Rachel Godfrey, 40, is co-founder of Chase Life Consulting, which provides mindset and performance strategies for entrepreneurs at risk of burnout.
Born in Wales, she trained as a physiotherapist, but after realising she loathed working for organisations, at 22 she moved to Australia where her personal training business grew into an international online fitness and wellness platform.
During a London visit, she met her future husband, David, and launched Chase Life, drawing partly on her adolescent obsession with self-worth driven perfectionism and workaholic stress addiction.
The couple moved to Abu Dhabi in 2017 and live on Saadiyat Island with their children, aged three and five.
Was there money in your childhood?
My dad left accountancy to be an entrepreneur in property development. I saw from him how hard work is rewarded. Mum stayed home and took care of us.
They had very little in the beginning but as my dad’s businesses grew, I saw what came with that and wanted to be able to do that myself.
I had an amazing childhood, was allowed to just be a kid, but was taught the value of money. I had pocket money but it wasn’t substantial. There were no gifts just because it was a Tuesday.
We could ask for whatever we wanted, but the answer was “no”. I’m grateful for that, because it’s something I’m doing with my children.
When did you first earn?
I was about 14 when I had my first job at River Island (a fashion store) on weekends, minimum wage, £4.20 ($5.11) an hour. I had this sense of when you make your own money, you feel good and strong.
Any early financial lessons?
That you live within your means. I remember a letter from Barclays offering a £1,000 overdraft.
Mum told me to tear it up and asked: “Why would you spend money you don’t have in your account?”
It was very much [about] don’t go into debt and if you want more money, work hard for it.
What prompted Chase Life?
Everything was booming for me in Sydney in 2015. Then, I met my now husband and five weeks later, was living in London.
I was already training thousands of women online. I felt there was a gap in my skill set and had started courses in the life coaching and mindset side of things. David was already an expert in emotional and behavioural change. Chase was a natural progression.
The majority of our clients are in the US, UK, Australia and expat community here. It’s helping people do better and be better.
Why the UAE?
I spent 15 months in London but didn’t resonate with the UK. I’ve been to the UAE for 25 years, on vacation. My parents were living in Abu Dhabi and we wanted to start a family.
Are you spending or saving?
We spent a lot this year, reinvesting, which I strongly believe in as an entrepreneur.
We’re in a saving pattern now; everything goes into investments, our share portfolio, cryptocurrency. I also have a rental property in Business Bay.
Money should work for you and needs to be invested wisely.
Have your financial habits evolved?
Extreme ownership means you take responsibility for everything you do. Would I be further ahead financially if I had not bought an expensive handbag or hoarded money in my 20s? Yes, but I didn’t know then what I know now.
I’ve spent a lot, but also ruthlessly saved.
Personal leadership is important to me, so whatever financial situation one is in, you have to get out of it yourself. Belief you can do that is important.
What is your best investment?
Reinvesting in myself. I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t. Courses, mentoring, personal and professional development … I’ve spent at least half a million dollars, if not more, on personal and professional education.
It’s a large amount but unless you grow personally, your revenues will not.
Any key financial milestone?
In 2012-2013, the first time I had a multi six-figure year (in business). It was that first look over the hill: “Wow, I can really do this.”
When you’re a female entrepreneur, and I’d been at it a few years, despite everybody telling me that I couldn’t … it was external validation.
As a reward, I bought myself a Louis Vuitton limited-edition handbag – when you’re 29, what else do you do?
How do you feel about money?
It doesn’t buy happiness, but makes life easier. And money buys freedom … one of my highest values. Money enables you to have financial freedom, time freedom, location freedom, to do what you want, when you want.
So money is energy and when you help people, or you add value and impact, you don’t need to worry about money … it will come.
What kind of people are your clients?
Business owners and high achievers … experienced professionals.
When you’re in that subset of people, you have traits that initially were a massive asset to you – the ability to work really hard under pressure and get things done to an exceptional standard. But it never feels good enough.
A lot of people we work with have reached this glass ceiling where they feel stuck. They’ve achieved the material success but are fundamentally unhappy. That’s where we come in.
Are you wise with money?
I’m a risk taker … but don’t invest what you cannot afford to lose. And don’t be emotional about money.
Money comes and goes, you have to have a deep belief that you attract money with the value that you provide. I am wise with my money and can only get wiser by educating myself.
Any financial regrets?
There are no regrets about what I’ve bought, just stories. I’ve done things that haven’t worked. That’s not failure, you just get back up. Part of the fun of entrepreneurship is not knowing.
What I would change is I’d have invested younger and learnt about compound interest … something I tried to catch up on and I’m going to teach my children.
I do regret not buying an apartment in Sydney in 2007. Buying property felt like I was getting married. I was nervous, I didn’t know whether I was staying in Australia longer term.
Now I see the financial growth in Sydney.
What do you enjoy spending on?
Building memories, experiences, putting money behind holidays. You take the kids somewhere and it could be somewhere that doesn’t cost a lot. It’s how you spend money and the memories you create along the way.
Did the pandemic impact your work?
People have really re-evaluated what makes them happy. The pandemic allowed people the space to escape the rat race and to sit back and ask: “Am I happy?” So, for our business, it was a big growth period.
Do you have fiscal goals?
Financial freedom, I think, is the goal for everybody. To secure not just our future, but also the financial future of our children, the next 10 years is critical. And it has to be focused.
It is about saving, learning how to invest smarter and to watch those investments grow. And maybe in the future, coaching and mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs, investing in other businesses.