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June 2017 archive

Monique’s May Challenge: Solopreneur Scheduling

Shortly after I started freelancing, I decided to make a conscious effort to develop my content creation skills as well as my business skills. I declared that every Tuesday would be my Business Development (BD) day.

This was a fabulous decision. It also turned out to be much more challenging than I thought.

Every Tuesday, I would wake up with a huge mug of coffee, don my comfiest work-from-home attire, and settle into my workspace (which definitely changes depending on where I am in the world). I’d sit in my (typically) soft, cozy, work chair and sip away at my coffee, absorbing the delicious caffeine while devouring the hours of blog posts, YouTube videos, and freelance newsletters that I’d been craving all week.

Tuesday was a catch-up day for all the business-related content that I’d put off consuming that past week.

And I loved it.

But it wasn’t always possible to keep consistent. Sometimes I’d be out on assignment, interviewing people for feature profiles or covering events. Other times, I’d be on contract, working out of my clients’ offices for weeks or months at a time (this has happened often over the past seven years).

Business Development Tuesday (BDT) got pushed back to the evening, or crammed into a weekend morning. It didn’t always work out the way I’d planned, but I have always been committed to honing my craft and developing my business on my own terms. Despite my love of, and talent for, working with teams, I definitely have the mark of a solopreneur.

The BD challenges of a solopreneur life definitely resurfaced in May. My monthly challenge was to complete an online marketing course I had purchased in March from one of my freelance role models.

First of all… Yikes! That’s a long time to be hungry for some useful knowledge at your fingertips and not be able to dive in. Worst of all, it’s now June and the e-course is still not completed. Ugh! Not good.

The good news is, the real lesson here hasn’t been lost on me.

I’d noticed that for these past few weeks, I hadn’t been feeling in control of my own schedule – an odd, and rather uncomfortable feeling for me. It’s partly my personality twinned with my work ethic: I don’t stop until a project is done, especially if it’s on a tight deadline. That’s led to some (no exaggeration) 20 hour workdays, including 4 a.m. nights; both in my employer’s office and in my own workspace.

Since that project has been completed, I feel that my schedule is again mine to manage. And BDTs (or whatever day of the week I now choose) are back on my radar. Now, I have no doubt that course is going to be completed and I am so excited to finally get to the good stuff. It’s going to be a good month.

What’s something you do to keep developing your side hustlin’ skills or a way you invest in yourself to keep making either mo’ money or mo’ progress? Let us know on social! Follow Mo’ Money Mo’ Progress on Facebook, Insta, or Twitter, and let’s get to chattin’!

#Hustle

Monique 🙂

Gwen’s May Challenge: Create a Positive Relationship with Money

My May challenge was to start creating a healthy, positive relationship with money.

The challenge was inspired by reading Jen Sincero’s #1 New York Times best-selling book: How to Be a Badass at Making Money. In the book she suggests that you write a letter to money as if it were a real person.

The idea is to get a sense of how you view money. At first, Jen had a ‘bat-shit crazy’ relationship with money! One minute she was in love, the next she felt there was not enough. It caused stress one moment, and pure joy the next. And her finances reflected the emotional ups and downs. Ultimately, this exercise helped her get clear on how she was giving money mixed signals which ultimately resulted in financial instability. In her 40’s she lived in a converted garage, dreaming of making more money. Today, she’s a millionaire who teaches millions of people how to be a badass at life and making mo’ money. Soooo I was definitely interested in taking on this challenge!

I started the challenge off strong at the beginning of May. I bought a journal specifically for the challenge and was an avid journaler for the first two weeks. I started with the initial letter to money and found my relationship was similar to Jen’s. Not a consistent feeling and a bit all over the place. I thought a good way to build the relationship would be journal daily to thank money for being there for me when I needed it and also check into my bank accounts daily. I was very consistent and excited to do this at first, though I soon found the familiar resistance popping up that lead me to completely stop the daily check in practice. I had fallen back into an old, defeating pattern.

Although I didn’t complete the challenge the way I thought I would, today (in June) I feel a renewed sense of excitement to building a positive relationship with money. I recently had the realization that I need to plan for the long-term when thinking about money, and stop looking for quick fixes. I have been subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) dreaming that a chunk of cash will fall from heaven and cure my financial debt. Since this has not happened, I think the realization has finally hit me to create a longterm plan and make it as easy as possible to follow.

This realization came as I’ve started to make real progress on another (and totally different) source of shame, stress, and insecurity I’ve experienced over the last ten years: dealing with acne. I have always been supremely self-conscious about acne. It made me feel like hiding and totally defeated on countless occasions. I have been on a quest to figure out how to cure it, and I believe I’ve finally figured it out by being persistent and not not giving up after failing multiple times on ‘diets’ and pills and creams. The key is to find a path that can be a longterm lifestyle. This new path that I’m on for my skin is taking out meat and dairy. It has been a game-changer and my skin has never looked better. It’s a gahdamn revelation.

So in the same way that I am healing acne, I am also healing debt with a long-term strategy. This leads me to my June challenge: RADICAL TRANSPARENCY. In the month of June, I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I am opening up all of my finances to the Sisterpack. Through the mint.com platform I’ve added all debts, cash and credit to the platform and will be giving my sisters the password to login so they can see my money goal as well as everything I’m buying. They have access to it all. Why the hell would I do this? Well, living in secrecy and pretending everything is okay hasn’t worked. So I’m thinking the opposite may work. I want to keep it SO real and allow my sisters (whom I love and trust) to see where I’m at. I’m in a place right now where I don’t feel any shame about it, as all the money I’ve spent has lead me to where I am today… and truth be told I’m happier than ever! And I can only imagine I’ll be feeling even better, the more progress I make.

Wish me luck! 😀

-Gwen

Karyn’s May Challenge: Keepin it Positive!

I’ve noticed that at the end of the day, the stuff that really sticks with you is usually the most negative. As someone who works in a very high-energy job and has to have a great deal of patience while interacting with customers, there is always a chance that an interaction won’t end well.

1

I find myself having stress dreams about not being able to give it my all at my job, or have fears that I’m letting people down. I found this incredibly frustrating because I adore my job, my bosses, and my coworkers. The negative feelings I was having was usually ones that I was projecting onto myself. So for my May Challenge, I decided to focus on the positive. During my day if I had a positive experience I would write it down on a scrap piece of paper and then put in a jar at home.

2

This way I could see the positive moments building up. If I was ever having a rough time I could always go and read something to get me back in a jolly ol’ mood.

3

This seemed like it was literally the easiest challenge on the planet. I didn’t have to make a crazy budget, I didn’t have to fuss over my life, I just had to keep on living it but write down the positive things that happened.

4

Again, it seemed like an easy challenge and yet somehow I failed.

5

Throughout the month I noticed awesome things happening, but I never wrote them down. I kept using the excuse that I would write them in a notebook once I got home, or that I never had any paper in the moment. I easily could’ve written them on my phone since I take it with me pretty much everywhere. I had no excuse.

6

I was even so embarrassed about my failure that I lied to my sisters during one of our meetings that I was doing great. I thought that maybe I could make up for lost time, but ultimately I didn’t write down one single thing.

7

I’ve decided to take this failure and turn it into a win. It has helped me realize that I tend to self-sabotage. Whenever I take on a challenge that forces me to look at myself, not my money, I tend to freeze up.

8

I’m going to continue my May Challenge as my June Challenge. I really want to see the positives build up.

I can do this!

Karyn

Gabby’s May Challenge: THE ULTIMATE MO MONEY SUCCESS STORY

BREAKING NEWS: THE ~ULTIMATE~ MO’ MONEY SUCCESS STORY (SO FAR)

When I graduated school, I owed over $23,000 on my student loan.

I paid every cent of it off in under two years, just before for my 24th birthday. So you could say, I was #23andDebtFree!

How did I do it? Listen closely, my child, and I will tell you all my secretssssss.

GABBY’S TIPS FOR BEING DEBT FREE, FAST!

#1. Set a Goal

When I started having to pay back OSAP, the first thing I did was figure out how many years I wanted to pay it off in. I just kept thinking, there’s no way I’m going to carry this debt around with me for the next 10 years. I decided that five years was reasonable (and motivating), and it kept me from biting off more than I could chew if I got in a pickle financially.

#2. Understand that your loan is not your money

I never forgot my mom saying those words the moment my OSAP was deposited in my bank account. And she was right–it’s not my money. It belonged to the government. And I’d be responsible for paying it back in full (plus interest!) one day. It was merely just a vehicle to getting an education, which would lead to making more money in the long run.

#3. Make sacrifices

Your loan is not meant for buying the latest trends, going on trips, or eating out at fancy restaurants on the reg. It is meant for you to support yourself while in school. Use it to invest in yourself, like getting a new outfit for an interview or a laptop for class. If you feel the slightest bit of guilt at the checkout, it’s probably an indulgence, and not an investment.

The second part of this tip relates to your lifestyle choices once you’re out of school. To pay your loan back faster, scrimp and save wherever you can. I’m talking rent, internet, phone plans, gym memberships, etc. Sure, I could’ve been living in a really nice apartment in downtown Toronto for over $1,000 a month. Instead, I chose to live in a more modest place–a co-op, actually. It’s an older building and has the occasional bug problem, but rent is only $535 a month. It’s definitely a challenge seeing all my friends living downtown in brand new buildings, but my current living situation played a key role in helping pay off my loan insanely faster.

*The sacrifices you make to pay off your loan should not be at the expense of your health or safety.

#4 Live a Little

Money is like a relationship. If it’s always take, take, take, you’ll feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick. Don’t deprive yourself, but don’t go overboard, either. The way I treat myself is by buying coffee. And because I don’t normally splurge on things like alcohol, the latest trends, or getting my nails done, I can justify $3.50 a day–especially when it helps me get my work done, too.

#5 HUSTLE.

Ask. For. That. Raise. DO IT. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but the only way you can pay off your loan faster is by MAKING MORE MONEY. When it was time for me to ask for a raise, I came prepared. Knowledge is power. Do your research. Know your value and know what other people in your position make. When I learned that I wasn’t even making the national average for my role, I brought it up in my performance review and I got a $3,000 increase in my salary. That’s $3,000 a year I wouldn’t be making today if I didn’t JUST ASK.

BONUS – YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT COULD BE WORKING AGAINST YOU

What I’m about to tell you is the reason why I decided to drop the remaining $16,000 on my OSAP in a lump sum (I was paying around $330 a month).

You’re paying more interest on your loan than you’re earning on the money in your savings account.

Duh, right? Wrong. This didn’t even occur to me for years. Why are we funnelling money into our savings when we’re LOSING money on paying interest? I paid over $800 interest in one year on my loan! Of course, it’s important to have some money set aside in the case of an emergency. Anything you have left over should be going directly to paying off your loan.

Note: I don’t have any credit card debt. If I did, it would take priority over my loan, because the interest rates are insanely higher.

All in all, I hope you learned something here today. I could go on forever with more tips on how to pay off your loan faster (Part 2, perhaps? ;), but if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out! Better yet, if you have a student loan success story, email us at momoneymoprogress@gmail.com. We’d love to feature you on one of our posts!

Keep going. You can do this!

-Gabby