Category Archives: Ways to Make Money

4 Tips for Women Running a Small Business

This post, which is contributed by an outside writer, is in collaboration with Redfin.

Tips for when you're starting a new business as an entrepreneur.

The number of women-owned small businesses has tripled since 2011. according to the 2014 American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Business report, four in 10 new firms are started by women.

These latest numbers regarding women in business can’t be ignored. There are 9.1 million woman-owned businesses nationwide, employing 7.9 million employees and generating $1.4 trillion in sales, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners.

They’re running businesses out of their homes, out of makeshift offices or while working full time. The famous Lillian Vernon catalog was started at her kitchen table. If you’re interested in starting your own business, either home-based or otherwise, look at the next steps towards making your dream a reality.

One note: if you are going to run a  business out of your home, you may need to check with your homeowners to ensure you have proper coverage to protect yourself. You may also find yourself asking what is my home worth? Some funding sources require a home valuation if you will be using it as your headquarters.

With so many women opting for career changes and deciding to open their own businesses, it’s important that they’re as prepared as possible. If you’re a woman considering your next big move, keep these four tips in mind.

Define your niche

It can be easy to fall into the trap of doing too much and being too broad. Define the specifics of your business and focus on those. Too many business owners get caught up in the bigger picture to care about the details.

Identify your target audience

Identifying your target audience is perhaps one of the most critical tasks for any business owner. This will help with outreach and marketing efforts to ensure your message is being received by the right people.

Build a successful network

Finding other like-minded individuals can help your business thrive. Use them as mentors, investors, employees. Your network will help you grow and thrive.

Build a robust online presence

In a digital world, your online presence can say absolutely everything about your brand. Establishing your digital presence across as many digital networks as possible helps drive visibility and create coherence for your small business.  Without a strong online presence, potential customers will go to your competitors. Share content, but not too much, and ensure the information you post is accurate.

Women-Led Companies are Thriving in 2018

Employees with female CEO’s experience greater levels of employee-satisfaction as well as fewer layoffs. A recent study showed that women-owned companies experienced a 12 percent increase in year-over-year revenue in 2018. The numbers speak for themselves–women continue to be successful entrepreneurs. More women continue to pursue their own business endeavors and are experiencing great success.

 

 

Bravely Freelancer Guide

Wow, this guide is really helpful. I actually feel like I can open up my own freelancing business now!

I’ve been working as a freelancer since I was 19. There were definitely breaks in there of unemployment and W-2 employment, but it’s a business model I’ve been familiar with since a relatively young age.

I mean, you think you’re familiar with it. But then you find out a new “con” of switching to an LLC. Or realize you forgot to record expenses last month and now have to go back and pour over bank statements. Or you finally recognize that you’re worth more than you are charging.

Setting yourself up as a freelancer doesn’t have to be hard, but you should understand that you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t always know the questions you should be asking, and you need someone to guide you through the process.

I feel like very few of us have had that mentor. Instead, we’ve just learned along the way.

Bravely Freelancer Guide

Bravely Freelancer Guide is that mentor. It was created by Kara Perez from Bravely who is making awesome things happen in the female money space, especially in her hometown of Austin, Texas.

The guide and accompanying educational videos go over oh, so many things you should know before you get started. That includes:

  • Deciding between an LLC and Sole Proprietorship.
  • What you are and aren’t allowed to do as far as banking goes.
  • How to price your services.
  • Why emergency funds are so crucial to freelancers–and how big they should be.
  • How to pitch potential clients.
  • Statements of Work.
  • Invoicing.
  • Keeping Profit/Loss Sheets.
  • The exciting world of quarterly taxes.
  • How long to hold onto business documents.
  • Lots more!

I learned some new stuff from this guide that I’m going to start implementing. Like I found out there are probably some documents I’m still holding onto that I don’t need anymore. So I’ll clear out some room in my drawers. I’m even reevaluating my pricing structure for my services once again.

The Education You’ll Be Grateful For

Almost every last freelancer I’ve talked to about getting up and running has said two things:

“I just wish I had someone to teach me all this stuff at the beginning.”

and,

“Why didn’t I take the plunge and do this earlier?!”

It’s not so much that there’s a lot to know when you start your freelancing journey–it’s moreso that you don’t know which questions you should be asking. But a lot of people get so intimidated by the unknown that they never get started.

Kara does a beautiful job of putting those questions and their answers together in a simple, easy-to-digest way. It will help you actually launch your freelancing business without experiencing that overwhelm. Highly recommend checking it out today.

 

Freelancers: What is one question you wish you had asked when you were getting started?

The Feminist Financial Handbook

This book is so needed! Excited to be one of the first to get my hands on The Feminist Financial Handbook. Fighting the patriarchy and kyriarchy while building my wealth.

I’ve mentioned in passing that I’m writing a book.

Well, I can now say that I’ve written a book.

That’s right, guys. It’s getting real up in here.

Now that the manuscript is done, I wanted to tell you guys a little bit more about the project, what it entailed and what comes next.

The Feminist Financial Handbook

Even before I was blogging about money, I was interested in personal finances. I’d read book after book on how to make my money better. There were some crazy great hacks. Like opening CDs before the Recession. Or investing your money starting young so you could take full advantage of the power of compound interest.

And I was all, “I can’t wait until I can do this stuff!”

I wrote out goals and future budgets, but something was missing. That missing thing was an income which met more than just my baic needs so I could do things like save and invest. I was great at money management; I just didn’t have enough green to do all the responsible things I wanted to do.

I now recognize that there were some systemic road blocks in my way at that point in my life. I also recognize that there are women out there who face far larger and more frequent road blocks than myself.

And that’s the piece of financial advice that seems to always be missing: When you’re motivated, disciplined and hard-working,  yet you can’t seem to get around these massive obstacles, what do you do next?

That’s what The Feminist Financial Handbook is about. It’s about recognizing oppression and its  effects on our day-to-day personal economies. Without minimizing these struggles, it looks at ways you may be able to get a leg up so you can do all those fun things like watch your wealth explode over a period of 30-40 working years through diligent investing.

It’s about being real about the real-life situations so many of us struggle with every single day, and finding ways to take action despite them.

Defining Wealth

The first part of the book looks at how we define wealth. Does money actually  make us happier? I don’t want to spoil too much, but the answer is sometimes.

In this part of the book, we also take a deep dive into the things that actually can make us feel more content, and counting them holistically in our personal wealth equations. Because while money scarcity is no good, a relentless pursuit of cash isn’t healthy, either.

Earn More

It’s no secret that women tend to earn less than men. The gender wage gap is real. But I tend to think the commonly cited reasons behind it are sexist and fictitious. Some of these arguments include:

  • Women gravitate towards lower-paying fields.
  • Women don’t negotiate.
  • Women carry babies in their wombs.

These are all poor justifications for paying women less, and some are straight up untrue. in the book, we tackle each one of them.

Gender is not the only reason for lower pay, though. Whether you’re a single mother, disabled, a woman of color, transgender, gay, or bi, society is going to punish you economically. It’s not right. But there are some workarounds for financial success, even within a system that would have you believe you’re worth less.

You’re not worth less, by the way. And this whole section of the book outlines why that is and what we can collectively and individually do about it.

Save More

Not only is there a wage gap, but there is also a gender-centric investing gap. This gap starts young, and can result in poverty in old age. We take a look at some of the basics of financial planning and how to become more aware of any internalized sexism that may be affecting your investing decisions.

We also look at how you or your child can go to college for free–or sometimes even get paid to go back to school. I promise this is real. These strategies have worked for me in real life, and are backed by a professional in the higher education industry.

And, of course, we look at budgeting. Not just budgeting, but judgement-free budgeting. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to spend the money you earn, or that you can’t stash it all away in pursuit of financial independence. But to do either one of these things, you’re going to need a budget.

When One Thing Affects Everything

Ladies, we put up with some intense experiences in our lives. Because of the normalization of sexism and other -isms, we suffer much higher rates of mental illness and domestic violence. Both of these areas have real, long-term affects not just on our mental health, but on our finances.

We also tend to make less money than our male counterparts when a child is diagnosed with an illness or is pronounced differently abled. And that’s on top of the gender pay gap.

This final section of the book looks at all of these things, offering up solutions for living a wealthy life in spite of the effects oppression can take on our bodies, minds and finances.

Pre-Order The Feminist Financial Handbook

Believe it or not, these are just some of the topics covered in the book. The pages take a deep dive into so many issues–issues not typically discussed in the personal finance sphere. Because they’re hard issues to tackle, and there aren’t always easy solutions.

But at the heart of the matter is hope. Hope that we can fight the system to build a successful career for ourselves as women in business or a fat e-fund as homemakers. Hope that you can build a wealthy life even when the system would stunt your cash flow. It affirms that you are worth it and capable no matter what society tells you, because there is no “right” way to be a successful woman with motivation.

Now that we’re getting ready to launch, you can pre-order today from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

I’d be so grateful if you could hop on board and join the waitlist so you can be one of the first to get your hands on a copy!

I can’t wait to hear what you think. It’s been a huge effort to produce, and I hope it opens up a lot of conversation about what we can do to make the economic plight of women better, whether we’re talking about society as a whole or ourselves as individual females.

This book was very much a collaborative effort. Because I cannot speak with experience to all the different issues women face, it largely features the experiences of others. These are the amazing women who gave so much of their time and heart to the effort:

 

Ways to Promote Your Small Business and Get Your Name Noticed

Today’s post is brought to you and contributed by Abby Locker.

Crushing on these small business advertising tips! Can't wait until people start recognizing my brand name.

Are you in the process of getting your business up and off the ground? The first few months and years can be challenging. It takes time and a lot of hard work to build a company that keeps pulling in repeat customers. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can promote your business right now. Even if it seems like the return may be minimal, you just never know until the customer makes the contact. Here are just a few ways that you can promote your small business and hopefully get your name noticed in your community niche.

Personalizing Business Items

When it comes to setting your business above the rest and generating a brand, it’s important to make sure you stand out from your competitors. This begins with creating signage and a logo that is distinctly yours and is catchy and easy to remember. Consulting with a graphic artist who specializes in advanced art and design is a good way to break away from the cookie cutter logos and signs that many businesses use.

Obtaining full ownership of the copyright and trademark of your logo is important. From there, you’ll be able to transfer the logo to your stationery and even a stamp. Personalized stamps come in handy when you’re trying to transfer your image to a new batch of invoices or envelopes. This allows you to create a fast advertisement that is effective for communication and helping promote your business when and where you need it.

Build Your Website and Online Presence

When starting a small company from the bottom up, it’s important to stay in touch with your customer base. This begins with having a primary portal through which your customers connect with you. This portal should offer a quick reference to your business and be available around the clock.

A professional website that is active and interactive is a great way to reach your customers, especially as a new and growing business. Your website can also have a forum where customers and pros can interact, get perspective, and have questions answered. Make sure that your website is directly connected to your email and phone so that you can stay in contact with any correspondence that comes up. Your website is also a great place for customers to leave feedback and generate testimonials. You can also create a portfolio that highlights some of your products or new projects that you’ve been working on. On your landing page, don’t forget to include any awards or organizations that your business is affiliated with.

Hire a Social Media Marketing Pro

While a website is a great way to promote your business, there are other forms of social media that are equally important. Connecting through social media is a great way to promote and market your content on your blog or website quickly and reach a large, broad audience at the same time.  Hiring someone in-house or as a freelancer to cover your marketing and social media requests is important. Choose a company or individual who will look into your business plan and expand from there. Make sure they cover any or all of the following:

  • Website support
  • Inbound marketing
  • Search-engine optimization marketing
  • Advertising
  • Logo design
  • Brand identity
  • Photo and video correlation

Ask the marketing pro if they can seamlessly blend all of your social media with your website and inbound communication devices. The goal is to make your company stand out, but you should be able to understand how to take care of the rise in customer inquiries and requests should your business take off rapidly.

Attend Public Meetings and Social Events

Old-fashioned social clubs are still one of the best ways to make yourself a solid member of the business community in your town. Virtual business is key to reaching customers through social media outlets, but face-to-face interaction is also important. Becoming a member of the local better business bureau and other small business organizations is important in the locals getting to know you and what you have to offer the community. This is a great way to build referrals and build your business through word of mouth advertising and interpersonal relationships.

Getting your business off to the right start begins with getting set up to fulfill supply and demand. Small steps will equal large-scale rewards in the future.

Defying Life’s Challenges Through Hard Work #MotivationMonday

Love this. So often I feel like I'm being fed "easy" ways to pull in thousands every month or ways to hustle my way to financial independence. It's possible, but not without hard work and a good work ethic.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am in my life.

Some areas I’m happy with. Others I’m not.

I’ve been through some good times. And some bad times. Of course, there were the terrible times, too.

But through it all, one thing has kept me going: a strong work ethic.

I say this not to brag. I’ve made as many mistakes in my life as the next person, and I’m certainly not sitting upon a mountain of cash that would make me financially independent.

But for all the times when things could have gone much worse, I’ve remained determined to make things work. Some of this has been born out of living in survival mode, and some of it has been a refusal to fail. Well, maybe not to fail, but rather a refusal to give up.

Knock on the Door of Opportunity

When I was newly married and very young, I had a hard time finding a job. Even ones I was overly qualified for.

I was looking at going back to school, but there were very few degree programs for my field. I didn’t know which ones to enter, so I looked up a chapter of a national networking/certification group. I wanted to go to ask them what educational opportunities were available.

Lo and behold, there was one meeting that very week right across the street. I went, and while I learned that unfortunately there weren’t very many good educational opportunities in the region, there was an agency that was hiring. And we immediately clicked.

That led to one of the most fulfilling jobs of my life. I loved getting up to go to work everyday, and I gave my all to be the best I could be in that position. I went to all the trainings that came through town. I practiced a ridiculous degree of professionalism. When I had to move, there were so many tears all around.

I never would have had that experience, though, if I had just given up on making things better. If I hadn’t looked up that networking group to find educational opportunities, I would have never met my bosses. If I hadn’t continued to pursue education through professional trainings, they may not have been as apt to give me challenging and exciting assignments.

Part of work ethic isn’t just doing the job that’s in front of you. It’s about actively pursuing all the paths to potential opportunity.

Some say opportunity knocks. In my life, I’ve found it to be the exact opposite. I knock. Sometimes no one answers. Sometimes the door gets slammed in my face. But sometimes, the door opens and you’re welcomed into a new realm of possibilities.

Finding Solutions Over Frustration

Life can suck. For all of us.

But how we react to that reality impacts the trajectories of our lives. All too often, it’s easy to see a problem and view it as an insurmountable road block. These do exist, but that doesn’t mean we should acquiesce to them.

Always try to find a way over. Around. Through. It can be rough, but if we allow ourselves to sit there in frustration, we’re essentially stalling out our potential. I’ve done this a few times in my life, and I always regret it later.

When I have my head on right, I try to look the problem in the face and find solutions. There was another period in my life when I had a hard time finding employment. It took me four months, actually, and I was very grateful to my past self for saving up a nice emergency fund to get me through that time. Even with that, I got a part-time gig at the local grocery store to pad things about three months in.

But during those months, I didn’t give up. I applied to jobs up to two hours away from my new rural home. I told everyone I knew I was looking for something. I once again went to the places where people were networking, and did volunteer work to showcase my skill set.

This eventually ended up leading to two job offers in one week. One was full-time. One was extremely part-time and sporadic.

I took them both.

Had I bemoaned my situation and resigned myself to continuing my part-time gig at the grocery store, I would have ended up working for a low wage at the grocery store until it was time to move again.

Instead, I looked everywhere to find a solution, and it eventually paid off. Again, I had a rewarding job I looked forward to going to everyday.

Doing the Work

Doing what I’m doing right now full-time was never a goal of mine. I loved my career, but a regional work shift/shortage revealed to me that it was going to be unstable–at least for a few years.

I needed an income today, though. Not in a few years. I had been side hustling a bit with the online writing thing, but when I found out I wouldn’t have regular work anymore, I started putting in the hours. I actively hunted for writing jobs and worked to build up this site a little more.

It worked and has been supporting me and my family for years now. I had to do the work, though. I couldn’t do it half-heartedly. I had to put everything into it.

The same has been true for me in pursuing many of my other goals, too. Most of them are tied to language. I learned the Cyrillic alphabet through hours of practice. I got really good at French by reading French books and watching French movies on top of my academic studies. And now, I’m working on doing the same for Japanese.

Opportunity may present itself. Or it may not. But if you aren’t ready to do the work, opportunity will move on to the next candidate–no matter how smart or well-qualified you are.

Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

I am privileged in so many ways as a white woman. Assuredly, many of my successes have been made easier because of this fact.

But if I had relied of that fact alone, I would have floundered. Without hard work, life would have drowned me a long time ago.

If you’re feeling like life is getting you down, become defiant. Do not let hardship win out. Be proactive and knock on the door of opportunity. If that door gets slammed in your face, focus on solutions rather than bitterness or despair. Then, once you find a solution and an open door, do the work. Put your head down and make things happen.

Life and money still won’t work out the way you planned. But it’s going to be a heck of a lot easier.

Besides that, every once in a while life will surprise us and give us something better than what we were planning for, anyways.