For 32 years, Constance Hall didn’t have a lot of money.
She grew up in a modest household, and throughout her twenties and early thirties she says she was “broke”.
Then, in 2015, she launched a Facebook page, went viral, and suddenly became an internationally recognised ‘brand’. In July 2016, Hall self-published Like A Queen, her first book, and something strange happened.
She got rich.
If you’ve ever read anything by Constance Hall, you’ll know that her style is uncensored, unfiltered, and entirely unpretentious – an approach she also takes when talking about money.
It’s disarming. Rarely do we hear people speak honestly about figures, and the subtle ways life changes when you find yourself with the type of money you didn’t think you’d ever have.
But in an interview with Mia Freedman for the No Filter podcast, Hall spoke candidly about the decision to self-publish, what she spent her money on, and what life is like now with a different kind of income.
Listen to Mia Freedman’s full interview with Constance Hall. Post continues after audio.
For the now-34-year-old, the opportunity to self-publish Like A Queen, and cut out a publisher, was only possible because “the planets aligned right”.
“My family doesn’t have much cash [but] my mum and my stepdad broke up that year,” she says. “My stepdad had a farm to sell… that’s how they were dividing their divorce. Then my stepdad said to me, ‘can you look after my money?'”
“I was like, ‘sure, can I borrow $50,000?'”
“I was told I needed $50,000 [to self-publish] and I had no idea where I’d get $50,000 from.”
So Hall hired a publishing facilitator, and got to work self-publishing.
While she says there were “heaps of hiccups along the way.. like PayPal froze our money, books were printed without chapters…” the books “made a lot of money”.
In total, Hall sold 175,000 copies, almost unheard of in Australia. Each copy sold for $27, and while costs such as printing and distribution were significant, Like A Queen made Hall ‘rich’ in every sense of the word.
“A lot of money came in, and then a lot of money came out,” says the mum-of-six.
“I bought a house… and then there’s like your tax, and the people you have to pay, I don’t know where all the money went.
“We toured the world, and we didn’t charge anyone for the tickets for the tours. We donated $175,000. So, like, I’ve had to do my finances lately, and I’ve been very surprised to learn I might have about $200,000 left and that’s going into my renovations, my extensions for the new baby.
If being a mother has taught me anything it’s taught me that you get nowhere being a martyr. Nowhere. You can stomp your feet, reel off lists of all the things you did today, cry while folding washing.. but it won’t mean shit, coz your still doing it and you will be for the next 20 years… unless you.. Stop doing more then your fair share. There is no trophy at the end of it and nobody hands you back all the time you’ve spent wanting to be acknowledged for your hard work. There is a 30% difference in the amount of house work working mums and working dads are doing. It’s time to change that. Coz I for one fucking hate housework.
“I thought I was richer than that,” she laughs.
But Hall’s decision-making was very much informed by the more than three decades she’d lived without a lot of money.
She swore to herself that no matter what, she wouldn’t get into debt.
“I went and bought a house in Margaret River, which was like only $500,000, which I know like ‘only’, but it wasn’t like I was going to buy a f**king mansion,” she says.
“Because I was brought up quite poor, mum was a single mum and I have got this fear of debt, so my whole life I’ve thought, imagine being mortgage free and not having to worry.
“When people saw how much money I was earning they were like, ‘you could borrow and you could do this,’ and I was like I’m not borrowing anything, I’ve never had a credit card, I’ve never had a car loan, I just want to live in my means.”
Today, almost two years on from the release of her bestselling book, she still has to budget.
“I earn a wage of $2,500 a week and that’s gone by the end of the week,” she says, which is understandable when you think of her six children.
“So if a kid wants a new bike we have to budget for that, we can’t just go like here’s your new bike.”
She also doesn’t think of herself as rich, and says her “feet are back on the ground”.
But she doesn’t have a mortgage, and her kids are in daycare three days a week.
And that, she reminds herself, is a privilege.