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5 Things to Consider when Starting Your Own Business

Does anything sound better than being your own boss?

Well, maybe a brand new sports car or free ice cream for life. But even a state-of-the-art fully-decked-out sports car will eventually need routine maintenance, and the taste of mint chocolate chip can get old after a while.

The same kinds of things can happen when you start your own business. There are many details to consider and seemingly endless tasks to keep organized after the initial excitement of being your own boss and keeping your own hours has faded. Circumstances are bound to arise that no one ever prepared you for!

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Although this list is not exhaustive, here are 5 things to get you started when creating a business of your own:

1. Startup cost

The startup cost of your business depends heavily on the type of business you want to have. To estimate the startup cost, make a list of anything and everything you’ll need to finance in the first 6 months. Then take each expense and ask:

  • Is this cost fixed or variable?
  • Essential or optional?
  • One-time or recurring?

Once you’ve determined the frequency and necessity of each cost for the first 6 months, add it all together. Then you’ll have a ballpark idea of what your startup costs might be.

(Hint: Don’t forget to add a line item for those unplanned, miscellaneous expenses!)

2. Competitors

“Find a need, and fill it” is general advice for starting a successful business. But if the need is apparent, how many other businesses will be going after the same space to fill? And how do you create a business that can compete? After all, keeping your doors open and your business frequented is priority #1.

The simplest and most effective solution? Be great at what you do. Take the time to learn your business and the need you’re trying to fill – inside and out. Take a step back and think like a customer. Try to imagine how your competitors are failing at meeting customers’ needs. What can you do to solve those issues? Overcoming these hurdles can’t guarantee that your doors will stay open, but your knowledge, talent, and work ethic can set you apart from competitors from the start. This is what builds life-long relationships with customers – the kind of customers that will follow you wherever your business goes.

(Hint: The cost of your product or service should not be the main differentiator from your competition.)

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Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

3. Customer acquisition

The key to acquiring customers goes back to the need you’re trying to fill by running your business. If the demand for your product is high, customer acquisition may be easier. And there are always methods to bring in more. First and foremost, be aware of your brand and what your business offers. This will make identifying your target audience more accurate. Then market to them with a varied strategy on multiple fronts: content, email, and social media; search engine optimization; effective copywriting; and the use of analytics.

(Hint: The amount of money you spend on marketing – e.g., Google & Facebook ads – is not as important as who you are targeting.)

4. Building product inventory

This step points directly back to your startup cost. At the beginning, do as much research as you can, then stock your literal (or virtual) shelves with a bit of everything feasible you think your target audience may want or need. Track which products (or services) customers are gravitating towards – what items in your inventory disappear the most quickly? What services in your repertoire are the most requested? After a few weeks or months you’ll have real data to analyse. Then always keep the bestsellers on hand, followed closely by seasonal offerings. And don’t forget to consider making a couple of out-of-the-ordinary offerings available, just in case. Don’t underestimate the power of trying new things from time to time; you never know what could turn into a success!

(Hint: Try to let go of what your favorite items or services might be, if customers are not biting.)

5. Compliance with legal standards

Depending on what type of business you’re in, there may be standards and regulations that you must adhere to. For example, hiring employees falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor and Federal Employment Laws. There are also State Labor Laws to consider.

(Hint: Be absolutely sure to do your research on the legal matters that can arise when beginning your own business. Not many judges are very accepting of “But, Your Honor, I didn’t know that was illegal!”)

Starting your own business is not an impossible task, especially when you’re prepared.

One other vital thing that makes starting your business easier is having a plan and a mentor. Register for our FREE master class happening Wednesday, August 12th at 9 PM EST to get access to both!

How to Budget for Beginners

Everybody needs a budget.

But that doesn’t stop “budget” from being an intimidating word to many people. Some folks may think it means scrimping on everything and never going out for a night on the town. It doesn’t! Budgeting simply means that you know where your money is going and you have a way to track it.

budget quoteThe aim with budgeting is to be aware of your spending, plan for your expenses¹, and make sure you have enough saved to pursue your goals.

Without a budget, it can be easy for expenses to climb beyond your ability to pay for them. You break out the plastic and before you know it you’ve spent fifty bucks on drinks and appetizers with the gang after work. These habits might leave you with a lot of accumulated debt. Plus, without a budget, you may not be saving for a rainy day, vacation, or your retirement. A budget allows you to enact a strategy to help pursue your goals. But what if you’ve never had a budget? Where should you start? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to get your budgeting habit off the ground!

1. Track your expenses every day

Start by tracking your expenses. Write down everything you buy, including memberships, online streaming services, and subscriptions. It’s not complicated to do with popular mobile and web applications. You can also buy a small notebook to keep track of each purchase. Even if it’s a small pack of gum from the gas station or a quick coffee at the corner shop, jot it down. Even tiny expenses add up to sizable amounts if not tracked. Keep track of the big stuff too, like your rent and bill payments.

2. Add up expenses every week and develop categories

Once you’ve collected enough data, it’s time to figure out where exactly your paycheck is going. Start with adding up your expenses every week. How much are you spending? What are you spending money on? As you add your spending up, start developing categories. The goal is to organize all your expenses so you can see what you’re spending money on. For example, if you eat out a few times per week, group those expenses under a category called “Eating Out”. Get as general or as specific as you wish. Maybe throwing all your food purchases into one bucket is all you need, or you may want to break it down by location – grocery store, big box store, restaurants, etc.

3. Create a monthly list of expenses

Once you’ve recorded your expenses for a full month, it’s time to create a monthly list. Now you might also have more clarity on how you want to set up your categories. Next, total each category for the month.

4. Adjust your spending as necessary

Compare your total expenses with your income. There are two possible outcomes. You may be spending within your income or spending outside your income. If you’re spending within your income, create a category for savings if you don’t have one. It’s a good idea to create a separate savings category for large future purchases too, like a home or a vacation. If you find you’re spending too much, you may need to cut back spending in some categories. The beauty of a budget is that once you see how much you’re spending, and on what, you’ll be able to strategize where you need to cut back.

5. Keep going

Once you develop the habit of budgeting, it should become part of your routine. You can look forward to working on your savings and developing a retirement strategy, but don’t forget to budget in a little fun too!

¹Jeremy Vohwinkle, “Make a Personal Budget in 6 Steps: A Step-by-Step Guide to Make a Budget,” The Balance (March 6, 2020).

What Separates the Wealthy from the Majority – Education

Do the wealthy know ways to make money that are unknown to everyone else? You better believe it!

John D. Rockefeller, one of early America’s richest tycoons, once said, “I have ways of making money that you know nothing of.” How does that make you feel? Shouldn’t everyone know the best ways to make money and create a prosperous future?

But the fact remains that there are wealth-building principles that are common knowledge to the wealthy but are largely unknown by the majority of the population.

So why is the average citizen in the dark?

How money works is simply not taught in schools. I originally bookmarked this article about states lagging behind in teaching students about money in 2014. At the time, only 4 states required high school students to complete a personal finance class to earn their high school diploma. Has the situation improved in the past 6 years?

Well a little but not much. While 21  states in the U.S. include personal finance in at least one high school class, only 6 now require it for graduation.¹  And even if you’re fortunate enough to have enrolled in one of these classes, who’s to say whether or not you got a qualified educator. According to a study done by Fox News, teachers are often not trained in personal finance themselves so they’re “afraid that students will ask questions that they don’t have the answers to” and steer clear. ²

Interestingly, all 50 states teach a class on sex ed. So the one thing you can learn on your own, they teach. And the one thing you’ll never learn on your own, they don’t. Go figure.

Actually, it does figure.

Think about it. If the financial industry were to educate consumers about money savviness, people might stop socking away so much of it in low-interest savings accounts that earn less than a 1% rate of return. And before you leave the branch do they offer you a brochure on financial concepts to help you get out of debt, avoid money missteps, and start saving like the wealthy?

Pfff—yeah right!

No. It’s like, if you’re dumb enough to open a low-interest savings account and take the free lollipop (it’s like their sucker litmus test), then they’ll try to sell you a car loan at 6% interest³ . What a deal. You earn less than 1%—they earn 6%. It’s like a lose-lose for you, but you still thank them on the way out.

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Hard to fathom there are that many suckers? It’s true…

The financial industry thrives on customers who are stuck in the “Sucker Cycle” of foolish spending. While consumers are binging on Netflix, shipping on Amazon, and ordering from DoorDash, institutions are quietly leveraging the power of compound interest to make their customers’ money work for themselves. While consumers live paycheck-to-paycheck, financial institutions and shrewd businesses build profits sucker-to-sucker.

For most people, earning (and spending) a paycheck is the extent of their experience. But the wealthy know the real deal. To become financially independent, you must know the concepts and strategies to save, protect, and grow your money. You have to have a sound financial eduction.

Did this article make you mad? Hopefully, it did.

So what do you do about it? You stop taking the sucker and you stop being the sucker. You learn how to take control of spending, protecting, saving, and investing your money. How? step1 – You read the book, “HowMoneyWorks, Stop Being a Sucker.” It will only take about an hour.

Don’t have a copy? Contact me and I’ll help you get one.

Step 2 – Use that anger to fuel action.  Attend the next How Money Works master class, Part 1. Announcement coming soon!

Afterwards, reach out to me and say, “Now that I know the ways of making money Rockefeller spoke of, I’m ready to chart my own course to financial independence.” We have a clear action plan for you to follow called “The 7 Money Milestones.” I’ll help you check off each one.

Let’s do it together.

(1) https://www.councilforeconed.org/survey-of-the-states-2020/

(2) https://financialeducatorscouncil.org/financial-literacy-statistics/

(3) https://marketwatch.com/story/new-car-loans-hit-highest-interest-rates-in-a-decade-2019-04-02/

Start that side hustle like a pro!

If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ve heard us talk about your “hustle” or “side gig.”

There even was a series of posts about transitioning your side-gig into your main gig. It’s in style; and it makes sense—and cents? Gigs are now just a click or tap away on most of our devices, and a little extra money never hurts!

But what we haven’t done is given you specific tips on successfully starting that side-gig. We’ve talked about what you could do, but not so much about how to do whatever you decide to do. Here are a few things to consider when starting up a side hustle.

Checklist Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

What are your side hustle goals? We typically think of a side hustle as being an easy way to score a little extra cash. But they can sometimes be gateways into bigger things. Do you have skills that you’d like to develop into a full time career? A passion that you can turn into a business? Or do you just need some serious additional income to pay down debt? These considerations can help you determine how much time and money you invest into your gig and what gigs to pursue.

What are your marketable skills? Some gigs don’t require many skills beyond a serviceable car and a driver’s license. But others can be great outlets for your hobbies and skills. Love writing? Start freelancing on your weekends. Got massive gains from hours at the gym and love the outdoors? Start doing moving jobs in your spare time. You might be surprised by the demand for your passions!

Keep it reasonable Burnout is no joke. Some people thrive on 80 hour work weeks between jobs and side hustles, but don’t feel pressured to bite off more than you can chew. Consider how much you’re willing to commit to your gigs and don’t exceed that limit.

One great thing about side hustles is their flexibility. You choose your level of commitment, you find the work, and your success can depend on how much you put in. Consider your goals and inventory your skills to get there—and start hustling!

15 Summer Beauty Tips

We’re in the second week of summer in the northern hemisphere, so how about 15 tips to keep you at full head-to-toe glam for the entire season.

  1. Shades are more than just glam wear. They protect your vision because your eyes, like your skin, is sensitive to UV rays. So go ahead and splurge on some new ones; it’s for your health.
  2. Get a  stylish hat or visor for added sun protection.
  3. If you have a fair complexion, during the wear-less season, hide pale skin with a fake tan. While it may be tempting to get a real tan catching some summer rays at the beach or poolside, remember the skin damage it can cause. That damage is cumulative and can end up costing you dearly later.
    Before you apply the self-tanner, make sure to use an exfoliating scrub and shave for more even results. Apply sparingly to elbows, knees, ankles & around your hairline to avoid dark patches. After it’s on don’t forget to wash your hands with lukewarm, soapy water to avoid any tell-tale orange palms.
  4. Switch to a mattifying gel-based facial cleanser to keep oil-prone areas in check. Follow up cleansing with a salicylic acid-based toner to unclog pores and also help with oil absorption.
  5. YRT (year-round tip): Continue to use moisturizer despite the humid weather. Your skin needs hydration year-round to stay healthy and skipping moisturizer might lead your skin to overproduce the very oil we helped you get a handle on in the last tip.
  6. YRT:  Use sunblock with at least an SPF of 15. As was stated earlier, every second of sun exposure adds up even on those cloudy days when you can’t see the sun. It’s still up there so wear sunblock every day, even once summer ends.

  7. If you’re going to be outside most of the day taking advantage of every possible moment of the summer, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Reapply it more often if you’re being extremely active (hiking or exercising) or at high altitudes, where the sun is stronger.
  8. Pre-hike, or any outdoor activity in the humid southern USA, dust your skin with cornstarch powder to help stay dry. Try using a scented powder to save a step of applying a fragrance and get to the fun quicker.

  9. Smooth flaky, chapped lips by using MK Satin Lips Lip Mask. Remove mask by gently rubbing a warm wet washcloth over your lips.
  10. Keep your lips looking luscious in the summer heat with great lip color that comes with SPF 15. Your lips have some of the thinnest most fragile skin on your body so you definitely don’t want to forget to protect them from the sun.

  11. The best shape for nails is round during the summer when you’ll be more active. Also give your nails a break from polish for a few days at a time to keep them healthy.
  12. When you are wearing polish, go for strong, jewel-tones or neon brights. Prevent your polish from turning yellow & chipping with a UV-protective top coat.
  13. Keep a pumice stone or foot file in the shower to smooth dry, rough feet. We have found a pumice stone is more effective than a foot file in terms of it’s sandal-worthy effect on feet and the life span of the stone. Just be sure to rinse and dry it thoroughly after each use.
  14. At the end of a long day out and about, soak hot, stinky feet in a big bowl of water and citrus fruit slices. If you know you’re prone to smelly feet, start the day by using some antiperspirant or a deodorizing spray on your feet.
  15. Hot weather intensifies fragrances so switch to a lighter, more airy scent that way your scent doesn’t overpower you or someone else in the summer heat. And don’t forget your body-cleansing towelettes and purse spray to freshen up on the go.

What beauty tips do you swear by during the summer?