Are You an Emotional Spender?

Are you an emotional spender?  Honestly, until about 6 months ago, I spent when I was happy, sad, bored…. it really didn’t matter what I was feeling.  I shopped  I have been working hard to stay on a budget but it is hard!

Did you know “The number-one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy”?

Why??? The truth is, the problem is a struggle with self-control. You went to the mall to buy a birthday gift for your niece, and walked out with a new pair of shoes for yourself. You’ve tried a budget, but somehow you always seem to find something to spend money on that wasn’t in it. Can you relate? If so, consider these practical strategies to get your emotional spending under control:

1. Sleep on it.

If you think you just have to have it, whatever it is, make it your rule to sleep on your decision. Very few things are so urgent you can’t wait 24 hours to make your purchase.

2. Phone a friend.

Be accountable to someone!  You are more likely to reach your goal if you tell someone you’ve set one. So, tell a friend about your goal to stop digging yourself into more credit card debt. Then when you find yourself about to make another purchase you can’t afford, call them up and let them talk you down.

3. Never go shopping alone.

If you can’t trust yourself to phone a friend, then don’t go shopping alone. Of course, my biggest problem (and maybe yours) is online shopping).  The simple click to get what we want, NOW!  Headed to the mall, have someone with you who will hold you accountable.  Shopping online, STEP AWAY from the computer.  Leave it in your cart for 24-hours!  Refuse to use “retail therapy” to deal with loneliness, boredom, or disappointments. Find a new hobby which keeps you active, helps you to connect with others and builds new relationships. Focus less on accumulating stuff and more on enjoying experiences with people and things which matter most to you.

4. Plan for it.

STOP right now!  Take out a notepad and jot down the most important thing you need, and then the most important thing you want. Do you know how much each will cost? Jot it down. Not sure, find out.  How long would it take you to save for each? Practice delayed gratification (so hard for a recovering addict to do!). It forces you to appreciate the true value of your money, which will help you spend your money more consciously.

5. Keep a picture of your goal in front of you.

I have a vision board I carry in my planner so I am always reminded of what I am working towards.  Post pictures where you will see them on a regular basis so you are reminded of your goal. Whether it is on your refrigerator, in your purse, or on your bathroom mirror, make the vision plain and visible.

6. Take the credit cards out of your wallet.

I LOVE this saying…” if you want to get out of the hole you’re in, stop digging!”  If you’re in debt, it’s time to stop adding to your debt. And if you’re an emotional spender, keep your impulse purchases to a minimum by leaving your credit cards at home. No need to make it easy to charge it.  Better yet, cut up ALL of your cards (maybe keep one for emergencies).

7. Use cash.

I will admit, I am not a cash person.  I use my debit card for most things.  I actually feel like I spend less than when I use cash.  Crazy, right?  There are always those places which don’t take cards too so I can’t spend. Research shows though, forking over cash makes you spend less. As simplistic as it sounds, one of the best ways to curb spending is to determine your budget for various expenses (i.e., lunch, groceries, clothing, etc.), then take out your budgeted amount in cash.  Dave Ramsey’s system from Financial Peace University is AMAZING!   While it can be easy to lose track of how much you spend when you swipe a credit or even a debit card, cash forces you to count and keep track of what you spend in a concrete way.

If saving or spending is a problem, I challenge you to stop spending emotionally and start managing your money wisely.  Which of these tips were most helpful to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You Missing One of These in Your Business?

Thank you Christie Browning for today’s tips….

I love my business. If you know me, you know it!!!!  Whether it is my Thirty One business or my handcrafted angels, I love having my own business.  I love the flexibility. I love the freedom to take visions to fruition.  I love sharing my love with everyone.  Now, I will be the first to admit on any given day I miss out on opportunities.  On those days, I tend to be more focused on “making money” to pay bills, so I blow past some of the things I need to have a successful business.  Don’t get me wrong, making money (and paying bills) is what we work for.  The truth is, I can’t sustain my sales (neither can you) if your business isn’t built on a strong foundation.

#1 – Know where you’re going and why you want to get there

I know we have all answered (or at least tried to) the question of our why…. We need to know what it is to be successful, right?  I have talked about the emotional why many times – it is the real root of why you want to be in business.  It is the inner motivation which pushes you when your tired, you want to give up, you are out of your comfort zone, and to push past your fears. Why is being a success important to you?  What will you gain if you are successful?

I struggle with tapping into my emotional why. as a result of my MS.  The key to the emotional why is your ability to paint a vivid picture of what “success” looks like to you.  It isn’t the same for everyone!  By identifying what the finish line looks like, you will know when you cross it, so you can celebrate and know you’ve arrived!  Your finish line might be clearer as you get closer to it but you need a visual picture NOW. The visual should touch your heartstrings and drum up some emotions when you think of it.

Key #2 – It’s your business – make it so!

You are designing YOUR business so make it yours!  I know it sounds crazy BUT how many times have you tried to copy someone else’s business (especially in direct sales) because they have risen to the top of the company?  I have been there, done that and got the tee shirt.  It doesn’t work!  I am learning (yup, took me 7 years!) my business will be different and might probably come together in a different way because it is MINE!  Be sure to design your business around your strengths and passions. Structure it around your time and calendar whether it is a part time or a full time gig.  You get to call the shots.  The key is to be sure to be true to yourself .  Remember your customers buy because they trust you – stand out in a crowd for what you want your business to look like.

Key #3 – Put the right process in place to win

I don’t know about you BUT I LOVE vendor events and home parties.  I LOVE connecting with people face to face.  Some would say it is the glamorous side of our direct sales business.  The truth is, success is made behind the scenes, in the nitty-gritty facets of your business (the parts we may not like).  Just showing up at events or parties is not going to keep your business consistent nor is it going to guarantee you success.  So, what system do you use to keep track of all of the “other things” you HAVE to do?  Do you have set days for follow-up with customers?  Do you know your target market?  I use a tickler file and LOTS of notes on my planner to make sure I keep up with order follow-up, mailings, booking leads and so much more.

Key #4 – Making the noise to bring in the biz

For some, marketing is the fun stuff!  For others, it is a hodgepodge mess.  You need to know who you are as a business and who you are trying to serve.  Do you know what your brand is? Branding is simply something which when people see it they think of YOU (and the ripple effect is thinking of your business).  It is the tone and feel of your business – such as the colors, images, and graphics you use.  I ALWAYS say “Have a ThirtyOne-derful day” – my customers expect it.  LOL.  Angels have become a part of my marketing…. they are part of my team logo as well as the watermark I use in all of my graphics.   What do you want their experience to be like after they interacted with you and your company? I want my customers to know I am all about making a difference in their lives and the lives of others.  I want them to know I am a down to earth “take me as I am” kind of gal.  The key to great branding is to be true to you. Don’t try to be something your NOT because it won’t connect with or feel authentic to your customers. Your brand is an extension of YOU and should be reflected in all you do, say and show.

I know this sounds like A LOT so take it slow and easy.  Start with one and work your way through…. Which one will you start with?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Stretch Yourself

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?  Be honest!  I don’t mean putting your toe out, finding it was too hard and giving up.  I mean really stretched yourself?

Honestly, I can’t remember when I last did.  To do it, I would have to BELIEVE in myself.  Hmm, I don’t know about you but I struggle with it.  On the outside many see a CEO of her own business who lives life on her terms.  The truth is most days I struggle to believe in myself!  Okay it is out there and I can’t take it back……

I always find when I stretch myself beyond my comfort zone, I am surprised it really isn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.  As I stay in the “new zone”, I get more and more comfortable.

The last 60 days have been filled with lots of changes for me – personally and in my business.  All good things but things which needed to be done.  Clearing out the clutter to make way for more blessings!  One of the first things I wanted to do was create a list of goals.  I’m great for lists.  When we step out of our comfort zone, too many BIG goals can be so scary we retreat.  So I am working on being inspired.  I know vague, right?  Definitely not a SMART goal but I am working on one.  I am going to set a goal which stretches me and as a result will excite me enough to move into action.  I have been told a “stretch goal” will develop your character by tapping into your strengths.

Since MS seems to have wrecked havoc on my memory and my thought process, I struggle with figuring these kinds of things our.  I know the answers are all in my head, it is just getting them out and on paper.  Thank you Valerie Burton for these questions to help me (and you) find your stretch goal.  Answering these questions will help you (and me) find the inspiration to forge ahead and stick to the goal.  Who is ready to join me?

1. What vision feels just beyond your reach?

Are you great at helping others see their vision but you can’t see it for yourself even if you want it?  Yup, I’ve been there.  Do you want to double or triple your income?  Maybe you want to  explore your romantic streak or event your fun side. Do you dream of eating healthy, exercising and being at goal weight? The purpose of this goal is to not choose something realistic, but to choose something which feels beyond your reach — the one you think is as not really possible.  The truth is “it is possible”.  Do you have the faith to believe it? A stretch goal forces you to reach higher than you think you can. If you don’t have to stretch for it, it’s not big enough for this exercise.

2. What specific, measurable, and time-sensitive goal would bring you closer to that vision?

Now for the fun part where we get specific about the goal. Make it vivid. Describe it in a way you can measure your progress so you know when you have reached the finish line. And most importantly, give yourself a deadline. You know what happens when there’s no deadline, right? It’s always something you’ll start tomorrow. Before you know it, a year has passed and you set the same goal again!   Sort of like those New Year’s Resolutions.  We make them at the beginning of the year with no specific time frame in mind.  A year is a long time when you don’t have a plan.  Here is an example: “I’m going to have more fun and truly enjoy my life rather than treating every activity like a burden” is a great vision (not mine). You could break it down by saying, “I am going to travel for pleasure more. Once every three months I am going to take a fun trip, even if it’s just a weekend road trip somewhere adventurous. And my first trip will be four weeks from now.”

3. Who will you tell?

Make yourself accountable.  Don’t keep your vision and goal to yourself. Tell somebody. Actually,  tell EVERYONE who is a supportive person in your life. Negative people may throw water on your passion and excitement: “Are you sure?” “That sounds hard.” “You’ve never done that before!” You don’t need doubters to fill your head with negativity.  Find someone encouraging, they might even want to join you. Chances are if you keep it to yourself, you will  quietly drop the goal if you don’t achieve it. Commit to it. Declare it out loud. When we  share our plans with others, it is far more likely you’ll actually carry it out.

So, are you going to stop playing it safe?  Are you going to STRETCH????  Share your goal with us, so we can celebrate and encourage you along the way.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

This Isn’t How You Planned It

Is your life going the way you planned it?  Are you living out your dreams?  Or are you on the verge of giving up? Are you working at a job which seems fruitless?  Is your relationship hitting a brick wall?   Do you get a little extra money, and then an unexpected expense saps the money as quickly as you got it?

I’ve been there and some days I’m still there.  Sometimes life is all about moving ahead when the road is long and hard. When you’re exhausted and weary, it’s essential you take charge before you burn out or give up.

Like you, I’ve been there, done that!  I never planned to reconnect with the love of my life 16 years ago. I never planned on leaving my dream job.  I never planned on being diagnosed with MS.  Life happens and the plan changes.

The best skill you can gain in life is the ability to navigate unexpected turns and setbacks life throws your way. NEWS FLASH!!!! Life doesn’t always go the way we plan it. The truth is, it rarely does.  So, let your challenges build character and perseverance to empower you to stay the course and win your race.

Here are some tips from the amazing Valerie Burton on just how to do this:

1. Stop expecting things to be easy.

The quickest way to become discouraged is to expect life to unfold just the way you planned it, with few or no obstacles or opposition. Raise your hand if this is you?  I know I’m not alone here.  Life is so much easier when the expected challenges appear –  you know, the ones you planned for.   Don’t get caught up in feeling sorry for yourself when hard times come.  This is the perfect opportunity to tap into your strengths, character, and faith to courageously face whatever life throws your way.

2. Get some fresh air.

When your inner gremlins get the best of you, and you start traveling down that dark tunnel, it might mean you need a break.  Have you been focusing on your problems, rehashing them over and over in your mind? Remember, focusing on the negative brings us more negative.  Take a walk. Do something different. Get out of your normal environment. It can energize you and redirect your thoughts.

3. Get some perspective.

Fresh air will give you perspective and clear out some of the cobwebs or maybe even blow away the inner gremlins.  The greatest difference comes when we focus on someone else’s life. When you start focusing too much on what’s wrong in your life, force yourself to notice what’s right. STOP and think of three things you’re grateful for. Believe me, you probably can’t stop at three! Now, open your eyes to others’ stories about determination and strength.  Despite what we may think, we are not the first person to face our challenges.  Look for someone who has gone through them with strength and grace? When you realize you are not alone, you will feel the rush of power. In face, you may discover someone who has triumphed through far greater challenges and can be a source of inspiration.

4. Commit to running your race to the best of your ability.

Who knows why you are going through what you are going through? It may not even be worth the energy of attempting to figure it out. What is worth your energy is expanding your character and capacity in the process.  Think about the ways will you become a better person by persevering through this? What growth do you intend to glean through it all?

5. Be an inspiration.

Yes, you can be an inspiration for someone else.  Your story may be just the thing someone else needs to hear to overcome their obstacle.  Every person who has faced a challenge has overcome them with their attitude, determination, and faith. Tackle your challenges in a way your children, friends, family, and coworkers will be inspired by your example. You can give others hope by simply acting with the courage to live and love fully in the face of fear and disappointment.

The first time I was told I was an inspiration, I laughed because the truth is, I never believed I could inspire anyone.  My life was my life full of challenges and obstacles.  Some I have overcome and some inner gremlins I still do battle with.  About 2 years ago, when the diagnosis of MS was “unofficially” given, I made a decision to allow my setbacks to build character and perseverance. Truth was my life’s journey had brought me to where I was today.  The challenges were actually a blessing in disguise.  Do I always understand it? NO!  Do I always like it? NO!

If you are struggling, I challenge you to stop feeling sorry for yourself.  It is time to gain  some perspective which will inspire and empower you.   When you get discouraged, what thought will lift you up?  Share it with us, maybe you can inspire someone else…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter on Friday

Have you started to countdown to the end of the day?  Are you overwhelmed? Are you exhausted?  Do you easily get distracted?  Whether you own your own business or work for someone else, we have all had these feelings.

Some days I have even thought “it would be easier to go back to work”.  Who am I kidding?  These feelings are usually a result of playing the “comparison game” then trying to follow what someone else is doing.  The result, I am headed in a 100 different directions making no progress at all.  So, I usually

No, it isn’t easy but you have to decide if you want to focus or give up.  Yep! Are you going to focus on one direction, one massive goal or give up and give in to all all the competing images and blogs and social media streams?

Listen. I get it. I fight the comparison game too!

I love the opportunity to get my cup filled from the AMAZING Carrie Wilkerson on a regular basis as a leader with Thirty One.

Staying focused is not easy.  It takes practice.  Here are some tips to help:

1. I am on ONE thing at a time.

Yes, ONE! I have a daily checklist of the things I must get done every day.  I work each thing one at a time.  I close the tabs my computer so I’m not scrolling through Facebook or watching for alerts to come through, or watching for incoming emails. One thing at a time. I used this same theory years ago with paper.  It worked then and it works now!

2. Invest (pay ) in ONE course or seminar or conference per year.

I know there is ALOT of FREE classes and offers out there.  I have signed up for many of them and then don’t attend.  I’m trying to focus on ONE skill for the year. No, it isn’t easy.  I have been the “I want the magic wand” type of girl and it just hasn’t worked.  So it is time for a change.  If you are going to pay for a training, find the person who you connect with.  Honestly, I have paid for lots of classes and got nothing out of some of them.  I have followed lots of coaches but have found only two whose tips have really helped me in my business.  Guess what?  I’m sticking with them.  Will I still take some free classes?  YES!  But, I won’t be spending money to “try them out”.

3. I am intentional on social media. 

This is a work in progress for me.  Learn your audience.  I actually did a poll in my VIP Facebook group to ask them what things would be helpful and fun for them.  I used to watch my friends and do what they did but I stopped because I usually end up feeling inadequate which is not helpful in growing my business.  I use Cinchshare to ensure consistency in my posts BUT I also jump in and share things at random.  I always make sure I stop in to see who has liked or commented on posts.

4. I have my work scheduled.

The truth is what we schedule… happens. Think about your hair appointment, dentist appointments or even lunch with your parents or kids.  Does it mean “You Must Have xx Hours Set’?  No, it means you need to schedule what works best for you.  I have found the consistency pays off.  Did you ever take up an instrument?  I played the piano for years.  It took lots of time practicing a little bit daily (30 minutes or so) moved me along faster than cramming 5 hours of practice in once a week. Be consistent and schedule.  Will my week look the same as yours? NOPE! I am up early and in my office usually by 6:30AM.  Hubby is off on Monday and Tuesdays so these are my weekends with limited hours in the office.  You need to set aside time for the things which are important to you.  I plan out my week each Sunday night.  I have a morning routine and an evening routine (hubby works swing shift).  It allows me to be consistent and work towards my goals.

I know this isn’t rocket science or brain surgery and I am sure you have heard these tips a million times.  I’m sure I have even written about them before.  Remember “you can’t get different results if you keep doing the same things”.  So are you ready to try something new?

Hope this was helpful and here’s to a ThirtyOne-derful weekend!