Time to Get Your Finances In Order

I’ll admit, I am not the one to give financial advice because I still struggle with staying on budget as well as paying down debt.  As hubby says “You will never be a Rockefeller” which is why I was a perfect fit for social work and non-profits.I am always looking for tips on how to get better at this because:

Managing your money is the key to success!

So, if you’re looking to try and get your finances in order, stop spending, and start saving, here are some top tips are for you to try….

 

1. Create a Spreadsheet 

Do you know how much you owe?  If you have debt, do you now how much your interest rate is on each one? To easily organize your finances, a spreadsheet is a great way to see your income and your expenses.  You can create one in Google Drive so you can stay on top of it.   I have a list including interest charges so when there is extra money, I can pay down on the highest interest rate first.

2. Set Up Savings 

I know this sounds crazy if you have debt BUT you need to start saving for an emergency.  It can be as little as $10 a paycheck or $25 a month.  Check with your bank too for some of those instant kind of saving programs.  Bank of America takes the change from your ATM transactions, rounds up and the money is put in your savings account.  Those pennies add up quickly.  It all helps!

3. Organize Direct Debits 

I used to advocate direct debits but when my income varies, it is better for me to have repeated reminders set up. I have reminders set up on each of my credit cards when payments are due – 14 days out and 1 week out.  This ensures I avoid any late payment fees and any (further) damage to your credit score.

4. Refrain From Impulse Purchases 

Yup, we are all guilty of it.  Sometimes it is easier said than done.  Be sure to have some room in your budget for treats – large or small so you can occasionally splurge!

5. Make A List – Stick To It How many times have you gone to the store and your list is home?  The end result, you buy more than what you need and usually forget what you originally went to the store for.  I have started putting my grocer list on my phone.  When was the last time you left home without your phone?  Whether shopping for Christmas, clothing or groceries – always stick to the list!

6. Set Budgets for Events 

Everyone’s salary is different so why not set a budget for Birthdays so you don’t feel pressured to match what everyone else is spending.

7. Emergency Fund 

This goes back to #2 when we set up a savings account.  What happens why you have a surprise expense – car repair, etc?  Tempted to pull out the credit card. DON’T!!!  Use your savings account or emergency account.  By saving a little each money, you are ready for those unexpected events.

8. Don’t Be Drawn In By Offers 

Sales.  How often are you drawn in by the offers non things you may not really need.  If you need it, great.  If you don’t, why buy it.  I mean do you really need the  half price Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?

9. Make a Packed Lunch 

Taking lunch to work is so much cheaper than a daily visit to the local sandwich shop.  Think of the money and time you will save.  Have an hour for lunch?  Imagine being able to enjoy a full hour of leisurely eating your lunch and catching up with friends instead of waiting to order food and then gulping it down.  Bringing your lunch to work is better all around as well as far healthier for you.

10. Cut the Coffee 

Yes, I went there.  When I was commuting to work, I would do a WAWA stop on the way to and from work.  That came to at least $5 or more a day or $25 per week or over $1,300 per year.  I’m now hooked on Starbucks unsweet green tea and thankfully, I don’t commute or it would be about $1,000 a year on ice tea.  What could you use a $1000 on?

 11. Use Your Legs 

If you live in the city or your commute is to an area where there is good public transportation, this is a great way to save money.  Growing up in NJ, there really is not a very good public transportation system unless you are headed to NY to work. In addition to saving money, you can also burn some extra calories by walking to and from the stops.

12. Seek Out Deals 

Yes, I have gotten lazy when it comes to looking for the best deals.  Whether it is car insurance, phone service or our cable bill – I haven’t shopped around for the best deal in ages.  When I did call Comcast to re-negotiate our bill, I was able to save about $50 per month which is $600 to apply to paying down credit card debt.

13. Sell And Buy Online

I used to do this all of the time – selling on eBay was a regular thing.  It has gone by the wayside but it may be time to revive this old habit.  When it comes to shopping online, I am always looking for the best deal using apps like Ebates and others.

What is YOUR best tips for getting your finances under control?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Gaining Confidence Is An Ongoing Process

I have been having one of those weeks…. yup, fear and doubt has crept in.  My confidence has been shaken and I am wondering what my purpose is in life.  What happened?  I’m not sure except I have had some weird health days.  Days of feeling unsure.  Most days I can shake it then there are some when I need a confidence booster.  Surrounding myself with supportive  friends and family is part of it BUT sometimes I need to work on me.

Here are some things I do to help shake those nasty inner gremlins:

1.  Share Your Gifts & Passion with Others

Everyone has gifts and talents even when our confidence is lacking.  When I have days like this, I start writing.  Because I know sharing my struggles with others is one of my gifts.  You have accomplished great things – don’t downplay what you have achieved.  I know I am guilty of this all of the time.  The truth is, we are all good at something and there is always someone who wants to learn.

2. Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes

When I have days like this, I tend to focus on all of the mistakes I made in life. Remember negative thoughts brings more negative thoughts.  When we hold ourselves or others to high standards expecting perfection, we are usually left feeling less than, a failure, and unworthy. Give yourself a break!  Self-forgiveness is an important step towards building your self esteem and confidence.  Everyone make mistakes, you are no exception and you deserve to be forgiven.

3. Pay it Forward or Pay Yourself

Are you looking to right your wrongs or make a change due to mistakes from your past which may be holding you back?  We can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away BUT we can change the outcome.  Didn’t make school a priority in your life?  Go back and take some classes.  Maybe you weren’t there for friends and family – make amends.  As a recovering addict, my mission is to help those who are struggling because others helped m.  What mistake can you forgive yourself for so you can move on?

4. Be Solution Focused

I always say negative thoughts brings more negative – positive brings more positive, it is the way of the Universe.  So, when you are always complaining about not having enough (of anything), nothing gets accomplished. Look for solutions when things aren’t going as planned. This will take some practice before it becomes natural.  In the end, you will be able to approach a problem from a mindset of how to solve it instead of WHY ME victim mindset.

5. Smile

I know it is hard to smile when you are feeling less than BUT a little smile goes a long way. You would be surprised how it can actually change your mindset. It makes me feel good to smile, and it can also brighten someone else’s day.  In some cases this is where I advocate, fake it till you make it.   I don’t mean being fake to others, it is about learning to pick your head up and feel good along the way. The more you do it, before long, you will forget you were “faking it” and actually feed better, maybe even GOOD or GREAT!

6. Fear is Your Friend

FEAR is huge when we are not feeling confident (at least for me).  I am trying hard to use fear to my advantage! Think about it – fear shows up when you are about to step out of your comfort zone, stretch yourself and build your confidence. This is your secret weapon to growing.  When you recognize it is about to get scary, you are about to expand yourself which is HUGE confidence builder.

Despite popular belief (and my constant writing about it) I do struggle with confidence.  I am always amazed how I am more confident around people I don’t know then I am around friends or business colleagues.  Those nasty inner gremlins love to play the comparison game.

Share your struggles and your successes with us.  Let’s BUILD each other up so we are all successful in our business (and our lives).

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

What is YOUR Brand?

A few weeks ago I walked into a vendor event to hear “are you the angel lady that sells Thirty One?”.  It took me a minute but then I said “yes”.  I was totally surprised by the question but grateful the two things were linked together.

Obviously you know I am a Thirty One consultant BUT I also love to make and share my angels.

I have found the perfect way to combine my two loves to make a difference in the lives of others.  My traveling angel pins allow individuals to buy an angel and send one to a person who needs some encouragement.  Know someone who is struggling?  Let me know and I will send them a pin.

Where is all of this leading?  I have (accidentally) branded myself as “the Thirty One angel lady”.  Is it a bad thing? No! But I am grateful to have created my own niche of making a difference.

1. Realize branding does apply to you.

No matter what you do, branding can take your career or business to the next level.  Your brand reflects your reputation — what you’re known for (or would like to be known for). What was once called a reputation is now called a brand.  Don’t we all want to be know for something?

2. State who and what you are (not what you’re not).

Remember positive brings positive into your Universe.  Your branding should be consistent from beginning to the end.  Showcase your accomplishments and expertise but don’t overinflate to the point you can’t follow through.  Authenticity is the key.  I am all about giving back.  Hubby says my tagline should be “I will never be Rockefeller (rich with money)” because I am all about giving to others.

3. Honestly, ask yourself what is your value.

When was the last time you wrote down your core strengths. Prepare a list. Ask yourself what your top 5 accomplishments have been in the past 5, 10, 15 years. Which ones stand out as the most value to your business or your company?

Branding is all about impressing others not ourselves, right?  So, why not ask others what they see as your most positive attributes (family, friends, or colleagues). I know this can be scary BUT you may be surprised to find out how others perceive you. You may actually be surprised to see what things come to the forefront as your areas of expertise.

4. Understand developing a brand takes time.

This is HUGE!  I have been with Thirty One for 6 years.  I have done many things to try and “brand myself” but with the help of Desiree Wolfe, I found my niche.  

What does it mean? Every day, I share things which bring my brand (Thirty One and angels) into the spotlight.  I want to make a difference and I try to do it every day in some small way with everyone I meet.  Remember developing a brand is about adding value which results in you being seen and heard. It’s about distinguishing you from your competitors.

5. Create a blog and write what you know.

I hear the groans of those who say “I can’t write”.  How often are you asked the same question by almost all of your customers?  Maybe it is about a situation or a product or a service.  Guess what?  You answer the question a million times, why not write about it and share the answer.  It’s simple – choose a hot question in your field and just start writing by answering it in an article or blog post.  You have now proven you know what you’re talking about.

6. Interact more than less.

I’m still getting the hang of this.  I don’t want to be spammy or pushy or salesy. I do want to gain attention to me (as the brand) then my products and services which leads to more sales.  I may blog daily but I don’t consistently post comments on Facebook groups or on other blog posts.  You need to decide what works with your schedule and time ability.

Your online identity is a priority in today’s busy digital world. I heard “your online branding as a #digitaltattoo which is so true.  Once it is out there – it stays out there. Wonder where you stand right now?  Google yourself, your brand, or your product/service.  See what comes up.  The biggest compliment I have received is when someone I know as an acquanitence tells me they Googled a subject and I came up.

My angels help me stand out with my Thirty One customers.  The angels help them to remember me!  What is your brand?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Guest Blogger: Shades of Amber

Today’s blog is courtesy of a fellow blogger, direct seller, accountability partner and friend – Amber Nowlin.Why I Love Direct Sales..as a customer!

It wasn’t right away, mind you. In fact, my first experience with the direct sales industry was not great at all. In college I got sold on joining a scrapbooking company. I was new to the hobby and I liked the convenience of the products. I definitely never made any money off that venture, and I’m pretty sure some of what I bought is still in my papercrafting stash more than a decade later. That company ended up going under within a few years. My next experience, about six years ago, was a considerable improvement, with a reputable health and wellness company. My sponsor was supportive and the products really did help me form some healthier habits. I still take their vitamins because the quality is that good. I even made a little money at it from time to time, but getting the compensation plan to work for me consistently was really difficult. As much as I was benefiting from using the products myself, no one in my circles was seriously interested in joining the business or consistently using the same products. While the health and wellness sector of direct sales ended up not being my dream fit of a company, it was during my first three years with that company that I really learned about the industry as a whole…and why it is AWESOME. Even as my personal business venture was failing, I was meeting highly successful sales reps who did this full time – and having a series of amazing customer experiences with several well known direct sales companies and their representatives! I fell in love with the customer experience, and I knew I wanted to also provide that experience for others.

I’m not the first person to blog about why you should consider purchasing direct sales products from your family and friends, but here’s my list of why buying from my friends and family ROCKS!

1. Convenience.
I shop online and what I want is delivered straight to my house. For consumable products, I can generally get a monthly subscription or auto-order with reduced or free shipping. I can log into any of my preferred customer accounts and alter those orders easily.

2. Quality
With most of my direct sales purchases, I have never had a bad product delivered. In fact, I can only think of one time when I had a defective product from any company I order from in over six years. Nutritional supplements, skin care, protein/meal replacement shakes, makeup, clothes, exercise programs, nail care, jewelry, books…I’ve tried a little bit of everything as a customer, and the quality in this industry is generally worth any extra I might be paying for. If the quality of the product doesn’t justify any extra cost, then the quality of another aspect certainly makes up for it…

3. Customer Service
When you purchase from most small businesses, there is a tangible benefit of a higher quality customer service experience. Small business owners, including your friends and family in direct sales, have a seriously vested interest in your customer satisfaction! Within reason and within their company policies, most reps will do whatever they can to ensure your customer satisfaction. When I had a defective product a few months ago, a rep of that company took immediate steps to get it replaced for me in a way that was fast, convenient, and free to me. I can’t get that level of service – from across the country, no less! – from a retail store or even most retail websites. Direct Sales reps will throw you parties, assist you with perfecting use of their products, keep you updated on the latest product releases tailored to your interests based on knowledge from your relationship and prior purchases, handle returns and exchanges…all of it. This is probably my favorite reason for being a loyal direct sales customer.

4. Your purchase really does help the financial success of someone you have met.
This is true of all small business purchases, not only direct sales. It may be somewhat cliche to bring it up, but all those smaller purchases you make? The commissions on those purchases help a rep’s family pay their bills or add some little luxuries to their family budget that would otherwise be out of reach. In the case of representatives who manage large teams full time, helping you with your purchases and helping their team to do the same for their customers is their full time job, and it is awesome that they are earning a full time income for it! Wouldn’t you rather your purchases directly benefit a family you have met, knowing they are fairly compensated for their work, than a bunch of strangers in a corporation who might not be fairly compensated for their efforts? I feel good about where my spending dollars are going when I purchase through direct sales!

As for my reasons for loving the direct sales life as a representative of a company, that is a different list!

Be sure to check out her blog at Shades of Amber.  She is also a Jamberry Consultant and her website is: Shades of Amber

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

I’m sure you have heard it a million times “a picture says a thousand words” or something like it… No need for a caption sometimes, it is just enough to post a picture and let it speak for itself.

Picture taking is easy with smartphones, no need to carry a camera. You can take a picture anywhere you go as long as you have your cell phone.  I mean, how many of us leave the house without our cell phone?  I know, I don’t and if I do, I head back to the house to get it. Once you take a picture, it is easy to post on Facebook, Pinterest, SnapChat and Instagram.  I’m sure there are more places but they are the ones I know.  I will admit, I use Facebook most of the time and occasionally Instagram.

An article on the Direct Selling Education Foundation website called “4 Ways Photos Can Help You Grow Your Business” gives some great suggestions:

1. Take pictures of yourself and other people using your product.

I’m not a big fan of posting pictures with me in them BUT I will post pictures of product (or with my customers in them).

Sharing pictures when I am at a vendor shows allows me to share not only my display but encourage potential customers to visit the event.

Photo contests are a great way to get customers to share their pictures. I have done this as well on my closed Facebook group for my VIP customers.

2. Take pictures of your parties (with permission).

I don’t do this one as often as I would like.  I always forget until it is too late.  I am usually so involved partying with guests and the hostess I forget about taking pictures.

3. Take pictures of things you get to enjoy as a result of your business.

This could be of a vacation you have earned, a program or sport your children gets to participate in because of your business.  It can be somethng you have earned from your company as well.  So excited to be cursing this year for our 6th wedding anniversary courtesy of Thirty One. 4. Share pictures of things unrelated to your business. This lets people know you are not all about business.  Share pictures of your family, motivational quotes, pets, kids – anything and everything you are interested in.

I started sharing pictures long before I knew it was a marketing strategy.  It was a way for me to reach out to family, friends, and potential customers to let them know about me, my products and where I was for vendor events. Another way to network and build relationships with customers.

Share DON”T sell.  How often do you see the posts for “buy now” or “need to sell” begging you to buy their products?  How often have you seen ads for great deals on products fill your news feed?  I know I do every day.  I love seeing people use their products or their results from using things.  It creates an interest in the product.

What will your next photo op be to share your product or your business?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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