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Wake Up Every Day + Pursue the Meaning

Travis Shelton Startup Stories

August 9, 2022


During the latest Small Business & Startup Stories DSM podcast, Travis Shelton, Founder and Owner of Meaning Over Money, author and podcast, discussed starting his business and how beliefs about money affect your life with Greater Des Moines Partnership Startup Community Builder Diana Wright.

An Interest in Investment Leads to Starting a Business

Shelton has always been fascinated by investing and entrepreneurship. Early in his career, he was thriving personally and professionally until one day he walked into the office and found out the company he worked for was shutting down. It was the beginning of the Great Recession. At that time, he had the opportunity to move back to Iowa and continue doing what he was doing until beginning his new adventure with Meaning Over Money in May of 2019. Shelton’s goal was to serve others while also paying his bills. Having grown up without a strong financial influence, when he sits down with a new client, he discusses their childhood and how they learned about money. His perspective on money was influenced by bad examples which in turn encouraged him to go down a certain path in his career. This experience has led Shelton to wonder how money plays into our lifestyles, a topic he feels needs more attention.

Starting a business is a journey of learning. When Shelton left in 2019 and began to build his consulting business, he made mistakes along the way, and when the COVID pandemic hit, he walked alongside people who were scared about their next steps but wanted to move forward with their money goals.

Beliefs About Money

At Meaning Over Money, Shelton works mainly with twenty-somethings and forty-somethings. The twenty-somethings know there are better opportunities for them after watching their parents go through the Great Recession. They know there must be more than just going to a job, buying stuff and gaining status. These things aren’t what fuels them. The forty-somethings have gotten closer to their goals, but as they approach and reach them, find there is something missing. For twenty-somethings who watched their parents struggle through a recession, this is playing out in the way they work and is one reason why they are more transient and why they don’t want to stay in one place.

Many times, after a financial windfall or big promotion, clients reach out to Shelton because happiness and security is still missing from their lives. The idea that every time something happens, we adjust to it and that becomes the status quo, is what’s called the hedonic treadmill. In work, this can mean that a promotion or bonus feels good at first, but inevitably comes with more stress and responsibilities, and clients struggle to feel the upside. Shelton gives a few pieces of advice for those who are struggling:

  • Figure out who you trust and who is looking out for your best interest
  • Discern whether that advice is coming from a place of love or jealousy/regret
  • Pursue money or pursue meaning … if you just pursue money, you may have regret, but if you pursue meaning, you will find success which may or may not translate into money (and many times does!)

Learn more about Meaning Over Money here.

Listen to the entire podcast above.

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Startup Stories DSM

Startup Stories DSM is a podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs who share both their victories and failures on their paths to success. It is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.