Sign up for Mo' Money Monthly. The best of Mo' Money in yo' inbox.

        

Archive of ‘Monique’ category

Monique’s July Challenge: Invoice Clients Within 24 Hours

Ah, invoicing: the bane of my freelancing existence. I really don’t enjoy it. It feels like boring busywork. I completed the project, isn’t that enough?

As a result, I put it off and ultimately wait for ages until I get paid for something I may have done two months ago.

My challenge for July was to invoice my clients within 24 hours of completing the project. Simple enough for the average person. I mean, who doesn’t like getting paid… and on time?! (I have fantastic clients who pay promptly.)

So here’s a shocker: I had a 90 per cent success rate with this challenge!

One of the greatest resources I used was the cloud invoicing and accounting platform, FreshBooks. *Sidenote: this is not an affiliate link. I just think every freelancer could benefit from this awesome resource.*

I signed up for FreshBooks in March and used up my free, 30-day trial, just kind of getting used to the platform while still sending out my PDF invoices made from Word directly to my editors and clients. My PDF system was cumbersome, difficult to keep track of, and, as you may have guessed, I got fed up with the process.

In May, I had completed eight projects for a client and did not bill them. I was swamped with other work and it felt unimportant because I knew the money was coming… eventually.

My next reporting project for that client was due in July, and all nine of those project invoices were sent within the hour of completion. I was all over this challenge!

Some projects were completed in-between my other jobs so I still got them sent within the 24 deadline, but a couple took about 72 hours for me to send the bill. Still, not too shabby! A marked improvement, that’s for sure.

The one moment that I’m most proud of is sending the invoice within minutes of completing a project. I’m so much better at navigating FreshBooks now and have become much more organized as a result. It’s one of the best tools that I now pay for every month. I’m definitely going to continue honing this awesome habit of getting paid on time.

It’s August and I’m taking these mindfulness habits to the next level!

My challenge is to check my main bank account balance twice per week. I’m following in my Sisterpack’s footsteps to simply be more aware of what goes in and goes out of my account on the regular. Knowledge is power. (Gotta love those cliches!)

Wish me luck! What money challenge have you tackled lately? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

-Monique

 

MONIQUE’S JUNE CHALLENGE: READ & REVIEW A FINANCE BOOK

This month I got to unleash my inner bookworm and devour a national finance bestseller. Debt-free Forever by Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the sassy slap in the face most of us need when it comes to our finances. You may remember Gail from the 21-Day Interac Challenge Gabby and I completed in April.

Debt-free Forever is literally a step-by-step process about how to get clear on how much you owe and how much you spend. Gail breaks down this process into five chunks:

  1. Figuring out where you stand
  2. Making a plan
  3. Changing your habits
  4. Preparing for the future, and
  5. Staying on track

This is not the first finance book I’ve read, but it definitely stands out because there is so much personality to back up the content, making it almost too easy to breeze through instead of doing the challenges.

…But I went back and did them. For science! And your wallet.

1

Gail is like a stern aunt who knows better than you. She only talks to you with tough love because there are no money morons allowed in her family.

2

Thanks to that stern aunt, I actually now have six months’ worth of spreadsheets documenting how much I spent and on what.

Hold up. Yes, I did write “spreadsheets”.

3

The book focuses heavily on budgeting. Now, before you start rolling your eyes, I challenge you to track your expenses for at least a week, ideally one month. You’ll see what I mean. Your eyes will pop out of your head! A lot of financial experts like to go on and on about how much people spend on their daily coffee. I thought I was in the clear since I don’t really drink Starbucks.

Holy delusional.

I spend a lot of time working in my favourite cafe and realized that I spent more on both food and coffee there than I did on groceries for a few months in a row! That has definitely changed. It feels amazing to eat healthier (and more regularly) and save cash with a fuller belly now.

I won’t lie – it was a bit tedious to do some of the challenges, but so worth it. This is definitely a book for visual learners. You’ll get to see lots of examples of spreadsheets that are actually engaging and Gail challenges you to keep on top of your cash by using jars to hold your spending money for each category she breaks down.

Now, this is where some Millennials might have a bit of trouble – we’re the card-tapping, non-cash carrying, money-tracking-app generation. It’s all electronic to us except when it comes to paying cover!

Clearly, the jars did not work for me (but oh, how I tried).

That’s just one strategy offered but the real takeaway from this book is to actually know how much you spend and on what, and then putting it towards the right things, like paying off your most expensive debts ASAP. That means your biggest debts or the ones with the highest interest rates. (This tip was reinforced at our launch party by finance expert Shannon Lee Simmons.)

If credit card debt has got you down like our guest poster last week, Gail offers some sweet strategies for negotiating your debt. Gabby is about to haggle down some of her bills as her challenge this month, so we’ll keep you posted on how that goes!

Debt-free Forever covers just about all aspects of becoming debt-free, leaving you with positive money habits and more time for focus on making mo’ money and mo’ progress.

In that spirit, in July I’m going to make sure I send out all invoices for my freelance work within 24 hours of completing the project. That clears the space to focus on securing new contracts and completing current projects. It’s a little detail that makes a big difference.

…Kind of like knowing exactly how much you spend on coffee.

<3 Monique

 

MONIQUE’S MAY CHALLENGE: GETTING EXPERT ADVICE

My goal for the month of May was to book an appointment with a financial strategist to learn more about the best practises of being a freelancer. Somehow it’s just more comforting to know from an officially-certified person that, yes, I can expense those staples as an office supply, y’know?

Tax season is long behind us, but that doesn’t mean it’s vacation time for all financial planners and accountants. They are side-hustlin’ too.

I thought it would be easy-peasy to reach out to – and set up an appointment with – a financial strategist I’ve been excited to work with for a while now, but she’s been swamped with new financial courses she’s launching, so her team is in the process of helping me book a meeting with an equally awesome expert. Gotta love those referrals. I can’t wait to share what I learn!

In anticipation of the meeting-that-has-yet-to-happen, I did some research to see who would be the right fit for me, financial planner-wise. During this awesome financial journey I’ve been on with the Sisterpack this year, I’ve realized that no matter what your income, your savings, or your expenses, everyone needs to get their sh*t together when it comes to their cash flow.

While it’s fun to DIY some parts of your life (Pinterest, anyone?), creating an action plan and sticking to it is the best way to reduce stress and feel financially free!

Shannon Lee Simmons was our keynote speaker/interviewee at the Mo’ Money Mo’ Progress Launch Party in April, and damn, did she have some sweet advice! She hosts Money Awesomeness on Coral TV and, in my search for the best advisor for my needs, found her video about how to find the right financial planner for your personality and needs.

Check out her video below:

http://www.coraltv.ca/2013/07/08/money-awesomeness-how-to-find-the-right-financial-planner/

Remember to ask yourself those key questions to find the right financial planner for you!

Now that we’re into June (it’s summah time!) my monthly challenge is to read a finance book cover-to-cover and implement at least one new strategy. Get ready for a book review like you haven’t read before.

1

Questions or comments? Y’all know you can comment below or find us on Instagram @momoneymoprogress or on Twitter @momoneymoprog 😉

– Monique

MONIQUE’S APRIL CHALLENGE: GOING CREDIT-FREE

I took the Interac 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge in April and put any credit spending on ice – literally.

OnIce

The idea behind the challenge is to only spend what you have in your bank account (y’know, what you can actually afford), start paying off any credit card debt, and learn new strategies for saving your cash!

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the spokesperson – and your cheerleader – for this challenge. She’s a financial TV personality, acclaimed author, and columnist. I’m currently reading one of her books called, Debt-Free Forever. (I highly recommend it!)

For 21 days, my credit card stayed frozen in the freezer and I only got one confused text from my roommate! Not too shabby.

Now here’s the mysterious part of my monthly challenge: I was still able to use my credit card, and I did it without even realizing it until it was too late.

Can you figure out what happened?

The Internet happened.

I have an Amazon account, which is linked up to my credit card. When a friend launched her new ebook in mid-April, I really wanted to support her and buy a copy. I was able to make a purchase with my credit card still frozen in the tupperware container in another room. Whoops!

With a simple click of a button, I technically used my credit card but it was for a purchase that cost me $1.21 CAD and I can actually afford that. I was still living within my means.

The important lesson I learned from this challenge was that if you’re an avid online shopper with websites you visit regularly, that can be a major pitfall if you’re not mindful of how easy it is to spend your money.

Now I’m ready to change gears with my May challenge, which is to book an appointment with a financial strategist. I want to know what I don’t know that I don’t know (ya follow?) about freelancing and money management.

Be a goofball and freeze your credit card like me, and take the Interac 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge! Here’s the first video to get you started.

Share your frozen credit photos with the Sisterpack on Instagram @momoneymoprogress!

<3 Monique

 

 

MONIQUE’S MARCH CHALLENGE: INTERVIEW IN THE UK

My March challenge was to get an interview set up in a foreign country. Full stop.

I’m planning on moving to Liverpool, England next fall until about June 2016 (visa pending). My goal was to use part of the two weeks that I would be visiting Liverpool to lay the groundwork for employment so I would be able to supplement my freelance income while abroad.

The task seemed simple enough but, as I learned, preparation is everything. An interview didn’t happen and I didn’t get one set up while I was there. I knew I would only have a few days to execute the plan, as my entire reason for visiting was to spend time with my boyfriend, whom I hadn’t seen for five months before that.

James-Van-Der-Beek-Crying-On-Dawsons-Creek-Gif

I chose to prioritize my existing clients and work commitments before I left, leaving little time for resume rewriting and research. It wasn’t a negative experience however; this was an incredible learning experience.

While on the ground in the UK, I was able to get a solid understanding of the city in terms of next year’s living situation (accommodations, check!), city layout, and job opportunities. (I was also busy having waaaay too much fun dancing at the annual law ball, checking out a massive cathedral, getting lost by the docks, and having a pint with new friends at the Cavern Club!)

Best of all, I found the place where I will be spending most of my freelance time when I’ll be writing and editing: the local public library, which is a gorgeous, modern building that also houses some of the original works of William Shakespeare, among other greats.

So, I’m currently 0/2 for my challenges. Let’s turn this around!

My April challenge:
To earn more than I spend (and still enjoy life). No credit card. I’m reviewing my bank accounts every day to keep me on track and sending invoices on time. Let’s do this!

High fives and good vibes!
<3 Monique

MONIQUE’S FEBRUARY CHALLENGE: FREELANCING

At the end of January, when everyone was still flying high off the idea of New Year’s resolutions, the Sisterpack decided that each sister would take on a financial challenge – big or small – each month in 2015. (Errr, well… starting in February!) These goals could be anything to do with financial self-awareness, saving or spending habits, or developing creative side-hustle ideas! The possibilities are endless! (And so are the $$$)

My February challenge was to make – and save! – $500 from my freelancing work. Basically, I had to save $500 in one month from only one half of my income streams (I also work a steady part-time job that keeps the income flowin’ while I build my business).

I didn’t quite make the cut this month. I saved $100. Whoops.

Freelancing has been my “side hustle” since I graduated and I’ve been working Rise&GrindBitchesto make it my main income stream since I started.

Granted, I knew from the beginning that saving $500 would be a stretch since most of my freelancing work depends on the availability of work from clients, and how much time I dedicated to pitching and networking. But hey, #startsmallfinishBIG am I right?!

I set the $500 challenge after looking over what SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. It could be argued that I glossed over Achievable and Realistic, but sometimes you’ve just gotta aim really high!

While I didn’t achieve my goal (since, y’know, bills are a thing), I got assigned an article for a local newspaper I write for, edited content for a website redesign and, through networking, I gained an ebook editing and formatting project that will be worth more than $600 in the end. That’s almost $1,000 manifested in February after a slooow January. Woo hooooooo!!

2 Broke Girls - Max - Woot Woot

My real challenge, it seemed, was to simply make more money freelancing so that I could justify socking away a huge chunk of change. I learned so much about the value of negotiation and networking in February. (But that’s another post for another day 😉 )

My March challenge:

To get a job interview set up in a foreign country. I’m going to Liverpool, England for two weeks at the end of the month (it’s also where I plan to move next year!), so I’m laying the groundwork. Wish me luck!

High fives and good vibes!

<3 Monique

Resident Reporter + Chief Editor