My Self-Employment Success Story: How I Quit Corporate To Work for Myself

By: Jill Beirne Davi

Since paying off $30,000 six years ago, I still use credit sparingly, and I didn’t take out any loans to fund the start-up of my business. Instead, I created a separate savings account called “Investments” to use as working capital for the business. I used that money to educate myself on the basics of starting a consulting business, as well as for things like my website and programs that taught me how to launch and run a business. Overall, my strategy was to pay for a lot of the major upfront costs in cash from my day job.

So I doubled down and focused on attracting more clients, to reach my tipping point faster. But once I stopped treating my consulting like a hobby, I got nervous. I had trouble promoting my services beyond word-of-mouth referrals, and I was afraid to follow up with people, breaking into a sweat when discussing my fees. But I knew I had to conquer those fears if I wanted to work for myself, so I hired a coach of my own to help me build those skills.

To attract clients, I worked around the clock. I hustled, but it was exciting! I woke up about an hour earlier than I had to every morning, and by 7 a.m. I was at my computer with my green tea, either writing posts on my blog or content for my workshops, emailing clients, asking for speaking engagements or studying up on how to run a business. I even took 8 a.m. client calls before showering, and put in a full day of work at my corporate job! I’d teach workshops, and speak or meet with clients on nights and weekends.

After eight months of really focusing on building my practice, though, it became clear that I had to choose. I essentially had two full-time, demanding jobs, and I was burning out. Clients were reaching out, but I didn't have the time to take them on. I simply didn’t have enough energy to ride two bikes any longer. It was decision time.

My Last Day at My "Real" Job

I crunched the numbers to see if I was ready. Overall, I was running a pretty lean machine. Most of my work was done remotely out of our home office, so I didn’t have to worry about permanent office space. As for health insurance, my husband and I talked about private insurance, but it made the most sense for me to be covered under his plan. I agreed to pay the difference coming out every month. I also applied for professional liability insurance, which can be paid in a lump sum annually. And I calculated how much I would need to put aside every month for retirement. Since I was cutting back, the contribution would be smaller than I contributed in the past at first but would grow over time.

The day I left corporate, I was definitely excited but sad. It was hard to leave a job that I’d called home for six years. When my coworkers asked if I was taking time off, I laughed. “Time off?” I said. “No way. I have a full schedule next week!”

It was definitely a rush to open my laptop that first self-employed Monday morning to a full schedule and no boss. I wrote my next blog posts, prepared for a radio interview later in the week, and had three client calls and a consultation with someone who wanted to hire me.

Financially, self-employment isn’t as drastic of a change as I once thought it might be. The hardest part is creating a system to manage my cash flow so that I can forecast what I’m making every month. I use Excel to plan out incoming client payments and outgoing expenses every month (including what I pay myself). That way I can see all in one place what I need to earn each month. Once I reach that number for one month, any extra carries into the next month. I still pay the same bills I was paying when I was working full time, including the phone, cable, utilities, groceries, parking and part of the mortgage.

What has changed quite a bit is my "fun money" fund, meaning my allowance for personal expenses, like getting a haircut or buying clothes. For now, it's half of what it used to be, which means I really have to watch what I’m spending more closely than before I left. But I’m at peace with making sacrifices until my income is more consistent. As long as I can get my nails done every now and again, I’m good for now while my practice grows. I expect to be profitable by April of next year.

The biggest challenge for me now that I’m self-employed is keeping my confidence up during the natural business ebbs and flows, like during the summer months when people are away on vacation and the phone never seems to ring. I’ve found that when self-doubt creeps in, it helps to reach out to other self-employed friends, or my amazing husband, and ask for a kind ear to listen.

So far, it’s been a joy, and I don’t see myself going back to corporate any time soon. The flexibility to create my day and really make a difference make the financial ups and downs completely worth it.

This article originally appeared on https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/10/07/my-self-employment-success-story-how-i-quit-corporate-to-work-for-myself/#43caa0b63bee


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Jill Beirne Davi is the founder of Abundant Finances, a service that helps you get yourself out of debt and start amassing abundant savings in record time (without deprivation or eating cat food for dinner). For more helpful money strategies to turn your finances around, visit abundantfinances.com. 

Secrets of Success: How I Learned to Make What I Was Really Worth

By: Jill Beirne Davi

When I launched a side business about five years ago coaching people about their finances, I enjoyed it so much that I barely charged -- if I charged at all -- for my services. Many of the people I was helping were in the hole -- and desperately trying to get out. Plus, I loved talking to them about their money, so it didn't feel like an even exchange. I felt ashamed asking them to pay me.

After all, I had been deep in debt once, too, so I knew what it felt like to struggle to keep costs down. In fact, it was my own experiences that led me to become a money coach. As I began to share my success story, friends and friends of friends asked me to hold workshops, and pulled me aside for private advice.

I realized that there was a demand for money coaching, so I began doing it during my free time, while keeping my day job in market research. But when I first set out to offer my services, I charged nothing. I was caught up in the classic belief that if you loved what you did, you didn't have to get paid for it.

Work, by nature, had to be hard -- or so I thought. And if it wasn't hard, then you were pulling the wool over someone's eyes. So I did a lot of free sessions, irrationally hoping that someone would be so thrilled with what they were getting that they'd donate some money. Of course, that's not how things work.

Wait ... I Can Actually Get Paid to Do This?

As I started helping more people with their budgets, I realized that I could do it all day. I enjoyed problem-solving, crunching numbers and helping folks find creative solutions to sticky financial problems without having to declare bankruptcy or ruin their credit scores.

I decided that I eventually wanted to do this as a career -- which meant that I had to figure out how I was going to, you know, make money. I was working with a life coach at the time, so I shared my aspirations with her, as well as my fear of coming off as greedy if I asked for money. Her advice was simple: Start small. Just charge a little something to gain the experience of someone paying you to do what you love.

I realized that what I offered was valuable in ways that even I didn't expect. That first private client gave me the courage to take on more paying clients. So I did. A week later I charged my first paying client $25 for an hour-long session. He laughed and said, "That's it?" I stopped offering free sessions after that.


A few months in, this client was getting great results, so I considered asking him to write a testimonial -- but I was nervous for fear of coming off as selfish. I knew that it would help me build my future business, so I bit the bullet and asked him anyway. To my relief, he agreed.

His testimonial blew me away. I knew something had shifted, but after reading it I realized there was a real ripple effect happening in him. Not only had he started watching his finances better, but his smarter decisions and newfound discipline were also having a positive effect on his personal relationships and health. When I read it, something shifted inside me too.

I realized for the first time that what I offered was valuable to people in ways that even I didn't expect. That first private client gave me the courage to take on more paying clients.

The Inner Critic Comes Out

Still, it seemed that no matter how many people I worked with, I always had the same nervousness in the beginning. The same inner monologue would loop over and over: "You're not good at this. They're going to demand their money back and tell everyone how awful you are."

Oh, yes, my inner critic is a full-on monster, and she's the reason I kept my rates ridiculously, laughably low, just so no one would get mad at me if they weren't happy with my services.

This charging low fees thing went on for a few months with a handful of clients. Then I was contacted by a woman who'd heard about me through a mutual friend. She was a woman I admired, an entrepreneur who'd started a business a few years prior.

We sat down, and I asked her about her financial situation. I felt that I could help her, and she was nearly ready to say yes -- until I shared my rates with her. Her mood changed immediately. Suddenly, she wasn't so eager.

At first I thought my rates were too high -- but it was the exact opposite. She told me that the reason she didn't want to work with me was because they were too low. "I can tell by your rates that you're not confident in your abilities," she said. "So I'm not sure this is going to work out."

After the initial shock wore off, I realized she was right. To this day, I'm grateful for her brutal honesty because it made a lightbulb go off. After that, I looked through my testimonials and interviewed past clients about what they got out of working with me. Most clients started to see results around the two-month mark, and the best clients stayed with me for three or four months. The people who didn't get great results only came to me for one or two sessions.

At the time, I was billing on an hourly basis. So I started lumping sessions together and charging a bundled price to make sure people stayed long enough to see results. Each bundle was several hundred dollars -- way more than I was charging before.
 

Next Step: Overcoming My Fears

When I first started offering bundled pricing, I was terrified. I kept playing with the numbers to make them "seem" lower, doing things like adding more sessions to justify the price.

When people would question my fees, I'd explain that most clients didn't see results unless they were willing to invest some time, and the price reflected that. But I wasn't confident enough to charge more -- and potential clients picked up on that. They'd ask if I could just do one session or try to negotiate the price. Sometimes I caved, other times I didn't out of fear that they'd run to the 11 o'clock news with their complaints.

None of my fears ever came to pass. They were and still are completely irrational.

But after landing a few clients at my new, higher rate, history repeated itself. Clients were happy. They were getting good results, writing testimonials and referring friends. I could breathe a bit easier. I felt like I had scaled a small mountain and found a spot at the top where I could rest.

A year later, I raised my rates again after calculating how much I would need to earn in order to leave my corporate job. By this point, I was devoting 20 hours a week to my "side" job, and I knew I wanted to do it full time. I remember the first, four-figure proposal I sent out to a potential client. She didn't respond for a few days, and I chewed nearly all of my nails off waiting to see if she'd say yes.

Finally, the email came: "Let's do this." I was excited (for her) and terrified (for me). The inner critic, again looking for trouble, told me the other shoe was about to drop. I held my breath for a few weeks while I worked with the client, but after we both saw that she was getting great results, I let myself relax. And the higher rate became the new normal.
 

Accepting My Real Worth

I wish I could say that realizing my worth was a one-time event, but it wasn't. It's a journey. The fear never really goes away, but I'm learning how to manage it better. Whenever I offer a new service or raise my rates, that inner critic goes berserk trying to get me to revert to what is comfortable and safe.

Realizing my worth is like climbing a mountain with many peaks. You climb a small peak, and rest for a bit. Eventually, you have to get to the next one, so you keep going -- but you're terrified the whole way. Then you reach the next peak, and the journey starts again. With every peak, however, the urge to continue gets stronger.

I didn't start off with a ton of self-worth when it came to the services I was providing -- even if I felt plenty in other areas of my life! In the beginning, I attached my value to the dollar amount I was charging. But then I focused on whether my clients were really getting results. Then I made a promise to myself that if I couldn't help them, I'd quit entirely. But as long as I was, I'd stay in the game.

It's easy to stay stuck at a lower rate in order to avoid rocking the boat. Every time I've raised my fees, it's usually been followed by a week or two of panic attacks, fearing that this time I've asked for too much. But eventually the awkward phase passes, and my rates feel like a cozy sweater again.

My hope is that, one day, I'll be able to silence that inner critic who wants to devalue my professional self. But I know I'm not that enlightened yet. Still, one of the best things about going through this experience was finally realizing my self-worth. Here are some of my top tips:

Start small. Charging something nominal is still better than charging nothing at all. Don't give your gifts away for free, which could breed resentment later.

Find encouragement. Get a coach or mentor to help you stay the course when you're feeling uncomfortable about raising your rates or asking for a higher salary.

Focus on your results. When I get into panic mode, I read the testimonials of my clients. Seeing progress in their own words takes the spotlight off myself and shines it back on my clients.

Stay attuned to your emotions. This one is more of an art. If you are starting to feel a little resentful or burned out, it may be time to up your rates or ask for a raise. The increase can help get your sanity back -- especially if you offer a client-based service.

Let your rates work their way up. You don't have to triple your rates overnight to prove a point. That may backfire. Raise them incrementally and keep close watch on the results that gives you -- and your clients. Eventually, you'll be charging what you're truly worth!

This article originally appeared on https://www.aol.com/article/finance/2014/03/07/earning-wages-really-worth-entrepreneur/20844439/


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Jill Beirne Davi is the founder of Abundant Finances, a service that helps you get yourself out of debt and start amassing abundant savings in record time (without deprivation or eating cat food for dinner). For more helpful money strategies to turn your finances around, visit abundantfinances.com. 

Rewire Your Brain For Success

By: Laura Berger

Do you feel like bad habits and negative thought patterns are holding you back at work? The good news is that you can eliminate them by activating your brain’s delete button. Using neuroplasticity, you can rewire your brain by changing your behavior, thinking and emotions. This means that no one is doomed to be a control freak, conflict avoider or bad listener. Alas, we all have the power to reprogram how we lead and work through problems with focus, commitment and self-compassion.

But, you must first recognize and identify the unwanted thoughts linked to your negative behaviors and as they show up, remind yourself that they are false messages sent by your brain. Like any skill needing development, they can be improved when you take actionable steps to adopt positive behaviors and patterns.

Here are a few of those actionable steps, along with some of my clients' insights in their own words and suggestions for reaching your full potential:

Be less controlling. If you demand perfect results and believe that your way of doing things is the only way, it's time you started letting go. Not only does this mindset increase your workload (Hello, stress!), but it also damages relationships with colleagues and can ultimately hinder your organization's success. Ironically, the more you relinquish the need to control, the more in control you will feel (Goodbye, stress!). As one client described it in a coaching session:

“The more I relinquish control, the more I’m in control because when I do that, I am more serene, and the serenity is where my greatest power and influence resides. When I’m in that zone, I know that what I say has meaning, is relevant and is the right thing for whatever I’m dealing with. If I’m not there, what I say and how I behave is probably driven more reactively or impulsively …”

Start by challenging yourself to relinquish your need for perfection, remembering that the 80/20 rule not only applies to what your organization does, but what you do as well. By relaxing your standards on certain things, you will become open to alternative ways of doing things and will likely learn something in the process: a win-win.


Improve your listening. Listening well is critical to effective communication, fostering high performance, strong relationships and greater employee engagement. Becoming a good listener requires proactive practice in conversations and meetings. So, the next time a situation demands your attention, maintain eye contact with the speaker. As you listen to their points, remain attentive and open-minded, as judgment detracts from your listening. Do not interrupt, but rather wait for a pause to ask any clarifying questions. Share any feedback while mirroring the speaker’s sentiments and demeanor. This ensures conversational counterparts know they were heard and their thoughts are valued.

Embrace conflict. Too many of us allow our egos to cloud our judgment in workplace conflict. And we all know that running away from workplace problems only spirals already undesirable situations further south. In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz asserts the importance of taking nothing personally. Instead, respect others’ subjective opinions, realizing that their views don’t necessarily define us accurately. To effectively create separation between the conflict and yourself, adopt the belief, "It's not about me." As one client described it in a coaching session:

“It’s not about me. It’s not just me. I have a team … There is a bit of mindset shift that’s happening, and I want to make the best of it. The only way that’s going to happen is if I take charge and stop feeling like things are happening to me. It’s not going to be perfect and that’s okay … There are limits to how much I am going to stress myself out because of what other people may comment on or say. I am taking more control of my day-to-day and my interactions and not fearing the consequences from my boss. They are my choices, and it’s about making them in a way that honors my needs.”

With this mindset, you quickly realize just how rational, assertive and positive you can be during confrontation. So, the next time conflict knocks, leave your ego at the door, and allow growth and learning to take flight.

Be confident. Don’t waste your brain cycles on false messages that only lower your confidence. Instead, replace the negative self-perception with a positive one and focus on the skills you do have. If you’re constantly telling yourself, “I’m not deserving of a promotion,” change this belief by making a list of the work you put in every day that qualifies you for a promotion or raise. This will culminate in what I call a promotion résumé that will be ready to hand to your superiors at annual review time. If you feel you are still undeserving, think outside the box and ask your boss if you can take on new projects.

A saying credited to Thomas Edison says, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.” To create lasting change within yourself and never look back, stay optimistic. Get excited about how empowered you will feel when you successfully act in more positive and constructive ways.

This article originally appeared on www.forbes.com


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Featured on ABC News, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdeo Group. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is the co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical.

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Laura Berger

Featured on ABC News, in CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and in Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdéo Group. She has counseled leaders for 15 years, maximizing their potential in the areas of Evidence based leadership, global operations management, and strategic change management. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, Leo Burnett Worldwide, American Hospital Association, Starcom MediaVest Group, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, World Business Chicago, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is an in-demand speaker and co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical: Could You Say Goodbye to Everything You Know to Get Everything You Want?.

What to Consider When Setting Your Prices

by Elisa Balabram

I received great feedback on Facebook and by email about the article “Six Myths that May Be Stopping Your from Valuing Your Work Well”. The key to setting your prices is to first investigate if you believe in any of those myths, and if you do, figure out what’s behind it and let it go before you come up with your prices.

The steps to setting up prices include:

  1. For a product-based business, make sure to add all the costs to purchase the materials and to make your products, including shipping costs, utilities, insurance and labor. Research the markup of your industry, so that you know where to start.

  2. For a service-based business, calculate how long it actually takes to deliver the services, not just the time you spend with the client.

  3. Investigate your competitors’ prices but do not obsess about them. This information will give you a clue of how the market is and what your clients may be willing to spend.

  4. Get clear on your target audience and research what they can afford and how they associate prices with quality. Keep in mind that people are usually able to come up with the funds needed when purchasing something that they truly value.

  5. Make a list of at least ten reasons why you are unique and what sets you apart from your competition. (Huge Value!) This will give you the strength and confidence to possibly charge a higher fee than your competitors are charging.

  6. Yes, great customer service is an unbelievably important value added, don’t take it for granted.

  7. Calculate your personal and business breakeven point.

  8. Consider your lifestyle, are you going to be able to afford it with the prices you are setting?

  9. Take in consideration the number of hours a week you are planning to work, and the number of billable hours available.

  10. Double the amount you came up with.

How do you feel about the last one? If doubling your prices is too much for you, start by increasing the number you came up with by 10-15% and see how it feels. The ultimate price should make you a little uncomfortable but not too much, or you will be stuck and hope that nobody ever asks you how much you charge.

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Elisa Balabram

Elisa Balabram is a business and self-love coach, a writer, speaker and the author of “Ask Others, Trust Yourself: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Key to Success”. She is passionate about coaching women in a deeper, spiritual, mental and emotional level to help them become more self-aware, practice self-love and realize their desire to start or grow a business or creative endeavors and pursue their life’s purpose. She launched and published WomenandBiz.com for nine years, and received the SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year Award in 2008. You can read her blog, schedule a complimentary Skype call and/or order a copy of her book at www.askotherstrustyourself.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @womenandbiz.

Natural Networking

by Raleigh Mayer

“Only Connect” –E.M. Forster

 Networking. Everybody’s doing it: Or should be.

Cultivating and maintaining a wide network of personal and professional contacts is a required skill for anyone active in the business world and community environment, and often the foundation for securing new clients, new business, or new careers. In fact, networking’s become such a ‘necessary evil’ that many people are offended by the very word. However, when done properly, networking, or simply meeting people, can be fun, and quite productive in terms of informational exchange as well as opportunity.  The key is to offer yourself: as a resource, a referral base, or simply ally and friend, rather than going in looking to gain something at the outset. This perspective will change the dynamics in terms of how you approach others, and how you present yourself.  But where and how does one begin? The answer is here and now.

 Establish Presence

Before you “go public”, even on weekends and off-hours, give some thought to your wardrobe, accessories, and overall grooming, keeping in mind that casual should not translate to sloppy.

Get in the habit of carrying business cards at all times, and always be ready with a smile, a firm and energetic handshake, and light conversation topics. Be quick to extend your hand and introduce yourself.  For more formal or organized business or professional events also:

  • Use your time to talk to people, rather than eat or drink. Eat beforehand.
  • Develop a brief and clever (20 seconds maximum) self-introduction, not a sales pitch.
  • Pronounce your name clearly, and make sure you hear the other person’s as well. If you are unsure of their name or pronunciation, ask them to repeat it right away.
  • If you are holding a drink, keep it in your left hand, so you can shake hands easily.
  • Speak with enthusiasm; say only positive, upbeat things about yourself and the event.
  • Ask open-ended questions, and do more listening than talking.

 Navigating an Event

Most of us are a little intimidated, if not plain terrified, to meet large groups of new people. But the most counter-productive approach to attending an event is to bring a friend or colleague as a ‘bodyguard’, to protect you from going it alone. By all means, attend with a friend - then separate during the event.  Instead, to minimize anxiety and maximize connections:

  • Arrive early. The few people already in attendance will focus fully on you, and your comfort level will raise before the room is crowded.
  • Leave behind (or check) big bags and briefcases. You need to be able to mingle easily.
  • Feel free to join groups of more than two people. How do you think the rest got there?
  • Always ask for business cards if you care to, but do not offer yours unless asked.
  • If you would like to exit from a conversation, simply thank the person for the chat and the chance to meet, shake hands warmly, and move on. Skip the excuses about going to the bar or bathroom.

 Following Up

New acquaintances are like seedlings: They won’t grow if left alone.  So, if you are serious about maintaining contact, make sure to:

  • Email them right away to express your pleasure with the introduction.
  • Thank them promptly if they offered or delivered something helpful.
  • If you offered resources or referral, do so immediately.
  • Let contacts know the outcomes of their referrals or recommendations.
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Raleigh Mayer

Raleigh Mayer, known as the “Gravitas Guru”, is an executive development consultant, coach, and speaker, specializing in presentation, communication, and leadership, including programs designed specifically for the career acceleration of female executives. Formerly a vice president and spokesperson for the New York City Marathon, Raleigh has coached and trained executive clients for more than a decade and serves a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies.  She is currently a senior fellow at the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, a leadership lecturer at New York University and Barnard College, and on the leadership council of the Financial Women’s Association.

How to Make Money with Your Passion

by Jillian Beirne Davi

“If you do what you love, will the money follow?”

Ahhh the elusive: “Make Money Doing What You Love” thing.  Everyone wants it. We admire those that achieve it and we secretly doubt if it’s even possible for us. Can you really do it?  Yes! I say enthusiastically.   Yes you can make your first chunk of change with your passion!  But it requires a change in your thinking and a loving dose of reality.

First you have to think in terms of what inspires people to buy and what does not.  Next, you must decide if your passion is more of a hobby, or something that can truly generate income.  Finally, you must be willing to start small, right where you are to start helping people.

Rule #1:   People buy things that are useful, that solve a pressing problem they will pay money to solve.

Unfortunately, no one will pay you for something just because YOU love doing it.   Because it’s YOUR passion. You may have the greatest product or service in the world! But if it doesn't solve someone’s immediate needs, you most likely will not make any money.  People buy solutions to their most pressing problems.  Your passion is what creates raving fans and keeps them coming back for more!  So, you've got to think about other people’s needs first, ahead of your own. Your passion is the cherry on top, but that’s not why people plunk down the ka-ching.

Let’s take Steve Jobs for example.  He’s widely admired for building an empire doing what he loved.  But the money didn't come FROM his passion alone.  The money came through other people because his products solved some really nagging problems they had.  Let’s take the iPod for example.  Yes it was sexy when it came out. Yes Steve Jobs nearly combusted onstage with passion as he revealed it to the world.  But remember, at the time it came out, people had tons of music on their computers. But they couldn't take it with them.  The iPod solved all of this. His products are all designed to be intuitive and solve pressing problems that his consumers have in real time.

Your passion is great but when you combine it with a solution to a need people have, you start to earn income from it.  Ask yourself:  What are some problems people have that I’m really passionate about solving?  What problems have I solved for people in the past that got great results?

Rule #2:   Know the difference between what is a passion/hobby and a passion/income generator. 

I have a few passions.  One of them is coming up with creative solutions to tough money problems and helping people set up simple systems to get out of debt, save more and start living abundantly. That’s a passion of mine. ANOTHER passion of mine is vegging out in front of the couch with a Costco size bag of Nestle chocolate chips and watching an eight hour marathon of Housewives on Bravo.  One is a passion/income generator. The other is a shameful, shameful passion/hobby.  So, before you set out to make your first chunk of change doing what you love, take a moment to decide if your passion solves a pressing problem for people.   Or, is it something that’s really more of a stress relief or creative outlet for you?

Make a list of your passions.  Then decide which ones are truly hobbies that are strictly for you own enjoyment. Then identify if there’s anything on that list that solves a pressing problem people would happily invest money with you to solve.  Ask Yourself: Of all the things that I’m passionate about, which one solves a problem that people have right now?  Which of these passions are more for my own personal enjoyment?

Rule #3:   Start small and leave the Magical Thinking behind. This is a nod to my dreamers out there. (I know because I happen to be one.)

Sometimes dreamers get a great idea to create income using their passions.  Then something snaps in their brain and they begin to have delusions of grandeur fantasizing about creating the next Facebook, Apple or Pinterest.  And then they start thinking about who they could partner with, getting investors in on the ground floor, trademarking logos and agonizing over business cards.  They spend time on all this extra “stuff” that keeps them busy without moving them forward.

But it can be much simpler.   The key to making your first chunk of change is to start where you are and do the obvious:  Get out there and tell people in your world what you’re doing!  Tell them with enthusiasm and passion what you do and who you help! Tell people what problems you solve.   Ask them to keep an eye out for anyone who might need your help.   You will be amazed at how many people want to help you and refer you to friends.  Then, once someone raises their hand and says:  “YES!  I need your help!” feel free to charge a little bit of coin.  (Note:  You might be tempted to give it away for free.  Don’t do this!  Charge a little bit since people don’t value what they don’t pay for!)

Finally, revel in the fact that you were just PAID to do what you LOVE.   You've actually done it!  Let that feeling just overwhelm you for a bit.  Now, you won’t be able to support yourself just yet but you have crossed a huge milestone. You just experienced what it’s like to get paid to do what you love.

Many of us feel really uncomfortable receiving money for doing something we would do for free all day long. We've been taught that the only way to make a living is to do soul-crushing work.  But that doesn't have to be the case. In the beginning, just having a handful of people pay you to use your gifts to solve their problems is a huge validation that you can do what you love and earn money at the same time.  Ask Yourself: Who can I tell about my product or service? Who do I help?  What could I create right now to help these people immediately ( A class? A program? An App? A Website? A service?)

So, your three step plan to making your first chunk of change doing what you love:

  1. Identify which of your passions solve a pressing problem for people.
  2. Get out there and offer it to the people in your immediate circle.
  3. Charge a little bit of coin to validate the work that you do (you can always increase this amount later).

It is absolutely possible to make money doing what you love, so long as what you love is also useful and necessary for other people.  Remember, people buy things that solve their problems.  Help other people get what they want with enthusiasm and passion and you will be well on your way to supporting yourself full-time doing what you love!

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Jillian Beirne

Jillian Beirne Davi is a Financial Turnaround expert and the founder of Abundant Finances, a service that helps you get yourself out of debt and start amassing abundant savings in record time (without deprivation or eating cat food for dinner).   After digging herself out of $30,000 in debt and saving tens of thousands of dollars, she decided to share her strategies with others who struggle in this area.  Turns out:  They work! The Abundant Finances community continues to grow with conscious women who are committed to making RADICAL changes in their financial lives.   For more helpful money strategies to turn your finances around, visit http://www.AbundantFinances.com and sign up for the high-content, high value FREE newsletter today!

Imagine…Envisioning and Creating Your New Future!

by Karen McMahon

If you could design your ideal life what would it look like?  Most people actually don’t know.  We are so programmed to think about what we don’t want, couldn’t afford, can’t have, what won’t work…that we rarely give ourselves the gift of dreaming about our true desires, all obstacles aside!

Ask a child to tell you their dreams and they can immediately start rambling about what they want, who they want to be, and all types of details about their desires.  They have not yet learned to be stifled by potential obstacles.  They do not operate from a place of fear and unbelief in themselves but rather embrace the possibilities the world has to offer.  We, as adults, put ourselves in a box each time we deny ourselves the opportunity to tap into our deepest desires and allow ourselves to manifest them in our lives.  Perhaps we need to be more child-like.

So, back to your ideal life…  How do you begin the exciting process of creating your new life? What area of your life do you desire to re-create: relationships, career, finances, lifestyle, physical or emotional health, personal development or a deeper spiritual connection?

Start with asking yourself key questions.  If I could have “X”, what would that be like for me?  If it is a relationship you desire with your children, family or a new partner, describe the ideal.  Make a list of the attributes of the relationship; interactions that you would want; details of what might grow from such a relationship.

If it is a new career or the ability to make more money; what does that look like to you?  What do you most enjoy doing and what gifts, talents and skills do you have to offer the world?  If you could create your perfect job, what would you do; what would your day look like from the time you awoke until you lay your head back down on your pillow?

Perhaps you want to live in a different place or in a different way.  Describe your ideal living situation.  Where do you envision yourself living, what does the home look like, where is it located, how many rooms, what is the floor plan, describe the grounds, what does it have that makes it fit who you are?  What else is important in your living situation?

If there were no obstacles, no time constraints, no money concerns, nothing standing in your way, what would your new life look like?

Take some time to imagine all the details.  Use all your senses.  Smell the coffee as you begin your day, the flowers in the garden you sit in or work in, the fresh breeze you smell from your porch or while riding your horse or boating on the open sea!  Feel the flow of your day, the comfort of your living room, the appreciation of your office; or the excitement or passion in your work or the feeling of being in a healthy relationship.  Touch your favorite chair, the dirt in your garden, the hand of your partner, the horse’s mane.  See the details… your healthy body, the attributes of your new relationship with your kids, friends, partner; the particulars of your new job and what talents and energy you bring to it.

If you are going through a divorce and grieving the loss of your marriage, ask yourself what you want in a committed relationship?  How would you change to be a better, healthier partner?  What would you look for ina partner?  How might your priorities have shifted after what has happened in your marriage?  What have you learned and how might you take those lessons into your next relationship?

As you do this exercise, it is natural for all the negatives to rear their ugly heads; all that you can’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t, won’t, and don’t do.  Notice what they are and how they make you feel and then put them aside, for now.  You must first know what your aspirations are, all possible obstacles aside, in order to figure out how to attain them.

Now begin to create a plan.  Baby steps are the key.

  1. Clarify your desires. What awareness has come to the fore? If you are a writer, write about it; an artist, draw it; an extravert, talk to a friend or loved one to process it. Whatever your way is, draw out that dream in as much detail as you can.

  2. Challenge your fears. What fears and obstacles come up for you? Write them down and challenge them. How true are they? Try to look at your situation from a different lens, shift your perspective. How true is it that you cannot attain your goal? What is another possible way of looking at the situation? Prioritize your fears from the greatest to the least and begin challenging them from the least up to the greatest.

  3. Take Action. What is one baby step that you can take in the direction of your dream? A baby step is exactly that…a very small step. It can be to meditate on the dream, write about your desires, research some small piece of information that will help guide you, make a phone call, buy a book on the topic. Take one small baby step toward your dream and see how it develops, one step at a time.

Congratulations!  You have begun a journey through which you will create a life that fulfills you.  Believe it. Embrace it.  Watch it unfold, one step at a time.

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Karen McMahon

Karen McMahon, Certified Relationship & Divorce Coach & Master Energy Practitioner is the founder of KM Life Coaching and co-author of “Navigating Your Divorce: A guide to the Legal, Financial and Emotional Basics”, a free ebook. Karen’s passion is to work with men and women going through the divorce process; helping them navigate the difficulties while focusing on personal growth and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead.