Money Monday: Solve Your Money Problems with 3 Brilliant Ways to Make More

BY: - 19 Sep '16 | Money

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You’ve been on a quest to get your money game straight; you read financial websites, watch money shows and buy lots of books. Perhaps you’ve even talked to friends and family—or even an advisor—about how to improve your finances.

But you still find yourself with more bills, debt and problems than actual money.

Could all the information you’ve devoured be wrong?

Possibly.

But consider this: Maybe you’re focusing on the wrong thing. Much of the financial information we consume focuses on saving money, reducing expenses and living frugally while completely ignoring ways to increase income.

Consider what I call the golden formula of financial freedom:

Money needed for wealth creation = Income – Expenses

In other words, spend less than you make and you’ll be on your way to financial freedom. Too often, however, we focus all of our attention on reducing expenses through frugality while ignoring ways to increase our income.

The problem with this, which you’ve likely already discovered, is that you can reduce your expenses by only so much. There is a limit to how much you can cut your spending, but there is no limit to the amount of money you can make.

Don’t get me wrong. Being frugal and reducing expenses is important, but it should not consume all of your effort. The most financially savvy among us concentrate on both reducing expenses AND increasing income.

My belief is that 50 percent of your effort should be spent finding ways to reduce expenses while 50 percent of your effort should be focused on making more money.

So how do you increase your income?

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1. Look to your current job.
Are there new skills you can learn that will lead to a raise or promotion? A recent Money magazine article highlighted the 21 most valuable career skills that can help you land more money. For example, learning and mastering SAS (Statistical Analysis System) software, for instance, commanded a 6.1 percent pay premium. Some companies will even pay you to obtain additional skills, certificates or education.

2. Take advantage of the skills you use every day and turn them into money making opportunities.
This is truly where we sell ourselves short. You may think you have nothing to offer, but truth be told, each one of us possesses skills and talents others would pay handsomely to acquire.

A close friend of mine hires a reading coach to help his 6-year-old with her reading. The reading coach is a teacher, who has turned her teaching skills into this lucrative side gig.

Are you a social media maven, Facebook fanactic or WordPress wonder? Could you leverage those skills to show local businesses how to use the Internet and social media to attract more customers?

Are you great at English? There are millions of blogs that need proofreading and editing.

Perhaps you’re proficient in photoshop. People would love to throw away their confusing manuals and have you tutor them instead.

You have the skills people would be more than eager to pay for. Just be willing to acknowledge and share them.

3. Turn your hobbies or passions into profits.
Tony Tremonto loved collecting sports memorabilia, but he quickly became disgusted with having to pay $65 to $85 to have his memorabilia framed. He decided to do it himself, then he started selling his services at sports card shows. Before long, he was opening his own retail shop. And it all started with a hobby.

Do you have a passion you can turn into profit? For instance in you’re a serious sport fan, you could leverage your love of the sport by officiating at local league sports events.

For instance, if you’re a serious sport fan, you could leverage your love of the sport by officiating at local league sports events.

Maybe you enjoy collecting coins or stamps. Write an online guide or ebook to show others how to get involved in the hobby.

The possibilies for increasing your income are endless. It just takes a little bit of ingenuity and confidence in yourself and your abilites.

BMWK, what are some of the ways that you’ve increased your income?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 281 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.

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The Rise of Momtrepreneurs; Black Women Are Fastest Growing Group of Business Owners

BY: - 26 Sep '16 | Entrepreneurship

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Who knew? While women continue to fight glass ceilings in the corporate workforce, a rising number of women are making the big decision to jump ship and go into business for themselves.

According to statistics from the U.S. Census, more women are plunging into entrepreneurship—female businesses have grown by almost 30 percent over a five-year span. Furthermore, black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, according to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

“I would say that entrepreneurship itself is the trend,” says Melva Robertson of The Write Media Group, an Atlanta-based public relations firm. “I’ve also found that more women are exploring entrepreneurship across all demographics and industries.”

Robertson, who helps to brand and market many female startups and runs the Own Your Own Entrepreneurship Summit, says part of the allure into entrepreneurship is, of course, the freedom to work for yourself and to pursue your own passions. But one of the major benefits to mothers is more power over that dreadful “working mom guilt.”

“I think that the opportunity to become your own boss helps moms feel a sense of control. They want the ability to set their own schedules, make their own decisions and really figure out ways to blend their business and personal lives in a way that allows them to generally be more visible and present at home,” says Robertson, who is a mother herself, about the momtrepreneur phenomenon.

And mothers actually might have an advantage.  According to Robertson, business ownership is comparable to raising a kid. Think about it. As that child grows, you grow, learning problem solving skills, best practices, patience, priorities/management and other new skills at every stage of growth.

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And any mom knows that kids are unpredictable, troublesome and will likely find a way to create problems no matter what skills or preventative actions you employ. So perhaps one of the greatest lessons from motherhood that can apply to entrepreneurship is learning to adapt when outcomes look troubling.

“I care for, protect and fight for our business like it is one of our children,” says Rozalynn Goodwin, mother and owner of GaBBy Bows, a children’s double-face, double-snap barrette line. “My pregnancy with our son Michael was deemed high risk for still birth, and he was born early with growth and developmental delays, but we fought for his abundant life and continue to fight for his success. He is now excelling and confounding medical and educational predictions. That faith fight helped develop the resolve and tenacity behind GaBBY Bows today.”

Given everything moms go through from birth on forward, it seems like an easy transition right?

Well, sort of.

Yes, entrepreneurship can be the answer to all your desires: more family time, more money, more freedom and more joy, but Robertson warns that the journey isn’t quite as seamless.

Just like your newborn, your business in the infancy stage is going to require a lot of your attention and care.

“There is sometimes a belief that starting a business means that you will automatically have more time to devote to the personal life; when in fact, starting a business consumes a tremendous amount of time and commitment–especially in the beginning,” says Robertson.

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Given that, there are some things you can do. Robertson says the first key is mind frame. She says moms should see the business as if they were adding another child to family. Yes, that child will be a greater demand on your time, focus and energy, but you’ll have to make a conscious effort to make sure your real children don’t feel that absence of attention.

Additionally, Robertson suggests moms keep in mind the following guidance:

  • The main advice that I always give is to be flexible.
  • The formula for work-life balance is different for everyone, and it takes a little trial and error before a person figures out what works for them.
  • The family’s well being is always the priority but, at times, individual tasks related to family and business will shift.
  • Be ready to adapt to those shifts.
  • Be honest with your family about what lies ahead as you begin this new venture, listen and adjust to their feedback accordingly
  • Be prepared to sacrifice a lot of your own time and energy—especially in the beginning.
  • The last thing is to include your family in your business tasks when possible. If there are things that they can do to help you, incorporate them so that they don’t feel isolated. Doing so also helps your family gain a better understanding of the work that goes into what you do.

For Goodwin, that was the key. Finding family time is easier since she launched her business with her then 5-year-old daughter Gabrielle Goodwin (now 9). The two actually travel the country together marketing and selling their line.

“GaBBY Bows has afforded us the perfect opportunity to blend our worlds of family, business and parenting. We spend more time together and have learned life and business lessons on perseverance and diligence through our disappointments and triumphs,” says Goodwin. “I not only can tell my children that nothing is impossible, we are demonstrating this truth.”

BMWK, thinking of starting a business? How are you preparing so your family life doesn’t suffer?

About the author

Nina Hemphill Reeder wrote 71 articles on this blog.

Nina Reeder is the assistant editor at BMWK. Reeder is a professional journalist, who has contributed for publications and outlets, such as Ebony magazine, AOL.com, Marriott Hotels and more. She has also worked as the senior editor at Upscale magazine, a national lifestyle/entertainment magazine.

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