Category Archives: Ways to Make Money

The Best Business to Start From Home When You Don’t Have a Lot of Money

Today I’d like to welcome Kayla Sloan, who was my amazing virtual assistant back when I had one. I’ve watched Kayla through her entire VA career, and have been so impressed by her drive and ability to get things done. Her business is explosive, and I’m happy to have her here talking about how others can follow in her footsteps to build their own VA business–even if you don’t have a lot of startup money.

I've been looking for remote work, and it's kind of amazing that you don't have to have upfront startup money to start your own virtual assistant business...

Not everyone in the workforce loves what they do each day. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.7 is the average number of jobs held in a lifetime.

Those results indicate that it takes a few, or several, tries to find the right job for some of us. It may even mean becoming self-employed instead of working for another individual or business.

However, starting your own business from home isn’t easy if you don’t have a lot of money. Lack of funds can rule out many start-up opportunities you would otherwise try.

Still, there are options, such as becoming a virtual assistant like me. I love what I do and I consider it the best business to start from home when you don’t have a lot of money.

What a Virtual Assistant Does

A virtual assistant, or VA, gives administrative and professional support to other individuals or businesses. The VA must have good grammar, computer skills, and communications skills.

Job duties of a virtual assistant vary widely. The services you could offer depend partly on your own comfort level, education, and skill set. For instance, I provide technical assistance, social media management, blog management, and many other services.

Why it’s the Best Business to Start

There are a lot of great benefits to becoming a VA like I did. Here are some of them:

  • Flexible Hours – When you work as a virtual assistant you get to set your own hours. You can work in the early morning hours, late at night, or on the weekends if you choose to. You can also work a regular 8 to 5 shift if that is easier.
  • Full-Time or Part-Time – I started out working part time as a VA for a side hustle in the evenings and on weekends. It fit nicely into my schedule and allowed me to continue working at my normal day job during the first year. After I built up my client base, I left my full time job and became a full-time virtual assistant. You can choose what works the best for your own schedule.
  • Low Start-Up Costs – To set up your workspace as a VA, you will need a desk or table, chair, computer, internet connection, printer, website, and a phone. Most people already have the majority of these things which makes the initial investment low.
  • Income Potential – There is no limit to the income you can make as a virtual assistant. I left a well-paying job and now I earn six times what I made there.

Where to Get Training

Specific education and training isn’t actually a requirement to become a virtual assistant. That’s just one more reason it’s the best business to start from home when you don’t have a lot of money to invest. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on training before you can get started!

You do need to have a basic understanding of how to use social media, social media tools, and be internet savvy. Most things can be learned along the way and some clients will even pay you to learn or take training if they want you help with specific tasks.

However, if you want to grow your business fast, taking a course can help. My new course, $10K VA, walks you through everything you need to know to get started and build your business to earn up to $10,000 per month consistently! It more than makes up for the cost within a couple of weeks of landing your first client.

Plus, if you use Femme’s link and the code FEMME50 you can save $50 on any level of the course!

How to Market Your Business

Marketing your business can be fun and inexpensive. There are also tons of ways to do it. If you aren’t sure which one to pick, choosing one or two ways to use regularly is a good place to start.

Here are some choices for you to consider:

  • Social media
  • Blogging
  • Guest blogging
  • Facebook groups (like the one for Pro level $10K VA students!)
  • Cold pitching

Once you make the initial contact with a client or potential client, you should follow up a few days later. Call or email a second time in case the message was not received the first time. This simple follow up has resulted in me getting many clients I might have otherwise missed out on.

Pitching can seem difficult at first, but just start small. Set a goal to email, call, or reach out to 5 or 6 new people or businesses each week. Before long, you’ll have more work than you know what to do with!

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Asking current clients or contacts to pass on your name to others will help you build your business faster!

Your job takes up a significant portion of your day which is why it’s important that you enjoy it. If you want to find the best business to start from home when you don’t have a lot of money, look no further. Becoming a virtual assistant might be just what you are looking for.



Have you ever considered becoming a virtual assistant?

Philosophy of Passive Income

A few weeks ago, I woke up to this pleasant email in my inbox:

pleasant email to receive unexpectedly

It took me a minute to figure out what I was looking at. It was money I wasn’t expecting, and I was really hoping it wasn’t a mistake or phishing tactic.

Then I remembered that years and years ago, I opened up a shop on Zazzle. I designed t-shirts which very few people bought. The payout threshold was either $50 or $100, and I didn’t think I’d ever meet it.

I guess they got sick of holding onto my money, or–more likely–there’s some type of rule about how long they can hold onto payouts.

My income situation is a heck of a lot better than it was back then, but I’m in no way, shape or form above getting excited about an unexpected $24.43!

It’s the opposite of the sunk cost fallacy. The original fallacy is that you feel like you’ve already invested too much in something to give up–even when you’re clearly not going to come out ahead.

In my inverse fallacy, I had already given up on getting ahead–so much so that my current self is grateful to my past self for spending hours designing t-shirts so I could have $24.43 six years later.

It doesn’t make sense. Twenty-four forty-three isn’t a good return on my time investment. But because I’m so far removed from the experience temporally, I’m totally cool with that return. Because I had given up on ever receiving anything for it.

On Passive Income

This post was originally going to be titled, My First Passive Income. But then I realized this was not, in fact, my first experience with passive income.

I pull in a decent amount of money with this blog. It’s nothing to retire on, but it does help support my family. Some of that money comes from advertising. And some of it comes from affiliate sales.

I generate affiliate sales when a reader clicks on one of my affiliate’s links and makes a purchase. It doesn’t cost them anything extra to use my link. The affiliate has just arranged to pay me a commission when I refer a customer their way. I only do this with companies I like and trust.

I’ve had a mixed bag of experiences with affiliate sales. I’ve spent hours on a post, only to have it generate nothing.

I’ve had others perform ridiculously well, but they have to be updated at least once a year. I spend about the same amount of time updating these posts as I did writing them. The return is great and worth it, but I’m putting in a decent amount of maintenance hours in order to achieve that result.

I’ve had others perform pseudo decently without having to touch them after the first writing. The sales–and therefore commissions–aren’t as explosive, but they are steady and it’s almost zero maintenance. These are the posts on my blog that I consider truly passive income.

That’s probably why so few pursue passive income.

All of this got me to thinking about my philosophy on work. I grew up with the notion that you always spent your time at your labor, and were compensated commensurately.

Even after I started blogging and meeting a bunch of people who had great financial success with passive income endeavors, it all felt a little pie in the sky to me. Duplicating that success seemed less like a model and more like striking a vein of gold.

I don’t think my knee jerk reaction was wrong. Yes, there is a science you can apply to some passive income tactics, but there is always a chance you will fail.

There is always a chance you will bring in a boat load of money, but to maintain that income you’ll have to work your tail off. Which means you haven’t created passive income; you’ve created a job.

But still, there is that enticing chance that you’ll hit that vein. That steady stream of income that requires zero maintenance.

There’s a relatively high amount of risk involved when compared to traditional, time-for-money work. You can invest a lot of time into something that turns up nothing for you. If this happens, you run the risk of falling into the original sunk cost fallacy. You might wait too long to give up.

If you had just traded your time for money in the first place, you would be way further ahead.

Hm good food for thought in here. My personal economy is probably mixed, too, when it comes to passive income.

My Current Philosophy on Passive Income

I’m not against building passive income streams. I know people who have achieved success in this manner, and believe others can do it, too.

But I’m keeping my personal economy mixed. I might not strike that illusive vein of gold. Or, after I do, there may be an algorithm change that robs me of traffic and therefore that income. I’m more than pleased with and grateful for the moderate amount of success I’ve found with passive income through this site.

But I’m not putting all of my eggs into one basket. I’m simultaneously supplementing and hedging that income with time-for-money work. At the end of the day, while I like those surprise PayPal messages, I’m not comfortable enough to expect them.


How to Get Paid to Save Money

Wow! This nonprofit matches your savings! Definitely checking out their tax refund challenge, too.

Do you all remember my post from way back in June last year, when I talked about why financial health matters to me? That post won me a free trip to FinCon in Dallas last October. It was a great opportunity for me to reconnect with lots of other financial bloggers, meet new members of the financial media, and connect with an amazing nonprofit, EARN.

Here we are six months later in the new year. This time of year presents a great opportunity for us to revisit the topic of financial health and savings.

Matched Savings Accounts

EARN–the nonprofit I met at FinCon–is all about savings. For the past 15 years, EARN has been the largest national provider of matched savings.

What is matched savings, you ask?

It means that EARN pays you to save money. Believe it or not, there isn’t a catch. EARN is a nonprofit dedicated to helping working Americans build a strong financial future and financial stability.

Here is the story of just one of the many people they have helped:


Since I met them in October, I’ve been exploring all the different paths to savings EARN offers. My favorite is a FREE online program called SaverLife, which rewards you for setting aside money in your own savings account. Even if you’ve never saved before, or have only ever set aside a few dollars here and there, SaverLife is a great way to kick-start and grow your savings in just six months.

All you have to do is commit to saving $20 or more in your own savings account a month and SaverLife will reward you with a $10/month match for six months. Save for your children’s education, your emergency fund, your next vacation—the sky’s the limit. You choose whatever goal you want. EARN’s matched incentives help you build a savings habit as you watch your bank account grow.

To participate, you will need:

  • An email address
  • An account at a bank or credit union you use for savings
  • Access to your savings account online

There are no income limits. There are no fees to get started. Getting set up with SaverLife is 100% free, and gives you a financial incentive to get those dollars into your savings account.

Committing to Saving Your Tax Refund is Winning

With the massive identity theft that has happened in the past year, it’s incredibly important to file your 2017 tax return as quickly as possible so that no one else gets your refund or files a fraudulent return in your name.

Also important is using your tax refund dollars wisely. Rather than spending every last one of them, I’d encourage you to set at least a portion of your refund aside to put in savings.

EARN encourages you to do the same thing. Simply take the pledge and save at least $50 of your tax refund and you’ll automatically be entered to win one of fifty weekly $100 prizes via their Savers Win campaign. If you’re willing to tell your financial story, you’ll be entered to win a $5,000 grand prize, too.

It’s the new year. Let’s get it started on the right financial foot. Save some of your tax refund. And get paid for saving your own money by signing up with SaverLife.

How to Make Investing Personal and Beat Your Retirement Goal

Today’s post is contributed by my friend Joseph Hogue. He worked as an equity analyst and an economist before realizing being rich is no substitute for being happy. He now runs five websites in the personal finance and crowdfunding niche, makes more money than he ever did at a 9-to-5 job and loves building his work from home business.

 Not taking blanket investing advice after reading this one. Definietly going to make my investments more personal so I can reach my retirement goals.

Making investing personal with an investment plan will help you avoid the worst mistakes investors make.

Turn on the TV to any financial news program or click through to any investing website and you’re likely to get bombarded by generalized investing advice.

Buy this stock, don’t buy that one. This sector of the economy will benefit the most from the current economic trends while another sector will languish.

It’s a mass-market approach to investing, designed to reach the absolute largest audience possible. The problem is that this mass-market approach to investing is just as likely to leave you penniless as it is to make you rich.

Investing advice made for everyone serves no one at all.

Just as a prior article on asset allocation pointed out, there is no one-size-fits-all investment plan. Investing advice may fit us all into cookie-cutter strategies for the sake of convenience but it isn’t the advisor that has to pay for your retirement when you come up short.

The solution, realize just how personal investing is and start asking yourself the questions that will help you build the perfect investing plan for YOU!

Investing is More Personal than You May Know

Everyone loves to talk stocks and that next hot investment. From traditional financial news channels to investing blogs, it’s all about beating the stock market.

But let me ask you a question, does that percentage return on the stock market have anything to do with your retirement goals?

Whether the stock market rises or falls doesn’t change the fact that you’ll be retiring some day or paying tens of thousands for your child’s education.

Investing is about YOUR needs and YOUR goals, not about finding the stocks that will produce double-digit returns on your money. Making sure you’re able to reach your goals, avoid a growing retirement savings crisis or send your kids to college, means understanding what investments will get you there.

That starts with asking yourself some personal questions to find the best investments for you.

What Investing Questions Should You Ask Yourself?

The one thing you usually won’t get when you turn on your favorite investing show are the most important questions you should be asking yourself. It’s these questions that get drowned out in the constant noise of picking stocks to beat the market.

These questions are where investing starts. It’s these personal questions that will be the foundation of your personal investment plan that will help you reach your goals with the least amount of stress possible.

  • How old are you and at what age do you plan on retiring?
  • What does retirement look like for you and how much will it cost?

Saving for retirement? That’s great but if you don’t know what retirement looks like, it’s going to be impossible to stick to your saving. Make a mental image of what you’ll do each day. This will not only keep you motivated to reach your goal, but you’ll also have a better idea of how much it will cost.

  • How much do you have saved now and how much can you reasonably save each year?

Be realistic with how much you can save each month. Who wants to be a millionaire at 65 if they had to live on oatmeal for their whole life? Enjoying your money now is just as important as enjoying it later.

  • What else do you want to do with your money? Will you use some of it to pay for your kids’ education or for other large expenses?

Because some of these large expenses come at different times, it might change how you invest for them. You’ll have less time to recover from stock market losses for tuition savings you need in a few years so best to hold them in safer investments.

  • How important are your financial goals? Are some less important than others or are there alternative ways to meet some goals?

You may want to invest must-reach goals like retirement and education in less risky investments, but you can take more risk, and maybe get higher returns, in less important goals.

Taking Your Investment Plan Beyond the Numbers

Using a retirement calculator will give you the rate of return you need on your investments to reach your retirement goal but making your investments personal is more than just the numbers.

One of the biggest factors in your personal investment plan is called your risk tolerance. Rather than all the numbers, this is your personality and how you react to risk. Do you tend to stress out easily? Do you prefer the slow and steady or are you a thrill-seeker?

You can take a risk tolerance questionnaire online, but it really comes down to two questions.

  • How much time do you have to invest before your goals?
  • How would you react to a 20% drop in your investments?

If you have more than five or ten years to retirement, you can withstand the ups-and-downs of the stock market. Even if a stock market crash wipes out a lot of your investment, you’ll have time to see your portfolio bounce back.

If you don’t tend to stress out over big changes in your portfolio’s value, then you can take a little more risk in the stock market and enjoy a higher return over time. If a 20% drop would cause you to lose sleep or panic-sell at the wrong time, then you might want to hold less in stocks and more in bonds.

Using Your Investment Plan in Asset Allocation

Once you know the annual return you need to meet your investing goal and your risk tolerance, you can put them together for an asset allocation that will reach your goal with the least amount of stress possible.

As a general rule, stocks provide a 7% to 9% annual return when averaged out over a decade or more. Bond investments provide 3% to 5% returns but are much less volatile than stocks.

If you get stressed out easily or have only a few years left to retirement, you’ll want to invest more in bonds than stocks. On the other hand, if you have a high tolerance for risk and many years to your goals, you can afford to take more risk in stocks for a higher average return.

The percentage you hold in stocks versus bonds will give you an idea of the average return you can expect. For example, if you have half your portfolio in stocks and half in bonds, you can expect an average return of 6%.

NOTE: These percentages are general rules and are not a guarantee of a certain return.

The problem many investors confront is they need an average return above 8% so they invest everything in stocks with no consideration to how a stock market crash will affect them emotionally. At this point, it’s better to either find ways to save more or lower your retirement goals a little so you don’t need such a high return rather than take more risk than is appropriate.

You don’t have to be a professional financial planner to make the right investing decisions. Investing according to your personality and needs will help you avoid bad investing behaviors and fit the best investments for your goals. Listen less to what the TV tells you about investing and more to what your own goals are telling you.


Simple Path to Wealth Audio Book #Giveaway

The Simple Path to Wealth is amazing! I learned how to invest without losing my mind!

A little over two years ago, I found myself sitting outside City Hall, feverishly flipping through the pages of a manuscript. I had just gotten out of a meeting about Pittsburgh’s no-cost summer meal program for kids, and was waiting for my husband to pick me up. In true frugal fashion, he was playing chauffeur so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking or public transport.

The manuscript I was reading was for a book by JL Collins. He had asked me to review it because I knew enough about investing to understand its importance and the basics, but not enough to understand advanced jargon. I’ve learned a bit since those days, but ultimately he had me pinned.

I’m normally a slow reader. Super slow. It’s an activity I value, but I won’t be winning any speed reading contests anytime soon. This was different, though.

For one, I had a deadline.

But on top of that, it was the most interesting and simple-to-understand book on investing I had ever read. I didn’t have to go back five times to understand what a passage was saying. I didn’t need a glossary to define industry terms.

I understood what it was trying to tell me, and I was excited about it.

Jim started off writing his blog, and thereafter his book, for his daughter. She also knew investing and money were important, but she didn’t want to spend her whole life obsessing over it. He wrote The Simple Path to Wealth as a guidebook to help her–and anyone else like her–learn how to become financially independent using some extremely simple, nearly set-and-forget-it strategies.

You can read my full review of the book here.

This holiday season, Audible has come out with an audio book version of the tome. JL Collins and Audible have been kind enough to give one Femme Frugality reader a copy, setting you up with investing strategies that could help you build wealth without the complexities that other books on the same topic gravitate towards.

Even better news? If you want to get it as a gift, there’s no shipping involved. I’ll send you the redemption code, and you’ll have your digital copy well before December 25th.

You can use the Rafflecopter below to enter up until 11:59p on December 18, 2017. Best of luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway