her personal brand: Confident, intelligent and compassionate
  3. The best advice she’s ever received: You have to find your own way.
  4. What Charisse believes makes a good leader: Someone who can serve the people. When you serve others you inspire them to be better and do better. Really great leaders can serve other people.
  5. Charisse’s morning routine: Chatter with her husband about their dreams then devotion time. She started doing devotion in her mid-20s and it has really changed her approach to the day. She reads the bible or a devotion and writes in her journal to provide her space and clarity to take on the day.
  6. How Charisse manages her life, family and career: She’s AAA in terms of personality, but can’t manage everything. She can only control what she can control. She then can focus on what’s important to her and recognize that everything isn’t so urgent. One thing she realizes is that she is not a “first mover.” She turns off her phone at a certain time and has determined that she doesn’t have to be the first person to respond to emails.
  7. To keep “sharp,” Charisse: 1) does yoga. It has slowed her mind down so that she can be sharp and focus better, 2) prioritizes reading (she loves biographies) and 3) talks to her 87 year old grandmother who shares a lot of her wisdom with Charisse.
  8. Some of Charisse’s favorite things include: spending quality time with family and friends (quality time is her primary Love Language), having new experiences (whether traveling to a new country or a new place in her neighborhood) and playing bid whist.
  9. The words Charisse lives by: “life is short; enjoy the journey.”
  10. How you can connect with Charisse online and on social media: charisseamanda.com and Twitter on @charisseamanda.

Listen to the show below: