Earlier this month, I wrote about how The First Half of 2017 Tested Me, But Grew Me In The Perfect Way, and I received so much positive feedback through emails, texts, direct messages and more. One of the main things people asked me about was how I was able to pay all my bills when income was coming slowly or not at all. A couple of years back, I would’ve had to ask my dad for money or take a part time job. To be honest, there were several times when it was getting close to paying bills time that I thought I was going to have to sit down with my dad and say I need help. Let me be honest; this is not something I wanted to do at all. I am beyond thankful that I have a parent who has the financial means to help me, but I told myself three years ago when I decided to get my finances in order I was not going to rely on my father to provide for me. My goal is to be self-reliant and be able to provide for myself and my mother. This gets us to earn more, save more and spend less motto that I instilled in myself when my business was earning $10,000 a month in digital revenue.
Wake Up Call
One thing, I am blessed with is the fact that I had wake call before the massive income was coming in. Before consulting, I owned an online boutique that brought in around $60,000 in revenue yearly which is not bad at all. During this time, I realized how expenses were getting higher by my profit margin was still high. In addition to that, there were friends I had back then that are no longer friends who were consulting needing money. These were people showing off these amazing lives on social media, but texting me “I don’t know how I am going to pay the light bill.” Those constant texts or phone calls asking me to borrow money than me having to chase them down for the money swore they would give back on Friday was my wake up call. First, I never wanted to ask anyone for money. Two, I never wanted anyone to chase me down for money I owe them. Three, I felt like if I cannot loan it without missing it, I am not in the position to loan anyone money. Getting out of debt and building my credit wake up call happens to be saying “I cannot ask a man to have a 750 credit score, and I have a 400 credit score. That’s not cute at all.” If you have been waiting for this blog post, it might be your wake up call.
Earning More Income
Everyone wants to earn more, the money self-help book section that is part of the billion dollar self-help industry teaches us that. However, the issue is most people will read articles or books on these topics but not implement the steps needed to do so. During this time, I spent maybe $40 buying several books that people swore by to help me get a better grip on finances. They didn’t help at all they were all fluff, and on top of that, it was for people who were in corporate America. Not this self-made entrepreneur who targets a particular audience. Instead, I took a piece of advice from my old mentor about studying what other industries do and adapted it to mine. So, I decided to look in the tech and fashion industry to see what they do to have customers constantly shop.
Tech Industry Lesson: “Creating Buzz” behind your product. This is fairly simple but can feel complicated if you don’t think your audience is big enough. Apple is amazing at creating buzz around their products. Twice a year they hold this big press conference of sorts showing off the new products coming three months down the line. However, one of the biggest things they do is never address the rumors. Constantly rumors or specs of new devices are coming out, which I believe is internally “leaked” to their audience. This creates buzz around a product that we the consumer have no knowledge of. Then when the product is unveiled, we are so excited and willing to give them $699 for an iPhone.
Target Striped Dress, Chanel Espadrilles (Neiman Marcus) and Prada Bag (Neiman Marcus)
Fashion Industry Lesson: “Product Are Released In Collections Per Season” this was the huge aha moment for me and something I try to instill in all my clients. You cannot just drop a product in January and think that’s going to hold your consumer over. You have to constantly be dropping new products and services for them to shop. My first year of consulting I only created six products for my audience and released them all at one time. The following year, I created over 18 products and strategically released them over a 12-month time span. This generated more income for me versus one large sum.
Furthermore, this created multiple ways for me to market my product to my audience. There were options such as; a bundle of all the digital products, pre order, and limited edition. Increasing my product level not just having consulting incomed helped my small business earn more money, thus saving more money. One great thing, I have learned over the years is keep your ears open for opportunities to bring in money. Earlier this year, Brownstone Closets texted me about Safety Pin Box: Black Women Begin that has a scholarship for women of color for $1000. We both said we would apply for this because hey everyone can use the extra money. Well, last week I received an email stating that I was one of the individuals selected for August.
Another great thing that I did to earn more income was creating “Buy Tasha Coffee” option on my website allowing my readers who could not afford to consult but wanted specific advice regarding their small business. My audience can invest a small amount to get an answer to questions they have.
Saving More and Spend Less
How much money do you save monthly? There was a time; I was not saving a penny I felt I needed every penny that came my way. For business owners, you should be putting away 15-30% for taxes, no you will not be using all of it for taxes. Personally, I save 10% of my income monthly for an emergency. A couple of years ago, I used to tell everyone about the Dave Ramsey method for finances. Yes, it does work, but not all the steps work for people of color, to be honest, or small business owners. One of the best steps is having $1000 in savings. So many people feel they are not making a dent in their savings because it’s not some large some. Even if you do $10 a week, you are better off than nothing. During this two year period of making six figures because of passive income, I decided to cut my expenses and save more money. Yes, at times this did hurt me. Not in a physical sense, but you see people shopping, traveling and doing things you love kind hurt. However, I was positioning myself for something better. In one year, I saved over $5,000 for personal emergency saving. This is what helped my small business and me so much this year having that cushion in the bank.
Don’t think it was easy for me to save money in the beginning because it was not. Every day, I check my bank account to make sure no funny stuff has happened, and I would see this money sitting there. Thoughts of buying that bag you deserve it would pop in my head, or you can go eat out a couple of days would be a thought here and there. I had to train myself to save money not waste it on frivolous things that do not matter. Right now, as my income is slow, I am still saving and rebuilding my savings account. There are days, I look at my savings and think I can buy some new shoes or whatever, but I have to remember life happens and it’s better to have savings than new shoes.