Breathe.

I don’t know about you… but I relish time away from projects. To clear my head, explore ideas, re-align with my goals an basically… untangle myself from additional work.

Yes, even things hustles and projects I’m passionate about are work. Not like the 9-5 work many of us are familiar with that require us to clock in and clock out. But the kind of work that requires one’s time, one’s patience, perseverance, calculated moves. Time is everything and I thought I love and preach about how everyone should have a side hustle, it will help you begin to free yourself from the confines of employment and debt (via extra income), staying on the grind with no intermittent rest or rejuvenation is just as bad as working for dead-end job and boss you can’t stand

Take a break. Take a breath. Disappear for a little. Find ways to get some clarity. Find ways to get some peace.

Yesterday morning, I opened up my day with a shower, some smooth Jazz with Alexa and avocado toast for breakfast. I wanted to lay in bed and luxuriate, but I also wanted to set my week up for success. So I choose the later. Put things away (laundry), cleaned out shelves, took my trash out, swept, mopped, sent over some links to a colleague of mine who’s putting together an app to feature the services of select business people (myself included).

I’ve been getting steady general notary work. I’m continuing to perfect and get creative with the marketing. Writing another e-Book, not about side hustling and freelancing, but more tailored my full time roll to help others like me. And I’m working on releasing another poetry book later this year. Oh, and I’m upping my networking game because I plan to make some important moves between now and March of 2022.

Keeping my eye focused on the goal and the prize. Even if you don’t see or hear from, every day I’m hustlin’. But I still remember to breathe!

It’s Still Poetry Month

You’re Supposed to Be Supportive

Hey, I know it’d late but because it’s still April and it’s still Poetry Month, I wanted to share a few more with you if you don’t mind.

You’re suppose to be supportive

When your friend tells you the news

That in nine short months

Their bundle will be due.

But how am I supposed to be joyful

With unexpected news from a friend?

That baby bump she’ll soon cradle

Is how our friendship will end.

Oh, you think I’m being dramatic

I’m making this all about me?

My circle of friends is already small

And I don’t make friendships lightly.

She swears up and down

That nothing between us will change

As much of a relief I want that to be

It also sounds very strange.

Like, she wouldn’t change

Her number one priorty?

She’d put that baby on the back burner

If it meant spending time with me?

Nah, I don’t believe that

I don’t believe that for one second

Any good parent puts their child first

And everyone else can just suck it.

I’ve chosen a childfree life

Which means having childfree friends too

It’s much easier to maintain those relationships

When there isn’t a child in between you.

Yeah, go ahead and call it selfish

I’ve been hearing it for years

But I carved out an intentional life

Children were off the map, free and clear

You’re supposed to be supportive

When a friend enters a new chapter

You just never thought a new chapter

Would kill off your character right after.

You’re Supposed to be Supportive (ML Morgan)

Thanks for letting me share! Night!

Track Your Funds

Track Your Funds

Let’s get back to having better financial conversations – about money, how are we spending it, how are we saving it, what outside resources have we come across that have been beneficial on our personal financial journey and what advice have we had to move away from because it was no longer serving us.

Below is a tool I created for myself after attending the Girl Boss event at UCLA in 2019 – gosh, I miss those pre-COVID days – and I’ve made some tweaks to it to make it simpler and easier for you to use. No, that wasn’t me throwing shade calling you simple. It’s just over time, my tracking tool could’ve been improved and thus, I improved it.

You don’t have to use it but I wanted to give it you to get started with so you can get an idea of where you’re standing when it comes to money. You know all those big boss moves we’re planning on making this year? How can we make boss money moves when we don’t even know what our money looks like? Let’s cut that out. Let’s get serious about actually managing our money.

This tool has three (3) components so you can map out a budget by first seeing what your expenses are and see if it’s truly a need or just a want. Then you’ll be able to track what’s in all your accounts every week of every month. So then you can road map where you financially want to go. This template is completely customizable. You’ll be able to get a sneak peak at how I manage my money once a week for 30 minutes. It’s a like game. I want to see how much more I can keep in these accounts and to what dollar figure it can grow. Hopefully, you’ll want to play the game too!

The Hustler’s Financial Tracker Tool.

Talk Is Cheap; Have Better (Money) Conversations

Talk Is Cheap

Have better money conversations.

Yes, I know easier said than done. And many people, myself included, are or can be, a little reserved about our personal financial sheet. Like, the people who know exactly how much money I have right down to the penny, is myself and Chase bank. I don’t even want Uncle Sam to know how I have.

But if we don’t learn to share some of the lessons we’ve learned from our money decisions – good, bad or different – with those we love and care about, they could be doomed to repeat avoidable, costly mistakes. Or miss out on a great financial opportunity.

We need to learn to have better money conversations (yes, I’m going to keep saying that). And we don’t have to divulge everything. Now, if someone asks you point blank how much you make a year, I could understand you’d be put off by that. And having answered this question a few times a few different ways, the best answer I’ve given, to my recollection:

I make enough money to allow myself to build an emergency fund, save for a long term goal, save for retirement, pay all my bills, invest in the stock market, pay down my student loans, and have a little left to hang out and treat myself, if I choose to.

Now, I never disclosed the exact dollar amount I earn, but I shared how that dollar amount is broken down in categories that are important to me. So, I’ve opened the conversation to discuss savings, investing, paying off debt, thinking about the future and living in the moment. All of which are tied to my finances and overall well-being. And these conversations get better when I someone follows up their question asking how much am I saving. Again, I don’t have to say how that figure is, but I can share where and what I’ve learned about saving, what my savings journey has been like and what milestones I’ve reached.

The conversation needs to happen because that’s where we find our support and courage to make the changes we know we need to.

A former friend of mine, Elissa, use to tell me it was me talking in her ear about having an emergency fund that encouraged her to get through a month where she wasn’t working because she had saved and prepared ahead of time by building an emergency fund. I’m no financial advisor, but I was willing to have that conversation with her. Do the same. Both parties can benefit from it.

Have better financial conversations with your siblings, your parents, your friends, your significant others, your colleagues, your fellow hustlers. And always, with yourself.

Poetry Month: I Lost A Friend Today

I Lost A Friend Today

(Whispers) It’s late, it’s midnight. If you’re up… wow, you’re a night owl too. Great to know.

In honor of it also being National Poetry month, I wanted to share something of my writing with you, if that’s all right:

I lost a friend today
when I spoke my truth
or was it my truth
or just a ruse?
A ruse for anger?
A ruse for pain?
I don’t think it matters
the friendship is slained.
I lost a friend
because I couldn’t smile
and nod my head
knowing all the while
the choice she was making
would be a huge mistake.
And the words I chose
were enough to break
10 years of trust
10 years of secrets
10 years of laughs
10 years we’ll now forget.
I lost a friend today
today, a friendship I lost
I ask myself repeatedly
was the truth worth the cost?

YES! You Can Raise Your Fees

Yes, You Can Raise Your Fees

Girlfriend, listen. If people are willing to pay $119 for an annual membership of Amazon Prime after it went up about $20 a couple of years ago, you can raise your fees too. I’m speaking from a small business owner stance and as someone who pays that damn $119 fee to Amazon every year.

The first thing we grapple with as huslters and business owners is fear. The fear that if we raise our prices or fees, we’ll lose customers. We’ll lose the clients we already have. And if that’s the case, how will we get more?

Breathe. As I’m going to let you in on a little secret: that’s okay. In fact, if we lose clients that don’t want to pay us what we’re worth, that’s completely fine. We only want clients that can afford us. And this isn’t my bougie self talking (although she’s known to make guest appearances). What is the point of improving our talents and skills, taking workshops and seminars, doubling down on our business if we have to settle for a client base that’s only looking for the best bargain prices?

Fact: cheap clients are the worst! They hate to pay and they love to complain. Kick them to the curb. We don’t need them.

Truth: the latter half of last year, I did away with varying my travel fee for my notary business. Instead of trying to offer what I thought was fair to my notary clients based on how close they were to me, I offered one flat fee across the board. About 90% of my notary clients are same day clients. And they’re usually “how soon can you get here” clients. Meaning, I’ve gotta stop what I’m doing or rush through it, GPS myself to their location and fight traffic along the way. Lowering my travel fee was unfair to me. So I stopped that and I feel so better that I when I leave my house, I’m leaving it for the right dollar figure.

And you know what, business has never been better. December 2020 was my best month as far as income from clients and March 2021- last month- was my best quantity of clients month.

Truth: I had a client this month, last week in fact, who called me on Easter asking for same day notary services. Because it was Easter and he was asking for same day, right now service, I charged him $15 more for travel. Easter is a holiday for me, even if it isn’t a holiday for my clients. He replied back asking, when I gave him the full quote, was that the best I could do. And I was firm and said yes. When all was said and done, he said I was the most pleasant person he’s worked with. So, yes, he “hired” me, he paid me the full amount of my fees and has my business card for future services when he’s ready.

Yes, go ahead and raise your fees and blow yourself away (as in, impress. Need to clarify that statement). You might find that was the best thing you could do for your hustle or business.

Count Your Money

Count Your Money, Honey!

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it took me more time than I care to admit to learn to count my money in front of clients. I know this probably seems strange to admit, but it’s the truth and if we’re going to keep discussing all things financial and educational this month, let’s talk about counting our money. Especially in front our clients.

It was a tip my mother taught/told me a while back. She said whenever I got paid in cash, count my money right there and then. Don’t even assume someone paid me exactly what I told them it would be. This isn’t to make everyone out to be crooks and liars, but the moment you get paid for something, it stops being a hobby or side project and becomes a business. And if you’re going to make money in a business fashion, you need to show up as such. That means counting every dollar, and knowing the total you’re owed for services rendered.

The first time I counted the cash of a client, he didn’t even move until he knew I had exactly what I told him my notary service would. It didn’t embarrassed him (as I thought it would) and it didn’t embarrassed me. If anything, counting my money right there in front of him assured him I was, indeed, a business woman about my business.

Listen, I even confirm the payment of clients who CashApp, Zelle, PayPal or Venmo me. I don’t leave their sight until my phone has vibrated or dinged confirming I have received the funds.

Count your money.

Good money management, especially for side hustlers and business owners is not being afraid to manage your money, especially money coming in. And don’t be afraid of making anyone else feel uncomfortable that you do so. You want to be taken seriously but you also want to take your finances seriously.

Count your money.

Personal Finance is Just That….Personal

Personal Finance is Personal

I want to dedicate this month to talking about all things money in recognition of it being Financial Literacy Month.  And as we continue to make talking about money openly and honestly less taboo, let’s jump in with personal finance.

And let’s also remember that when sharing our personal finances journey… it’s personal. Personal in the individualistic sense, not hide it away in shame sense.

My personal finance journey won’t look like yours and yours won’t look like mine.  Our debts don’t look the same, our savings don’t look the same, our investments don’t look the same, our income doesn’t look same and our financial goals aren’t the same.

Personal finance is literally personal, tailored to our our income, our expenses and our spending/saving habits.  So don’t feel like you need to compare yourself to others you know or multi-millionaries who are further along in their personal finance journey.  On the flip side, don’t feel like you’re stuck in your journey either.  You change directions by changing your habits. A journey, after all, is about momentum, progress snd moving forward. 

Let your personal journey always be moving forward to where you want to be financially.

Psst – It’s Also National Poetry Month

It’s Also Poetry Month

(Whispers) hey! You still up? For all my writimg hustlers – authors, screenwriters, copy writers, novelists and of course, poets… let me share a littlr of original work with you in honor of it being Poetry Month.

There’s such a pain

from a lively loss

that no truth could’ve paid

for its higher cost.

No marks on the body,

no scuffling of feet

just a broken bond

when two sister-souls meet.

No love is “unconditional”,

we always take measure

when unwanted words take flight

it endangers what we treasure.

It gives pause to questions

that were never, ever asked

it casts shadows of doubt

of something insidious being unmasked.

I dare not ask

for the pain is too fresh

what happens to those two sister-souls,

what becomes of their flesh?

No longer bonded,

no longer bound

are they still sister-souls

or extras in the background?

Thanks for letting me share!

Grant Us: L.A. COVID Relief

All right ladies and yes, my gentlemen. There is a new COVID Relief Fund granting small businesses in the Los Angeles area business grants starting at…$10,000. That is free money, does need tk be paid back!

The grant opens today and the window to apply ends April 11th, so don’t waste time pondering if you should or should’nt apply. Whenever there is free money out there for your business, you always should apply.

A few stipulations for this grant as you’ll read when you visit their website. You must be brick and mortar business. You online business, this one is not for us. Trust me, I feel your pain. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other grants out there. But to your fellow business men and women and colleagues, here is their chance to get the much need small business relief they desperately needed.

In addition to being a brick and mortar, to be eligible for this grant, your business needs to be the personal service or retail space. Think nail salons and or anything to do with selling goods out of store. Yep. This grant is for you.

The grant opens today and closes Sunday. Don’t hesitate. Apply today: lacovidfund.org.